Common Wealth
 
Warwick Capper comes
All the way from the state of Victoria,
 
He calls me mate
And hands me a football
 
Made from kangaroo.
He won’t say: crikey, shrimp, barbie, crocodile, knife, eight, Miscarriage.
 
            *
 
Warwick Capper tells me
Not to use real names in my poems
 
Anymore. Stop writing about Alexandria,
Beverly, Robin, Karla, Joni,

Miriam, Haesong, etc. 
Andrew Terhune has not appeared in my poems,

Warwick Capper tells me,
But Andrew Terhune would agree:
 
Lists and references to real people are not poems.
Warwick Capper repeats: Remember Truman Capote.
 
Warwick Capper says
Keep some semblance of the mystery.
 
He runs his fingers through his blond hair
And shows me how to bounce
 
The football. In his sort of sporting,
They punt the ball
 
Or they punch
The ball to each other,
 
Which is called a “hand ball.” He says punch it
To me. Hit hard
 
Like the ball is the face of the poet you know.

            *
 
I show Warwick Capper Wal-Mart
And we buy steaks. 
 
I point to all the shrimp and he says “crikey.”
Then we laugh
 
Because Warwick Capper signs
Someone’s child.
 
We laugh because the mother thinks
Warwick Capper is Vince Neal.
 
I ask Warwick Capper
How he can break narrative so easily. 
 
When we walked across the parking lot,
I told him,

I realized I can never break narrative.
Everything I say is a story.

Warwick Capper turns his back to the Electronics.
He says all he knows. 

            *
 
Warwick teaches me
That the catch is a called a mark.
 
I need my hands to be soft
He says. Imagine your mother
 
When your father held her face
For the first time.
 
I held the ball for a while
After I missed the mark.
 
I say everything but what needs to be said. 
Warwick Cappers says
 
That is fine, mate.
He won’t call her Shelia
 
When he teaches the red-head how to mark. 
He emphasizes hard hands,

Which press into her hands.
We are at the bar, by the way. 
 
He leaves her hands as burned as her hair.
That is anti-narrative, he says.

            *
 
Warwick Capper fills
A paper-bag with pit-bull shit.
 
He says it works better with koala shit
Because koalas are cuter than pit-bulls
 
And people sigh
Like they are in live, studio audiences
 
When they step in the shit
Of a koala. 
 
But people like pit-bulls, he admits.
Let’s start a fire. 
 
      *

You didn’t love her
Anyway, Warwick Capper says.
 
He buys me a camouflage sport jacket.
We are in Tulsa.
 
Now we are in St. Louis
And he lights the pit-bull shit. 
 
Let’s fuck with this poet, he says.
Let’s tell ourselves we have the capacity. 

________________________________________

Phil Estes lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where he curates Bumpkinitis, a reading series. His work has appeared in previous issues of inter|rupture, and his work is forthcoming in Abraham Lincoln, DIAGRAM, and others.