nine ways through this party already love’s a mess
a young trans man, so goof, so god
dressed in brown and white
but otherwise like Robin Hood, drains his goblet
of chocolate cream and whisky, I take a breath
and least among equals
I offer to replenish it
he thanks me, I attempt to hold myself erect

he sees a door ajar that makes my leaning closer
but we’re interrupted by a rush upon the stairs
and up through the airy gallery
printed yesterday from light
a parade of swift abstractions
climbs to see the snow
that falls upon the wattle blossom
on mossy crags outside, we join them

and we’re at the upper reaches of a river
that winds through dark ravines
there’s music, and deep below
a galleon glides and on its deck
a soprano ballooned in sequinned green
belts out an aria from a baroque
mock opera about a peer who ploughed
agog, we climb across the slippery rock to hear:

‘lord babblebook ’nd lady rant
looked arfa ’emselfs orright
his wallet fairly waddled
her purse was fulla trash
we callt come ’ither, ’rinda
and in a pool a night
she came

so I don’t slip
I take off my cantos
and my socks
and clamber through projecting sounds
to grasp a branch to better see below
the vessel veers and the singer and her
chorus swing and sway accordingly and then they’re gone
it had been a queer song

too late for some to hear it
and much too
soon for others
but from its residue soft motes rose
and settled in the ears of newly minted acolytes
those shadows of the party who
had climbed this crag
and caught suggestions from the song

and effortlessly as a pillow weights a head
the ploughman’s lullaby blanks bodies
gentled by its magic and its means of chance
we want to dodge our weaving fates and splurge their aftermaths
but it’s too late clergy, too late squires, knights, kings, indigenes
here’s a monarch for our years
Clorinda, queen of shepherdesses and all their counterparts
queen of two folk, queer folk, cis as well

now how to attend her when we’re spread
round steep wet rocks and muddied in the head?
we dream of new worlds rolling through a maze
beneath which the gallery below evaporates, the party’s over
and Clorinda’s baby Chlorophyll assembles theories that might just fit our need
to breathe deep and green while dazed and not be wedged between
our history and what we care about because we cannot give a damn
we’ve evolved enough for now, it’s what comes next that terrifies

gongs ring and snouts still stir the trough
but now the stakes are higher
trinance spirals dimday profit spills
the cosmic ploughman veers the sky
we pay no heed he furrows through the earth
pocket extinctions extrapolate in curves
Clorinda/Robin we’ve only got today
help us get our arse together before we’re on our way

then calm we see a future, Maid Marian arrives
blown on hot winds, Sherwood’s leaves behind her
fly higher in the sky and crackling underfoot
fissures open up the forest floor, trees lean closer to the ground
soil microbes listen in, the din is deafening
it’s a new music that trumpets through the glade
that soprano and her entourage
have come to turn the page