Another Apology to Hank

Two men, State Rail men in dayglo orange vests, stuffing around

Sweeping up one cigarette butt together while they plot a smoke themselves

CANNOT HELP but snarl at the alcoholic with his two little bottles of beer

His face a picturebook Humpty Dumpty

The fat superior one, clearly gagging for a smoke, leers at the alkie

“No alcohol on the platform!”


“The alcohol! You can’t drink the alcohol on the platform!

You’ll have to go up the road or something!”

The alkie is a pain in the arse with his smeared moon face

& his cheap casual K-Mart brochure clothes

But still…

What pisses me off is not the rule against drinking

Though me & my brother & various friends have PURCHASED beer ON

Bloody train platforms in other countries

And anyway, I’m a supra-sober freak who chooses to hear

The oceans roaring in sandstone and who, in the right slant

Of autumn light, can see the length and width of the State

Even across the borders sometimes, i.e. I’ve got better things to do

Than drink anywhere

What pisses me off about this is the Rulebook Language

They could have said

“The beer” or “Your beer” or “Your V.B.”, that being the brand

But it was “the alcohol”. This objectivity coming from the stationmaster

With the beer gut.

I consider now using the less-than-incendiary poetic device of irony

By mentioning the beer garden less than ten meters across the street

The drinkers there cramped with their cockroach faces and their

Total lack of imagination

But I’d prefer to use another poetic device on this fat State Rail man

I’d like to take up this paperback volume of Bukowski which I have here

And swing it like Thor’s hammer and smash out most of his teeth

Knock him square in the mouth

With this chalk-turquoise book that looks like a churchy tablet of sky


Will Swan


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