I drive in on Daylight Saving Time
with a pale, fat moon rising
over the Moresby Ranges.
New subdivision: Ocean Heights Estate?
It looks like Sandcastle Land.

Foreshore dunes
limestone-terraced into sharp ledges:
high-priced real estate
perched at weed-wreathed ocean edge
awaiting global warming.

Blowouts hibernate
beneath a skin of Papier-mâché
seeded with sunflowers,
native pelargonium, alien grasses.
Feral pines adorn the verges, neatly
supplanting saltbush, acacia.

Roundabout windrowed by sand
directs me to my soon-to-be street.
An adult date palm, transplanted like me –
gale-force sea-breeze flaying
its skirt of fronds – inclines toward the land,
acquiescing like the sand
to the so one-sided, the so-insistent wind.

In the near distance,
waves thrash about in the shallows.
Big dogs surf the trays
of 4-wheel drives heading home
from the 4-wheel savaged beach.

In the front yard of my new rental,
two stray ridgebacks are too cock-legged busy
pissing on green reticulation flags
to acknowledge my arrival.

 

Barbara Temperton

Recording

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  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry - Western Australia | ‘West Coast’ by Barbara Temperton
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

The river has always
sat in front of me,
mud between toes
shooting down grassy
hills on cardboard. My
brother dragged a sheep
behind a canoe
to the other side,
and painted a warning
on his rose canvas
when my sister drowned.
She was throwing rocks
when swallowed.

Dog barks heard from the kitchen.

Mum ran screaming up
the hill, a limpid wet body
in her arms, almost
like the canaries
the dogs killed
lying at the bottom of their cage.
A nurse heard cries
from five houses away
and saved her.

For a long time
I wasn't allowed near the river
and cursed it.
Its myriad voices, silent.

 

J.P. Quinton

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  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | ‘Dog Barks Heard from the Kitchen’ by J.P. Quinton
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

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


Recording

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  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | ‘Reading the Landscape’ by J.P. Quinton
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

Part of the river begins here, car carcasses
Filter run-off, houses fenced off
A two foot foam toy stealth bomber
Discarded in the buffalo – 'the F27C
Striker Brushless' neglected, ignored.

Broken winged, landlocked like concrete islands.
Part of the river begins here,
Sweet mud smell, the hill you slide down
On tin, the old man keen to shoot to shoo
You, his house as far as his scope.

To kill the grass they've killed the liquidambar
And the clean fill sand will absorb the poison
Near the salt bush tagged pink, ready for pruning
Bark crunching, parrots munching
Near the netball ring bolted to the fence.

A train, a truck, an aeroplane.
A fence, a concrete path
And day old dog shit scraped to the side
Below a clear blue sky hazy at the horizon.
With a video camera I imagine walking

Straight through the swamp, shoes squelching
A document, not now – not the right time, never the right time.
The DC266 Evinrude outboard dingy
Its fishermen, shiners of the torch
Throw cigarette butts in the water: 6:35pm.

The bridge monument – maximum load
Three hundred kilograms
Hugs the bank like Michelangelo's staircase
In the last of the sunlight, duck tracks
And great Egrets picking at the rushes.

They mistake feed for a chip wrapper
As salty as the day purchased
At the supermarket,
The Great Egret Supermarket.
I jump off the bridge, I'm heading home

And find a walkie talkie, possibly from the stealth bomber:
You used to be able to see the river floor, over.
Surprised at the amount of water in here
For this time of year, over. No frog noises though,
Over. Still, plenty of mozzies and guppies, over.

Copy, over. Now it dawns on me – the camps
We used to see, the piles of rubbish,
Blankets, buckets, remnants of small fires,
Fishing tackle, they were aboriginal camps, middens
Right under noses, right here, over.

'Fucking hell' spray painting blue on a sheoak
The Hades totem forces a walk through puddles
Car wrecks half way up the drain, tip islands at high tide,
Oil slicks, rusting ruins in clay sediment
And oxidised metal mixing, they don't make 'em like they used to.
'

Slowly leaking into the creek —
Follies of the future
The high water mark
A white horizon line made of phosphate.
Part of the river begins here, car carcasses.

 

J.P. Quinton

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | 'Site Visit: Ashfield Flats’ by J.P. Quinton
  • Contents Category 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 or sun or boot tread
with spring their tracks melt, before i can revisit.
i love the steep incline, the shared gradient and shrub steps
with black blocks cracked and blue blue sky.

ants block the waterfall path, they bite skin and scale
you won't see them then your feet are black, bitten.
you will run and they leave peaks peaks.
after four hours the marsh fly breaks the black spider web.
tangled in white glue there's no direct flight, earth folds.

the tangled fly is caught in another web, fangs suck blood slow.
the carcass pulled to darkness, the green head splinters.
all eight legs, she watches from a crevice. all blood used
to bring what once buzzed to her. the door is closed,
the wings merely frames. all eight legs.

red paint on glass, a construction mishap. the dried paint drips
become scratched name marks, he always slept on the verandah
all seasons, all eight legs. water crashes into water,
pools like candle-wax. lizards eat everything but the head.
the pane cleaned with a dirty cloth, streaks over the hare.

as if the last light means nothing, he munches the tops off,
doesn't react to window knocks.

 

J.P. Quinton

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | ‘the red hut’ by J.P. Quinton
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

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 sharp clutch of a hand on my shoulder,
I turn and see a woman's
face covered in mud,
she points across the water
and says if I want my own leeches
I have to swim
to the opposite bank.

I strip my body of clothes
– pause for a moment –
enter the water, and swim.

In the murk I stop,
put my head up, I'm half way
the water is colder at my feet,
I can sense the muddy floor beneath
my arms ache, my head is numb,
I look back and see the mirror flicker
there is no one to complain,
I see my face on the surface
the river rocks and I wonder why I'm here.

 

J.P. Quinton

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | ‘There is No One to Complain’ by J.P. Quinton
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

Yamaji Culture
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?

Yamaji Culture
I love it – I laugh for it
I stress for it – I cry for it
I fight for it – I believe it's worthy
Of love and respect

I cry when you talk
As the colonisers
Conditioned you to
Talking of a culture to die
Talking of a dying race
When we are very much alive

I watch Yamaji culture change
Adapting to survive
Why don't you understand that?
Why can't you understand that?

Yamaji culture is a culture
Worth fighting for
A culture worth loving
A culture worthy of love and respect
Don't wipe all that away
Hang on – hang on tight
Country men and country women
Our Yamaji Culture

 

Charmaine Papertalk-Green

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  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | ‘Yamaji Culture’ by Charmaine Papertalk-Green
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

Can you smell it?
Not like the first rains
Nor the first blooms
But a rather putrid
Vomit inducing smell
Jaan-jaany
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
Smell got stronger
Yurna; Yurna
Lingering smell of racism
Australian style

 

Charmaine Papertalk-Green

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  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | ‘Yurna Australia’ by Charmaine Papertalk-Green
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

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

Recording

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  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | from ‘Emails to Manila’ by Graham Kershaw
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

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 pool table light,
all our works futile
tantrums and bullying,
blood less than beer,
sour and dead in the mouth,
burnt metal in the mind,
and the sunlit plains, from altitude,
are a cold fluorescence over flat grey felt
on a beer-stained gaming table
and night before we fly in
and the day we fly out, the big picture is,
we seem to have been anointed
scourges of the earth, predators
snatching at harmonies
we can never grasp,
could never endure
deferment to,
as if watching this life
forever from some remove,
a whistling kite,
stringing together bare parishes
with insatiable searching,
motionless flight.

 

Graham Kershaw

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | ‘Perenjori Morning’ by Graham Kershaw
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems