Poem — Vincent O’Sullivan

Plane people

Do I need to tell you it was a good reading?
It was a great reading. One hundred and twenty
nearly, we’d hoped for eighty at the most!
We hadn’t met since the Venice conference,
how many years is that? Robert just back
from the Sligo residency and the Faber
contract (Jenny his partner knows the Faber
crowd); Donald whose Italian came in handy
with the Rome apartment, a chance to wind
up the sequence on his minor baroque
composer; myself (stewing a bit I admit
about the Swaneck prize, the corrupt
Coventry shits log‑rolling, which they’re good at).
But the reception after the reading, my God,
don’t tell me poetry doesn’t have its devotees!
Robert says Sligo’s no further than a phone
call, of course use his name. Donald
confided over a Fosters (straight from
the stubbie, was ever – très working class!),
yes, Donald says he knows there’s limited
mileage in bringing off another Galuppi,
and had I – seeing I’m between books –
had I thought of Tamil boat folk as the totally
Autre? Elemental and human, he said,
you could take it the eco‑direction, or the fag‑end
maybe of Pilgrim lit? They’re mostly
Christians. Or Darwinian sideshow
even, the kaput end of the line?
It was a great reading apart from my losing
Rob’s card with the Sligo number. (A vegan
and not on e‑mail, Jesus!) Still,
the Perth gig’s coming up in October.
He’ll read the same poems but that’s OK.
I’ll catch the number then.

Vincent O’Sullivan

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