There’s plenty to crack onto, he says, a laundered Valkyrie stomps the DIY:
I reconstitute in the shed, my notes can hit the rafters,
no-one’s selfing over it, like upstairs
on their asbestos balustrade,
a tick-off at the slightest, though their kid
chatters and bounces on the planks.
At last summer rises on a blue cactus.
Without, it’s crumpled outside of time and dead.
I’m not the stonkered students, the pilled dancer,
the hail whomever, the arraigned owner,
not otherwise entitled, just the louvered kitchenette
or that and bin patrol that keeps you.
His in-law’s detrimental, or forgotten,
to home’s lathe and tack, a jail for your thoughts, and schemozzle.

Gig Ryan


Published in Have Your Chill (2017), edited by Pete Spence.

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As her to you, unhurried,
pair formations addle a skyline,
extrovert welcoming traffic, selfless despot on the inner.
Even so, his pin-cushioned face glues to the backdrop’s nest of wombats.
The city changes from one skyscraper and slate
to the creek’s bag-junked ripple,
decisive formaldehyde splitting a cloud’s anagram of discontent,
replacing slouched velodrome with mouse-topped stove.
The introduced species pursue a spalling bridge.
No purpose other than as butter pat,
styled nuptials pick a branch.

Gig Ryan


Published in Have Your Chill (2017), edited by Pete Spence.

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(Idyll II, Theocritus)

 

Where are my bay leaves and charms, my bowl with crimson flowers
while him inexorable
has gone from my bed like a dress
Distance: spells of fire wreathe you

Shine on this spin or grave
As sight stunned me

leaves burn
Wheel of brass turning from my door

Now wave is still and wind is still
My heart stopped in its foundry

As horses run, so we to it
Starts love’s knife

whose hair shone like dunes
whose body greased with labour

He had brought apples and his hair sprigged
unasked love into the oak and elm

and words went and came
Now from my lintels

Day drags from me and tells his flowers elsewhere
Farewell, ocean and its team,
whose white arms wrap
Silver flute who sang, and bright-faced moon
who knocks on a door of shadows

A rose for you, to match the wound
but tomorrow’s like now  


Gig Ryan

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You long for night to push away injunctions and sodalities,
sky’s hexagon clouds,
as veins lined with velvet straighten the road and undone casket
and morning’s birds click through dream.

Rest your eyes on the road like an inn,
bundled rubbish a corpse on the nature-strip.
You take the waters.
You embrace a door.
Snaked fields welter through molecules
as you burrow a dynamic exit.
Day tells you to circulate.
Royal blue flowers greet the neighbourhood’s ducks
and the palms-out front-yard grottoes,
but in the shells of Hades
or the mirrored corridors of Elysium
Castor and Pollux sing

Gig Ryan

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Brunette or shocking white, these wallabies
have their own special nook nearby,
under that blackwood.
                                          Why just there,
I ask myself: no particular foliage
has given a verbal meaning to the spot.
Something about bone-dry shadow under those boughs
appears to murmur clan or family. Yes,
I know that sounds kind of patronizing,
but when these animals go through their routines
we can see a social order clear as day.
First, and utterly visible, there’s
the milkwhite mother with joey in pouch,
moth-brown in hue, as are all
the rest of this little clan, one of them plainly
a mum too, with her teenager.
Some littoral nights, three tidy wallabies
sleep beside Blanche under the darksome tree,
loitering there – if we don’t jerk into view. Then
suddenness sends them bounding off downhill,
except for the white one.
                                             Yes, she’s at home.
You could say she’s got the game by the balls,
a calming mother, white as vanilla snow.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

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In memory of Graham Little

I scribble in cafes, which inspire
                  The forms in which I’m able:
Although invited, I‘ve declined
                  A pizza at that table
For here my good friend slumped, and died
                  On the inert terrazzo.
I sit across the room, turning
                  Perhaps a little pazzo,
Having been eastward yesterday
                  To a further funeral
In a verdure suburb; yet
                  I hardly knew at all
What people do, who live out there,
                  Whether they’re all alive.
Well, back I stay, to write in some
                  Benignly urban dive.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

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Below great ears like galleon sails
hangs an off-grey trunk – odd word –
more than the puny dangling tail
marking this leatherjacket.
So much overcoat in our tropics, then?
But why is any creature as it is?
The ark’s gangplank must have been sturdy,
shipping creatures from those Turkish hills
before due discipline on deck. Sailing,
the very devil: not a Tasmanian one,
since that’s not in the book, those
bitter creatures dying in their south.
But then we consider the fateful tusks,
in some departed species upside-down
we are told. It’s not a fairy story.
Lumbering, munching, these can also gallop
and then the planet shakes like a dish of jelly.
Threatened jumbo touches all our lives.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

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All those hominids stood around to watch,
scratching their heads and hairy armpits.
So like them it was,
                                     well, sort of
but ever so puny, while more or less rosepink.
Was this bod something to do with a future?
Maybe the rich grasses and coconuts
had a kind of blessing to grant him;
nightshade and garlic somehow able
to shield him from the big cats’
                                     ravenous prowling.
They wondered what it could possibly
grow into, from this pipsqueak. But something
or other was in the balmy air.
They didn’t have a word for gods,
not the merest monosyllable,
but alien shaggy spines
were kind of tingling there, like electricity.
Male or female, the lumpen hominids
didn’t want to attack this new thing
of unattractive flesh.
                                     Perhaps you could feel
it was filled with
what they would come to call a magic spell,
harsh millennia later on.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

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Ah, the ever-lyrical, even if
stared into from a cabin up above:
snowy cloud-sonata which then
recedes into softness
with its airy iceberg flocks
can be the stuff of verse or
counterpoint, say, but can’t
feed serious fiction for
the yarnspinner has to eat
the heavy middle of our sandwich
rampaging all the way from
Baghdad Prepares for Attack
to an ashtray smell or
puckered brocade on a chair.
Novels know everything
But only if they turn out any
good, solid. While that white
cumulo-nimbus plays here
an almost sturdy part in
unpeeling our transience,
at least for a poet’s paperbark.
My sweetly musical
short fuse recedes again
into the shuffled stuff of dream,
no matter what rough beast
arrives to trash our ghosts
and blow the very legs
off our indolence.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

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Were you with a girl at the footy?
my father asks while weighing down
on a milker. His large, freckled hand
like a stone on the claw of the machines
draining a back quarter of an old Jersey
reluctant to give. I lean against a post
darkened and polished by our shoulders.
No, I was just going for a walk. He looks
at me, adds, I saw you behind the trees.
My mouth begins to dry and my heart
picks up its beat. No, I was just going
for a walk, I repeat. He shakes his head,
turns back to the cow’s flank. I escape
into the holding yard, round up a flighty
heifer for the bail. When our eyes meet
I’m the first to look away.

One afternoon he drove me to Terang
to catch the Melbourne train. Early
and waiting, I was struggling to find
things to say. I looked to the red brick station,
the car park, the dashboard, the radio controls,
the heater, the automatic gear shift lever,
found myself muttering about the weather
while my father looked ahead and sighed.
A familiar, rising dread was catching in my breath.
I’ve got to go, I blurted, unbuckled my belt.
There was five minutes to spare. My father,
looking away, said, no, stay. We faltered
with our talk until a whistle could be heard.
I watched him drive away, slow
as any country father who has dutifully
waited for the train, waited for words
to come between the silences I am learning
to cultivate driving my daughters around
with their friends, accepting my role,
keeping quiet to avoid eye rolls, cutting looks.
Listening to their pauses and laughter
I think of my father – his silences
were paddocks that hadn’t been ploughed before
paddocks I’ve learnt to relax in.

Brendan Ryan

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