Creatrix 12 Poetry

March 2011

Selectors: Anne Dyson and Sally Clarke
Managing Editor: Sally Clarke
WebMaster: Chris Arnold

Contributors:

Helen Oxnam

Afternoon Tea
Stranded

Paul Keetley

Creatrix

Jan Napier

Hot Flashes
Cans and Can’ts

David Barnes

For Daniel
In the Morning Air

Kate King

Ars Poetica
Jila

Derek Fenton

Like Livingstone
Serengeti Serenade

Geoff Stevens

Airline Fractures
In Memorium

Ron Okely

Clay Shoveller’s Shoulder

Paula Jones

A Single View
Girl @ the End of the House

Renee Pettitt-Schipp

One Track Mind
Drive

Cynthia Rowe

eco chic chick
strawberry thoughts

Sue Clennell

Chagall would approve
Mosman Perk Meditations

Meryl Manoy

Memories

Shey Marque

Poets of Prey

Kevin Gillam

when they fell
lingers

Rose van Son

Church, Orsans 1850
Last Night In Turin

Mardi May

Happy Birthday Beethoven
Extinction

Michael Burdett

Her life in a car

Sarah Leighton

Dive In

Mags Webster

When
Skins

Dean Meredith

The Letter

Natasha Adams

she’s designer

Colin Montfort

Reunions
To Have Been or Not to Have Been

Flora Smith

Because of Me

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

One After the Other
Her Sound in the Longs

Allan Padgett

A Thousand Wild Horses
Crow Girl

Liana Joy Christensen

Bandwidth
Fossil for Sale

Chris Arnold

Eleven
A landscape in monochrome


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Afternoon Tea

Pale eyes peer into quietness:
A balloon of sixty years tips softly between us,
swaying in the winds of an English Channel day.

“Would you like a muffin?”
He moves around the kitchen
rattles a blue Wedgewood cup
on the towel his wife had laid by the kettle.

A jam jar of jonquils scents the room
with spring. I feed crumbs to the dog,
stroke the cat in the couch’s cleft.

1916, four thousand feet up
he threw his Sopworth Camel into a loop.
Engine cut, he dropped
past death, smashing fusilage in a British field.
He feared he’d be drummed from the regiment.

Today, unconcerned, he makes more tea.
Later, slowly, he will walk to the library
in his grey suit and Akubra hat.

The dog attends his feet and the limpid cat stretches
on the couch. I am lulled on the edges of his world,
lifting in the gusts of an English Channel Day.

Helen Oxnam

Stranded

This was the place where I snorkelled and surfed
Tumbled, sometimes even bled
as the ocean pulsed over the mollusced reef
those burning days of my childhood’s summer.

Red-eyed, I burbled over rock pools and shoals,
poked anemones, to feel their sticky fingers
grasp mine. Today, I follow the markings
of dogs, children, lovers to the sourness of a beach
tapering to nothing.

My new life is forming but is not yet here;
I am like the pools hung with weeds ripped
from underwater banks, flung to rest beyond the rim.
Dead adders, they brown the waters at my feet.

Salt and the smell of decay mask
the currents which run far out at sea.
I am a space between the heart-beat of this grey day
and the tides of the passionate, storm-bound winter.

Helen Oxnam

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Creatrix

When God first thought to Paint
upon His firmament a Play
The first idea He needed then
for Leela was The Day

Then God did Think ‘I’ll make a Stage,
these Acts to place somewhere,
It shall have great length and breadth,
Infinity house there ~ ’

Into this Void then He did loose
His Spark, Adi Shakti ~
and She came forth in Light and Love
Creatrix ~ Mataji.

Through Time and Space with Energy
She then began to dance
to create multiplicity
for His joy to enhance

And so it was that we were made
and in His Image too,
She gave us of That Spark from Him ~
and this is how we Grew.

Paul Keetley

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Hot Flashes

Summer is:
Winter’s wrecking ball
toffee suck sunsets
Etna neighbours
mango nights
tinskin seas
beer and crab backyards
goldfish boys baiting girls.

Summer is:
ash and numb
tomato chutney
slideshow tattoos
mulberry fingers
spruiker’s spiel
scoops of moon on hot tongues
Horse Latitudes.

Jan Napier

Cans and Can’ts

I can’t ride a bike.
My handlebars swish vicious,
wheels wobble and there I am again,
bleeding on the gravel.
I can’t grow tomatoes, shoot possums,
find North without a compass,
or even stop my syntax from slipping
into dialect after a few glasses of Sancerre.
I can’t shoot the tube at Lefthanders.
Crouched on the Malibu at tidemark
I look pretty gnarly    until incoming
wavelets tip me into the sand.
I can’t bake soufflés, do long division,
angle park in an empty street, or even read
a roadmap properly unless I turn the page
up the wrong way.
But I can spike ocky on a hook, carve jack o’lanterns,
pickle cucumbers,     sew sequins on dance costumes,
put up with my mother-in-law, and speak Cyrillic.
I can pant up the trail to Machu Pichu,
smash plates in Greek cafes, play better guitar than Clapton,
and I’m dynamite on a pogo stick.

Jan Napier

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For Daniel

If the door should ever abruptly close
between us;

do not grieve at my passing.

Rejoice,
in having known me.

Let go.

In you
I am well rewarded.

So do not fear the coming,
or where I go:

Companions,
who I have loved- still love

Tell them my song.

David Barnes

In the morning air

In secure formation
Pelicans flap above the green
South Perth foreshore:

wing to the calmness
of the river Swan;
forge head to tail through
the hazy sky.

They turn in the rich morning mist
above placid water
making their long low glide.

Feet unfurl—
peeling the luminous surface;
in the chill currents
quiet waters give back cracked
reflections.

David Barnes

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Ars poetica

While within the moment
the poet stands without,
observes self and world
with slow caressing eyes
captures their very essence.
Like a lightning flash
from heaven to earth
a poem bridges present and eternal,
makes the familiar strange
shatters the shield of time with words.
The poet twists the kaleidoscope of life,
lets the colours fall against the light
translates the instant into verse.

Speak
Speak up I want to hear you
Speak of what matters
__________ What comforts you
__________ And what helps you through the night.
Speak of your youth
__________ When love abounded
__________ When luck was limitless
__________ And the world flamed fresh around you.
Speak of your heart
__________ The boys that came and went
__________ The men you loved and lost
__________ And how you came to be alone
__________ At this end of your life.
Speak of your soul
__________ The deepest lode of self
__________ The truths that guided you
__________ What you cared about
__________ What you passed without a glance
Speak out, your wisdom matters
__________ To us who are left behind
__________ To us who must make our way
Through this maze we call life.

Kate King

Jila

Place

In this place
We are made and remade
With the rising of each day’s sun.
In this place
Our past, the present and all our futures
Come together.
All times and every time alive and now.
In this place our people dwell,
We tell our stories,
Celebrate our being
By these springs.
This body of living water
Spawning the chattering parrots
The oceans of grass, the skimmers and the flies
The sand on the wind, the ochre ridges
The fathers and the daughters
The eternal teem of life.
This place
Luminous with our knowing.

Time

This place
Alive with our stories:
Stories made and told
Around this water, this fire, this table.
Here in this place
Seed met seed and children grew,
Trees were planted, tomatoes picked
Beds were made and dinners baked.
On that rock you cracked your tooth,
In that corner sister read her books,
Near that window I heard the news
Of father’s fatal ride.
The voices and the hammers echo still.

In this place
Our people dwell
And the stories live on.
We create this place and ourselves,
Within each story.
In our singing and our dancing,
In our making and our telling,
This place is made.

Kate King

To the Western Desert People the word Jila encompasses the permanent springs in the Great Sandy Desert, the ancestral creative beings who dwell there and the stories told in and of the places. They tell stories of a past defined by place, while kartiya, white people, tell stories framed by time. This poem was sparked by a painting of a jila called Kiriwirri by Jan Billycan, exhibited in the National Museum of Australia’s exhibition Yiwarra Kuju, the Canning stock route. Even though I am a kartiya, I find that certain places, especially my home and the country I grew up in, are alive with story. The important distinction is that I tell those stories in the past tense while for Aboriginal people story is always in the present. However, white or black, we all create ourselves with the stories we tell.

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Like Livingstone*…

I take everything but my heart
every time I leave Africa.
People ask me why I don’t start
accepting my new home as part
of a newer lifetime’s chart,
but I cannot even bicker…
for I take everything but my heart
whenever I leave Africa!

Derek Fenton

*David Livingstone, whose heart was removed before his body was returned to England. His bearers buried it in the Africa he loved.

Serengeti Serenade

God may, or may not, be in His heaven,
_  but everything is most certainly well.
We’ve just seen a herd of Thompson’s Gazelle;
Maybe as many as six or seven
thousand, all preceded by the big five:
_  lolloping lion and hissing hippo
leopard, buffalo, redoubtable rhino
and more; making us glad to be alive.

Here, so close to where our ancestors walked
_  out of Africa from near Oldavai*
_  having dropped from the trees, using their thumb
to hitch a ride to progress, past roads forked,
away from this garden of eden to fly
who knows where….praise how far we have come!!

Derek Fenton

* Oldavai Gorge, Tanzania: Where fossils of early primitive men were found.

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Airline Fractures

feeding on blue
they eat in the night
leaving their slime trails
to criss-cross the sky
and although it would be cruel
to step out of bed
and put salt on their tails
I cannot ignore their intrusion
into my nightmares

Geoff Stevens

In Memorium

The sky is a vertical dove-grey slate
standing in a stonemason’s slurry
as waves pile up in hard-edged flakes
at its feet.

No one knows as yet
who’s name will appear upon it
on this fogged day dedicated to disaster
at sea.

The wind chisels in waiting for the word
its cold steel sharpened
its hammer
at the ready

as potential victims
jaundiced in oilskin fear
cling precariously to the quarrying wall
of a rampant sea
in all its blind fury.

Geoff Stevens

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Clay Shoveller’s Shoulder

So we are driving on the bridge
over the diversion channel at Myalup
on the Old Coast Road

And I’m thinking
_________ of all the shoulders
_________ that were jerked out of joint
_________ when the clay stuck to the shovel
_________ as they dug that channel
_________ by hand in the thirties

And I’m thinking
_________ of two thousand odd under canvas
_________ and shovels and barrows and two days work a week
_________ and women and children in tents
_________ and open air dunnies
_________ and shared apple cores at the Harvey School

And I’m thinking
_________ of young Doc Jacobs, Harvey GP
_________ visiting the camp
treating the injuries
being there when  babies were born
caring for families
and harassing the Govt for medical supplies

And I’m thinking
_________ of men jumping the train
_________ to get back to wife and kids
_________ camped on the river foreshore
_________ at Mount Henry

And I’m thinking
_________ you couldn’t imagine that it would be like that again
_________ Could you?

No
not unless you are sleeping in the under-croft of the
Perth Town Hall
with all your worldy goods
in a Woolies shopping trolley

And
you’ve just read in the paper
that there’s been a bit of a downturn In the sale of
_________ three million dollar beach shacks at Eagle Bay

Ron Okely

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A Single View

Every song’s a fucken love song
everybody’s holding hands,
each pair of eyes is cinnamon
& phones whisper sweet nothings.

All mouths should be sewn shut
in case they say too much,
and touching be forbidden
in the long, hot daylight hours.

Stony crows bow their heads
as I unpeg clean clothes,
they get regret and longing
and their torch songs bleed.

Onion weed, green and tall
like a child’s proud tassel
stinks up my rose bushes,
impregnates the garden beds.

The neat vegetable patch
hangs limp with neglect
cherry tomatoes burst
cry openly on the vine.

All window views
should be bricked up
and every single songbird
forget the words.

Paula Jones

Girl @ the End of the House

She’s a lot like me
girl in the back room
her face is mine but
she smiles less
is thinner and less lined
as if something got lost
in translation
became more precious.

The same door is closed
and different music
leaks out under cracks
curtains still lie open
as night moonmirrors
and yesterday, like dust
lurks under the bed.

She seems far far away
at the end of the hall
but so much is familiar
the pile of study books
and lumpmade quilt
posters peeling citrus walls
and trinkets bursting
the tallboy in the corner.

She grows before my eyes
as if an untold fairytale
spilled open on the floor
allows the princess to enter
and exit, changed somehow
every day, like a spell
had been cast at her birth.

Paula Jones

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One Track Mind

Lifeless, you might say,
but you think me different
as I rattle and hum and snake
through the urban bake and shimmer,
you think me different and know
my heart.

Tedious, you might say,
to fill and empty, fill and empty
with those closed-faced commuters
but the satisfaction is mine alone,
all zap and spark and momentum
and always the promise of sea.

Night it comes toward us
I glow, my handsome modernity
illuminated between blinks of red and green.
And you need me at day’s break
with your paper, phone and latte,
at day’s end with your friends and sauvignon hue.
And it’s that need that propels me on parallel lines,
its that need that continually calls me to
stop and start as I do.

Renee Pettitt-Schipp

Drive

Dry grass bends and whispers
Summer’s coming, summer’s coming.
The thirsty wind scans the land,
licks its rasping tongue
over undulations, bushes stoop
wildflowers nod, yes
Summer’s coming, summer’s coming.

See stubbled fields –
a drunkard’s cheek offered
for the sun to kiss
see the raptor’s beak,
curved claw, its pinpointed and
omnipotent eye
reading summer’s certainty
in the baked and blinding sand
while we race
in our red portal past it all.

Renee Pettitt-Schipp

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eco chic chick

i create earrings from recycled
leather … laminate … paper … rubbery
scrubs         metallic bottle caps

my brooch a folded tape measure
the button centre forming a flower

i manipulate the inner tube of a tyre
into post-modern briefcase, fabricate
a chair from aluminium can tabs

i wreathe my soul in eco-conscience
trawl green designs as retail therapy

i am enviro-warrior, artfully angst
my ministrations manoeuvring mundane

to simply ravishing, ever watchful
for eco-wavelength in my relations
while slathering chic across the warming

Cynthia Rowe

strawberry thoughts

seeds of ideas hover over
my mind like strawberries
thoughts stuck on the outside
refusing to be processed
into one immaculate concept

my stream of imaginings
is sticking, rejecting my right
brain, random thought
and subjective surrender

__________________ perhaps today is too neat
__________________ for strawberry brooding

my left brain sways to BlackBerry
logic, sequential analysis
seeking the left side, licking
at pie charts, ogling line graphs,
box plots, logic and formality
packaged within poll objectivity

__________________ secure in its BlackBerry fortress
__________________ will grey matter process strawberry

theory, cease yearning for metaphor
analogy, the muse and creativity?

Cynthia Rowe

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Chagall would approve

Perth is a lackadaisical spit on sand,
where figures ride huge steel eyes
on the foreshore,
where in Millionaires’ row it rains
loaves and fish.
If Chagall says flowers beat paintings,
then Perth is everlastings, leschenaultia,
desert pea, Geraldton wax.
Only here are the wind‘s jaws propped open by karri.
This city is wrapped in Asia’s time warp,
__________ cranes spelling poems in the sky,
__________ ships of sheep.
A sun magnet,
everything is just
blue     blue        blue.

Sue Clennell

Mosman Park Meditations

The river loops like blue yarn
being wound around hands,
or a chair.
You don’t know where it starts,
where it ends, what side you are on.
Unconcerned, a dog rounds up shadows
in the water.
Tutuish, a little girl places her feet
carefully on grass.
Peppermint trees tell tales on my youth,
how I was always here
instead of at sport.
The river loops like my life.
Now I have a daughter
who also jigs sport.
The sun shares our cappuccinos,
it is a day for questions.
‘Why are boats always white?’
she asks.

Sue Clennell

Commended in the Cottesloe/Mosman Park/Peppermint Grove Poetry Prize 2010, published by Flourish Magazine.

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Memories

Child sitting in a tree,
in bygone days that could be me,
six or seven years old
adventurous and bold.
To climb a rock or roof or fence
it really made no difference—
the challenge was to scale a height—
accomplishment would bring delight.
With never a thought of tomorrow,
an accident, pain or sorrow.
Up on the roof to fetch a ball
then a frenzied parent’s call—
‘Get down from there, you’ll hurt yourself!’
I was spry as any elf.
Would this child sitting in a tree
grow up in time to be like me?

Meryl Manoy

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Poets of Prey

Cyber word flicker
pulsating post human poetics
a Tetris of perspectives
interacting at odd angles
where discordant harmony
erupts from within
precarious colourful constructions
built from straw of thought
some stable for only a while
always under erasure
the storybook wolf in us all
gone viral
straining to probe the intangible
beast of consciousness
fighting through instinct
to understand before meaning clouds over
unseen beneath the cataract of culture
its elders locked in the cupboard

Shey Marque

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when they fell

when they fell. lead soldiers. on lino.
fully dead. no story has an ending.

not raining. Sunday. drive to Oats Street.
back seat of Cortina. egg sandwiches.

Monday leaking backwards. passage. laundry.
used green soap. no towel. shadehouse.

maiden hair fern. drinking light. an ending.
listen to that sentence. bathroom. smell

of wet flannels. know what silence is?
green berber carpet. aeroplane models.

airfix glue. too many doors. can be
a stone. lounge. be a hole. piano.

F# major. all the blacks. listen to that.
an unspoken. slack jawed in the dark.

now raining. too much undoing. nappies
and sponge cake. listen. everyone’s

undone. all vowel and awkward. venetians.
mopoke’s call. slivered. sunroom. shoe box.

silkworms. fat logic. when they fell. white
trams. an ending. too much undone. never

raining. all vowels. lino. scribbles into thought

Kevin Gillam

lingers

it’s a dangerous light near the surface. is-
lands. drawn out silence. and like sails in my hands.
these habits. frail spring afternoon. does not meet

my eyes. gnarled. netted with shadows. a mess of
ripples. the ebb, forecast of loss. using my
own words. hands twitching the jetsam. verticals
surrendered to smart haze. a meniscus of
thought. perfect trajectory. but losing North.
the Sound remembers. the mouth is the eyes. cut
the sea from the beach. squinting against. lingers.
stumps of jetty, reminders. fat matchsticks. flot-
sam of seens. neap. scent of dried weed. gap between
sensation and sense. haphazard paint strokes. then
shirrs. near the skin surface, like doubt. dangerous

Kevin Gillam

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Church, Orsans 1850

in the side door
a horse-drawn hearse
folds itself in the anteroom
cobwebs stitch each corner piece
breathe the place where you once slept

flowers like rosary beads
stacked against the wall
build a hedge  surround you
the church door closed the whole week
you are here

Rose van Son

Last Night in Turin

Last night as glare
fell on the city and rain
sanctioned the square
we strolled arm in arm
along streets cobbled
with footsteps of the old king

a scarf keeping you dry
the streets trilling old songs
those lost matrimonial days
unwound

white cloths listed in peaks
as we hid under tables
beating old songs
in our chests

tonight the city resonates again
music assembles your feet
your chest lifts
you throw off your scarf
dance in the streets
to the thrill of it all

Rose van Son

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Happy Birthday Beethoven

Happy birthday Beethoven!
Time to celebrate the
immortality of your music;
the lifetimes outlived
in challenge and wonder.

Is there sound
in your heaven
and room enough
for ten symphonies;
that great orchestra
of your imagination?

Are all the others
up there with you?
Are Mozart and Salieri
still scrapping over melodies?

And Bach,
who’s sure to have
a say in celestial music,
being much more into
choral works and organs?

I bet now you wish you’d
written more for harps.

Mardi May

Extinction

Breath of a butterfly,
soundless wing flutter
stirring its own breeze,
scarce a ripple in
the long sigh of regret.

Louder,
the four-footed
gallop to extinction;
the ever-quickening pace
of our catastrophe.

A frog croaks farewell
in the gathering night;
a fly wipes its feet,
folds the sheen of wings
out of mind and sight.

On a dusty plain,
the distant crash of
a white rhinoceros;
a last gunshot sound
falling on deaf ears.

Mardi May

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Her life in a car

Her journey-stick points the way
The car is filled with the weight of her few possessions
Heading south
Leaving the past behind
Four times now
Never finding a satisfactory future

What is the past she tries to escape
What future is she seeking
There is a lightness in her step
A brightness in her eyes
Hope illuminates her path

Around the next corner may be her freedom
Freedom from what
Freedom from her own thoughts
Freedom from herself

Michael Burdett

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Dive In
A Reflection on Immersion

puddle / pond / lake / creek / river / ocean / sea

I could stand on the shore
reflecting
a mirror of my own still life
see heaven shine back from the surface
look for god with my back to the sky, or

I can jump in
splash through the stillness
shatter the reflection
let images bounce
in ten thousand directions

I can sink, fast or slow
down to the darkest depths,
let the water take me
across to another shore or
downstream to a new world

I can try and fail
to push against the flow, or
lie on my back and float
stare god full in the face, and dare
to drift or swim.

I am immersed in this water of life
now rough, now calm
crashing through boulders
lingering in lotus lilies,
I submit to ebb and flow.

I can’t stay, standing still
dry feet on the shore
reflecting alone
through intangible prisms,
the mirrored image of a life.

stand / sink / swim / struggle / float / dive / be

Sarah Leighton

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When

I want it to end on a day which measures
the hours like an abacus shunting
moments, bead by bead

I want my mind to have packed up
all preoccupations, remaindered the need
for speech, the need for need itself

so if there is pain I can be
beyond it, beyond the hush of syringe
the sweet, metallic, anaesthetic

I imagine time putting a slipknot on me,
choking out the light. I will realise
I have gone only when I stand and move,

see myself for the first time, not a photograph
nor reflection, nor through a self-encrypted  lens
but whole and pure and rinsed of doubt, almost a stranger.

Mags Webster

Skins

This is the sharp edge of the day –
grey blades of light announce the morning.
The earth tips, peels the lining of night,
makes it our turn to claim the sky.
My body cracks its chrysalis of dreams,
of nightmare, starts to grow the membrane
that protects me from the rudeness of day.
In the shower, scales encase my feet,
creep upwards to my thighs.
By the time I have washed off night’s vernix
I have become half-clothed in second skin.
I choose my talismans of amethyst and pearl
and skin imprints its seal above my brow.
Only the tip of skull is left, pulsing like a fontanelle.
This is the place where day can stab its access to me.
After surfing dreamscapes and memory walls
I am more like the creatures of the garden;
by the time I reach the city I will have lost this wildness,
this gift of night. But for now I smell new, untested,
and I understand the magpie’s enquiring eye.
There is necessary movement through the day,
the motions of surrender and giving up my shape
for the pleasure of others. My protective layer
gets scratched and worn, it begins to weep
but does not break. Bit by bit, I reabsorb it.
Its cells enter my cells and I interact directly
with air again. Senses are blunted, no longer
at whip sting so it is possible to smile and eat and talk
as if one is balanced on the surface of the world.
I am a buttoned-up being, enclosed
in a casement of granite and glass,
becoming one with the hum of machines.
I write to you, explain how it feels to wake up alone,
and know that wherever you are
you must understand that feeling, for you
have been growing your skins too, offering
your flesh to the carnivorous day.
We build up, we diminish, rhythms
like breathing in and breathing out of air.
I have grown into this skin, its land is my body,
escarpments of bone rising to meet the sun
and hold it when it sets; plain flanks and sweeps
of sky which lift with every breath. We do not
wear them long, these skins, they change
with every day: each morning, some new bruise or scar.

Mags Webster

Awarded 2nd prize in the Karen W Treanor Poetry Awards, 2010

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The Letter

Yes I smelled the paper
Of the letter that you wrote me
It started with a saying
That at first I couldn’t follow
But then I understood
Or thought I did

It was you
Giving part of you to me
And every part is sacred
Vulnerable and true
I love beauty
And that’s all I see in you

Dean Meredith

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she’s designer

pull back the bamboo curtain
red heart beats strong
she is designer China
rainbows of ribbons
butterflies on strings

Natasha Adams

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To Have Been or Not To Have Been

__________ you can change your past you know
__________ i worked it out
__________ quantum mechanically
__________ spilt in flight
__________ the past is fluid alchemy
__________ swelling in the foggy wake
__________ of ever advancing time-a-trons

the calculus of life behind us
simmers in the hypothalamus

the past is yeast for psychic fermentation

__________ memories and fly by myths
__________ enfolded in
__________ the maths of quantum chance
__________ line up for re-runs
__________ to sizzle on a limbic screen
__________ simulcast in retrospect
__________ through blue spark neuron circuitry

the past evolves through thought vibrations
magic waves push figments to and fro

as gravity shapes the prophet’s theory

__________ probabilities unfold
__________ in focal lengths
__________ proportionate to recipes
__________ in albert einstein’s hand writing
__________ teasing maturation
__________ till pennies drop like gonads
__________ in space-time adolescence

as real as relativity
the past moves through warped correlations

and you the bobbing searcher surf the change

Colin Montfort

Reunions

We love reunions
Dr. Who would love our reunions
rough and ready forums
where rebirthed  cohorts
rendezvous
around about happy hour
to colour in the past

we rearrange shadows
as the sun sets backwards
on that old and wise horizon

toasting absent comrades
some far away
steeped in their own plans

some with us always
yet gone
lost forever

remembering
and adding gloss to anecdotes
that otherwise lie tarnishing
like mica
in the sands of time
distant stars twinkle
through the riddled path of light years
to shine our hungry eyes
dancing eyes
that meet each other halfway
and bounce reflections
back and forth and

…… halfway back to paddy fields
still gleaming in the mind’s eye

like they did so many years ago
for youngsters manning picket posts
beneath the Long Hai Mountains

as locals scurried home to beat their curfew
all as one
as if as one
dressed as one
though sometimes
…… lining up for both sides
in a fractured civil war

…… half way back to Phuoc Tuy
in jungle greens and……

so easily we slip back into step
with who we were……
and who we are in hindsight
and wallow in that
warm and fuzzy status we
collectively assume
and indeed embrace
yet      still     can’t      freely      share      with others

Colin Montfort

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Because of me…

At first
there was a hand
on my shoulder
then his other hand
was on the hill
of my thigh.
I felt the strength
in those large palms
in the reach
of splayed fingers
and dark terror told me
that if I ever met him
I would know him by his hands.

Dreams
stay with us for years.
So many times
I avoided the offered hands
of strong men.
I knew too
that I must never
speak of this,
or it might send someone
into the night
with possibilities,
and anything they did
would be because of me.

Flora Smith

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One After the Other

On the tarmac
enough ice to skid Jumbos
all gleam and slip
suck pretty reflections
blinking lights and shimmer
to entice a lick
a sly smile
on the seductive stroke
of a slender finger
tracing across tingled flesh.

Careering beyond control
screams of fear/joy
slice the candle lit dark
tangle with sheets wrestling
the to and fro
the slipping and sliding
caught in the rush
to climax.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Her Sound in the Longs

She will have her sound in the long vowels
in the oo’s and the aah’s that roll forever
across fields dipped in pleasure
in the cooing of adoration
and the moaning of exploration.

She will have her sound in the long breath
before it is drawn away in his handsome face.
Search the ether for the sound of him in some
misplaced swell, the gulp of it, and struggle for
the smile while eyes scan and discard all denial.

She will have her sound in the long dark
in the search and grope for his presence
in the long torture on the road conscience
as her dress billows to clouds darkening the sky
and fat raindrop tears sear her butterfly wings.

She will have her sound in the long sigh
of throw away dreams and empty rooms
swept absent and reviled like leftover
promises that no longer shine, bundled
together to yellow with time.

She will have her sound in the long tomorrow
capture it in her dream and sprinkle
her todays with it until
in the earth, she lays
to rest beside him.

This black that reaches to draw her in
hides its teeth with a smile.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

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A Thousand Wild Horses

My favourite hobby, my ultimate private
pastime, is letting thoughts of you run
wild in my head, like
a thousand wild horses
raging against time.

The time of past ages back beyond
the secular shaping of an egret’s pure white wing
a pelican’s lonesome bill
a wasp pollinated flying duck orchid
a swinging, greening sassafras branch,
a swaying, curving bullrush stem. Past these marvels

of cannily evolved planning
and sweated aeons-long construction to
a point in the now time, where I focus sharply on a finely
formed, poetic brown-eyed fragile man

of infinite grace, deep wisdom and
passionate caring. An artisan of pungent
finely textured thought,
an architect of set-my-heart-on-fire, love-felt
many layered stroking, and
permanent shaper of keenly etched
bridges to my soul.

Allan Padgett

Crow Girl

Black cawing
__________ shapes tumble
__________ from brightening sky, alight on
__________ gust blown branch,
__________ pointing strong hard bill
__________ and darkening
__________ eyes to

____________________ Crow Girl.

She of the desert country
__________ born and bred to honour these
__________ dark sentinels, otherwise prime
__________ targets for gun-laden men who
__________ shoot first and, only later, ask:

——————————– are you a lifeform I can decide with a squeeze of my anxious
——————————– hungry finger to dispose of? Or, might you merit another
——————————– chance to simply live, to go on cawing, to live your: crow life.
——————————– Do you have this right, is this your domin
ion?

Whatever, Crow Girl loves you,
__________ bird,
__________ your cool
__________ black seams, your
__________ tumbling flight, your
__________ raucous screams
__________ your coal black
__________ eyes
__________ your creaking song.

For her, you rule,
__________ you delight her,
__________ she runs outside
__________ to gaze at your
__________ carefree rapture –

____________________ your blithe cawing, your
____________________ innocent, entertaining

______________________________ crow-ness.

Allan Padgett

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Bandwidth

Dead shell at my ear
whispered to me
in hushed echoes
of serene seas
but the whales heard
it differently

the shell prised
alive from rock

S O Ssss
S O Sssss
S O Ssssss’ed

its high sonar
whine of agony

Liana Joy Christensen

Fossil for Sale

Rock-caught snail
curled up early
in prehistory

how many streams
washed down
mountains folding

how many dreams
built up
time folding

how many
hands pawing
money folding
before you fell
from the grace
of continents gone
to this market?

Liana Joy Christensen

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Eleven

The days are longer now, they’ve yawned and stretched,
decided not to leave so soon. They’ve calmed
themselves to see which prayers are faintly etched
in dappled shadows, listen to the psalms
that ring from tree to tree through restless air
that shimmers on the ground. These days will each
grow longer still, intensify their stare
and glare, collapse the midday shadows’ reach.

But even when the flowers start to fade:
magnolia reduced to prickled clubs,
the jacaranda spent of purple rain,
the pixie mops gone grey atop their shrubs;
the nymphs will swim, await the proper time
to curl, break free, and swarm as dragonflies.

Chris Arnold

A landscape in monochrome

A fingernail chewed from an anxious hand
its cratered edge tells of edginess
Three days in thirteen hidden pieces

The nail blown into a brass and platinum sky
where a flotilla of green skiffs tack to port
flash ruby hulls
a portent of tint poised to taint vapour
paint faded as the swan wings
west and as black as those three nights
but equally
as bright as the rabbit’s first Moon

Chris Arnold

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