Phoebe blogs fruit, roads and writers
Will and I run down and up the sand dunes, gaining momentum, laughing. And I feel like for a moment I know what it would have been like to be a child with him. In another world he could have been my brother or friend. The Mildura desert spread out before us. The wind flaps the edges of torn off cardboard and my hair. I am reminded of what Anthony Lawrence said in his talk, about how the constants in his work are landscape and weather. The sand has wrapped around and engulfed the trunk of a giant Mallee tree. We climb in its limbs. Anthony Lawrence said poetry was about finding something extraordinary in the common place, I feel like we have done that. But what strikes me most about the poets at the festival is that they are cloaked right now, in this glow, like a sequined cape of celebrity; but when they peel it back they are black inside. Lawrence also said his default soundtrack was melancholy, and that reminds me so much of the poets I know, and the poets I see before me. These are multifaceted people. We are seeing them at their best. On the drive back we pull over and Will steals some oranges from a tree by the side of the road. Mildura is famous for oranges.
We play pool under the Jim Beam posters on the wall, on the beer stained carpet, pints in hands, at the Sandbar. Lewi leans over, his eye to the table, hits the purple ball into the left hand side pocket. I groan. On the TV above us a football game from the eighties finishes. Men in small shorts jump together, slapping each other on the back.
“Did you see Sharon Olds?” Says Lewi, taking a large gulp of beer.
“I saw her,” I replied. I had been leaning over a table, fondling one of her books of poems, when I glanced over my shoulder and saw Sharon Olds looking at something next to me. I had, in a purely surprised manner, gasped out loud. I wasn't sure if she’d heard me, but I shot a look at the lady selling the books – it was un-returned, no doubt she was also in awe of the small grey lady before us. I had never been so close to someone so beautiful, you can feel her aura- or maybe, I thought, I’m too romantic for this world.
“I loved her poem, the one she read at the end,” I said. “Is Brian okay?”
“Yeah he’s really nice,” replied Lewi.