Creatrix 23 Poetry

December 2013

Selectors: Peter Jeffery OAM and Chris Palazzolo


Tash Adams

            creative process

            she’s designer


Kaye Brand

            The Face for the Poet


Graeme Butler

            Lines on Suddenly Coming Across a Jam Tree

                                                            At the Foot of Bruce’s Rock.


Faye Teale – Clavi

            MORNING (Sonnet )


Sue Clennell

            History repeats.

“The decapitated body of a female journalist was found in north-eastern Mexico”


Gary Colombo De Piazzi

            Deliberate Proposals of Attack

            Where Did “Make Love, Not War” Go?


Frances Faith



Derek Fenton



Margaret Ferrell



Kevin Gillam



Fran Graham

            Empty Nest

            Tour de France


Mike Greenacre

            Australian Gallery
            Not To Know


Ann Harrison



Kenneth Hudson




Ross Jackson




Karen Murphy

            You’re Slipping Away


Deeksha Koul

            letter to merwin


Alison Matthews

            When wishing isn’t enough…


Mardi May



Max Merkenschlager

            GUM GHOST


Jan Napier

            MORNING COMES


Alan Padgett

            I Feel You Now

            The Moon Escaped From Orbit


Chris Palazzolo



Neil Pattinson

            Xenophobic Metaphor


Michael Pedrana

            rake baslow & religion # 1

            rake baslow & richard the knee-capper # 3


Kelly Pilgrim Byrne



Caroline Sambridge

            Rudolph joins the anorexics


Renee Schipp

            Coming in the back door


Flora Smith

            The ambush 


Lynne Talmont

            Vale Varema


Gail Willems

            THE WATCHER







creative process


I wake early

surviving on milk

and dry crackers


shuffle barefoot

to the bathroom

brush my teeth




by convulsions


through watery eyes

I marvel how

the stomach congealed

my glass of milk

to curds and whey


scrunching eyes

yet when there is

no more to give

my body offers up a tear
one hand holds me

steady over sink

the back of the other

to wipe my mouth


in the beginning

I welcomed the nausea

meant my pregnancy

was taking

your little life strong


for nine months now

morning sickness

all day

and night


last night

the strangest dream

I met you

so perfect


like we’d always

known each other and yet

you had no face


something so wonderful

this miracle of creation

how your little life

so desperately wanted

could make me so sick



I remind myself to savour

my most creative endeavour


Tash Adams



she’s designer


people make the clothes; clothes do

not make a person – Zhang Nah


pull back the bamboo curtain

she holds scissors like shears

to the throat

of the mannequin


rips stitches

to remove an olive collar

hitches up a hem

frays a cuff


left over fabric for a belt

she sews late into the night

on grandmother’s machine


her lamp casts yellow light

through wafts of smoke

cigarette burning

in the ashtray


from the cushion

on her wrist

she plucks a pin

with her teeth

East no longer looks West

Fashion Week over

her up-cycled clothes sell

to help rural women


her designs stitch

a future to the past

she won’t forget where

she’s come from


red heart beats strong

she‘s designer

rainbows of ribbons

butterflies on strings


Tash Adams





The Face for the Poet


It was a single capture.

A passing glance on my part

His face… his being reflected there.

He does not know this moment

For me reflects his future.

Enthusiasm etched uncontained

Pleasing is his pleasure.

He will live his life.

This man in buttercup yellow attire

Melding into the dining room

Replenishing lattes.

His gentleness of soul unmasked in a smile.


Kaye Brand





Lines on Suddenly Coming Across a Jam Tree

At the Foot of Bruce’s Rock.


Your soft yellow radiance

my whole world colouring.

What is integrity

that you should touch me so?

The quiet persistence

of your grey skin

haunts my soul with a burning desire

that I cannot fathom.

Having seen you here

I know I will always be

looking for you again

to feast my senses on something

I cannot attain

but which I need to know

is present in this world with me.


Graeme Butler





MORNING (Sonnet )


Sun shimmers across roof tops hoping to stay

Leaves sway and wave as a breeze brushes by

Flowers lift their sleepy heads to smile away

Charcoal clouds hover, waiting to cry

Birds sing musicals across the courtyard

I relax with a coffee and some toast

As the postman delivers bills and cardsa

I admire the Jasmine climbing the post

Pillows of sand pushed up between cracks

Ants march back and forth as though on parade

The dog on the bench stretches on his back

The water fountain begins to cascade

Quiet comes to an end, as raindrops begin

Dog scampers, leaves float, ant’s hide under the bin


Faye Teale – Clavi





History repeats.


You say that this is not the Egypt

you grew up in,

but pharaohs still topple

and crash in the dust.

Men still mount chariots,

worship the dead,

embalm them with flags.

Forget that their hearts

will be weighed against feathers.


Sue Clennell

Previously published by Speed Poets



“The decapitated body of a female journalist was found in north-eastern Mexico” The West Australian.


Maria was thirty-nine,

the age of your daughter,

sister, wife.

Just doing her job reporting on

smack, horse, junk, skag, shit, brown

A-bomb, Billy, Blackbeauties, Black Tar,

Blow, Bluebirds, Charlie, China White, Coke.

Hearts are still cut out and held aloft

in Aztec Mexico.


Sue Clennell

Previously published by Speedpoets.





Deliberate Proposals of Attack


The splendour of discordant blasts

from dark eyes strike through

puritanical, angel haired visions

held on moon beams.


Slash the melodious excuse

that never rises, submerged

by black clouds in blue eyes.


There is, was, could be

an argument to deliver

the finer expressions as eloquent

as Keats but the words are bound

by restraints unseverable.


And in the floundering clutch

at air, life reverts to the basest

mechanics of survival where defence

is a stronger response than aggression.


Where the opposite view

with its intended thrusts

quickly collapses to deliberate

proposals of surrender.


How the voice escalates

and the harmony deflates

with each parry until

only pieces remain.


Sometimes there is truce born

from the pain in each others eye,

a recognition of the presence

of more than this moment.

Where the past and future combined

hold more sway than this excerpt.


This eruption that is a vent

for something deeper,

something screaming for support

for recognition, despite its nameless face.

So the words stay bitten on the tongue

and the eyes plead for mercy

as the onslaught wavers.


Gary Colombo De Piazzi



Where Did “Make Love, Not War” Go?


Distant constellation growing bigger

under a 1960’s summer, pours the light

through the moon’s dark sieve.


A pre Aquarian embellishment

fighting for the right of free choice

free speech against the rattle of guns

and the corruption of a cold war.


How for the first time, the unconcerned

became concerned, found liberty

in rebelling against society’s constraints

and made love under an umbrella of flowers.


Chose the collective response

against autocratic rule and demanded

a voice to utopia.

How, half a century later

little has changed.


The poor are still poor

the disadvantaged still hunger

and guns still shatter the fabric of society.


Where have the dreamers, the movers,

the shakers gone? So much promise

so little result in a world where the few

manipulate, subjugate and devastate

the global economy and the many suffer

through ineffectual incompetence.

Struggle to maintain a semblance of dignity

as purpose and reward are wiped away.


How refugee and asylum seeker

become synonyms for thief and intruder

in a country struggling to cope with change.

Where the population is force-fed

contrived “reality” TV and party drugs

are the choice of the young.


Generations stepping towards self-destruct

and no one sees the timer counting down

as constellations slowly fade

in the atmospheric haze.


Gary Colombo De Piazzi







After we make love

we are like the ground after rain

heavy and sodden with the sighs we spent

and fertile with new love for the universe

the moss between my thighs

glows with strange steam

as though there might come forth suddenly

a magic to create worlds


After we make love

all sounds are heard anew

our ears open to notice the city again

and the noises outside of our loft

tap timidly

grumbling in a distant reality

asking for permission to exist


When your flesh and mine

touch and make the rain

your hands orchestrate the movements

of our synergy

eclectic, generous

my fingers conduct the alchemy

that makes our barometer spin

We make new elements

and confound the hourglass


After we make love

a little time must pass

while we untangle the strands

of your mind and mine

We gather strength

to walk upon the new world we have made

beginning again

on ground soaked by our rain


Frances Faith







Lying dormant under layers of clay,

terracotta warriors lie in wait,

tenaciously, for that triumphant day.

They lie dormant under layers of clay

until they can fulfill their fiscal fate

fiercely fleecing fortunes from tourists pay-

they lie no more under layers of clay:

terracotta warriors sold at the gate!


Derek Fenton







Village Boy broke today.  Slipping

from my fingers he lay chopped

off at the knees.

Took me back to that birthday

when I handed him over.  Your

smile widened as he joined

the row of Hümmel children

parading the mantel.


Reminds me too of the other

break when you and I

fell apart, our shared tears

fracturing silence –

rupture too wide to fix;

little time as the clock ticked.


Village Boy now stands at

the back of the shelf – he

came together again.

The fault line won’t be noticed,

not now by you, nor by anyone.

But I’ll always know it’s there.


Margaret Ferrell







you walk the land that first breathed

and flamed you.  there’s space, as if

God got bored, stopped, left the rest

to mind’s eye.  scrub lies low, in

sulk, on the scrim, hills. a hawk

loops, spins sky, drops, dives through you,

sews you back to ache and need.


you talk to clouds, sing the wind,

on your back, hours spent with weeds,

slow seep of damp.  then called, home,

to dine on hush and bleed and

grief.  hands froze then, on the wheel

that stole.  ‘you won’t leave’.  you don’t

stay.  you take the first that lands


Kevin Gillam





Empty Nest


I’m discovering miracles in the mundane.

In good weather I’m euphoric

parked at the beach

with a coffee and the newspaper

contentment warming me like wine.


I’ve subscribed to some new ethos

lit up on a different plane

like sleepwalking through

a new and seamless landscape

the moon and stars in the same place

but more familiar.


There’s even a fresh aroma.

I inhale this sweet penance

savour it like bread

fresh from the oven

and store it away airtight

to preserve my absolution.


Floodlit in morning sun

and dressed in awe

I accept the award

and bow graciously,

filthy rich

as the newest

no ties laureate.


Fran Graham



Tour de France


The peloton, a multi-coloured ribbon,

surges across the landscape,

riders’ concentration set

hard as their saddles,

their movement,

fluid as a fish’s tail.

Country coded,

muscle primed and flying,

they transform their fatigue

into ripped determination.

It propels them

across soft velvet folds

of meadow and hillside,

a swaying paintbox.

Occasionally a spill

disfigures the canvas

but mechanically they reform

and flow on like textile,

a sarong wrapping the road,

a pulsating tapestry.

Then holes appear

and the fabric begins to unravel

in the sprint for the line

where heads lift

and pumped fists telegraph victory.


Fran Graham




Australian Gallery

Set apart as the
distinctions of cultural
landscape we
cannot move without
the aura and
charm of lifestyle
following us from
town to face.
Streeton’s Golden Summer –
outback sheep and
scorching sun glaze
observes a greater
silence within,
of sheep beying
through the wind,
the rustle of ears
to sudden crowds
and bar-room
jeers the music of
Roberts, the more
refined with parasole
and petticoats
raising ankles and
finding another brow.
Movement of landscape –
places we all know
and interpret
swing in canvas colour
and hanging lights
to stairs – levels
we cannot escape.
A product of local lives,
of a hundred years –
artistic and philosophic
sweat that pours
through the character
of sun, surf and
outback identities
from Streeton,
Roberts, McCubbin and
Condor who led
the Heidelberg dance.
The pain and pride
of voices echo
through our distant
halls of industry
as a physical world
the mirror in us all.

Mike Greenacre



Not To Know


Today wasn’t a normal day

to find Zoe out after dusk

and even when called

for her to hiss and arch away

as a lioness defending her lair.


Not feeling like the chase and stealth

needed to manoeuvre her inside,

I let her go with the shadows

not realising in half an hour this

Burmese child would return no more.


Looking at you, frozen on bitumen

as if time had momentarily stilled,

you seem larger, with fur shock-

teased, your gaze unchanging

looking further on, past now.


You were a wanderer, just like

the Oriental Siamese, known by

strangers blocks away and the big

black and white cat wandering curiously

past the back glass laundry door.


Telling our children was hardest:

Jaime and her spontaneous waterfall

of tears   and Jonathan, the older

holding his back, shouting: ‘She wasn’t

even a year old!’ his tears wouldn’t let go.


In some ways I’m prepared for

your death, having rehearsed

the loss when you once disappeared,

‘not knowing’ imbuing a stronger hope

that suddenly burst through the door.


As I look at you, snug in your bed

by the camellias, I turn and curl your

body evenly with the shovel, as if

moulding a pot in clay, echoing your

despair: ‘I came running when you called’ …


And I still hear you, scratching, climbing

on the back flywire, absorb your

rich purring memory in early dawn,

watching the black and white cat wander

hopefully, past the glass laundry door.


Mike Greenacre







Your clothes strewn

they echo a sad note,


no ownership

you have gone.


It’s raining now

the window cries.

I peer between the tears,

some run down

some splatter

but they all fall.


I’m alone



my heart beats

but just.


Do you feel….

alone as I do?


are you buying new clothes!


Ann Harrison







This dry brown leaf curled on the ground

lies              still.             Makes no sound.

Has no more meaning than me

or the tree from which it fell.



In tiny distant corners of the Universe

galaxies collide

stars are born and die.

All things fall from some tree

unknowable to you and me.

Leaves upon the ground

outnumber people round the world

since Time began.

What does that mean ?

Something we can never answer

even in our dreams.

Perhaps there’s a Plan we cannot know.

In it we come and change things

for the worse and then we go.


Kenneth Hudson







Reflection at the cross

of short steel bridge

and drainage canal


white gums dead asleep

under streaming

sheets of emerald


and my face midstream

steady trout in pouring current

banks of acid green


for me snake grass

at the edges

too much risk, too extreme.


Ross Jackson





Wedge of suburb served on a cake slice,

delicate petit fours, a place

where crows only call in visiting

hours. Legoland club tennis,

for older folk, only

two games at a time.


Station bound students leave

parkland flats, follow

the mellow garden wall

of railway on Stubbs Terrace

and bursting from the other side,

the golden flowerhead of Subiaco.


Ross Jackson





letter to merwin


surely I know this becoming

the vase is already shattered

why am I always so surprised

it is written on everything

bells that toll along the river

sighing grief of this rain

air wet and your skin warm

in the deepening evening

oil burning in our lamp

your eyes

the smoke and the shore

it is written on everything

how many times I have emptied the ashtray

in worn silence following drowsy goodbyes

my pale reflection in the long mirror

we were talking while the flowers slept

surely I know this becoming

the vase is already shattered

why am I always so surprised


Deeksha Koul




When wishing isn’t enough…



When do you finally decide that enough is enough…


When do you finally say “I can do this no more”…


When do you finally walk away…


…taking with you the last remnants of self…


closing within your heart
that part of your life…


dreams left floating in the words of






one day


for you know deep within
that no amount of wishing
will ever make it so…


switch off the light
close the door


never look back


Alison Matthews







At Maylands station,

brisk along the platform,

she boards a train to Perth.


In a crowded carriage

twittering with schoolgirls,

she takes the Priority Seat.


A sudden shrinking into

these upholstered words

implying some infirmity.


This diminishment

an instant branding

of capacity and age.


From any other seat

she would see much

further down the track.


Some travelers would note

her slump and graying hair,

the lack of a smart phone;


agree with her classification

and resume their texting

to other networks.


Mardi May








Swishhhh …. and I stopped;

a swing of Reaper’s scythe and I lay cropped.

As every life before and life to come,

my journey to the present had begun.

Condensing space

and countless time proceeded to erase

that universe which spawned humanity;

molecular arrangement on a spree.

Matter’s retreat

to antimatter finally complete,

rebuilding into molecules began;

atomic debris swirled in random plan.

Somehow, a spark

of what I’d been regrouped within the dark

and traces of the human that was me

now whisper in this eucalyptus tree.

Max Merkenschlager





You’re Slipping Away


You message less often,

say you don’t have time

for me,

but you have time

to take pictures

of the boy in the sheep onsie,

his hands clenched by his side

and the updates


the people you love,

non of the tags

leading back to me,

the road cut into

the wires on our computers


like the path etched into

the earth by the rivers,

like stone tablets

that survive buried

for thousands of years,


these wire friendships

cut right through me,

leaving me at my laptop



Karen Murphy







Morning comes:

light sliced thin and sharp as lemons

crusted with morphine dreams

tendrils of dark spiked

on shooshed asides.

Morning comes:

nurses   cold white shells

washed by youth and all unknowing

injections a pale glass sea.

Morning comes:

cold tea wafts

floaty as anaesthesia

defleshes the phobia of confusion.

Morning comes:

flickery as old films

relentless as hope

wreaths fade out in shades

of Plutonian repeats.


Jan Napier





I Feel You Now


I feel your pulse

inside me as you love me



I feel your heart

beside me,

valving in waves of luscious force


I feel the pain of your long

term hurt above you, mewling


I taste the acid of your new

found courage at

your tongue’s

wet tip


I absorb your life’s tension

as it slowly dilates


I touch a trace of

history’sjarring darkness


I see a bright

new light shining


I feel your pulse

inside me, moving


I entwine myself

gently with you


You smile, and

shuffle sideways into

love’snew curve.


Alan Padgett



The Moon Escaped From Orbit


a cold mist settled over my hung

world last night, in the midst of glee it

took me by the throat and shook my

verbs from adjacent tangled consonants, it took


my analysis of night transiting to an insipid caustic day to

new worlds of gravitas, tugging hard at

my residual reason, pulling tight the bitter ropes that

entangled my charcoal mood, singing

my remaining courage and turning it to dust


and in the remnant, leftover universe a lone owl cried

with fear as its tears ran hard to

forge a flood, and


then the moon escaped from orbit and fell to my share of

a cold hard razor-edged earth, and I

cried with accelerating anxiety


when the edges of my mood collapsed under

their own weight, and it was night again, cold and

dark and hardening amber, preserving for all time the


sense of abandonment, the knowing loss, the


sorrowful emptiness and


the fatal goodbyes


Alan Padgett







After a gutsful of bikies’ guts the zombies
spread out, temporarily replete, and form
surprisingly orderly lines across
the shopping centre concourse like a parade
of moronic flaneurs. This is not order:
what keeps those arms and legs cybernetic,
what stops that putrid meat from falling
off the bones, resides in the voodoo box
of the director’s mind; but those rows
of shambling carcasses are ripples
of inertia closing over the shivering
specks of terrestrial life until
the cosmic reign of the inanimate is restored.

For Jenn Godfrey


Chris Palazzolo





Xenophobic Metaphor


There’z No Point Denying it

(the un trust)

We Exist

The Un-Educated Types, the Un-Learned, the Un-Schooled,

the Un-Curriculumed

the Un-Disciplined

A Tier that Exists.


As our classless, Fair Go, Denial Society

tries to Clamber onto a Life Ring of Truthfulness,

as the wretched craft of Blame Shifting Gurgles

beneath the surface…


We have a Role to play in this Mosaic of Capitalism

“We all Exist in”

Dis-Inglorious as it maybe

We Have a place, Albeit Menial

Most times we prevail with a Patina of Gladness.


Neil Pattinson





rake baslow & religion # 1



after creating a universe


but forgetting

to create


his sons fate,

was  angered in powerlessness

at the

cruel death of  his son



after long days

of disbelief


god turned his anger

towards the

large sharp  nails


responsible for his sons

tortured state;


in agony

outside a  slow death.


god bellowed

from the frailty of

his kingdom.


‘from this day forth, all nails designed

for crucifixion are forever banished

from the realm of existence’.


as soon had he ended this sovereign ruling


all crucifixion nails




unbeknown by him and his design,

they all soon

slowly returned.


only this time;


calling themselves ,



Michael Pedrana





rake baslow & richard the knee-capper # 3


for xmas

st nick gave him a

bottle of pills with a bottle of rum

after a dear john letter

took him to appetite from

inside the new silence

of his children less

cold house.


All except

some scattered toys


smashed picture frames

splashed on fresh dusty floors

where furniture once shaped and now

smudged from the rush

of  medics footprints,


but still and

empty like an echo.


he doesn’t talk about it,


tough men don’t.


he presses for a nurse,

the drips needle sits uncomfortable inside him.

he eyes down her uniform when she stoops over to assist

and winks to me gingerly,


wrinkles map

his prison-

scarred face.


i scruff his prickly

lumpy head

and call him a stupid bastard.


But there is no lecture,

The thickness of bricks cannot absorb sympathies whisper.


The nurse bottoms away

And he instructs me to whip out

the amphetamines he had me collect from

the booby-trap of  a secret location.


He  rolls a borrowed twenty note

And snorts a line on


bland menu,



Swallowing it in

and sculpturing an

Invincible shape that colours the dim of his eyes



Shaking his scattered dented head from electric delirium,

He props up and

asks me to help him write

a letter to his 5 year old daughter.


awkwardly blurting

he cannot

read or write.


but tell any one


and he’ll kill me.


Michael Pedrana







A decent upwind

flings them, silk trailing

like a glistening anchor.

The exhilaration of not knowing

where the ride will end,

their bodies catapulted into perfect blue

and the silence

as they surf invisible waves.

If and where they land is inconsequential

tomorrow doesn’t matter.


Kelly Pilgrim Byrne





Rudolph joins the anorexics


Rudolph got a shock one day

when Santa told him to go away.

“Rudolph I’ve got this to say,

you’re too fat to pull my sleigh.”


Rudolph decided to take the hint,

he didn’t have much cash – he was skint.

Rudolph dined on Special K

and went to Jenny Craig every day.


He decided not to have much to eat,

bread and water was a special treat.

Rudolph became a health fanatic,

lettuce and carrots did the trick.


His hero became a Barbie doll,

he was losing kilos – he was on a roll.

Rudolph became as thin as a stick

and posed as cameras went click, click, click.


When Santa saw Rudolph he gave a yell.

My chicken soup will really help.

Santa’s help came way too late,

Rudolph succumbed to a terrible fate.


Santa wished he’d shut his mouth

when Rudolph was buried way down south.

Let’s drink up and make a toast

to Rudolph’s anorexic ghost.


Caroline Sambridge





Coming in the back door


like you could wait politely at the front one.

Coming in the back door

like survival was a party, you’re just not invited.

But in all this


we are blind

to the coming from;

coming from a landscape in shadow

where rape is tactical, procedural, political,

hold the daughter still

plant your flag in that dark place,

force the life out of her eyes until she

is pregnant with the violence of it.

Let despair grow round

and firm and hungry.

We say; the welcome mat,

red carpet, flood gates open

when all you see is light

from darkness

a door



Renee Schipp





The ambush 


On a morning ordinary as any other


when Corellas in flight through river gums

tore a shriek of white noise from the sky


and bushrangers chased by troopers

wore the same gaudy colours on the bus shelter,


from the car radio came a singer and a song

Yes, it’s all coming back to me…

all coming back to me now…


making me swing onto the verge, half-doubled over

from a huge punch of pain, a visceral hit.


A passer-by might have seen a woman sobbing,

rocking back and forth in her car  –  holding herself tight  –

a woman who had not grieved enough for a lover.


When you hold me like that….

and you touch me like this…


She still wanted the smell of his skin

and his moving inside her, wanted the walk home

on roads trembling silver under the moon,

joy and guilt jumbled and stumbling beside her.


She wanted that blind, stumbling joy.



Flora Smith

 (The lyrics quoted are from ‘It’s All Coming Back to me Now’, written by Jim Steinman and sung by Celine Dion)





Vale Varema


After sparkly trainers and fashions on the field

After parties and barons and bare feet exposed

After dreams come true and head pieces askew

After all that, an equine, doing his best, breaks  down

so they say

Truth is he breaks a leg poor thing and for some reason has to pass


To all the winners, congratulations

And for the rest, losers like most of us, well its only one day a year, so, so what?

It’s the day we stop and gape at all the equine flesh on display

Forgetting, most of us about the one who breaks down and has to pass

Number 21


Lynne Talmont







on a back road all wrinkles and patches

sliding eyes fall over an eagle

motionless in the roadside dust

the ‘caught in amber’ twist

of fox stealing sideways

watching me

watching it

eagle watches both

from sliding eyes

wrinkled patched anchored

in a sheet by lines of pain

your sliding eyes

twist amber

lights on a bedside monitor

watching you


Gail Willems





She’s changed

tension ties fine wires on her face

rogue cells play with electro sensors

bond with grains of shifting sands

around once lovely bones

fat fireflies on crack microbes jockey for space

in the rivers of blood her ravenous brain searches through

the daily circuits a whirling galaxy of coloured pills

stashed in cupboards and drawers

cancer makes rules outside the law

assassins that enjoy the hunt enjoy the kill

the rasp of sand along the bones

burls of skin and flesh flake off

in the wheezing steam of the black hole

last chance a mutated cell

careens its way in cycles of scream and laughter

relax and die be reborn in space freed up

on the thin edge of rust and bone

as time draws breath in the blood


Gail Willems