When in California

I target the car-park rooftop,
a jeweller’s tray at this
distance. Talkback radio,
slightly off the station, burrs the edge
of thought. A man’s voice, sure, resonant,
complaining that the homeless
don’t pay property tax: manifestly
unfair in the orange Koolaid sun
sticky on the duco where
it spilled. I remember spills:
the dead cat’s bright guts,
the fantail eggs, only the best wine.

Manifestly what spills
onto the target is sight.
Superficial as a skin-job,
sun-job, a glance bends away
from one facet. Less of a skid
than a ricochet, a voice
bouncing between static and certainty,
it drills nothing. Manifestly
it remains free, unlike the call
of the fantail buried forever
in my brain. Freedom to spill
light and laugh at the splash-
back: that is what makes gods
out of Californians: that,
location and the radio.

Other poems by Tim Thorne

Jonathan Burke McHugo Comes to Town
Pentecostal Chillout
Bronte Country

An interview with Tim Thorne

A conversation with Tim Thorne (2007)

Reviews of Tim Thorne's poetry

Taking Queen Victoria to Inveresk (1997)
Best Bitter (2003)
I Con (2009)