The university plovers are fat and silent,
'toe-walking' across lightly frosted lawn
so as not to wake whatever invertebrate
is breakfast. At home they are scrawny,
caught up in shrieking war with pukeko.

Until I moved to Melbourne I maintained
my ornithophobia, which became impractical
in a place with murders of crows on most
corners. So, I decided to love their oil-
spill plumage and dinosaur gait, the way

they wait on pedestrian crossing signs
providing a third alternative to red and green.
Stop, go, or flap black and blue to the lip
of a rubbish bin and spit out cigarette
butts mistaken for cold chips. Swallow fear.

 

Extract from Our Effects

Amy Brown

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'Fear' by Amy Brown
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

 Preserving jars filled to the brim
refract the living room window's

light in fuchsia and absinthe bows
across the late afternoon wall.

Skewered with toothpicks
and balanced in their simple

womb of tap-water and sun
two avocado stones compete.

Whiteboard pen marks my name
on one jar, yours on the other.

We are willing to wait months
for roots, hoping to see a shoot

push through the blackened pits
eventually. I know this climate

won't allow tropical trees to mature
let alone fruit. All I hope for is

proof that growth is often logical;
a stalk of life can be controlled.

In their shadow, our toothpicks
look like skeletal hands, held.

 

Extract from Our Effects

Amy Brown

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'Experiment' by Amy Brown
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

 The board game Holiday was set
in our loud neighbour's. On the box,
a ruddy family: flushed child's cheeks,
father's gin-blossom nose. Lame puns
confused me ('Koalas Cross Here –
Koalas Furious Here'); typecasts
spanned Wake in Fright and The Castle.

Passports are required to enter the lucky
red land I knew from wet afternoons.
Cold-sore photo was forgotten when I met
a real Australian daughter on the City Circle
tram; her first time in the CBD too, visiting
from Ballarat. The name appealed, as did
trumping it with a whole other country.

Our holiday differed from the game.
Two hours in the cool, white cake
of the State Library holding a book
from the Philosophy section, admiring
the architraves. Praying agnostic, I felt
ready then to burst through the ceiling
and announce that I would be staying.

 

Extract from Our Effects

Amy Brown

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'Luck' by Amy Brown
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

When it was nearly still acceptable
to nip the shoulder of the pleasant boy
sitting cross-legged in front of you
(leaning back and pulling the royal blue

wool of his jersey with loose teeth)
I had an elastic idea, which stretched
through the next twenty-five years. Senior
primary school's kingdom of fully grown

flax bushes and adult-sized toilets,
places to hide without being sought,
would shrink each day I endured it.
Back to the wall, pencil marked above skull,

I started to see how the world – one school
at a time – might be folded like a map.

 

Extract from Our Effects

Amy Brown

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'Map' by Amy Brown
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

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

Recording

Additional Info

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

You feel this way, kind of free when you lie down

__________________________________________

    I've seen it, the cocking head, the dipping branch, but now
I'm thinking of something else. The long drawn
Out day. The novelty of peaches in
A new form. Savour the bird's body language, you may need
It to recognise yourself later. Like water, your head empties slowly
Of melody (though not music) and you find yourself alone – but
In a kind of love. The cow stretches her neck as
If to scratch it on the rough air

___________________________

   You become milder, watching her, finally letting the march fly bite
& then crushing it with a hand. 'What did I cook?

__________________________________________

   Chops a la Brisbane.' I heard, but looked at you like
You're a jackass. To run as if your brain's an egg
In the heat. The grass deep and delicately iced with petals

__________________________________________________

The woman identified the noodles. She was
A grandmother now, cooking them for her plastic surgeon grandson. The
True way to do it, she said, was
Under the blue light of the sky till
You could see the moon
In them. But her grandson would never be home
In the daytime so she compromised. The bookshop next door caught
Fire and the poets ran for their lives. They won't rebuild
In a hurry she thought. Unlikely. Her grandson put
On his red shirt that made him look like
A detail from Caravaggio or
A hundred kangaroo paws. The law differs. You see the plane
Appear to pause. You bring it across the sky with
Your mind. Two planes on the ground like insects without appetites

___________________________________________________________

    Behind the border, the look of things meant judgment was unstable

    ___________________________________________________________

    You could only report, and remember that
Others were doing the same
On the land that took horse's bones bigger than anything
It remembered for thousands of years. A jay is tougher than
A magpie. A maggie does the rounds
Of the bus stops where the crows don't go. They sound
Sweeter but are equally daggy in their daily activities with only
A beak and no bag to put
Over their wing. The leaves crackle like Christmas beetles
& someone runs past in a cloak. Your body changes as
Your mouth forms new words. You use a milk carton to
Explain about the university you went to. Your great love was
A Perth smoothie who rode a dugite. In their eyes
A wall of surf. It made you social, like conceptual
   Art

   ___

   There were so many waves. Our eyes are globby archives
& seeing a man on a train blow gently on an
Ant's just dust on the table. Come to me like
A cat. Clay dries. Wood blackens. Hens dart in for company

 

Michael Farrell

Recording

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'C.O.U.N.T.R.Y' by Michael Farrell
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

I was riding a shark through Cork, just for the exercise of course
It might seem quaint but rather it was
Gorgeous, like an early morning courtyard
Imagine the dialogue. AC/DC confronts shark
       shark repeats
       shadow prime minister's
Gaffe
You guys are the white Australian Uluru. Fancy, say they
It became noon. An emu
In police uniform joined the fray
'Yair, just wanted to say
G'day?' There was not a logician
In sight, so we rode like the wind
It was the church bells not the emu who rang, the red light
       doesn't apply to
You. So long since
I'd heard that said. Another emu
In
Galoshes ran out. 'Forty-five on New Amsterdam'
'Got
It' went a third. We were no longer, say
In the outback
Yet we were thinking of the Magic Pudding: his slices packed
      with
Grey sardines
In silver tins

 

Michael Farrell

Recording

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'Fancy' by Michael Farrell
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

Who are you? You hear the song, the
Good line along with the others in the
Hair salon. That place for standing in; for
   Politics

   _______

   The New Dr Williams with his tricks of
   Sadness

   _______

    Here is my bag: be sad. Here is
My bag left on the bannister. Yet let
Me tell you that elevation’s just a sound

________________________________

    But the old cold plum’s a sound too!

   ___________________________

    Who are you or we now? We’re the
Kind of people poetry makes. We don’t pretend
To be doctors of anything else but letters

_________________________________

   There’s a pig on the terrace and a
   Leaf

   ____

   The leaf goes into Dr Williams’s bag. The
Pig goes back into the poet’s mind, squealing
Like a painting the whole time. Everyone on
The train has that image of the
Pig in their head. It will make them
Snuffle up the walls. Everyone’s ill
With an illness that takes some dancing. Just
Bring that painting here and put it with
The others; enough and we’ll have improved the
   Dream

   ______

    Load up, leg out, hat on. Dr Williams’s
Paradoxical prescriptions: primary and secondary gallantry, femininity, clowning
Footsie, miming, mimicry, dentistry, carolling, shadowing, poetry

_____________________________________________________

    These bring all the sad sounds out, that
We need to be in the mix of

 

Michael Farrell

Recording

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'New Dr Williams' by Michael Farrell
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

 Strawberries: a mania of strawberries on a
   Turntable

   ________

   Drifting off in pinecones
Of thought, feeling the wind refract
Your backside. Eggs down a rabbit hole

_________________________________

Voices like coconut milk in a car

___________________________

Writing the ball past the line. Clouds
Drop on your face: no
It’s snow. The crane stops
At the lunchbox. Lightning
Axes Bondi. The memory of bending
Your mind in the wattle, honey fusing
In the feather. The dream
Of the never-refuelling drive
A story each wooden mile. The
Old places crumble: are weedy, retreating

 

Michael Farrell

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'Rich Tune' by Michael Farrell
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

Like a teacup in a snowstorm I
Find you and break you. A sentry reptile, I advise you
To return quietly to the campfire. You mistakenly took
My interest in theology for a strategy

________________________________

  Flip to a towel, flip to
Sheets of pasta in an emu's stomach. Sheep merely fluffing the
  Horizon

  _______

  Technology is increasingly feminine. The diction of
Saying so. I come back: your tears are testament to being
Wanted, blessed. The tail goes into the
Water, I ahead of it. Circumstances
Were against my addiction. The flattening out of smaller people by
Bigger people, ringing them up late at night with a bigger
  Need

  ____

  Don't blame me for being three
Years old. I have pain, I have chunks of weather as
Big as England. Hell creeps up, cool centimetres. There is a
Family travelling by boat from Corsica to
Delphi, the boat weighed down with questions. The children are saying
'Where is the bluest sea, we need to know, where are
The best fish?' Old wrecks strain for attention like buried religion

_________________________________________________________

  The man and the woman speak in
Different terms using the same words. It's a play and generates
Tension and emotion in the other characters. We can see it
From the ship. On the ship
Sheep, one in a bonnet. To escape matrimony, to
Live in a liberal culture such as Tel Aviv where spies only
Go for holidays. Selling umbrellas made
Him even more ambivalent about the rain and the cities that
They brightened, though so few were known for them, and those
Cities just as frequently darkened with
Black umbrellas that bus drivers couldn't see. They had to
Lie about that, to save the living. It's the only way
To avoid what you want. You hated
Justin Bieber like videotape and paper. From the satellite they could
See thousands of humans doing the same thing. One is
Typing on the eighth floor. Words
Blow in. Into the day, into the night, the internet itself
Just a site. A jug doesn't boil alone: a fire comes
Down from the volcano and singes
Fringes off the poor children's clothing. I wondered what you were
Doing in the bath earlier. You put your eyes in
An ice cream container. Hoarder: sometimes
The urge to self-demolish comes down the wire more
Loudly than's wanted. The pine nuts were at an all time
High, I left a feather on the
Terrace as a signal. The mongrels sighed in the lift. The
Lift redolent of Aerogard, and nappies, and burnt potato salad

 

Michael Farrell

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'The Distances' by Michael Farrell
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems