Creatrix 24 Poetry

March 2014


Selectors: Peter Jeffrey and Flora Smith

Publication Managers: Jan Napier and Gary De Piazzi





John Bird



Graeme Butler

Amidst The Wattle


Sue Clennell



Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Caressed With The Point

End Point


Derek Fenton

Mourning Madiba


Margaret Ferrell

That Other Road


Kevin Gillam

(not enough words for those to be tongued)


Fran Graham

The Reading Group


Mike Greenacre

Moon On Monday


Ann Harrison

The Storyteller


Kenneth Hudson

Marron Fishing


Ross Jackson

To Melt The Igloo


Alexis Lateef

Port Town

The Icarus Question


Mardi May

Between Poems


Alison Mathews



Carol Milner

Under The Jacaranda


Jan Napier


Turned On

(an ode to ironing)


Virginia O’ Keeffe

It Is A Time


Ron Okely

He Stands Upon The Cockroach f His Dreams


Allan Padgett

Favourite Child

Dark In The Bleeding


Chris Palazzolo

Figures Qualitative And Quantitative



Joyce Parkes

Drinking Water



Lynne Talmont

The Disappeared


Faye Teale-Clavi



Rose van Son

At Riverglen



Gail Willems

Fremantle Prism Prison

The Intimacy Of Silence

(journey of an intravenous line)







On our back verandah

all the family has gathered

for a full moon ritual. The house

has been turned off, shut down.


At our back fence

eucalypts are assembling;

their ethereal crowns find form

against a tinge of mellow light.


What do you see? – our game
of finding castles and dragons

in campfire embers – Nothing,

my lie smuggled into the gloom.


A ridge of silhouetted footwear

shapes our verandah’s edge.

Smells of jasmine and fetid feet

invest the interregnum.


What do you see? – but I don’t

want this emerging world to be

anything but itself. Trellis shadows

crosshash our newfound bodies.


The rising moon steps down

limbs of our garden hoop pine;

its bushy end-knobs harbour

lorikeets paired in colourless sleep.


And all this is a kind of coming:

we are baptised, reborn, made whole

by wash of a moon that absolves

every tree, bird, boot and family.


John Bird




Amidst The Wattle


Amidst sparse branches of the wattle

Two pale blue butterflies

Suddenly finding each other,

Dancing in unpredictable unity,

A synchronized zigzag,

An impromptu, heightened tango,

Light as the weight of dreaming,

Startling as any two pale blue sapphires

Sparkling in the air.

But look out little gems –

For here fossicks a Willy Wag,

Cheeky, frivolous and sifting.


Graeme Butler





Next door’s hen went to the corner

of the fence to die.

Cats and dogs slink under the house.

But children die everywhere,

the Sudan, Syria, Nigeria.


Sue Clennell




Caressed With The Point


An eternity of wanton libido

washed your skin, swept its caress

through ravines and dark gullies

meshed with matted hair.

Held the scent to creep

into each crevice of you.

Touch the electric feel of flesh on flesh

in excited anticipation.


How the breath labours its ragged edge

deeper, harsher in exhalation

only to fall in collapse.

The surrender and domination

curled into each other’s frantic grasp.

The frenetic presence of self

devoured by the voracious need

of tongue on tongue.


The exquisite dining on exotic morsels

tucked into the crease and fold of you.

An adventure in every lick.

And still the world moves oblivious

to the constant rotation of lovers

and wives, call girls and strippers

kept to the dark shadow of fantasy.


Each trick, each supple movement

choreographed to the secret desire.

Building, trashing in the escalation

higher and higher until there is no more.


No more breath, no more movement.

A stasis of surrender where

there is no separation

no distinction of self.

Only the point of light

exploding, consuming

in the ultimate gasp.


The expelled “oh God”

point of divination where God is

and was  on the tip of the tongue.


Gary Colombo De Piazzi



End Point


The hard, real world at the wing of us

stirs the current, dips the flesh of us

and swifts away what may come.


two sea shells


in the waves


Flips an introverted day

into a night of excuses and wild motions

that simmer through the longing look.

Cascade eyes that drift and hold

to curves and flesh.

The slow grind lacking subtlety

in the eager consumption of air.



tied to wild gyrations

lead by wind


Left to intoxication, memory falters

wipes out, as lights glare and music

collapses to noise, the staccato thump

pounding, drawing back to itself.

A single note in the cacophony of night.

A tremor caught in the dark expanse

of uncertainty shimmering towards the edge

the point of falling over.



its last spiral

to the ground


Gary Colombo De Piazzi




Mourning Madiba*


Why is the sky crying today

more than usual for December?

Madiba has just passed away-

Why is the sky crying today?

It’s time for us to remember

everything that he had to say.

That’s why it is crying today

more than usual in December.


Derek Fenton

* Nelson Mandela




That Other Road

after Robert Frost


I stride along it –

that other road in the wood

and find the path full

of surprises:  rocks and twists

to make me falter,

a still point of calm water,

the sun breaking out

and greenness in my being.

To take that other

road meant risk but also a

certainty I  could

not deny.  This certainty.

comes but rarely in a life.


Margaret  Ferrell




(not enough words for those to be tongued)


so you’re better tonight


read better as bandaged


and you’ve had instincts of


two bars plus fermata,


but as you ascend the


serendipity of


the blind you begin to


what the morrow might bring.


so see it as a jour-


down the fingerboard of


‘cello, from middle C


aural stratosphere, hear


it as the primaeval


of chords i to vi, you


as flotsam, tossed, pikefish,


eye away from weed. for


now, collapse into this


orary place of ease.


what hovers? velour wait-


room, lino moment. door


begins, he opens. in


“your scans, yes, they’ve come back”


Kevin Gillam




The Reading Group


I had really enjoyed the novel.

It had substance

and wonderful characters

survivors mostly

a spinster

a couple of crazies

an amputee

an over-zealous priest

and a homosexual.


The discussion moved along nicely.

Then –

Freaks!  she said

They’re all freaks!

I want to read about normal people.


I was just beginning to like her

when she vomited this up.

In my quest for like-minded

women one can trust

she suddenly didn’t rate.


As she seemed such an expert

on freaks and their unsuitability

to be characters in novels

I decided not to mention I had

a daughter with mental illness

two damaged brothers

a son-in-law in a wheelchair

a disability myself

and that I was a lesbian.

As I left the café

I struggled to stay upright

under the weight

of my disappointment.


Fran Graham

Recently Highly Commended in the FAW Tasmania Norma and Colin Knight Poetry Award.




Moon On Monday


There’s something about

the moon on Monday,

this time of night

when the air is as still

as a vacuum, life echoing

like an empty room.


And you out late walking

with Julie and our baby

pushing our domestic yard

down streets, leaving

an extended verbal trail,

the steady moonbeam

coaxing you on, reaching

out further than words.


The familiar neighbour’s

lights stare their welcome

and cicadas count out

your steps like a coded

password, as Ben the dog

barks through the shadow

of grass trees creating

an imaginary shield.


Yes, there’s something

about the moon on Monday,

this time of night, as if

it knows I’m here alone

waxing and waning

what’s within.


Mike Greenacre




The Story Teller



the truth spills like guts



as the story teller speaks.

She is at their mercy

she hears her life, for the first time.

Her mind spins


deep within a scream



 It starts to rain.


The sun has taken leave.

No rainbows.

The cradle was empty

she cannot block it out

the truth


Now she aches,



A chill,

not wanted

no more doubt.


Ann Harrison




Marron Fishing


At this time in summer ?

Utter madness.

But the kids nag us

with last night’s drunken promises.

The dam’s a stinking muddy jungle

rotten branches & forest crud.

The creek a desperate trickle.

A few tiny hopeless “pools”.

A hole-filled net & bucket.

Miraculously we find one.

A barely-shelled tiddler.

Too young we tell the kids.

Let it live.                    Grow bigger.

They’re disappointed but see reason

in that so gently place it back.

God knows how long it’ll last.

We trudge home    grubby   sweaty

but tired kids are happy.

Our total attention their real catch.

Women grateful for the afternoon rest

so I guess it was a success.

The boys do boisterous boy-things

but the pubescent girl is silent.

I can see what she’s thinking.

Too young.                   Let it live.

Skirting the edges of what God is.

She at least caught something big.


Kenneth Hudson




To Melt The Igloo


She freezes

over the couch,

her head bows under

the probe of a 50’s

standard lamp.

Pre-packaged, friendless

days congeal and whiten

like baking fat.


From her kitchen

she sees out to threadbare washing

receives from outdoors

the chill of a wattle bird’s



Isolation concentrated in a lit fag.

On facing the mirror

what she sees on her own face

is the head of a mop.


To melt the igloo of

her contracting life, she

solicits the sun, bending

her back in backyard

vege garden.


As she breaks apart

straw mulch, clustered

slaters bolt and above her

bracelets of scarlet bottlebrush

hum with bees and colour.


Ross Jackson




Port town


By day she sees them

framed against the sky,

gleaming steel and paint,

steady hull, stern and bow

and sun flashing on portholes.


She doesn’t mind the cold

or the seagulls that

crowd her at midday.

She likes being close

to a line of departure,

to structures brimming

with a promise of going,

the sloping beach where

she sits to watch the sun

sink somewhere

beyond her vision.


The town is a bustle of

tourists and day trippers,

locals soaking up cider and sun,

coffee-dry laughs

and the smell of fish,

narrow, art-peppered laneways

and the old man on the corner,

playing the concertina.


She doesn’t think of planes now

when she thinks of flight;

at night she dreams of

a picture frame

without the picture,

of steel and paint

and portholes gleaming

like pale eyes in the dark,

watchful, unwavering,

piercing her with

inanimate understanding.


Alexis Lateef

(first published Uneven Floor)



The Icarus question


Crossing a highway

I can see from the corner

of my vision

the twinkling dot of a car,

leading the next burst of traffic

I have enough time but

as I cross imagine impact,

skin crushed against steel and

the high probability of being thrown straight up,

considering highway speed,

considering the speed the car

will actually be doing

I imagine, in the six seconds

while I’m crossing,

the rush of air a farewell kiss,

arms spread out reaching

a crescendo in the sky,

horror heavy eyes tracing my arc,

and for a moment, just myself,

lighter than bone,

flying through the air

like I am reaching for the sun

So I wonder, crossing to

the safety of the other side,

my own morbidity surprising me,

whether human beings will

ever stop wanting

feathers, the sky,

to be burned by the sun


Alexis Lateef




Between Poems


In the calm between poems

the poet trawls through

the journal of lost words;

reels in a line left dangling,

lure for a thought in the ebb

and flow of a rhythmic sea.


And then,

the tidal wave.


In a dry spell between poems

the poet searches the sky for

a coalescence of cloud,

for that flash of lightning,

a random fall of summer rain;

the ‘if’ and ‘when’ of drought;


And then,

the storm breaks.



Mardi May






Pieces of life’s puzzle

fell into place

the moment

I heard your words…


Hours spent sharing

the details of the fabric

that makes us who we are…


Foot steps taken knowing

we share the same view

even though you

see the sun

when I see

the moon…




The word spins

continues to spin

through my thoughts




Do I have to face it?




The details in the fabric


but stay the same…


We still share the same view

even though you

see the sun

when I see

the moon…




Alison Mathews




Under the Jacaranda




This I know,

heart’s blood – Pohutukawa,

Rata, flowers

red. But what is this –

this fine singing hue, this

Jacaranda? I thought the sky

was blue.





We need new words, said the radio announcer,

words for the new technologies, words for

the brave new world.


But I’m down the garden, I said. Under the Jacaranda.

Besides, I’m not finished naming the old world yet –


Let him stride off, like Burke and Wills, into a

brave new world. All their camels, horses

and cabbage tree hats didn’t save them, nor bring

them back to Coopers Creek a half day earlier.


What use was ‘DIG’ carved into that tree’s bark?

What use the buried letter, full of words?


No thank you, I say to the radio announcer

with a wave  – Go ahead without me.


I’ll stay here, reclining, like the Buddha,

wondering at sky and tree – loosening my attachment

to ‘purple’, ‘blue’ and ‘indigo’; waiting for the next perfectly

strange flower to fall and kiss my bare arm.





Inside this purple globe

one pendant seed pod


swings. Is it disguising

the plurality of winged


black seeds –

new worlds of purple?


Or is this swinging whirl –

this ‘O’ inside the tree’s


own world to be the last

word of all in an ancient


language, we never

really knew?


Carol Millner







She is grown small in the bed    hesitant

hiss of oxygen replaces her answers.

She is adrift as jellyfish clouds

below the surface

Reckitts blue rinse knotted and flat

lids closed   lips parted   she dreams

whitebait with lemon and pepper

paua patties     licks at memories.

A touch rouses for goodbye

a kissed cheek    “love you.”

Roses drink in the silence

scent the room with once.


Jan Napier



Turned On

(an ode to ironing)


Steamy and mysterious     a relationship tropical as the Congo

connection   galvanic and sudden as stepping on an electric eel.

You know how it is     a pile of crumpled clothes

the heat between us      me stroking your back

you quiescent    permitting me to press my suit

rhythm a therapy that helps straighten out material concerns.

Our accord allows us to damp down any potential hotspots

get things straightened out.

Familiar as we are with each other’s foibles

I know which buttons to press to make you spit and hiss

like King Cobras      know that if left alone too long

your temperature rises and I’ll return to a skirt

scorched as Saharan sands.

I press you to my breast    relax those arthritic legs.

Rest now   relive porn star reveries but never dream of leaving.

Witches cannot abide cold iron and I would be such a mess

without you.


Jan Napier




It Is A Time


It is a time for small birds

with slivers of song and whispers of sound.

A reflection of movement just out of sight

in the day’s burnished light,

Silveryeyes playing catch me.

Disembodied crows paint swathes of tar behind the trees.

Parrots ring bells; magpies chortle in summer.

Were I blind I would know them still from their throats.

And on the ground the ravages of gumnuts.

Black cockatoos are passing through.

Driven from eastern farms dismayed by drought.


every year the trees

grow fewer.

In the endless blue

of horizon and heat,

where can they fly to?

It is a time for small birds.


Virginia O’Keeffe




He stands upon the Cockroach of his dreams


I’ve always been a bit in awe

of cockroaches

somewhere between utter revulsion

and fierce admiration

of their sheer resilience

to be among the oldest winged insects

still alive and active

so when I spy one

running across the footpath

I resist the urge to step on it

Inside my yard  Yes  I don’t hesitate

But outside on the public thoroughfare

I think

that my stepping on a single cockroach

is hardly going to put a dent in the total population

of cockroaches  on the planet


They are  one of the most primitive insects

A living fossil

They must have something going for them

to have defeated the odds for so long


Not everyone despises them

Nor have they through the years

Generally they live with their relies

to third and fourth generation

They are unaffected by the housing shortage

Feed on wood

Mashed with sugar they were once

Applied to cancers and ulcers to heal them

A mixture containing their ashes

has been drunk to kill worms

In powdered form they were sold commercially

as Pulvis Tarakannae

as a remedy for dropsy

Fried in oil with garlic roaches have been eaten

to aid digestion


But please do be careful

remembering that dieticians today

over and over again tell us

that we are what we eat


Ron Okely




Favourite Child


I entered you last night

as the sun shone on the opposite

side of the world

and soft rain fell outside

and slowly, but desperately –



the texture of you

the taste of you

the smell of you

the flexing muscle of you,


your tongue flicking


tasting and probing,

your succulent lips

your panting swollen breasts

your rigid suck-me


your eyes wet with



your galloping pace

and frantic fuck-me

thrusting –


it sent me on a hot



of thinking, where memory

spilt over and drenched

me, as your cavalcade

of tears cascaded over

me, as you arched and

groaned, and you gently moaned,


I love you


I might have died then

and died happy,


such was the power and

the beauty, and the

deep hot wet confirmation


of your woman-ness

of my man-ness

of our saturating need

of our wetted history

of our joint desire –


of your love



And I lay awake

for hours, the pain of

physical separation at

that withdrawn moment,


curbing my craving,

wiping clean the

slate, restoring my

masculinity, waking again my



and reminding me

of how lust is love’s

favourite, and sometimes

only, child.



Allan Padgett



Dark in the Bleeding


Last night I saw a Komodo dragon

brawling with same, tearing flesh,

biting hard – a flood of blood.


Two boys, brawling for love, looking

to score, gotta get that DNA

stitched in, hard, long and fast.


Reminds me of the mean streets of

Numurkah, mid 60s,

naked testosterone battles in the street

brawling punching kicking

in search of ………



Dark pursuits, blood

in the gutter

hearts aflutter.


She was mine, my girl, lost then to the greater thug,

whose brutal charms might well

ensure his genetic continuity, but at what cost.


Empty condom wrappers infest the

park, love lies bleeding in the dark,

frog-eating tarantulas

suck on my brain – I step forth, am

punched again.


It is sweet, this brief summer of love,

where passion lies, dark in the bleeding,

and youths establish, maintain and

guard their patch

secure their snatch

embrace a fuck

half their luck –

for now.


Allan Padgett




Figures Qualitative And Quantitative


In the past the coarse fabrics draping figures

on a country lane or a city street compelled

accounts of toil and proximity to animals, but here

the labels are too neat and cheap

the bodies they cover too sated to single out

individual stories, so I just watch, from my table,

with my coffee and newspaper,

the perambulatory patterns along the concourse,

the pollinating cash-drops

in the shops. Some would call this

a sleepwalker’s plenitude, but I assert

wakefulness among my fellow cashed-up

loiterers; this is a human drama

on another plane, benign and restless, daily

and forgetful. On the other hand perhaps

we are asleep, our combined bodies, dressed

in manufactures, a humming epiphenomenon

of walking and buying, standing and selling,

a dreamy symbolist play in a retail amphitheatre

where the sleepless hunger

of sweatshops is oblique figures in business pages.


Chris Palazzolo





Pull the two blue discs to focus –

churning flecks of foam

and sky.

It’s not the smell of diesel and sea air

that’s driving him mad. Not the sun

boiling the blisters in his skin. Not the sput-sput

engine or the parching waves thumping

the hull every second after second after second.

Even the memory of that brute counting

his father’s cash has lost its rage. Only Australia,

invisible in that iris of lurching sea, fills him

with futility – without him they’re blind,

but when he hears the children crying

in the hold, and thinks of safe classrooms,

his weeping eyes scream at the touch of binoculars.

Pull the two blue discs to focus –

churning flecks of foam

and sky.

Watching for a grey prow.


Chris Palazzolo




Drinking Water

(With thanks to L.F.)


in Mirrabooka


six homeless people

from the Pilbara

awaiting medical treatment


in Perth’s 2013 winter,

got their drinking water

by asking Lyla (who lives

nearby in a house with


a tap producing drinking

water just like that) for some

or waited

for the sky to weep.


Shelter could not be

found, the empowered

pronounced they

do not fit the criteria.


Joyce Parkes




(With thanks to L.E.)


Is hearing the homeless

in this country

being told to be brave,

protestors to feel safe,


the jobless to move their face

elsewhere, the frail not to be

phased by senescence

when frost or fire days prevail,


witnessing the paw of dismay

hitting the vulnerable?

Is noting a disdain for

the reticent, the unwell,


the weary, the neglected,

noticing that a selected

few use the elbow of

existence to profit from you?


Is praise for the ones one could

gain from and belittle

the rest, assisting or arresting

the wrist of progress?


Joyce Parkes




The Disappeared


All the dawns I missed while sleeping,

the stars and moons ignored;

not by chance Orion’s belt was missed

and Pisces nightly undisclosed

by purpose of the sleeper,

lost in her legitimate escape

where all the disappeared are met again

instantly recognisable

by shape and size and colour

exactly as if they’d just left the room.


Lynne Talmont






The dark image of night

a canvas that blankets all

until the moon takes a peek

its slender half circle cuts the page

teams with the stars, like asterisks one by one

the cosmos has gleamed to life

blackness has been fragmented

to convey an indigo coat

to hover and gaze from above

then to walk away at dawn


Faye Teale-Clavi




At Riverglen


In the dell, a fig tree

not yet ripe in late November

fronds wide as my palm


on each branch

six or seven figs

like those we once ate


if we return in a month

we will feel the flesh bite our teeth

the juice paint our chin


we will see again

the white sap of fig

as it drips into milk


as it sets the creamy-cheese

of childhood


Rose van Son





as the sky lifts

silence swings into the day

a bee flounders

tastes the honey of summer


Rose van Son




Fremantle Prism Prison



The moon rises like a fingernail

petal soft notes of roses

powder the air in highs and furrows

the women wait  in semi-darkness

abandoned to walk their own paths



she carries breath of cinnamon    coffee

feels a presence as if walking inside his ghost

hands grip the edge of a smile

coiled scrolls of wire stretch the past

a black lace glove glides sideways

fingers the strands of a silence


sun unrolls through the tunnel

engulfs shrouds    shadows    walls

glistens them in paper-bark colours



bound to phantom boots a tang of soured skin

voices that stutter behind their eyes

stitch stories to places where whispers slither

over bones    sink into stone

do souls still swim in these  molecules of air ?


lives hang in absence    a shadow space

in this mirror of time



I look up from this notebook

where woven experiences have shaped their stories

into a new type of  tapestry


Gail Willems



The Intimacy Of Silence

( journey of an intravenous line)


In a great stillness I am undressed in whispers

snaking smooth skinned and warm

I drip a luscious ruby to a marbled limb

my metal gouges a soul on a hook – a naked arm

flings a crimson fret of notes – air balloons

little times in nothingness ticks its way

to a moment of release


Fingers elegantly choke the flush of warmth

to my coiled red belly – suddenness of inaction

cups the last drops – falls in minor breaths to a final exhalation

and I am free to shiver and twirl in my nakedness

until gathered and hooked to a metal cold pole

on a deathbed surrounded by dials that neither smile nor frown

comes the termination of our meeting


Gail Willems