In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Barbara Temperton reads her poem 'Anniversary' which features in the 2016 Western Australian anthology.

 

Anniversary

We've been in mourning just over a year,
or just under, depending on the date we're marking.
Not always celebrations, anniversaries
have a way of keeping their appointments:
they're ticked off at the level of the body
and brain, our biochemical wakes.

I've felt strange all week, sick and sleep-obsessed,
a willed agoraphobic. Show me the cave
I need to crawl into and I'll be there.

No headline-making bereavement here,
just the absence of two small dogs,
their apparitions appearing to join me in my chair.
This evening, with fever, I made room for shades
and only then did I mark the date,
our two dogs dead twelve weeks apart, a year ago.

Their anniversary arrived like a virus
assaulting the muscles of my heart
in a darkened room.

Barbara Temperton

 

'Anniversary' appears in 'States of Poetry - WA'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Barbara Temperton's biography in 'States of Poetry - WA'

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 WA Podcast | 'Anniversary' by Barbara Temperton
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems
  • Custom Highlight Text

    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Barbara Temperton reads her poem 'Anniversary' which features in the 2016 Western Australian anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Barbara Temperton reads her poem 'West Coast' which features in the Western Australian anthology.

 

West Coast

I drive in on Daylight Saving Time
with a pale, fat moon rising
over the Moresby Ranges.
New subdivision: Ocean Heights Estate?
It looks like Sandcastle Land.

Foreshore dunes
limestone-terraced into sharp ledges:
high-priced real estate
perched at weed-wreathed ocean edge
awaiting global warming.

Blowouts hibernate
beneath a skin of Papier-mâché
seeded with sunflowers,
native pelargonium, alien grasses.
Feral pines adorn the verges, neatly
supplanting saltbush, acacia.

Roundabout windrowed by sand
directs me to my soon-to-be street.
An adult date palm, transplanted like me –
gale-force sea-breeze flaying
its skirt of fronds – inclines toward the land,
acquiescing like the sand
to the so one-sided, the so-insistent wind.

In the near distance,
waves thrash about in the shallows.
Big dogs surf the trays
of 4-wheel drives heading home
from the 4-wheel savaged beach.

In the front yard of my new rental,
two stray ridgebacks are too cock-legged busy
pissing on green reticulation flags
to acknowledge my arrival.

Barbara Temperton

 

'West Coast' appears in 'States of Poetry - WA'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Barbara Temperton's biography in 'States of Poetry - WA'

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 WA Podcast | 'West Coast' by Barbara Temperton
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems
  • Custom Highlight Text

    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Barbara Temperton reads her poem 'West Coast' which features in the 2016 Western Australian anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Barbara Temperton reads her poem 'My Mother's Ravens' which features in the 2016 Western Australian anthology.

 

My Mother's Ravens

They toll hours. I trace the peak and trough of raven-call
through brick veneer walls to the hospital – an hour away –
with every throaty rattle, to my Aunt, morphine
pump filtering sleep. She's comfortable, her nurses say.
Housebound with telephone, I'm waiting, listening
for whispering oxygen, for rattle-claws on tiles,
black birds stalking roofs of this cinder block suburb.

Several streets away, Xanthorrhoea crown
the square of dry grass in front of my Aunt's
vacant house. Unlike banksia populations
infected by dieback, struggling in nature strips,
on road verges, in yards haunted by abandoned
cats and warring neighbours, Xanthorrhoea thrive.

Summer, a palimpsest of sirens, squealing tyres:
hoons burning-out their cars. Peace in these long, hot days
as temporary as sunset or red sunrise.
Aged grass-trees leaves, dried, rustle for want of burning,
relive bonfires flicking embers, altars shedding
resin and ash, crematoriums birthing stars.

Ravens escort each day into these shabby streets,
comb bins for kitchen scraps, find fresh offerings
at backyard shrines. They cold-call at lounge room windows,
cruise the verges, check out stained mattresses, TVs,
rusting patio chairs straddling discards left out
for collection. It's the season for kerb crawling.

Bottlebrush blossom stains the footpaths red. Fenced-in
in her garden, my mother strikes cuttings and grieves,
putting out prayers, chicken bones, cheap mince, nurturing
the Australian ravens. Her two raucous callers
keeping their day's appointments up and down the street.

The hospital is an hour away – maybe two –
depending on rush hour, the freeway. My Aunt's room
is where oxygen flows through tubes into the shrinking
spaces in her lungs. Landlocked with telephone,
I hear the ravens calling their claim from the roof.
Singing in counterpoise, neighbour at her clothesline:
Summertime
and the livin'
is easy*

Barbara Temperton

 

'My Mother's Ravens' appears in 'States of Poetry - WA'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Barbara Temperton's biography in 'States of Poetry - WA'

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 WA Podcast | 'My Mother's Ravens' by Barbara Temperton
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems
  • Custom Highlight Text

    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Barbara Temperton reads her poem 'My Mother's Ravens' which features in the 2016 Western Australian anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Ellen van Neerven reads her poem 'Love and Tradition' which features in the 2016 Queensland anthology.

 

Love and Tradition

for Aunty Nancy Bamaga

rising sea
takes and
breaks into backyards
to trouble families

we cannot live
with the seas in our bellies
we cannot rest
with the sea at our legs

the tide
is coming
to stroke
our dead

we want to know
who unplugged
our island
of childhood

island
of love and tradition
let them see
what has gone under

Ellen van Neerven

 

'Love and Tradition' appears in 'States of Poetry - QLD'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Ellen van Neerven's biography in 'States of Poetry - QLD'

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 QLD Podcast | 'Love and Tradition' by Ellen van Neerven
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems
  • Custom Highlight Text

    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Ellen van Neerven reads her poem 'Love and Tradition' which features in the 2016 Queensland anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Ellen van Neerven reads her poem 'Roo tails' which features in the 2016 Queensland anthology.

 

Roo tails

The ground felt like it did when it's about to storm. My feet were brown and my big toe blistered. My grandmother was talking to my grandfather. A wet patch on my grandmother's back. Her hands roping those tails along the fence.

She turned to me and I saw her. Grey. A little heavy. Everything I came here for. A magpie flew lower.

Ellen van Neerven

 

'Roo tails' appears in 'States of Poetry - QLD'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Ellen van Neerven's biography in 'States of Poetry - QLD'

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 QLD Podcast | 'Roo tails' by Ellen van Neerven
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems
  • Custom Highlight Text

    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Ellen van Neerven reads her poem 'Roo tails' which features in the 2016 Queensland anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Ellen van Neerven reads her poem 'Chips' which features in the 2016 Queensland anthology.

 

Chips

Can I say
white people really bore me sometimes
to be exact
I grow tired with what's unmentioned
idling in surf club bathrooms
nothing wrong with the chips
but they're talking about Tasmania
my thoughts haunted by islands
maybe I'm dying
I've too many chips
teeth like stones
take me to be flossed
and cleaned
I need new soles
sticking to the floor
what is happening
with the dialogue of this country
they are killing people with words
if I'm not back soon
tell them I've had
too many chips

Ellen van Neerven

 

'Chips' appears in 'States of Poetry - QLD'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Ellen van Neerven's biography in 'States of Poetry - QLD'

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 QLD Podcast | 'Chips' by Ellen van Neerven
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems
  • Custom Highlight Text

    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Ellen van Neerven reads her poem 'Chips' which features in the 2016 Queensland anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Ellen van Neerven reads her poem 'Bricks and Lightning' which features in the 2016 Queensland anthology.

 

Bricks and Lightning

It seems I'm always walking
into the scene of a crime
moustached copper
and fuck-off tape
don't look too closely
you won't be able to sleep
I'm new to this building
I live now by the river where
the ducks look like shoes
in the water
I go to the department store
we used to frequent
I look at grocery receipts
to see how I'm saving
and sometimes I get so lonely
I can barely stand it
tonight I wanted you
like the rain wanted the streets
my building was one of two
struck by lightning
a chunk off the top
spilt bricks on the road
I am marked
drop a Google pin into my heart
like they say in Alice
when the Todd floods
this must mean I'm staying

Ellen van Neerven

 

'Bricks and Lightning' appears in 'States of Poetry - QLD'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Ellen van Neerven's biography in 'States of Poetry - QLD'

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 QLD Podcast | 'Bricks and Lightning' by Ellen van Neerven
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems
  • Custom Highlight Text

    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Ellen van Neerven reads her poem 'Bricks and Lightning' which features in the 2016 Queensland anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Ellen van Neerven reads her poem 'Buffalo Milk' which features in the 2016 Queensland anthology.

 

Buffalo Milk

Suck until you burn the room
and the heat numbs
reduced to a sound
wet
like the come and go
of the ocean
water enters
my hand in your hair
my hand
if you leave me childless
this will be yours alone
these marks you make
openings, persuasions
of the woman I will become

Ellen van Neerven

 

'Buffalo Milk' appears in 'States of Poetry - QLD'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Ellen van Neerven's biography in 'States of Poetry - QLD'

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 QLD Podcast | 'Buffalo Milk' by Ellen van Neerven
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems
  • Custom Highlight Text

    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Ellen van Neerven reads her poem 'Buffalo Milk' which features in the 2016 Queensland anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Amy Brown reads her poem 'Snake' which features in the 2016 Victorian anthology.

 

Snake

We are following a track that loops
around a lake impaled with trees,
a pinned-down habitat for platypuses

I would like to see, so try to walk
silently until a shadow across the sun-
dried turf in front of me blushes

curls and slides down a bank.
I stop, tell you what I've seen, smile
at the luck. You jump onto a log.

For the rest of the walk, we stomp
and you look for a eucalypt branch
you can thump like a third foot

to seem heavier and many-er.
We discuss tourniquets, mobile
reception, anti-venom, helicopters.

Intermittently I mention the platypuses,
explain that my country's native species
hide in timidity not anticipation

so I seldom feel like prey. Giant ferns
and no people remind me of home.
At the far edge of the ellipse I recall

the lake is a fifty-year-old mistake
flooded with rainfall and dammed
by tonnes of weather-made shingle.

Humans would not choose to leave
a hundred trees piercing the water's
surface. The orchard of totem poles

seems tapu, uncanny as a gallery.
Past trunks, smooth and muscled
like horse flesh, I forget to march

find myself creeping, not watching
for monotremes but ghosts or
artists, reverent and vaguely willing

my Achilles to be bitten in exchange
for an encounter with the creator.

Extract from Our Effects

Amy Brown

 

'Snake' appears in 'States of Poetry - VIC'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Amy Brown's biography in 'States of Poetry - QLD'

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 VIC Podcast | 'Snake' by Amy Brown
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems
  • Custom Highlight Text

    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Amy Brown reads her poem 'Snake' which features in the 2016 Victorian anthology.

In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Fiona Wright reads her poem 'After Mutability' which features in the 2016 New South Wales anthology.

 

After Mutability

Perhaps the best cells are the ones we can't kill off,
a persistence of the fittest, although mutation's
always painful. It's two thousand and fourteen,
and I know no-one who has been
uninjured. It thinks in me,
this shadow. I put on sunscreen, and am surprised
to come in contact with my skin.
In the same day, I'm chatted up in a café
by an aspiring novelist who's using boldface
and an ugly font, and the woman I pay
to tear the hair out of my legs offers a discount
because my skinny limbs
won't need much wax. In the same day,
I watch a woman in pink boardshorts
hold out white bread
for a spring-loaded terrier,
an ancient cyclist on City Road with bubble wands
mounted on his handlebars, although they say
this place has gentrified: mutation's
never simple. I dream my top teeth
splinter, turn to chalkdust in my mouth:
so I am in the world's gaping jaw.

Fiona Wright

 

'After Mutability' appears in 'States of Poetry - NSW'. You can learn more about States of Poetry and read the full anthologies here

Read Fiona Wright's biography in 'States of Poetry - NSW'

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 NSW Podcast | 'After Mutability' by Fiona Wright
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems
  • Custom Highlight Text

    In this episode of Australian Book Review's States of Poetry podcast, Fiona Wright reads her poem 'After Mutability' which features in the 2016 New South Wales anthology.