Creatrix 8 Poetry

March 2010

Selectors/Editors: Peter Jeffery and Veronica Lake
Administration: Sally Clarke

Contributors:

Jan Napier

Packing Boxes

Marilyn Dorothea King

Spot The Type

Flora Smith

Shiva’s Consort Speaks

David Barnes

Witness

Colleen O’Grady

Cecilia Thompson

Molly Tinsley

Archipelago Dreaming

Sue Clennell

Sailor’s return

Susan Hawthorne

Medusa
the question of language

Derek Fenton

An Unexpected Nudge
Growing Old in Lima, Peru

Paula Jones

He Said She Said
No-one Told Me

Sally Clarke

tai chi in the park
Angels—A Haibun

Rona J Okely

A Long Day

Ron Okely

Mr Wong  Mr Wong

Judy Paice

Fences

Meryl Manoy

Walking the Labyrinth

Rose van Son

Cockatoo

John McMullan

The Salaryman

Christopher Konrad

Crow
Meditation on Terra Nullius

Liana Joy Christensen

It Will Appear
Invisibility has its consolations

Kevin Gillam

the golden mean
accidental warmth

John Bird

Glory

Peter Rondel

In an orchard

Max Merckenschlager

Bangkok Floating Market

Terry Farrell

An Ideal Palace

Geoff Stevens

Love Is Another Country
Sunset Strip

Elio Novello

Sentinels of the Street

Coral Carter

after
Red and Gold Wedding Sheets

Mardi May

Coffee at Einsteins
Tree Song

Annie Otness

Topography
Spring Scene after Ta Fu

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Captivated
Despair

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Packing Boxes

I pack boxes
one holds my heart    another my pots
I pack away this place
this dragon conclusion    all fire and roar
I am seared    seasoned    burnt
by his expectations.

I pack my hurts    my hopes
click my tongue    slap the reins
upon the backs of Aurora’s horses
snort his salt and sweaty wants
from my gypsy life.

 

Jan Napier.
Previously published in The Mozzie.

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Spot The Type

There’s one. Skulking in the lane,
furtively feeding. And another.
Oh, there’s a group of them.
More in front of that store.
Spot them. Spot them.
A great place to find them
is on government building steps.
Beware !!!
Don’t dare go too close.
They are very, very dangerous.
Society has created a desperate new breed.
Exiled to the streets
whenever they need a cigarette.

 

Marilyn Dorothea King

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Shiva’s Consort Speaks

A calmness in this house;
history of jacarandas guarding green.
Our river gifts dolphins and heron,
rabble ducks, the comedy of spoonbills,
swans riding their serene reflections
and a kayak scattering diamonds at dawn.

I will not go on from here.
When you seek other lives, other theatre  –
as you must  –  I will not follow.
I have learned quiet anchorage here
among waterbirds, and sands whose shades
throw silver-mauve at change of light.
You will take up your costumes, try your chance
elsewhere: seek another staging for the dance.

 

Flora Smith

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Witness

Light, sunlight spits, splits
in disorderliness,
to the upsurge of the roof above.
Within
this cathedral enclave
scales glint…
rainbows, colour
glides
in sapphire waters;

This is the Kingdom,
and I float, suspended in Heaven,
cut off
from the world
of
golden, setting skies:

Such brilliance
enfolds,
captivates my soul
reef fish dance under my feet.
Circles of leadlight
gracefully encircle me,
filling my heart…

Spellbound,
I see within me my father’s father,
and his father,
and I.

I am the ocean,
calm before storm,
the reef,
Great Barrier Reef, dying,
building,
on bones of ages past,

cathedrals.

 

David Barnes

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Cecilia Thompson

A cockeyed bob!
A willy-willy!
The storm raged,
A real dilly.

Cecilia grabbed
Her baby girl
And fled mud hut
That was a-whirl.

Staggering, falling,
Clutching her child,
She forged her way
Into the weather wild.

Stumbling, bumping
In the storehouse gloom,
Where walls and rafters
Filled the room.

Devastation scene!
Morning brought
Piles of rubble
The wind had wrought.

Trunks burst open,
Contents gone
Down the paddock
And further on

Swollen river
All alone
Frank upriver,
Mud hut gone!

Mud-covered
Eton jacket,
White petticoat
White-ant had it.

A week later
Beautiful green
Devastation.
No longer seen.

 

Colleen O’Grady

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Archipelago Dreaming

Slow blue waves of sleep
Slap against this shore of dreams,
Mystery islands roll their shoulders to the sun
Brown and salt flecked
Drawing a sea haze around them
A gauzy shroud to shade them
From the fierce gaze of the sky.

Sea-beasts surface like bubbles in the current
Silver streaked and sleek,
Slipping through the foam
A breath, a gasp of sweet air and
down…
down…
Down into the briny depths
Among the coral trees
And flashing walls of twining fish
weaving and snapping.

These enchanted islands…
An unknowable archipelago of dreams
Rising from the sea of sleep –
A wash of quiddity, drifting to the shore,
Scattered with the tiny sparkling husks
Of the deep dead marine.

Coral fragments from another sphere
Shake the salty water out –
Hold them to your ear.

 

Molly Tinsley

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Sailor’s return

If you doubt the world is round
look at the sea,
that pearl in the water
when the sun shines on her.
Look at night when she
is Indian ink,
tempts you to dip your nib in
to the clunk of porcelain shell,
wipes away the ordinary
with a wave tipped eraser,
runs a woman’s stretched stocking
from one shore to another.
Just on the edge of consciousness,
I hear her call.

 

Sue Clennell
Previously published in Idiom 23

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Medusa

Medusa has snakes in her hair
she kills with a turn of her head
look at yourself in the mirror
is it your grandmother looking back?

some women abhor snake hair
preferring the fruity look
the pile of pineapple hair
that makes the tall so much taller

there are women who deny hair
depilating every last inch of the body
the smooth look with the rough feel
Delilah her very own Samson

keep your hair on is good advice
you don’t want the fairies fishing
with nets of your hair or magic cast
against you from the cuttings

 

Susan Hawthorne

 

the question of language

no one understands anyone else’s code any more
the metaphors have lost their power
intensity is all virtual
dis            placed             into             ether
language is under a temporary protection visa
protected            dis(em)powered            dis(em)bodied
the life wrung out of it

language boats are cast off  across oceans
most drown            most             (dis)appear
without trace                        under waves                        gone
into the great depths of oblivion
a few refugee codes make the crossing
but in crossing they lose too much
lose their souls to reality smugglers
the price of crossing is too high

our language            like an un  translatable cipher
has dis  sipated            dis  connected
words strewn across pages
in dis  order rumpled like the skirt
of a woman in a field she’s never seen before
like garbage in a dis  used car yard

the poets are grumbling
they no longer know how to gather the traces
how to follow the tracks across the trackless ocean
can no longer find the wheelmarks in the sand dunes
shifting overnight in that blast of wind
that can move mountains change the shape of worlds
in a grain             of sand

this woman this poet is mumbling
hoping that out of mumble might come lost words
lost places lost ways
she is sitting on a carved beach the wind in her face
the ocean flat as a mirror reflecting sky
and trailing wisps of cloud

behind her a world
un wanted un settled un minded
and she too is un
un done un made un ravelled in the sun
that glare that un relenting stare of others

 

Susan Hawthorne

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An Unexpected Nudge

Half way between New Zealand and Chile
Santiago bound, thirty thousand feet
above the Southern Pacific ocean
in a darkened claustrophobic cabin
dazed passengers, heads snapping forward,
fight discomfort, desperately trying to doze.

Clumsily, I remove earplugs and mask
and, looking left ,see two men writing poetry,
hunched forward, caressing notebooks with verse.
One seems to be in his late forties,
the other no more than twenty five.
Are they writing of a homeland missed
or do they write of lovers kissed?

I had not intended to write in the air
waiting instead for the muse to appear
at Neruda’s home or somewhere else where
another Chilean soul was laid bare.
I take out my notebook and begin to write.
The three of us scribbling in a tiny light,
trying to say what has already been said
by thousands of other poets long dead.

 

Derek Fenton

 

 

Growing Old in Lima, Peru

The Kennedy Park in Lima, Peru
surrounded by cafes and restaurants.

At a sidewalk table, an old man sits
nursing a pasta, coffee and Inca Cola.
He is dressed in his Sunday best, unshaven,
his lips and mouth pouting like a catfish.

Waiters in immaculate green jackets
treat him with deference and respect.

An hour later, pasta and coffee
both a third finished, Cola replenished,
he sits like an iguana, eyes blinking.

Across in the park, at an amphitheatre,
gyrating to Latin salsa music,
Peruvians, eyes ablaze with passion,
dance with restrained joy, while the audience,
young and old, applaud them with beaming smiles.
They too are old, but don’t shrink from the young
as their love and respect caresses them.

One younger man dances with his mother,
not quite as coordinated, limbs aching
to metamorphose into the modern,
but restrained by kindly social mores.

We spend an hour mesmerized, entranced,
reluctant to leave what we cannot be.

We pass the old man, only two thirds finished,
wondering what keeps him from the dancing.
Has he been crippled by ill health
Or is it too painful for him to watch?

 

Derek Fenton

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He Said She Said

He said–there’s always another bus coming around the corner.
She said–but it isn’t always heading to the same place.
He said–you’re always looking for a reason to be unhappy.
She said–the reasons come looking for me.
He said–you used to be quite pretty once-upon-a-time.
She said–there used to be many reasons to smile.
He said–women are flimsy is because they are raised on milk.
She said–men who are suckled on beer are made limp.
He said–I think the world is in sharp decline.
She said–what about the blurred edges?
He said–I feel like I’m standing at the edge.
She said–do you need a reason to fall?
He said–I’m tired of all this.
She said–I’m just tired.
He said–are you?
She said–am I?
He said–yes?
She said–no.

 

Paula Jones

 

No-one Told Me

No one told me love
was a curse, a poison,
a double-lipped sword.

No one told me a man
was limestone and granite,
ocean and shore.

No one told me about nights
thick as burnt caramel,
dark as plum wine.

No one told me a home
was a prison shell,
a heartweb, a ruin.

No one told me how to break
not shatter or crack
but chip, chip, chip.

No one told me a garden
will wither and waste,
nor the stone of a face.

And no one spoke of hollow,
gaping and raw, blacker
than the nothing at all.

 

Paula Jones

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tai chi in the park
spring

burgeoning the only word
every branch/twig sprouting
sunlight flickering palest green

the lake sparkles,
parent ducks bustle youngsters
oversee seamless transit

grass slope to water,
waddle to smooth paddle
while we practise ‘cloud hands’

i lean against the paperbark tree
skin-thin layers
fleshly comfort

 

Sally Clarke

Angels—A Haibun

Suspended from the kitchen window’s curtain rod, the lead-lighted clear glass angel adds a celestial air to washing-up, assists culinary excellence, caring, comforting. Christmas, I send angels, stars. Our Primary School teacher insisted we all have a Guardian Angel.

always there
angelic presence
protective

The following year, I resist simulated crystal (plastic) Gabriels in the Christmas shop; check the price, walk past several times, try to ignore frantic beckoning, give in; set him/her/it beside the olive-wood Nazareth crib to oversee six gold cherubs intoning lullabies for the baby.

cows chew cud
a donkey brays
hushed expectation

A pharmacy sale nets the gold, oval-framed angel, viol, airy curls, red gown, hanging on the dresser with the plastic cherub, reward for seasonal donation. The sassy crystal and gilt angel from New York finds a place on the bedroom mirror.

The latest one, though, has me bothered. Bought for someone else, but considered a mismatch, I am bound to keep her, prise her out of the box, try not to scatter protective plastic beads, find a suitable place, apart from the others.

can you have
too many angels?
noisy wings

The angel book poses questions, exposes good angels, evil angels, considers opposing forces. I fell and broke my arm for the second time, right there, in front of the plastic Gabriel. You can’t wonder at my need to wrestle.

Strict Miss Jenkins’ reassurance overcomes concern. I am saved from greater harm.

There will be no more angels, but I thank my Guardian Angel and the teacher who placed her on my shoulder.

australian sun
melts
northern snow

 

Sally Clarke

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A Long Day

The Kimberley sun lights up the sky
with slashes of red and gold
Beaming relentlessly on iron roof
of isolated small home

Sombre mood
Air thick with anxiety
Telegraph line humming
News not good

Down to the airstrip
Rushed read of last week’s newspapers
News bad

Wireless a magnet
Dials turned
Spluttering static
No ABC  No BBC  No news

Evening meal
Bombarded by night insects
Unspoken hope for
good news

Dial twiddling
Static
Marching music
Family strain to hear
A voice
We are at war with Britain
This is Radio Berlin”
The worst news

Stars sparkle in the sky
The Kimberley moon softens the
harsh landscape
filters through fly wire wall
Sleepless restless bodies on beds
Only one sleeps the untroubled sleep
of the very young

Seventy years on the paper reads

“…a battle of epic proportions which
encompassed the globe and left
60 million dead…”

All in the vain hope of world peace

 

Rona J Okely

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Mr Wong  Mr Wong

Half a century ago
Wong with his mother and brother
came in to Hedland town
He’d come to build a restaurant
in that hustling bustling place

Brick by brick it grew before our eyes
In the cool of a Hedland evening
after a sweltering Hedland day
sitting on the rail by the water cooler
he’d laugh and talk of his plans
What will you sell?
Flied lice  flied lice
The boys rolled on the deck laughing
and he laughed with them
You help me Inglees
I show you cooking

All cramped up behind the shop
in that hot house atmosphere
mother and brothers toiled and sweated
more than rice boiled over

Shop complete
Business brisk
A place for celebration to rival the Greasy Spoon
Three cheers for Mr Wong

A few short years later
Mr Wong a household name
in three sites in Perth city
Mr Wong  Mr Wong  Mr Wong
He was no frickin’ fool that Wong

Sitting last night in the pictures watching Bran Nu Dae
Ernie Dingoe’s circus rolled into old Hedland town
They parked the beat up combie
outside Wong’s old shop

I couldn’t help it my heart wanted to shout
Mr Wong    Mr Wong     Mr Wong
He was no frickin’ fool that Wong

 

Ron Okely

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Fences

They say stay out or go away.
Climb over if you dare.
To talk over if you care.
Fences say, this is mine and that is yours.

You have a garden and cats,
I have weeds and two dogs.
Don’t intrude. I am a private person.
Gaps say, have a peep.

Come sit under my fig tree,
it has shade and food to share.
Lets breathe the ocean air.
Gates are open, come on in.

Neighbours, shy and wary.
Title says, we only borrow two
metres of sand beneath.
At three metres we are connected by earth.
Subterranean fences don’t exist.

 

Judy Paice

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Walking the Labyrinth

A Villanelle

The labyrinth leads me round and round
its path not very wide
concentric circles on the ground.

Dead leaves, gumnuts and ants abound
a lizard scurries to hide
the labyrinth leads me round and round.

A parrot feather I have found
I brush the flies aside –
concentric circles on the ground.

Intently listening to bird sounds
I find a space inside
the labyrinth leads me round and round.

This space inside which I have found
is where I shall abide.
The labyrinth leads me round and round
concentric circles on the ground.

 

Meryl Manoy

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Cockatoo

You in pearl white
coverlet feather-down
yellow plume
sift grass between feet
fix afternoon shade
long for riverbank
or still conversation

You in bone white
wordless
sky matched
sharpen dust

scratch love
from last light

Salmon gum
mosaic white
captures plume
blows dawn

draws night

 

Rose van Son

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The Salaryman

Their ancestor
reputation is ferocious
the kamikaze menace
the piercing Bonsai scream

Their icons are distinctive
the Sumo, the Geisha
the Fuji and Zen
and slaughter of whales

Their life style is minimal
the sex motel
the house, the family
garden and art

They swarm to the station
to ride in a state
of sedated acceptance
of a subservient fate

Their uniform conforms
the shoes gleam black
the cuff-links expensive
the silk-tie matches the shirt

They work in a prison
one hour from home
with a chain gang of
men in their suits

With Samurai discipline
and impeccable manners
they collect information
for the salaryman team

Their loyalty is embedded
they are born in a country
of Kanji and clan
and animist lore

Their industrial war
is waged overseas
a rising sun goal
to conquer the world

The Shinto early life
and Buddhist hereafter
are ancient rituals
to honour the spirit

the bow of the head
the inscrutable face
the Salary Man’s ultimate guise

 

John McMullan

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Crow

Feathered black abyss, I look into you and
you, like all depths, absorb my eyes
I sink into your forever
no hope of return

Your round, unblinking gaze steers me
into pre-dawn times, back to your leathery ancestors and
I am at once aware of your raptor heritage and then
to your medieval beak, to great granite castles whose skies
you ruled: your feeding grounds were rich back then with
cadaver barbs, skewered to the ground by archer’s talons
disembowelled and cribbed by fleshed rib for your delight and
here today, still, in this ancient dream time
this desert has not known change for millennia
you go about your business because there is no
tomorrow nor yesterday: I have travelled only ten miles today while
you remain heir to the thin blue and these crystalline ranges

I dwell in limited skyscraper skylines as
you transmogrify all history
in your quills: I fall into your obsidian eye and
disappear because I cannot imagine anywhere else to be

 

Christopher Konrad

Meditation on Terra Nullius

Incessant claiming upon my ‘other’
country is the cloth from which I am cut
I too have spilt much salt
I plough the land while business men drink my wine
I furrow the landscape of my skin
invisible ink that it is. I try to be good
I try to harm – onize: to do no harm but
it seems I open my mouth and out comes a land slide
whole villages disappear under the dirt
Let me go, let me be myself as
I stake claim on my own Native Title
I’m not sure what that title is but bits of me
are scattered across this great divide
I’m scattered like a Southern Cross from
Bass Strait to the Arafura Sea
I’m a ripped native son: in crackling summers my feet
are scorched by cracked concrete
I touch Spinifex and pull away a handful of pain
I can only stand in stunned silence of respect for the real watchers of this land
I might be invisible but even I can see
history repeats like a train
everyone wants a piece of the pie, and I?
I try to locate myself and

that land is hard enough

Christopher Konrad

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It Will Appear

Indra’s net flings jewels
across the night sky
the silver and blue catch fire
so, too, the leap of affinity
in your eyes as you weave
nets of love to hold and heal
and then let go
into infinite indigo

 

Liana Joy Christensen

 

Invisibility has its consolations

You see, perhaps,
the folding of skin
You do not know
the rich and secret
dolls within
I’m every age I’ve ever been
while you are merely
young and thin

 

Liana Joy Christensen

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the golden mean

my father, eighty years ago, at the age of –
my guess – seven – was driven

with classmates in a bus on a
stifling hot February day to a Wagin salt lake,

marched to jetty end, and thrown in.
my father never talked about the ease of floating,

how their bodies formed spoons in the
spangled light, how tepid brine burned

at lips and scabbed knees, never told us
how a girl screamed when her foot found a sheep’s skull,

how three ducks watched from near the reeds, how the absence
of showers left them all with hair like dolls.

he did talk about the golden mean, ratio of weight to air,
that day, his first lesson in flight

 

Kevin Gillam

accidental warmth

can paint you only from behind—
memory is fickle
and we were best under new moons

can paint you in only one place—
by the river, sitting,
the sky intincted with bleakness
can paint you only tomorrow
when backlit with promise,
close brush strokes, accidental warmth

 

Kevin Gillam

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Glory

my oldest sister
never married

men came by the farm
hung about for a bit
then went their way
while her glory box
filled with pretty things

younger sisters married off-farm
but through those long hard times
she stayed
mum’s rock-of-gibraltar

she must have sunk
or dissolved like a sugar cube
else surely they’d have found her
floating in the dam
where she’d taught me
to swim

from her glory box
they cleaned out
every useable piece
of satin, linen and lace
those
she’d let me stroke
rub my cheek against
while she named
the one
for whom she’d added
each special thing

the box is stored in the shed
empty
except when I get in
to smell the perfume
stroke the lid’s
camphor quickness
remember that dress
and say the names
velvet   damask  organdy
for her

 

John Bird

An earlier version awarded second prize in the Cedarville Rainforest Literary Awards, 2003.

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In an orchard

I wandered through an orchard
Where the trees of wisdom grow
Bearing fruit of every kind
Though some I did not know

Wordsworth Keats and Gertrude Stein
Who everybody knows
Drew fame and admiration
From her circle of The Rose

The sweet the sour the mystical
The long forgotten fruit
Make way for new varieties
As each new tree takes root

This harvest grows forever
For the joy of all mankind
And the orchard will be waiting
With its gift of words to find

 

Peter Rondel

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Bangkok Floating Market

I noted
we boated,
engine deep-throated,
through channels oil-coated,
past vendors who quoted
in voices emoted
the wares which they toted
and dog, dead and bloated,
that bobbed,
as it floated.

 

Max Merckenschlager
Winner  2009 CJ Dennis Literary Awards, Auburn SA.

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An Ideal Palace

Walking his path by day
letters dropping in space
filling the distances travelled
thing’s that happen in the familiar,
in the solitary, odd things
which come from the forever more

Sleeping in barns at night
a lone figure, settles to rest
blankets himself with imaginings,
cushions his head with dreams
and dreams…..dreams of building
a magical palace, a particular castle

Castle…move rook next to king and king to other side of rook
a displaced world where king and servant
are interchangeable, roles for actors in a play.
so a common man dreamt a king’s dream

Walking his path by day
sleeping in barns at night
for ten more years letters dropping in space
stumbling blocks on  known paths ……
tripping us over, is ordinary.
Yet this day… bending down, looking upon the stone
gave him moment, with artist’s eyes he sees the profane no longer
a once roadside fragment now a treasured pocket thing
nature provides…he sees…he returns… he begins

To neighbours he is ‘harmless old fool’
with no knowledge of structure, trowel, or sculpture, yet
he wills power to wire, creates form,
entices wet cement and lime to hold,
presses stone, shell and fossil, forming skin
works all night for thirty three years of his single endeavour.

On his peasant land
castellation, giants and sphires rise.
Action, dedication and emotion entwine as organic form
poetry inscribed by chisel upon surface
an ideal palace appears before morning’s light.
singular roadside things spewed from a collective past
now pixels of dream made real, a wonder admired by all

 

Terry Farrell

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Love Is Another Country

Love is another country
is a dictatorship
prone to revolution.
Circumstances connive
to overthrow your infatuation
life intruding like a tax collector.
Che Guevaras, Mata Haris
infiltrate and undermine.
The ears of the world bug you
spies leak doubts into the public domain.
Joint rule doesn’t work
lovers want independence
loners want control.
Riots of emotion
spill into the streets.
The past is held hostage.
Couples are shot apart
sent into internal exile.
Ceasefires are held
truces debated
but skirmishes spark off again
turn into pitch battles.
It is a war zone
and there are casualties.

 

Geoff Stevens

 

Sunset Strip

The very same evening
that she heard she was losing her job
she shaved off her hair
stripped off her clothes
and stood stock still and naked
amongst the display women
the mannequin in their bald plastic
which for years she had dressed
and arranged in the illuminated window
of the city centre store.
No one noticed
they hurried past as usual
in clouds of speech
or alcohol
or self absorption
or indifference
to the bars
to the clubs
to the theatre
to the restaurant
to assignations various
dressed in their choice of evening wear
oblivious to the world.

 

Geoff Stevens

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Sentinels of the Street

The garbage bins in my street
stand to attention on Monday morning.
Dressed in uniform mission green,
out there on parade, in neat rows
– one metre from the kerb.

They stand perfectly still, straight back, proud posture.
Perhaps not as attractive as those Dalek compost bins,
(a sore point that causes some upset),
but resolute nevertheless,
in their resolve, to be sentinels of the street.

If garbage bins could talk,
what stories they could tell –
Who in the street, under cover-of-darkness stealth,
placed garbage in the neighbour’s bin the night before?
Who in the street is most wasteful?
Who puts batteries and household paint in their bin?
Who drinks too much alcohol?  (the clink of bottles dobs them in)
Whose household is into kinky things?

No matter what the weather,
the sentinels of the street
stand to attention.
Like worshippers at a Sunday service,
they await deliverance
to be lifted up on high –
exultation via the garbage truck.
A ‘Gloria in Excelsis’ for the week’s work is done.

But the jubilation quickly subsides.
The parade is dismissed.
The sentinels return to their usual post
with a deep emptiness inside.
Timely then for them
to resume their work again.
Garbage bins give shelter to what we reject.
They house what we disown.
No discrimination or complaint,
just simple acts of charity and love.

 

Elio Novello

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after

after
an
all
night
slow
dance
with
a
dead
cat
on
my
chesti
i
take
pain
as
my
new
best
friend
twist
the
knife
once
twist
the
knife
twice
twist
twist
and
once
more
makes
three

 

Coral Carter

Red and Gold Wedding Sheets

Through the thickness of night
we sleep side by side
in the red and gold wedding sheets from China.

When we bought them our interpreter, Tian, whose name means sky, told me about red. The luckiest of colours means fertility, happiness, harmony. I know it is for sex, war, blood. Red is for sex. I said. She stopped surprised eyed as if she had never heard of such a thing and flushed.

When we were at the museum, Tian, whose name means sky, told us the Chinese were more highly evolved as they had less hair and were therefore less apelike. We told her that all races have a common ancestor. Hair was a response to environment. She stopped surprised eyed as if she had never heard of such a thing and flushed.

When we were at the temple of the wild goose Tian, whose name means sky interpreted the story of a wild goose falling dead from the sky to indicate the spot where the temple was to be erected. She mused: It is written but how can this be true? Maybe it isn’t. I replied. She stopped surprised eyed as if she had never heard of such a thing and flushed.

In our red and gold wedding sheets from China
we are lucky happy harmonious
until we are savage with sex and war and blood.

Coral Carter

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Coffee at Einstein’s

a brilliant cappuccino
its brimming foam
rich chocolate-dusted
full-spooned like cream
and caffeine powered
a thinking man’s brew
of darkly roasted beans.

On the wall, the creased
and deeply worried
portrait of a genius
staking his reputation
on one fragrant cup.

He watches the relativity
of waitress and patron
measures infinitesimal
degrees of variation in his
formula for cappuccino.

 

Mardi May

 

Tree Song

If you press your ear
against the rough bark skin
you can hear the music
of a tree singing,
a background music
for the whispering
of breezy leaves.

The kiss of two boughs,
lips hungry for touch,
sends a spectrum of sound
vibrating through its limbs.

A siren’s song
that flows like sap
infusing every cell,
cadent as the call of
whales through water;
tones transcending memory,
a pre-birth liquid sound
through foetal ears.

This song of the tree
a dryad anthem
from another realm,
played on the wind,
the breath of a spirit
in every haunting note.

 

Mardi May

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Topography

Scripting the indescribable topography of a thirsty heart
A great red monolith
felt only with untouched hands
Heard in non-existent silence
In an imagined desert of the plains
and levels of unmetered time.

Out there, out back, outer space
And inner limits of a land
Afloat in ages on a wash of ocean and a turning world –

Lost in the vacuum of space beyond black
Beyond white

 

Annie Otness

 

Spring Scene after Ta Fu

The mountain still stands beside the broken empire on the riverside
The city lost beneath the dense forest and thick spring grass
Thoughts of past times make tears splash on the new flowers
Birds fly up startled, and the heart pains
For three months she saw the distant beacon fires
Not a thousand gold coins could buy news from home
Hair worried thin and gone white
She wears no more her silver hairpins.

 

Annie Otness

 

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Captivated

We danced between the pages of night and day
skipped across the stars and drank
the glow of the moon.

A warm breeze brushed your hair
while the setting sun twinkled your eyes.
Your smile, slashing letter opener
to my heart, rent to drape
hot blood across the sky.

Your mesmerizing exquisiteness
caught in a sanguine sunset
snared my breath, solidified my stare.

My heartbeat dribbled to insignificance
as I stood by your side, desperately trying
not to hold my breath. 

Gary Colombo De Piazzi 

Despair 

And soiled songs of defeat spill
onto her breakfast cereal.
Steal away her last tears
and wring her memories once more.

Segments of life swirl
amid the milk
pooled in her bowl.
Bob and submerge in
soggy endeavour.

Subdued sob breaks the silence
as her face creases
wrinkling into her hands.

Today is not a good day.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi 

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