Creatrix 30 Poetry

September 2015

Selectors: Peter Jeffrey and Chris Arnold


Sue Clennell

When in Rome

Geraldine Day


Gary Colombo  De Piazzi


Four Step Dance

Derek Fenton

Hey Man The White House Roof Has Collapsed

Sally Gaunt


Sky And Sea

Kevin Gillam

Airfix hours

Mike Greenacre

Café Poet(ry) in Fremantle

From Bar to Spyglass

Ann Harrison

Adieu to Somewhere

Elanna Herbet

Cursive Lessons

Intertextuality: The Council Pool




Ross Jackson

In William Street

The Pink Chateau

Chris Kennedy

Forty-one Children

Andrew Levett

Harvester of Sorrow

Glad McGough


Dean Meredith

Panning For Gold


Jan Napier

Ruby Sea Dragon

Stone Fruit Season

JK Odea


Colleen O’Grady

Winter Rain

Virginia O’Keefe

Balmain Song

Ron Okely

SMS to Charlie

Spreading The Ashes

Allan Padgett

Coles is Closed And I Am Crying

Dogs Breathing Hard

Joyce Parkes


Tim Parkin



Laurie Smith

Water Boy

Traudl Tan


Gail Willems






When in Rome


Go barefoot like Sophia Loren.

Your skirt hoisted and tucked in your waist,

shirt showing some belly to the sun,

which is squashed between piazze like

currants in spaghettini.

A carafe of wine and some pane

will be on a chequered tablecloth

as in a still life painting.

Red Lamborghinis circle.


Sue Clennell







Two frogs are dancing on my coffee table.

She’s split to the thigh in liquid gold

off the shoulder, lips thick with attitude.

He wears blue drainpipes, trilby set

back on his head, tailored cream

waistcoat and jacket.

One green hand suckered to his hip

the other pulls her in.

They belong in the forties

in a throaty jazz club

swinging to a rich, smooth saxophone.

Sinatra’s in the sound system

wrapped around them,

his voice naked.


Geraldine Day




white dingo.JPG


a response to a print of the same title by Chris Latham


Sources of interest police this awkward silence.

This expectation before sunrise

held beneath the breath of moonlight

and the agitation of scorch.


A flat, impeccable land

that reaches to a smudged horizon.

A delineation between salt lake and sky

with its earth tone discoloration

stretched past perfection.


Everything held still

in the isostatic interruption.

Its pointed rising inverted in reflection.

Above and below in mimicry

as if once is not enough

to emphasise the depth of isolation.


The elongation to extend beyond mere vision.


This moment captured between intense

summer heat that beats everything flat

and the cold, dark night when the earth

allows a sigh, a brief excursion of life

in the slow lope of a dingo.


Gary Colombo De Piazzi



Four Step Dance


Step 1.

Finally come end to end from your

head slowing fuzz of troughs and highs

as the music beats and crashes.


This push and pull and you left standing

an island in the roil without rest

or rescue as the surge and sway

build to a storm.


Still you hold, catch a smile, a brief shift

to raise an arm, sway your hips

in the light trance.


Step 2.

Your eyes catch the light and briefly

you are held as a trace of a smile drifts

across your lips and you move

to the rhythm and beat.


Spill from the avenue of lost days

and endless nights that hold you prisoner.

A spontaneous jive married to the music

reeling in the release to twirl

and sway on nothing more than a song.


Step 3.

The world cannot be harnessed

and your dreams are the escape

when there is too much overload.


You find threads of you and cherish

each strand, catch the slip of an idea

to birth a close movement.


Build a veil to contain you.

Something snug where the barbs

and thorns cannot pierce and the world

is the glow of sunset.


Step 4.

A tackled retreat as the light goes out.

You become a no thing again

and self moves sideways as you collect

in a world on your own.


Phase out the need to be social

and drift end to end in your head.


Gary Colombo De Piazzi





Hey Man The White House Roof Has Collapsed

(With apologies to Felicia Hemans’ Casabianca)


The boy sat in the burning car

on the way to Beit Bridge.
“Tell me, Mom , is it very far?

Are there cokes in the fridge?”

“The country hasn’t collapsed yet,

but it won’t take too long.

Remember son, please don’t forget,

your former country’s song.”

She said it as she stroked the flag

stuck to the car’s dashboard,

“Rhodesia ran just like our Jag

and not a clapped out ford!”

It was thirty five years later

he saw that flag again

adorning a racist hater

and now he felt the pain.

His parents were now both long dead,

their views had died with them

and he felt a terrible dread

lingering in his phlegm.

He remembered what bore that flag-

a tea towel on a tray

(not the dashboard of a Jag)

in San Francisco Bay.


He had cast off his parent’s ways

since coming to live here.

His life was full of brighter days

without a hint of fear.

For the most part they’d been quite fair,

not asking him to take part,

but the noblest thing which perished there

was that young faithful heart!


Derek Fenton







I would like to make you laugh,


you old grizzly bear


with white hair


on your chest.


I would like to tickle


you under the arms


make you squirm, wriggle and giggle.


I would like to put the tip of my tongue in your mouth


until you beg me to stop,


trace your ribs with my finger


squeeze your butt,


hold you close,


make the most of or rolling and holding,


laughing at the absurdity


of never holding hands


but sharing the same recurring joke :


Let us both laugh together!


Sally Gaunt



Sky And Sea


In January 2013 a young girl made the grisly discovery of the severed head of a man in a plastic bag washed up at Porpoise Bay Rottnest Island.


The sky


trying to explain itself to the sea




that the sense was in the reasoning


or in faith;


That there was something more than tribal seahorses :


A headless man


Floats in seaweed.


Sally Gaunt





Airfix hours


you arrive on time, usual, while

I’ve just finished slicing sunshine and


putting it into Tupperware, usual,

and the day, given it’s pre-dawn shape of


question mark, usual, but without point,

usual, sits in the shade of angst and


we tune you to me, usual, because one

of yours keeps slipping badly, usual,


and there’s a moon and ragdoll cat and

some late Haydn, and, towards the end, talk


of the sea, all quite usual, but then

the day unbends, what was closing and


inflecting straightens and opens, most

unusual, because, in the last of


our guidings towards harmonics, and just

how to put this, usual, it comes to


me that the idea of something, the

visual imagining, my being


ambushed by a memory from the

future, rather than those authentic


Airfix hours of box opening,

following instructions, gluing, being


and doing, this is where gravity

drags and drowns me, highly usual,


yes, and the point, the day’s point,

unusual, is how my next gnaws at now


Kevin Gillam







This is no longer mine

To hide, secret, ignore.

The written word I’m told

The inner me explores . . .

And since the words are written

Do they forever make me whole?

Or, by confession-driven

Berates my very soul –

For someone else must

Bear my cross

So still I can’t be free

Unless my sin I must confess

To One who loves yet me.


  1. McGough 





Café Poet(ry) in Fremantle

for Jackson


We’re focussing on

non-linear poetry’ she

said – ‘poetry that

can’t walk in a straight

line’ as we curl

metaphors to see around

corners and what to avoid.


I’m here early, as planned

at Hubble Yard, the breeze

finding me in this

inner room   crowded

now by participants

and the traffic of voice.


Leap or tiptoe out of

your poetic comfort zone

she had invited

commitment to stride forth

before the horse  where

introductions were

slim and barely

covered our girth.


From streams of consciousness

to dream sequences and

plates of chopped-up

words, we all stood

and threw in our lines

with hooks to snag the

rising hems of words.


As we rose to leave,

a word dropped away from

lap to the floor: ‘delight’

it said  and I smiled

my way to the door.


Mike Greenacre




From Bar to Spyglass

for Dick Alderson


I don’t often get this far

sip as many words

from another’s glass


but tonight I’m almost

halfway through

this jug of verse


before the first speaker

mounts the stage

to break the ice of words.



And you smile back

your reflection as

the bold face of Galileo


refuting Aristotle’s Laws,

ride the Copernican Theory

that leads your spyglass


further out, past the moon

and it’s myth-givings

towards the limits


of science and

mathematical formula

to what remains


beyond words


Mike Greenacre





Adieu to somewhere


I will say to people

birds fly south in winter

there is no need to search

they will come back

but if they don’t

they have found

somewhere else

to stay


more glorious than we can ever imagine


worth the journey, the pain


too beautiful.


Ann Harrison





Cursive Lessons

I am

writing this on

the back of that letter.


I write naked in the space

of my past                   the

parchment stretched between

bones of my dreaming

the blank white space of it.


Her finger dipped into the dark

indigo-blue bottle

delicious bottle of ink like the first time

she held the nibbed pen and learnt

the lessons of cursive.


In those early years

she wrote clear and precise

she wrote the ink letters on his naked back

the blank white space of it.


The pen tip of her index finger

dragged across the skin’s horizon

curling the letters where required

pressing the nail down sharply

each letter ending with a dark point.

She tattooed the letters of her past into flesh

and sent the letters off.


She did not expect

a reply

or anticipate

the blank white space of it.


Elanna Herbert



Intertextuality:   The Council Pool

after John Tranter’s ‘Debbie & Co.’


so this paradise as written

remains under the democratic sun

of the council pool where

Debbie & Co watched with their

Nikon – waited and skylarked as


their futures unfurled too fast

around and between their legs


this is us – you and me

what remains lay the ghosts

of our pallid rebellion?

A teenage ciggie behind the kiosk

the back of the council pool


before training starts at four

bodies spear the diving pool

damp towels – chlorine fresh

skin tight as a drum

sun peeled bleached as

far back as bones can go


and I remember

the photographs – how unprepared

I was when we took them

for loss.


Without seeing it I know this

image – deep etched

incised by your fatal mistake


without remorse

it plunges me through this touchstone

Debbie’s council pool.


Elanna Herbert





Dream 47


Let me tell you this.

You don’t know him.


You imagine him

in a place of dreams,

a place with not walls but a broad plain

on all sides of him,

a spread of sand,

thin grass,

dry shed skins

to warn off all who approach the line

he’s drawn around his balls.


You imagine him with balls,

a player.


Your voice is an etch,

your veins itch,

your song is the shriek of a wound,


but you don’t know him.


He’s not the place

of dreams,

the archway face,

the doorway body.

He’s not the dreamed hands

holding the dreamed map.

He’s not


the figure.


He’s the kinetic energy

of your pelvis, the mass

of your femur, the velocity

of your toes, the moment

of your sole printing

each next section


of ground.



and there

and there

and there.

He’s the dark walk,

the turning,

the going.


The not knowing.





my mother


my mother smells

like cat: tongue licking kitten;

like homespun: wool-grease, warmth;

like eggshell, like duckpond;

like ocean: iodine, fins;

like oils wet on canvas;

like tripe, like boiled cabbage;

like baked apples and ginger biscuits;

like slept-in Tweed by Lentheric;

like cold morning ash;

like yellowing paper;

like glass







In William Street


a shop which smells of seaweed

so far from the sea, yet moors you

to a jetty on the coast of Japan

an emporium of spices further along

puts your foot in the stirrups

makes me recall The Silk Road


Ross Jackson



The Pink Chateau


Gilt lions slope along the top of the pink walls of the estate.

In the central courtyard like uncorked champagne, a mosaic

Vesuvius erupts in water jets from a colossal bowl

and as sunset strikes down medieval streets, he watches her walk

in the clinging skirt to the borrowed Ferrari and at that

moment he knows he will do whatever it takes to get hold of

ten million euros, for what she must have is the pink chateau.


Ross Jackson





Forty-one children


Forty-one children

have been taken into custody

near the opal mines

of Lightening Ridge.

It was news on a bad day,

you could see the ugly homes situated

in the desert scrub, the cries, the tears,

while not far away miners

amassed fortunes in opals.

Some to be stolen by mercenaries

with the guns, from which power comes.

Did they poison the dogs

like mercenaries do?

Did they say sorry, but you again

have been betrayed,

by one of your own, with a gun?

Did they say “Here, beautiful young one,

take this gift of an opal, to sell in the

underground vaults, where it will be held and never

seen, stored next to failed prime ministers

polished dreams?”


Christopher Kennedy





Harvester of Sorrow

An Ode to James Hetfield


As one of the four horsemen

he is a self-proclaimed master of puppets

his lyrics speak of creeping death

a blackened soul

alcohol his fuel.


On stage, his attitude is holier than thou

an aggressive don’t tread on me

seeking justice for all

his lifelong struggle within

of wolf and man.


In reality, he is a leper messiah

sad but true he is king nothing

living an unforgiven lifestyle

and tempting fans to ride the lightning

while he plays his devil’s dance.


I.R. Levett





Panning for Gold


Another day

Down the mine

And up again

The hole grows

So too

The pile of dirt

The light varies

But is

Always there


I dig




The specs hide


They show themselves


To be found


Dean Meredith





Every bullet was made by a mind

And every bullet was shot by a heart

And every bullet was hit or miss

And every bullet was in or out

And every shell changed something

And every shell was cold and hot

And every shell was smooth and rough

And the hands that held them

And the hands that fired them

And the eyes that saw them

And the bodies that felt them

Were distant no matter how close

Were shameful no matter how clothed

Were sorry no matter how righteous

Were wanting no matter how complete


Dean Meredith





Ruby Sea Dragon

Species discovered 2015.


Kindled in obscurity,

red sparks struck in jet and brine


twin so well with darkness,

that sun rays fail to catch vanes


alien to air soaring a starless

cosmos, as cold blooded and bright,


ruby sea dragons slay shrimp.


On star charts writ in pictograms,

Draco sets ablaze his stellar lair.


Terrestrial kin since vanquished,

serpents in lakes now mere legends


worm and wyvern burn on only

in folklore or so it seems,


but some secrets go deeper.


Jan Napier



Stone Fruit Season


It was stone fruit season then.

Evenings were delicious, cool and blue,

with the soft drunken flutterings of moths,

old willows stroking banks that cupped rusty

water, ponk and boink of frogs counterpoint

to the creak of grandpa ouching into his rocker.

Bones need oiling hey hey.


Dusk and the mopoke croaked then skimmed

from fencepost to Marri, three paddocks away

a horse whinnied and was answered, and a red

moon rose over the roof. Grandma slammed

the screen door, scent of roast lamb clinging

like her shawl, became one more shadow in

the peach and cricket singing dark.


Jan Napier







Her porcelain skin,
her laughter like
a tinkling spoon,
her rich brown
tints and aroma …
keeping me awake
at night.


Julian O’Dea





Winter Rain


The rain drifts in and around the hills;

on the flatland it finds its way beneath my coat,

at home it pours down over my window sills,

and I’m beginning to think I’ll need a boat!


Heavy black clouds wreath around the valleys

hiding the hill tops, even the city skyline,

don’t venture forth without your brollies;

leave early to get wherever you go on time.


Watch out for flooding, so map your course

to travel wet roads safely as still the rain poured;

careful to stay on road or washed off by force

by water that gouges the roads and claims scored.


But me, I revel in the teeming torrents,

enjoying the perfume, watching the hidden hills,

rewarded by the sudden appearance of forests

Grey and dull in the torrential spills.


Colleen O’Grady





Balmain Song


There’s an old bloke in Balmain

spends winter days in his car

keeping warm, keeping warm.


He reads paperbacks from Opshops

drinks at the RSL

staying knitted, staying knitted.


But I wonder what he does

when the rain is lashing down

and the cold comes seeping in

across the floorboards.


Surrounded by the yuppies

with their 4 wheel drives and coffees

he’s hanging in there, hanging in there.


There’s an old bloke in Balmain

spends winter days in his car

keeping warm, keeping warm.


Virginia O’ Keefe





SMS to Charlie


We arrived at the house midmorning

Seven year old Charlie wasn’t there

she had gone to school

with her older brother Mitch


After a fine morning tea

custard tart    “yummy”

her dad showed me

the book she had written


I was so impressed that

when we were home

I sent an SMS to Charlie


Dear Charlie

May I read your book

to  the Poetry Club

next  Saturday

just the words

I can’t do pictures on my computer


Reply to sender – three hours later

I was playing basket ball

Yes   Grandpa Ron

Love Charlie


So here it is


Guess how much I love you

by Charlie Reid


Chapter one

Dad when you’re home

I love it so much

You won’t believe it

But when you’re away

I just feel so so so so sad

When we ring you

or you ring us

When I hear your voice

I feel so so happy.


Chapter Two

Dad just between you and me

when you’re away

I have to pretend I love mum

Plus it is kind of annoying


Chapter three

No matter whether or not

You are being annoying

I will still love you in every way


The End

This book is all about

how much Charlie Reid loves her dad

Some of it is fiction

and some isn’t



 Ron Okely



Spreading the Ashes


It’s more than ten years since he came to live in the forest

Registered sanctuary

for orphaned and injured wild life

Since his death

a hush has come over this small corner of the bush

Seems only appropriate

that his ashes should be spread

among the towering tuarts


A short walk from his back fence

we four and Jimmy

come upon a natural amphitheatre

A grove of these giants

reaching high before branches appear


A family of roos is grazing

Their ears prick up as they look and stare

Slowly loping away they still watch

This is our patch

He often sat here on this log

talking to the animals familiar with his presence.


A few shared memories

Some whispered words of love

A story about the forest for Jimmy


Slowly the ashes are poured in circles

around the giant tree with the red sash

then wider and wider to take in his log

reaching the other trees in the circle.


The stories are shared

The old tawny frog mouth owl with the broken wing

who would climb up the tree using his beak.

The young boobooks brought in after a storm

now living in the forest

One returned playing games with it’s carer’s Beanie

The magpies who show their ownership to the

third and fourth generation

and the blue wren chicks.


There were no trumpeters to laud his achievements

No State funeral to herald his going

But in this tiny corner of the forest

the bush will never seem quite the same again


 Ron Okely   





Coles Is Closed and I Am Crying


She started shivering when she

knew I wouldn’t get to Coles in time to?


Coles is where the real day starts

and most days end

where life becomes most lived –

at least: for one brief moment


And death is postponed.  Well,

the little death of Wednesday’s orgasm


just gets me over sundown

and then, with dark night falling


and cuckoos calling –

she gets crestfallen

if the lights are out

and the carpark’s dark

coz the sun’s gone down


and the politicians

and bureaucrats flail

in between their own lies

and doors stay shut then


how, I fucking ask you:


is a man to stay sane

if he can’t buy a banana?!


Allan Padgett



Dogs Breathing Hard

you know what i like,

i like dogs breathing hard

down my neck, hot and


and somehow woofy,

and you know what i like,

i like steaming hot banana custard and i deliberately

let it, no, i actively encourage it, to run down my chin

so i disgrace myself

but then i lick it off the floor

and it takes me back, way back,

to when i used to like

dogs breathing hard

down my neck

did i tell you


Allan Padgett






(Homelessness Week: 03Agust – 09 August 2015


Temperatures in Perth darted around zero on 08 July

2015 when at night jet sprinklers were sprung on some

of the ones among us experiencing homelessness —


who were trying to sleep around King Street in Perth,

a city named the City of Light. By John Glen. Imagine

how sombre the state of the homeless: one meal a day,


no socks on their feet, beat, bodies wrapped in neglect

and one blanket, the cold and wet pumping pain to their

head and bones in winter, the sun sending splinters of




heat to their face and arms in summer. Are the embers

of concern dwindling to an even slower burn in buildings

housing heat, and taps, commandeered by the salaried?


Joyce Parkes





I’m Running Out Of Cones


I’m running out of cones

The guinea-pigs are squeaking with hunger

They also need new newspaper and attention

The bedroom is a war-zone, festering and corrupt

The sheets are dirty and full of holes

The floor drowns in empty cigarette butts

Dirty coffee cups everywhere

I’m running out of cones

My imaginary girlfriend has a boyfriend

I’m going to die alone

I’ve lost my mobile phone

I’m running out of cones

There are plates all over the floor

There are lunatics at the door

I am tired and I am sore

I can’t take it any more

I think you know the score

I’m running out of cones

I have itchy balls

Desperation crawls up walls

Madness lurks within the halls

My brain feels full of eels

You don’t care how I feel

I’m running out of cones


Tim Parkin



Pre-Rejection Jitter-Bug Blues


Because you’re gorgeous

And I’m decrepit and fat

Because you’re a wonderful woman

And I’m a corrupt middle-aged man

Because you’re an indelible arrow in my heart

And I’m a drug-ravaged mop-haired cliché

Because you know all the cool new bands

And I’m stuck in the nineties

Because you’re nubile and radiant

And I’m corpulent and a bit of downer

Because you’re a heavenly angel

And I’m a horrible toad

And I’m not sure if I’ll turn into a prince

Even if you kiss me

Because you’re rapidly transmogrifying into a goddess from my unconscious mind

A sacred projection of my deepest anima

So high above and so lovely

But this is not healthy

You want a man, not a worshipper

So I postpone and procrastinate

About telling you

How much you mean to me

And just try to be friends

But not in a passive-aggressive ‘Nice-Guy’ way

Because I know the answer to the song of my heart

Will be no


Tim Parkin





Water Boy


I’m dipping hard sud-less water from the bottom of the bath

‘til the scum line  retreats to a grimy ring around the plug.

I’ve saved three four gallon tins of gritty water from our tub

to share with the motley pot plants

my mother calls her garden.

Tomorrow, I’ll take my cart to the nearby mill

refill my drums with that sandy saline water

and drag twelve gallons home once more.


Laurie Smith







like the rasp of sandpaper

the sound you create

as your dark coloured body

slides over sunbaked flag stones


shining eyes observe me calmly

small head elegantly poised

swaying gently from side to side

as if in contemplation


forked tongue flickers

like candle light in the wind,

I am regarded with infinite dignity

as I stand mesmerised


timeless, beautiful snake, your

long slender body simple,

uncomplicated, uncluttered

by feathers, legs, wings, fur or feet


you’re only eyes and movement

captivating and fascinating

hardly a shadow to detract from

the eloquence of your motion


you weave effortlessly

without a trace of haste

shaping the sand behind you

in swirls of soft caresses


you gained your reputation

because simplicity of form

hides any indication

of the power you possess


seemingly harmless grace

conveys no threat at all, yet

in one single lightening strike

you can dispatch us to another world


Traudl Tan







Coldness strikes the skin with a sharp musical note

dances the bones

the handwriting of pain etches the face

angular and graceless

he seems assembled from a pile of dry sticks


Dead leaves scurry in packs down streets

that hang between day and darkness

buildings lean back

black central stalled night reflects nothing

hugging his overcoat closer

his shoulder props a window  ready to move

come morning


Gail Willems