Monday, September 06, 2004

banjos are playing in my heart and the essence of luck

banjos, who would have thought.
it's all due to a man by the name of Sufjan Stevens. and a new album called Seven Swans. it's a gorgeous piece of soft focused alt country new wave folk whatever. look for it.
i knew a man who liked to practice his banjo whenever he got drunk. he lived in a big party house, they would hold loud messy gatherings almost every weekend. but the only complaints they ever received were about X playing his banjo late at night.
i guess it didn't make them feel lucky.
that's a difference sometimes between comfort and discomfort.
i had to think a bit about luck recently as i was asked to write a poem for those sexy beasts at Going Down Swinging that somehow related to bingo. Yep, that's right, bingo. bingo gets a mention in my piece but essentially it's about falling in and out of luck.
here it is


I remember the way you walked around with a pocket full of Trivial Pursuit Cards.
You randomly challenged strangers on public transport to pick a category.
You told them there was a big prize at stake.
If they got the question wrong, you would press a lipstick kiss onto the card and give it to them as a consolation prize.
If they got the question right, you would press a lipstick kiss onto the card and give it to them shouting congratulations, you’ve won first prize!
Right or wrong, you just wanted them to feel lucky.
You wanted to find luck so tangible you could spread it like margarine over the stale bread of bad fortune. Not like the conditional luck of the rabbit’s foot; you told me often of the recurring nightmare of standing in a field of amputee bunnies. What’s so lucky about a bunny on crutches?
I remember you wearing a t-shirt with the letters LCUK printed on the front. You told me later luck was going out of fashion and you were trying to reverse the trend.
I remember choosing geography not because I was good at it but because at that exact moment the tram passed by an Atlas Rent-A-Car outlet and this seemed auspicious.
I remember the whole tram seemed to go silent as you read the question “What River is known as China’s Sorrow because of its flooding?”
I remember a chinese restaurant for dinner, me being accidentally jabbed in the forehead with a chopstick by a fellow diner and having the waitress rush over and tell me I must buy a powerball ticket that night as it was extremely lucky and you shouting yes, yes! and laughing and throwing chopsticks across the table like miniature javelins.
I remember the Bingo machine bought on Victoria St from a Vietnamese two dollar shop called The Machine of Lucky Shaking.
I remember you dragging me along to a Bingo Club and me discovering you not checking off your numbers but just staring around the room wide eyed with anticipation, feverishly trying to guess who the next winner would be.
I remember you leaning over my shoulder while I’m on the Google page and whispering you should always push the ‘I’m feeling lucky’ button.
I remember the first time I ever saw you and sadness in the same room. You leaning against the rain streaked window, air drumming to The Carpenters. Hanging around, nothing to do but frown.
I remember you explaining that luck didn’t exist and that your LCUK t-shirt revealed that luck was simply an attitude, a way of thinking available to everybody.
Then I remember five minutes later watching you log on to a A Leprechaun web cam, showing live footage from a camera planted within the trunk of a 600 year old Irish Oak tree overlooking a field where Leprechaun’s are rumoured to cavort. You checked the cam once a day, just in case.
And I remember back then, on a tram thinking, what the fuck do I know about Chinese rivers?
I remember coming up with one river I vaguely knew of, but I didn’t know how to pronounce it and didn’t want to seem like a dick so I didn’t try.
I remember a guy at the back of the tram pulling a Coldplay CD from his backpack and thrusting it up, suggesting some kind of clue.
Cold River?
Chris Martin River?

I remember the nights were cool

I can still see the water pool
And I remember the girl that I knew
From Yellow River.

The trivial pursuit card pressed into my hand. Warm and crumpled, the lipstick smudge across my lifeline. The palm reader refusing a reading, until I washed it.
I remember, feeling lucky.


David Prater said...

awwwww ...

sqoggle said...

I love this :)
aww...a bunny on crutches

Stix said...

Possibly the greatest thing I've ever read.

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