States of Poetry

Green Mountain (Fiji)

 

after Brett Whiteley’s The Green Mountain (Fiji) (1969)

 

The skyward pitch of the hill in its green glory
rising heavy and indolent as the knee of a woman
sunbathing in a sarong,
and the thigh that leads from this knee,
an emerald downswelling syncline,
end where the womb’s elasti ...

Above us we hear the windmill yelping, circling like a trapped
dog while the house sits like a black skull on the hill. Above us
the tombs are rising from their rest and travelling along the
roads beneath trees turning sourly. Above us the wind flings
uncountable seed into the dignified light tossed through the
depths by a green moon rolling over and over in the sh ...

Window

 

What is the mind that would invent the lock?
What are the pathways of the brain
that must be followed with no ball of string
to arrive at a device
which excludes? Why would you start?

If this slab of the earth
was where you had always been,
there would be no entry point,
no threshold of distrust, only the base
a ...

Time falls out
of your house

and onto a slab
of lucerne which

the cows eat as
they wander away

from the orchard's
long flowing hour.

Sweet and full
of wild honey

is the flower
is the bird.

Part of your love
is timeless enough

says the little track
left by ants.

Waking

 

Note the passive voice in that last line,
the denial implied. ‘People were shipped out.’
The agent with a conscious brain linked
to a hand with a pen or a gun felt his own grip
all along the neural pathways.

Some noises we can sleep through
but even the softest can be an alarm.
Sailboats in the calmest water are still not ...

The correct way to drink from a broken cup.
To welcome both dark and light into your house.
To imagine tomorrow.
To pick verbena and red clover.
On the path where nothing will grow.

The correct way to tend the frozen.
To take their sweet throats and swim down into their livers.
To disembowel without touching.
To do what is at stake.
To move from c ...

Theft

 

The maps that teased my childhood were silent.
The imagination they cosseted
was of no use. Instead of song
there was a flatness, a sheet of pastel shades.
I could find Peru, but not food.

And these maps were my inheritance.
Maps can be owned. Land is something else.
Maps can be stolen. When the atlas claps shut
those who ...

Moon is a paper lamp
burning all night.

The grass
is full of shadows.

Hardly room in here
with the cupboard's coat.

Small broken windows
open dream's row.

The wild birds
all leave my mind at once –

mouth banging shut
in the dark.

'The grass is full
of blue free stars.'

The universe jus ...

On the Mountain

 

Here where clouds soothe rocks, high above commerce,
I could catalogue the sharper images
of evil but to what use? City tabloids
and browsers will unroll bandages
enough to wrap communal wounds.

The bardic robe sits ill. The mist suggests
the insubstantiality of wish.
Summon a future like some old romantic,
some ...

Attack

 

And it is the act, the will
channeled through fibre to impact;
this is history as king hit.
Imagine your own bedroom as nullius,
adding extra dizziness to any fall.

If pain, as is said, cannot be remembered,
only the having been hurt,
then where does the pain belong
that comes out of the blue ocean
into a v ...