Michael J Leach – Ode to Old Clothes

Michael J Leach LEP&W V3 Dec 2022

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Three December 2022.

Ode to Old Clothes, poems by Michael J. Leach

Ode to Old Clothes

Whilst going deeper
into my wardrobe
than I’d bothered to go
in numerous blood moons,
I rediscovered

an old grey tee
emblazoned with the lined face
of a bearded, beanie-wearing Bill Murray
paying playful homage to Jacques Cousteau
in his role as Steve Zissou
from The Life Aquatic
with Steve Zissou.

I held that tee up to the dull lightbulb
and pointlessly wondered

what celebrities
like Bill Murray do
with all their old clothes:
feed them to exotic moths,
donate them to up-market op-shops,
hand them down to family, friends or fans,
loan them out for extreme ironing competitions,
seal them away in a special bag or box until such times

as they’re precious enough
for auction, exhibition
or just remaining undiscovered.

I stroked my beard
then slipped the shirt on.

A Range of Failure Rates

Whilst there are certain
experimental or philosophical instances
where failure is ultimately fruitful,
this is most certainly
not always true.

In particular,
I’m thinking of the failure
of structures in quakes & fires
of staple crops in droughts & floods
of a hot water service in midwinter
of a postal service in a pandemic
of a politician to fulfil promises
of numerical estimations & projections
of the capstone unit in a uni degree
of car brakes in a car race
of both engines in an aeroplane
of peace talks in hostile conflicts
of negotiations in hostage situations
of the firewall round a company’s cloud
of an old laptop that’s not backed up
of an air conditioner in midsummer
of human & nonhuman organs
of words to offer sufficient solace.
I’m thinking of these failures
in particular.

Whilst there are certain
experimental or philosophical instances
where failure is ultimately fruitful,
this is most certainly
not always true.


sparkling      photons—
her      expressive      face,      gold top
&     star-studded       leggings

© Michael J. Leach

Michael J. Leach (@m_jleach) is an Australian poet, reviewer, and academic who works at the Monash University School of Rural Health. Michael’s poems have appeared in journals such as Cordite and Live Encounters, anthologies such as Lockdown Poetry: The Covid Long Haul (edited by Rose Lucas, Liquid Amber Press, 2021), exhibitions such as the Antarctic Poetry Exhibition (2019), and two poetry collections: Chronicity (Melbourne Poets Union, 2020) and Natural Philosophies (Recent Work Press, 2022). Michael won the UniSA Mental Health and Wellbeing Poetry Competition (2015), received a commendation in the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine (2021), appeared on the longlist for the Poetry d’Amour Love Poetry Contest (2022), and jointly won the poetry category of the Minds Shine Bright Confidence Writing Competition (2022). He lives on unceded Dja Dja Wurrung Country and acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land.

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