the text read:
Kissing you under an umbrella in rain
makes my list of favourite things;
a lunch crowd streamed around us.
we, dry in a cylinder,
sealed with that old golf umbrella’s
nylon night sky far from city lights –
I don’t recall why I didn’t walk you.
maybe the rain put its hands in pockets,
whistled east on Murray Street.
you left behind the scent of magnolia,
powder on a dark blue suit –
cheek relief on my shoulder –
foundation print on flax that escapes
authentication – a recollection I’ve kept
from the yellowing hands of sunlight, time and air.

Chris Arnold

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  • Custom Article Title 'Reason Six' by Chris Arnold | States of Poetry WA - Series Two
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

you opt for form over colour
makeup smudged lenses
pale bare planes by the lakes;
a cygnet ellipsis in black
parenthetical necks;
white sky reflected in high water.

we sit where I have stayed
and watched an oak open and close –
green again – the bench
suspended on ampersands.

Chris Arnold

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  • Custom Article Title '&' by Chris Arnold | States of Poetry WA - Series Two
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

excerpt from Ligature

he drops his shoulders
lets out his breath
finds himself benched
between green wood slats and
a black plastic platter of sushi,
disposable sticks in his hand.
ache on his right eye like a river stone
thinking like five hands
at the piano.     city stratified in front
his eye’s diameter
curves the park – half-moons grass
before his brain corrects,
sets it back flat beneath
palms     pines     poinsettias
that trail over asphalt;
ocean wind in
the river is busy
seems to flow back
toward the valley
as if behind its face
it replayed a moment
– something misspoken –
over and over
hoping the minute
were different.
he empties his breath
and says stop
the sound of her name
a song that doesn’t budge,
contains less
sound without her.
he begins.         on the hill
he should turn right
but thinks of his chair
pinboard partition
the stench of lynx in the men’s
and walks forward:
North until the rail bridge
lifts him      stops at its peak
as cars pass under: aluminium slab
and pantograph
hide passengers
sat silent         still
as the city speeds beneath

Chris Arnold

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  • Custom Article Title 'derailed' by Chris Arnold | States of Poetry WA - Series Two
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

we remembered
your face, pink, lit like we’d never seen it
when your hands at your shoulders met his
       for the Pride of Erin
the ease of your gliding
       for the three-four Modern Waltz
that marquisite brooch on the bodice
of your teal best dress

your stepping in perfect union on the dance floor
– how ineluctable your coupling

you could never forget
that quick step to expecting
the slow drive to Harvey
to tell your father, an internee,
or the nuns who sang you a full Mass
despite the rule of the Church

we watched
the slow unravelling
dinner to the dogs
chips of china in the wood pile
tears in the cold wash house
behind the steaming copper

we eavesdropped
on the soft vowels of dialect
with your allies when he was out
magari ... I wish
che pu fa? ... what can you do?
your laughter rippling
a corrugated scale by the end of the pot

we will never forget
you had to ask for money
he always asked what for?

at the end you called him
he sat by you his gaze adrift
you had fought each other hard

but stayed
till the end of the dance

Josephine Clarke

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  • Custom Article Title 'on that last morning' by Josephine Clarke | States of Poetry WA - Series Two
  • Contents Category Poem

For my mother

The young men,
friends of our middle one,
camp nights in your bed.
Some leave it with hospital corners,
some leave it like a lair to revisit
and some make cocoons on top.
In most cases
they are shaping up.
On kitchen raids
they all report sound sleep
and I wonder what it is
that breaches their dreams
as they lie down
in this last contracted room of yours?
Can they imagine your life?
Is it the patina of photos, letters, legend –
all that dense action –
that guards their rest?
I wish for an instant
that I could share with them
my montage of you:
the stout baby with black curls,
the girl smiling with her shoulders hunched
at the Southern Ocean,
the young doctor tending
someone in an iron lung;
and sometimes our mother,
simply our mother,
in the garden,
white glints in the air,
flowers that have floated off your dress.
And now abrupt Trojan old age.
No, they don’t see it.
They can’t.
But part of this is what keeps them
coming back, I think,
that and the allure of your
strange come-and-go arrangements.
At fifty-one
I’m thankful
for every second
you have been away
and shown us all
that there is still life
to be lived
beyond convention.

Lucy Dougan

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  • Custom Article Title 'Your Bed' by Lucy Dougan | States of Poetry WA - Series Two
  • Contents Category Poem

In crisis
I go to the local library
and do not take out
the book I find,
this one or that one first,
what matter?
Outside beside my car
sits a strange chrome and vinyl seat,
part of a vanity set,
stranded, hieratic, ruined,
like the beautiful straight-backed
low seated chair-people
of Saint-Martin-d’Ardèche.
I do the visual maths.
Will it fit behind?
– no, there, rightfully, is the seat for our grandson –
I consign its odd allure to my phone’s photo bank instead.
I sit on it only once,
open its cream frayed seat
with its tooled insignia of promise
nothing
What does it mean
for home to be a failure?
What does it mean
for other places to be a failure?
I leave the throne to its own
mise en scène, neither
desolate nor replete
were I to claim it.
There is, after all, no mirror
in front of which to place it
though I fix my hair and do my lips
before I reverse away.

Lucy Dougan

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  • Custom Article Title 'The Throne' by Lucy Dougan | States of Poetry WA - Series Two
  • Contents Category Poem

The old cat and dog
now sleep in our room
in an uneasy truce
between the floor and bed.
It is as if they are not sure
the house exists
once we no longer light it
or move about it,
once we lie down
in agreement it is night.
It’s come to sit on my chest,
their Stilnox camaraderie,
and when I wake in snatches
I have thought different things.
Perhaps we are at sea
and this is our cabin
or perhaps without quite knowing
how or why
the rest of the house is demolished,
its surfaces wrecked, its innards divulged
in a fuselage of darkness.
Mornings are a strange venture.
As I keep night for them,
so they – treading out first –
herald in the day for me.

Lucy Dougan

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  • Custom Article Title 'Old Cat and Dog' by Lucy Dougan | States of Poetry WA - Series Two
  • Contents Category Poem

The girl on a rug with a cat
is an entirely decorative proposition.
She curls, the cat curls, even the rug
displays some notion of this movement
with its diverting curlicues.
Life, too, is making a start inside the girl
although she cannot know this right now.
Some contract with another is being made,
even as we speak, on the rug with the cat beside her.
The striped ginger cat grows its hairs.
It is not the cleverest cat.
Somewhere some time a worker,
who cannot be revealed in this schema
but who nonetheless has left a signature of sorts
in all the curlicues, made the rug.
They weren’t paid well.
Perhaps they got by.
Were they a girl with life beginning inside them?
And did they own a cat,
perhaps a goat, or duck or a pig?
In this scene a lot remains unknown,
just as it always does.

Lucy Dougan

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  • Custom Article Title 'Girl on a Rug with a Cat' by Lucy Dougan | States of Poetry WA - Series Two
  • Contents Category Poem

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Kia Groom reads 'Alice at Last' which feature in the 2016 WA anthology.

 

Alice at Last

'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
imagined city
skyline.

Inside my bedroom it rains
for days. The head
full of synaptic hauntings
shudders. Old-milk sky
dimming.

I tell myself there is
a world outside
the world. Stay still
completely
still & gather dust.
             & watch the fretful halls.

Walls convulse,
contract & close. The filament
at the bulb's chest flickers. Lethe
is half
dream-drowned in me.
There is a sickness not worth
surfacing. Better
to sink. To listen: soft light, soft
light & the pressure
the pressure of doorways.

Kia Groom

'Alice at Last' appears in States of Poetry - WA. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here.

Read Kia Groom's biography in 'States of Poetry - WA'

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  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 WA Podcast | 'Alice at Last' by Kia Groom
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems
  • Custom Highlight Text

    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Kia Groom reads 'Alice at Last' which feature in the 2016 WA anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Kia Groom reads 'Catholic Education' which feature in the 2016 WA anthology.

 

Catholic Education

Itch in the vein, the road hot still
from sun, an asphalt stream
bisecting unlit houses. Slip of an alley
cat through a spittle of starlight.

Last cigarette, the way Em curls
her yellow fingers into small mouthed
sweater sleeves.

Clock tower bites light through the empty
parking lot. Gates we broke apart last summer, same
time I lost the laces from the leather
punctures in my too-small shoes, loom.

I taste penance, mouth wanting ash-dry and Em
ribs through rails, ducks under gate chain. I become
the sum of all my touches.

Here, the darkened grotto.
Here, stone-eyed Mary with her marble palms.

Under the Virgin's feet, Em's hips like Hail Marys.
Under my itch the scratch I cannot trespass.

Hail last of the cheap champagne,
Hail damp hair,
Hail sprinkler cycles,
Hail the scent of sulfide.

Flash of cop lights from the hill's dark lip,
and Em's hands nudging the dawn
down the bed of the sky, asking

one strike more. Just one
more toll of the hollow bell, before we lattice

fingers, streak through the blistered night.

Kia Groom

'Catholic Education' appears in States of Poetry - WA. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here.

Read Kia Groom's biography in 'States of Poetry - WA'

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 WA Podcast | 'Catholic Education' by Kia Groom
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems
  • Custom Highlight Text

    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Kia Groom reads 'Catholic Education' which feature in the 2016 WA anthology.