Togetherness Poem – The Middle

The Middle is a togetherness poem, a reflection on division and collaboration and a celebration of relationships, communication and the interdependence of all beings on earth.

The Middle – a Togetherness Poem

When flicking through property pages, 
I look for shacks or marble-floor mansions 
With 18-carat gold taps gushing 
1990 Château Lafite-Rothschild into 
Waterford crystal goblets. Median-priced houses 
Make me laugh 
Or cry 
Depending on the neighbour I’m juxtaposing.
Take John Henry’s chiselled cheekbones and 
Pitch them against Milly Millar’s legs, grab
Jesus’ hand with one hand and an elephant’s trunk 
With the other. Only sometimes, do we sleep
At the centre of the island, mostly at night
When birds lay their heads on feathery chests.
 
The icecaps are melting as
Black is getting blacker and
White is whiter
Every day,
And I cannot make it
Into the centre of the world not to mention
The bar in town where everyone wears
The emperor’s latest. Somehow, 
The bartender remembers their orders, mixing 
Brandy and ginger for her one minute and 
Dropping an olive into a Martini for you the next. 
 
I’ve seen the cocktail stirrer boring a hole in a glass, 
Right where the stem hoists the crystal bowl like a tulip. 
The glass sings when you circumnavigate the liquor 
Running your fingertip along the rim. Another circle, 
Another rotation, a swirling around a centre, warm bodies 
In the eye of round-the-table talks. Faded veneer drinking beer 
And I carve a bird into the wood, a seagull for 
Webbing the sea to the sky with its claws and beak. 
Hunger has it dive for sardines. The button of my coat slides 
Into the buckle of some woman's handbag strap, my drink spills 
Two smiles mid-floor and a flurry of hands with mops and buckets and 
Lemon-scented floor cleaner. At dawn, we stir sugar 
Into freshly brewed coffee

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Written by Anita Alig

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