Jean Frances,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,George Anderson,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Jena Woodhouse,,,,
Katarina Konkoly,,,,,,,, ,,,,,M. Haig,,,,,,,, ,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,Carly Findlay
Frances Macaulay Forde,,,,S.K. Kelen ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Kevin Gillam
Brenda Saunders,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Marc Marusic,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,Frances Arnett Sbrocchi
Rapunzel's Last Word
My long hair, braided,
is not a 'Welcome' sign
for unwanted suitors
it's for my sole pleasure
to unbraid and feel
its softness ripple
on my skin
I don't need company
Let them grow beans
and climb the stalks
into the giant's kingdom
if they want a thrill
Leaving a Garden
The Antipodes beckoned
as we close our door
for the last time
Seemed like a betrayal
leaving the low hedge of lavender
by the wall; roses - each full-grown
from cherished cuttings;
the marguerites - fair daisy-faces
turned towards the morning sun;
early autumn's showy dahlias.
And how could we leave the trees?
The great twisted Bramley
cropped every year
for feasts of apple jelly.
The straight new Cox's Pippin
planted in our last year - its fruit
a pledge we never savoured.
The slender lilac by the gate
appeared too frail to hold
the heavy heads of double blossom.
At our daughter's birth
your laden arms of snowy flowers
filled my room with fragrance.
(c) Jean Frances
across the road
Jack Russell cuts in
his tenor syncopation
does a beaut line
in treble obligato
yet at full moon
my ginger tom
can out-sing them all
(c) Jean Frances
A Little Life
More than a year
of longing - then you came.
Like a grain of sand
in an oyster shell
a pearl was promised.
I became a smile
a tender song-bird
a triumphant shout.
O Little Life
you began your journey
seven months too soon,
in a cruel red sea.
Long, long after
I was still deafened
by the pounding
of your tiny heart.
(c) Jean Frances
Returning home in the dark hood of night
sheltering from the bleak skeleton wind
I see two familiar bodies
through the frosted pane
slumped on the kitchen floor.
stamping the snow from boots
the sweet smell of
the snoring measured
like the hum of an
expectations of nothing
of life before you
of hopes & fears
& of dreams
of unrealisable visions
of inescapable despair-
of never understanding
or of ever forgetting╔
& it all seemed to be caught up in that one simple image:
of your father
& your brother
crashed out and snoring
on the hard kitchen floor-
our first Christmas
with no wife
We assemble once again at Hyde Park north
for the start of another long & unnecessary campaign
As we march ten thousand strong spanning the length of MacQuarie Street
& chant towards Parliament House
I take a quiet satisfaction in the Federation banners & in the
colours & inventive messages of the local school made signs around me:
WHERE'S THE MONEY
& written in white print on a blackboard:
In the heat of the spring noon we listen to the various speakers
the anger swelling amongst ordinary class room teachers
both young & old; occasionally a surge of emotion, spilling
in a spontaneous derisory chorus of Shame! Shame! Shame!
A great cauldron of voices, of clapping & banging sweeping in waves southwards
& the back again
A big Koori bloke grabs the mike & launches into another tirade:
Your 3% is just not right. Your 3% is just not right╔
After delivering our 'Letters of Demand' to the 'so called' Labor government
we head for the Metropole on North George Street for a couple
of beers with old comrades to discuss the day. Later on the news,,,,,the infidels,,,,,proclaim our one day strike
'a total waste of time' that there is no looming teacher shortage
that they are prevented by budgetary constraints to offer us a just wage
& stirring within me & others are feelings of betrayal, of disdain but also of
He never caught any one's eye
he was 'ordinary'.
The last report I wrote for him in Year 10 read:
Davo is a quiet student who is capable of making a more conscious effort to improve the length and quality of his work.
One day everything changed-
The day he hanged himself from the tree in his family's back yard-
No suicide note
No intelligible explanation-
Just his blue unmarked face
swinging stiffly in the wind
in the purple pulse of the
His friends were angry
There had been
none of the
no desperate attempts
We understood well he was a committed greenie-
during his spare time he would often collect
empty soft drink cans from school bins
& sporting fields,,,,,for recycling-
but we left it at that.
The school's memorial service for him
is a quivering, bleak affair.
The unrecoverable, senseless loss
attended by his family & a shaken Year 10 & staff.
The memorial tree they plant
for Davo that day
is torn violently out three times
before it is eventually left alone.
Often, on my way to class
I peer out towards the cricket nets
& see the tree
his fern/ now 25 metres in height-
I think of Davo
of his silent crying out
& of how no one ever saw it coming.
Cooper's Moon Landing
picture in wild sweeping brushes of paint- Nova Scotia
a Bay of Fundy ocean front
some crazy hillbilly inbred relations
& mankind about to land on the moon
the twilight dims
fades into darkness
constant switch of flashlights
a din of intermittent radio signals
fumbling of sleeping bags
later the radio broadcast is clearer
about fifteen of us
stir in the upstairs room
bed sheets serving as partitions amongst us
Neil Armstrong is about to descend from the Lunar Module
my cousin Cooper lets out a solid fart
we all laugh-
I look over and see him silhouetted in the moonlight
he is on his hands and knees
with his bottom raised high into the air
he ushers out a long loud one
another follows immediately
the radio reports: Armstrong has only one step to go
Cooper farts again; boisterously
he-hawing from his own efforts,
Cooper miraculously squeezes out yet another-
seeming this time
to have pushed the limits too far:
Armstrong at that very moment
uttering his well rehearsed lines:
It was a small step for man but a huge leap for mankind.
the whole room collapsing in great spasms of laughter
as they gradually become aware that
Cooper has shat his pants.
I knew a bloke (once)
after robert creeley
& so I sd to my good mate Jim
(that's not his real name)
cause we're always scheming
thinking of ways to duplicate a buck
or just applying the polyfiller to life-
filling in the cracks before it all dissembles
anyways I sd to Jim
hey mate, how bout we buy a ute & piss off up to Cairns?
Jim, he shows me a paper bag-
there's a gun inside
a .38 service revolver
I sd, where'd yr get that?
He sd, can't tell u- but I'm gonna have to use it soon
There is an intensity in his eyes. The longneck overflowing his tall glass.
Can't you pour a beer? I sd. Look at the bloody head on that!
I never saw the bloke again.
I have published poems extensively in literary journals and e-zines in Australia, United States, Canada and Britain in the last two years and edit the student poetry journal Ephemeral (I'll send you a copy in the post) and have recently started work on a broader literary magazine Bold Monkey.
I can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What it frames are ever-denser
veils and draperies of rain
swiftly overtaken by transfusions
of encroaching night.
Bonnard-like, the cone of lamplight
concentrates the scene inside:
a red table, a battered chair, your head
bent to the sheet of white, a palimpsest
where cuneiform inscriptions march in stark
graphite, the shadow of gardenias evoking
gardens of the mind, their perfume all
your senses can recall of Babylon.
Planting an Olive Tree
The delicate capillaries and roots
are suddenly released
to probe the earth beyond
their plastic walls, explore the open
soil, and gather it towards them as they
travel where our eyes canít follow,
branching out like hands - like limb
and twig above the ground - beneath.
The olive tree is travelling invisibly
in space and time; you see its leaves:
each represents a delving
deep in sun-warmed loam;
each step nudging the unknown
a journey that will round in fruit,
bitter, darkly haematoid about the bone.
Impact of water on rock
drowns other sounds
so why do I seem to hear
the fish in the creel
gasping air, wide-eyed,
sensing the cold sweet
onrushing tide on their
luminous skins, in their gills
as they stiffen and die...
A tiny robin
lives among grey stones
and leafless lilac:
a patch of rust
upon a sketch
High above the sea,
outside my window
he pipes matins:
a wisp of voice
a bead of eye
a heart and brain
that hold the sky.
The poems "Window" and "Planting an Olive Tree" have both been published in Muse Magazine (Canberra); "Rock-fish Dying" appeared in "The Bulletin", and "Robin" was published in my collection, "Passenger on a Ferry" (UQP).
I think of the homeless
Crimson of the orphaned
Rosellas dripping from the
Trees that have forgotten
Bark rough with the
Affection of a steely beard
And while the men sleep
Rosellas bickering over nothing
Spirits stride upon the chill wind
Searching for the roof of leaves
The curtains of branches
That kept the warmth home
A nothing sky, a broken kite
Little boy bundled by a woman
Who cannot afford a kiss
Into the reflection of a car
Waving to the moving park
Saying goodbye to nature
Previously published in Vibewire.
Old Shakespeare, open noon and night,
the favourite of the plebiscite:
for man and woman, girl and guide,
counter busy, doors open wide.
Friday night, it was T.A.B.,
hearts in mouths and sky TV,
but Saturday there's no delay
to saunter slowly to the 'Shaky'.
On Sunday we'll be back again
to spend the day in chat with friend
or dream in fumes or spin some verse
or contemplate the universe.
Monday morning we're outa bed
and into work reluctantly we're led.
Lunch is donut, pie, tomato sauce,
carton a milk for second course
Afternoon the eye's on clock,
looking for time to off we knock.
Home for telly, tea and tiredness,
lolling head on sofa wiredness.
Before to sleep we quickly pop
to 'Shaky' for a malt and hop:
soothes the stomach nice and quiet
and is your very time-honoured diet.
Tuesday just like the day before,
assumes the habit of a law.
Wednesday, middle of the week:
enda the week is what we seek.
Thursday no different from the last,
spirits flying at quarter mast.
Friday comes and it's our relief
to nick right off from clerk and chief.
Friday night we're back at 'Shaky",
bums on seats, and Wendy's snaky.
Smoke aplenty, a heat-filled room,
Dot's a bride and Fred's a groom.
Barry, Brian, Tim and Terry
don't catch a bus or cop a ferry,
striking distance is all the way
to the open doors a 'Shaky'.
On Saturday the weather's fine,
inside we're slouching on our spine,
viewing through a froth-filled glass
your merry-sided world to pass.
In the backyard of an inner-city house
(brickwork and bushes to the wall)
in the soothing sunshine,
talking to those with whom you live--
not friends, but people trusted so far
not to run when you speak--
you look up at the cherry blossom
above the wall of the next-door house:
rich-red, bee-patronized, royal
in the flowing sunshine,
with the fluted voice of an unnamed bird.
The girls are talking,
and one tells a story,
the story of the house:
why the family moved--
a stranger at the door,
forced entry, violence, rape
in the front room that is not used.
And while she speaks, soft as the sun is now,
you look up at the cherry blossom
(cartwheels of royal red)
and project your mind inwards
to the royal heart,
as though you were a creature
adapted to climb your heady way
along the spiralling corridors--
the logic of frills and byways;
but not as though you were
the creature bee, but a creature that,
finding the heart, would stay there,
dissolved into blossom,
at one with the moment when
the sun coaxed you
and forth you came,
bright on the air, and into the blueness,
while what was
tumbled behind you
and all that you were
was the royal heart
cartwheeled in colour.
The Day After Rain
The trees are up to their knees
in water, or standing on mirrors
in the image of themselves.
It is the day after rain
and the river is too full of water--
it has waterlogged the land,
and the light of the new sun
which is still the light of the old sun
is mauve and lilac,
then silver-grey and exquisite
where it presses the crisp bellies of cloud.
The river is too full of water,
and the light lifts in a shimmer
like hands lifting
water to drink
On the Platform
he groped his pate
feeling the baldness there
as if wondering why
the course of irrefragable time
had crept up on him from behind
while all the while
he'd peeled eyes to the fore
for ragged fortune the flying debris
or as if, groping there
in the basket of his head
the answer lay
as the answer had seemed to have lain
in the full hair of his head
his launched aborted take-off
could not answer to the moon
so surreptitiously receding
so inexorably bearing off
to remoter parts
that he looked less and less likely
to get the feel of.
Better than Disneyland
I want you to be more than you are
But don't change yourself for me
Times spent with you are an adventure,
Better than Disneyland
Small children, excited about the prospect of
An entire week of Christmas,
Circle inside my belly,
Dizzy like excited fireflies,
Opening boxes of surprise
And you have the ability to spread my standards
Much thinner than they should be, and to make me fall
Five times faster than I'd have liked to
In the first three minutes of our encounter
Where intricate aluminium phallic symbols
Crowded, complicatedly in sardine tins,
Their predicament not dissimilar to
The feelings that I keep inside.
And each moment is like a music festival in my backyard:
Out of proportion, thrilling, ardent, spectacular, fantastical, and then,
Concerning that something might get broken╔
I think that something has!
Sore head in the morning,
The world's changed and I was almost yours.
I have imagined us in four hundred and fifty two situations
That can all been reduced to one-
I want us to be more than we are.
draw a life, name it blue
because sometimes it's that way
and place me in the corner
I'll be the one you can play with
when you're sick of it all-
looking for something more
and I'll obligingly go back
when you tire of me
I'll bathe in misery
to have the smallest part of you
do you want me for my plumage,
or for the idea that
I could make your mind
i can be yours,
any way, any time that you wish
are you still aware of my pliability?
now you've returned,
there's nothing and
there's everything to say to you.
go on, unzip your pants
i'll stroke your mind
we both know how to make each other feel good.
i still see your name within words,
it is spelt with six letters
like wanted, lovers, beauty and fucked.
the years haven't overlooked our vulnerability
and we'll continue to make the same mistakes.
Burn the icons
Hide the idols
There is carnage
On the other channel.
Whilst the public is
Masked with fanfare,
Made ignorant to reality
Heroes run for their country
And victims run for their lives.
March on with the media revolution
Adjust your chairs to recline from tragedy,
And raise your remotes in a
Toast to oblivion,
Cheer as the heroes run for their country
And switch off as victims run for their lives.
Treasure the guide like the bible,
Go on, it's the new doctrine-
Be a slave to the nation
March on, march on in comradery
And when the world gets bad,
There's a photo spread of glory.
Heroes and victims run...
While our limbs were intertwined on your couch,
Our minds looked on from the ceiling
And conversation could only be heard in the room next door
Disabled words with their feet in starting blocks,
Restrained, on my tongue, keen to run and spill and find and billow
I suppose you adequately compensated for not wasting your tongue on dialogue
Come visit me, go visit you near midnight,
Break my heart once you've broken me in
Your kiss will dissolve the doubt and protest from my lips
You said that later, you'd deal with your idea that
We were never really suited╔I never had the chance to agree
Chalk and cheese found calcium in common
Would you kindly care
To dislodge yourself from my mind
After all, it has been a while since
You've left the store.
Thank you for your continued custom,
There's really no need to check
My life upon departure-
It's pretty empty:
Memories have passed their
I would like to purchase
A new set of feelings,
But mismatched memories are
An impulse buy.
Thus, I have overspent my
Ration of thoughts on you
For the day-
I always blow the budget.
I wonder what the going rate is
For a thought-free mind?
Thanks for your continued custom,
I sat myself down on a low stone wall,
(a semi-circle that splits St Mary's Road in two)
I'm just visiting Midleton, you understand╔
But I fancied a go at drawing that house -
number 23 &endash; the smart one covered with ivy.
Everyone who passes offers a gentle smile,
a quickly delivered non-committal comment
about the bright, ╔hasn't it turn'd lovely?
surprisingly beautiful - if chilly-wind, day
or, 'tis drawing, is it? Grand &endash; aye. 'Tis grand╔
The old man from 21 (yellow door) appears, out
front and exchanges quiet words with a passing
nun. Guidance or query, advice or condemnation?
I have missed you, Pádraig. Sure your face
has not been seen╔ and she moves on.
He takes a few ginger steps up the hill, toward
number 23, (the one I am sketching) glances at
me measuring with my eye. He appears beside,
Sure, ye're doing a grand job, I see╔ Thank you.
So╔ you're an artiste? No, not really, just having a go╔
On holiday, are we? Sort of &endash; here with a friend.
Where would ye be from? Perth, Western Australia.
Oh Grand! I've two greyhounds &endash; did ye know dat
ter best here, are from dere? If I want ta put him over
my dog, it be 1500 Euros and da compliment, sure t'is╔
You're not drawing my house╔ t'is a shame dat╔
Do you think the owners of 23 would mind my sketching?
Course not! T'ey're away in England just now &endash; won't even
know and besides╔ wouldn't be concerned. So don't ye be
worried now╔ As he wandered away, I said, G'Day!
The plastic bag I am sitting on doesn't stop the cold
and I become aware that my bum is now numb, but
the smiling lady has crossed the road in order to talk.
I don't want to be rude in this most courteous of places
where pedestrians cross without looking, 'cos they can.
The Yield sign, gently underlines the persona -
or my interpretation of Ireland's people so far.
It seems that life here, has a soft, pliant rhythm,
flowing effortlessly over the rounded green hills,
settling quietly in the misty, emotional valleys.
The traffic ambles steadfastly on its fixed way
pausing only to allow entrance to nuzzling
courtesy &endash; 'sure, there's no hurry, now╔' cars.
Businesses pause, people will chat, keeping
themselves amused as they wait for service.
The Post Office queues grow longer in patience
'Well hello dere!' bounces from one end
to the other, necks turning, as if watching tennis.
'Spy the Newcomer' - the welcome additions to
this social gathering for stamps and pensions.
Umbrellas quietly dance in the silent rain, falling
in secrecy &endash; felt only now and then on a nose or hand
but wetting the road like a ghostly downpour unseen,
though presented by low smudges of grey obscuring
the sun trying to highlight the bright insistent colours.
Is it cold out? ╔my partner asks. (You can't tell unless
you step out there╔ in the chill wind or take note
of clothing that others put on or leave off.) No, but
I'd bring the umbrella just in case╔ and a coat you can
always take or not╔ in case it's another soft Irish day.
Frances Macaulay Forde
'Hidden Capacity ~ a poet's journey' by Frances Macaulay Forde ~ Euro 12.00 + P&P
Circus Rumpus Bumpus
Summer holidays, the ocean just hangin' in there.
Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, without further ado...
On the high rope Lovely Miss Simone smiles sunshine
waves, reaches the trapeze and salutes the crowd she pleases,
swings back & forth, back & forth, faster faster
flesh & sequins whirl through Death.
She firewheels into her boy-friend's strong arms.
Magpies kiss as she spirals down the rope
and saluting star trek sex, waves to the children
bows sweet ooh-la-la.
Ringmaster claps "And that was the lovely Miss Simone"
the drummer in the corner brushes snare and high-hat
as the clowns & roustabouts rush with clickety rack
and by the end of time erect a cage
The drums' din shimmers, ringmaster prattles Hoo-pla
into a fuzzy mike, the noise turns white as the last bars click tight.
Growling lionesses run a dappled tunnel,
they're followed a sleepy old lion.
The lions look too tame, the crowds murmurs
are they fierce at all?
A sequinned Benny Hill
chases the lionesses round the cage,
pats the toothless old lion on the head
cracks the whip. Simone enters
parading a fiery hoop, the lionesses run the ladder, leap
and the old lion purrs as she hands him a bit of steak.
Now Benny coaxes the mean one
"Come on, Narelle," he says and cracks the whip
whacks the lioness on her bum
she swipes at him and dives for the tunnel.
While the audience was intent on the lions
the Fabulous Rizollis set up a magic city of china
spinning on sticks, crockery Frisbees.
The ring-master gravels over the blown-out loudspeakers
"Kitchen Chaos - at home with the Rizollis"
The sticks bend & spring back
the cups lose momentum first,
laughing Rizolli catches the cups & saucers as they fall
and simultaneously at breakneck speed
throws plates to Mrs Rizolli who catches
and stacks them neatly into a black cardboard box
when she's done she bows like a lyrebird.
Lion dung smoulders, stinks like Hell.
At the exit Tingling Simone hands out pass-outs
and a train of thought: Intermezzo floss, chips, sweets....
Outside storm clouds suck and swell;
tyre ruts in hard mud soak raindrops.
A bolt of lightning hits the ground
& someone switches off the dodgems,
It pisses down. Everyone's back to their seats in a flash.
A couple of kids climb the trapeze
somersault through the air with the greatest of ease.
The clowns go after them.
"That's enough of that" the Ring Master
snarls like a broken-down lion
a hip flask burns his pocket
but he's only joking and clobbers the clowns.
"More household comedy" & the lion tamer appears
with whips & calls the kids in the audience down.
They hold ribbons link together, form a circle
& the whip cracks 'em down. The kids run off
and the whip man smiles.
Horses canter into the ring
guided by the one & only
The horses jog anti-clockwise
till Rizolli orchestrates the turn
and they trot clockwise
One of the horses has a sense of humour
does a weird dance, his master reprimands
"Go back, Trigger, go back" bursts into laughter
rides Trigger bare-back on the way out.
Horses exit gallop.
The clowns return to get abused by the ring master
and Mrs Rizolli bustles out her performing dogs.
Back in his caravan the old lion purrs
and snuggles into his harem.
Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys.
Law of the Backyard
Rats are disease
Possums are strange
their tails relate them to geckoes
as does their aerial domain.
Remember, Ants are our friends
Snails fair game & Slugs, stickier than slime, will
stick for days.
If you meet a Koala on the fence it's certain
to be a phantasm - the gone trees' memory come to life
leading into eternal strife.
Earth Worm is a golden dynamo
like the Bee a force to be reckoned with
Butterflies arrive in summer
and even then...
Dogs can knock on the door
& will dig up the garden if you let them.
Redback spiders don't fit
in this sweet scheme of things
that balance and agree -
crush like evil underfoot
and kiss a tree.
Make a soft bed outside
for the visiting Cat,
Don't fret for Mynah Birds
or pity the backyard Snake.
Welcome the Gang-Gang home,
feed the roof Possum & pray for all Life.
It's been a great year for news
& buying newspapers
installing a clown
taking over most everything.
And now I own the lot
the experiment can begin
so I'm on my way to pick up
the cloned alien DNA to mix
in with the newsprint
and rubbing readers' fingers
whatever happens will quickly take effect .
Morning birds sing the alarm clock song.
Everything's done: the morning edition
throbs with a signature I'm giving to life.
This holiday's well and truly earned,
the jet's ready, the girls, an island of honey.
On the way to the airport the engine seizes
What does it profit a man jolts heart
and the driver slams brakes.
Something about Gethsemane
and a blinding light, a genie (or is it an angel)
says it's time to earn back soul and life.
Cruel world snuffs out the last candle
- almost - delicious flames lick just enough
now the junket begins in sleaze
where kids on suicide mission
guide a grand tour of body fission.
A poster for a cholera safari catches my eye
at the crook cafe as I search the classifieds for real estate
to invest in around the burning lake and
order another glass of lava.
The waiters wink, never return with that drink.
I wait and wait until the world dissolves.
God is scattering me sun to sun,
planets pass through my dust belly
and Heaven's gate is ancestors' laughter.
Whistle and speed up the seasons,
come, come o summer.
The Glugs of Gosh Are Never Gone
And the Minister for Business Funk
followed the advice
of the First Assistant Under Swank
who'd always been a commerce crank
and never saw bird or blossom tree
and lo, fiery swathes tore sweet forest.
Old trees groan
and the souls of strange animals
fly to the clouds of no-return so
chopsticks get wrapped
in hi-gloss leaf-embossed bond paper -
& the Minister's Department
endlessly drafts his letters of reply
to ratbag dryads chained to trees.
And the laser printers chew those trees
to Smithereens. It's worth it mate
a few dollars more & someone'll write
the story of the trees
just like was done for Aborigines
but for now the Minister for Business Funk
sweats on a dream
tumbling into when the Nullarbor comes -
Grace the Goddess spoke to him
& his soul grew cold
as dead forest.
Ink flow on a treasure map:
a cartographer discovers the lost art
of handwriting using a feather quill.
Don't doubt the fighting spirit.
Immortal heavy metal ashtray,
out-of-it wowser out there
the sprinkler's wild garden
nightmare - lemon trees smoulder.
Inside the radio raves.
I want to go to Sugar Town
where her legs are dream
dream, dream, eating my heart
deep breath strychnine
eyes right, eyes left she's
harmonious, gold on both sides
of her ring finger.
Sexy freedom fighter
the vision of Glynnis John
wearing a uniform
in No Highway in the Sky
or when she dived
from a hundred and fifty foot tower
one last time for Somerset Maughum
in Sugar Town.
Kafka Dog begins a Voyage to Realms Beyond
Kafka's coat shone .
he'd put on angel's finery.
As the day progressed his fur
grew luminous, gammy eyes cleared,
he sat proudly and gazed out the window
at an ancient garden & mountains called.
He made it through the Sunday Night Movie.
Soon after, Kafka coughs and begins to journey on.
I go over and don't bother about the blood he's coughed
but hold his chin and stroke his head.
He growls, stretches and barks
softly, playfully like a puppy waking.
His eyes are running, jumping dog
making himself comfortable on beach towels,
wandering dazed to on-heat dogs' whisky nights
or sitting in the front seat behind the steering wheel
roaming city streets, copping it sweet from ferocious cars.
As smart as they come, the best of dogs,
he is running down a mountain trail
and he's gone.
History begins with a sketch by
Watkin Tench - Diarist First Class - of an
Eora man and family watching
long-boats slide ashore.
Tench notes that they seem apprehensive
and this view is corroborated later.
The sound of rocks and trees sighing
or the warning words of waves on rock
are nowhere recorded.
Tidying up, making the mud neat.
Smashing the place to bits.
Tiger cats, fiercer than dingoes,
outsmarted foxes, made mincemeat
of the first rabbit outbreaks
but farmers took care of the poor old tiger cat
& then they let the rabbits go.
Eastern goannas also collected lead.
Many settlers ate mud, killed black snakes
(they ate the taipan, tiger & brown snakes)
and supplies of intuition were low.
None figured swamps had a job to do.
The blacks got run over by a colonial jamboree -
Genghis Khan's boy scout dreaming.
The land became a factory.
Of course there were good things,
writing was born. There's how great Life is.
Another poem reaches from the heart.
We're visiting the dark days now
when ocean turned into a spear, flotilla.
Eccentrics found trees a wondrous beauty to behold.
It was courage that won the war with the Cedars
signalled guts, resourcefulness, imports, exports.
New chums left their brains behind, brought fire arms
a stump-jump plough leapt.
Fortunately, the Desert was as invisible as Antarctica.
The colonies are strange, alive.
Notes toward an essay on literary criticism
Resonant words are themselves
a kind of vehicle to dream & say
while the theory machine configures: scientists
fight on in their quest for the formula
of bread & butter, passion, fancy & imagination.
Aye there's the rub & spin: inject CD
set lasers & let drum message
dish out a hiding
to my football mind
bathing in cathode light.
When stars are out & yowies cease their windy howling
night birds beat ghostly wings, chatter like snakes.
West of Krakatoa
Indonesia - three cats
chase a butterfly. The
ocean clouds billow.
Kelpies are a one voice dog
and when you're not there
they charge their domain
sniff about. Kelpies
must always sleep outdoors
or else they run away.
The Information Superhighway
is a sewer pipe from America
it's staying home forever
and falling in love with a computer.
It's the story of Hardware Man & Software Girl
setting off together on a kitchen adventure.
It's staying home forever:
push a button & a remote controlled custard pie
flies in the video compere's eyes.
"Interactive" is when you get
to spit back.
My house is a city state.
Outdoors there's a weird fog
I don't want to go out in.
Forests are flattened to fuel
the trees are routed once & for all.
When the last tiger in the wild died
the tigers in the zoo just vanished
with lips shot to moon
went hunting for rhyme. found a
ladybird. surface of rea-
son. weightless on finger. syl-
lables folded. then blurred twice
its size. tongued to the other
why always sunshine. draped in
similie. just before the
rain? limned with religion. sky
gone from purple. moment long
drowning. showers of orange
and vines are stripped
to a gnarled truth
fog pulled around chin
the sea all
welts and weals
ungifting so quickly
and the lighthouse winks
ringed with tomorrow
rain thrumming its applause
- to fetch, to carry, to get, to bring, to give, to take, to hold - Wiradjuri language
I learned early
to take new tricks
clear the hoops one by one
dancing to their tune -
to sing the land
through airless rooms
flaying dust motes
Reined in by godliness
I pass an empty smile
with their tea and cake.
Truth can spill out
with little hooks
- caught in photos
stuffed at the back
of a drawer.
Families of black people
camping in tents
- blended to sepia tints.
A loving couple
one white, one dark
uneasy in a boat on a lake.
And the negatives
give nothing away.
Vanished frames of secret lives
pale squares on wallpaper
In the silence of the old house
my fingers leave traces in the
film of dust.
Time on my hands
beat the silence
curled tight they hold
the anxious moment
- let others slip by.
On white palms
I chart the years
- a wayward thumb
defies the count
If I cup my hand
I hear time
to the ticking
the Harbour City
has taken on a look
seldom before displayed
dark green is becoming
but a memory
save for privileged patches
sprinkled to this hue
land west of the Great Divide
that even four wheel driving
only on lounge room screens
a normally well-rained town
sucks on sustenance
from drier climes
now it's adopting
their appearance too
just as it's losing
the last market gardens
to make room for more housing
degreening is the trend
trees blocking views of water
won't need this substance
their next treat might be poison
and lawns are vanishing
as Sydney goes paving mad
new dwellings are almost plant-free
our leafage may soon require
less H2 O than the armour
of four wheel-drive egos
but, now that we must cut our use
these monsters might start to look
like they've been beyond
Balmain and Mosman
and there's plenty dust
now in the Big Smoke
Drumming It Up
Uncle Dubya Sam
promises eight hundred
CNN brings them to us live
big flat screen, surround sound
bring it on!
well, someone's gotta go in hard
UN's a wuss
we need a world cop
why not the US?
the name also spells us!
so, we can be
in on any biffo
fightin' our way round the world
plenty more regime change
once we've sorted out Iraq
Axis of evil
but Georgie, that's only three!
we can handle heaps more!
forget the marchers
tree huggers always bag the US
hey, no country's perfect
but better weapons of destruction
be in hands of Chuck and Tex
than Abdul and Ahmed
and the same goes for oil
it's more than worth the blood
our boys have the guts to spill it
they've shone in many wars
but we've just sat back and waited
till one was under way
at last we can share in starting one!
beat beat beat
on the oil drums of war
'war' spells we are right!
all we are saying is
give war a chance!
bearing the label
Prince of Wales,
to give a fair crack
will this victim look
become a fashion
on this trendy street?
patient, he attends to
the sick engine
of his shell
that's wheeled him
to this Krankenhaus
cranky, he belts down
the bonnet lid
does his surgeon
do that to him
when his tools
 a public hospital in Sydney
 German for hospital
Mercurial Meanderings by Marc Marusic is available from at Gleebooks (Sydney) for$15 or $10 direct from the author at < email@example.com>
A couple of poems from a series of chapbooks entitled "Edges".
Gold beyond reach
Gold beyond reach
has slipped out of memory
I'll sit here quietly
until it ripens
Frances Arnett Sbrocchi
I look into the blue
and see millions of lights
ten thousand messages
wanderers in space
until they arrive
Frances Arnett Sbrocchi
Heather's leave taking
In memory of Heather Morton Tracy:
Last summer she came to the poet's circle
a flash of colour, a yellow frock
a crown of flowers
a long necklace dangling
Knowing full well what lay ahead
Today we read her last poem
and believing as we read
the final line: that she was going
into the light
Frances Arnett Sbrocchi
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