School of Xerez Fino

Mirror balls, matches, condoms, sweat-raw limbs / Shedding shirts, shedding disco

A photo of the poet, John Barton, who is wearing a collared shirt and resting his chin in his hand. He is smiling at the camera and has a moustache and round glasses.
The Walrus

for J-F, January 1987

Toxic, the club where we met, rundown now
Rundown then, the johns sequined with beer, dim
Crush of moon-flesh dancing, the strobe’s freeze-frame

History painting a stock animation

Mirror balls, matches, condoms, sweat-raw limbs
Shedding shirts, shedding disco; shrill amyl
Nitrate; Doc Martens; plucked or pierced eyebrows
Ripped chinos zigzagging tans; shyness shunned

Sherry your cheeky decanted ploy to haul
Me home to fortify us both, pouring
Dryly from our clothes after scorching cold
Flamed our skin, run-from din making you bold
Air smokeless, one candle lit, till you wore

Me out and down, our legs dawn-slaked and sprawled.

John Barton
John Barton is the current Poet Laureate of Victoria. His new collection of poems, Lost Family: A Memoir, is forthcoming from Véhicule Press this fall.

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