Writing a line, as if from bed, on a lovely, handmade
organ based on Gerald Murnane, the Goroke novelist
last seen pouring a glass of amber silk and swaying
imperceptibly enough to be called coincidental to Hot
Chocolate. I would not be the writer I am if I forebore to
mention the snowy peaks outside, being an analogy of
actual peaks. You see me out there gesturing at their
anti-poetic line, my hand perhaps making a mosquitoey
movement in the air, a veritable range-splainer or
Attenborough in Asia  Sentences erode like

 

ripped earth, as if an editor or technological malfunction
(how can a malfunction be bad when it sounds so good?
you can’t spell a-b-c-d without b-a-d) were large yellow
machinery with the name Cat, or Komatsu. Do you
believe like me, in a different way, in Spinoza, in deco-
nstruction? It is not, to return to the trope of the hand-
made musical instrument, as if wood is dead, I mean
wood as word or key. Call science (but how? where?)
romantic then, I may add there are rows of yellowing as-
pen in clear view like I might – going blonde in midlife

 

  It started with a kiss and if a lengthy
trial must be undergone, it is not too shabby a thing to
wake in a room like this. What, I’ve been asked is the
tension between a sentence and a stanza? (Or you might
say: between a block of flats and a plaza.) This is a
question for the infinite forest to ignore, but I must give
it some thought, in order not to begin to sound like a
mechanical monkey, however cute, based on Broken Hill
essayist Evan de K – not their real name, last seen drop-
ping a dingleberry into someone’s coffee, perhaps at the

 

height of their humour, and irony  So I begin to chop
in earnest as if I earn money from making salad, or it’s
my passion: lettuce under the knife, just needing freshly
roasted advice to bring its yellowing heart back to life
  Should prose rhyme? Another question I’ve never been
asked, but on a night when you know that sleep will make
you ill, and road fatality statistics arise like clapped-in
topiary at an impatient neocon convention – I’d marry
Time, but I just turned seventeen and by the next day
the voice on the radio says it doesn’t remember me

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    Writing a line, as if from bed, on a lovely, handmade

    organ based on Gerald Murnane, the Goroke novelist

    last seen pouring a glass of amber silk and swaying

    imperceptibly enough to be called coincidental to Hot

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As my plane drops down in turbulence

I think of you and of Salt Lake City,

I think of ice stealing over the Great Lakes

and of Omaha and of adamant plains.

I think of all the places

I have never been: Caracas,

La Paz, Kingston. I think of the way

our bodies puzzled together in that room

over pine woods where night deer

passed in the snow, their lonesome

inscrutable tracks sluicing

in the morning’s melt, I think of

your eyes that are almost the colour

of mercury, of their unbearable weight,

I think of the plateau of your chest

rising, rising, and of your hand

resting on my right thigh,

of the slim glint of your wedding

band in the dove predawn light.

I think of how everything is defined

by distance: how close we were,

how far from steel mills in Pittsburgh

and those killing Chicago winds

and union towns near Detroit, Michigan

where loyalty is the only religion.

I think of the sound of your breathing,

which is the sound of fields

of blond Illinois wheat bent down,

I think of those silver silos

of harvest corn we saw in Schuylerville,

barns blazing in all that silence

as we drove through what we could

not think or say. There is no grace

in this kind of longing, there is only pain,

pain which I have always preferred

anyway – it is where I live,

and called love by any other name.

Sarah Holland-Batt

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    As my plane drops down in turbulence

    I think of you and of Salt Lake City,

    I think of ice stealing over the Great Lakes

    and of Omaha and of adamant plains.

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    Vale Aunty Kerry Reed-Gilbert 
    Long-serving Chair of the First Nations of Australia Writers Network

 

Authorised visits,
temporarily easing Grafton Correctional Centre blues,
a young girl walks shadow-hardened corridors to see a black inmate,
observe her little brown fingers
as wafer thin as the bars that separate them
but with pilot eyes, the only light that shines
lines across a dank cell floor
upon which an imprisoned father writes poetry,
a daughter smuggles out to be published;
highly unauthorised material,
                                                 songline contraband ...

Samuel Wagan Watson

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    Authorised visits,
    temporarily easing Grafton Correctional Centre blues,
    a young girl walks shadow-hardened corridors to see a black inmate,
    observe her little brown fingers

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Don’t feel sorry about it, if you remember

blue Darlinghurst nights like particular quilts

a generation of painters saw

before we arrived there, or found ourselves

 

deciduous as apple trees. Don’t feel sorry

for our poverty, or I’ll report the mirror winks

like a man with bad teeth who has laughed

at all who dislike poetry. Be less than sad

 

on the day that you hear the news I fell,

they’ll nose you out, the generous, curious ones

then rest assured that I will never tell

who left her pee in glasses overnight.

 

Don’t be sorry so much ambitious verse

grovelled in the cities where we lived

only say for me I walked an older road

where poetry was rare and hard, and, frankly, good.

 

That when I had worked it out I laughed and laughed;

what piss-ants, what grovelling pick-thanks

queued like the British to attack my books.

See with what ease I bash the rhythms out,

 

(go fall on it!) set the metaphor to click

on their tumblers into place. The reason is

I’ve served my bloody indentures: no use

getting set for sad atmospheres. You’ll hear

 

of my death one day and start to remember

how many times I got you to laugh

from the verbal castles I built you.

Robert Harris

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    Don’t feel sorry about it, if you remember
    blue Darlinghurst nights like particular quilts
    a generation of painters saw
    before we arrived there, or found ourselves

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We write about our existence pre-invasion / And that has made us visible

We write about our existence during invasion / And that keeps us visible

             walgajunmanha

                                                   walgajunmanha

                                                                                            walgajunmanha

We write about the blood they spilt / And that honours ancestors’ memories

We write about the land they stole / And that shows they are savage thieves

                                                                                                    walgajunmanha

                                                           walgajunmanha

                     walgajunmanha

We write about our connection to country / And that challenges theirs

We write about our lived realities / And that shows them we survived

             walgajunmanha

                                                   walgajunmanha

                                                                                            walgajunmanha

We write about our sky world knowledge / And that shows them the first astronomers

We write about our earth world knowledge / And that shows them a sustainable culture

                                                                                                    walgajunmanha

                                                           walgajunmanha

                     walgajunmanha

We write about our traditional food productions / And that contests their agriculture theories  

We write about our traditional mud huts / And that debunks their walkabout romanticism

             walgajunmanha

                                                   walgajunmanha

                                                                                            walgajunmanha

We write about Aboriginal deaths in custody / And that shows them we will fight back

We write about deaths in police presence / And that shows them we are not blinded by lies

                                                                                                    walgajunmanha

                                                           walgajunmanha

                     walgajunmanha

We write about our racism experiences / And that punctures their ethnocentric balloons

We write about our campaign for Aboriginal rights / And that their pen is our weapon of choice

             walgajunmanha

                                                   walgajunmanha

                                                                                            walgajunmanha

We write about deep Aboriginal culture love / And that shatters their assimilation to pieces

 

Charmaine Papertalk Green
This poem appears in Charmaine Papertalk Green's new collection, Nganajungu Yagu (Cordite Books, 2019).

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    We write about our existence pre-invasion / And that has made us visible
    We write about our existence during invasion / And that keeps us visible

           walgajunmanha

                              walgajunmanha

                                                    walgajunmanha

Thursday, 23 May 2019 14:36

'Tangelo', a new poem by Karen Rigby

Who doesn’t love the portmanteau
for tangerine and pomelo, or more like angel,
tango, words for wilderness,

how I like planting you (reader)
in the thick of it. Also known
as honeybell, the peel lifting off

like a capelet, the poem a long path
for getting at the flesh: its obdurate slickness.
A tangelo’s not a metaphor

for anything, which is why I love
its simple divisions. The pith a lacework
or dragnet. Where I’m from, a photo

of a bleeding vice president –
Guillermo Ford in his guayabera,
bludgeoned by gangs of the opposition –

went viral months before the invasion
of Panama. In 1989, savagery seeps
through what we know.

The tangelo’s no ritual, but it’s as good
as anything when it comes to hooking the past
through the eye of the present. I can let lightning

stitch my lip or forget a country with dead dictators.
It’s not the shape of a world that counts.             
It’s the weight in my closed palm.

Karen Rigby

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    Who doesn’t love the portmanteau
    for tangerine and pomelo, or more like angel,
    tango, words for wilderness ...

In a hallway with the door open, a Honeywell T87 will attempt to
equalise the temperature of the continuous (available) world. It sits
between the mirror-dresser and the coat-hook which resembles two
of four talons of a lived-in bird, like a Fiji or an Imitator goshawk.
The Honeywell has the brain of a bird but no mouth or Nest.
In this arrangement and when you’re cold you might catch sight
of the consternation of yourself in the mirror-dresser when you
run around the corner of the living room to adjust the temperature.
At least. Or the top of your head or your apparently open mouth.
What you can’t see is the outcasting belly of the change in the air
as it flushes through a white flyscreen: the plastic or enamel white
an extruded quatrefoil egg which flauntingly comes off in drying
and which the Honeywell is doomed to face. If you could see
the change in the air, it’d spill like the extra-amniotic puff of
the wind in 1362. The thermostat is a lens perplexing the evidence
of environmental warmth upside-down and inside-out and dreaming
and as percussive as the feet of the continuous (available) world.

Rowan McNaught

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    In a hallway with the door open, a Honeywell T87 will attempt to
    equalise the temperature of the continuous (available) world. It sits
    between the mirror-dresser and the coat-hook which resembles two
    of four talons of a lived-in bird, like a Fiji or an Imitator goshawk ...

Tuesday, 23 April 2019 12:26

'As Time Goes By', a new poem by Bella Li

Tuesdays Paul comes by. He jogs up the driveway in his striped green shorts and I’m there at the door with Ella on my hip. She’s crying, she’s teething and drooling and crying from the pain, and some days I can’t stand it, I have to call my mother and go for a walk or a drive to the beach and watch the seagulls be ugly to each other. On Tuesdays I wait for Paul, and he always shows up at different times; there’s nothing I can do about it but stay in the house and listen to Ella until I hear the thud of his worn-out sneakers outside. He’s trying to make the football team again, but everybody knows that dream is long gone. Sweetheart, he says, running on the spot. I say, Don’t call me sweetheart. I love you, he says, and Ella cries some more. I wait for him to check his watch and stop running and then I give him the baby and we go inside. I make pastrami sandwiches and we sit and eat with the clock loud in the kitchen. Sometimes Paul looks at me and I look at him. Then I look at Ella and he looks at his watch. It goes by.

Bella Li

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    Tuesdays Paul comes by. He jogs up the driveway in his striped green shorts
    and I’m there at the door with Ella on my hip. She’s crying, she’s teething
    and drooling and crying from the pain, and some days I can’t stand it, I have ...

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Her voice
weeps
sin-
g-
ing
to
God
o-
n a
fre-
quen-
cy
that tu-
nes
out he-
r
cries. We’-
ve
only jus-
t
begun
to fr-
ea-
k —
t-
he
d-
read
l-
on-
ging
to be
cl-
ose
to Y-
ou
wh-
o
tears each soul
to s-
hr-
eds.
Hurting each
other, b-
ut
c-
oming
back f-
or
more.
As i-
f
hurt
is
what
matters.

Charles Bernstein

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    Her voice
    weeps
    sin-
    g-
    ing
    to
    God

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for Graham

 

Even the waves of the sea, in the distance, have turned to stone.
The blue/green rising into outcrops, ridgelines, a lone bull
falling into half-solid ground. How the bull and the fall
hover inside him. How the waves never quite dissolve –
the sway of them, their shudder, leaching into the soil.

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    for Graham

     

    Even the waves of the sea, in the distance, have turned to stone.
    The blue/green rising into outcrops, ridgelines, a lone bull ...

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