States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | ‘There is No One to Complain’ by J.P. Quinton

I walk to the river,
I am searching,
I am searching for a jar of leeches.
In the distance I see something flashing
so I head toward it.

As I come closer I see
it's a mirror dangling from a tree,
and beneath it, a table with six sealed jars.

I open a jar, stick my finger inside
pull it out –
blood slides down my arm.

I feel the sharp clutch of a hand on my shoulder,
I turn and see a woman's
face covered in mud,
she points across the water
and says if I want my own leeches
I have to swim
to the opposite bank.

I strip my body of clothes
– pause for a moment –
enter the water, and swim.

In the murk I stop,
put my head up, I'm half way
the water is colder at my feet,
I can sense the muddy floor beneath
my arms ache, my head is numb,
I look back and see the mirror flicker
there is no one to complain,
I see my face on the surface
the river rocks and I wonder why I'm here.


J.P. Quinton

J P Quinton

J P Quinton

J.P. Quinton lives in Fremantle, Western Australia. He is an adventurer and writer. In 2011 he became inspired by the story of Bon Scott while cycling around the U.K. The novel Bad Boy Boogie: the Adventures of Bon Scott is the result of four years research and interviews with friends of Scott.

Quinton has also written multiple books of poetry. New Poets is available through Fremantle Press.

He is now researching his next novel about bushwalking. Over the next few years he will be walking the Australian Alps Walking Track, The Shikuko Island Temple walk, The Heysen trail, the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand and the Pacific Crest Trail. When he returns to Western Australia he aims to walk the Bibbulmun track in 13 days.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.