2017/09/14

before dawn

he wants her in the
morning
before the bird chorus
and the idea of daily news
breath like silk
cheeks flushed
body warm from the river of
dreams running through
her

he wants her in the
river
hair spooling out in rings
wild bracken water
nuzzling her skin
mossed wet rocks she climbs
to dry off

he wants her on the
rock
flesh open to the sun
skin turning in the
golden light
eyes closed and flickering
remembering her dreams


Kathryn Lyster (Australia)

2017/09/06

Utensil

They forgot to make me a boy. I was born and everything. Smelted in the forge. I’ve got a good bowl. Weighty handle. But they made me a not-boy. I know I’m a boy. I can feel my cock. Or perhaps it is the stirring of power tools. How can I prove my boyness to you? Or should I proclaim to be a man by now? I do not count age by years but soups. I know I am a man because I do not want to be a woman. Must find a beard. Waiter there’s a hair in my soup. I want to fuck things. I’m always hard as stainless steel. Maker’s mark stamped on my spine. I want to fuck things up.

Monica Carroll (Australian Capital Territory)

Isolator by Monica Carroll book cover
Monica's new book from Recent Work Press



2017/08/31

I knew

I knew the woman who
walked into the river that winter
it took three days to find her
bundled like a sleeping swan
in the frost-sharpened reeds
I was a child in those days
even mud-heavy emptiness
was something to make into a song
practised silently over tea
before going out to play
the new game of Drop Down Dead.


Andrew Turner (UK)

Whatever Happened to Infinity

They call me Nowhere; a non-place
known, at least, to non-people —
They think. But a where cannot
not exist and be a non-position.
Thus logic wins its arm-wrestle
with the Theys and the question.

And I might have a brother nowhere.
Let’s not stop at two. Everywhere
that isn’t somewhere’s nowhere, Brother:
on my right — nowheres in the noughts,
on my other — legion. Simple addition.
Cheers for Nowhere the mathematician.

I’m in love with Anywhere, leader of vague;
queen of can’t-pin-me-down-ness, blipped
into the gap between somewhere and yonder;
my lover, lost wanderer — Anywhere;
unseen but known to be somewhere;
alluring in her wherever.

Then omnipotent Everywhere, god of where-ness
king of location, in every corner
of planets and space. E.W. — slang for Universe.
But he’s only position and place-ness. Our cousins,
Thing-ness and When-ness, each harbour
their deities — Everything, All and Eternity.


E A M Harris (England)


2017/08/09

Ceyx azureus

There,
on a bough of wattle
jutting over water,
a little azure kingfisher,
Ceyx azureus,
sits.

Blue as a summer sky,
bronze-breasted,
stump-tailed,
squat,
with long beak disproportionate,
it waits.

I know that if its
keen eye spots a fish
it will dart down
and splash
and instantly be back there
with its catch.

The summer day being long,
I take a spell from busyness
to sit
in stillness
like this little bird
whose business is stillness.

I watch the kingfisher
watching for fish.


Yvonne Deering (Victoria)

The Wren Boy

I must have been having the time
of my life the year I started singing,
trying hard to remember the words,
but high on applause and silver.

In the lounge bar of a pub
in Swinford I tried out a repertoire
I’d culled from The Clancys and mixed
to a Home Counties hybrid.

Shock-headed, crowd-pleasing,
I might have been one of their own,
giving them back The Irish Rover,
The Woman from Wexford Town.

Lured by the promise of easy pickings,
I tagged along St Stephen’s Day,
togged out as a mummer,
and welcomed for miles around.

Strapped across her shoulder,
my cousin lugged her squeezebox,
melodeon, whatever, down lanes
and over fields. At each house

we stopped I gave them my party piece,
while across the buttons and keys
perished fingers danced
like spiders on warm stones.


David Cooke (UK)

What's a wren boy?

2017/08/02

Purple Lady

Big City
Busy Street
People catching buses

Sit down
Wait for bus
Next to purple lady

Busy busy
Coming and going
Lady unmoving, staring

Odd smell
Is it me?
Hope not

There again
This time stronger
Sweet but unclean

Purple lady
hands unsettled
Mumbles under breath

I look at her

I look

I notice

Short hair once highlighted
Clothes seem neat
Like for travelling
She wears a zipped up purple jacket
Neat and tidy over black pants
Cowboy boots underneath

Clean complexion
In her 30’s
Rather pretty except

Staring vacantly
Waiting for the night
Alone and withdrawn

She is not catching a bus

Should I offer to help?

Last few times
I received fear and anger
I hesitate

Bus arrives and I am whisked away.



A few days later
Walking in the crowd
Face marked with dirt and a white smear

Clothes are the same but
Dirty and unkempt
Greywhite t-shirt hanging out raggedly

The days have been unkind

She is washed away
River of people
Lost in the crowd.

I am filled with sadness, loss, and feel ashamed.


Kim Robertson (Queensland)
First published on the author's blog


2017/07/26

Collision on Winthrop Avenue

It isn’t just the impact
that shocks.

It’s the violence
of the sound
exploding your reveries.

It’s the surprise
of your car spinning
and others whizzing past.

It’s the vehicle
stopping
facing oncoming traffic.

It’s the surprise
of children’s workbooks
strewn across lanes
colouring-in weeping in soft drizzle.

It’s the insistence
of the blaring horn
refusing to be silenced
and the door that won’t open.

It’s the surprise
of what might have been.


Rita Tognini (Western Australia)