Orson Glade

Solar tentacles penetrate the slit
between faded, wine stained curtains
and strike the twitching eyelids
of a man in no mood to wake.
Like a prize fighter hauling himself from the canvas,
Orson rises to battle his morning melancholy.
The milk has been a lethal sludge
since the museum offered to buy his fridge in 1999.
Binning it crossed his mind.
Since then, the colour changes have intrigued him
like the kaleidoscopic fire of Lightning Ridges finest.
Orson’s affection for his pulsing, dairy fattened, fungus
won’t wane until it escapes its plastic prison
and renders the contents of his fridge
as inedible as ricin soup.

It’s the coldest winter’s day in a century.
Orson’s hot water system
lurches from erratic, to comatose to dead.
He’s grateful for the sobering jet of icy water.
Without it, midday might’ve arrived
before he emerged from his woebegone, bleary eyed state.

Orson fastens his tool belt
and slides into boots he hasn’t worn
since Robert Menzies was Prime Minister.
A colony of slugs are busy
devouring the weeds sprouting from them.
He enjoys the sensation
of their spilt innards between his toes.

Orson leaps his back fence,
into a woodland remnant the size of a golf course.
A lifetime of filling his flora and fauna I.D reservoir
culminated in custodianship of this sacred place.
The parasitic world beyond his wilderness backyard
is a goblin who uses the lining of his stomach for a jumping castle.
Within his sanctuary,
the temptation to curl into the fetal position,
and wish he was roadkill, melts.

Orson applies his detective skills to the latest rubbish dump
to appear on sacred land.
At 3a.m, fragments from a statue of Christ
are mysteriously glued into place, at 95 Cherry Tree Avenue.
“The trees have eyes”
is scrawled across the concrete saviors chest.
One serial offender remains anonymous.
Bottles of home brew,
with a Wedge Tailed Eagle on the label,
are their detachable finger prints.
Orson has rummaged through every recycling bin,
within a mile radius, in his quest to unmask them.  

While cutting and painting Cassia, Orson breaks into song.
“Dastardly weed, Senna Pendula Glabrata,
for your life there is nothing you can barter,
your poisoned stump will never be honored,
like the burial site of this underclass martyr;
I admonish thee with every gnaw of my saw”

A sandstone boulder maze,
littered with the bones of inexperienced bushwalkers,
dominates the centre of the reserve.
Deep in its subterranean core,
likenesses of goannas and echidnas
older than The Sphinx remain untouched.
Orson has been stockpiling weapons and ammunition here,
since the Vietnam war.
‘I don’t like property developers’ is his code for
if the bulldozers come
they’ll be met with armor piercing bullets.

The day Orson reports his ammunition stolen,
fearing Al qaeda is the culprit,
is the beginning of his stint in Serenity House.
His shoelaces are confiscated.
He looks as forlorn as a migratory bird in an aviary,
as he peers through glass doors
at the woefully neglected garden.
In captivity the glazed over look comes naturally,
nobody suspects he’s flushing
his antipsychotic medication.

Lilly, the sanitation engineer,
is more therapeutic than any pharmaceutical cocktail.
Cleaning isn’t her job, it’s her vocation.
She sponges as frantically as an intersection windscreen washer
and sweeps with the intensity of an Olympic curler.
When time is as abundant as Endor’s forests,
the mop is her dance partner, the broom her bo staff
and the duster her magic wand.
Her hand held vacuum cleaner massages
have inspired tomes of poems.

Orson celebrates police seizures
of a white supremacist gangs weapon cache,
with hashish cookies stolen from the staff fridge.
The initials OG, engraved on the rifle butts,
were mistaken for a cave man reference.
The news his patch of pre European Australia
has been declared a National Park,
transforms his world from emotional waterboarding,
to the unfettered joy of a sheltered childhood.
By the time he’s released from Serenity House
he’s higher than a satellite.  

The pulsating fungus,
spawned from the remnants of ancient milk,
that enjoyed pride of place in Orson’s fridge,
is the first casualty of his newfound happiness.
Lily, the most flamboyant cleaner he’s ever met,
is in awe of Orson’s botanical knowledge,
and youthful physique.
She loves his craggy face
like a windswept rock, in an alpine forest,
Lily is the homecoming feast on Orson’s dining room table.
She does the splits as easily as he
can identify Mountain Devils in flower.
Once Orson’s most geyser like climax,
since Rita Hayworth was a pinup girl, subsides,
he notices the Wedge Tailed Eagle
on Lilly’s bottle of home brew.




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