Fix breakfast, make coffee.
A sort of virtuous morning. No
hanging about. Wash clothes, dinner
—on the stove by 10.30, cooking,
ready for some time tonight
or another day. The plumber—who
could show any time—
(‘over from the mainland’) . . .
his day on the island.
Cath comes back
from swimming, headache gone.
& Lorraine arrives. They take off
for some market—no, an ‘open
garden’ inspection. We discuss
dinner together first—Ian’s plan
& ours. One or other we’ll
go with. I show
illustrations I have done
—a kids’ book for Finn & Max.
And they’re gone. No poems,
unless this is one. (This notebook
—one I’ve travelled with a few times—
‘to start a poem’, or make one possible
(notes from a day, a decade
or more ago—
beginning with a train trip:
things I’d have thought, or noticed
looking out the window, that
I did—or might have—
that drift off, to become notes
for a kind of poem (not
described) I’ve thought about,
but which would seem unlikely,
a chain of remembered moments—
of intensity, mindless focus,
happiness—none of them
in most senses, of any consequence
instances of swimming, & of sensed
well-being derived from it—& a couple more,
added at a later stage, or signalled
just by their ‘name’
by which they will be recalled.
(A few are tagged
with a heading—’riding
bike’. Ha, ha.)
Nothing has come of them.
I look at, at two or three year intervals,
on trips, usually, to Sydney. Once at least to London.)
to one specific trip … & a journey by train to Kurt’s
There’s a lizard appeared suddenly, on
the lower rung of a paling fence
six feet away, his body one
voluptuous curve as he
hangs there on an angle sunning
this must happen to everybody
& be, equally for all of them, like this
a ‘still moment’, the skink’s side
I remember one
I saw in Rome, & wrote in to The Circus—
an experience for The Strongman I think.
(Here it is again)
Ishmael Reed’s book Flight
to Canada. It’s very smart
& it’s very funny. Years ago
I read his The Terrible Twos, or the
Troublesome Threes or something,
which I also liked—tho maybe not this much.
If there’s a Greek term for it—
the poem about a putitative but non-existent poem—
Creative Writing could legitimately establish
a new time-waster (no—’genre’), one more
‘exercise’—as they have done,
to the detriment of poetry, with the Ekphrastic poem
a word I hate to see or hear
& wince in the expectation of—of the finished article, I mean—
regularly drear, dumb—
short of what once was intended.
If there’s a name for it
“then it’s a thing,” as the present
would presently put it.
Kurt & I
go swimming—his place at Currarong.
He would hardly credit
how little I swim these days—how little
I have swum, over this last decade. In-
explicably. But I put on a show for him
& we swam & I enjoyed it.
Some of the other occasions—these moments—were at Coalcliff
or Stanwell Park, nearby—with Laurie, probably
& Pam, Micky, Sal & Erica
maybe Kurt. Another was at Burning Palm
—is that what it was called?—below a steep cliff
in the National Park. A tiny settlement
of tin houses, built first during the Depression
& allowed to linger—some remnant families—permanently
probably, unemployed. A few small children.
The same crowd—(of us)—in the water
The extraordinary thing—that I remember—
that the sand dropped away so quickly
We were buoyant, lifted up & down,
many feet, each wave—
(a tiny arc of sand—the beach—
just feet away), the tin dwellings pink
& blue & green & rust & russet
just back from it. The buoyancy—&
the friendship—made me euphoric
& I laughed. It was as if
they were the same thing.
Barbara was there too
& Kate probably.
One of my friends has fallen out
with his (former) best friend. How could this
be? It seems a dark note
to introduce. Too dark to be avoided
(Tho avoiding things, isn’t that what I’m
The ethics of poems.
I wondered once—or, first, some years back
if it could make an autobiography
these best moments,
a sequence, a chain, a necklace of them?
to parallel my real biography
of family, relationships—&
reading, writing, work—my real life.
Two tales. A poem with a title like
Substitution, Passing, or Bowling Up.
What could be the name for this form or genre?
Nebulosa Prospectus? “Now
coming, soon, to be inflicted on the unprotected”—
Write a poem, about a poem, that you
Mine would include other swimming moments—
one with Cath & the kids, Gabe & Anna. Yuri?
Tom? I don’t remember, tho I remember doing a drawing of it,
calling it The Life Aquatic after an old movie
from the 80s the 90s.
- 109: NO THEME 12with C Maling & N Rhook 108: DEDICATIONwith L Patterson & L Garcia-Dolnik 107: LIMINALwith B Li 106: OPENwith C Lowe & J Langdon 105: NO THEME 11with E Grills & E Stewart 104: KINwith E Shiosaki 103: AMBLEwith E Gomez and S Gory 102: GAMEwith R Green and J Maxwell 101: NO THEME 10with J Kinsella and J Leanne 100: BROWNFACE with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPOREwith J Ip and A Pang 97 & 98: PROPAGANDAwith M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones