Monday, December 28, 2009

The Words That Fell To Earth - Amelia Walker

The Words That Fell To Earth

Thirty seven pages.
Thirty seven miles.
The diary of Ilan Ramon,
Israel's first astronaut,
found, wet and crumpled,
in a field just outside Palestine,
Texas. Words:
scrawled survivors,
the only survivors of Columbia,
the space shuttle that disintegrated
upon re-entry, February 1st, 2003
- the newspaper says.

Such a newspaper word.
All that metal.
All that flesh
and blood and bones and organs
and thoughts -what thoughts?
Where did they go?

How is it ink and paper escaped
the explosion, the heat,
the ice cold plummet,
the dirt and damp of the field
to be found, two months later
and returned to Ilan's wife?

All that ink.
All that paper.
All that metal.
All that flesh.
Thirty seven pages
and how many words?

Amelia Walker

Friday, December 18, 2009

New Tone Poem at 'The Poetry Slave'

Jane Williams and I have just finished the first collaborative tone poem at 'The Poetry Slave' (see link below & to the right)

Much in the same way that Sergei Rachmaninoff used Arnold Böcklin’s painting ‘The Isle of the Dead‘ as a starting point for his piece of the same name, we’ve used the expressionist painter Marc Chagall’s work Les Fiances de la Tour Eiffel as ours.

Have a look!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mark William Jackson - These Days that Play like Toothaches

These days that play like toothaches.
dragging each breath in
then pushing it out
like a cheating lover.
Breath upon breath until
the day is drawn up
and spat into a waste basin
by the straight syringe of time.
Day upon day until
we are left
to sleep with worms.

Mark William Jackson

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ron Wilkins - A Matter of Life and Death

A matter of life and death

While walking down the street
I surprised a girl and a boy
in passionate embrace against a wall.
Nothing strange about that, you may say,
but she was dressed in school uniform
and it was during school hours.
Ah, that’s life I said to myself.
Hey, guess what I saw in The Boulevard
I said to my wife.

Next day I was carrying
a ring-tailed possum by the tail
as I walked along the road.
Schoolgirl heads
swivelled in unison as I passed.
Burying the possum
in an unmarked grave next to the last
and beside the graves of my two cats,
creating quite a cemetery,
I thought to myself, that’s death.
Hey, guess what I saw down the street
I suppose a schoolgirl said to her mum,
completing yet another
life and death tale.

Ron Wilkins

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sorting - Benjamin Dodds


Stainless-steel pincers prick and tear
at a spread of gelatinous film
as I tack across the magnified world
of circular Pyrex dish.
Resting my eyes back in 1:1 scale,
I find that this membrane
is the anaemic skin
of a tiny speckled frog
made transparent
through weeks
of refrigerated storage
in hermetic cube-stacked jars,
its silken bounds
the only thing
that kept free-floating workings in.
Previously anchored to their task,
strange forms now range adrift
in the sterile expanse of ethyl alcohol,
a wash of organelles
breathed out by the slackening shape.

Benjamin Dodds

Friday, October 30, 2009

Running - Vanessa Page


When roadside has turned to red
and desert oaks are stenciled
neat on car window canvases
you’ve run far enough - to where
dust folds over to new thicknesses
taking with it every trace.

It’s too late for the maps, left
unfolded on the passenger seat
you’re lost in odometer’s slow roll
passing bloated marsupials
with legs stiff as tent poles
grasping the sense in endings.

Vanessa Page

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Free Verse Sonnet for Freya Buchanan - Phillip A. Ellis

A Free Verse Sonnet for Freya Buchanan

With the sun slowly
growing through winter,
till the spring comes at last
with its crop of birds,
and the earth itself wakes
from the somnolence that is frozen soil,
it is not strange that some may
look to the long suns of summer.

But, before you do, think on this:
each element of snow is unique,
and will never be seen again,
just as is each mote of dust
strangely attracted along the shafts
of summer sunlight on sleep-dealing days.

Phillip A. Ellis

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Haiku from Graham Nunn

Currently leading our Kasen Renku at Issa's Snail (see link to the right) is the talented Graham Nunn. Here are some of his own haiku:

dawn service
red scarf slashed
across the digger's throat


nudist beach
all eyes stare
out to sea


rooster's yellow beak opens the morning


makeshift bed
blood on the face
of the new born


at dusk
pink and blue clouds
of fairy floss

Graham Nunn
Unfortunately, Graham's haiku collection, a zen firecracker, is sold out, but his beautiful haibun collection is not, have a look below

Sunday, September 6, 2009

More Haiku from Issa's Snail

Today kipple once again samples some of the great poets contributing to interactive renku site Issa's Snail (see link to the right)

wind and wattle -
a season without
a name


four dolphins ride
the lip of the surf -


a squabble of rosellas
the clouds


a welcome mat -
the tabby unfolds
on a handkerchief of sun

Anne Elvey

swamp gums
in blossom
honeyeaters luncheon


Uluru -
in the distance there sits
a hippopotamus


old wooden bridge
waves of sand
...drifting mist


Southern Cross Station
two silver trains glide in
a blackbird flies out

Rhonda Poholke

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Haiku from Issa's Snail

Today kipple samples some of the great poets contributing to interactive renku site Issa's Snail (see link to the right)

two worn Oxfords
all that's left of father
in the wardrobe


a heron's meal
interrupted by
a teenage jet-ski


one strand
carries a spider

Joseph Mueller

trying her name
ending with his -
the pen runs dry


Christmas Eve -
stepping into
a stranger's footprint


heat haze
she runs up waving
a fan shell

Sandra Simpson

rainforest –
should I listen to bellbirds
or the currawong?


the stray tomcat
tries a kitten’s voice –
winter dusk


winter fly –
my death poem

Lorin Ford

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Two Haiku - Gina

a little cloud
drifts from its mob –
sheep on the hill


the cat’s reflection
nods back –
empty fishpond

First Published in Gean Tree Press

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Separation - Stuart Barnes


As if echoing feverish
prayer, she held the black comb
to her temple, fought to drag it
through the knots
and ampersands. She
stopped, stared into the glass,
and cracked my eyes,
and cried, "Tomorrow!" -
touched the baroque pearls
wetting her neck, and stepped into
crisp new blacks.

Stuart Barnes

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bite - Graham Nunn


how close a minute ago had been
young girl in the sand
pulling off wet clothes
red on white
beautiful but for the horror of the moment
the frenzied tide
pulling out and around
as the people piled up
a simple example
of twenty-first century fascination
the screaming hell of flesh
humanity's reaching arms
sand sticks to everything.

Graham Nunn

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Measure of All Things - Ros McFarlane

The Measure of All Things

Man has made himself
the measure of all things.

Stars are measured by the distance
from him.
Mountains are conquered
in feet.
Oceans are only as deep
as his ships can travel down.
Sunlight is dissected
into manageable portions
of sleeping, waking and working hours.

Animal intelligence
is compared to his.
Infrared and ultraviolet light
to colours visible through his eye.

Women measure their intelligence,
assets, education, prospects,
by his ideal;
and find themselves lacking or overachievers.

Man has even made himself
the measure of love
with “normal” (heterosexual)
“aberrant” (homosexual)
and “erotica” (hot lesbians).

But when man has even
measured God in relation to himself
(an outdated, primitive concept)
what is there left to measure up to?

Ros McFarlane

Friday, June 26, 2009

Your Mother's Hands - Vanessa Page

Your Mother’s Hands

In the kitchen

you are slicing fruit

with hands

that remind you

of your mother


and lined

they betray you

So too,

these beginnings

of crow’s feet

and pursed lips

as you hover over

autumnal hued


Careful, for

the influence

is catching

First the hands,

second, the

confused diplomacy

a tapping foot

closed gestures

the economic effort

We are all reinventions;

skin, papered

over skin

Vanessa Page

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gone, with the Wind - Ian C Smith

Gone, with the Wind

Like the wind we find a way
past prised planks. It pierces gaps
in the copper roof left by thieves.
The patin a of verdigris was our landmark
the colour of a lime milkshake.
Broken glass stains the aisle, soaked and still
all these years after that day’s excess.
Puffed-up pigeons gossip in the groins.
Before the altar the massive organ
has been overturned in a puddle.

They war, enemies without and within.
They conceive, are bereaved, never cede
victory despite the constant counting.
Sex is one bare luxury, extra rations
on a Saturday night after standing
in the double-decker to The Gaumont
to see Margaret Mitchell’s lurid fable.
‘Frankly, I don’t give a damn’
seems a throwaway line to savour
passing the air-raid siren, Dad as Clark Gable.

Ian C Smith

Sunday, May 31, 2009

She Is, I Am - David Stavanger


She is the kiss
and I am midnight

she is the silence
and I am Leonard Cohen’s last waltz

she is the nail
and I the empty chamber

she is the fish
and I am scaled to bone

she is the door
and I the unlocked

she is the floor
and I am still learning how to fall

she is the salt
and I am ordering take-away

she is the start
and I am stumbling to the finish

she is she is she is
I am I am I am

she is the heat
and I the smoke detector

she is the leaf
and I am winter

she is the switch
and I am sitting with mushrooms

she is the art
and I the finger paint of children

she is the appetite
and I the empty bowl

she is the paper
and I am out of ink

she is the sound
and I ring the door bell five times

she is the ready mother
and I the sudden father

she is she is she is
I am I am I am

she is
I am

David Stavanger

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Far - Emma K Osborne


You traced flowers with
Shone a six-ton smile
Right at me
Then flicked back - far-eyed.

Emma K Osborne

Monday, May 18, 2009

Start: One Evening in 1923 - Janine Baker

Start: One Evening in 1923

His start -
unremarkable -
barefoot street cricket
after floggings by The Brothers;
pudding on Sundays
and sly grog at the Palais

His journey -
unending -
from dodging Gyppo street girls
during shore leave in the Med
to jumping trains near Wagga
to escape the Army Provo’s

His contest -
unaccompanied -
through two continents
three wives, four kids spread wide
(could be a score more)
a dozen ships and
still no sign of contentment

His race -
unwon -
past maritime disasters
and that husband with a gun;
unfinished pictures; pulped novels (still unsold);
searching for a truth that’s not worth knowing…

His gravestone could read:

Tried it All (Once)
Kept Going

Monday, May 11, 2009

Alice perdu - Jamie Brown

Alice perdu

I can’t help thinking about
Alice, and her pretty white
dress, as she slips through
the television screen. The
strangers she meets there
measure out their lives in
coke spoons and cigarettes,
Beemers, bigger houses, and
who has the newest rattle.
The glowing phosphorescence
of her face as she says she
would rather stay on that
side of the glass, content
to have the rabbit for
dinner in burgundy sauce.

Jamie Brown
from 'Conventional Heresies'

Thursday, April 30, 2009

SuperHero - Jeff Fleming


it’s not the boots
that draw me

thigh high
though they may be

studded, spangled
with stars

nor is it
the mystic bracers

your righteous wrists

their glimmer
and shine not enough

your fluttering cape
snapping to attention

the golden
garland wreathed

through your hair
with such heroic flair

in tiny hoops

through each ear
these captivate, enthrall

but alone are not
dynamic enough

to entice me,
nor the strength

of your countenance,
the mighty

purpose of your
gaze, though hypnotize

it may, something
other is your power

the naked weakness
you try in vain

to cloak
draws the villain

in me from
his veiled lair

Jeff Fleming

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Kenotic Remembrance - Matthew Hall

Kenotic Remembrance

white thought


close / artless / feint parameters

vis-à-vis aphasia

the ruined code of captive architecture

sequence reliance

missing elements [∞]

the resonant line

ontological patterns of red dirt

or granite, or distant regard

grotesque mechanics

in fields of home

lechery in the distance of negative freedom

on edgeless overlays / palimpsest / dimension

stagnant between the adjoining image

a compound enclosure of horizon / instance /

a scream which bears it teeth

and then recedes

Matthew Hall

Friday, February 27, 2009

Karl Marx Drowns His Sorrows, 1871 - Justin Lowe

Karl Marx Drowns His Sorrows, 1871

You will no doubt appreciate
the irony, Freddy
it was never to my taste,
as you well know, but
I live in a perpetual state of it
for you, I think, to either
qualify or quantify, God knows...

either way it is ironic, no?
that it should be here
in this dank Brixton flat
I finally eliminate grey from the world

Jenny hovers in the hallway
afraid to come in
we speak like this
her face veiled in twilight
hours days years...

this oppressive London twilight
it seems she lives there
as though sensing I am
the butcher of her world
this grey London world
storms in a million teacups

I could cover a hundred pages like this

please mail me ten pounds, Freddy
and I will send you my notes
my life here is this mountain of paper
like the soot that blackens my windows
ashes of how many cities?

Justin Lowe
(from 'Glass Poems' 2006)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Outside Centrelink - Jane Williams

Outside Centrelink

among the lunch hour execs catching a few rays
a young man with cyclonic eyes aware only of this
fast becoming another day without and what to do
about it breathing through clenched fists the trigger
for anything more taking the usual form
an absentminded brush from a suit filing back
into the system that has failed him yet again or this
(you had to be there) sunlight bouncing off silver
buckled shoes tempting as a free lunch unleashing
weeks of P's and Q's honed into the heels of his
own redundant work boots as he sprints jumps
lands hard on target then simply walks lighter now
uninterrupted steps through parting briefcases it isn't
the stuff of revolutions but on a good day it might
wipe the patent leather smiles from our faces

Jane Williams

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Untitled - Brooke Linford


After a long time
of being still
he begins to crackle

I can hear
his mind tick
see him kneel
in his robe

he can call off the search.

Brooke Linford

Sunday, January 18, 2009

In Translation - Amelia Walker

In Translation

This language is a borrowed dress
I put on,
but never truly wear.
It is functional enough:
hides what must be hidden,
enables me to blend into streets and supermarket aisles.
Still I know -perhaps others can tell-
it is not mine.
It hangs baggily in some places,
affords no movement in others;
is patched mismatching colours -legacy
of countless past wearers.
It has been taken in,
taken out, torn and soiled,
sewn up and let down.
No matter how much I wash it
the fabric is flavoured with moments that are not mine:
spilled drinks and cigarettes,
perfume and sweat,
a million mixed meanings,
minefields for misinterpretation.
Still I walk around, wrapped in this language:
foreign as it is, I know no other.
Secretly, though, I pick at its frays,
trying to imagine what could be
if this language and I were to unravel
into nakedness,
into silence.
Without words there are no rule books,
without words there are no lies.

Amelia Walker
(first appeared in The Mollusca Chain)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Tourist Strip Poems - Graham Nunn

Tourist Strip Poems

1. The same old people
walking along the
same old skyline

2. A shell in the window
listening to the waves

3. Ghosts of the Yugambeh
people selling artefacts
in the avenue

4. Tomorrow's sand
waiting in the bilges

5. A seagull deafened
by concrete
on all sides

6. Clouds of sandflies
rise to neon calligraphy

7. The night sky's excesses
pour into

8. Streets of homeless;
suburbs of living dead

Graham Nunn