Icehouse – Sarah-Jane Norman

a google search yields no images:
just the random upchuck
of search engines which
both surpasses and disturbs
what might have once been called
Collective Memory.
Although you may try,
it won’t come your way
again. You heard some
time back, that the roof had
collapsed, taking out some
teen figure skaters, and you wonder
if the woolworths that now occupies
that space by the lake is haunted
by the olfactory drift
of glitter hairspray
and sweat.
this was pretty much the limit of your experience
of Sydney in the late 80’s: sponge-mats
under blade, the green tin roof and blonde brick
supporting walls, nasty boys, lolly bags
palmed discreetly like hard drugs,
something close to someone else’s
idea of a nostalgia trip
changing and emerging, incongruously
into the she-oaks-and-chicken-shops
of the northern beaches.
Little girls hurt, sometimes: where will you
run to, when your purple snap-crotch
leotard has outgrown you, sitting
in the passenger seat  at the KFC drive-thru
after training?
savage grooves cut
by hockey skates, ankle-breakers,
that hot kiss of blood knee,
nylon stocking, ice
you never knew really, how deep its
violent opacity went: it could have
only been a few inches; what hidden
mechanisms kept
the whole terrain so frozen?
and in between each session,
that sinister machine
would roll out to steam-polish the surface
of your injuries, injustices.
from watching it you might derive a
sense of pleasure, and,
inexorably, of loss:
the way certain lyrics
embedded in a revivalist
remix fire up the muscles
of longing
there will come a time
when you will find yourself
somewhere in the breached vitrine
of the outer suburbs of a former East-Berlin,
where memory is another science entirely
and winter sports have actual currency
and rinks are rough, like skate parks:
and it will still be Iva Davies on the stereo
but you will find that adulthood
has cruelly re-distributed your weight
and the stakes suddenly seem
so very high. and there is fear, fear.
there will come a time
when you will have to do
daily mat-work to keep
those hip-flexors open and you will wish
you had better studied the instructor’s vivid blue
texta code of dots-dashes-circles
on the ice, the written shorthand
for a triple axle;
had you only known then that human flight
is not about magic, but physics.