THICK, BROWN POEMS #15 (Featuring bonus- Themes and Inspiration)

Gary’s lament. 

The cricket ball jumped up rudely

And struck Gary’s left nut.

The flat, heavy sound

was enough To hurt your guts.

Dry grass stuck

to the sweat on Gary’s head

‘Help him up for Christ’s sake’

Our PE teacher said.

Was that laughter on his face?

The sky burned through Unforgiving blue

And the landscape blurred Like a drunks whistle.

Gary croaked with pain

And some crows joined in,

As they wrestled half a lamington

Free from the bin.

The teacher patted red dust of Gary’s back

‘Blah, blah, blah blue balls’

And a reaping of crickets Answered a call.

A throb in the key

Of an agonizing estival.


‘Gary’s Lament’ is my attempt to recreate a moment of physical pain amid an enduring age of emotional pain. The victim in this poem suffers a blow to his testicles and his ego, both rather fresh components to a fourteen year old. Growing up I can remember how P.E class was often an exclusive experience for students, separated the physically gifted from the awkward, the tigers from the lamas.

The backdrop to this poem resonates heat and discomfort, indeed comfort cannot even be found in supervisory adult. All the poems implements serve the purpose of conveying an unforgiving rural Australian school in the midst of summer with no relief. Historically, this poem arrives as a memory I had of the school sports curriculum, my P.E teacher and a convergence of pain and humor that teenagers mould together.

Initially Gary’s lament reads as a humorous rhyme, I use inarticulate language in describing a ‘left nut’, ‘your guts’ and the teachers irreverence to communicate an Australian setting, the blunt address to the action of landing a cricket ball in the testicles. The most relevant words that communicate the poems theme are the ones that appear specious such as the ‘blue’ sky, often a sign of hope or clarity, whereas as it is written Gary’s Lament communicates an expanse of country, heat, a certain confinement to an infinity and in the further application (blah, blah, blah, blue balls) to recycle the colours affiliation with pain.The misuse of the term (as it customarily refers to a lack of sex or sexual restraint) is an intentional blunder, a way of communicating an adolescent ignorance of sexual appellation. Likewise the ‘red dust’ on Gary’s back implies an earthbound hardness, a primary color contrast to the sky, yet correlating with the savageness of the environment.

 I feel that the colours in this poem are a way of painting my picture with words. I had studied an image of Sidney Nolan’s painting ‘Inland Township’ on my computer as my girlfriend is currently photographing some of his work. Her absence and my loneliness inspired certain elements of the poem theme. She (C***) is from a coastal town (P*******) and before she left we took a trip to visit her family.The dry and arid landscape in Gary’s Lament contradicts the climate and environment in her hometown and by placing the poems subject (Gary) in this unforgiving place, accentuating a pain that in my reality translates a sexual pain of physical and emotional discomfort; I found a place in literature to put my angst. So Gary’s Lament could also be considered a poem that conveys a displaced sexual frustration, concealed in the images of adolescent anxiety and discomfort. I felt Gary’s pain both physically and emotionally in order to wrote this poem. Physically from memory, a tangible masculine pain, concentrated by the harshness of environment and company. The psychological pain is the central theme of the poem and is something I wanted to communicate as manifesting within the surroundings. The black crows scavenging from the bin, the stillness of the heat broken by the audience of crickets represent sexual paranoia that manifests from the temporary separation of a lover.


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