Creatrix 17 Poetry

June 2012

Selectors: Peter Jeffery & Flora Smith
Working Publications Manager: Gary de Piazzi
Webmaster:  Aleesha Lowry

 

Contributors:

Carolyn Abbs

circle route

ANIL

ANAGRAMS

Coral Carter

Look through other eyes

Sally Clarke

ruined pianos – number one


Jake Dennis

The Other Man’s Wounds

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Lunch in the City
Walls of Words

Geraldine Day

ECHOES

Derek Fenton

HOOK, LINE AND SINKER.
THE GRASS IS JUST GREENER

Fran Graham

New Norfolk. Tasmania.
On the Spectrum

Kevin Gillam

small religion

Mike Greenacre

On Autobiography

Kia Groom

House Beasts

Kenneth Hudson

Nets
THE SOURCE

Chris Irving

Silence

TURNING THE PAGE

Janet Jackson

Detoxing
with you

Ross Jackson

OPPOSITE THE PARK
WIRE HAIRED POEM IN TWO SOLID COLOURS

Tricia Kelly

Alchemy
BROKEN       HERO

Chris Konrad

another  d.a.levy  poem

Meryl Manoy

CETACEANS

Jacqui Merckenschlager

Lavender Blue

Colin Montfort

SCHRODINGER’S CAT

Jan Napier

HOODWINKED

Ron Okely

I wonder what happened to Charlie

Allan Padgett

The Wheatbelt Turns To Dust

Chris Palazzolo

ORANGE
REGION       

Glen Phillips

AUTUMN LEAF IN CHINA
THE IMMIGRANT

Tineke Van der Eecken

Pixellated you

Julie Watts

Early Spring
Moths and Men

Gail Willems

A FAN OF CHEERS
HOPE

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circle route

sheen on shop windows slurs past
like fast-forwarded film      shop names blur
as if somehow      smudged      through a printer

I sit amidst the small and tall      sway this way
and that      right around a bend we      stop 

excuse me please      they stand      squeeze past
disembark      centipede      along pavement

the bus waits      tick, ticks            sets off again

a self-portrait in glass appears alongside
_____ a chromatic aberration
yet my face      canvas-pale      is brush-stroked
_____ streaked with mauve, ochre, sienna
like Ben Quilty’s portrait of Margaret Olley −

I dream of winning the Archibald
_____ perhaps if I’d worn a hat

jacarandas        pop-up purple as we pass
tendrils of wet ringlets        trail on my shoulders
_____ their lilac-blue stain marbles my frock

I miss my stop
_____ and will circle      all the way around again

Carolyn Abbs

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ANAGRAMS

 

To Be or Not to Be?
To be born, to toe to tone?
Or to ebb, to rot, to be bone?

Amuses
Me as us as muse.
Us as me as emus.
Assume us same.

Winter Thaw
What winter?

Weather is clement,
The climate renews,
See the calm winter
Heart melt new ices.

Desolation
Sit-alone do
In solo date,
Lost, no idea.

Godforsaken
So frog-naked,

Melancholy’s
Lonely chasm.

Anil

 

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Look through other eyes

Look through other eyes
to see
the blind ghost dance
with a young man
she hugs
his sheathed moist muscles
to her dry bones
but soft skin is served
only to those who salivate
deaf to laughter when she is the punch line
torn lace and broken cobwebs catch nothing
years have screwed her
burnt fingers grasp the dead red rose
—the plate of sweetmeats is empty

Corral Carter

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ruined pianos – number one
_____
for ross 

the first he found in a
farm storeroom
weather warping for years
asked for the generator
to be switched off
was given one hour
to record stretched strings
distorted stops/starts
arrested original
knew he’d found
something new
worthwhile exploring
unearthly heavenly nesting
drifting spherical
unattached spacious/specious
brief planet encounters
beyond imagination
travelling faster/slower
than thought/light
into dark night
beyond into other nights …
slack wires cryptic
calling elliptic looping wilderness
floating edging irresistibly
unfettered satellit
e timeplucking star music
staccato pizzicato alongside
catchy earthbound burrowing
kangaroo hopping boomerang
woomera didgeridoo
tapping message sticks
mixed occasionally with
salon sing-alongs from past days
before the old piano came to rest
awaiting new discovery
another state

Sally Clarke

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The Other Man’s Wounds

It was cold outside the golden hearth
she made with him. She welcomed me,
a stranger smelling of stale milk
and chemicals, into her mouth.
I entered like a terrorist

she invited. We fucked
her marriage to him
into Ground Zero. She spat me out
like a poison. She repaired
the other man’s wounds.

Jake Dennis

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Lunch in the City

She sits, a stone in the stream.
Hears only the busy noise
eyes closed to the weaving
and ducking crowd.

Feels the soft touch of air
as it brushes past
in the everyday movement.
She loses where she is.

In dreams free of concrete and tar
she collects memories of trees
and flowing fields.
Holds streams to drift
away her angry ways
and lays to the soft caress.

The sky with its blue wash
and cotton cloud blanket
gathers quietly around her.
Draws its gentle comfort
deep.

She stretches her fingers
feeling for the path.
For the trace of familiarity
in the hard, sharp
angles of construction.

The clang of bells
jars with anchor chain jolt.
Shoot her upright
into the swirl of humanity.
Wood faced people
catching errands
in the quick bite rush.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

 

Walls of Words

 

There is an ache that bites into my bones
feathers my fingers with the anguish
of words, sluggish and obstinate.
Eclipses the moon of thought
to dangle ideas like pin prick stars
against the gloom of sleeplessness.

Words that hide
in unfathomed recesses.
Slip their eager tongues
to tease the air
with scant taps and sharps.
Leave the eye searching
and the ear straining
to crack the blue day
and scatter clouds
in the mumbled cacophony.

Looking from this cell
safe with familiar chair,  desk and shelves
wrapped comfort tighter and tighter.
The walls that keep strangers at bay
and the distance to discourage companions
stab loneliness into each endeavour.

Seeking solace in words
scrawled with indifferent hand
and egotistical imaginings
as the voice falters
seeking unknowns.

Oh blunt pen
what blood fails to dribble
from your indecisive thrust.
What rent on paper
blazed in ink
fails to excite
this silence.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

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_______________________________________________________

 

 

ECHOES

In youth the heat of lust
fills the stomach to overflowing.
Rare ripe voices brag and tangle
across minefields of experiments,
back seat contortions, promises,
the morning after.

For better or worse, for ever and ever,
wedding vows slow to a suitable
splay of knees.  Belly up
routine sex chafes between
two nylon pot scourers
pumicing to dust vague echoes
of when you were seventeen.

Geraldine Day

Published in Windmills 8.

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HOOK, LINE AND SINKER.
__________
For Fatima Meer: sociologist, anti apartheid activist, friend and
__________ biographer of Nelson Mandela, who taught me the most valuable
__________ lesson of my life during a tutorial in 1965.
 

She played us like a tiger fish-
We hardly felt the hook at all,
leaping out of the water,
ecstatically, as she gave us line.

Sitting serenely in her sari
she suggested that we accept
that it is the colder climates
which produce superior civilizations.

She let us run with it a while
and then started to wind us in
from our false sense of security,
whites wallowing in certainty.

She talked of Mesopotamia,
Mexico, Egypt and India
so carefully, so clearly,
that we didn’t notice how close

we were to the boat and gaff.
Just as Madiba* had his gaolers,
she dropped us on the deck in a flash
gently removing the hook.

She threw us back over the side
to struggle in the raging rapids
as she and her friend, Nelson,
swam strongly against the current.

She died just over a year ago
but the scar of her fishing hook
remains on my cheek like a brand.

 Derek Fenton
_____
*Nelson Mandela.
_____ Accepted by Quadrant.

 

THE GRASS IS JUST GREENER 

Just my escape to his exotic land,
huddled in cinemas’ darkness alone
watching Smiley who was both brave and tanned.

He and his mate, Skippy, making a stand
against villains, without a mobile phone.
Just my escape to his exotic land,

without so much as a computer manned,
or any chance of a credit card loan,
just watching Smiley who was brave and tanned.

I walked out into the pouring rain and
soon felt that I was no longer alone
after my trek to his exotic land.

But how, as a child, could I understand
that some Australians might just bemoan,
after watching Smiley both brave and tanned,

that their lives might seem just a little bland
wanting to escape to the great unknown
as I did then, to their exotic land

with young Smiley who was both brave and tanned.

Derek Fenton

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New Norfolk. Tasmania.

It’s autumn and the leaves are turning brown;
they cover the entire river bank;
chill willies swirl, soft crackles cleave and flank
to form a carpet all the way to town.

Dew is falling early, drifting down
around the spot where some old ferry sank.
It’s autumn and the leaves are turning brown;
they cover the entire river bank.

A discarded red balloon and puppet clown
lie loveless near a rusting water tank
and grevilleas where the honeyeaters drank;
the water’s surface expressionless and blank.
It’s autumn and the leaves are turning brown.

Fran Graham

 

 

On the Spectrum

A little oriental golliwog,
Sam is  newborn, aromatic, perfect.
The paediatrician dismisses his
slightly Doctor Spock ears as
a bit unusual and Sam thrives
playing happily by himself.
He regularly lines up his set of
miniature people along the back of the couch
faces to the wall; perhaps communicating
his own preference in a challenging
world of rotating riddles.

At seven, he proclaims his superior
knowledge of his condition when he
tells his mother, I may be different,
but I’m not less. 
We marvel at this wisdom.
He embraces his appointments with
the occupational therapist for his
poor muscle tone, and his confidential
discussions with the psychologist
about how to make friends and
other useful topics.

Essentially, Sam is a quiet roar in his
world of one where he’s a dinosaur expert,
struggles to lift his fork if there are too many elements on his plate,
and conducts the ebb and flow of his abilities
with the deft touch of a boy who is
confidently different.

Fran Graham

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small religion 

it’s as if, roaming these back streets and lanes,
you’re writing a small religion, a haiku

of creeds. it’s honesty, a symphony of
missing pickets and dropped fruit. the tongue

is bleeding, but the words come out the same.
checking spelling, cursive immaculate,

an orderly flight of birds across a
yellowing page. some forgotten, of course,

won’t be worded. whose hours are those dressed
as cirrus? who connects the whirr of moth wings

to make theory? at these moments the hand
stutters, moves like cut up water. and some,

some here might make a diagnosis. undiluted,
urgent, serrated thinkings. you’ve entered this pact

between disease, a second hand and all that’s
left and in between. “inside 18 months”,

the doctor’s eyes upon you. here in the lane
watching ants, the blind search for sweetness

Kevin Gillam

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On Autobiography

the aim
to express
not hide the self.

I pick up the works
of Shackelton   Kipling
Hasluck and Shepherd
their words changing,
shifting the
sense of self:

self-justification, a
disclaimer of responsibility,
‘mucking about’ with
public/private selves –
voices that lean-
back and colour the page.

Malouf writes through
another character,
‘Johnno’ takes
imagination’s hand
to trace the
narrator’s shadow.

a book of
rejection slips
would tell more.

Mike Greenacre

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House Beasts

This city is always closed
doorways, open mouths, the dribble
of possibility through slack jaws.

Some way out, where the road is foreign,
I can breathe without counting taillights,
without
mosquito coils burning
down to embers in my gut.

Here the houses rest against the unfamiliar road
like rangy animals, panting
with the muted hum of ceiling fans.

I didn’t come here to be licked, I tell the houses
I came here to be swallowed.

A window lights with interest, one bulb hung
and swinging, swollen
with incandescence.
I am so tired of fluorescent
tubes, the antiseptic touch
of office buildings.

A window snarls wide, glass teeth and
the promise of tetanus.

I will be eaten.

The city whines behind me
like a swarm of insects.

Kia Groom

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Nets

Nets are paradoxical traps.
Fine lines of tough stuff
defining blocks of space.
Catching things with emptiness.
A lot of Zen in that.

Poems are like nets.
Thin lines of words
enclosing spaces.
Thrown overboard by poets
to trawl deep waters of experience.
Hoping for a good haul.

Kenneth Hudson

 

 

THE SOURCE

Wade upstream against the flow.
Poems live there somewhere
as spirits or ghosts
in the shadows of ancient myths
forgotten long ago.
Collect their bones and copy the runes
etch them into your skin.
Do this for many  years
and you’ll slowly amass a collection
that will offer protection
against the sadness and tears of Life.
Tell everyone you know.
There’s an unlimited number of bones.
An infinite number of poems.

Kenneth Hudson

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Silence

Behind the appearance
abides the void
it underpins existence
and from this well
springs all that is
and through the form
and through the gaps
seeps ever-present silence

Not mere absence of sound
but a deeper emptiness
a stillness, a presence
that underlies all
The silence
that surrounds
the drone of a passing plane
supports
a magpie’s chortle
contains
the chirp of crickets
engulfs
the constant tick of a clock

The calm empty screen
beneath
the dancing flames
the space
behind
the spaces
between sounds

The silence of sunlight
through a forest
a depth of silence
no sound can disturb

Cockatoo cacophony
but dances on the surface
a fountain head of sound
that leaves the source
from which it flows
eternally unruffled

A spray of sound
arises from the stillness
endures but for an instant
soon swallowed
down the endless
throat of time

Yet peace remains
and peace persists
when centred in the silence
the refuge
the rest stop
from this ever-swirling world

Chris Irving

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TURNING THE PAGE

Defying the tyranny of clocks
Inside a child is drifting, dreaming
While a butterfly dips above hollyhocks.

In wonder as each image knocks
Aside the curtain, time flies screaming
Defying the tyranny of clocks.

She sees her future class and locks
Its patchwork colours, daisies teaming
While a butterfly dips above hollyhocks.

Outside the green world sighs and rocks
A distant light is brightly gleaming
Defying the tyranny of clocks.

The blackboard list that calls and mocks
She knows will be replaced, new meaning
While a butterfly dips above hollyhocks.

From such change, such aftershocks
This little school knows time’s redeeming
Defying the tyranny of clocks
While a butterfly dips above hollyhocks.

Jennifer Langley-Kemp

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Detoxing

Detoxing from you
is harder than I thought.
Coffee: ^
Chocolate: ^
Wine: ^ then \/
Company: ^ then \/
Flirting: ^
Successfully: ^ ^
Remembering your eyes: \/

Janet Jackson

 

with you
_____ 
after reading Li Po

don’t
know how far
I’ll walk with you

might be the long silk road

might be
just to the corner

Janet Jackson

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OPPOSITE THE PARK

I stand in shade
hosing dust from the waxy
leaves of our hoya.
To the south bushfires
still burn and
boats off the coast
are huddling in smoke.
In the pool next door
small children shrie
above a wind that drips ash
through the rooflines
of trees.

Ross Jackson

 

 

WIRE HAIRED POEM IN TWO SOLID COLOURS

Two small dogs sharing with us;
they leap into my hands and dance.
With each in a pincer between
arthritic forefinger and thumb,
I twirl them like dice. Jumping
down for them is food first and
their feet second. Look closely
at the centre of their eyes-trout
almandine, camembert and fro-
mage.

We walk out slowly in a sum-
mer foursome, roses splashing pink
ice-cream across paths. The shadow
of a local park is a porch and an
ice cold afternoon glass.

Though fouling winter pavement
is their offering of warmest
regards, the old lady won’t handle
what I bag in my yellow plastic
palm. Rather we lose our savings
than they go before us; but in
case they do, for the expected
magpies there is bread kept by.

Ross Jackson

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Alchemy

The love of him
A fun thing dallying
I lost the hold
Upon what was mine.

And then looking up
He, there no more
Flourished in my mind
With fever wild

I took a breath
Both deep and bold
And then forgot
To let it out

My shadow cast
An eerie scene
As passers by
Began to stare

And noises restless
Distracted me
I braced myself
Suspended there

The salty taste, the smell of him
A feather’s touch upon my heart
Excited bells, a clarion
A plea, a song, just rescue me

Tricia Kelly

 

BROKEN       HERO

Broken,  I’m not really broken you see
Only temporarily out of action
Too troubled to flee
Too tired to function.

Broken Hero, you say,
Do this for me, do that
I’m not really broken
I’m OK to chat.

What do you want from me?
A hero, a heathen
I’ve given all I can, I plea
Now let’s make it even

This chant is so melancholy
The notes string out wrong
You want someone there for tea
And let’s face it, someone strong.

That’s it then for me for now,
I’ll retreat to my bed.
No, no please, no, not  a row
I’ll just rest my head.

But just one more thing
I only tried to please.
But when you’re a hero
It becomes a disease.

Tricia Kelly

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________________________________________________________

another  d.a.levy  poem
_______________
I wait, I wait and I ride the wind

Lines from yet another d.a.levy poem
_____ that distant suburban monastery poet and reminders of    my own
outer urban  places in which   I have slogged               scorched asphalt
_____ rusted barbed wire storage    das Fabrik     what is it with
_______________ suburban death poems      and I wait       and I wait

Rusted car bodies shacked in some forgotten factory back yard
Old wooden packing crates like rusty nail leaning towers of Pisa

______________________________ Tradies mobile lunch bar
_____ ubiquitous amongst the sprawl of blue collar commerce
I remember well          and the girls driving them around
_______________ the only soft thing in a harsh ripped day
the only reprieve through a splintered,                       cut and abrasive sweat
She drives off         your senses assuaged         to return to the ox grind and thankless

_____ and I wait                   

It is d.a. ’s poem that leads me back to dirt knuckle days
to the incessant            to the raw dust of it          in the dirt nine to five of it
_____ He tells me what I’ve missed                  where I’ve been
__________ reminds me of my cantankerous self and its urban Frankenstein destiny
to only now make sense of that scraped and strange lexicon
_____ of timbers    grain    shavings    shapes           gnarled fingers misshaped
and  now …. ride the wind 

Chris Konrad

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CETACEANS  (Inspired by William Wordsworth’s Daffodils)

I strolled along the lonely shore
strewn with shells and seaweed strands
when all at once I thought I saw
a distant crowd upon the sands.
With quickened pace I hurried on
anxious to join that curious throng.

With each step as I came nearer
straining eyes towards the deep,
the scene at last became much clearer –
I saw it too – a giant leap –
a whale cavorting in the waves
transfixed a hundred eyes amazed.

The size of these cetacean giants
there’s much still unknown to science
about the sounds and songs they send
across the miles, and at what rate
these leviathans communicate.

Not one, but many whales were there
waving and slapping pectoral fins –
they seem to be without a care
before migration north begins.
“I gazed and gazed – but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought.”

For sometimes on my lounge I muse
as into daydreaming I drift –
imagine I am with those whales –
immediately my spirits lift
and then I feel a great sensation
of being one with all creation.

Meryl Manoy

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Lavender Blue

The lavender my daughter placed upon the shelf,
its perfume wafting gently through the ward,
is hanging low its calming head;
it waits and weeps in silence.

My room-mate, who is very deaf and ninety two,
talks without teeth above the soapie’s blare
and empties out her thoughts,
her gentle heart.

She leaves today for her last ‘home from home’.
“The village hospice has nice views of hills.
They say I’ll love it there,” she sighs,
____________________ “but my poor eyes can barely see your face. 

Do I know you? I feel we’ve met before.
I’ll miss their visits,
though they say they’ll come.” 

Three nights of wracking coughs and thoughts of self;
three days blurred by blaring TV soapies.
“I’m sure I’ll miss you too,” I say
and think of her.

Should I add water to that languid vase?
Or are they sick, as I am, of this place.
My stay will end, and soon
I’ll be back home.

Jacqui Merckenschlager

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________________________________________________________

SCHRODINGER’S CAT
_____
Every man’s world picture is and always remains a construct of his own
_____ mind and cannot be proved to have any other existence.
__________________________________________________  
Erwin Schrodinger 1958

photons flee from burning stars
on magic waves
electrified with nuclear spark and wonder
primeval surfers lead the charge
to most unlikely pools of thought inside your brain
where countless interference patterns
coalesce with shameless potential

did some big bang explode the myth
that everything is always where it fits

don’t be fooled by certainty

wavelengths switch to particles and back again
equations stretch forever

erwin schrodinger
flips an academic coin
his cat twitches nervously
dimensions blur

a purr is but a rumour
in the radiance
of one celestial chord

smarter folk sip cocktails
in gardens with their peers
levity and chat prevail
and pets relax
unmindful of sub-atomic mood swings

Colin Montfort

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HOODWINKED

A sexy young teen sashays through the woods,
flashing her raised hem, and red hood at lurking
bores like some sort of invitation.
Grumbling all the while about duty visits
to almost defunct relatives who are well
on the way to dementia,    sick    smelly
with a basket  not of wine and bread,
(she’s not going to church for god’s sake),
but one crammed  instead with medicinal
brandy    Polident    plus an economy size can
of PestAside to keep vermin from the door,
she finds that Wolfie has seen granny as one
of those eighties to nineties consumables
everyone’s talking about. It’s a throwaway
society after all      no one’s indispensable.
“Should’ve got the jumbo size,” she mutters,
dumps the basket    cracks the cognac.
Wolfie can’t quite get his head around
the petit female who shows no fear, (and
is checking out his physical attributes
with a kind of animal intensity he’s not sure
he likes),   other than to think that she’s a tasty
looking wench.
“Great coat,” she says offering the bottle.
Enter the wood cutter   chop chop
and who’s wearing fur this winter?

Jan Napier

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________________________________________________________ 

 

I wonder what happened to Charlie

He was one of those guys
you could take an instant liking to
if you like that kind of guy

His father – friend of the family
owned a house and four or five cottages
in a little sea side town
Charlie      General rouse-about
slept on the verandah
summer and winter
devoured cowboy mags

for a few days
I slept on the verandah with him

His nightly task
Turn off the lighting plant
at midnight
Invariably he’d go to sleep and forget it
_________ You no good lazy lay-about
_________ I had to go out in my PJs
_________ and turn the damn thing off
_________ what sort of a son are you

Charlie inventive as ever
rigs up an alarm clock
a rat trap and a window weight and pulley

It’ll do itself tonight
Let’s go fishing

Huge outboard on a 4 metre dinghy
out of sight of land
throws in a line
later
we’d better go in
looks like a bit of weather
sets to start the motor
pull rope comes off
with every failed pull

He sweats and swears
talks to it in very uncomplimentary terms
at last it fires
With an uncanny sense of direction
and about two inches
of freeboard on the transom
we make it home
Like I said
You couldn’t help liking that guy
He’d be over ninety
If he was still around

The cottages are gone
Solar panels
on fancy brick and tile
It’s all so proper
I can’t help it
every little once in a while

I wonder what happened to Charlie

Ron Okely  

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The Wheatbelt Turns To Dust

The rocks here flatten out like lizards, they crawl
across the drought-beaten landscape like metal
reptiles, they lie in desperate wait
for soaking rain, to catch, to hold, to harvest
the wetted sky.  But that water-laden

sky passes over yet again,
past the red stripped earth
and the baking rocks
and the York Gums and the Jam –

shedding leaves and even life itself,
as water shuns the central wheatbelt,
and livelihoods sink into the bitter dust of dreams.
For the birds, the eagles which in times past
curled lazily overhead on shifting currents of warm
rising air, pallid cuckoos parasitised
others’ nests, rufous whistlers sang their melodies,
and grey butcher birds mimicked their birdly friends:

for them, all this has paused.  There is a dreadful
nothingness in the air – except for the cold stars
far above, which sent their light in particles of despair
as their own spectral fires went out.  The parching

wheatbelt turns to dust, and hopes and dreams

become cannibalised by incessant
showers of promise –
and no rain falls.

Allan Padgett

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________________________________________________________

 

ORANGE

That’s me: a gull that propels itself
against a driving shelf of air
above the surf,
fixed to a line
of will-to-fly-forward, mass,
and the willess force
of onshore winds which
stick it to a point,
a little pennant on the turning earth
as the sun touches the sea.

I haven’t moved from this spot
for a long time now.
My will to keep moving
can only keep me motionless
or at least on course
among a disparate jumble
of fellow tumbling things.
To get the bills and rent paid,
to keep fed and clothed,
to keep my good humour
among friends and family
is a struggle
and need, from love
and a drive that will not die.

I know the willess one in myself
in the gull and in the wind,
means it is all outside,
danced by forces we can’t comprehend,
and yet its fingers are nuanced
by a force to make the will.
Only when its fingers
break open the seal or our identity
like our fingers break open an orange
can we find the force to intend|
has been intended for us,
or at least a minor clause
in some nameless grammar.

Chris Palazzolo

 

 

REGION

I claim more time with
each word and a space clears
around me: the live ends
of my world can touch again –
the radio playing quietly
in the loungeroom behind me –
the door before me open
on the cool gloom –
the musk of displaced dust
after a spattering of rain –
a bin lid clattering in the lane –
all these things will continue
in their own way
when these words cease,
and so I guess will I, though
something will remain here,
I don’t know what,
and I don’t know how they relate.

Chris Palazzolo

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AUTUMN LEAF IN CHINA
_________ 
for Bobo 

There it was suddenly:
apparition in the emperor’s
colour—burning yellow of sun
and the fierce tiger’s eye.

The fallen leaf is a heart
of gold on autumnal ground
and its fine lines of blood
remind us love may wound.

Yes, like a fallen leaf
love can flourish, win
willing hearts to burn
with fires of autumn.

But love’s a season, blows
in the wind—as the leaf that
grows old, frail even; may
be tossed aside in time.

Glen Phillips

 

THE IMMIGRANT

You know me? The name’s Mal,
yeah, from Fitzroy, Mal Voglio.
Parents came out after the war, pal,
both from Tuscany, vino and olio!

Never let that stand in the way, though.
Any kid at school called me a Ding
I dropped him. Or at least put the toe
of me boot up his culo, same thing!

Making my own way in life was tough.
Usually I was chucked in the deep end—
when they do that you learn quick enough—
“if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” my friend.

Out there, to be in everything I soon learned
quick—whistling at the big girls when spurned,
belting players when the ump’s back’s turned,
sharing around the pocket money I earned.

Maybe it’s how migrants have to react,
or any minority. Trying to show we’re all
that the locals are. And more. The fact
is, shrinking violets never grow tall.

So, remember the name, it’s Mal.
I’m thick skinned now and can go
out in the street smiling and shall
wear cross-laced Nikes in bright yellow.

That should win a few ladies’ hearts over
if I’m not mistaken!  No imbroglio,|
as they say, in being a great lover
on offer, or me name’s not Mal Voglio!

Glen Phillips

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Pixellated you

An image, faded at its edges
A pixellated you
An illusion
Colours diminished
Four… two… now there’s only one
Black and white

But once there was us
In greens, pinks, yellows, blues
Our edges trembling
at the hint of attention
Our bodies tuned, antennae
vibrating with each wave
Twitching

Then came distance
Oh what distance
Time, continents
Marriage, children
A life lived without you
A life in pastels

Until a flash of light
A meteor
aiming for nowhere
Not a comet—fortune-bringer—
Yet, with its trail of history
sure to cause impact, a storm,
electric, if only brief
One or two encounters, that was all

Like fire in a bottle that eats the air and burns itself out
the colours faded
to black and white
A pixellated you

Tineke Van der Eecken

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Early Spring

Early Spring and I am watering
an already parched landscape

crows, high in the eucalypt
strangle out their dark cries

and the parrots wrangle past
noisy with the smell of dusk.

The sun is diluted
soft on my shifting wrist

plays with the water stream
tumbles in the chequerboard

of dropping spray
and my father, contracting every

day into his solitary autumn
dreams head-bowed

on the balcony above me
his swing-chair stilled

by the widening domains
_________ _________ of his sleep.

Julie Watts

 

 

Moths and Men

____________ Thin as an insect’s wing
his parchment skin

purple veins at temple
flutter       web caught.

His dreamscapes are now
his realscapes       each day slipping.

____________ He asks questions of the butting
____________ moths       their urgent blinding dives

____________ while we watch
____________ time      strips a psyche clean

____________ knows all about the dive and butt
____________ the burning up of light

____________ passing dust of wing
____________ the calamity      of one deep night.

Julie Watts

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A FAN OF CHEERS

folded in on itself    sent from afar
the flutter of syllables engulfed in your scent
years flash by    laid open to memory
fragrant spring nights    soft thunder clouds
riding the winds    rippling laced edges
shredding  ridges of silk
Drift through old age    let the moon shed its light
dissolve the night flowering jasmine
an old song comes    I hum it softly
an empty room    red flamed wine
waters this green lotus flowered fan

Gail Willems

HOPE                                                       

Ribbon grasses slither in the night
a scent of lemon sits upon the tongue
as owl flares its wing in upward flight
I sit and wait and weave a song that’s sung
of what we hoped for when we were but young
Time’s a pregnant clock that ticks away
holds us tight and keeps our words unsung
our stories on the stage a mismatched play
where someone leaves a single small bouquet

Gail Willems

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