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

 

Phantasmagoria

Dot by dot, the backs
of eyelids. Draw it slowly,
shape of sentimental spine.
You curve that way.

I breathe the countdown
& the world falls, air by air.

In the white room you cloud
over bedsheets,
unsettled weather, & no electric
light will dare illuminate.

Your skin tastes clean sky,
polished gray. That clarity,
sharp on the tongue.
I snap off the hallway,
let shadows nip like kittens.

You are so still you shimmer.
So still you gutter out.

My ribcage phantoms. The rain
pretends to know your name,
but at the window only nail taps.
I watch your eyelids lightning.
I watch the static gather.

My chest is a wet sheet tattered.
Your shape embossed in the folds &
at my center black mold.

The light cracks, depressed
switch of the thumb-pad &
I see the vacancy,
the pale stretch of my own skin.

You are gone so thoroughly.

I lie in the damp & listen
to my wanting thunder, thunder.

Kia Groom

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

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

 

Tulpa

from the Tibetan meaning 'to build' or 'to construct'

I.

In 1992, Alice made a Tulpa.

Carry an amulet. Kiss its three sharp corners. Shine.

It began subjective, but with practice could be seen: imagined ghost that flickered in the physical world, a sort of self-induced hallucination.

Recall the chalk clouds. Recall the scent of symbols scratched on motel walls. Remember rising damp, the face in the mildew who told you

              do not be

                                afraid.

In time the vision grew – Alice talked to Tulpa, Tulpa started

                             talking back.

 

II.

On the bedspread, summon your sixteenth birthday. Snuff candles, ask. Re-write time & split unopened jacket, tied with coils of braided hair.

Look at it – wish artifact. Wish perfect. Wish this skin, unbroken.

& suddenly, she'd see it summoned
against her will & bathed in fire
light, or else at foot of bed, this figure
staring, formless mouth
with words all of its own.

To make a Tulpa, carry books to bed. Lie on your mattress & dictate your woes to furniture. Lie & map imaginary houses.

 

III.
Friends began to ask
                                         – who is the stranger in the house?
                                         – the man with amber eyes who slender slips into your room?

Map topography of bodies. Think: how will his paper limbs assemble into flesh? How will it feel with one half of the bed depressed?

The brittle shell of conscious conjuring had changed.

Hollow your head and light the neon Vacancy.

And with her will, Miss Alice made a monster.

 

IV.
Consider the shape of your hand as you teach yourself falling. Curl two fingers: beckon / closer.

A Tulpa is a phantom.
He is insubstantial.

Crown yourself with polished trauma. Balance amulet between your eyes & watch the dark soak through the floorboard cracks.

Students who succumb to fiction fail –

Kiss split plaster. Tongue holes in sacred symbols. Braid yourself, your ropes of follicles – restrain inside imagined houses.

they spend their lives in waking-dream, in half-hallucination.

Wait for tenants,
for an occupation.

Kia Groom

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

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Kia Groom reads 'Inferno I: Invasion Day' which feature in the 2016 WA anthology.

 

Inferno:I

 Invasion Day

My thighs are cold in the crevice
where the Coke can rested
as I drove. By the mailboxes
the ginger guy is                                                     staring                     again
his back against
my box, meat-pie
eyes, fixed
                                                                                  upon the middle distance
             not looking
at me, like I expect.

I disembark and seek out shadow,
walking in my skin-shoes where the pavement
is the darkest, where
my flesh won't burn. I'm white,
white, white – invisible
as ghost – the sidewalk of my hips
untrodden by their fingertips. A sunburned
country, empty.

I know summer from the sticky
pools of ice-cream melting in the eyes
of children, from the stink of burning
flesh on barbeques.

A guy walks past with a fresh
tattoo:                                                                    the Southern Cross all slick
                                                                                with blood and fluid,
packed
in Glad Wrap
like a lump
of steak.

I salivate. I sink
my teeth into his arm.

I am so hungry.

Kia Groom

'Inferno I: Invasion Day' 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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    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Kia Groom reads 'Inferno:I' which feature in the 2016 WA anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Graham Kershaw reads from 'Emails to Manila' which features in the 2016 Western Australian anthology.

 

from 'Emails to Manila'

IV

Bottle-green air,
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 karri's campanile.

Wherever we are,
whatever the trees and air,
there's a time we share
when the crown of the sky whitens and glows,
when the spectrum of things which divide us
– the distance, the history,
the lies, fears and ties –
retreat like shadows
around a firelit forest clearing.
And yet... the strange thing is...
that's when I feel most keenly
the happenstance of grieving.

 

VI

Our friend told me
he had entered his body
and found pleasure and comfort there.
You're swimming Bataan
on a youthful morning
to wash away thoughts of the world
and the pain.
But how heavy the body can feel after,
how steep the rise to dry land,
how hard to understand why
the pleasure of the moment
should carry such gravity.

For there is the water,
and here is your body,
knowing it can swim and not harm the sea
and yet there's the sign, saying,
'Danger. Men have died here.
Think of those who may drown, saving you.'
All places have their histories,
even as the water befriends our bodies
so indiscriminately;
you swimming there and I swimming here;
one body of water,
receiving dawn's thoughtless kisses.

 

VII

I had the strangest feeling,
coming out of the water,
as if I'd left someone behind,
or failed to gather up something in my arms.
White sand gleamed between granite
boulders, dunes bled tea,
sweating down secret cracks
to glaze the stone with slime,
tanning sea and sand.
Female wrens hopped
dark streams of weed,
foraging, quick and grey
against the cream,
yet I felt quite bereft
stalking back to my towel,
Empty hands dangling,
as if the reason for swimming
had escaped me out there.

 

Graham Kershaw

from 'Emails to Manila' appears in States of Poetry - WA. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here.

Read Graham Kershaw's biography in 'States of Poetry - SA'
 

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    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Graham Kershaw reads from 'Emails to Manila' which features in the 2016 Western Australian anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, J.P. Quinton reads his poem 'Reading the Landscape' which features in the 2016 WA anthology.

Reading the Landscape

To read a landscape by another landscape;
Valley cloud reveals altitude.

To read the landscape visits the ego
That prevents a proper reading.

To this landscape, the circular fireplace
And a straight trunk – xanthorrhoeas present.

To read this landscape to the tune of other words,
As moisture moves us, is us, drowns us.

To read the landscape like a book
Means to think like a border

Like the roos who still jump
Where the fences have been removed.

J.P. Quinton

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

Read J.P. Quinton's biography in 'States of Poetry - WA'

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    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, J.P. Quinton reads his poem 'Reading the Landscape' which features in the 2016 WA anthology.

In this episode of the Australian Book Review's States of Poetry Podcast, state editor Lucy Dougan introduces the 2016 Western Australian poets: Barbara Temperton, Charmaine Papertalk Green, Carolyn Abbs, Graham Kershaw, JP Quinton, and Kia Groom.

 

You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here.

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    In this episode of the Australian Book Review's States of Poetry Podcast, state editor Lucy Dougan introduces the 2016 Western Australian poets: Barbara Temperton, Charmaine Papertalk Green, Carolyn Abbs, Graham Kershaw, JP Quinton, and Kia Groom

We've been in mourning just over a year,
or just under, depending on the date we're marking.
Not always celebrations, anniversaries
have a way of keeping their appointments:
they're ticked off at the level of the body
and brain, our biochemical wakes.

I've felt strange all week, sick and sleep-obsessed,
a willed agoraphobic. Show me the cave
I need to crawl into and I'll be there.

No headline-making bereavement here,
just the absence of two small dogs,
their apparitions appearing to join me in my chair.
This evening, with fever, I made room for shades
and only then did I mark the date,
our two dogs dead twelve weeks apart, a year ago.

Their anniversary arrived like a virus
assaulting the muscles of my heart
in a darkened room.

 

Barbara Temperton

Recording

Previously published in The Weekend Australian, 18-19 May 2013.

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Casuarina leaves disable the dog.
He halts on the track ahead, scratches,
then sits and sulks, his undercarriage
a matt of clinging tendrils.
My hands prickle with casuarina scales
so small they're almost unseen,
but my palms know they're there
and the dog does, too, his eyes accusing.
The she-oaks shouldn't have been a surprise,
but were. We came upon them suddenly
as we emerged from the jam and mallee.
I try to unthread their brittle strands
from the dog's thick coat, they snap in two
then two and two again.
I am brought to stillness
by the sense of something quickening
in the woodland behind me.

 

Barbara Temperton

 Recording

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  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | 'Foxes' Lair' by Barbara Temperton
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They toll hours. I trace the peak and trough of raven-call
through brick veneer walls to the hospital – an hour away –
with every throaty rattle, to my Aunt, morphine
pump filtering sleep. She's comfortable, her nurses say.
Housebound with telephone, I'm waiting, listening
for whispering oxygen, for rattle-claws on tiles,
black birds stalking roofs of this cinder block suburb.

Several streets away, Xanthorrhoea crown
the square of dry grass in front of my Aunt's
vacant house. Unlike banksia populations
infected by dieback, struggling in nature strips,
on road verges, in yards haunted by abandoned
cats and warring neighbours, Xanthorrhoea thrive.

Summer, a palimpsest of sirens, squealing tyres:
hoons burning-out their cars. Peace in these long, hot days
as temporary as sunset or red sunrise.
Aged grass-trees leaves, dried, rustle for want of burning,
relive bonfires flicking embers, altars shedding
resin and ash, crematoriums birthing stars.

Ravens escort each day into these shabby streets,
comb bins for kitchen scraps, find fresh offerings
at backyard shrines. They cold-call at lounge room windows,
cruise the verges, check out stained mattresses, TVs,
rusting patio chairs straddling discards left out
for collection. It's the season for kerb crawling.

Bottlebrush blossom stains the footpaths red. Fenced-in
in her garden, my mother strikes cuttings and grieves,
putting out prayers, chicken bones, cheap mince, nurturing
the Australian ravens. Her two raucous callers
keeping their day's appointments up and down the street.

The hospital is an hour away – maybe two –
depending on rush hour, the freeway. My Aunt's room
is where oxygen flows through tubes into the shrinking
spaces in her lungs. Landlocked with telephone,
I hear the ravens calling their claim from the roof.
Singing in counterpoise, neighbour at her clothesline:
Summertime
and the livin'
is easy*

 

Barbara Temperton

*DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin, 1935.

Recording

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Evening, at the edge of the reef
a ghost net snags my fishing line.
Lead-core line is made to last and often
braided round plastic craypots tumbling
from West Coast to Madagascar
to shroud the coastline over there.

I write my dead friend's name in foam,
watch a wave rush it away.
In another's name a rose adrift
surfs an off-shore rip away
over the spines of whitecaps
and into her unknown out there.

Out there, in the gyre of derelict gear
and mid-oceanic islands of snarl,
cast off gill nets, lost purse-seines fishing,
shrouding the dead, the not quite living,
sargassum and its broken dreams.
Far off of the coast of this mute continent
rubber-skins of drowned Zodiacs
are being knitted into ghost nets.

I let my snagged line go and with it the reel,
go back, over reef rock and pool, to the beach.
An albatross is dead on the sand, gut blooming
plastic bits and pieces. Night is inevitable,
as is tide's turn and sea wind-writing in nylon
and polyester filaments, in salt and stinging sand,
in the razor-edge of grasses.

Sea wind rushing inland
papers sand dunes, spinifex, fossils,
with the names of my dead friends,
with the names of ghost nets.
Sea wind carves their names
into the hulls of abandoned boats.

 

Barbara Temperton

Recording

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