States of Poetry 2016

for Mia

 

I wore my grandmother's clothes
and sat on her doorstep.
Monday to Friday.
She talked.
I lied.

'I'll teach you how to write,' I said
pretending I could
hold a pen.
'Mouse will eat your ears,' she smiled.

At night we leaned on pillows
watched TV with subtitles.
I made up foreign words.
I tol ...

after Vasko Popa

 

Always ready to leave
leaving
each time further
from the whispers
of the grass.

She has forgotten
her death,
the calf she once was.

Curled around an arm
a new name sewn
into her mouth
she's been there, done that.

A tramp, living beyond
the stitches of life.

&n ...

I walk through my hometown
as an uninvited guest.

Divorced
from communism

the old street has taken back
its maiden name.

I follow the steps of a lost child
watching myself

from the curtains
of memory's windows.

The doors of St Nicholas church
are rusty but open.

Inside familiar faces
and a sign

Buy candle ...

i.

birds have their own topography : overlaid
on ours : which is vertical & detailed :
with its own system of needs :
its own deviations : the nerve-ends
in my fingertips : & a tremor in my latissimus dorsi
rouse me : a domestic industry
starts up : a saw : or sander : on some abutting title :
the sound raw : with alternating notes :
one c ...

They say morning's temper
binds you to this world
of taking. As if the air said,
all you need is to scram
or laugh. If it's real payback,
why try to earn it.
There are better things to do
with your shoes.
This is no mystery.
Movement chafes expectancy
till it hurts and hackles.
It's a pissing contest,
round that hew
the hours hand ...

Sometimes it's better in our clothes.
We are together as we are not,
we come as we are.
The sky is immense and frail,
we are full of lists and feedback,
there are no private numbers.
Why does everyone care?
The smell of sun is in the
lees.
A flower is a flower, flowers now
becoming a book of consummations.
As light enters a house,
ther ...

This may be the new hunger, walking
through buildings that are off limits.
Fraught kisses on the carpark stairs.
Tripping on rubble that does not build.
Meanwhile, the clucky gestures
towards klutzy. Choices that seem
wrong somehow. Sentiment or sensibility.
A plantation daring not to flower.
A vacant bouquet you can't throw
over the skyline. A table ...

On this bright morning
a cruel wind is up.
I don't care –
last night I strode among the stars.
Black swan shelter in the sandhills' lee,
while pelicans stand preening
on the lagoon's edge.
We each must share our little pill
of poison – a tattooed drummer,
a drunk, a married man –
while we sit at kitchen tables
drinking tea with other ...

How's Possibly doing today?
She's okay, she's possibly
recovering from a possible asthma attack.
What's Possibly doing? The impossible,
That's what. Attending to twenty students
some of whom will possibly fail
tasks Possibly set which they feel
are impossibly high.
Possibly is cooking dinner for ten
and being polite in impossibly demanding
situa ...

1.

To enter the bed we kneel
And fall into the white abyss.
Sleep is a form of fainting
The altar of the pillows swirls with wisps
Of fading consciousness – a priest
Comes down the aisle flicking dreams out
From an ancient ewer.

2.

Watch a sleeping man
Even then they still seem awesome
To me with an air of tragedy
Like a fal ...