States of Poetry
The Poetry Exam
The hall begins to fill. The students sit.
She sets her papers neatly on the desk
and rolls the lines around her mouth, flits
from word to word, moves her lips. The rest
is left to memory. The tests are stacked
for passing out on perfect, icy lines
of tables set in single file, tables packed
away when half-right answers whine
13 November 2015
It is Friday, around five. He is
strolling on the rue Voltaire, flâneur
for the young century. The afternoon is crumbling,
the trees are shutting down for winter,
leaves pirouetting to the street
and cracking like small bones beneath his feet.
All around him, the streetlights are coming on,
Just leave your mark here
I won’t do you no wrong
I’m a man that you can trust
I’m not like the others
I’m a honourable man
Some people say
there’s no honour among thieves
but let me tell you straight
We, guberment men,
sent by the King we steal their land
by one stroke of the mighty pen.
But don’t tell anybody that.
1,000ks Wiradjuri country
Eagles, angels, sun bursts,
gum trees, geraniums
and a pocket full of poetry.
I travel my country,
The bush calls me back
to the time of before.
Before tar and cement.
Brick walls and tin roofs.
To the time of Creation
where men were men
I knew he was mine
frothing at the mouth
I was waiting for him
my body ready to strike
Like a leopard
on the verge of attack
I waited, biding my time.
I held my breath.
My muscles taut
prepared to pounce
to strike, to maim.
I knew the moment was at hand
the spirits played around him
The old rugged cross
When the spirit has been broken
and there’s no place to go
When you look around the world
wondering what went wrong
When your heart is shattered and
torn no patch ever big enough to help it mend.
No bandaid to help it heal.
When tears roll down your face
cascading like a roaring river
When the spirit has been br ...