States of Poetry

How fine it is to mutiny
against my tired mind—

say self, you are through,
to smash into a mirrorball

of echoes all scaled
in dizzying Nordic blue

feel the universe tilt
and infinitely rebuild

to flicker
like a skerrick of spindle silver

needle-quick,
and never be held—

this is the freedom
of the uni ...

Where am I?

 

I am desperate for connection.
I must have hit a black spot.
The sun is glaring at me and blinding
my display screen.
All I can see is my own face.
Coarse sand has crept between my toes.
I have wandered too far.
I need to google a map, text someone
who will reconnect me.
This shell, this sand, the smell of rotting ...

—for Vera Pavlova, in Mexico City

On the bus to Teotihuacan, we turn
a new god's name on our tongues

like a charm, jagging past
cinderblocked hills

chocked over the motorway,
grey pixels stacked so high they merge

with the smoked white Mexican sky—
then a guitar player in the aisle

begins a song whose only familiar
wo ...

Graces Road

 

Rise above it, my mother used to say,
and now she's old, she herself is something I must rise above.
Just now, to separate myself, I turned and drove,
and finding Graces Road, followed its name
upwards to paddocks that a summer of scant rain
had worked into yellow and m ...

Bebop sparkplug spurred in withershins,
loop-de-loop interloper, he hop-steps
ravines of bark, shirking faultlines,
going solo, headstrong, scion of impatience,
juddering like the stalled engine
of prop-plane on tundra runway, skirting
and skimming up, peeling out,
reeling in spiral, spy, scout, prematurely
thrusting into the unknown, Magellan
runnin ...

Notes from the inland

 

When he goes into that country,
a man loses his thinking
                                  Patrick Mung Mung

 

A tree opens
a crack ...

I.

You tilt lapis to your lip –
a day light as wicker.

By the water, bullrushes bow
into sailboat blue, lace-necked

egrets fossick and pick,
and the elements rearrange

a goliath heron's skull to mud.
Up on the embankment

a crouching child scratches
his name into a temple wall.

II.

Ultramarine, lapis lazuli—

Woman in Bath

 after Brett Whiteley’s Woman in Bath (1964)

 

There was fog on the windows,
inside and out.
She wound her hair into a bun
and eased into the shallow water.
I stood in the doorway, squinting.
                  &n ...

Reply from the Women of Tangier

 

after Brett Whiteley’s The Majestic Hotel, Tangier (1967)

 

So secretly together do we wear
our separateness, we’re so complete
he gives us the white stare.

Easy to see decay and disrepair
in the spittle and hashish-ruined streets.
But secretly together we all wear

our ...

Right at the back of the world's yard I am sitting. I have nothing.
I had a stone but lent it to the poet to put in his shoe. No sooner
did he turn into a slim golden feather that flew straight to the
sun that fed the snakes new skins. It could as easily have
resulted in ripe figs resting in baskets or unruly persimmon
trees twirling in fogged mountains. Regardless ...