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 CONTRIBUTORS:

 

M.T.C. Cronin ,,,,, Dan O'Donnell ,,,,, Kevin Gillam

Dawn Bruce ,,,,, ,,,,Phil Ilton ,,,,, ,,,,,,,,Ryan Scott

Suzanne Covich ,,,,,Stephen Oliver ,,,,, Kathryn Hamann

C Paice ,,,,, ,,,,, ,,,,Carrie Sonneborn ,,,Alistair Paterson

Graeme Miles,,,,,,,,Peter Zohrab ,,,,,,,, Jan Price

 

Note Kelly Pilgrim's new website <http://metaphor.iinet.net.au>

Anthony Lawrence, Writer-in-residence for May 2002 at KSP in WA.

Newcastle Poetry Prize Announcement of Winners


sul G

 

within the sightless marrow

he makes music,

takes his cello

voice of leg and wood

ans sings it, moist, mournful,

sings through the sieve

that is night

 

and she breathes it,

breathes in his song,

head tilted, drinking

unborn light,

fermata between the flows

as if deciding when to feed,

when to let go

Kevin Gillam

 

 

 

(UNTITLED)

the line

is a

splinter,

the po

em the

wound.

the nee

dle the

rea

der

 

the line

is a

cloud, the

page

blue, the

warped

glass your

histor

y

 

the line

is a

py

lon, the

meta

phor

at low

tide

 

the line

is a

kite,

the mo

ment

elec

tric

 

the line

unspool

ing

ling

ers,

dis

solves

Kevin Gillam

Top


4 POEMS FROM THE FOUR NOTEBOOKS

FROM 'NOTEBOOK OF SIGNS'

 

 

Jesus, Man, Holder of Fiction

 

 

Jesus, man, holder of fiction,

keeper of the truth, I can concentrate

on feeling my body in space.

If not to be proud, why this spine,

pushing up my head

with that face on it?

Another god might have come

in a jacket

and not wanted mine!

M.T.C. Cronin

 

 

 

 

 

FROM 'NOTEBOOK OF SHAPES'

 

 

Mountain Goats

 

 

the secret dangles

from the unimagined mouth

unmined and recognized

by all who never saw

it is like a diamond

dragging a mountain

to the edges of its top

there's the sun

and there it's not

 

dangle that secret

it's a finger of toe

finds a path with the goats

quicker than a cloud

and just as slow

M.T.C. Cronin

 

 

 

FROM 'NOTEBOOK OF SAND'

 

 

A Green Hat

 

The sky leaves us

Even Cronin is leaving me

That clown that spiny seed

By which I have become

Affectionate to myself

I saw a chair tossed out

On its old legs

And I asked the chair

If it could stop me talking

Now I'm creeping on my secrets

The secret of who I am myself

Towards a death in which

I might be rediscovered

I will wear a green hat! Yes!

That's what I'll do!

The wind will blow in the head

Of a bird and the sky will return

That sky and my name

To round up the sieve holes

Through which I have broken

To tame me again

As the single lamb

A green hat can do all this

I am Cronin!

M.T.C. Cronin

 

 

 

FROM 'NOTEBOOK OF NERVES'

 

 

Death Ache

 

 

Because we are women

there are acres of light

 

There is yellow in the zoos even

and all the right kind of drama in our love

 

We lie on top of our paintings

like red butterflies who have lost all their vowels

 

Over the other side of the sun

is the food of our uncast punctuation

 

Shaving the stars' points

are the marks in our books

 

Whirling Whirling

we shake the questions from our wombs

 

We turn in the life-burn

the turn of life

 

Filled with the death ache

the ache of death

M.T.C. Cronin

 

 

available books:

bestseller: $22 with postage ($24 overseas)

everything holy: $17 with postage

Top


 

Butterfly Ballerina

 

Wings aloft unmoving,

she pauses, fair coquette,

then like a ballerina

performs a pirouette.

 

Next comes a port de bras

that starts the bending plies

performed amongst the garden flowers

and Nature's birds and bees.

 

Her supple wings start stretching

in delicate tendus

to concentrate the dancer's mind

and honour the Dancing Muse.

 

A ronde de jambe a terre

- or circling the leg on the ground -

precedes some rhythmic frappes

where the foot will gently pound

before a dramatic arabesque

- a disciplined ballet pose

with not the slightest movement

on the very tips of toes.

 

And if you watch her closely

you'll witness a hard fouette

- not thirty-two spins as for Black Swan,

just one for our nymphette.

 

Unmindful you are spying,

she'll delight and entertain

in your exclusive Covent Garden

- your own Margot Fonteyn.

 

Dan O'Donnell

 

 

 

Dr. Dan & Mrs. Marion O'Donnell

89 Wilgarning Street

Stafford Heights, Q. 4053

Australia.

Top


 

 

By the Window

 

He sits by the window

clasping

a blood-red flower,

watching

as the bloom dies slowly.

 

He sits near the window,

feels the light on his skin

like the love-making hands

that held and warmed him,

 

hears the breezes,

their sighing and whispering

like the voices in shadow

on the day that she left him.

 

He plucks a fresh bloom

from her garden

and sits by the window,

remembering

only the sunlight.

Dawn Bruce

 

 

 

Reliving History

 

On sandstone flagging

laid out by men

long past,

two women sit,

their backs curved

to the sun.

 

The day is cool,

but the tawny yellow

of this stone nest gives comfort,

sheltered all day

in arm of timber alcove.

 

The trellis swells

with vines,

imparts a perfume

more delicate than

a baby's sigh.

 

Flagging falls

away to clumps of flowers,

a wild delight of life

thrusting jewel-red heads

glowing

with more intensity

than any monarch's crown.

 

The women

incline their heads,

shift and shuffle

back into the past,

pick at ancient sores.

 

The blood seeps,

trickles down,

smears

the scrubbed stones

to leave dark stains,

like bruises on

a weary skin.

Dawn Bruce


Top

 

Complexities

 

You wrote you do not mourn

our lost connection.

My face looking at you

across the clear beach water

is a memory.

 

I'm looking again at the water.

Clear can be cluttered.

 

Unseen

a myriad

of micro-organisms,

the plethora of plankton,

ubiquitous bacteria.

 

As nature abounds

with complexity,

so my thoughts, my emotions.

 

My expectation was unattainable,

too finely tuned.

My procrastination

a wire crossed with your assumption.

 

Like a volcanic eruption

interfering with reception,

your telephone temper

cut our communication.

 

As I pick my way

past pitfalls,

I'm peering

through the fallout.

Phil Ilton

 

 

Our Course Has Run

 

I knew the evening would be pleasant.

I was happy to have a lump of sugar

and survey the course.

 

Couplings of the past

were paled by the ecstasy

of our unequalled fusion.

 

That night was no brief circuit.

We left the stable to ride for many more.

 

There were no hurdles.

We were far above the track.

 

When the loss of momentum came,

descent was marked by divergence.

Our different weights

not obvious at the start.

 

I am aware of my clinical analysis.

My distance demonstrates difference.

 

It does not quell sadness.

The lump is now in my throat.

Phil Ilton

 

 

Nowhere is Nowhere

 

Based on an incident during my solo bicycle ride in the outbac

I thought three hundred and twenty-five kilometres

without a building, was nowhere.

I thought a refreshing beer and a comfy bed

were many days ahead.

I thought an oasis was a clump of palm trees

shimmering in the haze above a sea of sand.

I thought bush tucker was a charcoaled steak

or a can of beans.

I thought a royal flush was something the Queen

did after farting in public.

 

Two hundred k's from the nearest roadhouse

I found my oasis:

two lumps in the road

which metamorphosed

into Frank and Mark

shovelling stones into potholes.

 

I quaffed the cold tinnies

Frank thrust in my hand.

I devoured the curry

Mark cooked in their caravan.

I discovered a different royal flush

and won the card game.

I celebrated this paradise

in the comfort of their spare bunk.

I'll never call anywhere, nowhere, again.

Phil Ilton

 

 

Mileage Ahead

 

 

 

"Can I help you?" he probes.

"I used to live on this street" I assuage, "as a kid, 40 years ago."

His suspicious eyes dissolve

he proffers change and progress cliches,

leaves me recreating our house, which is replaced with....

 

Goddammit!

 

EVEN THE BLOODY BOUNDARIES HAVE CHANGED!

 

Somewhere beyond that milk bar, those units

was our backyard where we built our billy-carts

fashioned our bows & arrows.

I was Robin Hood, Jungle Jim, Davy Crockett, Hopalong Cassidy

Blackbeard the Pirate hurtling orders to me hearties

until my deck - a tree branch - snapped.

I threatened to punch Raymond D on the nose and never did.

Toddler me ate snails from Mum's geraniums

ran pantsless from the dunny yelling there were snakes

graduating to 5 year-old Man splitting kindling

and with me mates driving matchbox cars through Dad's garden,

our Eden, where we snapped cobs from cornstalks....

 

GIVE IT BACK!!

 

 

"Excuse me, have you got the time?"

Corn cobs, impervious buildings, and a pimply-faced youth

compete for focus

until left brain grapples his answer from my watch.

Cursing at the hour

I head for the car and appointment with my Specialist

telling myself she's not a geriatrician.

Phil Ilton

Top


 

Umbrellas of Glebe

 

Black plastic ripped,

wrapped

and pushed

 

into full bins,

handles up, without sails

and piles

 

of coffee stained paper-

cups clamber

for the galvanised banister

 

as the water in

the gutter thickens,

leaving

 

the sidewalk, bins and 'brellas

abandoned.

 

Look, look!

The sun is up.

The sun is out.

The sun gives you cancer, but

 

leaves race

in the trickles,

and the conversation for today

is fulfilled.

Ryan Scott

 

 

Rain-Maker

 

 

Even in her favourite chair

tilted at the same soft angles of light,

uncertainty's pleasant tang

mixes with the old comfort of tea

with a slice of lemon:

for aching bones

and chills

or because it is the afternoon.

 

It could be tomorrow

or years from now.

And if tomorrow,

when?

In the dignity of morning,

or at noon

with over boiled potatoes

stuffed in her mouth?

 

The rain, though,

can be relied on

to fall,

even if it is summer.

It washes away its own traces

and the sun clears the rest.

The mechanics of each droplet:

its velocity,

its shape,

the way, on impact,

it forms the shape of an old flan tray, forgotten

as are all the best jokes.

 

But her family will keep her

in pieces:

- the way she snored,

- the fact she didn't take sugar,

- her favourite dresses.

Their flow of reminiscence

will be her June, July and August.

Ryan Scott

Top


The Problem Is

 

The problem

is.

He's too

out there

full of

himself

over

the top

insens

itive

 

does not stop to think

about the poor boys

and girls who've got

no idea.

 

The problem

is.

In the flick

of his

wrist

traces of

glitter on

mascaraed

lids

his voice

 

the bounce in his walk

fairly talk, tip-toeing

across the stage

in make-believe.

 

The problem

is.

He's not

sure

tells some

he's a boy

some

a girl

his mother says

he's confused

 

said the psychologist

psychiatrist, chaplain, captain

of the boy's footy team

said he's confused.

Said.

Respectively.

Accept him for who he is.

Love him along the way.

Try ballet.

And.

Pray.

 

(the priest came before the captain

in reality)

 

Problem is.

He's coming

on

to the boys

and the girls.

Last week

he

fingered

one.

So they say.

 

And last week he straddled

the leg of a boy and rubbed

himself up down up down

come on come on come on out

with me he said in the rhythm

in the rhythm of his rub.

 

So they say.

 

The problem is.

If only

if only

he could

edu

cate

the others

help them

to see

 

soften the way he

moves on in, back off

a little, keep his quiet -

hush little baby ...

 

you take those pills!

 

They say I'm a paedophile

I'm self mutilating,

when all I did was stick this pin

through this long nail

through this long nail.

You see how long this long nail is.

 

I'm ADD.

He tells me.

 

What's a paedophile?

Suzanne Covich

 

 

The Writin's On The Wall

 

Hard for me to silence

the voice of the mother

or clear from my head

the vision of her

 

diverting conversation,

attention from the boy

she's born and raised

to do the right thing -

 

always the right thing

to follow the youthful

upholders of morality.

Not that she'd acknowledge this.

 

(Her boys are good boys)

 

And neither does she acknowledge

the influence of the father

born into wartime Poland

near to the smokestacks at Auswitch.

 

They saw the trains come and go.

In fact, her mother cleaned up

the bones - the flesh and blood.

She scrubbed and disinfected those cells

 

till they shone like new -

shone like the face

of her fair skinned blonde

blue eyed boy. The image of his father,

 

she says, and says no more.

 

But now. His grades fall,

as did the grades of his

older brother. He's smoking dope,

mixing with the wrong crowd,

 

stealing from unattended

bags at lunchtime

and walking in the shoes of the brother

who'd set fire to the carpet in my room

 

and laughed.

 

Once. She blamed the system.

And when the doctors diagnosed

her eldest son's deficiency,

she was relieved.

 

And now, she speaks of my sexuality.

Not that she has a problem, mind.

"But he? He just cant handle it.

The boy." She tells the deputy,

 

her voice clutching my mind as I watch

the early morning honey suckers balanced

exquisitely above the bird bath

and recall the time she'd told me

 

that her mother never quite managed

to scrub the stains from all those walls.

Suzanne Covich

Top


 

 

"Come To Me, Notice Me, Love Me"

 

(A Desert Song)

 

 

O Mister Torturer! play a threnody

upon your accordion, hauntingly low as

a breeze through rushes, let flow the

dark streams, I pray. Ai, strike up songs

of javelin-hurled oaths in the desert,

suddenly flashing on the gem blue sky.

Shalom! Ah, Shalom!

 

 

Grand Inquisitor! place the sacred

amphora by the cave mouth deep within

this desert stark and red as Adam's rib;

the broken, ridged land asks no blessing.

Fiercely blooms the Temple Garden

though bronze helmets flash at the gate.

Shalom! Ah, Shalom!

 

 

O Noble Inflictor! draw water from

a tribal well that I might slake this thirst.

Summon the street-rabble that they

may give praise, kneeling before these

anointed visions and triumphal vistas;

blow the trumpets, announce my arrival.

Shalom! Ah, Shalom!

© Stephen Oliver

 

 

 

This desert song or incantation is taken from a group of Coptic texts

known amongst Hebrew and Middle Eastern Scholars as the 'Ennoia' folio,

from the Greek meaning, A Thought, seventh century B. C. It belongs to a

collection of papyri fragments, Codex VI, tractate I, written in ancient

Hebrew and Greek characters housed in the New Babylonian Library of

Baghdad. There is some suggestion that this text, sung over the

preparation of date wine, is largely satirical, warning against the

dangers of overly-grand hospitality. For my translation, I have used two

heavily glossed and interlinear renditions from the Iraqi Lecture

Series, vol iii, section C, page 17, pub. (March) 1958, Baghdad

University Text Society. æ S.O.

 

 

The Great Unsaying

 

And the Lord came down to see the city and

a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven

Genesis 11: 4

 

 

Farther off, came lightning silent and unanswering,

the tower that emerged from between the flashes - solid

as an after-image, and then again, with each

intermittent opening out of darkness, the figure enlarged,

advanced, message-bearer, refugee from a tongue-

tied past, a bronze shield hanging off the darkened wrist.

He brought with him, and in the turbulence that

surrounded him, memories of words knotted along the

rope of language, the iron roar of the rabble rising

and falling, the flayed backs of the orators retreating.

Every portal round the tower consonantal, every window

an enjambment, the noise rose, a drowning roar -

unstoppable, even under the abstract gaze of the linguists;

voices shrieked back into primal colour - every

portal seemed a stopped-up mouth that spiralled the honey-

combed tower; and this monument, curled into a ram's

horn became vortex and blasphemy. Temple or tower,

he lamented what once had stood shaped to cup hand

and mind holy as a grail. Only his closeness now fathomed

the air, tumbrels of boiling cloud carried the speech,

upon whose face contorted words, and every word a leech.

© Stephen Oliver

 

 

 

 

Lattice-Work

[Sealed Orders for Mark Pirie]

 

I dream I'm up to my eyelids in concrete.

 

Glass vials of skyscrapers fill up with

red-gold light. It might be dusk. I could be

a medievalist come back, time-looped.

 

It's then I reach for your book, NO JOKE

to lift myself up into these coruscations.

Your poems create a lattice-work, Moorish,

 

a courtyard garden. I see the world pass by,

a frieze of pleasant and not so pleasant things.

It's then I come across the phrase tessera:

 

'past the mosque where shoes light up /

the pavement like undiscovered jewels.'

It's then I say, this book is rich in pirietics -

 

the gangster poet at the margins of the city.

Words lit as on a digital billboard turn about,

bringing the news home to Times Square.

 

Tuesday, June 5, 2001

 

 

Stalin's Cotton Socks

 

Joe, you drank the Aral Sea dry.

Fishing boats came to rest, tossed aside like old shoes.

The lips of the sea stretched over rotten gums,

its tongue cracked, lay speechless on a dusty sea floor.

The Aral Sea shrunk to a dirty stain miles off;

all to make your cotton socks, Joe, to cover your cloven hoof!

Pretty cotton socks, warmer than a pool of blood.

Local children play for one day before they die.

An old man stands before his cottage, stares at the desert.

Salt eats away at the town. Folk are free to leave but there's

nowhere to go. Central Asia's largest inland sea,

and whole civilizations camped here.

© Stephen Oliver

 

 

 

 

Skye Dog

 

I am a shaggy Skye terrier

With a bark like a parson on heat,

I'd brown nose a copper's wife

Or whatever it takes to get meat.

 

 

Be it the Penguin or Puffin

It makes little difference to me,

I grab them by the tail feathers

And climb up them like a tree.

 

 

I am a scavenger by trade

There's no two ways about it;

I favour those who pat my nose

And bite those who smack it.

 

 

My back yard's what I know

I run round it twice a day,

But still I cannot catch my tail

Nor chase those fleas away.

 

 

I sniff into old newspapers

(Inky smells don't get me off)

For dirty deeds in book reviews;

I take my place at the trough.

 

 

A dog's life is subservient

He answers to his master's voice;

To lick his arse on demand

Gets me the bone of my choice.

 

 

I am a shaggy Skye terrier

I bark at this and I bark at that,

Whatever side of the fence I'm on

I follow the leader of the pack.

© Stephen Oliver

 

THIS WELL-CREDENTIALLED WRITER WRITES:

My new book is titled, Night of Warehouses: Poems 1978-2000, HeadworX Publishers / Wellington. RRP $Aust22.00 [paperback 192 pp] ISBN

0-473-07388-9.

This volume covers five collections of poetry and spans two decades.

Please see HeadworX website <www.headworx.eyesis.co.nz >

for further information.

 

Stephen Oliver

PO Box 1661

Strawberry Hills

Sydney NSW 2012

sao@smartchat.net.au

 

Stephen Oliver's website: people.smartchat.net.au/~sao

Top


The Health Warning

 

Too much of this

stuff' ll kill ya, he said

a cigarette burning a hole

right through him, heat drying

his old leather face,

what's this? he says the holden

stuck to his arse, fat legs close

to his precious girl, windscreen wipers

dragging the silence over and over and over

like his words plastered to her face,

read what you've written

he says laughing like a jackass

in the desert of his thought,

read it he says the gap in his front teeth

sucking and hissing -

it's a low alcohol poem he says

reeling himself in on his own joke

why did you write this he asks

when the car's stopped rocking,

simian hands stroking her fine blonde hair,

you wrote this? he asks again and again

trumpeting his question over the hills,

people ask if she's all right

as he picks up the car and shakes it -

course she is, she's with the world's strongest man

she wrote me a poem he says,

night laughing inside him.

Traffic shimmers and sweats

the car door slams a hand snakes

towards her but there's a space between cars

and she's taking it.

 

 

copyright C Paice 2001

Top


Father Brian A Fitzpatrick

 

On Sundays Father Fitz thundered

about the evils of the English

,,,,, Be ready boys

,,,,, Defend the one true faith

the one true land

 

He strove to build a band of resistors

under the banner of St Pat

(the saint encompassing all saints)

 

We knew if we were obedient

good children

one day our feet

would tread the turf of emerald holiness

 

Many forsworn came

with the echo of the piper1s lilt

and though he heard beyond them

Father was lamed by vows

 

Each morning,,,,,post the early mass

black capped and black frocked he strode

to break fast in the garden-moated house

that could never be his

 

A grace sped on its way and he rose with

expert slowness readying himself for

the morning round of parishioners

 

His flock were chastised on

to the narrow path

In his church

In his school

chests were punched with fervour

"through my fault

,through my fault

,,,through my most grievous fault"

 

for at night,,,,,as the beads of

the rosary ran through his fingers

the sorrowful mysteries gathered him in

 

and he slept not alone

having lured to himself

that piper's voice

 

It became a brave black stallion running

to him from the North with nostrils of flame Mounted

he - Donnchad of Cland Cholmain, snug within

the breastplate of the sainted Pat, drove

into the South with all power to his arm

 

Though wearing the faces of old Mrs O'Reilly

and that rascal Francis Corrigan, the inhabitants

of the monasteries of Clonard and Durrow rose

armed in gratitude for this deliverance

joyously feting their holy King

and determined to follow

until the last drop of blood was spent

 

Giving more than all

so their king could stand tall at Tara

Iona blessed

 

Even before the old King

had died

 

Brian Antony Fitzpatrick raised

in the Great South Land to

bear the cross of alienation

Chosen before reaching

full stature he give all

for love

And blessed

with long life Father Fitz kept

faithful ,,,,, daily practicing

the infidelity of the heart

Kathryn Hamann

 

 

 

Sixty Years Celebrating

 

All those Masses

,,,,, All those confessions

had added weight

,,,,, to his words

driven them further

,,,,, and further from each other

Sermons stretched,,,,,beyond the outer limits

And when to the twinkle of consecration bells

he raised,,,,,and held

 

and held

the host high

we waited

 

on dimpled knees

we waited

 

on aching knees

 

even rumbling guts

awed to silence

 

we waited

 

in the sure and certain knowledge

one Sunday,,,,,this bread

would lift our Father

heavenwards

Kathryn Hamann

Top


 

The Mile High City

 

On a grey day, Denver is not a pretty city.

 

Sprawling across the plain

a slow, monotonous drawl

with plenty of time and space to occupy,

the city goes about its business,

unadorned and matter of fact

as any cowpoke.

 

On a sunny day Denver is transformed.

 

Still unrelentingly big, open, flat

but shimmering and bright as any bit of Outback

and now you see that the city's crown,

the snow capped Rockies -

etched westward in the high, thin air -

were always there.

Carrie Sonneborn

 

 

First Balloon

for Sol

Tethered to a chubby wrist,

Wide blue eyes contemplate

This helium foil wonder

Floating around a blond haloed head:

Close, silent, serene

As a guardian angel.

Carrie Sonneborn

Top


 

Piano Intensity

 

You finger

longing

across my toneless life

finding that place

where colour pulses

where sweet pain drowns

spoken expression.

And when your poignant notes

hold their teasing breath

my needs weep

in the luring depths

of your dark spaces

as if you play

waiting

for me

at the bottom

of a whirlpooled sea.

Then swirling

I rise up

up from your depths

like a coral-spawn melody

through ebony-satin

shadows and shafts of ivory

sunlight. Over and over

again your rhythms sway

oceans beneath

the scales of my emotions

preventing me

from ever returning

to the ebb

and froth of shallows.

 

(c) Copyright Autumn 1997 - Jan Price

Top


 

A woman who's never been to the Washington Zoo

(after Randall Jarrell)

 

Last weekend you were in Kaikoura

looking at the sea, eating crayfish:

that's how I think of you sometimes -

a glass of wine at hand, the easy

conversation of acquaintances & friends.

 

But it could have been Victoria

Vancouver, somwhere in Jamaica

or Barbadoes, Venice - Vanuatu.

Our bodies yearn for all the things

bodies yearn for - time & certainty -

 

what happened in the past

what could happen in the future:

that loving - 'violet soft' - & the kissing.

Ah yes, the kissing! as tender

as sea anemonies lightly closing

 

on lips and fingers, surprised perhaps

at such caressing - the delicate intrusion.

And the seals, the seals barking

in the zoo, saris from the embassy

concealing what's strange & beautiful

 

or lies somewhere in a dark wood

waiting for the unexpected:

clouds lifting, the moon rising.

a familiar human face & the words,

those words - change me, change me.

 

Alistair Paterson

 

 

The Night before Christmas

(After Randall Jarrell)

 

The blue & white of clouds, of sky,

the green of grass & willows -

although of course there's usually

not much grass under willows . . .

It ought to be a quiet place with

the river redolent as in fairy tales,

redolent of so many things: the splintered

fragments of half-forgotten dreams,

the night before the night before Christmas

asJarrell said, would have said, actually said,

& the days, all those days after the night

before the night . . .

 

Not that it matters - that nothing's silent,

nothing's still. The noise of course,

the noise is principally not there

under the willows but in the head:

a clamour of voices, the perpetual sound

of people talking, each somehow striving

to be heard above the rest, to be heard

& understood - so many of them,

so many before & after the night before

the night after . . .

 

your stockings lying under the the window

when they should be over the fireplace.

A tinsel twist of lights & coloured paper

drifts round the room & under the willows,

They're becoming - the lights & coloured paper,

the drifts of tinsel - they're becoming something

they're not: the thousand & one nights

of Scheherazade - becoming the fabled hare

& tortoise, a wily fox waiting for the lights

to go out in the farmhouse . . .

 

It's the night before the night before Christmas

& this is a quiet place - the willows & the river

redolent as they always are in fables -

in fairy tales . . .

Alistair Paterson

(Alistair Paterson is editor of POETRY NEW ZEALAND<www.geocities.com/poetrynz>)

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An untitled sequence, part of something longer

1

Again

he was the disturbance

with his reassuring words.

As always

diabolus in musica,

and she knew the devil in him

when he stroked her thighs and higher

to the rhythm of the Requiem.

A stolen warmth,

sleight-of-hand at the sacrifice

and a separation

for other rites.

The myth conspires

to repeat itself,

and the martyr,

too long a simple witness,

prepares his part.

 

2

And earlier

the ur-nymph, blond in her orisons,

adolescent love under theatre lights.

Inexperienced,

he cast himself as devil and martyr,

beginning-like.

In the middle distance

a child with a picture Bible

passed the blond Christ,

remembered the charismatic devil.

 

3

Sometime was a story

of operations where the doctor lost the patient

and the patient lost herself.

Dying without release,

self turned to electrical confusion,

not falling into nothing or Bardo

but a hum of streetlights aching in rain.

Sometime was a story

writing, written.

 

4

So it shaped different loves,

pulled on the devil mask

and ran through the formal ballroom.

It found its likeness

in martyrs, Dionysus, devil.

It dreamed itself a victim

and seemed never to begin.

It made the shy boy

swear in front of the principal.

Too simple for words

it may have been choice

or sentience. It followed

from no reasons

and whatever was said of it

was "so to speak".

 

5

Too simple for words,

though it draws garish images around it.

First flatness and mechanism, pre-born.

Then its vehicle wakes,

or finds faith,

or is made from fire or lightning.

And it hesitates,

wondering whether to follow

the shapes it grew from

or move off alone.

Its hesitation founds tribunals

where the fire is asked to bow to Adam,

where the martyr is presented to the idols,

where the official questions the quiet, barefoot stranger.

Graeme Miles

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An Ode to Strong Women

(Written on the occasion of New Zealand Poetry Day,
20 July 2001, with apologies to John Keats)

 

I know not what Superwomen I may yet meet,

Nor what great victories they may recount,

What aborted innocents lie at their feet,

What marginalised ex-fathers their children count;

 

What boys with ADD have female teachers,

What dull Ms-achievements the media trumpet,

Why blatant untruths the Law not impeaches,

Why a mere male man ranks less than a strumpet.

 

So -- long may the party last!

Long may the Sisterhood cast

Its fictional truths and ignore the stenches,

'Till the ghosts of reality arise from the trenches!

Peter Zohrab

 

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Newcastle Poetry Prize Announcement of Winners

In the Open Section prize money of $8,000 has been

divided between three poems. The winners are:

 

1. Fugue, or a Possible Poem by Emma Jones

2. A Jetty Completely Surrounded by John Watson

3. Song to the Moon by Jo Gardiner

 

In the New Media Section the prize money of $2000 has

been divided between two entries. The winners are:

 

1. Rictus Usage by Meg Breeze

2. Central Australia by Jayne Keane

 

The entry Evolution by Jane Fenton-Keane received a high commendation while Excess Pixels by Ted Nielsen, Flash Buddha by Horst Kornberger and Flash Cards by Angela Cockburn all received commendations.

For more information please call Rob Dilley,

Coordinator on 02 49611696. 9.30 - 5.30 Tuesday to Friday.

 

 

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