Issue # 38 Poetry

Selectors: Peter Jeffery AO and Chris Konrad
Submissions Manager: Wendy Beach

Kaye Brand
Birth Rite
Torbay 1957

Gary Colombo De Piazzi
As The Sun Sets
Disturbance
In The Service Of

Geraldine Day
Running

Derek Fenton
Gordon Gheko

Margaret Ferrell
Sanctuary

David Finley
Monotony On The Streets

Wendy Fleming
Grief Plays Out Over A Long Time. Paul Kelly

Sally Gaunt
A Long Walk Beside The Sea In Winter

Anne Gilchrist
C. Y. O’ Connor’s Horse

Kevin Gillam
Aged Rugs And Wet Dogs
Neaped

Mike Greenacre
Neighbourhood
The Shape Of Love

Olivia Hendry
While The Healing

Ruari Jack Hughes
A Great Ship Anchored In A Dry Sea For Ever
Wherever You Go, There You Are…

Jackson
Coffee
The Dappled Shallows

Ross Jackson
Way Too Difficult

Nada Kesic
Quiet Grief

Glad McGough
She Loves Us When She’s Dying

Scott-Patrick Mitchell
Ballad Of The Doppelgänger
Birak

Jan Napier
Anodyne

Julian O’Dea
Dawn
The Deep

Virginia O’Keeffe
Field Day
Loss And Loving

Allan Padgett
Among The Birds
The Zeitgeist Is Here Today, Gone

Joyce Parkes
AFTRS
Swags

Tim Parkin
Death Is The Great Trick
Sneaky Piglet

Mike Pedrana
Religion And The Birth Of The Poet

Traudl Tan
Night Search

Maggie Van Putten
For My Grandfather, Lost At Sea

Sandie Walker
Fox pine
Malvolio Road

Gail Willems
Hidden Cities
Witness

In Memorial: Poems by and for Caroline Sambridge

P1040714

Caroline Sambridge
Flies Will Always Love You
I Can’t Be Bothered
I Love A Concrete Country
The Bin Run
The Zombie From Abercrombie

Wendy Beach
How To Be A Poet

Sue Clennell
Caroline

Derek Fenton
Saturdays Will Not Be The Same

Jan Napier
Falling

Allan Padgett
Dancing With Words

Geoff Spencer
Sweet Caroline

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Birth Rite

Had I been born of Jewish parents in Germany during World War 11
Would I have been orphaned early?

Had I been born a black American in the United States in 1960
Would I have a University education?

Had I been born of African parents in an Ethiopian village
Would I be a patient at their fistula hospital?

Had I been born of royal blood in line for the English throne
Would I swim creeks and eat Mac Donald’s?

Like the trees that arch through skies dimensions
Like harvested wood made for wonder and function
Unyielding from the sapling of myself enables me
To become who I really am

Kaye Brand 

TORBAY 1957

Where fresh and salt waters craft
the visual tapestry of Torbay inlet
daylight unravels her image
translating perceptions tinkering senses
slanting and kaleidoscoping colours

Blue seas of immortality and depth
white sands of purity and rebirth
mysteriously remote culled violet shades
and terracotta red etchings of passion
voice their colourful fullness of life

Orange orchestrating with sunrise
beside the creative wisdom of yellow
trickles with green pacifying and healing
pied colours of emotion and balance
reflect here on canvas in Torbay

Colour shades strokes and verse
while poets write and artists brush
creating landscapes of perception
a Wagin boy’s words of colour
celebrate the landscape of Torbay

Kaye Brand

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As the Sun Sets

Cliffs reign, gathering the far hills
drawing the wind with a rush,
pushing clouds, puffed to the noise of leaves.

There is confusion as everything settles
into its own, collects, corrugated edges.
Its as if the wind weaves from cliff

to hill, to tree, to cloud, and back again
casting spells to leave everything ruffled.
Stay long enough and colours shift

rage to a red tinge and fall to dark hues
before the moon can rise.
It is at night that the ordinary

assumes the monochrome aspects
of an old photograph, the stillness
that comes with silence

amplified in merged shapes.
How a bush blends into a rock, into a tree
into a dark sky, and somewhere, an owl

echoes forgotten dreams.
Syllables tumbled into rounded forms
reminiscent of “OO” as if asking

who is standing there?
Melting, merging into the sense of place
against the cliff, before the hills

above the clouds, within the wind.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Disturbance

escape screams the doorbell
as night pours through the lock

bares its tight teeth

snarls its sneered smile

I search your distant eyes

“it’s nothing” you say

with its code for “help”

I flounder beneath the words

not knowing how
to read between

not knowing what
to say

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

In the Service of

The sun fires with the staccato
of short shots from a birdless sky.
The intensity of stone
beats back to shrivel air
until each breath
bawls for moisture.
For the cool night with its black
driving deep into this need to rest.

Some days the dust that creeps
into every movement
feels friendly, as if this place
can become home.
Beyond the silence
tiding storms.

Days spent sighting
beyond the barrel of the F88.
Nights to cradle images of home
that expand and contract
in the shift of shadows.
Flow into the scent that corrupts
the wind as eyes become stone.
Haunting, chasing every flutter.

The smell of gun oil
and the taste of yesterday’s rations
amplify this dying.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

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RUNNING

Wind thick in the valley
unsolved shadows fading in dim rain.
You flew before the pattern held.
No candy floss fun
no grin on skin.
The drum, thrum grey of me
no direction or solid eyes
Sun will soon break.
A running knot.

Geraldine Day

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Gordon Gheko

A good friend dropped into dinner last night,
though he didn’t mind a fly in his soup.
At first I got one a hellava fright
as Gordon dropped into dinner last night
after feasting at an overhead light.
“Greed is good!” he cried completing a loop
as he dropped down onto my lap last night;
though I didn’t like his fly in my soup.

Derek Fenton

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Sanctuary

Full moon, and a sky spread with diamonds,
banish sleep, so I walk that ancient way
past whitewashed cottages
then through wrought iron gates
to come to that quiet place beside
a fast-flowing river.

Larches stand tall; even in moonlight
their leaves flame reds and golds.
Breeze silks my skin
gentles movement in trees.

Close by are relics of
once tall columns –
on the wind a faint chanting.

Once a place of carnage, anguish,
today peace wraps round ruins –
sound of rushing water,
crunch of Autumn leaves underfoot.

I return along the street heavy
with history, long restored after tumult.

A blackbird – opening the dawn
chorus – fills his throat with music.

My eyes open to morning’s light.

Margaret Ferrell

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Monotony On The Streets

The capital city streets of Asia.
Worlds populations going nowhere.
One way in. Life’s only free-gift.
No way out without serious rift.

I Drive through where the back streets are,
and saw
———- once more
——————–the Law
——————————of the Poor.

Little streets with little homes for many.
In rows.
———-On the nose.
——————–No one chose.
——————————Everyone owes.

All crammed up against each other.
So tight.
———-No light.
——————–Try as might.
——————————Out of sight.

The homeless forced to wander the streets.
On their own.
———-For pity shown.
——————–No home.
——————————Don’t moan.

Where mothers wash and endlessly sweep.
All day.
———-Where it lay.
——————–Without say.
——————————Along the way.

And where everyone seems happy.
All smile.
———-In style.
——————–Amid the vile.
——————————For a while.

As the food carts and noisy Bikes.
Pass by.
———-For money try.
——————–With others vie.
——————————One’s business pry.

A sea of children in every corner.
All day.
———-They play.
——————–As they may.
——————————Destine to stay.

The dreams of a future. A better life.
Never lost.
———-Always quashed.
——————–Hope tossed
——————————Poverties host.

The Ground Hog goes around and around.
Nothing changes except smaller homes,
more homeless, more dust, bigger smiles,
more street business, more children, less room.

Monotony on monotony.
A perfect storm for who knows what.
Perhaps we should look at what they don’t have.
And weigh it up against what we’ve got.

David Finley

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Grief plays out over a long time. Paul Kelly

I just want to know. My girl gone
Missing by sea, yacht, bus or train
lone or taken, bidden or her decision

We put the plaque here on the shore
Message and bouquet on birthdays
Seventeen since she left I just want to know.

I travel the country just for a flick of hair
A smile and hug from someone else’s girl
Then back here. If only a sign. I know

It won’t be this time that I’ll open
the door late at night to her
or her floral jacket. I don’t know when.

Wendy Fleming

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A Long Walk Beside The Sea In Winter

Unrelenting breeze off the sea
changes from fresh to chill.
The ocean boils and seethes whitecaps,
Parasail boarders harness the wind,
A sulky sun descends through
a milky sky in pale lemon tones.
My “storm boy” jumper, knotted scarf
keep me warm,
rainbow wool beanie keeps out the cold;
Each item with associations
of family love.
Cyclists and dog walkers pass,
Toddlers in parkas with kites too small
for the blustery day
emerge from cars.
Summer’s placid aqua bays
have made way for
churning winter rollers.
The rain holds off and I meet
an old friend
serendipitiously.

Sally Gaunt

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C. Y. O’ Conner’s Horse 

The easterlies have breakfasted upon the desert land,
travelled the Darling ranges and swept the coastal plain,
bush flies caught the thermals to Fremantle’s trodden roads,
their maggots supping middens in the new town by the shore.

O’Connor’s horse stood saddled, his stable mate confined,
her rider lies in bed today, the summer heat maligned,
it baked a fever in the street and laid it at her door,
no morning ride with Papa, along the South Beach shore

An engineer of vision, shaping anchorage and groins,
he rode out past his harbour, rubbled stone and berthing bones,
prospectors’ thirsts unwetted by a slander of discourse,
sceptics mocked his pipeline to the goldfields in. the north.

noongar sang him madness and white man called him their,
an engineering masterpiece, defamed and disbelieved,
society rang jeering and it tolled a heavy knell,
dark rhythms in the hoof beats on the fringe of ocean swell.

I wonder if he cantered or galloped to that place,
I wonder if the rider paused to glance across the wave,
the early morning bridle track abandoned on the shore,
a single shot all bloodied as the horse threw off his load

in fright he galloped southward, along the shoreline track,
water shining on his flank, blood splatter on his back
eyes blinded in his startle, death ringing his ears,
pounding in his gleaming chest, his ears pricked up in fear.

He halted in the stillness, grazed scrub along the shore,
discordant shrieks from seagulls, dire weightlessness he wore,
until his reins were taken up, into some passing hands,
retracing frenzied hoof prints, his flight thrashed out in the sand

the sodden corpse discovered, disfigured by its wound
but still the clothes called out his rank in saturated tones,
O’Connor and his rearing horse, a madness caught in bronze,
Rising steed, the unnamed count, in tides that touch the Swan.

Anne Gilchrist

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aged rugs and wet dogs

and I felt so safe in that house, so safe,
smell of aged rugs and wet dogs, walls of books,
mussed up lounge room with sheets of Bach and Brahms
and tufts on couch, felt so safe, and that day we drove
through town, out through the ‘burbs and through the
‘drapes of flan’, to a strange new world of hounds and
pies and utes, with you in search of, and I don’t use
this term much, ‘bric a brac’, (more brack than brick?),
shops crammed with the left and lost and dropped,
but you found that small chair, just right for a pint
sized chap with bow, so we drove home and you
taught while I walked the two mutts, and that
night, with a wee dram or two to fur the head
and soul, I slept so sound and so safe, so safe

Kevin Gillam

neaped

you’d say that it was tidal. you’d say that,
something to do with the moon,
something about the tug of water,
the sucking at the known.
you’d then talk of gibbous moons,
how the shape spoke to you,
cupped you, curled your unwoken hours

and that word – gibbous – you’d savour it,
seem to almost lick at it, taste it.
and your eyes, pearled over,
filled marbles, flickering, across and
up and around, not nervous, no,
more seeking, all watery,
neaped and unseeing

Kevin Gillam

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Neighbourhood

Neighbourhood was something that
grew out of you as a child,
passages for adventure on foot

became the loud engine roars
of teenage madness, subdued
by time and responsibility

as couples race their fortunes
hard against interest rates
and children breaking through

the family budget like ‘one-
offs’ that keep returning,
as grandparents remind you:

“You only live once …
and you’re a
long time dead!”

A neighbourhood
is a pot
slowly boiling.

Mike Greenacre

The Shape of Love

I’ve tried to reduce your life to a poem
and failed many times before
your adventures as a rollercoaster of escapes
that flung you from childhood
in London’s East End
to West Australian shores
as mother of four, grandmother
of fourteen then great-grandmother of
fifteen, before finally bringing
your journey to rest here at ninety-four.

As second eldest in a family of six
you had to prove your mettle against
the armour of superiority given to boys,
winning a scholarship to an exclusive
girls school at age eleven where your
determined spirit elevated both confidence
and achievements, before the callings
of your mother’s illness in pregnancy
and post-natal depression
pulled your eagerness unwillingly
back home at fourteen
to look after your new baby brother
and transform as housemaid to all.

Sixteen and your teenage yearnings
desired an independence not blinkered
by necessity’s regime, passing tests
to become a telephonist at the
Local Exchange, then promoted to a Senior
and transferred to the Trunk Exchange
at Faraday House across the road from
St. Pauls at the outbreak of war –
you worked eight hour shifts
connecting essential lines from the North
Block and straddled London’s crumbling
city like an athlete during air raids,
collecting shrapnel that were
‘near misses’ as a trophy wall.

At eighteen a friend ‘volunteered you’
into the Voluntary Fire Service – on
the Yellow Alert you would
abandon your switchboards as
phantom warriors charging to your
posts, yours on the roof or eighth floor,
as searchlights stitched the night sky together
and Spitfires outpaced Messerschmitts,
while Doodlebugs or ‘Buzz Bombs’
thundered the skies with a throbbing
drone, until their engine cut out
and they would glide silently
as assassins to innocent lives below.

No, I can’t fit all of you into this poem,
you were a master of escapes
always breaking out of your life
then shaping it to give

and even now
as you lay motionless before us
with eyes closed
I sense your spirit searching
for that open door.

Mike Greenacre

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While The Healing

And when your bed is burning in the shape of him,
Remember –
You were a tsunami
Long before he made your earth quake

Olivia Hendry

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A great ship anchored in a dry sea for evermore

he had seen an image of a great ship
anchored in a dry sea for evermore
surely it could not be authentic
the discordance of it so surreal he thought
it must have been computer generated
felt sceptical when told it was true
the mind does not easily accept
items which can’t be fitted to the patterns
already established in experience
matters spiting the archives of memory
his response was churlish rejection
as if by denying it the truth would alter
to a more accommodating version
but the witness of the image held fast

he had seen a photo of the crater
taken from one of the orbiting satellites
an immense circle impressed on the earth
as if God had stamped an identity on it
a traveller crossing this concaved land
ignorant of its uncommon origin
not looking beyond its immediate features
might find nothing strange or remarkable
but a world can wrap around and obscure
the location of the cornerstones defining it
the crater seemed to him a great ship
anchored in a dry sea for evermore
where he had become similarly stranded
quite unable to find a safe harbor

Ruari Jack Hughes

Wherever you go, there you are…

Do you remember when it was different
Time in its salad days, and we so young

It seems not so long, I was there with you
Hardly a year, surely no more, just the other day

Travelling into a magic world, nothing dangerous
Nobody holding us to account, once upon a time

Not unlike this, I think, except for the sky
How can it be told straight, the sky shone

Yes, the sky shattered above us in myriad slices
Moonlight mixed with echoes of the stars

Out there in the desert where the world has no end
Marked by the cries of crows, the dark crying of the crows

We were newly men, the years still made of innocence
The days fell away before us, cards on the table

There is always a time when everything is possible
We were together and that was good enough

Out of hurt and rejection, all else is welcome
You came at a right time, so did she, very right

There are no coincidences, wherever you go
You are there, exactly on course, coordinates correct

Tell me what you recall, how we travelled there
And what time of year we came to that place

Not when the spring falls and the hot months rise up
Harder than that, the middle of winter, a lonely time

We came in the deep of the year looking for a chance
In a place of ancient catastrophe, holding open promise

We were pioneers, staking out our piece of land
Not aware we were standing in a graveyard

Spirits seep from the earth, it doesn’t matter
The place or the time, they come their haunting way

She would not want you to mourn so much, so long
Walk away, and don’t look back for what you can’t see

You talk of death as familiar, it should not be so
Speak of strangers, tell me about other friends, let it be

There are no strangers; we’ve met them all many times
She was waiting for you because she knew you’d come

Out of the land, up from the dry country, the stark birds
The wide spaces that prison us, emptiness that enfolds

Sooner or later we get there; wherever we go, there
We are already; where we must continue searching

Ruari Jack Hughes

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Coffee

At 3am. The messages.
Something about coffee.
A while later,
a disclaimer. Coffee
means coffee.

What did he want?

Probably nothing.
Probably he types his message
looking at my Facebook with his cock in his hand
then after he shoots,
retracts.

To hell with that.

But coffee?
Three or four dollars a cup.
Much cheaper than loneliness.
You see it everywhere.
I told him Fridays were good.

Whatever

he’s doing now
do you think he’s
having good coffee?

Jackson

The dappled shallows

They’ve put a waste pipe in the middle of our feeding grounds.
“They” is the humans. The waste pipe is their collective arsehole.
I know what it is because the dolphins called a meeting.

I want to swim with my shoal in the dappled shallows and chase the little fish.
I want to dance with a partner and lay the eggs somewhere safe and flit away.
I don’t know how to do anything more and I don’t want to have to learn.
I want to swim, swim, swim with my shoal and breathe delicious water.

But they’ve put a waste pipe in the middle of the dappled shallows.
The water is grey and smells like death and I don’t
know what to do. The dolphins don’t know, either.

Jackson

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Way Too Difficult
(like carrying a fat man up three flights of stairs*)

If my wife was all the women
in Raymond Chandler’s novels
and I was Phillip Marlowe
could we come up
with witty dialogue?

And living the lives as written
could we
meet the costs of the alcohol?

And so long after Bogey
and Bacall
who might we trust
to play us on film?

I put on a thirties suit
and like a Webley automatic
or an ice pick

the mirror kills me cold

*from The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler.

Ross Jackson

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Quiet Grief

You grieve your loss
But there are no tears
You rage at what is lost.
You fear for what is left.
Your gains you ignore.
They are not enough.
Your days they fill with
“do this do that”.
Exercise the body
Retrain the mind,
Open channels to heal the whole.

But you are so tired.

I see you sit,
Forlorn, seeing what?
Thinking what?
Afraid to ask…I ask
“What is it you think?”
You pause…to form the thought.
“Nothing”…pause…
“I cannot do this…
It is too much…”

“I am so…tired…”

“I am not/will not be the same.
To walk unaided.
Bed/toilet/shower unaided.
Aided at every turn.”

“No freedom.”

“Not free…from the me I am now.”

I hear the quiet despair.
I see and sense your fear,
Your deep distress
And I am helpless to help you
Though I reassure that each day
Great strides are made, miraculous,
And each day more and soon you will have
All/most of what has been lost.
She shakes her head.
“No.”
And there is nothing more I can say.
I know a little of her grief and her loss
And there is nothing I can do.
I sit and with love I soothe her troubled brow.

Nada Kesic

(My Mother in hospital “recovering” after her stroke).

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She Loves Us When She’s Dying

‘There, be strong,’ she said
Lovingly tucking me into my bed
Set as I was in my round, new home,
Surrounded by garden – and a few red gnomes.

Daily she came with encouraging words
Whispered in tune with the twittering birds
And gleefully watched as I grew straight and strong
I wore my best perfume, all the day long.

It wafted and wound its way around that garden
but sadly, I noticed her strength was receding
How pompously she showed me: her prize-winning, rapture
As I stood tall and slim and still as a statue.

Proudly I wore my yellow-curled head
Till one day, like her, I was wilting and often heard said
‘She’s dying,’ they whispered and soon she’ll be dead,
‘She’ll stay, ‘till her prize, though, all petals have shed.’

So I tried not to droop as her chair she wheeled by
But a tear, perhaps a dew drop, escaped from my eye
‘She loves us when she’s dying’ I know that is true
‘Till the chair, was wheeled empty and then we all knew.

It was time for my parting my strength had all gone
I knew with her dying her love was all done
And slowly rose petals waltzed in the breeze
No longer I’m drooping but dancing and free.

Glad. McGough

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ballad of the doppelgänger

when i look away, you
appear : ghost-twin, glimmer
your glamour like shadow people
clamour in the absence of light
dear night-half, taunt my heart
drowning in the dark, how you appeal
with laugh : love is complete in this
most evil part. of course, drama is
my armour & i could be making it all
up – most probably – everything except
you, so brilliant & true you cannot be
viewed by mortal eyes like mine : sign
divine lullaby here, into my ear. i quiver
spine in appreciation, deepen exhalation
. come, you say, let us runaway to my
domain : there you shall not wither away
, although that flesh can’t stay. pray : end
this game, fey…i cannot play temptation’s
day, or your knight. fright comes, me
realising i am neither narcissus nor the lake
but the echo that haunts you as human, into
love allow me to break this shape
.

little piece of person, i can see
that you are hurting. myths gift others
otherness, insist you resist the unknown’s
bliss. it is you who veils eyes against the
otherside : they told you lies so you would
deny admission. well…surprise : outside of
vision, i am alive & you, you are my prize. i
have never seen a being who makes me hymn
& sing like you do. if i was holy before, now
i am whole. i want to crawl, enthralled, into
the all of your soul. appalled by what you
cannot see, i call & call again. neverending
my data is data roaming. allow me to mend
what the gods send, how cells muck & bend
to cancel all your plans. you cannot live
forever, but we can : gods endeavour to be
always clever so they split immortals between
two worlds, making it impossible to be
together, make invisible so we remain
divisible. if you stay, there is only
pain : you will decay day after day. so
come, & come away

Scott-Patrick Mitchell
.

birak

from over the scarp
firewind barks : hot
is the lot given when
you live in perth. uv
so

white it’s like invasion
all over again : climate
change an explanation
that pollies deny, a vain
blame game, but proof
is

there in how roads turn
to liquid asphalt & trees
break off branches to
fetch, begin whistling
for

dogs. us mob have
trouble conditioning
air, how heat waves
as it burns us alive to
sear

our eyes. but still the
temperature climbs &
crawls, coals city in a
burning hold. release
folds

when the indian ocean
coils sol into the horizon
: until then, we sweat a
wet earnt from perspiration
. ice

melts in our drinks, sins beneath our skin

Scott-Patrick Mitchell

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Anodyne

Anodyne.
A cure all that comes in a brown glass bottle
like the mercurochrome, and acriflavine
mums cottonwooled onto cuts and grazed knees,
summer kids patchworked into red and yellow
litanies of skidding bikes and stubbed toes.

Anodyne.
A clean word, antiseptic with a hint of wince,
sting reassuring as Condy’s Crystals purpling
bathwater, or doctoring done in Bex and
budgerigar kitchens.

Anodyne.
Such a warm word, a choc popped between lips
turned down, turned away, hugs that candle the dark
when your father dies, and you not there, soup
from strangers after fire chars life to the bone,
brandy after diagnosis, shivery kitten taken in.

Anodyne.
A hand to hold when the world’s too much,
laudanum for the lonely, honey spooned
to hush the sadness, someone to kiss it better,
take the pain away.

Jan Napier

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Dawn

After the eyeless dark
of night I can perceive
a tree outside with bare
limbs raised in prayer
for spring.

And here you are beside
me with your lips like red
clouds at the promise
of dawn.

Julian O’Dea

The Deep

Deep in her but I don’t understand
her any more than a shark knows
the sea except as something to be
in and to be long and predatory
and sustain himself desperately,
always moving, moving, moving.

Julian O’Dea

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Field Day

She is hiding in the tent under the trestles
there are legs and hemlines, stockings with
dark seams moving forward back as she nestles
in the grass, scratchy, yellow. The paper lifts
a voice from on high says whose is this?
A break in the dance of feet, brown shoes
and stalks of straw, she clambers over the
balance board, the world wobbles, careful
orders the voice. She does not believe in angels
but farmers’ wives and mums. Runs to the light.
Blue, disembodied through the flap of canvas
smell of heat, high summer, a paddock of wheat
down the slope where the men have knotted
in a raft of felt brims, tiny feathers bobbing,
necks burning, a wave of laughter.
From stealth to sanctuary she swims her
upturned face between trousered legs, finds
a familiar foot, stance, knee bent so
and clings burr-like waiting to be hoisted high,
up with the feathers, the felt and pomade.
He is hers, she is his, whose child is this?
She knows.

Virginia O’Keeffe

Loss and loving

His wife died three years ago, her funeral in Freo
on a nasty wet day and we shivered waiting for
the hearse.
Inside there was standing room only I didn’t
know her that well even though she lived next door
we got off to a poor start
But as years passed we’d call through the fence
or say fleeting hellos at the checkout,
piling groceries into the trolleys.
She was the love of my life he wept at the lectern
and there wasn’t a dry eye in the chapel and envy
stirred in many hearts
including mine.
I hope he told her frequently, constantly with
laughter, voice and nuanced gesture
because
women need to hear these
soft thoughts like we break at baby’s breath
on our cheeks or soften at lips
nuzzling breasts or necks.
You only get one go at it and joy is flooding
like sunlight spilling through a window
gorging on passion, fecund coupling.
He misses her all these years gone.
Life is empty though he tries to fill
his days with travel in their van
there’s a hole blown by a land mine
in his heart.

Virginia O’Keeffe

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Among The Birds

Rainbow lorikeets chiselling air
in upper reaches of cork oak. They
come from the east coast,
but here in the west
they are settled in
and while often slated –
they thrive. Next tree along, high up,
two singing honeyeaters mating.
They do their stuff,
he hops off – and while she bends
beak into range,
he reaches over. They touch. If
this is a kiss, then give me more.

Along two backyards the red-tailed black cockatoos
are absent today. They must have smelt
the storm coming. But in the here and now,
my mind is directed by the forces
of backyard frolic to contemplate
the wonder of evolutionary engagement,
the power of attraction and the fact of replication.

An avian kiss high up in these sweating
boughs. It is nature on the hop
– and all of this ensures
there will be more to come.
Your face swings into view.

Allan Padgett

the zeitgeist is here today, gone

tomorrow. when the world inverts
and tastes change away from the now
i will order a kombucha and sip
it smugly as the rules are re-written
for the day after today             pass the scoby
and if you can’t be in the moment
that’s a symbiotic culture of
bacteria and yeast        fermenting words
was never this much fun         so much
is exotique       this much is now passé
too slow for the uptake
consumed by fashion passing
in the racing night        i might
climb into the zeitgeist            it comforts me
to know there is a world i can inhabit
at least for now
and maybe, even,
for a while
but it is very scary out there
where the rules of now
are made and relayed
in penetrating streams
of digital barking

it is deep and dark
and I just don’t know
if I can fuckin’ take it
any more

Allan Padgett

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AFTRS

(With thanks to R. and R. O.)

Sun painted in white on a window at
the Australian Film, Television and
Radio School in Sydney, hovering

over expanses of grass and glass,
brought a visitor glances of mansions
and tensions as the late afternoon

passed — going perhaps for questions
yet to be asked. While peripheries
scaled ocular fences to find space and

place, television beamed images of race,
rage, gender, age, triumph, supported
by writers, editors, producers, directors,

actors, sound engineers, electricians and
cinematographers who’d postpone sleep
to screen Ray’s and Rae’s flaws and feats.

Joyce Parkes

Swags
(Homelessness Week: 03 August – 09 August

Jon loves to walk in all kinds of weather, so
does Jen. Jon prefers a drop of empathy to
a shower of advice, so does Jen. Jon thinks

bullies belong to the days Dickens wrote of.
Jen concurs. Jon likes to have a cup of coffee
every day, in a café in the city. Jen has tea.

They heard of more than a 105,000 people in
Australia sleeping in the open, even in winter.
Jon and Jen purchase a swag from Swags for

Homeless, asking kin and kindreds to so do.
Jon and Jen also write, asking to provide
the homeless with a room, and a kitchenette

to make soup, boil water. Jon and Jen urge
architects, drafts people, engineers to design,
draw and build shelters — house the forlorn.

Joyce Parkes

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Death Is The Great Trick

Death is the great trick
You are death’s whore
You should never underestimate the weasel
Death is the great trick
You are death’s weed
You should fear a poisonous scrotum oozing pus
Death is the great trick
You suck death’s marrow
You should never believe what the cool people say
Death is the great trick
Wink and you’ll miss it
You should never underestimate the depths of my depravity
Death is the great trick
You are death’s dildo
You should never trust a man on meth
Or an amateur gynaecologist

Tim Parkin

Sneaky Piggely

I’m the sneaky piggely
I always steal the capsicum
And when the big alpha piggelys come
I pretend to be retarded

I’m the sneaky piggely
I pretend to be normal but it never works
And when the big alpha piggleys come
I pretend to be dead

I’m the sneaky piggely
I steal the corn leaves and hide in a box
And none of you big alpha piggelys are going to stop me
‘Cos I pretend to be sad

I’m the sneaky piggely
I’m disabled and dysfunctional
Please love me alpha piggely
I wish I knew more tricks

Tim Parkin

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religion and the birth of the poet

god,
after creating a universe
but forgetting
to create
his his only childs fate,
was angered in powerlessness
at the
cruel death of his son
jesus.
after long days
of disbelief
god turned his anger
towards the
large sharp nails
responsible for his sons
tortured state;
burred
in agony
outside a betrayal.
god bellowed
from the frailty of
his kingdom.
‘from this day forth, all nails designed
for crucifixion are forever banished
from the realm of existence’.
as soon had he ended this sovereign ruling
all crucifixion nails
vanished.
unbeknown by him and his design,
they all soon
slowly returned.
only this time,
calling themselves ,
poets.

Mike Pedrana

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night search

blinding torch light
has them nailed
swift getaway impossible
for these snail-mail metaphors
caught feasting after rain
on young tender seedlings
petunia’s blossoming
ruthlessly cut short
untimely termination
of life’s sunny expectation

but now the thieves
are being seized
their mobile dwellings
unceremoniously confiscated
plonked in a plain plastic bag
a temporary holding cell
instant, escape-proof detention
for slimy, slippery
prisoners on remand
in my misty midnight garden

another culprit
the search light failed to see
crunches under foot
what crazy job is this –
fending off malicious mozzies
and creepy crawly cobwebs
when a warm bed beckons
a more attractive option
and pink pellets of oblivion
a convenient choice

yet slow cruel agony
must resolutely be rejected
instead all convicts
are presently condemned
to earliest transportation
for resettlement
to colonise the territory
of ducks and turtles
among the reeds and sedges
of the billabong in the park

Traudl Tan

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For my Grandfather, Lost at Sea
But listen to the wind’s breathing, that uninterrupted news that forms from silence.
First Elegy, Rilke
Base wedged between walls of rock
tower soaring above seabirds –
in all directions, emptiness.

Yet every night the beacon is lit.
It circles, spinning a slow message
of rock and reef, unyielding
stone that means the silence of death
but for the endless turning,
the creak of the pistons,
stink of burning fuel oil.

Until a grateful sunrise
brings the uninterrupted news
of a night’s safe passage.

Maggie Van Putten

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FOXPINE

on the ground
we want
to shift from this
heat beat so
dry we cannot
sweat. over
dressed police pass
sunscreen down
their line and glare
in the glare, at
us. long dried
seed grass whisper
‘goanna’ ‘bandicoot’
‘snake’

I hold striking
red-tail feather to
mouth. ask
if their young are
safe, or gone.
crow and
kookaburra and
carnaby cry
‘our home’
‘our land’
as a guard in dining
chair ease
crumples
plastic bottle in sharp
edged sound that
spreads cracked
air so
like a rage
of fire

it is said
that trip
wire snared
horsefoot
at the base
of FoxPine

Sandie Walker

MALVOLIO ROAD

and
we have
black feet
and
our skin
burns
and
sweat rivers
faces
scream
as
two tawny
frogmouth
flee
and
down
covered chicks
fall
and
we take
our turn
as the arrest
line
ticks
forward
and
the election
never
nears
and
the bulldozer
shrieks
ancient
trees from
earth
snaps
tap roots
and
breaks
limbs
and
they
name them
‘logs’

Sandie Walker

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HIDDEN CITIES

grain by grain / a tiny hole
grain by grain / an archeological re birth
grain by grain / memories of other times

life drops through the hourglass
faces / names / songs / slip
efface time itself / grain by grain
sand / a turned pebble
grain by grain / a small turn
ridged shadows / grain by grain
a crease of cloud
shadow bones / grain by grain
sweat worked foundations
freckles of blood / grain by grain
phantom spaces / vacated by gods
grain by grain

Gail Willems

WITNESS

King Raven’s shadow
rends nightmares on the shore.
Haunts children’s dreams.
Armageddon
in a riffled neckerchief.
Victorian jet eyes.
Fold your wings
don’t lean from the door.
A full moon rises
over the streets.
Rake out the cracks
in the night.
Strangled cloud
and fierce winds.
Raven’s beak
sharper than broken glass
cuts the cord from each year.

Watches the universe
contract.

Gail Willems

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In Memorial: Caroline Sambridge

Flies Will Always Love You

Flies will always love you
even when you’re feeling blue.
Flies will always be your friend,
even though they drive you around the bend.
They come out when the weather’s warm,
and around you they will buzz and swarm.
Flies will love to share your food,
and put you in a pissed off mood.
Be careful when you open your mouth,
or the flies will navigate down south.
Flies are really friendly critters,
and love to dine on pineapple fritters.

Caroline Sambridge

I Can’t Be Bothered

I can’t be bothered to make my bed,
I just want somewhere to lay my head.
I can’t be bothered to cook my tea,
McDonald’s would seem the place to be.
I can’t be bothered to kneel and weed,
I let them grow and turn into seed.
I can’t be bothered to mow the lawn,
the grass is looking all forlorn.
I’m rather lazy I must confess,
the place has become a giant mess.
Everything is just covered in dust,
and the cheese grater has already turned to rust.
I can’t be bothered to do the dishes,
Genie – I need three hundred wishes.

“Your every wish is my command,
I’m here to lend you a helping hand,
but I can’t be bothered to clean up your mess,
I’m just as lazy as you I guess.”

Caroline Sambridge

I Love A Concrete Country

I love a concrete country with flats and bitumen roads,
they’ll fill in all the waterways so there’ll be no frogs or toads.
I love a concrete country where the atmosphere is grey,
there’ll be nothing to do and nowhere you can play.
I love a concrete country where the scenery’s not too pretty,
soon we’ll turn the whole of Oz into L.A. or New York city.
I love a concrete country where there’s flats across the coast –
to all you land developers, drink up, let’s raise a toast.

Caroline Sambridge

The Bin Run

Drip, drip – bin juice.
All the crows are on the loose!
The bin’s full of half-eaten pies
are being swamped by hundreds of flies!
We’ve been picking up soggy wrappers all day,
and watching newspapers fly away.
Now it’s time to get in the truck
and forget about the rotten muck.

Caroline Sambridge

The Zombie From Abercrombie

There is a very bloodthirsty zombie
who lives in downtown Abercrombie.
He always searches the street at night
looking for that tasty bite.
His favourite haunt is Hungry Jacks
where he grabs his tasty snacks.
It isn’t burgers that is sought,
it’s the human beings that the shop brought.
It’s blood and guts he does crave,
he is one of the souls God couldn’t save.
That zombie has a ravenous appetite,
and to his victims is a terrible sight.
He dines on those with cuts and bruises
and overweight people who go on cruises.
So if you don’t want to get eaten by a zombie,
don’t roam at night in Abercrombie.

Caroline Sambridge

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How To Be A Poet

So, this is how our banter ends
about as real as it can get
with the line battlers and street poets
all crying, ‘Goodbye, Caroline Sambridge.’

God graced us with your presence
and again, we have the hollow absence
to fill with our churned-out words,
thin whey to be consumed by others.

I wish I had an eighth of your attitude.
“You don’t need to go to uni to be a poet!”
–The first thing you told me, publicly,
all those years ago, even before introductions.

And now you have died, a poet
the thick dollops of your lived life
oozing through commission wall gaps
on multi-pages of scrawled poems,

which we hopelessly tried to save,
while within the literary twitterverse
academia’s children cried out
for their smoky old poet who also died,

bound by her new publication’s cover
–though great, she wasn’t you–
and you didn’t buy into the uni dream,
remember? But, fame is all academic.

So, we reminisce about you here
in this little way, text books aside,
and totally unworthy of whatever distinctions
our class’s work might afford us,

but better for being bitten by you
now wondering what words of your wisdom
you are giving to God and all His angels
about keeping it real.

Wendy Beach

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Caroline

Calls St Peter twice a week, diplomatically
Avoids all mention of the flaming harp music and
Recites her poems for his approval.
Overjoyed to have met Bon Scott and Kurt Cobain, she
Loves the Philadelphia cheese dips served by the angels, but is
In shock from finding no McDonald’s or Hungry Jacks. However as compensation,
Notes that rhymesters get front row seats to all events, especially the
Endless re-runs of the Goodies!

Sue Clennell

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Saturdays Will Not Be The Same

Saturdays will not be the same,
now that Caroline has left us.
We always smiled when we heard her name.
Saturdays will not be the same.
We loved the way she tried to tame
her rhymes, without pretence or fuss.
Saturdays will not be the same,
now that Caroline has left us!

Derek Fenton

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Falling

For Caroline

1
It’s May and raining inside this room
with its one window and cracking plaster
where I sit stitched and patched as a hand me down
doll. Drops plink into basins placed by the bed,
and outside the rain is grey linen, a winding
sheet, a eulogy without words.

2
Fighter jets split air above ocean silver
and slick as fuselage. Light winks off
perspex, pilots black dots in cockpits above
a city smashed as glass turn on after burners,
arc out to sea, distance absolving…

3
The planes have vanished. Here and gone.
And here tears again. Underfoot shingle shifts
and sinks, balance a challenge to which I am
unequal. In a tilting world I fall, clutch
at damp sand, sprawl waiting for the next wave
not to come in.

Jan Napier

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Dancing With Words

(i.m. Caroline Sambridge)

Caroline Sambridge you do rock
Your poems rhyme but mine do not
You take on topics broad and diverse –
In composing your ever-startling verse

Your net is broad, big things and small
Are caught within your intelligent trawl
as you cover the depths of political and bureaucratic haze –
And the brightest humming of ordinary days

Your smile leaps out from
The Moon’s short stage
You jangle and dance –
From your life-filled page

And then you slip in a %#!@*^ or some silly pun
As your loving crowd bastes in your golden sun
A ripple of laughter turns into a roar –
While you exit stage right and head for the door

Another day’s brilliant entertaining done
Your mind on fire, yours is to run
With issues both deep, then somewhat crazy –
There’s nought in you that approaches the lazy

You harvest thoughts while gently dreaming
Then set your fertile mind to scribing
On scrunched up scraps of brittle paper –
And tantalise us with your tales of weekly caper

What a star! You make us laugh out loud
Then settle back inside your local crowd
Of poets old and poets young –
Who listen up, are often stung

By your startling insights and reverie
That leave us laughing loud, then needing a pee
We are driven to ponder, then slowly decanter –
The deeper meaning of your teasing banter

Farewell for now, our Poet Extraordinaire
Your turn has come, we’ll see you there
Take good care on the road, it might be long –
As we remember you, mate, and the blazing voice of your rhyming song

Allan Padgett

* Read by Dot Langley at Caroline’s Commemorative Gathering on Wednesday 28 June.*
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_____________________________________________________

Sweet Caroline

But I knew her
————————————————————–Just

for such a short time

Her name
————-Sambridge
————————————————————–Caroline

Outside it was Wet         at The Moon        it was Fine

Her Crackling Wit          with Word           with Rhyme

That glint in eye
—————————-Wicked
——————————————————Shine

Her distinctive voice      Sharp                   Sublime
————————————————————–         {Put shame on Mine}

L    O     V    E

To      hear      Her ————————————-Just

————————-ONE
——————————————–Last
————————————————————–Time

Geoff Spencer
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