Dark Falls by Railway Lines/
The Murderer’s Motif
How the souls cry out their battered endings
from this shallow dumping ground,
here where the train gasps going by,
the abandoned rooms licking their cracked sour paint.
The sandy track glimpsed looking up
from the page or lap top,
the endearing favourite song fluttering in scrubby messmate,
my decorative sentinels shedding skins.
So carefully placed and tended now,
a travelling case, glove, sweater, leaky shoe,
the pair left at home in mistake,
the two dollar umbrella bought especially.
Cured now of all sentient need,
this is how I haunt those lost in waiting,
with the feinted shadow that old mail left unopened
offers the respite of a returnee’s call.
I shimmy down the greasy pole of hope
into the baking sweaty wakeful nights,
the fire blanket of visitation suffocates any promise
that no news tantalises the kindling of a chance.
And into this terrarium of ordinary come exotic
is strained the pattern of vicarious makings,
for a scaffold of all the generous donations,
to craft the collection of what cannot be named.
My heart out of tune from this riff raff life,
sometimes sirens pass by other streets,
the arias of justice play to the audience of the comfortable.
Loaded up, all the mementos burned out of the vanity of possession,
leave only traces of material anonymity.
Gathered from their singularities my vacancies are filled,
one big breath on the overpass,
the express rushes to me.
- James Walton 2016
James Walton lives in the Strzelecki Mountains in South Gippsland, Australia. He has been published in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers, and many journals and anthologies. He has been short listed twice for the ACU national Literature Prize, is a double prize winner in the MPU International Poetry Prize, and Specially Commended in The Welsh Poetry Competition. His collection ‘The Leviathan’s Apprentice’ is available. He’s been a Librarian, bred Salers cattle, and was a public sector union official for many years.