Creatrix 20 Poetry

March 2013

Poetry Editors: Peter Jeffery and Chris Palazzolo
Working Publications Manager: Gary De Piazzi

Contributors:

Carolyn Abbs

Doris Lessing, 1959
your hands

Natasha Adams

Nicholas
night light

Anil

REALITY

Andrea Barnard

Stick

debarnes

Kalbarri’ lost fishermen

Luke Branch

The Adversary

Helen Budge

Spring Afternoon In The Garden

Graeme Butler

Automotion
On the Verge

Faye-Teale-Clavi

Changing Gowns

Stephen Cole

Hot Chocolate
Words never said

Judy Corcoran

where you are

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Finding Home
You and Me

Frances Faith

By Starlight
Into Blue

Derek Fenton

Australia Day In WA
Odds On In Marbella

Margaret FerrellOne World

Kevin Gillam

the stolen one

Fran Graham

A Sleeper
Curriculum Vitae

Mike Greenacre

As If Helping
The Old Bakery

Ann Harrison

Blackening the Light

Ken Hudson

The Afterlife Of Poems
The Same Poem

Jackson

Trauma teddies

Ross Jackson

Congo Red

Paula Jones

Mastectomy
My Place

Deeksha Koul

At the moment of my mother’s death
Samudra Manthan

Laurel Lamperd

The Plumbago Hedge

Roland Leach

Lucky finishes his soliloquy 55 years on
Parabola

Meryl Manoy

Bush Sonnet     

Glad McGough

Before the Storm

Dean Meredit

About Guilt
Poetry Court

scott-patrick mitchell

discard
if you don’t slow down you’re gonna crash

Colin Montfort

Crucial Conversations

Jan Napier

At Eighty Four
Dislocation

Colleen O’Grady

Silence Is Golden

Allan Padgett

I Am Ashamed To Be a Man
It’s A Monkey Kind of Day

Chris Palazzolo

To The Cyborgs Of The Freeway

Joyce Parkes

Sy Submits
Tackling – Sailing     

Renee Pettitt-Schipp

Fitzroy Crossing

John Ryan

Distention
Two Birds Collide

Tineke Van der Eecken

After the rain stops
Liquid

Sandie Walker

Ashes
We Made A Kind Of Blues

 

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Doris Lessing, 1959

there she is                              fag in hand
pensive                                     dark bobbed hair
shirt-waister frock                  crimplene

i caste my eye                          along a shelf
faded paper-backs                  titles
intricate                                    as vertebrae
i touch a spine                         take a book
parched pages                         crack open
ochred                                       dusty
the mustiness                           of vintage shops
other people’s houses             last night’s cooking smells

i am immersed                         in dystopian tales
(vivid                                          as yesterday)
bravery of women                   in science fiction
the era                                        of golden notebooks

yet surely this photo                is incomplete
unless
______________________________ she is about to speak

Carolyn Abbs

your hands

as if through                            the gauze
of a dream                               my hands
alternate                                    between
yours                                        and mine
like a                               Rorschach blot
i wear                                    your hands
like fine-                        skinned gloves
trace threads                               of veins
with my                                fingertips −
a ghosting                           of you flows
through                                     my body

i wear                                     your rings
on my fingers                           − golden
syrup circles −                          and hear
your voice                                   smooth
as milk                                     chocolate
melting                               in my mouth

Carolyn Abbs

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Nicholas

When I arrive he says he’s sorry for being
a bad man. He’s shaved his head ‘cos

his brain is burnt. He bows to present his crown
so I can see the mark. He says he’s turning

black ‘cos they’re feeding him humans. He’s
actually a tan colour, a mix of rollies and

pacing in the sun. He smokes the Tally Ho
he got for his birthday. His thumb, calloused

and stained flicks the butt he holds in his tremouring
fingers. A grimace flickers over his face like

the home movies of his childhood. On our drive he taps
the quiet car radio. Yeah, arrrrrr, that’s the source

 of the problem, right there, that’s where they’re
coming from. He shrinks into his seat, laughs

and runs his fingers through his scalp. Last week
he was God and showed how he made the Swan River.

In high school he was Mojo Rising, but as I drive away
looking in the rear vision mirror      I see my son.

Natasha Adams

night light

her valium is white
mama’s little helper is here to stay
it lights the way through the night

now she’s cross legged and polite
she can’t fuck the pain away
her valium is white

maybe the drug company’s right?
there’s got to be a happier way
it lights the way through the night

the medicine cabinet calls from head height
mother in the mirror has something to say
her valium is white

sick kids so the place is a bomb site
she’s disappearing in her dismay
it lights the way through the night

she’s run out of fight
as she says goodbye to the day
her valium is white
it lights the way through the night

Natasha Adams

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REALITY

Ye trial,
Layer it,
Yet rail
Irately,
Tearily
Re-lay it.

Anil

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Stick

I try to forget you
but you stick
inside my throat
and to my chest
and to my ribs
and to my neck
and fingertips
inside my bed
inside my flesh
but mostly
you stick
inside my head

I try to forget you
but you stick
inside my ears
on to my thoughts
to my flanks
around my thighs
to my eyes
behind my lids
between the time
it takes the clock
to tick the time
from sun to set
and moon to rise

I try to forget you
I try
to peel you off in little bits
but they get stuck
and stick
inside my lungs
if I could spit
you out of me
I’d spit the bits
in little balls
that I could see
and flick the flecks
of sticky mess
that stick to me
into the sea

I try to forget you
breathe you out
in little sighs
but they get stuck
inside my chest
like little cries
like fingernails
that stick to mesh
or velcro sticks to threads
or napalm sticks to flesh
or cling film sticks to glass
or I stick to you
but like stickers torn too fast
I can’t unpick
the stick
of you

Andrea Barnard

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Kalbarri’ lost fishermen

twilight
brings the chameleon skies
wind-carved rock face- aflame
the jagged cliffs sculptured
as bent twisted skeletal trees
Defy gravity with tendon claws
within the precipice
Fissures:

at high-tide
waves climb; surge ever upward
rising higher, powerful
as if probing the rugged
Coastline

neglectful
a stranger fishes
from goat gulch ledge
out of his sight further round
Did he see the glint;
old skeletons rise high
riding white stallions- warning:
rod and reel in hands
stark fishermen swept away
by a sudden King wave
a harbinger of death.

in the low-tide
you see names
on bronze plaques
screwed to coastline ledges
with an odd one
along the shoreline
outcrops

“I felt you, heard you last night
as I fished’
 

sentient.”

in the dawn
i rummage around
searching the flotsam
tangled in serrated rocks
Hooks lines sinkers
lobster ropes, buoy’s,
captured by exposed
knife sharp
Edges,

Tangled pieces
of lives, lost
Souls.

debarnes

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The Adversary

Slice.
Slickly sliding
Clean and deep.
Cuts off needed parts
 

U N F O R G I V I N G L Y.

Sharp tongue hisses
And leaves the adversary
With nothing to say.

Luke Branch

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Spring Afternoon In The Garden

1

As I pull weeds
a bronze butterfly balances
on a lavender stem,
wattlebirds  swoop and shriek,
lizards loll in the sun,
a sea breeze moves
the jasmine,
spreading its sweet scent, and
the last mandarine falls.

2

As I pull weeds
a butcher bird dives,
the sun is hidden by clouds.
A girl blows herself up in Israel,
sirens scream in Iraq,
children lie dying of hunger,
in Bali the stench of burnt flesh
is remembered.
But
I shake my head and see
the mandarine tree
has creamy buds.

Helen Budge

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Automotion

Enclosed in our stereophonic bubble
we hurtle through places
heedless of all but our world
embracing the pleasures played out in
the rhythm of car-tunes and car-motion.
For rapturous moments it’s you and me and
the careering world glimpsed over a steadfast dashboard. Accompanied by rock and rolling suspension
and light flickering video trees
we fall in love with the whole world
as it spreads out before us
in our automo-bubble.

Graeme Butler

 

On the Verge 

And what will you say
when hurtling along
your home road
and the child once on your lap
having now grown
looks around and gasps
– Where is the bush?
Will your silence betray
a fractured heart or
a deepening lassitude
where-in memories lie
of the roadside verges
that once flashed past
– of that thin remnant dream of the great bush
which spilling beyond paddocks
and waving its branched exuberant life
almost teetered onto the road?
Will your silence betray
that the bush has gone
and taken your words with it
so that neither pulling at nouns
and colourful adjectives
nor the expression
of something  like intense regret
that may be close to prayer
as it scratches the limits
of our world
can drag it back?

Graeme Butler

 

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Changing Gowns

I’m on a bough
Verdant now
Soon to become a golden glow
Slowly turn tangerine
I will hang a while
Dance in the breeze

Time passes, my colour will change
Deep red, deeper than blood
Like coloured beads
Transient.
Fall in silence
Glide down
To become a luxurious carpet

There I will lay
My future unravelled
Scattered abandoned
Once more I change
Weakened ,wilted, dry and brown
I crumble and diminish
I’ve lost my colourful gown
Autumn consumed my fabric
Texture transformed
I was a leaf upon the bough

Faye-Teale-Clavi

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Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate
Yummy
Marshmallows
On the plate
A glass of water

To have afterwards
Yummy
Fills my tummy

Napkin around
A glass so I can sip

Raised to my lips
Marshmallows
Gone down
To my tummy
Sipping

A hot chocolate
Afterwards
Water
Yummy
In my tummy.

Stephen Cole

Words never said

I wanted to
you wouldn’t listen
to talk this through

I wouldn’t lie
to tell you
how I felt

that I care
feelings I hide
all I wanted

is to talk this through
can’t you tell
everything I did

I did for you
for what I did
you did back

words never said
just wanted to talk
this through

whenever you’re ready!

Stephen Cole

 

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where you are

performing rhythmic, circled dance each night
respective diamonds all contribute spark
and shine there, each displaying perfect light
within the deep obscurity of dark
while splendour up above, my eyes behold
nocturnal intuition calms the air
wafts softly and I, somehow, am consoled
the glow that lived in eyes abides yet somewhere
when comes the day, they seem to disappear
as potent rays of reason slowly creep
but even so I find I hold no fear
they’ll all return when Sol’s, again, asleep
and as the light of sunshine cloaks the star
so logic’s mind disguises where you are

 Judy Corcoran

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Finding Home

“che si chiamo?”
the man whose features
I recognise inquires.

“gheri de pia zzi” I translate
my Australian to Italian.

“De Piazzi? Che e luo nono?”

“Colombo”

“Ah Plok” and the pieces fit.
I am categorised, referenced and accepted.
Connections that stretch into every
turned clod, every yard, every tree
fall like pieces of the jigsaw.

My feet find comfort on the paths
my ancestors trod and my breath expands
to fill the narrow alleys where crowded houses
lean against each other like friends.

I feel my soul merge into the soil
into the stone, into the scene and watch
as familiar features ride on strangers
and cousin means the whole village.
This village, Barufini, that clings
to Monte Masuccio in the Italian Alps.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

 

You and Me

On my own, pulling her around.
Heart wrapped like a fist
eyes with the glare of wild weather.
A collision of storms.
Black thunder and flash
of sharp words.

The white strike
dazzle of teeth
sneers contempt
in the quick turn
of Morse code words.
Short, long, sharp sharp.

The fatal flaw
between our views
of fidelity and honour
held together
by stitches tacked tight
against the strain.

Cupped in hands
over-stretched in frustration
tortured over thought’s
minutiae.
An orb of resilience
focused on truth
and love
holds to integrity.

Something beyond destruction
to catch and hold essential
jewels of each other.

Something deeper
than words
and their brief breath
held in the lull
after the roll and tumble.

Flying kites together
holding onto strings
intertwined with fingers
refusing to let go.
Gripped beyond
the whine of air
and the tug of escape.
A smile forms
in the crazy loops
and dives
as time works its salve
and flips
the angry moment.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

 

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By Starlight

Sometimes,
Vacant night sighs hollow,
Looks at me over the left shoulder
And becomes another missed call.
Then it hardly matters whether I look out or inside of me;
Emptiness stretches until it covers the future,
The sounds I make echoing back from its tight skin.

But the night with its inscrutable blank is the perfect canvas.
I can paint you.
I can choose a grey wash,
Or simply begin, wishes in hand,
To sketch the outline of your body.
Your face, your arms and hands appear in chalk,
Your eyes glint from amongst the dust.

Like artist in gloomy garret,
My hands grope for a pallet to add light and shade,
And colours.
My fingers dance a soliloquy of artfulness,
Crooning illusions to a blurred understanding.
And at once you are there,
Manifest in the empty dark,
With nothing but my mindstrokes to hold you.

You are a portrait of desire,
Etched in space
But breathing with my breath,
And warm with my skin.
And your touch is like fancy,
Like apple trees, like bloodrush to flaming cheeks.
Then the night glows,
The dark is velvet and curtained with closed eyes.

Sometimes,
I am a midnight painter,
And you,
Are my living art.

Frances Faith

 

Into Blue

Today’s smile is pegged between the rows of my teeth
And flutters briefly before the winds tear it away.
I watch it go,
Snatched up into the clouds,
An ascension of hopes.
It grows small in the distance
As the enormity of blue overcomes it
And I am left to stand empty in the grass
With a basket of vacant space.

Frances Faith

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Australia Day In WA

At Port Beach in Fremantle
facing a fortunate life,
we, and burgeoning numbers
of us born in other lands,
chew on crisp anzac biscuits,
while Westpac choppers hunt sharks
above, and languid lifeguards
patrol Port’s placid pond.

Some wish for big waves to catch,
others for haggling hawkers
deckchairs and knotted hankies.
Some can’t quite cast off the bonds
that tie them to their homeland,
feeling completely removed
from the strangers around them.

Most are really thankful though
knowing that there are so few
sharks ashore to be wary of.
Nanny State it might well be,
but who wouldn’t be grateful
for a warm bottle of milk
held by a smiling nanny.

Derek Fenton

 

Odds On In Marbella

A man sells lottery tickets
on the steps of the cathedral
to parishioners at long odds,
just after they have placed their bets
inside, at even longer odds.
Inside a tiny bird gambols
in a font of holy water.

Derek Fenton 

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One World

heat weights air
like a blanket
bedecked with sun and cerulean sky
day hangs around in a state of
quiescence
until leaves stir
Indian Ocean breeze
arrives
night hurries in
pushes away brightness

covering of snow –
like icing on cake
decorated with blue heaven
and sparkle of sunshine –
wraps chill air
around mortals
day’s time on stage
is short
light fades
unhurried twilight
draws
long shadows
whiff of Atlantic air
nibbles frost
swallows whiteness

shopping plaza
glitters
one galaxy
in global village
aromas draw customers
to sip lattes
consume tagliatelle
hamburgers
French fries
spruikers bawl
entice
eyes shine
hands touch
covet

wasteland
invades our screens
as emaciated procession –
one gathering of the hungry –
disturbs
comes close
children wizened
heads too heavy
gaze
with meagre movement
barely breathe
no sound
mothers cradle
wait
eyes empty
stomachs crave

Margaret  Ferrell

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the stolen one 

won’t be as good as the stolen one,
so no, you don’t write it.
I write it

but it’s a sullen, bruised sky tonight.
petulance? a form of
engraving?

then you, not me, with your coloured bones
of forget. spelling of
‘cuisinere’?

lines empty, cursive immaculate.
an unrhymer has moved
in the storm

then this algebra of yearning,
my voice, you singing

Kevin Gillam

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A Sleeper

Beanie works at the brewery.
He’s been a boiler attendant
there for thirty years.
He’s a man on a mission.

His shifts are solitary.
He rings home often
just to chat
and ask what’s doing.

In the tea room he collects
overheard grammatical errors
and is on the alert
for spelling mistakes.

He’s now over-qualified
for the job.  At home he
surfs the net, reads books
and listens to Gershwin
to get in touch with his feminine side.

At the brewery he’s one of
the few in the boiler room
who knows that possums –
and guys who work the night shift –
are nocturnal.

Fran Graham

Curriculum Vitae 

It’s a thankless, low-profile job.
Good hours, but no one
seems to care if I
do the floor today,
tomorrow, or every other day.
There’s always something
to round up, more or less,
as I push my nose
through the fluff and lint
holding my breath
to keep the pile neat.
Sometimes there are crumbs
and bits of dried food
left to petrify
for me to gather up.

Talk about splitting hairs.
I once worked in a boarding school
and did dormitories mainly,
fluff mostly,
after which it was mandatory
to have my hair combed.
I was never so clean.
It was the one place
where the mention of sweep
didn’t make me bristle.

Fran Graham

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As If Helping
______
for Julie and Jenni

‘Teacher on abuse charges’
dating back the years
to my old primary school,
a suburban man
is all the paper told.

Without name, I know
it is you – the one
who kept girls in at lunchtime
and pulled down the blinds
so we couldn’t see
your mind working with
‘selected’ girls after school.

As boys we would laugh
and fire blank accusations
at your windows
until crazed eyes glared
from your suddenly adult
frame, telling us to go home
and forget our fantasy.

Before I rang old friends
my heart still dis-believed
what we laughed true – they

said you’d come and sit
next to them in class
as if helping   while
the rest worked around you.

Awaiting trial?
There’s a generation
of silent, screwed-
up reasons
for not coming forth.

Mike Greenacre

The Old Bakery

Across Canning Highway
always seemed like
an ‘out of bounds’ zone,
where we’d skip between
traffic as trespassers,
sneak our bikes
as ‘get-away’ strategies
across the road.

We came across it by chance
our childhood quest
for adventure luring down
laneways    this time
behind the highway deli
on this other side,
imagination driving
us into hidden places.

Surrounded it with our bikes
like a possey on horseback –
the handlebars of mystery
clasped tightly in our hands,
then quickly lay down
our metal stallions to
force entry through a broken
louvre above a well-oiled
key-locked door.

The old bakery, hidden away
as a childhood dream of
a meeting place of our own –
the air thick with dust motes
that twinkled as diamonds
in sunlight strangled through
slits in boards, with wood-
fired ovens from ceiling to floor.

‘But what did you do there?’
my brother now asks, as if
purpose was the director of
early teenage minds
… and I remember thinking
how luck was our accomplice
that day we turned the key to a
well-oiled locked door.

Mike Greenacre

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Blackening the Light

saw her face bursting with life
and then …
darkness descended blackening the light.
fun, laughter
hope and joy
games with fairies
visits to the moon
gone
all that is left sadness and gloom
a dance with the devil
visits with doom
ghouls in the shadows of a child’s mind
haunting, real
unrelenting.
just be ashamed that was the rule

see her face now many years on
deep in those eyes
the memory
gripped with sadness a life destroyed
time does not heal or soften the blow
of what really happened long ago

he is dead
rotting with worms
his stench so putrid
only hell knows

she must dance it’s time to sing
she must reclaim…
something

Ann Harrison

 

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The Afterlife Of Poems

Stars in clear country skies
are awesome in number
______ deeper in space.
Stare awhile.
Fixate.
Black places turn shades of blacker.
______ Fuzzy light-clouds emerge

______ from the crowded skyscape.
______ Faint foggy luminescent blobs
______ smeared thinly all over the place.

I wonder if poems have an Afterlife
______ where they are some sort of stars
______ in some sort of night somewhere ?
____________________________________ There for some sort of others
______ to lie on their backs somehow
______ staring and wondering :
______ Is anybody out there ?

Ken Hudson

The Same Poem

My whole life I’ve been writing the same poem.
Reframing words          images
rearranging rhythms    rhymes
changing surface dust
______     but not the Real Stuff.
I’ve tried to give it away but no-one wants it.
Anyway it won’t let go so I’ve had to live with it.
I’ve tried lying low hoping it won’t notice
but it sniffs me down
___________________ to every hidey-hole I’ve found.
It’s always there each morning
like my shadow’s different forms.
Now I’m old I don’t know what is me
______________________________  or what’s this entity.
So like my poem I stumble on.
Wondering what’s gone so wrong.

Ken Hudson

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Trauma teddies

The ambulance comes. My son —
soft hair, round face, big eyes —
gets a choice of bears: blue or yellow,
both hand-knitted, character-faced, hug-sized.
After some deliberation, he chooses blue,
names him Bluey, cuddles him
during the prodding and questioning
and afterwards brings him home.

It’s all the people
in their ones and twos
who are not ashamed
to give a damn.

Earning the minimum wage, fundraising
for the children’s hospital, I phone
Mrs Whieldon, alone
in her unit.
I ask for a hundred dollars
or eighty or fifty or
whatever she can manage. She says,
sorry, I’m a pensioner–
but I make quilts
for the hospital. I think
of a seven-year-old wired and tubed
in strange-smelling rooms,
finally relaxing under a grandmotherly patchwork.

It’s all the people
in their ones and twos,
the old ladies who have no
money, never
have, never
will, never
wanted to.

Mrs Weston, in another unit,
tells me how happy she is
that her hip-bone was recycled
for kids with spina bifida.
I think, that’s her excuse to say No,
but she gives twenty dollars and says
it’ll have to go on her credit card
this week.
I take the number.
The supervisor’s watching
the clock. I don’t ask Mrs Weston
how her hip feels —

but maybe she’d rather
not think about it. Better to think
about the children in the hospital.

Mrs Whieldon talks
about her friend, Betty,
who knits.
When the hospital ran
out of trauma teddies, Betty
knitted forty-nine.

It’s all the people
in their ones and twos.

Jackson

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Congo Red

Guilt is bubbling
in us; creeks of it
coursing with bad blood, soaking
pebbles of consecrated bread.

A trail of glistening spit
is our charity.
Humility, regret, compromise, reform-
all seized as grit in the machine.

Every dawn comes up Congo red.

Well, that’s that then.
Yet each night, repetitively,
a tiny light winks out at sea

Ross Jackson

Florist In Flames
______
(In some kind of future)

His woman evading shame
fled the neighbourhood.

His remains overflowed
the largest of those wheelbarrows
he hoarded. Who knows what fires
the little bombs of colour he dealt in
might have ignited?

Having just squashed a poets’ revolt

better to have him fried alive
than risk a conflagration
of wasteful gardening.

Ross Jackson

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Mastectomy

They say they have the technology.
They say they can rebuild me,
as if you can return flesh to blood
and breast to soft bone. As if
the hand of man can replace
what man’s hand has taken.

Leave for me a hole raw
as minced meat and as
empty as a hunger strike.
I shall wear it torn from armpit
to Adam’s bloody ribcage,
close to my heart.

What do they do with
all those chopped chests?
Do they dry them for
tobacco pouches, purses
for silver, doorstops, paper
weights, mantle pieces?
Jangle bracelets of them or
toss them like unwanted
children into the furnace?

Burn silicone jelly fish,
frisbee flimsy chicken fillets.
Unbuckle the bra. Teach our
daughters the value of the word
as it pours from their mouths
like milk, like mother’s milk.

Paula Jones

My Place

As if guided by ghosts
I glide this thin hall
this passage of time
allow my hand to trace
the slippery butter walls
listen for the tell-tale
of wooden boards
murmuring undertoe.

These places speak.
They are a library of lives
painted over year after year.
There is flesh in the walls,
dragons in the fireplace
and down slow drains
sink our days.

I can show you a path
across the spreading yard
beyond the weeping mulberry
and small mandarine
where I found a coin
a tuppence, and the wheel
of an old toy car
rusted still as if it
could somehow
stop time.

Paula Jones

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At the moment of my mother’s death

At the moment of my mother’s death
I am rinsing frozen chicken.
No vision, no rending
of the temple curtain, only
the soft give of meat.
I had not seen her in four days.
I thought her better,
and the hospital did not call,
so I am fresh from
an office Christmas party,
scotch on my breath
as I answer the phone.
And in one moment all my past acts
become irrevocable.

Deeksha Koul

Samudra Manthan

______ sarvausadhih samavapya
______ sarvaratnani caiva hi
______ manthadhvam udadhim deva
______ vetsyadhvam amrtam tatah

__________________ Mahabharat Adi Parvan.

I said to my mother, always and ever
I would drink only life’s sweetest nectar, and
so I am churning the heaving oceans now, and
so I am trembling as fate’s dark fury blindsides me, yes
so swift to smote me, yes
I am swimming furiously in my life’s small pool now, still
swimming furiously, and
I am weeping always for my mother’s eyes.
In the evening’s half-light, again
I am washed against the shores of an infinite lonely universe, and
I know I am a lost creature.
I know I am lost, searching always and ever
to be found
I am searching always for my mother’s heart.

Deeksha Koul

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The Plumbago Hedge

Our mother grew a plumbago hedge.
The mauve wispy flowers moved in the hot still air
And was always in need of trimming.
We want some privacy, our mother said
When the next door neighbour came home drunk.
We sat into the late evening
Watching the picture crowd go home.
I’d forgotten how hot it was in Northam.
We ran a milking cow down the back on our half acre.
My brothers took turns in milking
and left bowls of milk on the back of the Metters.
Our mother scooped the thick clotted cream
Over stewed black plums
Picked from the overhanging branches of the neighbour’s tree.
A high steel fence separates out neighbours this second time round.
The air conditioners hammer into the night.

Laurel Lamperd

 

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Lucky finishes his soliloquy 55 years on
______
(apologies to Samuel Beckett)

inspite of the advances in running shoes  the existence of god’s thumbprint
in a cluster of cosmic clouds  live broadcasts of cricket  dirtbikes  formula one
the green grass courts of wimbledon finals  saturday sabbatical football
the instant replays on massive screens and so forth for reasons unknown
inspite of the great breakthroughs   the advance of  sms  facebook  internet
downloads of seattle concerts silicon chipped & satellited from deep space
cnn coverage of livewar  low camera shots of female olympic volleyballers
democracy & freedom and    americamericamerica  nintendo & dance music the
continuing saga of starwars  inspite of the hadron collider  a myriad of new alcoholic
& effervescent drinks online shopping and the continued research the established proofs
that    yes   we are healthier    live longer  have increased memberships at gyms
and it is established without doubt without double doubt the mapping of the genome
the end of history inspite of after all inspite of and so much more the thousand and one
dreams we have that will come with low interest rates dna decoding and a high dow jones     inspite of aerobic yoga  psychotherapy  iridology  fengshui and longer seasons of cricket cricket cricket concurrently simultaneously with tennis replays rewinds cut & edits  therefore as the aforementioned  in  the  time  before   ubiquity   cornucopias   before even cyberspace   yet  yet   with all the aforementioned  inspite of

the dazzling simulacrum of the new millennium

there is an ache an emptiness

 inspite of

Roland Leach

 

 

Parabola

 

The water must be bubbling with herring
______ this morning. Late March and no wind,

the ocean will look polished blue, little swell,
______the tide low enough to walk upon.

We used to walk out on the reef, water to
______our knees. You with that old bag slung

across your shoulder so you could unhook
______and slip the fish into.

I would watch you as you cast, watched you
______as you eyed the long parabola

of line move through sky. A white float filled
______loosely with pollard and whale oil.

You watching it till it hit water,
______as if spooled out from your own fingers.

I tried to do the same, but it never
______rose as high, never perfected

that steep arc that seemed the secret to catching
______fish. The long parabola of line

that never seemed to intersect with sky.

Roland Leach

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Bush Sonnet     

Frail spider webs are glistening with dew,
their myriad tiny residents bejewelled;
lizards bask on rocks of ochre hue
absorbing warming sun to be refuelled.
The pungent smell of grasstrees on the fire
as resin oozes and bursts into flame
to boil the billy as the smoke curls higher-
(your tea-bag tea could never taste the same!)
Smell golden wattle blossoms’ heavy scent
with sky-blue leschenaultia there below,
the purple hovea is shyly bent
round stately kangaroo paws’ brilliant show.
A bushland walk for even half an hour
will nourish soul and one’s creative power.

 Meryl Manoy

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Before the Storm

As the kettle quietens before the boil,
As the babe lies still in the pre-birth womb.
The red-rasp sky in the morning’s dawn
Gave warning that the storm would come.

The sky was clothed in thunderous clouds,
The heavy air advised its mood
All was still and nothing moved
The ominous sea reflected black.

As if a promise before the storm –
The sun came shining in, and
Briefly lit the scene below.
The white masts waiting silent, still.
And not a bird moved on the wing,

The fishing village on the bay
Well-knew the storm’s capricious way,
And wives with men out in their boats,
Would watch, and pray to feed their hopes
Their men would safely ride the storm
And on a sweet tide home would come.

Glad McGough

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About Guilt

Let me tell you about guilt
And how when I was away
At my fancy private school
Complaining
About toe-nails in my porridge
And being forced to eat lambs-fry
And having to stand at the table
Until it was finished
And getting wacked on the arse
With canes and wooden bats
The masters called them ‘motivators’
And being asthmatic
And having to run cross-countries
In the middle of winter
Wheezing mile after mile
Through the rain and mud
And swimming lessons
Forced to do lap after lap
Of the cold blue pool
And gasping for air
And swallowing water
And back at the dorm
Nervously itching
My eczema so bad
The matrons would bandage me up
And tie my arms
So I couldn’t scratch until I bled
And they called me Dreamy Daniel
Because I always lost things
Well while I was off
Feeling sorry for myself
Sure sometimes I got a little homesick
And missed my family
But mostly I had a fine old time
Skating around and playing
Wading through the boating pond
Climbing all over the Vampire
Playing board games
And all kinds of sport
While my little sisters
Were sent to state school
And lived on jam sandwiches
At the time I never knew
But years later my mother told me
At the time I lived in another world
And never really thought about it
But when I was older
It became a heavy weight
Something I will always carry
And can never make up to them
All those nights they went to bed hungry
While I listened to ghost stories
My belly round and full
And mostly I slept pretty soundly
In my white blood-stained sheets

Dean Meredith

Poetry Court

You are hereby accused
Of crimes against poetry
How do you plead?
Not guilty you say?
Let us hear the evidence
Did you or did you not
Wilfully and recklessly
On more than one occasion
Resort to rhyming couplets
And is it true or false
That you did knowingly
Use that word – ‘love’
And try to deny if you will
That you showed complete
And utter disregard for
The laws of modernism
By negligently and with
Malice, fail to mention
Or even allude to one
Myth or mythical character
And to make matters worse
Not a whiff of a canto
No numbered stanzas
And you had the audacity
To fail to mitigate your crimes
With the simple inclusion
Of your middle initial
When signing your name
But it does not stop there
Where in your, so called
Poetry, are the indigenous
Or the icons of our landscape
I’ll tell you where they are
Nowhere! Yes, that’s right
Not a skerrick, and furthermore
No redeeming references
To either the greats of
Literature or for that matter
Any sign of light hearted
Condescension of our
Beloved minorities
In particular the Semites
And the homosexuals
Guilty I say
Guilty
Guilty

Dean Meredith

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discard

leaves leave tree to
constellate covering
for feet can kick the
-se like autumn laps
up sole & then they
harvest & fold, thong
a boot blossom, the
insteps mould to bio
-degrade the leather
we promenade slow

. the mighty forest is
a nudist at heart, will
strip bare wood, bark
& air, for anybody
who cares to watch
, so watch it hard as
it does the discard
. 

 _scott-patrick mitchell

if you don’t slow down you’re gonna crash
__________________
for kyal aka crash

we bathe in gasoline & bitumen
, tie tight corners around a heart
alternating with the velocity only
outback roads can fathom. head
on we hurtle. skyscrapered road
trains overtake as dust, & we lose
our breath in the slow extended
slipstream their passing threads
from us. in unison, we inhale the
exhilaration of acceleration. fast
& faster still, our soft shoulders
tense with the ease that comes
from colouring outside the lines
: red on red over ochre & thrust. a
windscreen scream of shattering
awaits us down round that bend
, so lead on our unleaded love &
break the limit, send us toward
road’s end, headfirst over bonnet
.

 _scott-patrick mitchell

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Crucial Conversations

crucial conversations I never had
with my dad before he died resonate

inside my head uncensored the discordant
clatter-clang of words unsaid colliding now
with ricocheted redemption beads p’twanged
unstrung and scattered wide and hard against
the wall inside where mislaid plans are piled
and misled habits strayed while outside I strut
my tread where he once trod and dare to vent
his pride as he once did on my parade to
think I share the blood he shed it simmers
gently just below the lid transpiring
like this poem in the pedigree he left me

Colin Montfort

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At Eighty Four

Mum says the only way to eat mangoes is in the bath
giggles when a neighbour tells her she looks “spiffing,”
Reckons the ‘mute’ button is the best thing ever invented.

She thinks that Cricket Australia should get its act together
and Julia Gillard should just get out.
Cheats at scrabble    gets cryptic crosswords out every time.

She knows all the family history   only tells the funny stories
talks pigeon cyrillic with her Russian neighbour     “Ya Ya.”
Cooks us ginger chicken or  lamb roasts once a week.

She adores sapphires, but pearls are her passion.
Takes her friend with Alzheimers out Thursdays for coffee.
Is looking at Alaskan Cruise brochures.
At eighty four.

Jan Napier

Vertigo

To wake so far from horizons,
suffer the quisling fallibility of senses.
Distance between what’s known, what’s perceived,
a congruence of calculus and error.
A lurch and clutch reiteration, chaos theory practiced.
This new bias unlearned, apolitical.

To know like Blondin that dreadful gravity,
yaw and suck of the pit at every step.
Seven chakras all compromised,
the inner self uncentred     unlistening,
equilibrium encapsulated in pseudo moonlets
or stick insect immobility.
To fear at least is not groundless.

Jan Napier

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Silence Is Golden

Brightwater!
The Oaks!
Newport its part
Where staff daily labour
With all their heart.
Chris!
Palliative care.
Scriptures, soft light
And God is present
Showing His might.
Oxygen!
Hisses softly
Giving breath
To one who needs,
Struggling near death
Room!
Quiet, radio silent,
CDs put away.
Grey light drifts through
Window of a cloudy day.
Silence!
Staff softly tread
Watching one
who is leaving, going away
his long life is done.

Colleen O’Grady

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I Am Ashamed To Be a Man
______
(On hearing of the arrest of the man who allegedly raped and killed Jill Meagher
______ in Fitzroy, Victoria on Saturday morning, 22 September 2012)

Today I am ashamed to be a man.
I am complicit in the violence,
the unending, deep and unremitting
violence and hatred
which men have toward women,
our loves our lives our partners.

Far easier to snatch them off the street
and rape their minds and rape their bodies
and kill them
and rape the collective womanhood
and smugly go to trial
and smugly go to jail
and be locked in with other men
and share our molested histories
and our drunken
drugged otherness
and weep as we the self-identified persecuted
step into a twisted gulag of deception
for the women whom we otherwise
love and wish to die for,
who then die instead at our stinking bitter hands,
our paralysing hating smirking
misogynistic self loathing man selves.

Today I am ashamed to be a man –
I weep. I thrash with fear and anxiety
I cry I rage I thunder hot and desperate tears,
bitter tears of disengagement:

I no longer want to be here,
I no longer want to be a man.

That half of all humanity which throws

its sperm in wanton haste
then runs in fear from love and touch
and hides in shame as the world is torn to pieces
by men with power and ancient urge to kill
and sweats as lust and random bitter violence
intercede and determine that all love
and care is torn and abandoned
and lost forever.

Thus is man abandoned,
I hand in my badge.

I am sick, I am ashamed, I toss
and turn in a wilderness of abandonment.

My hot tears roll down my face
they flood the page
they make me so ashamed.

What is it then,
about having a cock,
that makes me fit to kill and slaughter
my wife, my neighbour, my daughter:
or a total stranger.

Kill me now, it would be so much easier than the pain of being
a part of you, man.
Go now, stare deeply into yourself,
start again: we are all sick
of your constant hurt, your masculine violence,
your lust to rape and murder and to kill.
Shrivel in shame, you are to blame –
every one of you, man.

Allan Padgett

 

It’s A Monkey Kind of Day

It’s a monkey kind of day
I’m holding onto myself and it seems
longer than ever –
the wait, the grasping, the ridiculous asking:

are you too waiting for the rain
is it a sun-setting kind of day where your brain
unfurls upon itself and metabolises
memory, longing and belonging,

are you, my genes, seeking a relationship
with the inner me, or is your chromosomal
chemically-induced coma
awaiting the release of a fine aroma
from my book of subtle treats,

could it be you are awaiting the release
of my toned down crepuscular assignations
or are you simply dreaming along with me
as I aspire to a burned out landscape
traversed only by desperate lonely souls
seeking their evolutionary memory.

I am Ape Man, she is my swinging vine,
my nascent link to the branches of our faded
ideology.  And the burnt out crowns
of a memory lost forever to the scorching wind

of your desire, and the bitter taste
of your forlorn touch, and the poisoned
chalice of your need to write a perfect sonnet
to our stale and ill-begotten dreams.

Allan Padgett

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To The Cyborgs Of The Freeway

Should your Neurofen nerves be speared by a sunray,
and the Excell spreadsheet en-grid the day,
think first of the KPIs you’re achieving,
and then of all the money you’re receiving,
above all think that when the deal is clocked,
the car locks chirp and the seatbelt locked,
the cyborg awakes when the petrol ignites,
glides onto the freeway’s trance of headlights,
forgets the workplace it left behind
and erases the destined home from its mind,
sublating the weight of duty and need
into a stereophonic capsule of speed –
a man-machine’s ecstatic perceiving
of a strip of dusty spectrum for evening.

Chris Palazzolo

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Sy Submits
______  (International Women’s Day: 08 March)

Mindful that libraries enable the past
to talk to the future, Sy remembered
that October 2007 witnessed Doris
Lessing receive the Nobel Prize for

Literature. Regarded by Members of
the Swedish Academy as that epicist
of the female experience who with
scepticism, fire and visionary power

 has subjected a divided civilisation to
scrutiny
, Sy noted that Doris was one
of 12 writers who are female were
accorded this accolade between 1901

and 2012, and 99 writers who are male
received The Nobel in that time-span.
The reasons known — the cause, Sy
submits, slumbers in one’s bones.

 Joyce Parkes

Tackling – Sailing
______
(08 March, International Women’s Day)

Serang maintains that almost everything
undertaken multiplies. If so, placing an
even weight (though  usually different in
shape) onto the sides of a vessel of vision

could prevent a capsize as a crew and their
coxswain on the first stretch of their journey
to Ithaca will find, where writers have been
seen to wave that even breathing is political.

Joyce Parkes

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Fitzroy Crossing

This land has made space for me
and deep in its embrace
I rise from sleep
reawakened to light
reawakened to space,
alive to colour

old, round rocks
hold deep water secrets –
a landscape’s silent memory

so down, down I go
into its
hot, red
heart.

Renee Pettitt-Schipp

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Distention

my eye
like a tendril
before me
reads a poem
writ on vellum
of the seed

 John Ryan

Two Birds Collide

a volatile moment
in mid-air,
rumpus
of feathers splayed
and
blood-striped,
fire ball lifting
and tilting,
bursting
through silence, clawing
its way
into space.

 John Ryan

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After the rain stops

After the urgent rap on the gate
and the flowers

After the evening out, driving with you in my red car
singing along to Tracy Chapman on the radio
thinking I must be in love
After the long hours when we lay on the L-shaped couch
noses barely touching
lips eager to reach out
hearts afraid to fail

After that first kiss
After the note you slipped under my door
written in your giant cat-like script

After that

but

Before the time when your feet paced the path by the river
Before the morning you said every day was a struggle too hard to bear
I wanted to be your everything
for ever and ever. I remember
each time
After the rain stops
and before the sun breaks through the clouds

Tineke Van der Eecken

Liquid

Though they never needed them to be married
she has made rings
to mark ten years

He never liked adornments
Never needed symbols
to show their bond.
Refused to have his measurements taken
She beats patterns on the precious surface
traces of life, an appropriate touch?

Before he refuses her gift
she destroys it.

She places the glinting piece
in the guillotine,
cuts strips of it,
drops them in a crucible,
lights her jeweller’s torch with oxy and gas,
points the flame,
melts them down
She watches
each bit dissolve
their edges shining,
shrinking
to a glowing ball
of liquid them

Tineke Van der Eecken

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Ashes

She took the redheaded axe, split and taped at the base
swung long arcs,   tore strong wood along grain
again,     again
always the risk    of amputation.

From a confusion of his words
she shaped sharp-edged origami
sort truth in the plicature of open hearts, birds in flight, morning glory
stalked direction in those spaces between runic letters
of caress    and dismissal.

She lay kindling as a fine-hatched bed
saw them as twigs of Ailanthus
tree   of heaven.

He came home with a lighted match
a ready cremation caught     in the bowl of his ribs
his tongue    a harsh flint
his mouth    an opened draught.

Sandie Walker

We Made A Kind Of Blues

He showed me how to use my hands, my full mouth
how to hold, cup the weight,    waver easy
a single,    soulful  tremolo.
He showed me where to place the soft point
of my tongue,   drop the wide root of it
suck,   bend,    blow
a throaty three-note low.
He showed me the tender ways of breath over reeds
to draw a keen lament,    vibrate
a beating staccato,    release a long
slow    wail    of vibrato
with a moist    wet    slide.

I showed him where to place the soft point of his tongue

Sandie Walker

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