Creatrix 25 Poetry

June 2014

Poetry Selectors: Peter Jeffrey OAM and Chris Arnold
Submissions Manager: Jan Napier

Contributors:

Natasha Adams

little warrior
spark

David Barnes

status

Kaye Brand

Woman in the Aluminium Dress

Graeme Butler

… a humid day…

Sue Clennell

Connect

Geraldine Day

Truth Is Beige

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Away from Silence
Contrived Apathy

Margaret Ferrell

In The Making

Kevin Gillam

‘clockwise is off’

Fran Graham

Breathing into Trees

Mike Greenacre

Closing Time
Dark Side Of The Moons

Ann Harrison

The Tree of Love

Ken Hudson

Elementary
My Little Boat And Me

Ross Jackson

Working Title

Deeksha Koul

For Saying What It Was

Veronica Lake

Godot

Alexis Lateef

You, who live by the ocean

Mardi May

Full Moon

Glad McGough

Australian outback crow

Jan Napier

Dali’s Rose
Dreaming Is Good

Virginia O’ Keeffe

The Coming

Ron Okely

Cookies Mum

Allan Padgett

A Forest of Frozen Tears
In Praise of Arthropods

Chris Palazzolo

FIFO

Caroline Sambridge

Your Local Booze Bus

Flora Smith

After the divorce…

Laurie Smith

Saturday Night with Grandma

Faye Teale-Clavi

Morning Penance

Rose van Son

Driftwood on Lake Ballard
Quokka
Window Seat

Joanna Wakefield

Fatherhood

Gail Willems

Like Mute Snow
Scarab In The Dust

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little warrior 

in his tree
cornsilk crewcut
hidden just
by branches and leaves

pad of feet
drop softly onto humus
sweet smell of earth
he’s come down for morning tea
make peace with little sister

Natasha Adams

 

 

spark

hold you close my child
our heart shaped magnets
connect and spark
beat in reciprocity
this piston pumps our blood
breast to chest
recharge our love

Natasha Adams

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status

there is no one,
no one to impress, no need anymore;
what does it matter? I’m an old man
who has lived to see the past, pass like seasons-
a remote observer
wandering city streets,
wearing clothes to match
the changing divisions of the year;
a misshapen
Modernistic sculpture
rises in front of me
an agony to my eyesight.
“What is it supposed to symbolize I wonder.”
if only
a soaring eucalyptus tree
with leaves that give off a pungent scent
grew here in its place, sculpted by nature itself.
ahead of me, a streetwalker
dressed in faded denims and dirt
with matted hair,
harvests empty cans.
his needs not met
his stomach unfilled, he has no one to impress either.
as I walk by, I observe
blue and white-collar workers pass– disgust written on faces
i whisper an old adage,
Status.

debarnes

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Woman In The Aluminium Dress

This woman of resilience
In her aluminium dress
No armour patterned here
Just metal from the mess

Translucent from the light
Her hem turned by double
Moulded by the artist’s hand
Recycled metal ever subtle

Pensive on her pedestal
Under the gallery lights
The ums and ahs of patrons

Polishing her metal in the night
Meet my so resilient self
Discovered and developed
The metal mesh of fabric

My strength safely envelopes
Her posture tells her story
Her resilience the key
Pliable, yet protected
No pain for all to see

She is so my reflection
Moulded by another’s hand
How finitely she portrays us both
This woman on the stand

Kaye Brand

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…a humid day with the chance of a thunderstorm in the evening…

sheep doze in shade
baked grass cracks in white sun
black cumulus swell

children play in water
adults fan themselves
lithesome dugites glide

galahs squawk in trees
phone lines slacken in heat
cars dust down roads

willy-wag-tails flit
stick insects patiently wait
crows feast on hot lamb

snails trek aimlessly
spiders spin without thinking
stars shine in silence

the air grows muggy
cumulus covers the sky
darkness hides the bush

Graeme Butler

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Connect

Rumi says that the ruined heart
attracts God’s attention.

Caskets of ruined hears
lie like jewels in a necklace,
for these organs are as easily bruised
as a flower’s petals.
To restore,
make whole God’s collectibles.
Splash with liberal doses of sunshine,
a carer’s leonine embrace,
a friend’s whispered confidences.
Signposts showing the way forward.

Sue Clennell
Originally published in ‘Open Your Mind’

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Truth is beige…

lies spit colour
kaleidoscopic freeforms
coming at you  arms
and legs  a cat full
_____________________ of claws and a wicked tail

___________ Lies slither under
fences and curtains
over carpets and clocks
fester in a moon lit mirror
incubate between bedclothes.

Listen to the shapes
twist them
mould them
swallow them whole
savour the heat

release them through
the top of your head
watch the infection spread
its sadistic breath
spit colour.

Geraldine Day

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Away from Silence

The light etched ceiling spreads its shattered
veins through the most unwelcome night
with the sound silence makes while waiting.

A broken hiss that stretches long into the voice
of the land, how a rock deafens the solitude
with the clashing ring of one against the other.

There is a flow felt in the wind that carries
the message of existence, settles into creeks
and rivers to flood through parched regions
dabbing green moments with a sigh of relief.

A momentary flower erupts
spreads its colour and aroma beyond
the constraints of form, a beacon to hope
and recreation building on cycles that stretch
back to dreamtime and forward to eternity.

Craving more than faint trails, there is
determination in the traveller forging steps
through unchartered landscapes where
every footfall sounds a unique note.

Creates a score beyond the ingenuity of man
with a beat focused on the heart
and tied to the twinkle of stars.
How night falls in silence to dawn
a new day building melodies.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Contrived Apathy

Through the shock of staring down a month of Januarys
where  the heat moulds around every thought
every excuse, until seared words are all that erupt.

Hot, singed words that are slightly blackened
and crisp on the edge, cut short in a staccato sort of way.

How views and opinions expressed succinctly
bit by bit in an effort to save breath
and everyone nods in the pause.
Who cares that most doesn’t make sense
everyone follows the gist, travels across
the empty emotions and false sense of compassion.
Builds a case for contrived attempts at intelligence
where the slow meaning of innuendo rules
the even slower drawl.
How the corrupted language is the badge of belonging
the mark of distinction between street smart
and smart arse.
How within thirty seconds someone can be summed
by the words they miss, focus on the flicked out
dead end stubs of adjectives and adverbs that cling
to ‘fucken’ and ‘bloody’ to big note each other.

Caught in the rip of conversations, you either move
with the tide or fall ostracised.
Fidget as your backside sweats and your tongue trips
drumming through the heat and lies.
Building more and more excuses to do nothing.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

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In the Making

At the best –
like a leaf
floating to my hand
and waiting to be held,
the surprise
of a bird on a branch
in the quiet after a storm,
a chestnut
colliding with the ground
or even a phrase
of familiar music –
followed by a steady stream
of sounds.

But sometimes
It’s  a day of grey
no sign of sun
mist on the hillside
no channel clear
no clarity of shape
or meaning –
followed by an uphill track.

Margaret Ferrell

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           ‘clockwise is off’

in this convalescence – good word that with it’s
gauze-like length and syllabic wrap – been
practicing that lost art of waiting, bus and
train stations, doctors’ rooms, never enough
shade or new ‘New Ideas’, been watching,
the wizened and the upright, figs ripening,
footpaths that flow like prose then trip like
misspellings, been rubbing paperbark trees,
listening in on frogs, been mulling over the
difference between learned and remembered,
the venn intersects, making a mantra
of ‘clockwise is off’ while pondering the
origin of knowns, the mind that did
the choosing, hands that shape our days

Kevin Gillam

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Breathing into Trees

I try to go to sleep each night breathing into trees.
I picture breath as shifting through the limbs on whispered sound.
It satisfies my spirit and creates a sleeping ease;
The leaves begin to rustle, some have yellowed; some have browned.
I look beyond the branches into slumber’s fertile field
And search for others’ sleeping thoughts adrift within the mist.
I only find discarded dreams with wishes set to yield
Or some quite badly shaken from a nightmare’s threatening fist.
I float around inquisitive, dreamtime philanthropist
And try to help out where I can, promote a sleeper’s dream.
If I find I’m way too late and frogs have all been kissed;
I linger in the half-light slipping back through morning’s seam.
In sleep I search for answers from the dreamer’s treasure chest
Universal lessons I can use for any reason;
I try to store them safely and wake up the informed guest
Of mellow wood and fragrant herbs all funnelling their season.

Fran Graham

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Closing Time

for my father

I was his last paying patient
to end a fifty-six year career,
to ‘go out’ with family
seemed the right thing   like a
family farewell, a send off
that just happened to be on
June 30th to ‘sweep up’ accounts
for the financial year.

He escorted me to the door
as a barman at closing time,
then turned on second thoughts
saying he’d be awhile
to collect his things   as I
waited in the car, wondering
what thoughts or objects
the sharp eye of memory
would suddenly hoard.

A National Health Scheme refugee
he left Tilbury docks with wife
and children for Western
Australian shores in September
1957 – a time of a great ‘out-flux’
of doctors he’d say, when pay
and professional satisfaction
were well below the waterline.

English doctors were paid a set
government fee – the all-free
‘Capitation Method’ assigned
patients to a doctor with a ration-
book mentality, that squeezed
patients like sheep down
narrow doorways, where
doctors were paid just
‘so much per head’.

‘Australian patients expected a
lot more for their money’ he
maintained, ‘or else they
went elsewhere!’ as doctors
talked and explained in greater
detail – patient satisfaction
being the vital key to a
successful General Practice door.

He started the Risely Street
Practice in Applecross in the
early ‘60s with his partner and
saw patient numbers over-take
their lives, employing three doctors
before leaving with the sun
to work north of the River,
until a Practice in the south
lured him back home.

And even now at 87 years
there’s no escaping memory’s
hold, as he takes our mother to
the Orthopaedic Surgeon who
recalls ‘I heard you were
something of a legend!
… you might have been
my family doctor.’

In the rear-view mirror
I watched him walk towards
me, pre-occupied
but content with the years
placed neatly inside his
Medical Bag   now heaved onto
the back seat. ‘Have you got
everything?’ I asked
and he smiled ‘yeah’.

Mike Greenacre

 

Dark Side of the Moons

My wife and I had talked it through
as if another shared deal, it was
usually time that sliced our lives –
what’s best for the kids, this time
taking a backseat to love’s certainties.

Even as I shave my neck
in morning’s uncertain light
my eyes are hypnotised by
the hand’s flippant strokes, till
I’m parking my car, manoeuvring
gently as an incision.

On entering I’m told ‘They’re
waiting for you’ … stage lights
dim with excited audience chatter,
waves of nostalgia rising   then
like second thoughts, falling away
as the bedside curtain opens.

The loquacious orderly stole me,
our banter carrying me down
the corridors – how the last guy
was a frozen ball of nerves, adding
‘the worst part is the anaesthetic’
as we enter the theatre doors.

She was right, the pulsing shot
burned through skin, pushing

my mind up each side of the
groin: ‘I can’t stand needles!’
I called out, tensing and rising
then relaxing back like after sex.

You’ve done a good job shaving’
the doctor grinned at the hairless
moons, ‘Yeah, I know how women
must feel shaving their bikini line!’
I laughed as the scalpel opened an
intensive interplay of hands and tools.

It was a couple of cautious days
before the after-effects showed:
‘Now it’s your turn to bruise!’ my
wife laughed,  remembering her
first birth, as I looked down
over two dark purple moons.

Mike Greenacre

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The Tree of Love

I am nailed to this tree;
love.
Memories hang like branches,
their strength and power crippling,
haunting.
Who can save me?
pinioned
wounded
a casualty.
Night falls,
cold
alone.
This tree my bed,
my life,
you are not with me,
never again.
This sap my blood are one;
love,
just that

Ann Harrison

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Elementary 

  1. AIR

Invisible,
Everywhere.
A nothingness
pushing space here to there.
Making matter out of nothing.

Air moving outside is wind.
Air moving inside is breath.
Air that doesn’t move is death. 

Another nothingness.  

  1. FIRE

Fire is writhing liquid heat
leaping skywards to the sun
it came from.

I contain a billion tiny fires
but do not rise.
I flame in different ways.
Passion and desire.

  1. WATER

Today it’s raining.
Seas of water.

From water I came.
Of water I’m made.
To water I go.

That’s all
you need
to know.

  1. EARTH

Planted in earth you are a seed
of what might be.
Tree or reed.
Flower or weed.
You might thrive in fertile earth
or struggle to survive in sterile soil.

All depends on God
Chance and Chaos.
Things your seed is made of.

Ken Hudson

My Little Boat And Me

Softly chanting shanty songs
I put my little boat to sea.
Coastline lights slowly shrink
———– blink            and            wink
white pinpoints disappearing.
Clouds hide moon and stars
so no horizon can be seen.
Only darkness all around
my little boat and me.
It has no sails     motor     oars
so drifts with tide and current motions.
But I’m never lost
becos I don’t know where I’m going.
Adrift with         Chaos         Destiny.
Missing the two loves left behind.
For a short time they’ll miss me.
Then I’ll be forgotten.
No real tragedy.
Just how things were meant to be.
Ending as it all began :
my little boat & me.
my little boat and me.

Ken Hudson

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Working Title

I burst through
a cultural jamboree
scattered through the gardens
of the arts centre

and exit with today’s
scribbling in mind but still
minus the title
significant local poet.

I look up from Skinner Street
at a high school and recall
as unversed country teacher
my first working title

that new chalky
the one who could do with
a decent drenching
awarded by some locals.

I can tell that the central building
on that ledge of sunburnt grass
is deco, built of concrete
and in the heat

its bulging forehead
appears to grow, seems to throb
but with no half assed
assignments to mark

and no recalcitrants in sight
I can stand below
on this Friday in the quiet
glad to wear the title

ecstatically retired.

Ross Jackson

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For Saying What It Was

Let’s not call it true love
because it probably wasn’t.
It definitely wasn’t. But I like remembering
apples shared on mid-morning walks
with us lifting good poems from bad memory,
pleasantly idle beside the water.
Sun spilling on forearms.
Couples and dog walkers passing half-smiles.
Me picking at grass, feeling guilty for it after.
Nape of your neck.
Mole above your left eyebrow.
Light under your skin.
Shell-pink chapped lips.
And the dissipated city at night, with us to find it
together. It was simple.
I like remembering breathing beside you.
Although I couldn’t decide on whether feeling felt
like crying or laughing. It felt like overflowing,
knowing, we met.


I’ll never meet you again
but I think it’s truer to think, again,
that it was, whatever it was,
a good thing.

Deeksha Koul

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Godot

Godot waits for no one
Goes his own way
Solo
Leaves us alone
Waiting…

Go to, Godot
Get thee hence
Get thee gone
out of my life
I’ll wait no longer.

Veronica Lake

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You, who live by the ocean

You, who live by the ocean,
are always up in arms about something.
You are salt water and the sting of the wind.
At night you hear the ships calling,
and toss and turn in your sleep.
You dream of swinging a satchel onto
your shoulders and heading south on a boat.
You are alone, but you are not lonely.
You say the ocean listens to you,
and sometimes, talks back,
whispers to you its longing.
There must be something about this
serrated shore with its orange smudge
of a sun.
One of these days you will shut the
front door behind you
One of these days you will head
towards home.

Alexis Lateef

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Full Moon

Tonight there is a
moon to howl at.
Close the curtains!

Shut out the
maddening light!
The night is bright

with myth & legend.
Hounds howl to the sky
and minds unhinge
spilling
———————— sanity.
Asylums are edgy

places at full moon
and thin, red lines
are zebra crossings.

Mardi May

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Australian outback crow

Proudly he struts his stuff
Confident and haughty
Lording over his domain
He can’t fool me –
He’s naughty.

Left foot, right foot distain-ly past my door
Sartorially splendid with his beady eye, and claw
Black and white, white and black
Fashions high decree –
But the smart cut of your coat is
surely lost on me.
Your dress denies your spitefulness
Self-centered, totally!

Cawing, carking in the birthing light,
raucously rendering incursion to the mind
reverberating on dawn’s ice air,
nothing’s less delightful
compounded by your family,
the sound is truly frightful.

Glad McGough 

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Dali’s Rose

I dreamed him in my mirror
this one the bees believe
and in their time of nectar
his hand upon my sleeve.
My will cracked like a nutshell
in some May time game
played by lusty rustics
and has never been the same.
‘Neath a minstrel moon I sang
the glory of his hips
breathed sweat of musk and pepper
kissed jalapeno lips.
I named him my Romeo
He called me Dali’s rose
then tamed my gypsy mane
held me so strong and close.
I followed him to Talinnin
I fought with him in Spain
his suit of lights forgave my sin.
Black winds haunted our train.
The teary sea that took him
will keep him I suppose
but Venus and the poets
will anchor him in prose.
Though he lies upon her bed now
and not upon my breast
in her deep and greenest heart
she knows I love him best.

Jan Napier

Dreaming Is Good

Dreaming is good.
It’s where everything starts:

Parrots coloured in angel
nan’s blueberry tarts
spinning wheel stories
the chilli’s red tears
silk kissing skin
Lamborghini gears
the arc of a comet
exclaiming the stars
smoky blues sax
in underground bars
brandy sauce secrets
hot from the cook
sleepy owlet
snug in its nook.

For like the Arab’s farewell
to his steed
we hold on where we will
and we dream what we need.

Jan Napier

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The Coming

We slammed into Winter,
bored into bed burrows
beneath the knockout punch
of ice shot air with
smoke ringed breaths.
When the gray blanket of sky
finally rolled back in the afternoon
the bees and wasps wandered
in desperate hope over fading grape vines;
red breasted parrots hid in the arbutus
needing a last drunken sip of fruit.

From the radio the weatherman
forecasts more gloom.
Seasons spin
and for all our
double glazed, airconned
and carpeted kingdoms,
we are still humbled by the turn of a leaf.

Virginia O’ Keeffe

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Cookies Mum

Cookies mum is rarely seen
out of her kitchen

Cookies mum is mostly
sitting at her well worn
scrubbed  pine table
There is no sink in the kitchen
A water pipe comes through
the wooden wall
The brass tap on the pipe
is polished to an inch of its life

Cookies mum smokes a lot
————————-  Coughs a lot
Drinks cup upon cup
of rich smelling coffee
in a respectable tea drinking community

She sweeps out the grate
of her wood burning stove daily
Sets the fire for an early morning start

Cookies mum holds a loaf of bread
close to her sagging breasts with one hand
With the other she whips off

a slice of bread and  jam
as quick as you could say
Yes thanks Mrs Cook

Cookies mum
Leaves a warm indelible imprint
in the memory
of one of Cookies mates

Ron Okely 

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A Forest of Frozen Tears

There was an edge to her indifference
it felt like worn-out time
etched with an acid wash
scarified by a touch of evening’s shallow passing –
coloured as weathered oxides
by a rain of fretful tears

held lightly by the gasping years
arrayed in space in feeble clutches
of tangerine smiles and gaping yawns
forests of unshaven eyebrows –
arching toward dawn’s sultry grasp
and retching with indifference

a cold sun rises above a fretting horizon

as magpies warble dawn to life
and your touch is stitched into
the creases of the passing years –
the solvent of my fretful fears dissolving
your acidic kiss, a touch of frenzy

your bite reminds me of wolves on heat
in a forest of frozen tears

Allan Padgett

In Praise of Arthropods

While my floppy white hat sits
under a coiled tube of fluoro
light, a host of tiny insects
black with probing antennae
skinny legs and various wings
and sniffing wobbling palps –
alight.

They like my hat and its
white light, they turn on
the rays that bathe it in
a constant glow –
in search of?

Nectar, liquid, sustenance.
Comfort, wonder, shelter.
Conversation, admiration, love.
Stories, reassurance.
Eternity.

A moonbeam to stretch for,
to climb aboard – to
reach the stars which,
shining overhead, beckon
their attention, turn their
minds and section their
incipient lust.

As they keep racing and
jumping and flying and
crying, on my hat, my
white-lit hat, that sits awkwardly
upon my head, I am
solicited by their fraternity
and as we congregate as
one to consider what to
order, what juices and
to simply get into the night,
to pass silently through that
white light, they transmit thought
bubbles through my white hat,

into my hot brain
and we race together along
a slippery neural pathway
and discover, as tiredness threatens to
turn to slumber and the
stars above ignite their sparkle, that
we know each other:

this leaping one is my
brother, this kissing one is
my wife’s uncle, this flying
high with lipstick stuck
to its proboscis is my father.  This silent
spinning one, it
is spinning a very fine web
and it is catching more
than my attention, that one, yes, that one,
is my mother.

We are ogling one another
through compound eyes
and deepening skies
and the white hat, a welcome-home mat to lost
and lonely souls, flaps once,
flaps twice, flaps once more: and is gone,
gone, gone, gone.

It has taken its tender
cargo of small black insects
on a ride to freedom, and
I, I am left with bathos,
a fragmented vision, a taste and
but a touch, of memory –

and a long slow beautiful
refrain, of tomorrow’s
chords, of a madly bowing string quartet
stumbling back along some
spent and unguarded moment,
to sing its song,
to lift my fevered brain in praise of arthropods –

to touch my vacant heart, and
to cry all night with exultant joyfulness.

Allan Padgett

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FIFO

Shaved and sober he files through
the scanners and picks up his bag on the other side.
His kids and wife have waved him off.
———————-  No. More likely
they’re at home in bed, the company ticket
is 1am and the pills means
it makes no difference to him either way.
He takes his cushioned seat. He may read
or he may snooze. When he feels that push in his guts
he thinks of a flush of extra zeros for the mortgage and car.
I hear him every night.
The course of his flight scours the sky above my roof,
widens the cracks in my walls
and fills my kids’ dreams with the blasé terror
of drop-out-the-sky apocalypse
When I sit out the back and smoke
my exiled cigarette, I see his lights dragging the roar
behind him, leaving my night
for the days of oxide and ore,
walking tall under the black man’s sun
watching supertankers in the stratosphere
take the land away.

Chris Palazzolo

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Your Local Booze Bus

See the van with flashing lights.
It’s always there on Friday nights.
Yes – I’ve been stopped by the old Booze Bus.
My alcohol reading is fifteen plus.
I’ve been stopped by the friendly cops,
for I’ve been sipping on too many hops.
They offer me a cup of tea
even though I can hardly see.
The coppers take away my car
so I can’t visit another bar.
They take away my driver’s points,
and won’t let me smoke any joints.
See the van with flashing lights –
it’s also there on Saturday nights.

Caroline Sambridge.

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After the divorce…

Camels:
why did the dream begin
with camels, scrawling
their ancient calligraphy on dunes?
I see a pallid sun
hard as last month’s cheese
but the moon is ice.
Our marriage is fallen leaves, raked
from someone’s driveway, burnt.
The bonfire goes out
and the books
we had packed into cartons
come out dancing
fly through open windows
like brilliant birds.
I must have my books
with me, get my books back
but time is night
All the ringing stars have gone home
and night is too dark a stage for me.
A bell tolling
of seastorm and loveloss
shakes me, wakes me into terror
————–  and a sweating dawn.

Flora Smith

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Saturday Night with Grandma

Embers dying,
socked feet in open oven.
The fruity tones of a cricket commentator
wax, wane, swish and swoosh,
bounce off the ionosphere,
all the way from distant Manchester.
Cocoa warming a two-handed clutch,
ignited by imagination into a match winning catch.

Kitchen door opens,
our bubble of warmth ruptured
by a perfectly pitched apologetic hat
and a roll of notes lobbing on the table.
Enter the redemptive inebriate the worst for wear.

Swigger-swagger old man exits.
Old lady peels off a wad of notes, leaves some.
“Always the same when he wins at the races.
He won’t know the difference in the morning.
This is for your education.”

Laurie Smith

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Morning Penance ( a sonnet )

The air was hot this morning when I woke
I pushed away the covers from my head
My lover turned to me and when she spoke
I knew that we were getting out of bed
We tottered to the bathrooms, there were two
Through bras and nickers strewn across the floor
I looked around the bedroom for my shoe
And there it is behind the wardrobe door
The radio comes to life, because it’s time
I’m feeling very empty from my fast
Then hoping the day outside will be fine
Now to prepare something to eat at last
Food and drink a must before day begins
All this effort it’s penance for my sins

Faye Teale- Clavi

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Driftwood on Lake Ballard

Where have you come from driftwood?
How far on lake that calls itself an inland sea
where mud holes swallow light
unpack your secrets still?

Where do you come from driftwood?
Flush from shore on muddied earth
as wind drills sand      arms row
so solid now, the wave you hear it still.

Your shoulder rests
your elbow just a shaded hook
your back, rolled back by setting sun
Do you dream of others of your ilk?

Did you sing a moment’s peace?
Were you driven here by storm or ship?
Those weightless birds that fanned your face
fixed in long goodnight.

No time to speak, you lie
grounded like sun soaked in rain
& all around a salt lake
keeps you dry.

Rose van Son

Quokka

Who would have imagined it?
Your nose dipped in dip
your paws clinging to the coffee table, then

so quick, you duck behind the veranda post
the pink lake behind you
shouldering haiku.

We could be in Japan
but your nose
spiked in pickle dip

stolen in a moment of holiday distraction
promises we are not.

Rose van Son

Window Seat

from the window
of the neighbour’s house

three pines
mark the boundary

two chimneys
spike the tin roof

one ginger cat
calls from the sidelines

hides
under the house

Rose van Son

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Fatherhood

He was afraid of the pram in the hall
This shouldn’t happen to a man so young
Who had only just escaped the end of  the war.
He had absorbed the devastation
Of brutal rubble,
Rubble that dusted bodies into graves,
Broke bedrooms into kitchens
And reduced minds  to  quivering webs.

Ration books marked the time and vittels
As he lined the walls of the hastily built council house
with palette and paint.
Desperately trying to cement his stance,
And the prefabs rose as he sank.
The war was won, but  is this victory?
The rebuilding of bricks takes but little time
Compared to the nerves and soupy confines

His youth was snatched and replaced by nappies
Notions of art, architecture and the exploration of urban space
Was discarded for toys and fish fingers
Open to questioning bureaucrats,
Poverty and rattled cities
fragmentation and flags all hurtling towards him
As he asserted his superior youth in a market
Of crestfallen men.

So he wasn’t ready for fatherhood
Did the best he could given the circumstances
Would never wash a dish, or clean a toilet
But played board games with us in our winceyette’s
Ruffled our hair, took us for winter drives,
Gave us the finest drawing pens
in between the  domestic shouts
Of adulterous denials, before he finally left.

Would they rather do their duty to country
Than duty to woman
They abandon their families, but not bricks and mortar, or war.

Joanna Wakefield

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Like Mute Snow

memory carries the smell of loss
drifts    settles into spaces
your moth breath a thread

thoughts melt  shred into spaces
eyes get quieter
lips press to the air

I am the snow that lies on svelte arms of trees
waits for a thaw to seep into your skin

am I now some fragment you would stroke
melting into the past

the white fills every place we’ve stepped
there is almost too much silence

Gail Willems

 

SCARAB IN THE DUST

Across the shadow way
pillars sheened in the beaten brass of 3000 years
watch in exquisite silence
the edges of the Nile fade
in silent millennia

noisy    populous    the street pushes and pulls
its way across his hands
ears closed to all but the sounds
of steel on stone lit by a raw bulb
his black Turkish coffee eyes
slice the crowd of hawkers
an electronic insect bursts out of his robe
sound leaps    loops serpentine
over dark blue streets    cracked sidewalks
rutted tracks    air tastes of electricity

dust lifts in sandy motes
settles in the tray of stones
the artist turns     strokes the rainbows
at his hand    a shape in a slab of stone
with the subtlety of a web spinner
he coaxes into being something beautiful
out of blankness     no hurry
fingers etch each line
a scarab hangs from his hand\
he places an amulet over my heart
Egypt’s gods sit in judgement around his tray

Gail Willems

Scarab- representation of Khephera creator and solar deity-placed over the heart to stop person confessing sins during its interrogation in the afterlife

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