Jane Frank – The Fruit Bowl

Frank LE P&W April 2023

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing April 2023

The Fruit Bowl, poems by Jane Frank

The Fruit Bowl

On this bleak autumn day, I wish I could see other things
the way I view
this fruit bowl, each piece gleaming & looming towards me,
the undulating scenery
of the garden only a decorative botany of time behind it.
Grapes, lemons & plums are rondelles
jostling for attention—overlapping images moving in a
circle: one truth—one hope— a lie.
Lines & shadows radiate like childish sunbeams in a web
to the door

At the antiques centre, a customer with Spanish pink
cropped hair & kitten
heels is buying a bundle of ties to cut up & turn into cuff-
links & brooches.
The earnest retro patterns & colours swim towards me
in turn & I try not
to imagine the sound of scissors to their silk throats. After
she goes, I hold
a rejected russet one with a diamond print, wonder about
the rupture

of repurposing— mainly, of hearts— because it feels like
the windows
of my world are closing, the frisson of words & their
power to move
someone I love faded like a half-remembered song. I walk
among cast-off jukeboxes
& vintage Cartier scarves, vases, ink-pots & fountain pens,
the torn volumes
with stained pages in the old cinema on the hill remodeled
to hold the past.

At the Flower Farm

After the speeches, I walk into the distance
The trees here are a pale lemon-green—
foxed leaves—and far off the flowers shimmer
and float, an inland sea with shifting
banks of amber and pink.
Closer, the waves define, become snap dragons,
Queen Anne’s lace, foxgloves.
I sip champagne in a pale mist,
soon to be rain.
When my son was eight, he said heaven
is a place where triceratops turtles
swim in a sky of twinkling fish
but perhaps this is it?
He is on my mind—it has been a difficult week—
but the flowers soothe.
Clouds are thoughts without words
to tie them down—
they surround the field
as if all time is joining up.
Dinosaurs lived in a world without flowers.

Paul Klee: Life Coach

after Vogelkomödie (Bird Comedy)

I am pasting hieroglyph birds to my favourite tree
like you said. My goals are clearer. The leaves are
glowing like a vision now. Like coral. I am placing
arrows to remind me of the child buried deep. The
birds flew out of the cage this morning when the
sun came up and I followed. All day, they have been
laughing: at palms, at windows and now at the dark.
How can I make these years meaningful? The best
way is to add stars and butterfly wings, sails and
steeples. That’s what you do. Don’t identify obstacles:
avoid them. Good advice. Birds don’t have to be
brave to fly. Watch them. The air catches their
imagination. They ignore trends and insults, migrate
to beautiful places where the trees are rose-coloured.
Have a new set of birds for every day, you say.
Keep smiling. Don’t ever stop painting the birds.

In This Room

The air is this room is disconnected
from time it is impossible for dreams
to shatter or for the weather to break
a pattern of midday sun through
staghorn fronds is painted on the panes
of glass, each one the same the teacup
remains full poems write themselves
unconcerned with wild exploding suns
beyond the clouds everything I know
of you floats in the air of this room
bouncing softly off spines and pages
sentences curling around my neck,
my face I think of souls, tidal waves,
tendrils of apple skin, lips, meteors,
the way bubbles slow motion swim
in champagne but not in relation to
history seconds, minutes, years cuff
each other with almost still fists the
paintings invite me inside their frames
crisp mysteries of night are membrane
close but stored somewhere cold not
here I know too that the seams of me
show but they did before I sat down
in this room and stayed for hours

© Jane Frank

Dr Jane Frank is a poet, academic, researcher and editor based in Brisbane. Her latest chapbook is Wide River (Calanthe Press, 2020) where she draws on the surreal in the everyday, her interest in art history, the landscapes of childhood and time spent by the sea. Calanthe Press will publish a full collection of her work in May 2023. Jane’s poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Ink, Sweat and Tears, StylusLit, Meniscus, Hecate, ARC Magazine and Heroines: An Anthology of Short Fiction and Poetry, vol 4 (Neo Perennial Press, 2022).

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