Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 17 • Spring 2006 • Poetry

Karaoke (Yangtze)

Terry Jaensch


He's a tall streak of piss, ang moh sounding the bar's name
over, tossing it like gum from wall to wet wall. His mouth
the perfect O of a choirboy's as he realises the posters over
the yellow neon signage are for soft porn. He almost forgets

himself, his pallor, about singing, turns somewhat vacantly
in my direction. The lens of my eye views him -- smeared in
vaseline: shirt off, top button of his jeans popped revealing
a tuft of hair -- a lick of black paint -- against the white wall

of an otherwise nondescript room. We engage and disengage,
engage and disengage, never becoming erect, or decisive:
simulating the wilted foliage of a potted plant, the relinquished
weave of a high backed cane chair, the paucity of the score.

Minimalists: he hums a few bars of indifference, I steel myself
for the lights -- the next set-up -- blaming a lack of passion on
direction. We did not come here to fuck ourselves -- literally.
Chinatown prepares for the new-year, roosters line the streets.

Terry Jaensch is a an Australian poet based in Melbourne. His first book of poetry, Buoy, was highly commended in the Anne Elder Award by the Fellowship of Australian Writers. He has worked as a writer-in-community, artist-in-residence and artistic director of the 2005 Melbourne Emerging Writers' Festival. In May 2004 he was the recipient of an Asialink residency in Singapore where he collaborated, with Singaporean poet Cyril Wong, on a volume of poetry that referenced the lives of Castrati opera singers.

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