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States of Poetry Poems

one day I was drivin’ with Buck Brown along the coast

an’ we was talkin’ about white coes on our land

‘til the talk got real intense an’ I wouldn’t wanna boast

but we worked it all out from the start right to the end

now it’s easy enough to see, well it is to you an’ me

why white fellas do their thing wrong way ‘round

their old m ...

14 August 2016

Our Earth Mother cries when the nets are set adrift
They travel loosely and kill sea life as they go
Drifting in the moon-tides the grim reapers travel wide
Through tidal water homes of the all-life living free
To drift and pluck from the all-life every living thing
That shares the bloodlines of the all-life of our world
The nets drift on to ...

Australians you now call yourselves,
You mongrel mob invaders.
You deny your blood mixed past
Yet think your blood has made ’s.
Come on fools and say your piece,
Your argument we know so well.
Ancestral lines for you are farce,
You dwell on genetics
And your bloodlines are our hell.
Of indigenous lines you fail.
And you come from countries o ...

Jim Everett-puralia meenamatta was born at Flinders Island, Tasmania in 1942. He is from the clan plangermairreenner of the Ben Lomond people, a clan of the Cape Portland nation in north-east Tasmania. His working life includes fifteen years at sea as a fisherman and merchant seaman, the Australian Regular Army for ...

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A priest undoes his belt.
Twenty years later,
I compare his gentleness
to a Tibetan sky burial.
But there was only one vulture
skeletonising the cadaver
on a barren slope.

James Charlton


The failed money-fix of the 1980s:
dying tree plantations. Stark struts of fizzed-out financial hype.
The words ‘inherent value’ devolve into a distant dialect.

Yet some people retain three eyes.
They perceive the radiance of things.
Their eyes can tell you much within.

If they know the Australasian bittern,
or the pallid cuckoo’s elegant thievery, ...

We invent the colour ‘blue’
and say the sky is blue.
An older language
sees everything
as sacrament.

Soggy Winter has become Spring’s fullness.
Pungent cascades of melaleuca:
frothy white, yellow, pink.

Do we feel small sounds
all around? A waft of midges
in sun-shafts; the just-here-ness
of lichen.

We participate in the ...

One who performs divination by dissecting faeces

We poke apart devil scats.
Clotted fur, bone fragments, gristle,
possible scraps of crushed mollusc.

Devils lope across roads less and less.
That which people called a growl
was possibly vernacular for ‘How?’

James Charlton


There is speech everywhere:
the inaudible conversation of orchids;
the quiet breathings of ironbark forest.

Birds bring energy from the sky.
A bronzewing murmurs a low OM.
She intones the OM alone, as we all must,

and clatters when she takes leave.
The OM attunes itself to inner ears;
the unfathomable OM
of the living, the dead, the light itsel ...

James Charlton graduated from the University of Tasmania, and from Flinders University and the University of Cambridge. He was Poetry Editor of Island magazine and Advisory Editor for Australasia of Chautauqua Literary Journal, published in upstate New York. Charlton earned his PhD from the University of Tasmania ...

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