States of Poetry 2016
We would sit on the wings of his knees
and see-saw our way through stories
No one is going to come and save you.
And because of this you must fold
your clothes at day's end
despite the urge to abandon them
to the backs of chairs. You must shake
the crumple of sleep from the sheet.
You must clean your teeth. Wash the teaspoons.
Fold your pyjamas too and lay the neat squares
to rest under your pillow of a morning
Timing and manner my mum would always say
and it's true, the how and when override the what
of what's said, and the same is true of poetry.
I don't think people remember their tone when speaking –
other people's yes, but not their own. Tone, like texture, is crucial
for the feel of things – is it honey or cactus, metal or water?
And if the words ...
after David Brooks
of Poetry, black
the sun into us,
seam-rip it asunder.
On the Fitzroy's
bank at midday,
cracking seeds of eucalypts
that outrank Council, a hundred
Banks' black cockatoos,
a paroxysm of commas.
With their subtler
the real sea snoring half a mile away
the scrubbed brick walls of the double lounge and its
samples of african drums flood the speakers
Is that your shadow, weightless,
a smudge of grey dust
in the black trickery of the she-oak?
... it shimmers, it does not stop, and I think it wants me.
—Sylvia Plath, 'A Birthday Present'
Here's some activity you may have missed:
pompadour-lure hung three days after I
'It misses me.'
The fourth: A ...
cat fed squeezing like the morning
fog between oxidized barbed
wire and gorse
with an older cousin
with a slug gun
booting sheep skulls
stripped by gusts, our fathers'
1950s snares swooped by plovers,
daring: 'yellow spurs! forearms
up!' shooting star-
lings for laughs
From his ebony eyrie
the moon is salubrious,
round as the white lotus' root.
The desert's his adversary.
The moon is salubrious
with his godly left eye.
The desert's his adversary,
spiteful, like a hippopotamus.
With his godly left eye
the moon is neither ossuary,
Unexpected on a day like this—
sun shuttling through the 125th Street bridge,
plastic strung in Harlem's elms like tattered wreaths:
unseasonable, unreasonable spring.
Under the red shadow of the Grant tenements
lunchtime noshers clatter china at Bettolona,
dogwalkers spread out on the grass in Sakura Park,
men from the halfway home
drag their deckchair ...
How fine it is to mutiny
against my tired mind—
say self, you are through,
to smash into a mirrorball
of echoes all scaled
in dizzying Nordic blue
feel the universe tilt
and infinitely rebuild
like a skerrick of spindle silver
and never be held—
this is the freedom
of the uni ...