‘Mother me, sunlight’. Fashionable mantras
pass the time from one damp hand to the other,
anesthetizing the old embarrassments I am
writing you in order to water down.
The hotelier has me make up the rooms,
tart up the palms with tinsel, insert bin liners
in the hollowed tree trunks, sift shells
and rake sand. The service is bare bones.
The guests are festive, not bothering to save
the paper for next year. To flatten and fold it
is too hard a job, post hubbub. It’s over
pretty quick. Each retreats to fiddle with gifts,
leaving on the pretext of a minor lie,
a counterfeit coin come to bear.
to prefer the company of statues.
Hairy stretches of Highway 1 ooze
through me at inopportune junctures —
the way, after driving all day, one drives
in dreams. Your mind drops you off
and drives on. You hold it against me,
but I can hold it, this wheel-like flotation
device, ring of fear. This is the third beard.
Clearly, I lack the moustache.
Becalmed by cutlery snug in their serviettes,
I rise before the guests to swim laps of the legume-
shaped pool. I make up the rooms, fold the edges
of towels to resemble flowers, and garnish with actual petals.
As I write, scaly patterns ripple the pool, filling me
with a pride that is undermined by an image
of your ankle pivoting to reach a kick serve,
effort and innocence visible in a ligament.
The scales turn and you are frozen there
forever. Vulnerable, the word is a mouthful.
The surprise sound of ball against fence.
A winner, down break point, I put down
the pen to pour tiny piles of sugar crystals on
diminutive saucers, anointing each one,
Mt Sweet, High Peak, and see the ladder-rail
from the pool is a pair of italicized R’s,
stars of light knifing their spines. And the past,
we must let it run around exhausting itself.
It’ll sleep better tonight, and fall from us
The future is mute,
a belligerent ventriloquist’s doll.
Its lips begin to move,
quite dryly, struggling to part.
- FREE: 20 Poets anthology
- 92: NO THEME VIIISUBMIT to C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow, coming soon! 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith 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 Fiona Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith Vladimir Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith Judith Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith Keri Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with Dan 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 Pam Brown 52.0: TOIL with Carol Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with Luke Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with Bonny Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with John Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with Tracy Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with Corey Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with Michael Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with Felicity Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with Jan Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with Derek Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with Kent MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with Ann Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with Gig Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with Duncan Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with Kent MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with Libby Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with Sarah Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with Sam Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with Astrid Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with Sean Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with Alan Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with Jill Jones
- Review Short: Iris Fan Xing’s South of Words
- Aidan Coleman Reviews New and Selected Poems of Anna Wickham
- Ivy Ireland Reviews Ali Whitelock’s and my heart crumples like a coke can
- Editorial to AFRO AUSTRALIAN
- 4 Works by Guled Abdulwasi
- The Platonic Split
- you have no idea how far i swam
- To the still
- Garden of Grace
- Bloody QnA
- The Physics of Self
- Life Poem
- go ahead, call it magic
- Chalk to Charcoal
- (un) learning
- 3 Sisters
- Blood Fuel
- Raelee Lancaster Reviews Alison Whittaker’s Blakwork
- Alex Creece Reviews Marion May Campbell’s third body
- Ivy Ireland Reviews Steve Armstrong
- Magan Magan Reviews deciBels 3
- Claire Albrecht Reviews Manisha Anjali’s Sugar Kane Woman