CONTRIBUTORS:

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

Jean Frances

 

 

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

 

 

Four-part Harmony

 

Basso profundo

across the road

duets with

next-door's collie

while three-doors-up

Jack Russell cuts in

his tenor syncopation

and Lonely

down-the-back

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,

slipping away

in a cruel red sea.

 

Long, long after

I was still deafened

by the pounding

of your tiny heart.

(c) Jean Frances

 

 

 

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3AM

 

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.

 

Inside-

stamping the snow from boots

the sweet smell of

turkey roasting,

the snoring measured

hypnotic-

like the hum of an

oven fan.

 

Christmas Eve

expectations of nothing

& everything

of life before you

& behind-

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

&

no mother.

George Anderson

 

 

Teachers' Strike

 

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:

 

BAGDAD BOB

 

WHERE'S THE MONEY

COMING FROM?

PRIVATE SCHOOLS

& 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

resoluteness

George Anderson

 

 

Davo

 

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 notice

No suicide note

No intelligible explanation-

 

Just his blue unmarked face

swinging stiffly in the wind

in the purple pulse of the

jacaranda.

 

His friends were angry

shocked.

There had been

none of the

obvious warnings,

no signs,

no desperate attempts

at communication.

 

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.

George Anderson

 

 

Cooper's Moon Landing

 

picture in wild sweeping brushes of paint- Nova Scotia

a Bay of Fundy ocean front

floppy shanty

no electricity

bed pans

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

cough

listen intently

bed sheets serving as partitions amongst us

 

we hear:

 

Neil Armstrong is about to descend from the Lunar Module

 

my cousin Cooper lets out a solid fart

we all laugh-

then another

 

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

everyone laughs

another follows immediately

 

the radio reports: Armstrong has only one step to go

 

Cooper farts again; boisterously

 

mad laughter

 

he-hawing from his own efforts,

Cooper miraculously squeezes out yet another-

and 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.

George Anderson

 

 

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.

George Anderson

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: garp@austarnet.co.au.

 

Top


 

Window

 

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.

Jena Woodhouse

 

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.

Jena Woodhouse

 

Rock-fish Dying

 

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...

Jena Woodhouse

 

 

Robin

 

A tiny robin

lives among grey stones

and leafless lilac:

a patch of rust

upon a sketch

in monochrome.

 

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.

Jena Woodhouse

 

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).

 

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Winter Parklands

 

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

Katarina Konkoly.

 

Previously published in Vibewire.

Top


 

 

Old Shakespeare

 

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.

M. Haig

 

 

 

Cherry Blossom

 

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.

M. Haig

 

 

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

M. Haig

 

 

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

horned consideration

of life,

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

gormlessly gray

that he looked less and less likely

to get the feel of.

M. Haig

 

Top


 

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.

Carly Findlay

 

 

blue

 

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

fly?

Carly Findlay

 

 

 

full circle

 

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.

Carly Findlay

 

 

Media Revolution

 

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...

Carly Findlay

 

 

 

(untitled)

 

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

 

 

(untitled)

 

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,

I guess.

 

There's really no need to check

My life upon departure-

It's pretty empty:

Memories have passed their

Used-by-dates.

 

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 guess.

Carly Findlay

Top

_________________________________________________________________

 

Sketching╔

 

 

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

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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

Frank Rizolli.

The horses jog anti-clockwise

till Rizolli orchestrates the turn

and they trot clockwise

can-can kicking.

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.

S.K.Kelen

 

 

 

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

working hard.

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.

S.K.Kelen

 

 

Tycoon

 

It's been a great year for news

& buying newspapers

installing a clown

as President

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.

S.K.Kelen

 

 

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

last century

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.

S.K.Kelen

 

 

 

 

Sugar Town

 

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.

S.K.Kelen

 

 

 

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.

S.K.Kelen

 

 

History Lecture

 

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.

Tidying up.

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.

S.K.Kelen

 

 

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.

S.K.Kelen

 

 

Winter Birds

 

When stars are out & yowies cease their windy howling

night birds beat ghostly wings, chatter like snakes.

S.K.Kelen

 

 

 

West of Krakatoa

 

Indonesia - three cats

chase a butterfly. The

ocean clouds billow.

S.K.Kelen

 

 

 

Kelpies

 

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.

S.K.Kelen

 

 

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

computer factories,

the trees are routed once & for all.

 

When the last tiger in the wild died

the tigers in the zoo just vanished

S.K.Kelen

 

 

 

Top


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

Kevin Gillam

 

 

winter

 

and vines are stripped

to a gnarled truth

 

fog pulled around chin

of city

 

the sea all

welts and weals

 

sun

ungifting so quickly

 

and the lighthouse winks

more urgent

 

the moon

ringed with tomorrow

 

rain thrumming its applause

on tin

Kevin Gillam

 

 

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Barramal

- 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

from mahogany.

 

Reined in by godliness

I pass an empty smile

to strangers

with their tea and cake.

Brenda Saunders

 

 

Dark secrets

 

Truth can spill out

with little hooks

of questions

- 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

whisper denial.

 

In the silence of the old house

my fingers leave traces in the

film of dust.

Brenda Saunders

 

 

Time on my hands

 

Dark fingers

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

of destiny.

 

If I cup my hand

I hear time

running out

to the ticking

clock in

the hall.

Brenda Saunders

 

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Parched

 

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

 

parched, resembling

land west of the Great Divide

that even four wheel driving

Sydneysiders see

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

Marc Marusic

 

 

Drumming It Up

 

multiple wargasms

missile fetish

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!

Marc Marusic

 

 

 

Patient

 

white robe,

bearing the label

Prince of Wales[1],

open behind

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[2]

cranky, he belts down

the bonnet lid

does his surgeon

do that to him

when his tools

go awry?

Marc Marusic

[1] a public hospital in Sydney

[2] German for hospital

 

Mercurial Meanderings by Marc Marusic is available from at Gleebooks (Sydney) for$15 or $10 direct from the author at < marc_marusic@hotmail.com>

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A couple of poems from a series of chapbooks entitled "Edges".

 

 

Gold beyond reach

 

Gold beyond reach

the poem

has slipped out of memory

 

I'll sit here quietly

until it ripens

and drops

Frances Arnett Sbrocchi

 

Messages

 

I look into the blue

and see millions of lights

ten thousand messages

wanderers in space

until they arrive

by telephone

screen

or ESP

from all

of you

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

bright earrings

Knowing full well what lay ahead

 

Today we read her last poem

remembering laughter

and believing as we read

the final line: that she was going

into the light

Frances Arnett Sbrocchi

 

 

 

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