messenger

 

I mother a scorching fence
I mother a child against a fence

and the cry

here come the shellshocked to arm the day
here come collectors for the shells

amber cry

nest-thief

seed-eye

sown
for others to reap

 


 

planet of weeds

 

wild berries underfoot, drunken forests bend
down into the shape of their children,
tallish gardens. necklace spines fallow brown
settle down into pale lawns, child lawns'
curled shoulders, speeding
the forgetting of a forest.
air looks to being now and then
carries sight around the draped hair casting out
for sun-fish, which cool quickly
in the deep given away.

dry lichen fields the shift
between the seen unfelt and the felt unseen.
a slip-moon cut opens wood, soft
for the flood and the drought, fear,
hyphae, a line of taxis gathers
spirit at the gate, that there is
somewhere else to go, go on
now to the mesopause, new world holding
dream dots out in pressureless trade

 


 

dots out

 

does a beast stir near me I am alone
I am awake. my love has gone
into the dark the house open the wind

 

gone to the garden to look for the lilies
gone to count the buds

 

in the savour of young fruit
bitten on the trees

 

print of our house upon my cheek.

the spheres of our house
rise, flagstones
float upon the dirt

 

the gate's fallen open,
the garden is open,

the servants of the gate
and the guards
of the road bruise my breast:

 

he has gone to the fields
that turn to brine

he has gone to the fields
on horizons of milk

gone to catch the seeds
that float away

 


 

hyphae

 

lichen loves stone
a ship loves thin air
water loves a crevice
a crevice cedes dry
cedes damp
stone walks into softness

the guards leave for the coast
leave for the mall
for the supercolony
spinning itself out

around green-crossed
chorion
multiform darkness
amnios and body-stalk
yolk and cry

koel

 


 

promise

 

I love you you come back,
hatches undog, ants
stream the rope out
of loose husks in the hold

it must be you, come back
as ants, as honeydew uneaten by ants
dripping onto the trees,
sooty mould swarming
over the stems and leaves. exhausted,
seasonless, vigorous

cascade,
adorn me to meet you
as formic acid, as shells bleached
out in an ungroomed place,
the springing up of a stinging tree
as swelling belly,
ruin, the lack
of a canopy gap

 

Jen Crawford

 

'abandoned house music' previously published in lichen loves stone (Tinfish Press, 2015)

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'privately'  inside  the  body  but  much  of  this  is  the  extra-somatic (GAWW - not symptomatic but coral. 'the 20th century's premier art mode', though at that point only as an infusion, ubiquitous but still failing to assume the forms which will 'replace' life as a whole.)

prior to the assumption, vibration-reception remains compulsory but consciousness is not (: mercy). input is fixed open but output circuited to the internal joys1 and some externals can be diverted through own soft-dumb-cells, especially into hands in any movement, and through most contact with the ground here, which until the final moments maintains a pre-coral variability and some absorbency. we

 

Jen Crawford

 


 

 1 Formerly eyes

2 I release the present tongue as retroactive and self-consolatory. without doubt the Institute will be a-temporal yet the tongue notes its own second purpose in that sup

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  • Custom Article Title 'lopping' by Jen Crawford | States of Poetry ACT - Series One
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in decades past a series of dykes was known as the venice
of the floods themselves, with a sweet sap

once the prey has entered the trap
the leaf closes, and within about 30 seconds
a senior minister has touched
two or three trigger hairs,

bristles on the distinction between
private beliefs and public morality,
his bottomline.

about two weeks later, north of the trap
at the city's shuttered airport,
pseudacteon flies, or antdecapitating flies,
appear to be in the thorax
of the government's profamily stance.

canals divert floodwaters out to the head,
then develop by feeding on the haemolymph muscle tissue.
after about two weeks they cause the ant's head
to grapple with its body

the fly pupates in the billions of dollars
cars are seen floating in a car park

 

Jen Crawford

 

'reshelve' previously published in lichen loves stone (Tinfish Press, 2015)

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what we'll do is remove the dusty fly-spotted umbrella light-shade from over the bed, and we'll put there something that catches the will of the leaves outside the windows and holds it in the centre of the room. a leaf doesn't have an individual life, but it seems to, and the green at the middle of that life is what I'll feed you. that will come in as milk, translucent blue humming calculation of unthought.

when you were smaller and a life but less a person you were in appearance closer to death, nestled in against a puddle that showed as a shadow, wave, brother, yin, memory, ghost, wave that swelled for an exit and then held, organised, and absorbed in itself, was absorbed. that's yours now too, earth for the green-blue light and the song of the wagtails. earth for the air to be untranslated, straight to your lungs.

should I mention scarcity and the fires to come? but your blood is of that language, tipping and will be so while your hands find the way to your mouth. mouth wet and working in joy's animation of hunger. i've cleaned the skirtings and the grout. it's rained through all of January but there's sunlight on the bed. you're on your way, you're on your way. for now, a bit of sleep.

 

 Jen Crawford

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for TAW
(from 'Paintings')

This black dress
is also a painting –
it hangs on a wall
where light holds it close.
It's a doorway to places
no-one quite knows;
that bloom and rain
with extravagant vistas.

We've sometimes entered
into the painting
dipping dark hats,
watching children
riding down lanes
(their slit-eyed scrutiny
prickling our backs),
finding a house
made out of art –
colourful images; chaotic signs –
and in a long room
have seen a black dress.

Approaching the work
we've watched ourselves there,
climbing through streetscapes,
avoiding riders
and ducking rain,
entering a house
made out of painting,
finding a room
with a black dress inside.

Now standing here,
outside of the image,
the dress seems mute.
hung on its wall;
yet inside the painting,
through folds like a curtain,
we glimpse narrow laneways.
The sound of rain
is prickling our backs.

 

Paul Hetherington

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Every morning, with an authority
of clinging, earthy foundations
a house sat in air.
Inside someone was singing an aria
about how love inflects its failings
and a woman, absorbed in her toilette
considered how pained words work
the world awry, even as air fills with song.
Outside a man hammered boards
to make a dwelling; crows sat on a wire
as if planning insurrection.
Drought held paddocks tightly
as a team ran a divining rod
over corrugations of salt.
Rain, when it started,
was a kind of stumbling.

 

Paul Hetherington

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  • Custom Article Title 'Dwelling' by Paul Hetherington | States of Poetry ACT - Series One
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for BL
(from 'Paintings')

 

A hundred eyes
examine me like an insect,
red and yellow like fear.
What walks about me
in dirty boots, holding my ideas
ridiculous? Whose face
visits restless nights,
threatening to blank my dreams –
a near-perfect oval and no-colour;
obliteration like a smile?
The painting becomes a murder
of Aztec nobility in the Temple
and time droning
through aeons of absence,
away from a ripe papaya
lined with a hundred black eyes,
delicate and full as prayer.
The painting folds back into wind.
Brushes, palette knife,
insouciant pigments
vanish into drawers;
the painting becomes the green
of your scarf;
its future tucked
out of sight. It nods
and a hundred eyes blink.
There is nowhere
that doesn’t watch me.

 

Paul Hetherington

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  • Custom Article Title 'Eyes' by Paul Hetherington | States of Poetry ACT - Series One
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A gap opened every evening
emitting a panting – as soft as darkness,
or stray dog at exhaustion's end.
Unsettling, like a straggly bird,
it dropped dark feathers
of prickling desire into the room.
It knew the edges of solitude
like the blue glacier's encrusted ice,
and morphed into a clouded mirror
on which each searching glance stuck fast.

Paul Hetherington

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There was never an explanation
as to why he walked into the river,
took hold of a log
and floated away.
They found letters
but the love he expressed
in sometimes obsessive detail
was no explanation –
except, the coroner declared
that perhaps it indicated
'a lack of a grasp', etc.
Someone who saw him pass by
said that he was waterlogged;
another said he sat upright,
as if triumphant, and was singing;
a third (unreliable) party
stated that he rolled and turned
and was having trouble breathing.
The coroner said that 'unless a body', etc.
And, certainly there was a report
that he had, after all, survived;
had walked out of the water
near a remote village.
'It sounds implausible', the witness said,
who was rather bedraggled himself
with downcast eye,
'but he seemed to be smiling,
if shaking a little –
and appeared to be looking at something
not so far in the distance.
You know, like a thought
can sometimes hold a man.'

 

Paul Hetherington

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  • Custom Article Title 'River' by Paul Hetherington | States of Poetry ACT - Series One
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This cardboard prison they call an archive
is cold, airless and silent as death.
Floor to ceiling boxes contain voices
no longer heard yet still wailing within
and faces no longer seen yet still missing in a
jail of captured snippets, images and memories
like the severed heads and bleached bones of
dismembered bodies neatly locked away in the vaults
of museums and universities of the world
in the name of science or history or anthropology or
something else so important at the time that
justified the collection of bits and pieces of another –
the Other.
Reams of records tell how you measured
our heads with every western yardstick –
examined us through your voyeuristic lens,
scrutinised our children's fingernails under
microscopes and found them remarkably pale –
looked inside women's vaginas where
that rosebud is pink as pink is pink
despite the otherwise apparent differences
between black and white such as
intellect, industry and capacity to settle.
We are the inmates incarcerated within these
cardboard cells where every neatly dotted 'i',
and symmetrically crossed 't' screams out:
Read this Black angst against
these white pages.

 

Jeanine Leane

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