Creatrix 21 Poetry

June 2013

Poetry Selectors: Peter Jeffrey and Anne Dyson

Contributors:

anil

great grand sonofamerica

David E Barnes

in hospice –

Graeme Butler

Heroic Gimlets

Sue Clennell

For Dorothy

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Land of Taut Horizons
Where Edges Blur

Larraine Duncan

Rain On Gum

Derek Fenton

How Many People
No Redress

Maggie Fields

No Time to Love

Kevin Gillam

eleven lines for sky

Fran Graham

Royal Society
Safety Initiative

Mike Greenacre

Porongorups to Bluff Knoll

Claire Grose

The Laburnum Tree

Danny Gunzburg

To Megan Of The Crimson Smile And The Honey Blonde Hair

Ann Harrison

The Aisles of Shame

Kenneth Hudson

The Art Of Dying

Ross Jackson

Burswood Ethnography

Christopher Konrad

A Robert Creeley moment
Birds have no knowledge (after Dransfield)

Laurel Lamperd

Secrets

Mardi May

Dawn Service

Dean Meredith

Ode to a Girl with Perfect Lips

Jacqui Merckenschlager

At Palmer Sculpture Palimpsest

Max Merckenschlager

Bogong Moth Eaters

Jan Napier

Everlastings
Southerly Buster

Colleen O’Grady

Christmas Past

Allan Padgett

 Bird

Neil J (BRiLO) Pattinson

ALL The Bunkum

Renee Pettit-Schipp

What Water Brings

Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne

Because We Can

Caroline Sambridge

Football’s Hero

Flora Smith

Melt

Traudl Tan

sound effects

Faye Teale-Clavi

Red Dusty Earth

Joanna Wakefield

The Lift
This Is How I T Could Be
The Single Parent

Mags Webster

Digging Up Persephone
Little Mermaid’s Revenge

Gail Willems

Homecoming

 

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great grand sonofamerica

to hell with the world
and truth unfurled
y patient search
or going to church
and being good
and misunderstood
and brotherly love
and god above
somewhere up there
at the end of the air
and being employed
and elsewise annoyed
with anything more
that i but abhor

nothing matters
but you,
love,
and me

and not even you
but me
me

my country tis of thee

anil  (Chas. Melton at the time it was written, c. 1957)

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in hospice –

sweating
flesh asleep, twists
wrestles winding-sheets
of whiteness –

darkness invades

grey cells ignite
flesh wrapped, shrouded
in an illogical cerebral
unknown strip-fight

debate?

skin
cold-damp hot cold
in whitish fabric anesthetized
soaked fleshy tissue

obscurity nakedness

in a trance
lost to the world, immersed
in nights existence

within
Phantasmal sheets of flesh:

feigned reality
in night’s illusions run
running corridors-winding
images within

an
oblivious’ mind
cries  out
Oh God!
Oh Hell!

David E Barnes

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Heroic Gimlets

1:
To grow a gimlet
You must twist its seed
As you push it into the clay.
As it matures remember
That kindness
Will kill it.
For it needs to grow
As strong or stronger
Than its beautifully sinewed
Bronze skinned peers.

2:
Slim gimlet
Root branched
Desert water pump
Cut and burnt
Pumping veinous water
Across the land

Graeme Butler

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For Dorothy

You were Greek when the water
brushed over you in Crete like milk,
chasing the bees that led to Zeus.
Egyptian, when you outstared the sun,
and scribed for Akhenaten.
Australian, when you trawled madhouses,
and dark winding backways,
sniffing out our murderous intentions.
How else could you run barefoot through
your poetry?

Sue Clennell 

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Land of Taut Horizons

I hear him scry on the cry of a sheep
as it bleats the lonely paddock
spread and burnt under the summer sun.

Walks long coursed strides
that know every furrow in the land.
Feels every chiselled ringbarked tree
with defiant limbs etched into his hand
and the summer dam dry as his tears.

He works into this land that brings harshness
to the words that grate against the growl
of tractor and harvester pummelling the terrain
crop after crop, diminishing under the whip.

Knows the slit throat begging bleat of drought sheep
echoing arid days as they reluctantly drop away.
Endures the tenacious crawl of flies
that suck what life remains to feed and fester
on minutest moisture in black swarm advance.

Everywhere the brittle crack of exhaustion
seeps into each step, each trot, each wing flap
to collect in the shadows of dry gullies.
In the final moments when everything is dust
find reprieve in clouds that billow the taut horizon
with a menace grey to black lumbering slowly forwards.

Rejoice as the first drops pierce the heat haze
spit the reluctant land and build to washout and flood.

This land of pendulum extremes
brands terra into the surrender of existence
strangles the voice with its harsh words
so only the strong survive.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

 

 

Where Edges Blur

Heart as to heat cracked lips
incomplete and strained for succour.
Pouted and pruned in alternating
styles of discovery.

The push pull of each to congregate
a collection of faces the same.
Blonde hair smiles manufactured
to a template racing away
in duplication of peers
screaming independence.

A rough sample of what can go wrong
in the congestion of cities.
The impartiality of faces
that stare ahead, avoid the inflexible hand
track the beggar in everyone.

Caught in the throes of convulsions
a reaction to nightmares and failed relationships
there is a spherical hold on the slightest hope.
The sparkle in rough diamonds that struggles
to escape, to find the flow and trace
the memory to its origin
the beginning of revelation
where one is all
and all is one.

Where the beat of the heart
taps the rhythm to life.
Up, down, in, out
around and around moving
shifting each close encounter
until the edges blur
and there is no me.
Only us.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

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Rain On Gum

Droplets winking crystal like
play hide and seek amongst the branches-
Bark, washed white, glistens.
Eucalypt leaves,  drooping  momentarily
act as host to this passing visitor-
for a moment, the air emulates their colour.
Then the gum bends a languid bough
Sure of its display-
As if so say
This show is my renewal.

Larraine Duncan

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How Many People

How many people, like me, hopeful poets,
are sitting, at this instant, finger poised
on the send button, anxiously.

How many people, like me, are convinced
that their creation might be worth something
and, at the same time, cannot be.

How many people, like me, tremble slightly
before waving their work goodbye
like a child off to boarding school.

How many people, like me, are shattered
when they trudge home defeated and dejected.
as if it were the only thing that mattered.

How many people, like me, crumple up
the sae, but still have the guts
to file away the rejection comments.

How many people, like me, hope to learn
from them, but can’t bear to look,
ignoring them, like a child’s poor report card.

How many people, like me………….

Derek Fenton

 

No Redress

The police arrived to tell her mother
that she was dead carrying her red dress,
the red dress she wore in the accident.
Before they could say a word she fainted
and her husband’s legs gave in, collapsing
to the floor and sobbing into the fabric
he had snatched from the trembling policeman.
At the funeral, the next morning,
my brother and I sat in a back pew
our faces a patch work of fresh stitches.
We had arrived a bit late from hospital
and found it hard to look at her parents’
heaving backs and to listen to their sobs.
We had been told that we were probably
not to blame; someone else had run the light.
We tried not to, but couldn’t stop sobbing.
Later we approached her ashen faced mother,
but I’m sure she didn’t even hear us.
When she looked at us, it was as if
we weren’t even there, her reddened eyes
fixed on eternity, way beyond our heads.

Derek Fenton 

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No Time to Love

Minutes feeling like days
No real concept of time
A bubble floating in the universe
Going stir crazy, drifting

Avoiding sudden movement
Can’t let the teardrops fall
The bubble could burst
With just a heavy sigh

Life running through my veins
Too exciting, must stay subdued
Take control of every heartbeat
No giving in to love

Maggie Fields

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 eleven lines for sky

would have soothed you to have a name
for it’s colour, yes, you had sound –
empty as perfect fifth, singing
of truths to speak in, (even the
album title ‘a species of
falling’), it’s rub of porcelain,
while your actuarial eye re-
calculated the value of

broken flashing, but then it all
went, tongue behind teeth, dragging in
curtains, that delineation,
that feather, fold ‘tween pages, and
you were left, stave with too many
lines, not enough to paint a crow

Kevin Gillam

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Royal Society

Vanessa’s dog accompanies her
into the public toilet.
A little girl comes out of a cubicle.
Dogs aren’t allowed in here, she says.

Vanessa’s friend leaps to the rescue.
Viceroy is a special dog, she says.
And the little girl says okay
then washes her hands and leaves.

Viceroy goes wherever Vanessa goes.
He puts up with not enough
leg room in restaurants
and with Vanessa’s friend
who means well but
means nothing to him.

Viceroy is single-minded.
He doesn’t know about prejudice
discrimination or disability.
and he never stares.

He’s been with Vanessa for years.
He knows her every move
and has no idea
she is blind.

Fran Graham

Safety Initiative

On the highway in my mind
a black spot program operates
slamming doors on black dogs
ugly sounds, horror scenes.
Thoughts that are diseased or
in any way derogatory
descend into hell
too mortal for purgatory
or pragmatism.

White clouds airbrushed on blue

gauzy, translucent, consoling
and the high-pitched peeling
of bells, ring patience and peace.
I don’t share any of it.
There’s never enough to last me
for very long.

When it rains
my tears become meaningless
no one even knows I’m crying.
In fine weather, well, they think
I’m just not trying hard enough.

Fran Graham

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Porongorups to Bluff Knoll
_______ for Tracy

From Karri Chalets
to the foot of Nancy’s Peak,
the sun rises sharply
with rocks and trees
where white arrows remind
us we’re not the first.

We puff our way via
Devil’s Slide and
Hollywood Peak on
igneous & metamorphic
rock – a thousand hardened
eyes watching our gaits
as bookmakers, taking
bets on who will reach.

On top of the Porongorups

rocks flash multicoloured
lichen – white, light-green,
orange and pink – while
twigs become lizards and
wriggling salamander and a lone
grass tree stands resolute
as a palm in this rock oasis.

The Warnsborough Walk
uncoils like a snake as
PeeWees flit through
the slowed breeze   and we
hear the sound of water
rushing as children,
playing somewhere in
this menagerie of leaves.

At Nancy’s Peak the sun
whitens fallow fields, the
Stirling Ranges appear as a
mauve outline becoming
the neck, breast and
legs of a sleeping woman
as Red Gums rise above,
enclosing our trail

as giant onlookers above
clay steps surrounded
by soil   where my girlfriend
and I part on weary
terms   as I straddle the
diced sedimentary rocks
in the shade of duty
and expectation.

I pass the dry ledges
of a waterfall – an absent
friend suddenly missed –
and realise this climb
can’t be captured by
word’s playfulness, away
from the sweat and
camaraderie of rock and tree.

Shale rock peaks

surround this Olympus,
where the wind runs swiftly
as The Gods messenger
gently throwing flower petals
to colour this barren crown.

Mike Greenacre

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The Laburnum Tree

In the summer season in the searing heat
suburban lawns were pale and patchy.
In a quiet side-street garden
I came upon a tall Laburnum tree –
a shady, shimmering golden shower.
Foot-long, pendulous festoons of flowers
loomed large like lit lanterns
challenging the sun.
Cascading leaves on elongated stalks
shone glossy green in trifoliate defiance;
fade resistant in a sun-kissed sky.
In steep Clovelly, Devon, once
was such a tree grown just to ornament.
Here, I found its
shade was also pertinent.

 Claire Grose  

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To Megan Of The Crimson Smile And The Honey Blonde Hair

She doesn’t know I’m here, like I’m from another realm,
like I’m on a sea-tossed boat, with no one at the helm.
Megan of the breath, the crucifix and dice,
I’m bowing at your feet, don’t make me do it twice.

Megan with the golden hair, your face like honey moons,
your eyes like diamond nights, your voice like sacred tunes.
You’re standing like some painting, that I’d buy with my last dime,
you’re moving like some shadow, that exists in cosmic time.

And I’d have to take that shadow, you know without disgrace,
and I’d move it into sunlight, as it dances on your face.
And I’d write you fifty sonnets, and I’d paint your portrait fine,
and I’d sell my heart to mirrors, if you’d see me one more time.

Megan of the golden hair, it’s like I’m from another star,
so let’s sing another poem, as we dance on my guitar.

Danny Gunzburg

published in Poetry d’Amour Love 2013, Poems for Valentine’s Day

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 The Aisles of Shame

Today I walked the aisles of shame
there were whisperings,
did you hear them?
We are dying and you are buying
Put it back and choose another.
I reached again a hand emerged,
then a face,
a fin,
a tree,
sounds of  jungles echoed
native creatures trapped;
on shelves,
plastic containers,
styrene  boxes,
cellophane and
card board wrap.
I blink my eyes to gather focus
reached again
another scream.
We are dying and you are buying
put it back and choose another.
I read the label….obituary
is it true?
The contents list a natures hero.
They speak!
You don’t seem to understand
you can’t replace us or this land.
A great disaster.
You take our food
our lives,
pollute the waters,
burn our forests to fuel your needs.
Sorry! you say?
So banal your retort.
Catastrophe the real response.
The cards are stacked,
you are dealing.
 

Ann Harrison 

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The Art Of Dying

He takes the dirty rag away from his cough
looks into it with a gap-toothed grin
seeing it’s as bad as he figured
confirming his decision
there’s no better way to finish his days
than by gradually dying.
He’s made an art of this.
“You’re lookin’ poorly” old friends say.
“Yep” he replies happily.
“Ain’t got long to go I guess”.
Another line in his sketch :
“Self-Portrait Of Death”
in pencils and charcoals.
Years and still not finished yet.
He’s also drawing you and me.
Stark portraits of gradual death.
He coughs again more blood and phlegm.
Sharpening charcoals and pencils

Ken Hudson

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Burswood Ethnography

Uncle Nick laid tar for The Council
leant against gates
once sharing with a pollie
his safety helmet and orange vest.

In lizard skin boots and satin shirt
the weekend Nick held forth
with his jackal voice
unnerving Skippy visitors:

I’m a Paler-stinian terror- wrist
the second
Ay-dolf Hit-ler!
Superannuated casino winner

Uncle Nick went all in
cardiac arrested by belly dancers
sequins in his hair
stuffing bras with cash.

Ross Jackson

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A Robert Creeley moment

_______ Cloud: clown juxtaposition on acute skyline
_______ Cloud: beckons to Cousin River
_______ Water up         water down

Crows picking at scraps on Black Mountain
_______ City: silver sleek vacuum in the night
_______ Glass Valleys: slanted glance across the crag
_______ View in                       view out

Vertiginous moratorium
_______ Crow eyes me with zero eyes
_______ Hunched feathers like black avalanche
_______ Feed upon ground       feed within the sky

Vestigial remnant
_______ To snatch insect from floating web
_______ The day is a circle of city, cloud and crow
_______ This has never been    this has always been

Christopher Konrad

Birds have no knowledge (after Dransfield)

We feign control         or exercise it over others
Even fields of wheat that wave free are next boxed for breakfast
Of this birds have no knowledge
It is children that teach us how to fly, says Dransfield
Who died young          who could not get the machine
Out from under his skin          Fallow furrows
Await me too and perhaps he saw what was coming
Machine and mastery              mastery and machine
Birds teach no knowledge
Great tomes       vast fields       skyscraper-canyons

But time drifts like a sliding door

Time comes with the gift of the syringe
And so, the deceit of mastery where the skies play like god
With the birds of zero
With the birds of Zen

Christopher Konrad

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Secrets

We have secrets, my sister and I.

When she was sixteen
she left without telling our mother
to stay with out father in another state.

Our mother was seared to the bone
when she found the note
on the kitchen table.

My sister, my father’s favourite
found our parents marriage break up
devastating.

I haven’t told anyone about it
my sister said when she was dying.
Not even my children.
She hurt all her life
she had wounded our mother.

Laurel Lamperd

published March 09 – Bravado mag NZ

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Dawn Service

In the pre-dawn light
no breath of wind
stirs the mirror lake.

Flags half-mast,
drape the flagpoles,
one white star visible
and a bugle’s clear note
floats on the still air.

It is an Anzac morning
of tracksuits and medals,
the Lion’s sausage sizzle
and its battalion of buns.

The hopeful brought cushions,
but it’s standing room only
shoulder-to-shoulder,
Aussie-style, in the close dark.

A didgeridoo awakens
the kookaburra song
from its ancient land,
and a jet plane roars
across the dreaming sky.

Magpies herald the sunrise,
a sleepy child cries
and the Lord’s Prayer
is a whisper to God.

In the wreath-laying silence,
a man’s stomach rumbles
like distant gunfire.

Mardi May

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Ode to a Girl with Perfect Lips

Half a kiss from those full lips
Why did I have to go?
Because it was late
And the morning sun
Was up and waiting

I couldn’t work
I couldn’t think
My mind was yours
Developing photos
In dark red light
Secretly in my room

When I saw you next
In the bar alone
You ignored me so well
It hurt but I liked it
Not knowing why
But it seemed right

Then the next time
You were fine again
Clear skinned eyes bright
Smile like a dream
And half a kiss
From those full lips

Oh yes
Half a kiss
And those full lips

Dean Meredith

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At Palmer Sculpture Palimpsest

No show off, this one.
Cropped short, the peabush
crabs stealthily sideways
searching for security,
pretending to be moss
or lichen on the rock.

Forever subjugated,
it sprouts low, cringing
against grey granite,
keeping its head down,
toughing it out.

Through dry-ice dawns
and furnace days,
through wind forever grinding,
this tiny sculptured mound persists.

When Spring explodes,
a lava flow of golden peas
erupts between
bold granite buttocks.

Jacqui Merckenschlager

in ‘Captured Moments’ published by Ginninderra Press 2010.

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The Bogong Moth Eaters 

Leaving unencumbered homes
they lightly faced the day,
with little food they’d supplement along the way,
with tools of trade and barter
each could carry in his hands,
with dilly-bags and digging-sticks to reap the lands.

Their factory was mobile,
every worker self-employed;
school was in – each child enjoyed.
Excesses of their recent camp
were melted off and purged,
vacation and employment merged.

Relatives were neighbours
and a life-supporting crew,
spiritual experiences grew.
They’d feast on moth tomorrow,
or tomorrow,
with give and take, not beg or steal or borrow.

Max Merckenschlager

published in ‘Lifemarks’ published by Ginninderra Press 

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Everlastings

Those crepy crenellations    those buttressed throats
perfect repeats of chlorophyll and form.
A Tunguska in nano
pink  white   purple   obliterates the pindan.
Spared the fuss or fol de rols of religion
or its lack these elemental activists explode
annually    remind us that though withered
as spinsters unpicked     and of humble stock
Cephalipterum Drummondi seeds its own
resurrection more easily than centuries
of natron packed Ptolemys.

Jan Napier

Southerly Buster

Ravages the coast     veils sand hills like harem girls
shies shingle at beachgoers.
Tin whistles eerie around back sheds.
Bang bangs a Ginger Baker solo
upon undone shutters.
Pssts and opportunes from sly alleys
a trollop long past her best
and too debauched for care.
Snaps guy ropes    tents collapsed soufflés
or flapping wild     storm torn sails
on a clipper caught rounding the Horn.
Flings grit upon the bucking backs
of Poseidon’s stallions the way the years
pepper young girls with liver spots
shrink wraps  them with prune skin.

Jan Napier

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Christmas Past

The search for the right gum,
Busy fingers making streamers.
Yells that a dust storm has come
To stir up all the dreamers,
Everyone set off all a-running
Jumping into government dam.
Followed by a frenzy, cleaning and scrubbing,
Organising a baker to do the ham,
Battling all the flies and the heat;
‘Twas the days before fancy chillers.
Cooking up good things to eat,
Seeking out the stocking-fillers.
Clickers’n clackers, whistles ’n drums,
Chockies ‘n lollies ‘n Stones ginger beer.
Comics ‘n cards ‘n something with sums,
Spreading around happy Christmas cheer.

Granddad on the lawn with harmonica a-going

Mum with a headache and Dad with his grog,
Kids going crazy with goodies a-playing
Nanna makes a cuppa to fight hair of the dog.
These were our Christmases of days of yore
We remember with nostalgia what went before.

Colleen O’Grady

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Bird

A very frightened pigeon,
eyes bulging
blood leaking
beak pleading
soundless bird words –

hit by a car, I
reach down to wring
its neck, we are
surrounded by gawking
train travellers,
most helpless –

poor fucking pigeon,
look at you! –
what to do ….

Ha!  It flies a

metre and flops
once more,
eyes getting more|
desperate
writing farewell
notes to mother.

And then, a young
man slides off the
escalator and swings
his boot and tries to
kick its head in.

I yell at him
‘you fuckhead bastard!’

and he fucks off
fast, and then –
the crippled bird
flies another metre,
lands on the
elevator, and ascends
skyward.

I catch the train

home and wonder
why such an apparently
clever species
can descend to
such violence against
a defenceless
bird, why we love the
odd spot of hard-edged,
consciously released,
interspecific violence.  Especially
when the victim
has no chance of
fighting back.

I cannot see the rest,
but I imagine bird
arrives flopping and
falls off the
top of the escalator
and pleads some more,
and bleeds some more,

and then it quietly
dies – and wonders in its dying

why we hate it.

Allan Padgett

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ALL The Bunkum

__________________________ All The Advice
______________________________ has been Given
__________________________ All The Books
______________________________ have been Written
__________________________ All The Words
______________________________ have been Spoken
__________________________ All The Literature
________________________________ Read
__ All Abuse
________ been Abolished
__ All Atrocities
________ Committed
__ All Austerity
________ Defeated
__ All Accomplishment
________ Completed
__________________________________ All Policy Written
________________________________________ Deleted
________________________________ All Authorities Assembled
________________________________________ Dismantled
________________________________ All Governance Structure
________________________________________ Redundant
__________________________________ All Corporate Entities
________________________________________ Retarded
_______________________ All Mythology
______________________________ now History
_______________________ All Sorcery
______________________________ deemed Medieval
_______________________ All Philosophy
______________________________ proven Defunct
__ ALL BUNKUM
____________ now Humankinds lot                    {*:-) 

Neil J (BRiLO) Pattinson

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What Water Brings
______
Cocos (Keeling) Islands

We come down to the shore
to find what the tide will offer us
its icons of history and happenstance
layers of leaving behind

past the outer islands
refugees are escorted into the atoll
navy vessel grey, fishing boat festive
jubilant in sunlight

within the lagoon’s still waters
the officers insist on life jackets
clothing the Tamils
in orange irony

from SIEV to zodiac
zodiac to customs
customs to shore, shore to bus
they are watched, guided, guarded
a headline brews

but we see none of this
searching amongst the seaweed
finding thongs and bulbs and bottles
a figurine minus his head

later, we drive through palms
beneath tall towers of cloud,
past the Quarantine station where
the bus has just arrived
and the dust
will not settle.

Renee Pettit-Schipp

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 Because We Can

You’re nearly five
not a babe, not a toddler, well on your way
to wherever it is you’re going
which this week is a scientist who brings back
the Thylacine and Woolly Mammoth
but mostly when asked what you want to be
you say, me

and I think, how perfect
because didn’t we all want to be just me
before we fell under the shadows cast by those who said,

you can’t
reach for the sky and pull the piñata string
freeing stars like falling butterflies
showering them across the globe
because someone somewhere right now could do with a little light.

you can’t
make a difference to how people feel
just by smiling at them even though that smile
let loose on the world might spread like a healing balm
because someone somewhere right now could do with that contagion.

you can’t
fight injustice because it’s not cool to care anymore
even though that rage brought close to your heart
will sync with its powerful beat and compose a symphony
because someone somewhere right now could do with your passion.

you can’t
colour the sun pink because that’s not the colour of the sun
but what if the sun inside is blushed up like a plum
and all you’re doing is showing its true colours
because someone somewhere right now could do with a rainbow.

you can’t
be impulsive, you must plan your intentions, call them your bucket list
but what if you emptied that bucket and just did life
and didn’t even imagine you might get to everything before you die
because someone somewhere right now could do with eternity.

you can’t
save the trees because there’s only one of you
but what if you planted just one seed in your garden
and talked to it, grew its canopy as wide as a country
because someone somewhere right now could do with that shelter.

you can’t
stop to save a fallen traveller because it’s too risky these days
but what if we reached deep into our primal self and discovered
not fear but bravery so big you can’t find the edges to unravel it
because someone somewhere right now could do with that courage.

And what if instead of losing us along the way
we light this joint so bright that only a Mammoth
returned from the cold could cast its perfect shadow.

Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne

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Football’s Hero

The force be with you, said God to the world
as over an oval a football He hurled.
God is the coach of the Fremantle Dockers,
and over the years they’ve been a bunch of shockers.
There’s good against evil like the theme of Star Wars,
they’ve been battered and bruised, covered in sores.
God is their hero – he’s on TV.
It’s really good viewing for you and for me.
If you want to go to Heaven watch a game of the Dockers,
where their goals will grow and come out chockers.
He will lead the Dockers to the finals in the AFL
and all the other teams can go to that other place.

Caroline Sambridge

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Melt

What will happen
when glaciers melt, permafrost is dry
and the last wolf is gone from the woods?
The old people will still talk of how they herded reindeer
but their grandchildren will ask:
What are reindeer?

In lands where there was never ice to melt
________ we’ll find the fertile soil has left the farms,
________________ blown by angry winds bereft of rainstorms,
leaving behind the bones of things that were: ribs
of cattle, scratch of fenceline, stumps of trees and houses.

When the animals we knew
have gone from plains and wild places
to be bred in zoos and seen in picture books or film,
we will live in great glass domes, remembering such things
as beaches under softer suns and wearing wool for winter.

When that time comes
the Goddess of the Southern Seas
will turn her back on us, unpin her strands
of silver hair which hold in place that crown of white  –
________________________________ the great Antarctic ice sheet.

Then all the waters of the world
________________  will sigh in unison, rise up
________________________    and banish any lifeform back to its beginnings.

Flora Smith

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sound effects

no wing beat heard
or swish of feathers
a sudden midnight shriek
close to dome tented
imagined security

more heart rending wails
almost human
in crescendo and tone
bone chilling screams
slash like daggers

sounds so very eerie,

haunting and  pitiful
seemingly full of pain
anguish, utter loneliness
bleakest desolation

assault the cosiness

of a sleep filled swag
instant trepidation
crams the space to meet
the cacophony from outside

gone the marvel
of a star studded heaven
dancing flames and
eucalypt scent wafting
from the camp fire

bush stone curlews
swiftly split the night
summon a different reality
their calls said to be
frightened spirit voices

dead Aboriginal children
crying for their mothers –
could it be
that curlews like children
may be afraid of the dark ?

Traudl Tan

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Red Dusty Earth

Out in the dessert, earth red and dusty
This volatile land where the spinifex sways
The grass crackles with dryness I search the distance
Wonder what lies beyond?

Meshed in the silent surrounds
Peace calms turmoil within
I sift red sand through my hands
Slithering grains gently cascade to the ground
Wonder what lies beyond?

Into the remoteness I reach out
Experience a beauty that astounds
Sun scorches this burnt land
Elicit the mountain range
Towers with elegance, placid
Secretly watching.

A stroll near
It’s breathtaking
Creation revealed – exhilarating
Makes my heart palpitate in awe
Image captured
I know that beauty in the wilderness can be found
No more to wonder what lies beyond
In the silent distant red dusty land

Faye Teale-Clavi

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The Lift

I gave a lift to Mrs. Thurston
he said, for conversation at the end of the day.
I watched my mother’s face distort
as I pictured the local roundabout,
of my dad sweeping up a woman in his arms,
and lifting her, carrying her.
why do you lift people? asked
my 5 year old  wide eyes, 

as my mother turned away.

Joanna Wakefield

This Is How I T Could Be

Where devils may drip and dabble
And gallop through  dreams

Where black headscarved women
Kneel humbly before golden crosses
Tying their sins tightly to priestly cassocks
Whose words are GOD
Whose reasoning may be devilled
Whose defiance may be latent.
These are the wretches that bind
Themselves into confined balls of fear
Never daring to question
As a trapdoor covers any aspirations
Any possibilities of a life with happiness
That permits singing, or an unfettered mind
With no weeping or wailing of despair
Or thoughts of  “this is how it could be”.

Where between their dark robes
Between their legs
Hangs their power
Like a dark jewel,  glowing
Empowering as those before have done
Passing down like a black noose
It festers male to boy, male to girl.

Joanna Wakefield

The Single Parent

I lie
My body,
My soul
Curved on the bed
Rounded and dipped
Like a gentle river bend

I cry

When I walked passed the 7/11
The pang of loneliness
Filled my throat
As I tried to fill those long weekend hours
Pushing the stroller into emptiness
Walking to the one open shop
For something to do

The heat grips me
Suffocates my head
With swollen lymphs
That long to burst
And release that stored emotion
as those dark times return

Waking mornings to baby crying endlessly
The little voice that wouldn’t ask for help
Lonely Sunday afternoons
When  all  the world was at play
Or asleep
And I wasn’t invited

Few friends with children
Nobody to compare milestones
Where clinic visits were a joy
For the   company.
Where I had you pushed into childcare,
So I could work
When really I’d prefer to
Lay at home
Take time
And not have to worry
About juggling dollars
With time and
Exhaustion

Tears pour now
Hundreds and thousands
Long overdue
Cascading hot
Down to blubbery lips
That  are now furrowed from worry
Releasing those molecules of emotion,
Easing my  throat .
My heart is heavy
And flutters with the past
Catching up

I want to get well
And spend lots more summers
(and  cold winters)
With you
I want  you to be loved unconditionally
As you are

Joanna Wakefield

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Digging Up Persephone

When I pulled you from Earth
you were sticky with worm casts,
your torso a brindle of glistening trails,
a map glazed by mourning. You tried
to cover yourself with your hand,
with your hair, but Death had made
you beautiful—you did not need to hide.
You lifted your head, and you smiled at me,
your mouth placental with pomegranate seeds,
a spatter of shrapnel torn from the fruit,
and I kissed your brow, as I always do
at this time of year. Once, you would clamber
up through the clay, but this time I had to
exhume you. Your surrogate, Earth,
would not give you up, she wanted your body
to stay underground, and though I am jealous
I understand why. Up here the seasons
are fevered and harsh, the air holds close
its embargo of rain. This world is no place
for a daughter of mine. Yet each dearth
you conquer, your white arms outstretched.
You have no need of a mother, a mid-wife.
You force yourself up from the womb
of the grave: a lady who rises, red hair ablaze.

Mags Webster

this poem appeared in Imprint (12), an annual anthology of writing published in Hong Kong

  

Little Mermaid’s Revenge

I
Tonight the equinox works its levers on the ocean.
This is the last time I can pretend.  Spring tides
recede, steal my colour, seep away my human form.
I am tired of being shaped like a fork, walking
on knives. In the mirror, I seem the same
but for a blurring, a frosting of brine. Then,
at my throat, a sudden ladder of gills,
scales brim the cups of my hands. I knew
it would happen, this slow erasure, the stealth
of osmosis. I am glad, it has been hard, resisting
the grain  of the earth, stranded by shallowing land.
I’m ready for the action of sand, the urgent sea.

II
I am about to surface, breathe
the last of this feathered space.
I despise this air, too shallow
to swallow, I pine for the deep.
This is when the planet succumbs
to the suck  of tide, the ocean
smears the dark with its salt and spit.
Night after night I have stayed
awake, clinging to the rhythm
of the moon. The chill of her colour
silvers me, already I feel scales
beneath my skin.

III
You think you are the one
that got away, but you
are my prize, my catch.
Tonight I’ll gut and bone you,
force apart your flesh. And she,
who sleeps beside you,  I will
flense and slice. The milky lustre
of your meat is far too good to waste.

IV
Remember I warned you
the sea is always hungry?

Mags Webster

this poem appeared in Imprint (12), an annual anthology of writing published in Hong Kong

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Homecoming

Within the slap and sting of sunlight
the listening city breathes beneath my feet
roads double starched and ironed
unwind the tangled morning
I come trailing mountains on my knees
hurts twist like scars across the memory
slice me till I’m thin

Wind   chimes
flutters a row of holed cans
soldiered on barbed wire
a heart on its knees hears Mozart in a shot
smoke stutters on a wayward breeze
watching shadows stretch and vanish.

Through a bullet of light
time moves on fractured hands
this future is an unknown house

Gail Willems

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