States of Poetry Poems
grasses sweep grooves in sand, the way streams forge sweeps in earth;
their soft brown tips dangle, like me, the narcissist,
searching for recognition, the call and response
the topographic certainty, the black and white pinions.
cloud gaps are light patch are sunglasses on.
loose rock and lost watch – the alpine flowers dry,
the travelling snow is sliced by skis ...
I walk to the river,
I am searching,
I am searching for a jar of leeches.
In the distance I see something flashing
so I head toward it.
As I come closer I see
it's a mirror dangling from a tree,
and beneath it, a table with six sealed jars.
I open a jar, stick my finger inside
pull it out –
blood slides down my arm.
I feel the sh ...
A culture worth loving
A culture worth fighting for
A culture worthy of being loved
Why tell me I don't need it?
Why tell me I can't need it?
Why tell me I can't love it?
Why tell me it's not worth fighting for?
Why tell me it's not worthy of love?
I love it – I laugh for it
I stress for it – I cry fo ...
Can you smell it?
Not like the first rains
Nor the first blooms
But a rather putrid
Vomit inducing smell
The bad smell of Australia
Like stinking body odour
Emitted at footy matches
Fast on social media
With each boo the
Smell got stronger
With each name calling
The smell got stronger
With each denial the
red gravel, bark and branch,
filigrees of hazel,
blanketing roar of ocean,
inlet glints of stone.
Depths of quiet sounded out
in ducks' satellite pings.
There's no ribbon to tie these things neatly in train,
no music to make it sound okay;
just me awake, reading your email
as cockatoos swing and chime
high in ka ...
Such a hollowness grows beneath us
such an undermining,
such a heavy, unwelcome silence
that we can no longer touch
this happy or unhappy life,
this grass, these children, this field of light,
fly as we might each fortnight
the surfaces lose value
– window, fence, city, street –
as we become beasts, turned inside out
under the fluorescent po ...
Below Howarth Cross, tussocky fields
still wait for dead builders; 'Pick your plot now.'
Mice dart away through clover and thistles
dodging oil drums, chip wrappers, surprised
by the impossible song of lost looms.
Under Cobbled Bridge, off Belfield Lane
the stones erode along their grain, as lain.
On the underside, immortalised, 'Kipper Lips'
and 'Tina to ...
This morning I read of the nightwell,
filling mysteriously in our sleep,
disappearing by day, and it brought
to mind the gifts of Christmas, of starlight,
the open dark eyes of the children of Aleppo
on television the night before.
I dreamt of a family escaping through pines,
over the crest of a forest, young and old
struggling down to the shore of a g ...
Riding back from Heathrow, after Rome,
everything felt dark, sad, dirty, grim.
Only on the train did the old redemption come:
soft green fields, open loose-leafed canopies,
water tipped from shivering layers of leaf,
through clouds of shadow; all those rich depths
under bridges, in the ditches, between one hedge
and another; deep pools of shadow, pierced
'Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly...'
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
I un-wake to damage.
Light-bulb stutters, frantic
once off, once on, illuminates
Inside my bedroom it rains
for days. The head
full of synaptic hauntings
shudders. Old-milk sky