Rob Wallis

Percy Haynes Has A Rare Win

1935

 

Dressed as a woman

because it made me

feel good about myself,

and anything for a lark,

I went window shopping

in Melbourne

then went to the pictures.

 

Oh the romance

of being Ginger Rogers

as the dashing Fred Astaire

swept me around the dance floor

in Top Hat.

 

Ever on the alert

two detectives followed me

home on the tram

and arrested me

at the gate

in front of the neighbours.

The judge, bless him,

threw the case out.

If a woman, he argued,

could wear jodhpurs,

he saw no reason

why a man

couldn’t wear a dress.

I could have kissed him.


A Policeman’s Report

1939

 

Usually we don’t know the person

whose done themself in,

but this one was different.

Turns out that this bloke

was Jack Dale, the famous

American singer and composer.

We found him dead

in a St. Kilda flat, a suicide note

next to the body.

To whom it may concern

it began, then he mentioned

the three people in his life

who mattered the most, who he’d lost

to death,

to marriage,

to his own unfaithfulness.

But no names, no pronouns.

Without these people, he said,

I have nothing to live for.

 

‘Truth’ had a field day.

70 Pound A Week Star Whistler’s

Queer Note Before End.

Readers knew what they meant.

 

BIO

Rob Wallis’s fifth collection, ‘Caught Jesting’, was published by Birdfish Books. His poems have appeared in various magazines and anthologies both in Australia and overseas. He has won the John Shaw Neilson Poetry Award and the W. B. Yeats Poetry Prize. He has been shortlisted twice for the Fish Publishing International Poetry Competition, Dublin, the Bridport Prize, UK, and the ACU Prize for Poetry.