States of Poetry
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
Grasshopper on the window, the flyscreen, and stepping out
into the beige heat, over us. Tangled in our hair, hooked to our backs.
Grasshopper, cod wisdom. Grasshopper contraband on the eye-
out for plagues. The Australian Plague Locust and its tendency
to shift character when gathered together. In worship. In parliament.
O phase polyphenism, in which mor ... More
It rained heavy, ridiculously heavy, when the heat
was at its peak, and then it went dry – the ebb & flow
of the surface-water, the water soaked deep. It’s
thin-on now, even vanished. A dry creeping towards
longer cold nights. The tank is down to 20 000 litres,
or thereabouts. And no clean air for weeks, as farmers
have burnt their tinderish stubble to ash, ... More
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 t ... More
Lucy Dougan’s books include White Clay (Giramondo, 2007), Meanderthals (Web del Sol), and The Guardians (Giramondo, 2015), which won the WA Premier's Book Awar More
Poetry, in ‘stilling things’, as Martin Heidegger suggested in 1950, is nevertheless always restlessly active. These six voices are six stills from a fast-moving history of poetry in W More