CONTRIBUTORS:

Kathryn Hamann

Karen Knight........ Dawn Bruce........ David Barnes ........

Jan Price ........ Michael Williams ........trisha kotai-ewers ........

Prasenjit Maiti ........Suzanne Covich ........ Kevin Gillam ........

Michael Haig ........ Maureen Sexton

Mickydebricky ,,,

.......


 

Pear Collage

 

Through winter sunlight

shadows skew across my path,

dour faces loom down corridors.

I struggle to shrug off

sound and sight of callous hands.

 

Comfort lies waiting

in fleeting glimpse

of browns, greens and yellows,

their outlines rounded

to encompassing curves,

like a mother enveloping

her disjointed offspring.

 

I move on, consoled,

angles of the day deflected

by power of pale splendour.

Dawn Bruce

 

 

Painting

 

Light scratches

in cobwebbed lines

through dusty panes

of an old house...

smell of snuffed candle

overpowers scent

risen from yellowed pages

turned slowly...

echo of heavy hours

of the long night

diminish, fade

to soft whispers

of a new day.

 

I reach out

to touch.

Flat hard paint

repels.

Dawn Bruce

 

 

Autumn Night

 

The night before Winter

infertile air descended,

scoured the colour

from my garden.

 

That night

began the clog of drains

and snap of bones,

began a mildew lace

on polished legs

of unused chairs and tables,

began the fraud of fire

in hiss and purr of gas.

 

The odour of mould

and dying things

seeped through the cracks

of walls,

split the night

into iron-grey shadows,

thinned your words

to shards of glass

 

left me gasping,

drowning in the blood

of the dying Autumn night.

Dawn Bruce

Dawn Bruce, a Sydney poet, has been widely published throughout Australia in literary magazines, journals,anthologies and newspapers. She has won many poetry prizes in Australian-wide competitions and read herwork on Sydney radio. Dawn is co-ordinator for the poetry group Somerset Poets which has recently received a highly commended award for a body of work. 'Outside Looking In ' is the title of their first
anthology published December 2000.

Top


(i) The Power of Green Paint

 

He eased himself out of his bed

where he'd wrestled all week

with whiskey.

Put his favourite brown suit on

the one he used to wear at parades

and walked barefoot into town

with a tin of green paint and a brush.

 

He painted broken fences

sick trees

old dogs

the dying grass.

 

He walked to the bridge

with the last of the green paint

and he wrote

DON'T JUMP.

 

Then he went home

carrying a brown paper bag

that promised he'd never go out again.

 

 

(ii) The Final Salute

 

Four men lift a scarecrow load

into the local hearse

a black shining relic, solid

like the man inside once was.

 

An hour ago, four men

carried bundles of his clothing

to the opportunity shop.

Some of them seemed almost warm

so the dealer said.

 

His favourite brown suit

the one he wore at parades

is quickly cleaned and propped up

in the cluttered window

and as the hearse moves past

it raises an empty arm

in final salute.

Karen Knight

 

 

 

Bad Scene

 

If I didn't treat each day like a festival

if I didn't bang pots around

if I didn't laugh from the bottom of my belly

I might have heard those restless birds.

 

If I didn't brew up strong expressos

if I didn't vacuum the floors

if I didn't hear noise in so many rumours

I might have heard those restless birds.

 

If I didn't dance to Julian's African drum

if I didn't clap with the thunder

if I didn't talk to my disturbed friends

I might have heard those restless birds.

 

If I didn't throw bricks at walls

if I didn't ring bells

if I didn't hammer out such long letters

I might have heard those restless birds.

 

If I hadn't played games with the ghost of my dog

if I hadn't hung around to tell tales

there wouldn't be this mess of feathers

under the apricot tree.

Karen Knight

 

 

 

 

Sorrow

 

The homeless cat shrinks

beneath a man fern.

His coat stares

after the rain.

 

On the verandah

a girl tries to get high

sniffing the life

from a bell shaped flower.

Her daily rush of blue.

 

Along the path

snails head towards the workmen

in Blundstone boots.

 

Away from the pallor

of the nurses

the old magazines that keep

Princess Diana alive,

I wheel my mother into

the last blade of sunshine.

Karen Knight

 

Karen Knight's poetry continues to be widely published in literary journals and anthologies throughout Australia and overseas.

She is currently working on a collection of poems, with the assistance of an Artist's Development Grant from Arts Tasmania, to be published in early 2003 by Salmon Publishing, Ireland.

Karen's latest collection Singing in the Grain (Walleah Press) is available for $10, including postage. Contact Karen via email kknight@trump.net.au or by post to 26 Corinda Grove, West Moonah. Tasmania 7009.

 

 

 

 

The Descent from Ward 4 North ...

 

I.

 

A sinister clattering announces

the impending doom of breakfast

 

I know a call to action

 

But I've got quite comfortable on this floor

with all the sheets

and blankets

 

the pillow's had it

puffed out

in a corner

It's a bit damp here

but Nick's quite happy

rocking forward and backward or

... is it backward ,,,,,and forward?

 

I turn to my son, "Nick"

I reach out / touch his face

his skin pulls tight

against my hand

 

I force his eyes to meet mine

and it hurts

"Nick I am going

I will be back when lunch comes"

 

The words are just for my comfort

so I can kid myself

They hang

pegged

in the empty air

by futility

 

he goes back to his rocking

I with motherly wisdom omit

the hug and kiss

 

only I ,,,,,am bereft

 

II.

 

leaning against the nurse's station

I pause breath hungry

even top Mums are allowed a little support

 

 

 

Congratulations Barb

that exit

was finely timed ,,,,,beat

the tray by about ,,,,,thirty seconds?

 

What a crash!

one of his best

yes, that's my boy!

My son knows how

to deal with hospital food

 

I stretch my voice out

to a white back, that's bent

away from me

 

... not a flicker of response

 

Barb hold the voice firm and ...

 

Now that message was clear even to

the dullest, most fin-like set

of shoulder-blades ,,,,So, come on

sneak ,,,,a few more steps ...

 

But the sounds of shattering has seeped

beneath my skin ,,,,,and my feet

are showing a deplorable lack of decision.

Surely some one is going

to arbitrate

Nick's dispute with breakfast

 

A good Mum - would go back

scrub Nick

scrape the floor

soothe even Sister Jones

and still arrive at outpatients

prepared with a smile

for a stint ,,,,of patient waiting

 

No! No! No bloody NO!

This morning my son is all theirs

Lying in wait for me ... is

that boyish whiz with the syringe

Dr Williams

 

Kathryn Hamann

_______________________________________________________________

This is the first poem in Kathryn Hamann 's verse novel, Pelargoniums. The

book can be ordered from Autism Victoria by contacting Amanda Golding on

(03) 9885 0533 or emailing Autism Victoria: admin@autismvictoria.org.au or

directly from the author, hamann_k@optusnet.com.au. All proceeds will be

donated to Autism Victoria. (SEE Gigsn'ads)


Over the Glads

 

Yes, he is a handsome lad

and yes that's her

See Liz? - there in the background

He blames me, Frank does

but what did I? ,,,have to do with it

 

All of you - have a piece

of my sponge light

isn't it?

 

The money

well there wasn't any of it

wasn't going to stretch to another

so I said I'm not working

not with two of them

after all

there was sure to be a job

somewhere

 

another cup of tea, Marge?

lots of milk

there just as you like it

 

Frank said I had to get rid of her

put her out for adoption

and while I was at it - why not the other one?

- it's a laugh really ,,,who'd have them -

But yes, that's what he said

have the pair of them adopted

then ,you could go back to work

they're really missing you

 

Oh, you like the tarts?

the lemon butter?

oozes a little?

 

I said no

give me the back of your hand as much as you like

I'm still saying

NO

 

Barb, the bathroom's just round

the corner ,,,, clean towels left-

hand cupboard

 

And what did I get after all that

a girl

a great fat lump

though's she's lost a bit since

you know when she was born ....

 

Oh yes, I'm so glad you all like the shortbread

 

So Frank's got a job

selling things

refrigeration and all that

He takes them off

turns on the charm

and a liquid lunch

before they know it

they've signed

don't feel a thing

 

He's a great hit

down at the factory

a dispute breaks out

and next minute

he's got everyone down

at the pub ,,,eating

out ,,,of his hand

 

You have to agree the least time

they're underfoot

the better

 

Now Marge ,,,I promised you some tips

on how ,,,to get your plum jam

to set ,,,ah here's an old letter ...

 

Oh, don't worry about the noise

nap isn't due to end

for at least another hour

she's nine months now

knows

to stop

 

Now the rest of you try - the cupcakes

clotted cream

Frank got it from a mate

Kathryn Hamann

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

 

 

Bush fire

 

It was a big one

even my wheezing father

said he had to go

 

So we took him that night

drawn by a beacon

 

The fire was layers of red

the tongues of Pentecost gone feral

speaking what we had no ears to hear

 

Thick black smoke swirled out enfolding

us in an incense that seared

senses into oblivion

 

We watched as Dad became a small dot lost

to the absurdity that a single squat line ,, could

halt ,,, the approach of leaping banners of flame

 

The wind shifted

and suddenly the air was starred

with the fire's spawn, sparks which

as they reached the ground

leapt up fully armed

mum spun the car

flat-footing it for home

 

Two days later ,,, came a blackened Dad

his chest at a new crescendo

The coughing tore him apart

brought up mucus peppered with ash

 

When all was cold great-aunt Eleanor

took my hand and walked me

through a muted forest of black

flecked with every shade of grey

 

Making me shy ,,,,her voice shrilled

too loud Kate dear ,,,,,you must not be

sad ,,,,This ,,,,will swell with life

You see ,,,,heat from the fire cracked

the seeds ,,,,and even now

shoots ,,,, are pushing up and up

determined ,,,,on the sun

 

but I could not see

beyond ,,,,the vast stretches of death

It has been ,,,, a lifetime

I have still ,,,,to acquire faith

Kathryn Hamann

 

(previously published in Port Lincoln Gazette January 2001)

 


 

Sacrifice

 

Summer holidays we made our escape

from father ,,, overnight train / morning tunnels,

an eternity of stale car air ,,,then

we were coming through the back

verandah pushing open the kitchen door

 

Grandma would smile at us from

within a halo of sun-silvered hair

she never left the milk

boiling on the electric stove

she had no belief ,,,in pasteurisation

the welcome cup of Grandma tea

had milk skin

 

There were two raised gas burners

lit on Fridays ,,,flaming towers

for the sacrifice of a gift of fish

cleaned on the old log

under the vine that never bore

 

The old stove crouched within the chimney

which never needed to be cleaned

Its yellow front kept polished

the raw black top age-engraved

demoted to a holding place

for tins overflowing with scraps of

bread and porridge for ever hungry chickens

 

As a child I put my face to its door

felt the cold through my skin

my hands expressing sympathy for one

that never knew warmth

remembering fairy tales of witches

 

but not even I

could see Grandma as a witch

only that smile of welcome

- an article of belief

 

yet as my mother said, being

a child of strange fancies

I wondered

if I were

to prise open that oven door

crawl inside

Would the old stove's heart

spring to life

smoking my flesh

a fit dish for

a waiting father

Kathryn Hamann

 

Top


A Melancholy Night

 

Thin grey strands drift upward;

heat reminds me of the cigarette,

held, forgotten.

 

And then,

I looked for my lost reading glasses;

find them; inert on my nose.

 

That I listened,

to my young son playing softly on his piano

is no excuse; I criticize my forgetfulness.

Why does it trouble me?

 

Strands of my hair fall,

one by one, with the stroke of a brush;

I have a half-veil over my eyes

not wishing to acknowledge them.

 

Watching them float away, silent as time.

(c) deBarnes august 2001 -12th

 

 

Central station

 

They say

most of the brain closes down,

under stress ...

 

Hearing

Beethoven's ninth,

taking back streets in your mind:

 

and it's arduous

facing reality, hunters nearby,

impassive, at Perth Central station;

 

listening for the clatter on tracks,

at midnight,

Unnerved ...

 

Aware

clockwork orange, ticks close at hand,

hovering to strike.

 

The brain

kicks into survival mode, tense on the platform,

Waiting...

 

hoping,

the Samaritan on the road to Jerusalem

is around, after midnight ...

(c) deBarnes November 2000 -24th

 

 

For Libby

 

I have known

your touch, through the fissures

in dreams;

 

know

that I have loved you, from

outside in,

 

flesh to soul, beginning to end.

 

When our son

matures an oak, strong in storms,

our time shall be.

(c) deBarnes January 2001 -13

 

 

Précis

 

Shade moves to the rise

and fall of the sun...

it has no profile, no force

shape of its own... no colour, motion;

 

yet casts a never-ending

array ... of intricate patterns

on shifting landscapes:

 

and I shall not be in rage

when my shade fades, in

the dying sun;

 

....who will ever know

I basked in sun... shadow soothed,

at twilight...

 

Let the glitter of stars and time

fill your eyes...

let the end of all define you, against...

the dying light.

(c) deBarnes December 2000 -6

 

My Feminine Side

 

I always thought being a woman

was clear-cut.

Kids put the dishes away in the dishwasher, set it on auto,

and you had time to rest:

read a book, have a coffee, unwind.

 

I survey the lounge on my way outside:

it looks like World War II...

scattered, one end to the other with paraphernalia.

The lad's onto the computer, the brain's plugged in to the stereo,

earphones rocking on, fingers dancing on the keyboard,

 

I'm carrying in the washing.

 

We had an instant blackout,

a spray of verbal bullets pulled the plug.

Catch a teenager's attention and the shrapnel gets cleaned up,

a whistle, signifies you cannot see their bedroom floor,

another pile of washing walks out the of bedroom;

shirts, pants inside out from the previous nights strip show

and/or a fresh change, just for a change:

 

Sometimes I think I need to revolutionize, accessorize

new dress, hairdo, liven me up, make a new woman of me.

Wearing pants all the time is a drain on my feminine side.

And my masculine side needs a shower.

 

I juggle the hot pots and pans, dinner for two.

 

Kids play like they were born hard-of-hearing:

when you ask for something to be done. "What'd you say?"

"Oh! Do I have to? Right now? "But I'm watching Sabrina",

No! My cat doesn't talk; I do,

under my breath;

It must be my male side coming out, I tell myself cool it.

 

I thought raising a kid was a breeze.

 

Only,

I get lost in this role-playing; it must be my feminine side,

I've only got undies on.

 

Hope the neighbours aren't peeking, the perverts-

 

I always thought being a woman, was clear-cut.

(c) deBarnes January 2001 -08

 

 

Parkinson's Workshop

 

Short stanzas potent in meaning

need no biography, no explanation.

 

fingers tremble

slowly moving through pages,

yet with certainty the pen moves through

imposed restrictions, shifting language in precision,

words come; go by the way, discarded,

painting the colours of expression.

 

Seasons flow through him

pass, return; stimulating mind, implants;

hands retrieve the balancing case, colored pills

ingested, a semblance of respite from unwanted burdens.

 

I have learned much about Parkinson's disease

from hesitant poetic hands.

 

When I thought

I was empty; he fills the well with his moral fiber,

carries unwanted burdens with no stopover.

 

I listen to his criticisms

as he lacerates my words, moving black pigment

on crisp white pages.

 

We didn't ask for this

his disease, my infirmity,

though we know the broken road, word-for-word.

 

And he would be first to say,

 

short stanzas potent in meaning

need no biography, no explanation.

 

Dedicated to: Dennis Greene
(c)revised: deBarnes March 2001 -12th

 

Entreaties

 

I don't sleep much

anymore --

unremittingly it's naps

and snacks,

inscribing words at 5 AM.

 

I have prayed for relief --

there is no answer conversing

with god:

 

if thought

exceeds the velocity of light,

would he hear

a single muted plea?

 

My life

is a continually moving flash,

an inside-outside ache,

which offers no thought on how

the days will go --

 

It's Easter

and the only man

with the solution died

carrying his own

cross.

 

I carry my own,

 

Somewhere

between toast and coffee,

the aftertaste lingers, like prayers

waiting for god.

David Barnes

 

 

 

Bio'

David Edward Barnes

Born in Australia - 1943 - Paddington, New South Wales, . He began writing

at 18 years of age when he took up folk guitar, song writing, and performing

at folk centers around mainland Australia, and Tasmania. He worked as a

carpenter in Melbourne, leaving for the bush in the early 60's, finally

settling in Perth in 1972. He worked as a Real Estate Agent for 24 years

until the death of his wife; becoming a fulltime writer poet in 1996. He has

been an active Internet poet and has been published in Australia America and

England. Recently he was published in the Paris/Atlantic, an International

Journal of Creative Work. Spring issue: 2000. He is also the Publisher of

Poetry Downunder an online poetry site in Perth Western Australia. Recently

some of his works were published in an Empowa Issue 1. Anthology released in Perth W.A.

November 2000, with further publication of his work in Firefly

MagazineTennessee U.S.A Volume 29 - 2001.

more of his works are to be published in an Empowa Issue No: 2. - 2001 Anthology, due

in Perth Western Australia.

Top


 

In My Diary

 

We wear black

coats you and I today

under the heavy yellow-grey

cloud in the crowd-empty park.

You carry the hook of your business

umbrella closed on your arm

like that of a wife's clenched cold hand.

You don't mind

misty silver rain

touching you, caressing you like I used to

running its tickling fingers

through and down your turned up collar

to the warmth of your neck

dotting the memory of your shoulders

with soft after-kisses in a Bed

and Breakfast country hollow.

 

We walk slowly, fragmenting

remnants of autumn's dying fragrance

into infinite reminiscences.

Our whispered and sighs linger white

ghosts on the frozen afternoon

beneath tattered branches

preparing for a winter.

 

We stop. Your resolve brakes a little.

You entwine my gloved hands tightly in yours.

Our eyes shiver rivers

You smile faintly

and say it's just the cold

I bathe

the pain in your voice

with a letting-go

goodbye.

 

Impassioned, half dazed,

you grasp my wrist, turning it

you kiss my racing pulse

unbuttoning my glove

taking the roses

of my perfume away with you

upon your lips.

And all I'll have is...

a page.

(c) Copyright Autumn 1997 - Jan Price

 

Top


Poetry Class

 

"For goodness sake," he said,

"why do you want to enrol in a poetry class?...

You've been writing what you call poetry for ages,

although I've never been able to understand

why none of it seems to rhyme,

and you don't use capital letters any more

at the beginning of each line;

and, although you've had one or two published

in different places from time to time,

I've never seen a whole bookful of them

actually in print."

 

"Exactly," I answered him with a smile,

"that's why!"

Michael Williams - 2001

 

 

ACQUA PASSATA NON MACINA PIÙ

 

The past has gone,

leaving pictures,

and sounds too,

if I listen very carefully

to the VCR of my memory.

 

Strange though,

they've never invented

anything to record smells;

like the perfume you wore,

the corsage I gave you.

 

Wood fires in winter.

Wild-flowers in spring.

The wheat-field smell of high summer

and that unmistakable smell

of autumn rain on dusty roads.

 

Powdered babies in clean nappies.

Children's first experiments

with home chemistry sets

and smoking filched cigarettes

in the loo.

 

Though these are memories of the past,

maybe I should think more of the future,

for it is well known that

water which has flowed past the mill

can no longer turn the mill-wheel

Michael Williams - 2001

 

Until

 

Until

on foot,

in tanks, in trucks,

you've fought and killed

the defenders of a place,

that place is not yours.

 

Until

dug-in,

you've beaten off

inevitable counter-attacks

from land and air,

that place is not yours.

 

Until

regrouped,

you've then moved forward

leaving others in defence

of the place you've taken,

that place is not yours.

 

Neither air-superiority

nor artillery bombardment,

nor computerised missiles

will make it yours...until

on foot,

in tanks, in trucks...

Michael Williams - 2001

 

Top


 

SELECTION DETAIL

 

1

Why is it

that the file

you keep on me

contains only part

of the story?

 

Why is it

that letters of commendation

and requests from parents

to have me teach

their offspring,

get lost somewhere?

 

And why is it,

you laugh and joke

when I raise the issue,

making it seem

as if I am making

something of nothing?

 

When I try to explain,

recalling the process

you've already made clear to me,

words chip my heart

as your back turns,

occupied with the more

important task

of making tea.

 

2

 

I have learnt

there are questions

I can ask

and those I cannot,

 

words I can speak

and those that are cut,

stories I can tell

of classroom antics,

 

censoring perceptions

of human dynamics -

raised eyebrows

and dead stares:

signs of the times

I've stepped on the line

they've made clear,

I cannot cross.

 

3

 

Legal action assured

a ripple effect

this week, after gay

boys and girls were stoned

from behind on the goat track

on the way home from school.

 

21st CENTURY: AD.

 

A knife swished

left right left -

together with death threats.

 

Another gay boy's

beaten up.

Suzanne Covich

 

 

 

 

Top


To a cross by the roadside

 

You grab me from complacency

,,,,,,,,hurl me into ,,,,,,,, ,the shriek of

tyres

metal concertinaed ,,,,,,,, ,crushed

,,,,,,,,life's form torn

as sound,,,,,,shatters,,,,, into silence.

You drag me to gaze on death

,,,,,,,, I am trapped in ,,,,,,,,transience

soaked ,,,,, ,,in someone else's

,,,,,,,, ,, sorrow.

trisha kotai-ewers

 

 

The Walker

 

Cars hurl round corners

people wearing tin skins ,,encapsulated
blind to others
,,buried in a world

of instruments and speed.

 

And you too are enclosed

but in what world?

You pass ,,unseeing

your eyes fix on space ,,too far for sight.

Head ,,body ,,lean

impel you forward;

hand cupped in front

as if you nurse a treasure;

or hold before you the no-thingness

in your eyes.

 

Yesterday you walked the same path.

Today you walk.

And tomorrow?

 

Each day your unseeing of me

blurs the edges of my being

and I become

unseeable.

trisha kotai-ewers

Top


 

 

1996

 

Sometime, should you be

lonely as you are

walking along winter roads

that are like

different indecisions, Someday

should I be alone

reclining like pillars of shadows,

Should I repeat so

many blunders, Should I recall

evenings together that

are like nothingness, Should I

laugh and stroke my

merry celibacy, Should

you care like your

lips in bloom

like drawing blood on the rocks

like our darkening nights

having it away with you,

Should we grow

apart like trees Should

we slur over our confidences Should

we, but years

Should we, but memories

Prasenjit Maiti

 

 

Summer Bees

 

She used to make love like quite a

different woman and the night

air was always cool and fragrant the

moment we started teasing

one another She knew the names of all

those heady flowers, and

she called our Qutb names like a defeated,

weakkneed warrior!

We never used to chat during our

lovemaking, only she did moan

and I darkly mumbled between our skins,

lying ever so under the

naked, awesome skies and all the broken,

bearded gods were like

grey men twitching and wasting

themselves in envy, helplessly

staring as we lost our celibacy for ever

and for ever

the breeze caressed us sprawled out

as we were spent like money

in our recklessly groomed lovemaking

She was like a woman in

love in all her bites and swollen lips

that are still bloody and

lovely in my forever dreams

Prasenjit Maiti

 

Remembering

 

It so happened that that evening was

like your full lips in bloom, I have

written about your lips elsewhere and

yet cannot recall them anymore or

even the evening when those lips were

so, there is now only your nothingness

that likes to hang around with me

and so we would walk cozily together

in easy camaraderie into an

evening that is

so very mindless of all those

holidays spent

with you like prayers in rains

and lovemaking,

we can now only look back,

your lips and I, in

rage and rage that that are but

grey eyeless

men twitching in envy while

the skies and the

seasons may well recall your

pouting lips that

were so nearly once

or twice in bloom

Prasenjit Maiti

 

 

Serenade

 

What about a woman

without trappings, what about

walking along walks that

are no more, what about my

writing that is not published

anymore, anywhere ?

What about a woman without

trappings whom I can take

along walks that are no

more like distant

heartbreaks ? What about my

writings that cannot

express themselves ?

What about my women

whom I do not meet

anymore ? What about my

woman whose name

I do not know and

whose lips haunt me in

my nearby heartbreaks?

Prasenjit Maiti

 

 

Top


 

watermarks

 

watermarks

I held your page to the light

spoke through me

Kevin Gillam

 

 

bluer

 

Horizons matter, but

I need the stoppingness of

testosterone drives a non-drinking man to

too much bustle and

everything is

don't leave anything for

last night at the therapist's, back

I have serious need to

seabreeze whipping the

me? hungry, plotting a

throbbing in the

suddenly I remember and

the poems can

took a leaf to hear the

naked at

the river not flowing, just

now I feel the length of

now, at the window of

a cleansing and

in the house nestled between fig and crabgrass and

dryer rattles, hums in the

nothing mattersbut

he writes better in third person, more

sky blue than

Kevin Gillam

 

 

serendipity

 

sweet feed,

slippery

 

as meniscus,

one

 

two hits into

vein

moment's blessing

Kevin Gillam

 

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Worm's Way

 

On the footpath squirmed

the insistence of the worm,

moistly makiing for the cool earth

but finding the hardness of a path

blanched in the bright day.

My shod foot stepped past

the nude rudeness of the worm,

flesh translucent

like the inward on the outward,

the dank dark earth its real body complete.

 

I saw its tiny toment in the sun,

its gyrating, its arching winding,

its coiled protest knocking on earth's floor

to dig down deep into softness,

to dive down quickly in the crisp dark.

And yet my heart was hard

like the pale grey mockery of the path.

I walked on in sunlight, unmoved,

questioning whether to have been moved

were to have been suddenly less than human.

Michael Haig

 

Derelict

 

Head pillowed on confrete

I sought my only refuge, sleep.

 

Lights that never stop burning,

winds that never stop howling.

 

I dream of a morning,

empty of people,

 

filled with the sun, filled with the street,

but empty of people.

 

a lone bird will wander close by--

despised Indian myna, brown-suited,

 

black-balaclavaed, yellow claws marching.

Its yellow burnished eyes will look into my eyes,

 

head cocked and quizzical:

one look, that is all.

 

Earthbound these birds,

but their eyes know gliding,

 

windcurrents, high sky riding,

weather-beaten leanness,

 

the mighty globe's buffets.

But that is all a dream,

 

stealing through the rain-affected streets

to my head pillowed here,

 

to my shoulder under

the blanket unpurloined,

 

never believing the unforgiving concrete,

still waiting for its firmness to flow.

 

At 6am I move on

through the river of twilight,

 

leaving the dawn discarded,

scrunched on the footpath;

 

knowing so well the shoes of the city,

my way not with theirs; falling away,

 

high or low instead for a dream

Michael Haig

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City Calls

 

An early morning

crow calls

cracking the silence,

a memory

of holidays in the country.

 

Bird calls

fade

traffic hum

builds:

civilisation's intrusion.

 

Birds slip away

with the memory.

I close my ears

to the traffic,

return to my world.

Maureen Sexton

 

This poem was previously published in The Western Review, July 1997.

 

 

 

 

,,,,,,,,,,,, Supermodel

 

,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,, Clinging

,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,to her bones

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,couture

,,,,,,,,,,,, on the catwalk

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, coathanger

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,on stilts.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, What cure

,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,, for this

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,forty five kilo

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,corpse

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,in her

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,chic

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,shackle-stitched

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,death-shaped

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,small-sized

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,shroud?

 

Maureen Sexton

This poem was previously published in woodwork hot 97, and untilted 1998 Poets Union Anthology.

 

 

Free Thought

 

A thought came to me.

I questioned it -

it answered me in riddles.

I held it tight

just out of my reach.

Thinking I had it

I opened my mouth.

 

It flew away!

Maureen Sexton

 

 

Fixed Souls

 

Chic to chic, waif-like dolls

are sticking needles in their soles.

 

With pin-pricks, wounds that can't be seen

they're shot and fixed in their deathly dream.

Android creatures cruise the nights

on catwalks dimmed with glittered lights.

 

Chic to chic, waif-like dolls

are sticking needles in their soles.

 

Their bellies filled with a lettuce leaf

watered down with quick relief.

So skinny they no longer bleed

claiming, fame is all they need.

 

Chic to chic, waif-like dolls

are sticking needles in their soles.

 

Those who one loved rounded hips

now drool over protruding ribs.

Feeding the hunger of wealthy passion

starving women are all the fashion.

 

Chic to chic, waif-like dolls

are sticking needles in their soles.

Maureen Sexton

 

(Written after reading about supermodels who inject heroin into the soles of their feet.)

This poem has been previously published in Fertile Ground, An anthology of South Australian creative writing, From Within Stories and Poems by the Henley Scribblers 2000, and Poetry Down Under October 2001.

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SOME BUSH POETRY

 

"Yackanabuybetta."

Page 1

Down by the Peel there's this inventor, unreal!

A bloke who don't give up on nothing,

His zest for invention beyond all convention,

Would boggle the minds of the best.

 

Now the Tractor he knew, was useful to few,

When the rain belted down in the paddock,

The crops withered there, it was grossly unfair,

For the farmer was robbed of his profit.

 

In the mists of the morn when the bugle-calls warn,

Came a Dream that could waken the Dead,

For it came to his head in the inventors' bed,

That A Spider could tackle the job !

 

It'd walk on the water, cross deserts and slaughter,

With Rockets and Gun Turrets blued,

Some cogs and a spanner, I can conquer all manner,

Take Windsor and Buckingham too !

 

What a blast this would be, to set the world free,

(why they'd flock to my palace in droves)

Kings, Queens and Princes and wandering minstrels,

Pay homage, The Pharaoh, You See ?

 

With these dreams firmly set, first some parts I will get,

From the place called "Yackanabuybetta",

Two bob for a cog, an axle, a sprocket, a wheel and the same for a chain !

So be-loaded, the workshop he goaded, the tools to The Spider Machine.

 

Chromed Handlebar Legs, Upturned Seats for the Feet,

Like a bullock through mud it will plod,

It's time for a motor, to walk her and float her,

That Chainsaw there should do the job !

 

Some Aeroplane Parts, Spent Rockets, Go-Karts,

All from the Re-Cycling Centre,

It was ready at last, SureÖ. the test it would pass,

Micks' Spider, "Yackanabuybetta".

 

So he ventured one day, somewhere far from harms' way,

To Test her and Check her all out,

A clear space of ground with no gawkers around,

Just the creek, the trees and the bog.

 

Now if it crawls slow, no doubt it will go,

Wherever intended its' meant,

But if things go awry and she revs out too high,

The Lot might be Heavenly Sent !

 

The Spider "Yackanabuybetta."

 

Page 2

 

But I can get more from the Re-Cycling Store,

Where the man at the gate checks the balance,

Though he knows not what Fame, Re-Cycling can Gain,

To One of Incredible Talent!

 

The Cord now was pulled, with the Throttle on Full,

And it R-o-a-r-e-d into Life with a Spark !

But the Spider was gone !

( Like a Bullockies Bull, in the Smoke, the Dust and the Dark.)

 

When next he could see, where the Spider might be,

A Furrow there marked its' Descent,

Tunnelled under the creek it came out at full-peak,

And was Chargin' an' Prancin' an' Hoppin'.

 

From there it went thence, through a Charged 'Lectric Fence,

Where it Crackled, and Sparkled and Glowed,

All Control Now Was Lost, as it Fizzled and Tossed,

It Took-On a Strange-New Demeanor !

 

Its' Sound System Zapped, by this little Mishap,

Like a Wolf of The Steppes it Could Growl !

It grimaced and spat, at the Fence it was at,

Then Chopped it to Pieces, and Howled !

 

One Strand of the Wire that emerged from this Mire,

To the Spider attached by the Throat,

The other end free, whipped 'round forcibly,

Now a Harvesters' hooked up in Tote !

 

With Unknown Intent, to the Creek forthwith Went,

The Tynes Ripping deep in the Goo,

Much Gurglin' an' Hissin', (Three Legs Now were Missing),

It was makin' its' own Yabby Stew !

 

The Spider unyoked, when the Fence-Wire Broke,

Now spotted a field of Ripe Corn,

And Hurling one Leg, at Galahs as they Fled,

Boomerang'd Half the Flock from the Sky !

 

Such Malevolent Intent; this Quadruplet Bent,

Now Circled a Bull in its' Prime,

Much Stompin' an' Huffin', Buntin' an' Puffin',

"T-Bones" and Ox-Tail Pie !

 

This Monstrous Affray with the Bull-Of-The-Day,

Had Cost yet another Chromed Leg,

This Tri-Pedric Blot, now hobbled a lot,

With a curious kind of a Sway.

 

 

 

The Spider "Yackanabuybetta."

Page 3

 

Undaunted it's clear, by the loss, showed No Fear,

'Cause it Tackled a Train in its' Path,

As this Bi-Pedic Sot, was Sufferin' an' Hot,

Joined the Boys in the Pub for a Laugh.

 

The Bar-Tender knew of a Favourite Brew,

When the Boys in the Bar weren't too well,

Pure Alcohol Stank as they filled up its' Tank,

Yet another Chromed Leg went to Hell !

 

With a One-Digit Drink of its Favourite Stink,

It Revved-Out, it Cackled, it Howled!

Then rolled on its' back, and spun round just like that,

And Flew up to Where Knows Who ?

 

Lightning and Thunder, Blew it All Asunder,

(I'm Sure You're Wanting To Know)

Was Told in a Letter, "Yackanabuybetta",

The Spider's at Re-Cycle Hill !

Mickydebricky 29/8/2001.

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