States of Poetry WA
Can you smell it?
Not like the first rains
Nor the first blooms
But a rather putrid
Vomit inducing smell
The bad smell of Australia
Like stinking body odour
Emitted at footy matches
Fast on social media
With each boo the
Smell got stronger
With each name calling
The smell got stronger
With each denial the
red gravel, bark and branch,
filigrees of hazel,
blanketing roar of ocean,
inlet glints of stone.
Depths of quiet sounded out
in ducks' satellite pings.
There's no ribbon to tie these things neatly in train,
no music to make it sound okay;
just me awake, reading your email
as cockatoos swing and chime
high in ka ...
Such a hollowness grows beneath us
such an undermining,
such a heavy, unwelcome silence
that we can no longer touch
this happy or unhappy life,
this grass, these children, this field of light,
fly as we might each fortnight
the surfaces lose value
– window, fence, city, street –
as we become beasts, turned inside out
under the fluorescent po ...
Below Howarth Cross, tussocky fields
still wait for dead builders; 'Pick your plot now.'
Mice dart away through clover and thistles
dodging oil drums, chip wrappers, surprised
by the impossible song of lost looms.
Under Cobbled Bridge, off Belfield Lane
the stones erode along their grain, as lain.
On the underside, immortalised, 'Kipper Lips'
and 'Tina to ...
This morning I read of the nightwell,
filling mysteriously in our sleep,
disappearing by day, and it brought
to mind the gifts of Christmas, of starlight,
the open dark eyes of the children of Aleppo
on television the night before.
I dreamt of a family escaping through pines,
over the crest of a forest, young and old
struggling down to the shore of a g ...
Riding back from Heathrow, after Rome,
everything felt dark, sad, dirty, grim.
Only on the train did the old redemption come:
soft green fields, open loose-leafed canopies,
water tipped from shivering layers of leaf,
through clouds of shadow; all those rich depths
under bridges, in the ditches, between one hedge
and another; deep pools of shadow, pierced
'Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly...'
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
I un-wake to damage.
Light-bulb stutters, frantic
once off, once on, illuminates
Inside my bedroom it rains
for days. The head
full of synaptic hauntings
shudders. Old-milk sky
Itch in the vein, the road hot still
from sun, an asphalt stream
bisecting unlit houses. Slip of an alley
cat through a spittle of starlight.
Last cigarette, the way Em curls
her yellow fingers into small mouthed
Clock tower bites light through the empty
parking lot. Gates we broke apart last summer, same
time I lost the laces ...
Dot by dot, the backs
of eyelids. Draw it slowly,
shape of sentimental spine.
You curve that way.
I breathe the countdown
& the world falls, air by air.
In the white room you cloud
unsettled weather, & no electric
light will dare illuminate.
Your skin tastes clean sky,
polished gray. That clarity,