ken bolton



Charge Nurse

depth-charge migraine aftershock bouncing side to side in brain-pan Pola knows this is no ordinary lie-down I hear her clip up the passage into the room stop beside me to lick my fingers where they dangle from under the covers …

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Dressed in Yella

My voice-reading facility kicks in as I listen to the recording with forensic precision it deciphers her answering-machine message one part frightened, two parts breathless My sister sounds harried, almost asthmatic and that’s her work voice Oh dear. I’m too …

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Ten Zen Poems

a bird in the garden below – the fan spread as it put to wing ______________________ a kangaroo bounds silently across the far end of the field a penny in motion ______________________ a single-syllable bird call shadow waves ripple across …

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Night Works

moon where do you come from? a half slice of orange about to be dunked in a chocolate sea you are always there moon behind midnight clouds I come outside to listen to the wind in the trees but find …

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(Failing)

In the beginning, sometimes, I wrote “I love you” in the street. I dipped my finger in a puddle and wrote you a love letter, of sorts. Although I don’t believe you ever got to read it. The I evaporated …

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The Lives of the Writers, their Vicissitudes, Proclivities, Highs and Lows

CHRISTINE COLLINS is sometimes seen as almost an interface between Bruce Nauman and Christine Brooke-Rose, a troubling entity to conjure with—and an eagerly awaited presence should it ever manifest itself. Early in her life Collins featured in Let Numan Write …

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I May Have to See You Again, Charlie

Dear Teri I am not really in love with Charlie, but I think I am obsessed, but I can’t say it is entirely pleasurable It is not like wine or chocolate It is more like picking off skin after a …

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What’s the frequency, Kenneth?

a revhead full of vodka slushies, fading bling, the schlock of the old. just don’t hand over the car keys. sampling a fizz of schweppervescence I think of us, you and me, our lifetime lack of fancy salaries. on a …

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More than a feuilleton

the experienced world hasn’t been the world itself for a long time now & now we want to see the world as we want it to be * who’s speaking, saying this about the ‘world’? what ‘world’? * a cute …

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Bin Ends

It says here that Tony Baker makes ‘sounds across the range from free improvisation to rustic guinguette à la moules frites’. Refried boogie Tony? * Mohair her suit hirsute * nobody ever talks of their ‘wasted middle age’ * Headers …

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David McCooey Reviews Peter Rose and Ken Bolton

Selected Poems
Roseland and Boltonia

Crimson Crop by Peter Rose
UWA Publishing, 2012

Selected Poems 1975-2010 by Ken Bolton
Shearsman, 2012


The opening poem of Peter Rose’s Crimson Crop – which recently won a Queensland Literary Award – brings together illness, noise, and madness in a powerful vision of human frailty. In that poem, ‘Prelude’, the poet relates seeing a man at the Rome Railway Station banging his head on vending machines, while his countrymen ‘rushed to their trains, / fearful, cashmered, blinkered, / avoiding this glimpse / of what their brother had become’.

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Shock To The Screen Door

You can hear it banging in the wind, or when someone delivers something and lets it ‘have its will’. It causes you to jump, inevitably. “Trouble in your bubble, mate?” is what Dave says when I look morose. Which might …

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