2017/10/11

Sentiment

It’s your bad handwriting
I like to look at,
your giant hands,
sharp stubble,
the grey in your hair,
the lines on your face,
jagged finger nails,
you picking food from your teeth.

I don’t want you to catch me
there
looking. I’m too afraid I’ll annoy you
by saying the wrong thing.

But I'll always be right there.
Unless the cat walks in.


Gayle Richardson (UK)


Hoarder

When I asked my brain to stop playing games with me
it made my eyes roll so far back
I could see flashes of where all the self-punishment began.

I felt so stupid the moment I realised —
It wasn’t my brain on a mission to destroy me.
It was just all that junk I chose to hoard up there.


Gayle Richardson (UK)


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?