Dawn Bruce

Amanda Nassif

Rob Cummins

Phil Ilton

Jim Cornish

Will Fraser


Paul Verlaine, tr. C. Mulrooney

Helen Hagemann

Maureen Sexton

Donna Mazza

Jamie Ablett

Kevin Gillam





Why do you like to play tug-a-war,

pulling these fine strings that push into rage.

You came calmly disguising the cheats,

this was no game I knew.


Why did you nag all the time?

Talking about the buried,

people from the same village.

You would yell but so did he,

there never seemed to be enough rounds.


Why did you build it up high?

I tried , fighting to,

forcing my ears to see, running home with tied ankles

landing on the centre tile.


Why did you always point at him?

Yes it was all wrong but no

were you torn by us or just stuck?

You say it was bad luck

a premature marriage.


Why did you cry I would have to ask,

irreversible black days,

my hands clenched tight, my head down,

you switched me on to boil

wanting me to burn him.


Why does it hurt so much?

Lessons become strength,

choices were made before this life,

for now it is this I am meant to feel.

amanda nassif





Like whispers in a deaf ear

Some louder some nights

The forbidden thoughts of day


Are starting to sing aloud

The strongest control of your

Life sanity seems destined


For disappearance

You like it

You feel untouchable yet real


But nothing is quite real

Turning to be slapped by the wind

It seems like


You'll always feel like there is no beginning nor an


As if life

Is one big dream

amanda nassif



There Is Never A Silence At Midnight


It only is what it is for the here and the now,

unpredictable like an ache it seems to be.

Pouring out to those in the way,

I see much clearer when I don't erupt.


The lady next door is saying something today.

The man living behind us got married.

Yesterday a dog dropped in for a piss on the lawn.

your sister came over and found what I made to eat


The telephone rang just now and noone answered it.

Your father made me mad today.

Did you by chance watch the bold and the beautiful?

I bought the TV week, here have a look.

Come and taste this sauce for me,

Does it need more sugar or salt.

Put the radio on because you are closer to it.

Your cousin is getting divorced in a week.

Leave what you are doing, dinner is ready.

Take the garbage out then wash your hands.

No you don't need medicine!

You got the flu because you won't sit at home.

By the way can you babysit your sisters kids tonight?

Just for me, please?

Switch the television on, I wasn't to watch the news.

God, typing this up gave me a headache.


Is it that frightening to look within?

amanda nassif


Mr Alien


I talked about you

so many times,

thinking about the day

you would really be here.

i never thought you would be like this

Alien, we were sure that was you.


It was Wednesday

after work, cold

but fresh, stars everywhere,

different, unseen before.

We were in a hurry

racing towards the farm at Windsor

arriving two hours after.


Everywhere was black

so we invited him quickly.

he stumbled in the car, excited at the news.

seated with him on my lap

like a tiny camel he started to smile,

he knew he was different.


Like us he loved his food

up to five bottles a day,

sleep he would

but only with us.

We would race in the park,

then rest to watch him tease the crisp grass,

his teeth had just started to sprout.


Sunday night brought many cries

I in bed thought he was missing us,

it was too cold to go outside.

Monday morning came fast,

I ran next door shaking his bottle,

he had already gone home, so quickly

and I cried and I cried.

amanda nassif



,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,

You Are You

To Sally


The smile on your lips

The twinkle in your eye

The shine of your face

All give me joy


The energy you have

The knowledge you absorb

The wit that you display

All bring me happiness


I am proud to know

That I am a part of you

That I have known you

And that I love you


You are my little princess

A proud and bright butterfly

A young but wise bird

Growing into a strong and sensible owl


These things are all you

And they are not

You are Sally

You are you.

R o b C u m m i n s






We live in separate worlds

but still your voice echoes

in unexpected places

within my walls,

your hands are shadows

in the ivory folds

of my quietened bed,

your body sweetly savoured

in every peach, pear and plum.


We live in separate worlds,

our passions drowned,


in oceans of chill air

that swirled between us.

Dawn Bruce





She rests

in washes of silver light

against a dark background.

Her mystery deepens.


She holds

a rose in part-open hand,

petals full, not yet faded,

thorns sharp, not yet used.


She caresses

a cat's compliant body

hidden in holds of her skirt,

its claws still sheathed.


Who is she,

this silent staring face

I know and yet not know,

forever waiting,,,waiting...

Dawn Bruce




We huddle amongst

clutter of teacups,

past merging

into light of the present,

cake crumbling

beneath finger tips

smeared with pink icing.

Heads incline, nod,

eyes widen, indicate interest

deep and comfortable.


The tea pot, buddha-like,

sits fat, warm and still.

Dawn Bruce




Just in Front


The highlight of my night

is driving with the gauge on empty.


Street light orange is a darkroom;

the tram tracks, buildings rolling towards me,

the film.


Sleeping terraces pass.

I feel the glare of their gargoyles.

I wonder what they are shielding.

Hands fumbling in the dark, thrusting buttocks,

male fists thumping faces of disobedient women,

the whimper of an addict without supply.

I wonder why alcoholics breed alcoholics.


I think of my own triggers.


You complain because I fart in the toilet.

I wear my purple jacket because you hate it.

You glare from the footpath. I can't control

the picture. There's no knob.


The past an unfinished equation

the celluloid perspective rolls me on.


The dashboard glows.

Locked in my cockpit

my vehicle is a starship,

its technology promises solutions.

My mother said Jesus ascended through space.

I worry I can't tell the difference between

humans, clones and androids.

Will it matter to whom I talk?

I wonder why my neighbour barks at the crows.

I wonder why my brother paints curtains hanging upwards.

I wonder why my puritan father

talked of his sex life when he turned eighty.


I go to my mother's grave.

She doesn't answer my questions.



I'll find milk and honey

in my breakfast bowl.

Phil Ilton




More than Victuals


"Excuse me Sir

would you have a dollar for a cup of tea?"


The stubbled face, the jaded eyes

pleaded through strands of hair.

His tattered coat bulged at the pockets.

I smelt the beer slops I cleaned as a barman.


I gave him a coin.


"God bless you, Sir!"

His departure speed astonished.


"You shouldn't give them money"

declared my flatmate.

"They get food at the soup kitchen.

What you gave him would go on booze."


Next day I was accosted by another.

I gave him my change.

Phil Ilton



Whose Trip?


the landscapes hang in their mediocrity

unaided by praise from the couple

I've labelled non-discerning


the attraction of the dark-haired

entry attendant dissolves

on following her gaze


he stands two metres back from the counter

fixated on the books

a cover displays Edvard Munch's "The Scream"


like bulbs on glassblowers' tubes

his eyes fire glaze


his features pale to opacity

his eyes switch to terror

his head transforms to light-bulb shape

the long chin clasped between his hands


fluid walls swirl green and black


his chin extends a mouth gash

his scream pierces


it's gone

no stretch, no echo, no sound


swill engulfs

punctured only by flickers

of hideous monkeys

with fingers across their eyes, their lips

jammed in their ears


children galumphing through the door

trigger my refocus


he stands just as before

consumed without drama


my Id has returned

Phil Ilton



Black in Borroloola


Not long since the wet season

the schools sportsground is half green.

The sun is no bother to

the students gathered for the championships.

Competitors dash towards the finish line

hurrahs ringing from their classmates.

The outnumbered white kids are

as ecstatic as their black peers.


In the town's one supermarket

I feel conspicuous as the only white.

I wince as Aborigines

purchase their bread and milk at prices

twice those in Darwin.


I ask my white landlady

"How on earth do you survive here

with those prices at the store?"

Her scorn rips my ears.

"Only the Abos go there.

We get our supplies


Phil Ilton




Bali Hai


Stone gods, wooden cats, hungry monkeys, lazy dogs.

Stone temples age stained , grim grey, feet in water.

Cloves tedded on roadsides defy traffic.

Emerald green on moonscape grey and silver water.

The color of life is gold, red, blue but white is for living.

Hide drums, brass bells and bamboo xylophone concerti.

White clothed peddlers weaving to school among cloth pedlars.

Chips fly from barefoot crosslegged artisans in alleys.

Wise monkeys speak no evil, see no evil but grab tourist food.

Heritage village rich with gardens and overhead power lines.

Sticks and stones and potholes will break your bones.

Heads are useful for thinking and portering.

Dainty monkey paws prefer sweet potato to cream chocolates.

Outside of hotels you must learn to squat.

The giving of humans, the taking of monkeys. There is the margin.

Girls and boys sway, stamp, spread palms in dance lesson.

Factories capture tourists; hold them to ransom.

Money changers on every corner; do sleight of hand.

Boats of many colors laze on broad beaches, wait for water.

Coconut trees, banana plants, papaya, pineapple; free fruit stands.

Energies of man make nature bountiful.

On the mountain sides, staircases of rice.

In the tourist stream, debris is cast up on its banks.

No shops ever locked. Or ever closed? Trust is endemic.

Shops selling color. Variety without variation. Chain stores without


Money says goodbye in all languages.

Silversmiths squint for ten years. Grope for forty years?

Tourist ladies nearly naked in swimming pools. Bare breasts of


Where crime is unknown are the criminals unknown?Those who are too proud

to beg run a taxi (and call it a taksi.)

Where traffic is thickest, so are the drivers.

Bali airport manages to look like an escape route. What a shame.

Jim Cornish



Send in the Clones


Be a clone, be a clone,

all the world loves a clone.

You could find some faded idol

with one foot in the grave,

a famous class performer

whose career you could save:

you'll get the acclamation

and publicity you crave.

Be a clone, be a clone. be a clone.


Be a clone, be a clone,

and you won't be alone.

When you're everybody's favorite

and the star of the show,

you'll be a big sensation

everywhere that you go

though you're just a carbon copy

hoping no-one will know.

Be a clone, be a clone, be a clone.


Be a clone, be a clone.

When you're out on your own

in your greasepaint in the limelight,

entertaining once more,

you hope to wow the audience

like you wowed 'em before;

but if it doesn't work you'd better

dodge the stage door.

Be a clone, be a clone, be a clone.


Be a clone, be a clone

if you want to get known.

You can be a ring-in and

nobody will know.

It's a shame to take the money

but you'll grab it and go.

They can tax your alter ego

after you've got the dough.

Be a clone, be a clone. be a clone.

Jim Cornish





and druids
circles of fire
the stars
cloaking day's brightness
a band of oak
encircling lives
darkly split
in private ceremony
all quietly overseen by
a new moon
whose rays
beamed silver
pass with ease through
the shadows of those once present
,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,, once relating.

Will Fraser



of silver grey
thrusting earthward

Slim shafts of polished aluminium
phantom pillars
of some spectral temple

support and shelter
before fading


Will Fraser



The pines
with orange light
the sun
sets westward

And I
become aware of
the seasons
this autumn day
this natural event

grey blue mist will spiral up from the valleys
at first
to make the pines stand out starkly
and then to shroud them into vague dark shapes

Long after my name is no longer spoken
people will still talk
the sun
the pines
and the mist.

Will Fraser



By Comparison



was the chosen one


I buy lottery tickets


heard a voice

from the burning bush


I stare into a silent gas fire


parted the waters


I part my thinning hair


led his followers to freedom


I walk the mongrel dog around the block


was given the commandments

on ten stone tablets


take 20 vitamins a day


wait a moment


walked in the wilderness

for 40 years




never reached the promised land




was a scribe




was black



I've never seen things

through a white man's eyes


,,,,,,,,,,,,what's going on.


Will Fraser






in neo-karri strips

on goat-cheese roundup

those rapist eye funbags

its all forestfuck stench

micro-bubbled fungal chunks

nice-guy pnemonia road blues

tranced out on 120bpm

phased-up n pitchin hard

yr smokey eyes make me








over allstate ramblin

whitelines n nicotine fingers

out of off-shoot holidays


this supergrass four wheel drive

shouting prophet kit sales receipts


mad about screen freeze terrorists

mutton-chop street faces make great looking lungs.

yr smooth points lack rust here

yr anti post-modem pap-smear look.

not filthy not ripe not clear.


yr maxwell house AK47 intentions &

pent up demographix in idyllic bush.


setting plastic forks on tables in coil-light.

my deep-pocket stretch


yr neat faggots burn.

shifting white zephyrs

chased-up crankin beets.

yr lunchbox in my pants


bleeding elvis word pearls.

yr flame-grilled rhythm stick

caught in goal-driven decile heaven

diesel mist across saline irony.


yr mouth filled to bursting now.

slurry all b-grade pornstar flame-lick love skin

and i say sure.






Good comrades of the Press

As of Poetry also,

Flowers of boorish baseness

By what choice God chosen,

By what God of all baseness?


Colleagues unbrotherly to me,

Who nearly buried me forever

Under all that silence&emdash;why?&emdash;

Ever since '70 dreadful,

Colleagues unbrotherly to me,


Why that silence unbrotherly

For so many long years,

And all at once as though angry

So much clamor, as of fears?

Why that change unbrotherly?


Ah, if I could've been stifled

Under that pile of journals

Where my name is feinted

Found like greenish walnuts

Swelling near to bursted!


This they mean by Glory!

&emdash;With a right to famine,

To great black Misery

And nearly even to vermin&emdash;

This they mean by Glory!

Paul Verlaine, tr. C. Mulrooney




When night comes


Edith Cowan House


on the brown porch

she waits on the steepest slope

for joeys restless in their pouch

this is better than feng shui

a house where leaves barely fall

-sundown will bring peace

a xerox count

a stack of letters to post

-night will bring avenues

of standard moons

magpies sending messages into tin

trees groaning in their aging

-and in the dim light

windows will open on recumbent kangaroos

sentinels on grass

across the lake

twin fountains will cease like rain


she waits for night to lift its skirts

swishing past in important gowns

she suspects there is a presence here

ball dresses in eye-masks

pinched cheeks, fans feathering chins

gentlemen parched in dusty boots

uproarious laughter

-no matter what comes

she will mingle and clap

at the sight of it all

Helen Hagemann



I Came Knocking

at Tom Collins House


it's a year of houses

this one lives forever

inside walls turn the hourglass

language shifts like sand

words drift between the lines


I wait in quiet trees

listening for slippers shuffling

along passageways and doors

my instrument clicks nervously

your pen is kept at the head of the desk

moves only with a living hand

the inkwell is dry now, save for the odd stain

indelible in the light, searching a window's shoreline

I imagine a figurehead at the desk

stooped, gathering a wind's paper trail


while I wait

the air lifts

valleys are warm inside my glass castle

I find the tunnel to Alice's wonderland

the way a breeze rolls on my knees

imagine life like an ocean liner

seas breaking in and out

making you want the land


I'm here alone

where autumn gathers a permanence

on this leaf-littered ground

Joseph and Tom are long gone-

I turn the door handle, find it opens

gently in my hand

Helen Hagemann



Collecting Antiques


I used to enjoy sex

,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,once

or at least, I think I did.

Maybe I just got off on the thought

that I was enjoying it.

Perhaps I didn't really

feel anything at all.

But I'm sure I did.

You know how it is,

its not that I dont like

having sex with that person in particular,

its just that I prefer

to keep my eyes closed.

Maybe I'll collect antiques instead.

Maureen Sexton


What If I Should Fall?


What if my legs were to sink,

the Earth become thin

and I were to fall

into the path

of an orbiting planet?

Would the stars light up

my nights

when the moon

was not visible?

Would I fall forever?

What would happen to time

and space

and who

would tend

my roses?

Maureen Sexton



Yours Sincerely


Dear Sir

you won't remember me or my name;

there were so many of us you brushed aside,

insignificant, of no consequence to you.

I have returned to correct you on a few points:


Australia was not terra nullius, as you claimed,

it was inhabited by many groups of people

whose scientific systems of living

and diverse languages

were too complex for you to understand;


In class, when I was gazing out the window

I wasn't dreaming of boys, babies

I was trying to work out who those people were

on the edge of the city, where they had come from;


I was trying to understand

why most of my classmates were poor;


The day you threw chalk at me

and it hit me on the arm

I already had bruises there

from much harder lessons, lessons you would never learn;


I want to tell you that to many people

the Pillars of Hercules really are Gibraltar;

and the words, impossible, superior and white

are not as important as

"I am sorry".

Maureen Sexton



When We Kill Her


She lost herself in chocolate wandering,

ran naked through gingerbread streets

and thought long.

She lost herself

and chocolate was her guide.

Take and lead her feeble body

she is precious

"Bathe yourself in chocolate

to heal the tiny cracks appearing

on the surface.

You must take a lighter workload

Smear yourself and roll around

and try to pat together"

pit-a-pat-pat out the cracks,

there's too much dryness.

When you die

the pampering will end

Run home


through the wandered streets

mumbling at your door

disguise your madness.

And when she was home they shoved

and squeezed her into the oven

and shut the door as tight as tight can be

and watched the melting.

Donna Mazza






The Seven Series

Jamie Ablett


Body Politics (1): Hands


I have another hand

That does not look like a hand.

This one is my least favourite,

The one I use the most.

This one can grip many things

But any weight will make it Gibber

And slobber, until comforted

By of course

My more hand like hand.

The other never notices, but

Allows it to slip away

Miles below

Ass high.

The other hand drones on slavishly but

Even hand like hands have their pecking order

One is favoured to serve.

The other exposed to great danger

Often as the other helps.

One hand like hand shudders at childhood days with the hammer.

Regal, the unhand like hand suggests hand like hands belong

In pockets.

Or at least gloves.



Trouve Objet Nombre Trois (3)


She found 1. Condom

2. dead mice

1.Live mouse, swimming

in a bucket


drowning. and a gecko

(which escaped)

She said,

"We could stay here for months."


Fruit Harvesting; Method Four (4)


He tells me I should wear a suit

"But they know me." I shriek.

She smiles, "Its time to reinvent myself."

Slides his arm inside of hers

She shows He devours

Cherry lips


State of mine; Mind of state: Strategy (2)


We seethe short of actual violence

A siege occurs.

An outer defence falls to a snide comment

That small victory turns to farce

As a catapulted insult hits your own heart's keep

I crumble

You fall apart.


Ray and His (7) Words


He flicked the leaves of his cyclamen


Stuttering five steps he lays his hand on a showerhead


I shake my head slowly


Doubling back he slides his hand along his new car


Some boys ride by, mouths open


I gesture toward some crackers


He applauds the empty bag


My eyebrow raises

"O boy."



Moments in History; Scenario (6)


"Tinned Fruit"

They want blind obedience

As the colonel raises his sword

On a mother[s hungry, bulging eyes

She died from a poisoned potion


It's easy to say sorry to a legend

So it goes on everywhere

The wild fruits have died

The wild fruits have died

Dare to question back then;

"We'll throw you away like money."

And you know they will.

Maybe you're feeling sorry for your future

As dogma sharpens the rusty torments of the past.

Emotion not even recognised

Just a baseless creed of flesh or innocence

A scramble to stake your space in the sky

The wild fruits have died

The wild fruits have died



Example (5) Irony?


The radio says,

Pioneers of space tourism

Debate with shark souled marketists

Beached on the big issues

1.Life Insurance

2.Having to drink your own urine

Another firefly glides above the suburbs

Jim matches its path through tears

Hears his mother echo another fist

The sound of air rushing from her

She argued about the price of toilet rolls

The radio says,

They're sure to send up five a week

Jim wonders what he'll promise next.

Jamie Ablett






pyre, funeral pyre, but who

has the death they dream?

pyre, never seen.,, came close

when the ash floated.,, held,

there, not there.,, funeral


in the palm.,, luminous.

eastern sky luminous.,, loom

for wool.,, not related to nous -

something a teacher thought

you might have.,, luminous


through cloud, fluorescent

on God's ceiling.,, languid.

guid.,, sounds like a currency.

lan - all prefix - lost

without its gauge or


guos.,, the day lost,

languishing without dusk.

crag.,, rag's close.

rag is to cloth as crag

is to rock.,, crag,


vultures descending from

the escarpment,

clawing at bone.

scarlet.,, and let the scar be

worn proud.,, scar.,, blood.


though crimson has

more venom.,, coagulating -

useful that it does.

warm, crusting

on pyre

Kevin Gillam






rests on a continuum

from anonymity

to intimacy


musical texture

blesses a continuum

from homophony

to polyphony


the dexterous chef

whets a continuum

from necessity

to sumptuosity

Kevin Gillam



out of John


I make no art

or facts



only hypoth




math and moment



Kevin Gillam




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