States of Poetry SA

1.

Angling over star-fields,
the pitches lit like billiard tables.
Those lengths you were shouted up and back,
lungs scoured by brillo air.
The lazier concord of close mown grass
and low hanging fruit
of the short boundary. A tang of primitive
electronics: the circuit board's braille labyrinth,
the slab type of Amstrad.
This callow path, you< ...

A little pin-up
three fingers
above the knees.

Behind the curtain
a dress-up game –
pretty things come undone.

He chalks lines
on raw stitches.
I catwalk.

My body fits the timeless black.
'You can live in it, or die'
smile the lips full of needles.

Do I look a little dead
with black fabric
on bone-pale flesh?

for my grandfather

 

He circles my arrival
on the calendar.

It is late November
and it doesn't snow.

A wooden pallet
hardens his bed.

He dreams of grandmother.
He doesn't want new dreams.

Two siskins in cages –
their song frozen like the air

that other November
when she lost her heart

c ...

for Mia

 

I wore my grandmother's clothes
and sat on her doorstep.
Monday to Friday.
She talked.
I lied.

'I'll teach you how to write,' I said
pretending I could
hold a pen.
'Mouse will eat your ears,' she smiled.

At night we leaned on pillows
watched TV with subtitles.
I made up foreign words.
I tol ...

after Vasko Popa

 

Always ready to leave
leaving
each time further
from the whispers
of the grass.

She has forgotten
her death,
the calf she once was.

Curled around an arm
a new name sewn
into her mouth
she's been there, done that.

A tramp, living beyond
the stitches of life.

&n ...

I walk through my hometown
as an uninvited guest.

Divorced
from communism

the old street has taken back
its maiden name.

I follow the steps of a lost child
watching myself

from the curtains
of memory's windows.

The doors of St Nicholas church
are rusty but open.

Inside familiar faces
and a sign

Buy candle ...

i.

birds have their own topography : overlaid
on ours : which is vertical & detailed :
with its own system of needs :
its own deviations : the nerve-ends
in my fingertips : & a tremor in my latissimus dorsi
rouse me : a domestic industry
starts up : a saw : or sander : on some abutting title :
the sound raw : with alternating notes :
one c ...

They say morning's temper
binds you to this world
of taking. As if the air said,
all you need is to scram
or laugh. If it's real payback,
why try to earn it.
There are better things to do
with your shoes.
This is no mystery.
Movement chafes expectancy
till it hurts and hackles.
It's a pissing contest,
round that hew
the hours hand ...

Amongst discarded data, twigs,
plastic containers, fingernails –
'The unconscious, at all events,
knows no time limit' –
the shape of an ear, marginal facts
blown about by a northerly,
washed by stiffening rain – something
like symptoms, clues, bird spit,
possum fur, leaf miner, blood and bone,
a story or many of what passes
through here d ...

Sometimes it's better in our clothes.
We are together as we are not,
we come as we are.
The sky is immense and frail,
we are full of lists and feedback,
there are no private numbers.
Why does everyone care?
The smell of sun is in the
lees.
A flower is a flower, flowers now
becoming a book of consummations.
As light enters a house,
ther ...