Creatrix 34 Poetry

September 2016

Poetry selectors: Chris Arnold and Peter Jeffery
Submissions editor: Jan Napier

Contributors:

debarnes

Beyond The Walls
In Still Places
A Jaded Sun

Kaye Brand

The Scottish Brave

Stephen Chor

Fully Functioning Heart

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

By The Lake’s Edge
Finding The Fit

Frances Faith

Dear Future
Shh 

Derek Fenton

Septuagenarian Sonnet

Margaret Ferrell

Guy Grey-Smith Torbay

Sally Gaunt

Wattle
Counting Out Medicine

Kevin Gillam

‘73
Exact Coinage

Mike Greenacre

Chasing A Poem
The Hunger Beneath 

Daniel Hunter

A Winter’s Day

Jackson

Dadda
Man With A Gun

Ross Jackson

Book Club Instruction
The Miracle Of Sydney Jackson

Danijela Kambaskovic-Swartz

Foregrounding The Back
For Those Who Know How To Tell

Nada Kesic

Remembered…

Chris Konrad

Valhalla With Thelma And Louise
Parched”>
The Big Book Of Jerome Rothenburg And God

Mardi May

Killing The Rooster

Glad McGough

The Ring Of The Axe
The Woman

Scott-Patrick Mitchell

Blue 

Jan Napier

Snake Pit
The Martini Bride

Julian O’Dea

Ourobos
In The Sand

Colleen O’Grady

 The Home Front 

Allan Padgett

Was Driving On The Gravel
Did I Ever Tell You…

Chris Palazzolo

Househusband Meteorology

Tim Parkin

Alexithymia
Unmedicated 

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Beyond The Walls

Here on the inside
where our walls isolate
create boundaries, our barriers;

twin orbed suns angled downwards
splay shadows, seen unseen
across flaking layers of dust
and jaded paint;

randomly
on the ceilings, inactive
cobwebs cling,
graffiti.

Though I am quiet
the deep deep quiet – lingers;
I never knew that silence
could ache.

Over coffee I dream
I hear the murmur of angels,
the beating of hearts
of loves which once slept
beside me;

somewhere
the air is alive with words,
whispers of the night, beautiful eyes
skin on skin.

I never thought
I could ever feel emotion
again.

            David E Barnes – debarnes

In Still Places

On Friday
I said I would be there
but the cobwebs of my mind
burned through the
night

I flew elsewhere
down indistinct fissures;
away from consuming claws
into the longed-for
prolonged state of
profound unconsciousness

I was neither here
nor there,
although my friends
knew where
I was.

WA Poets spoken words, words flowing
verse’  winging  from parchment,
across the skies of
Kalamunda
though the blustery
weather then rain
which I did not
hear.

Strange’

In the elusiveness
of  a comatose
mind,
a swift phrase flickered by.

Hey crow – things are as they are.*

            David E Barnes – debarnes

            *from-  Mike William’ 2001-

A Jaded Sun

Eventide rises to a fading moon
and the fisherman walks on stagnant waters
unable to cast his net…
fishing for lost souls.
should I be surprised?

Why- do I weep for you?
Why do I care?
I carry my own sins
I carry my own remorse- burdens,
burdens- caste aside in aversion

I was taught that expressing
my feelings and my needs
were socially unacceptable,
and my youth rebelled

in the shadows- of a jaded sun

My self-

a sun once swallowed
in the ocean of humanity…

I rose like the phoenix
in awareness,
watched the clowns juggle
our universal island
in misguided belief…
they are- as gods:

with the spit of bullets
men women and children fall,
departed life meaninglessly
they were innocence, victims’
they were decent
they held their head up high
And god…
in his belief

is he traumatized as man?

men unable to alter,
unable to restrain
shackle the nature of the beast
within.

Now our world lives in turmoil.
while lovers arrange
prenuptial agreements
preparing
for the end
at the beginning

Such beautiful eyes
and I was young
innocence
in the back seat
as I fumbled in the darkness.
oblivious.

            David E Barnes – debarnes

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Your Scottish Brave

I sit by the fire of rock and flame
the beat of New York in my surround
Far away his life lies balanced
As the precarious rocks of this glow.

The mood here is gentle, dim lights
with folks quietly recalling their day
I sit alone and think of you
My Rachel, I think of Dan and you

He may not wrap his arms around you
or be intimately expressive anymore
Seizured neurones, lost connections
But a Scottish Brave forevermore

He will never leave your soul
His Rachel, his lover, his friend
In the moments of this New York lounge
I know these things somehow my friend

Life balances creates and dissects
Are we really the deciders of our way?
You my friend have loved and grieved
And grieved and loved and grieved again.

A lost child mourned but never left
A betrayal shadowed by a silver glow
New life held in your daughter’s arms
Then a Scotsman with that soccer smile

I sit still by the flames in New York
I see your face etched by fire here
Know my friend soon he will be gone
But forever here because of the now

            Kaye Brand

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Fully Functioning Heart

the most resilient muscle in the human anatomy is the heart
it beats for both our friends and our enemies
gives us energy when faced with adversity
having a broken heart is a sign that the heart itself, actually works
but no matter how shattered one’s heart may be at any point in time
it is capable of fixing itself and picking up the shattered pieces
having said that, even a partially functioning heart can work wonders
it can reach out to struggling strangers in their moment of need
it can feel for the victims who are starving as a result of others’ greed
in fact, it is so powerful, that it can even sow seeds
which have the capacity to blossom into love and compassion
action, reaction: one must give love in order to receive love
never underestimate the strength of a bleeding heart
for it beats for all of existence and all of eternity

            Stephen Chor

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By The Lake’s Edge

Held by a summer gone too long,
the tongue aches for rain.
Plies the dry mouth
unable to shape words.

There are days the sun
loses it’s fire
when reeds compose music
and rocks have a percussive air.

Days shaped by the cool breeze
and the autumn look
when the old is shed
and deciduous trees
lean to winter.

Days of acceptance
for the inevitable sunrise/sunset.
The yin/yang of black and white
where what is
is shaped by what was
and channelled by what will be.

Days forged by the dawn chorus
as nights’ movement
fades.

            Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Finding the Fit

Standing shoulder deep in a lake
breathing each ripple as it stretches to shore.
Finger the gentle bump to the butt of sand.

Silence wends beyond flesh.
Bawls into craven ears
as if quiet is a perversity
against the intensity of wind
and salt scent tendrils
through each echo.

There is a hunger
in the slate of captured clouds.
And in the crave for blue sky
the clarity of water reaches
further than the horizon.

Raises the essence of floating
and each morsel
that can be labelled ‘plain’
shines new.

Where family is beyond boundary
and breath and water and blood
is the same.

                     Gary Colombo De Piazzi

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Dear Future Lover

I’m waiting for you
like I’m waiting for the train
that was supposed to come,
trying not to resent the
lives you must traverse
before you come to mine.

My eyes await your landscape.

I don’t want promises
of things to be
or confessions of a ragged past,
just Now, here, this moment
with nothing but skin.

There are atoms I no longer need
which you will inhale
breathing out your own gift to me.

I dream of browsing the volume of your mind,
selecting passages to explore.

The platform is cold
the noise of the crowd growls in the distance.
Faces emerge
their questions blustering,
hands prodding my body.
I am alone in clothes that no longer fit.
I would warm myself
by the glow of your soul.

            Frances Faith

Shh

we are so polite,
geishas with our lips red
with the marks of teeth,
our faces whitened until they reflect.
your words cover the mouth like a fan
hiding shy smiles
fluttering beneath ebony eyes.
you me
telephone.
our lack goes beyond minimal
to Spartan lengths of emptiness.
silence cushions the soft blows,
your pursed lips breathe them out
like formless petals,
they fall to carpet my breathlessness.
under the gown
is the knife,
long and noble and waiting
should honour fall.

            Frances Faith

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Septagenarian  Sonnet

A fortnight into my seventieth year
and absolutely nothing has changed-
an arbitrary number, nothing to fear
nothing has needed to be rearranged.
I’ve picked up my first point on the charts’ score
and statistics start to work against me.
I’ll ignore prevailing medical lore;
being an outlier is the way to be.

There may be something around the corner
which probability couldn’t fortell
malevolently waiting to donner*
me, cruelly condemning me to hell.
In spite of this, I aim to reach a ton
enjoying the coming years, every last one!

            Derek Fenton

* Beat up.

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Guy Grey-Smith   Torbay 1957

After the rain – balm to a stand of karri –
air shimmers like butterfly wings,
sunrise on this southern coast
caresses eucalypts, their droplets
myriad points of light.
The artist reaches for his palette.

Paintbrush, exuberant, dances landscape.
Blocks and swathes of pigment inhabit
canvas with a nod to Cézanne,
hint of Matisse.  Structural forms
in their boldness dominate imagination.

Rocks deepen to coral, white sand fringes
emerald water. It’s Spring – sand bar
breached, river flowing – colour stains earth,
sky, water.  Foliage reshapes,
intensifies.

            Margaret Ferrell

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Wattle

The Queen of trees
the Wattle now
is hung with gold
along the bough
and silvery green
the petals grow
while puff balls
in their shadows show.
While bees seek nectar
in showy masses,
sunlight steals among golden tresses.
A stout trunk,
the growth of ages,
reckless colour
the hope of sages.
Proud and tall,
gold clad bride,
Treasured tree
Australia’s pride.

            Sally Gaunt

Counting Out Medicine

Let’s get real,
cut the bull.
These purple, white and green tablets
Are what’s best for me.
No need to hang my head,
secretly swallow in restaurant toilet with gulp of water,
My life is better for them !
Although the end result is not certain,
I am grateful not to live in the Congo
or Bellarusse nor to be a
peasant farmer in Guadacanal
without the wherewithall to buy medicine.
Pretty earrings are one thing
a trip to see the Eiffel Tower
but I am glad I have my medicine
Man needs warmth, food, Art : so many things
but high up on the list is Medicine

Thank You, Father Lord

            Sally Gaunt

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‘73 

they’re off to a
progressive dinner,
mother in crocheted poncho,
father in safari suit,
complete with dish of apricot chicken,
box of splades and
bottle of Ben Ean moselle.

me?
I’m at home in my
flares watching
H.R. Pufnstuf –
the economic
rationalists are yet
to be born

            Kevin Gillam

 

Exact Coinage 

we’re lined up (as you do)
on a Saturday,
each with our handful of
sixpack or Cabernet Merlot promise,
mind’s full of justify
(it is Saturday, not thinking,
of course, about the
Escher-logic required
for the morrow)

she’s in front of me
clutching 2 cans of Export,
cheeks ruddy and corrugated,
puppet eyelids,
then, at the counter,
a slurry of lips, words, sense
but she’s got exact coinage for
her booze and pack of
Winnie Golds, she’s got
her night sorted

            Kevin Gillam

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Chasing A Poem

Re-working old poems is like
driving your car between
two posts – the closer
you get to one idea, the
further you go from the rest.

I look at the little bits
of verse on separate sheets
across the years and
realise time can dislocate
as well as heal.

Flipping eagerly through
my file, hoping there is
one dressed near complete,
I find I have to re-model
more than save.

Maybe I need to stand back
from the edge and
throw in a line hoping
to catch a verse,
but there’s too much of me
lying as dead-weight
for imagination to bear.

‘I should be writing!’ I call
out to the night, watching
me flit from journal
to facebook or any trail that
can turn into something else,
might lead me there.

            Mike Greenacre

The Hunger Beneath

Nets lay as ghosts
fishing below the waves,
seizing up to three times
the capacity of
what the ocean can sustain

then wrap themselves
like outdated policies around
reefs and marine mammals –
seals, whales and dolphins –
as serial killers for decades.

Death comes to others as an elixir
of oil and liquid spills
from fishing vessels,
until our final net is thrown
and captures a hungry world.

            Mike Greenacre

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Winters Day

In the park rain drops cling to the leaves and grass
cloud masks the sun and the atmosphere is chilly
school is out and the kids play half hearted
without the usual gusto laughs and giggles are
muffled in the crisp still air

the small flock of galahs diligently picking
over spent grain their usual gaiety and banter
replaced by light squabbles for the remaining
leftovers though even these lack heat

a single crow caws without conviction
and without answer the willywag tails
don’t harass their mortal enemy
as it’s apparent he lacks intention this day

two doves snuggle together in a marri branch
feathers fluffed up one with its head under its
wing the other determined to provided some
comfort

the sun comes out from behind the cloud
highlighting the galahs who attempt a quick
game of leap frog but momentum is lost
as is the sun

its as if the rain drops absorb the sounds of joy
rather than reflecting or amplifying
unlike the summertime sun where mischief
and merriment shine

            Daniel Hunter

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Dadda
______ At Cottesloe Beach, 2015

Dadda! Dadda! a toddler screams
Dadda! Dadda! Dadda! Dadda! Dadda! Dadda!

Dadda is chiselled, hard-bodied, striding up the beach
in rash top, mid-thigh shorts, expensive, tight
Under his right arm like a rugby ball
he carts a little girl
held horizontal, facing the ground
wriggling and kicking against his grip
screaming what she thinks is his name

By the shower he dumps her
She lands on her feet with a visible thud
He pulls her dress off over her head
yanks down her pink suit
with its frill around the hips
Having gotten her naked
he turns on the cold shower
shoves her under
She flinches, clings to his legs
He brushes water over her
with flat swipes of his palm

All this time she is screaming
All this time he says nothing
and his face does not move

A group of tourists stare
Even some of the locals look

He turns off the water
pulls a white and brown striped towel
off his shoulder

At last he will wrap and embrace her
I tell myself

He wrestles the towel around her
twists it into a knot
hoists her under his arm again

            Jackson

Man With A Gun

In the queue in the chemist this afternoon
I stood behind a man with a gun
An armed guard from the ATM money truck

The gun was in a holster on his right hip
I wondered whether it
was loaded

I thought about the barrel
the trigger
the bullet at ease
in its little room

The gun had a wooden handle
smooth, honey-blonde
warm-looking
I tried to imagine
the man drawing the gun and shooting it
He aimed for the leg
I saw a suburb
a woman
a baby
I tried to imagine him
shooting to kill
The terror, the blood-rage
The eyes
afterwards
blown to bits

I have halved with a kitchen knife a small snake
beheaded with a hatchet a chicken for soup
clubbed with a log a cat-ruined mouse
but I haven’t fired a gun
Not yet

My father had a butcher’s knife for sheep
an axe for chooks and ducks
a shotgun for birds
a rifle for steers and cancer-ridden cats
I saw how he worked the knife and the axe
but he didn’t teach me the guns

The man in the queue was no more than 30
He had short wavy hair and a pale neck
He asked for strong headache pills
Pulled out his wallet

Jackson

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Book Club Instructions

sometime after 7.30, having walked down the path
between the roses with the book
you will be met at the leadlight door
by the host

before, during and after the coffee
and the Tim Tams
you will confer with your fellows
and respectfully defer to them
of course

since you agree with me
about how little you know
you will very, very rarely demur

around 9.30, like a character from
one of Chekhov’s plays
your imperfect signature
will be appended
to our frail and meandering conversation
and you may go home

the circled date, the address of our next host
another book
of four hundred pages
and not a little gossip
the very least you’ll take away

            Ross Jackson

The Miracle Of Sydney Jackson*

More cultured, elegant
more beautiful even
than the Barry Cable drop kick
that length of the field run

which had full grown men
tackling nothing
stumblers by comparison
concrete mixers matched

against ornate, fleet feet
weaving for the goals
whilst awe-fully paralysed
the sun over Perth Oval.

Commentators these days
would call it foot candy
but it was a miracle
and I still dream it.

            Ross Jackson

* Sydney Jackson- an Australian Rules footballer of the 60’s and 70’s.

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Foregrounding The Back
______ 
written to Harald Vike Perth Roofs

It takes a sharp eye indeed
_______ to foreground the back—

to catch the hung washing
fluttering its mended wings,

or the old brickwork
when it performs its daily soar.

It takes a sharp eye indeed
_______ to foreground the back—

to note the precise moment
when workaday verticals

come together
into a polygon of beauty.

            Danijela Kambaskovic-Schwartz

For Those Who Know How To Tell
_______
written to Paddy Jaminji: Kimberley Landscape

We live our lives in patches—
_______ sharply divided,
_______ like gravesites, churchyards;
we walk from one sharp-angled home ground to another, unknowing,
_______ never the twain shall meet.

We grow seeded trees:
In time, our tips grow round and heavy with juice,
_______ then burst thickly
_______ and scatter the riches to the ground.

Seen from above
_______ we must seem like stick-figures
_______ with all our dancing,
avid, blind to the colour of our dance.

Our paths grow rich with promise
_______ Curve like breasts, then drip with milk
_______ for those who know how to tell

boomerangs from the constellations of black stars
winged huts from ant-hills

Foraging trees from the boab trees
growing upside down.

            Danijela Kambaskovic-Schwartz

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Remembered…

Rose on moonbeams,
past the orb’s white face
into the ink jet night
where I begin anew.

The past seems so long ago so quickly does it fade.

Adrift, meld into time’s limitless pace and
dance the melody of time lost, past, passed.
I wait for time’s strike to begin anew.

Till then drift
shed the past
the old
the tears
fears
joys
a  tinkle of laughter
not yet lost.
It bubbles
escapes to
light the sky.

Fading memories of life lost, fading, slipping,
gently lost almost gone.
Hold on before I’m gone
all trace lost.

Now I’m mist on moonlit nights
the sigh on a gentle breeze
a whisper of memories in someone’s ear.

“I’m sure” she says, “I felt her near.
Whispered my name and touched me dear”.
Gentle tear falls for the loss of me.
No, more, a tender remembered caress,
love’s eternal caress.
Not lost…remembered…

            Nada Kesic

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Valhalla With Thelma And Louise

From this house to that and there’s a cliff with my name on it: there are lies, forgive me, but someone needs to say it – there are monsters in the air. She puts glass in her hair and eyes on her makeup. Is she crying? Instead it’s another day in Scandinavia and the North Sea flows with the trifle of life. When the Nazis got there, the place was impounded and there was no way home.

A frightened summer , a shot of  blister-bay here on the wharf; let it go, let it go – but the sound of pitter-patter on the veranda – endless , dry winters and conjunctions of  desperation. Fly in the face of it – run run run run run and echoes for a shoe-tip down to the river and out to the sea – the wind and the rain as if that’s when my profanities fell like tears on the skin of ice – playing Chopin on cold dark nights as we spill over the edge like entering Valhalla with Thelma and Louise.

            Chris Konrad

Parched Desert Train (Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz 1651 – 1695)

There, between the roofline and caught up in her substantial and significant mind – Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz – the dusk of the irrevocable and he wants it so and she cannot stomach one more stone in her gall which they retrieved with a suction device and started on her other gynaecology. She forgave them and retraced her genealogy, no father, absent mother and all the games of lineage, somewhere, there in the realms of forgiveness imperfectly glimpsed. Or, she could have been discovered by Marquise de Mancera and brought to the Court in Mexico City, a prodigy, there to write Neptuno Alegorico or First Dream. Her courtly games, her loves – Leonor and Maria de Lara. The clouds were bricks that day and the ground a wonderland of perfect pitch, the dust, a kind of Chevrolet Blue. Her libraries, treatises and poetic tracts given over to sandstorms that left her a parched desert train never resting – wild, unknown, destructive and spreading like a wasteland. Why did they not let her settle, why did they rip her gall out – her spleen? Why did she have to get to a nunnery, the San José Convent of the Descalced Carmelites, just to strut her stuff?

            Chris Konrad

The Big Book Of Jerome Rothenberg And God
______ For Shane Mac

There, on the door step, he sits. Bent forward, his head between his hands, elbows resting on his knees. He sits in the middle, on one side sits Yaweh – on his left side in fact. On the other side sits Paul Celan. Both Yaweh and Celan were whispering into the man’s ears. A young girl walked past them, along the footpath. She just sees God and Paul but cannot see the man sitting between them, trying to block his ears.

‘Who are you talking to?’ she asks them.

‘Go away little girl. Can’t you see we’re busy?’

She shakes her head. She knows there is someone between them, a third person, and stares hard at the steps as if simply staring long enough would conjure up this magical being who she thinks exists, but who probably does not.

            Chris Konrad

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Killing The Rooster

My father was good with an axe;
splitting mill ends for winter wood,
our Christmas tree – scent of pine,
the sharp cry of metal through bark,
sticky gel of sap on our fingers.

And, the Sunday rooster,
the one who never learned to crow,
practised his strangled cry all night,
but never got it right by dawn;
a gender confusion, but he was
as plump as any oven-ready hen.

I hid and watched my father –
The Axe Murderer –
swing him around and lay
him on the execution block.
One clean arc; blade buried in wood
and the headless rooster
flapped around the yard.

Mother hung him on the clothesline
by the foot like a dripping sock.
The choking smell of wet feathers,
his innards spilled on newspaper,
my sister and I arranging them
on the table like an anatomy lesson
Wheat in his crop – last meal.
What a waste!
His sheeny giblets,
tiny heart, still warm.

I don’t think he ever had a name,
but his flesh never passed my lips.

            Mardi May

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The Ring Of The Axe

The rhythmic ring of the axe echoes

through silent giant trees
disturbs the quiet,
birds take wing.
filtered sun and not the slightest breeze.

The axe’s cruel and measured swing,

mercilessly resounds
its ruthless strokes,
hardened to its slaughter
it knows no moral flagging.

In death-knell the giant groans, and sways
and totters with a creak,
and in the hush, I hear its soul
breathe out an agonising sigh
my heart takes up its beat.

It hesitates, then with dying moan
it crashes to its doom
Green, graceful branches twist and writhe,
to mark its wretched fate
for David wants Goliath, and its cry reverberates.

            Glad. McGough 

The Woman

The jangling bunch hung heavy on the metal ring
inserted rudely, roughly in, to shriek in pain
the key, iconoclastic in its contrary mood.
resentful to unlock the door
exposing vulnerability within

I am not her, the woman he defends

In the dark vapour of the swirling vortex,
in the shadowy mist of missing  mind
who can tell who is good and who is bad?
‘Is that you? The good one?’ Answer please.
‘Why, in my anguish, must you torment me!’

I am not her, the woman he defends

There is no rest from taunting torture wreaked

You will not let me sleep
You never leave me even though in ranting raves
I throw things at you in despair
obscene lexes spewing from my mouth.

I am not her, the woman he defends

In anguish I would kill the bad of two

I see within my head
‘Is that you? The good one?’ answer me!
Severance will be my liberation.
No key then, will need to scrape upon the lock

I will be me, the woman that once I used to be.

            Glad. McGough.

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Blue

i’ll offer you my mouth
my silent abject mouth
this awaiting state of
penetration         this
disempowerment we
carry out daily like a
state of consensual
rape

everything comes down
to a mouth & saying yes
, you may progress, you
may take me elsewhere
if you can excuse the
mess

push past & through
to my cold hard blue

receptive
i cannot speak
as you lift my belly
& thrust & burn
inside of me

¿ what is that sound

in the distance that
warns me not to be ?

here, you lick my back
, the nape of my neck
, reach to kiss my lips
but find my ear instead

i hear no language between
us, only sound: a muted TV
screen chills us into a static
silhouette as you carry out
your soliloquy of sex

i am blue
with you
inside of
me

i am uncertain of what this
will bring, how everything
comes down to a mouth &
3HREE letters, the plus &
the negative: life is just a
mathematical equation

alone in an indigo sky of
my own despise i wait for
this to end

oh richard of york, is there
now a battle in veins as we
wait, afterward, to find out
if you were a big mistake

push past & through
, cause me to bruise

i am blue
with you
inside of
me

            Scott-Patrick Mitchell

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Snakepit

Beach belles squeal and swirl to Rock Around The Clock,
boys Brylcreem slick, ( so cool that curl of quiff),
spinning them across a frantic dance floor,
onlookers spilling over sidelines like froth
on milkshakes, clapping their favourites and stamping
black winklepickers to the beat, Don’s new jukebox
clicking through disc after disc.

Cuties in summer frocks and pony tails giggle
together at the milk bar, josh their fellers
into parting with sixpence for a granita,
ask for two straws, or share a two bob burger
lusty with onion and rude red sauce. Kerbside,
angle parked  Holdens (those bench seats so romantic),
wait, reliable and familiar as fathers
counting house bound hours, or the ocean’s endless blues.

            Jan Napier

The Martini Bride

Smooth tones of Oolong soothe lips cracked as granite
outcrops, lips more used to whistling red clouds
around merinos, or cursing the tractor’s lack
of torque, than gossip and cream cakes.

In his rocking silence, morning saunters towards
the meridian in its usual green, ponies
doze loose hoofed in pools of almost noon, and
paperbarks in beggar’s rags huddle along
the creek, incline to soak away their years.

Frowning at flowery paper, her writing
spiky as double gees, a lie he can touch;
recalls the martini bride come unwilling
to flystrike and foot rot, shouting, shouting,
shouting, a shy tongue dumb.

Selfish, no fun, fool, batter at him anew, hail
on a tin roof, unkernel hurts he thought interred.
Blue beneath today’s date, please, didn’t mean.
Bitch.
The pup thumps her tail. Wet faced, and
in fading light, he props the gate open;
awaits the arrival of trains, and questions.

            Jan Napier

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Ouroboros

What is it doing there? I remember
that silver snake belt from thirty
years ago, circling the waist of your
black taffeta dress, biting its tail like
the ouroboros demanding reflection
on the relentless cycle of time, binding
me to you and the grinding
wheel of generation.

            Julian O’Dea

In The Sand

Kneeling in the sand, glistening
from the sea,
you bent your anemone
mouth to kiss my sun-warmed heart
like a big ruby in a treasure chest,
and then I had you squat
by me like a shivering
urchin near a fire,
and asked you to marry me,
knowing your answer.

            Julian O’Dea

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The Home Front

Debts, debts, debts, how they do accrue
And blasted well frustrating when they don’t belong to you!
Well not in the general sense that I must admit
But here they come in the post and many overdue!

Just what are these debts, debts, debts,
That is causing me to have all these flamin’ frets
Leaving me with no money in me mitt
And going bananas in one’s mind sets?

Amongst the debts is Christmas, well you know
Lovely tree, cards, decorations, presents, mistletoe.
One is really tempted to try and forget it.
Well, with loved ones it’s not the ‘done thing’ you know!

Okay! First we have utilities for sure,
You know electricity for lights and air cooler more
With the phone bill that could soon bring a writ
Because sickness in the family it’s used much more.

Of course we have the rent, a must to have shelter
Away from weather conditions gone helter skelter.
Troublesome is the water bill, am dancing like a twit
For that air cooler whirrs for the day’s a real melter

And blow me down, the worst has taken place
My poor little Mazda has become a disgrace!
It sits lone and forlorn, for the stubborn engine called it ‘quits!
It’s cluttering up the lawn and taking up space!

Debts, debts, debts, what on earth shall I do?
There isn’t enough dough to even see me through!
I’m fair moving towards having several fits!
So troubled I shop. I really feel the need for something new.

            Colleen O’Grady

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Was Driving On The Gravel

Was driving on the gravel, sun bright above
a Toodyay sun-filled green-scaped
verdant, wheat and oaten fertility day,
the STOP sign approaching, braking gravel
strewn back country road, you squatting there mid-field, grey,
more than slightly feathered,
but not yet fledgable.
Even at a distance, I knew who you were.

I skidded left onto gravel verge,
leapt out, wonderfilled,
scampered back to you.

Seeing that you were whole, yet dangerously sited,
I ran to the boot of my car and grabbed a jacket:
all the better to hold you with,
your jaws gaping, errrrgggghhhhaaa’, ….
errrrrrgggghhhhhaaaaa, ….

I draped the softness over you,
not wanting to feel the crunch of your fear,
took you quietly, held you gently,
walked you slowly to forked tree by road,
whereon I sat you, asking are you OK,
would you like a drink, where’s
your mother, is that white glucking on the roadside
a sign that they sat on bough high above,
watching as you grew from hatchling
to toddler, nestling alongside feathering siblings,
desperately scrarking as beaks poked life-building
nutriment into your parched and desperate throats.
Where then are your sisters, your brothers?

Then: why is it that you are left
helplessly alone and waiting and awake,
in the middle of the road, when daytime for nocturnals
is for sleeping? Why is it that you are not only awake under a bright sun,
but gaping with anxiety in the middle of a springtiming
wheatbelt afternoon, alone and crying. My heart
is breaking as I give you one last farewell look,
desperate in the hope that you will be found
as night arrives, and fed and loved
as all such birds should be.

And as I drive away, slow, and with guilt and fear, I ask:
Do fence posts hatch, at night, unbeknown to us,
into Tawny Frogmouths?

            Allan Padgett

Did I Ever Tell You

Did I ever tell you
how much of a mess
of tracks and emptiness
those proto-butterflies
______ are making of my kohl rabi

Or did I ever remind you
of the downward casting look
the local owl gave me from above
as it perched, ashen-faced,
on the curving branch of our cork oak tree
______ on a summer’s evening

And did I ever tell you
how much your eyes moisten
when my words reach softly
into the warming clefts
of your gentling thoughts
or even, the sky, as it turns
an evening cast of pinking blue
______ edged with a hint of celestial green.  Just like your eyes.

O, did I ever tell you
that when I view my vibrant grandsons
with youthful hands against
the tumblingdown wetted rush
of the waterwall in St Kilda Road,
that my heart spills over
and I know and will forever know:
______ the power of love.

            Allan Padgett

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Househusband Meteorology

Evening chores are a stormfront –
Pascal’s salient bearing in – sheer|
on the kitchen where all my labours
are bent – another trough
around the tv where the kids jump and scrap
and loudly protest routines. My wife
handles the squalls – baths and beds.
Late morning is my favourite pattern,
shopping time – past the balustrade, onto
the driveway, into the sunlight bub and I –
it’s a high pressure gradient
which broadens and thins
and when we’re on the footpath
we’re in a different system altogether.

Chris Palazzolo

 
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Alexithymia

Sometimes the worst feeling is no feeling at all
Five days past sad
Staring at walls
Struck numb and dumb by the awfulness of it all
A desperate infinite fall
Empty of all passion
Far from compassion
Reamed out shell like an insect exoskeleton
Full of nothing
Void of love
Vegetable man
Hollow, hollow
Without purpose
Dead inside and desolate
No meaning can be formed from a mass of contradictory sensations
No drive or energy
Like a fucked up old shell of a car
Can’t get out of bed
And when a friend asks how I’m doing
I stare into the vast panoply of human suffering
And can only answer
‘I don’t know’

            Tim Parkin

Unmedicated

Always madness knocking at the door
Unmedicated schizophrenics sucking up my time
Rambling to themselves while staring in the mirror
Muttering inflammatory rhetoric and racism
Denying that they have any mental illness
Telling me that the CIA and the NBN are reading their brainwaves
Telling me that there are messages for them in the ads in X-presss
Telling me that the whole planet is being monitored and controlled by the Masons
Convinced that their medication is poison

But these are God’s children
And we must love them no matter how annoying they may be
In tribal societies they would be shaman
With one foot in the realm of Spirit and one foot in reality
Hearing voices of the dead and the immortal and interpreting them for the tribe
Going on mystic journeys accompanied by spirit animals
Speaking in poetry
Mystifying and incandescent

We used to fill them full of anti-psychotics and sit them in corner
Increasingly now they roam free
Sometimes mystifying and inspiring, sometimes annoying and repetitive
Sometimes even dangerous to themselves or others
But they definitely make the world a more interesting place

            Tim Parkin

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