Mike Pedrana “The Town Pool”
Maggie Van Putten “Breakaway”
Jan Napier “Silkie”
Scott-Patrick Mitchell “Dick Pic”
Rita Tognini “Louche Sonnet”
at the outdoor cinema
so many stars
her tiny palms cup
the dead finch
the morning in
Minh-Triêt Pham, Paris, France
end of holidays
the blue sea
in the rearview mirror
Gavin Austin. Sydney. Australia
the sky between two
first day of school
in our street
The Town Pool
saturdays are built for children.
we would meet with our $2 smiles
and group under the shade of the gum trees at the town
animated with immaturity and coated in skinny legs and shove and push
hearts we bonded away from the grey corridors of a sheepish school.
the black kids are doing backflips and chasing each other
ignoring the adults who a like cadavers or tourist white seals.
all except mr bauer,
who runs the pool without expression as we
give him our 5 cent piles for candy.
Behind the toilet block
we cup our parents cigarettes from him,
coughing into our towels from its disaster as the sentinel
flanked on the pavement
motions to hush the give away noise.
we become fools to the tiny breasts of classmates
who ignore us in their red carpet saunter.
ganged together like an orgy of gallant octopi ,
we army soldier our boyish
push each other into the
citadel of their snobbery,
the youth of our smudged ice-cream faces
walled from the insult of turned backs.
the country heat herds us into the
cool diamond depth of the town pool,
splash happy and teasing,
too lazy to urinate anywhere else.
sometimes the wind goosebumps the
flesh that stands at height above the water and
so we tread within it,
our shinny heads all apple bobbed
and sun blotched.
and confectionary spent,
we spread our meatless bodies onto the hot concrete
that burns an almost cruel heat.
heads rested on folded arms
and bellies red but lizard dry.
we all agree its time to
go home to our empty houses.
as we rise,
the wet shape of our bodies are left outlined
on the concrete.
slowly the outline of it
is drunken up by the radiant heat,
we stand in silence as we watch it disappear,
all fading away without control,
like the childhood
we never thought
we would lose.
The land, like our lives, was between seasons, waiting
It became ours as if there was no other place or time.
The glittering edge of a glacier sliced the tundra.
An ancient frozen river, a dangerous playground.
You can cut yourself on ice.
You can disappear into a crevasse.
Strange things can happen on glaciers.
Strange things can happen in love.
At the toe of the glacier, trickles formed streams
Then braided into wide shallow rivers
where agates mixed in gravel, jewelled promise hidden.
Other rivers washed up bright specks of flash and glitter,
coin of the realm of dreams,
fooling some as love can fool.
Water dripped and ran, soaked down deep
diluting colours of earth and sky.
The sodden, marshy tundra sucked at boots
soaked our feet in water, always cold.
At night in front of the fire clothes steamed.
At night wrapped together bodies burned.
Came the first snow, warning of early winter,
the darkened land forced our gaze upward.
In the cold air stars were harsh, brilliant and immediate.
After midnight the aurora began as a false dawn
continued in arcs and waving translucent curtains of colour.
The land like love demanded hard choices
but we had made them long ago.
Waking, we joined separate southward migrations,
not knowing where the journey would end.
Here in summer country the sky is clear,
colours sharp-edged and dry.
Rich red dust puffs up with each step.
Stars with different names fill the night sky
and the Aurora Australis is as rare as a living stream.
Alone in the darkness with the hot wind blowing
I shiver, watch the horizon and think of you.
Maggie Van Putten
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
My husband loves me, snugs me close as a clove hitch,
loops and folds around me, makes fast, and I,
brassy as cringles on clipper ships, wink and flash
under hot blue eyes. We writhe lithe as eels,
almost ophidian, porpoise to surface
breath spicy with salt and musk, crash and sink
into slumber’s lull. But when northerlies ruffle
shot silk, and aquamarine slides violet
into slate, my silkie self insists on the slink
of wild water stroking skin, so on nights
nacreous and impossible to peel, I wriggle,
untangle, kiss a bristly chin, plunge to grottoes
adrift with jellyfish like clear moons, match tales
with kin, let the sea keep me. On thundery dawns
I wade breakers trailing weed like torn black lace,
half turn to murmur farewells, wince as knives flash
voltage into soles rasped pink, step my penance,
the bargain struck, the knot tied.
*Cringle: a brass eyelet on the edge of a sail.
he sends me a dick pic
& i’m all is that it….
some things are small
but even in the right
hands the tiny can be
-come a mighty weapon
but when there is more
fuzz than flesh you have
to wonder if some men
have ever heard of the
he sends me a dick pic
& i’m like oh dear god
if this man were a
neanderthal then this
would be his club
: deformed isn’t even
a word you could use
to describe it
& like fools i bet they
both drool when he
talks about tools or the
footy or cars or the
presumed space such a
man perceives to be the
he send me a dick pic
& all i can do : shake
it leans to the left
, pointing, as if to
say I’M WITH
STUPID & my
mind races with
the physics you
must employ to
muster such a
kink in your toy
i imagine him going to a
tailor with his pants &
asking if they can let
out the seam on the
he sends me a dick pic
& words escape me
but just as i begin to
salivate he does what
most men who are hung
tend to do : he becomes
a misogynistic pig
words like stretch & choke
spill freely from this bloke
as he objectifies me as some
-thing to rape : fuck that mate
his intentions are as
clear as my disgust
at his rampant lust
he sends me a dick pic
& it’s a picture of him
This is a sonnet without stays,
one of unlaced corsets, crumpled, half-discarded
underskirts, black stockings in disarray
on floors. Of half-sipped absinthe in glasses
near the bed. This is a sonnet
that recalls the wild bohemian days
of fin de siècle Paris, when Renoir and Monet
danced Seine-side with muses young and gay,
and Degas spied, sketched and painted
his little dancing girls (he couldn’t do that now
and keep his genius and career untainted);
or in top hat, frock coat, necktie and sans Frau
frequented ballet and Bois with friend Lautrec,
promenaded courtesans and horses, did what the heck.
- Bois de Boulogne – large public park in Paris, which was a popular meeting and promenading place for people of all classes in the late 19th century and contains Paris’ main horse race track, the Hippodrome de Longchamp.