States of Poetry SA

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
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 ...


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.


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

You ought to ring up
The farm may have disappeared
Into the river – as it does from time to time –
Or the trees in the orchard bloomed with stars
Or the geese may have rowed
in the blue dinghy adorned with hundreds
of marigolds to the island
with six of them sitting straight up
on the bench, the other two heaving an oar
while the rooster watches ...

I was the dressmaker's daughter
our dialogue was fabric, colour,
embroidery, pins and scissors.
The almost silent sound
of snipped cloth falling
on the table round my feet.

A bodice of pins drew down
over my head like a scaffold.
I spent my childhood in the sea
or standing on a table – 'A sway back!'
she said proudly.
Once I wore a tab ...

is the poem nonchalant enough to reference sufjan stevens :
or is he, too, passé : it's a poem in the same key
as his chicago : piped in to the auditory cortex : a private music :
that the world resounds with : the city resonates
from the inside : lights light up in unison : traffic stops

& starts : office-buildings with a swagger to their stillness :

a beetle enamoured with my lamp : a harbinger
of spring : as if the tree blossoming
on the footpath opposite was not enough :
or the budding persimmon : or the bottlebrush flowers
i didn't notice until today : there's evidence of spring :
in abundance : the enduring dusk : that's holding
still : days that are shifting south : subtly :
to an alternate frame of ...

A day in parallax – duco-blue –
a crop of borrowed gold,
in focus, replete –

fibrous stems of light, agitated,
and, over them, the bales
of cloud dispersing.

The motor ticking
long after it is silenced.
And the impulse it honours: this.


Thom Sullivan