I remember all sorts of things, that’s the problem. They all lie like objects you wouldn’t want to touch, on the surface of a scummy canal. Take one up and you’ll find that only a bit of it is visible amongst all the other dirt. The rest lies below the surface, out of sight in the murk where nothing can live anyway. In some places the water has backed up and looks like old, thick skin, as if some elephant met his end there and this is all that remains of him. It’s orange from the bacteria that feed off it. On cold nights, you can see the mist rising. Not like normal calm hovering but like it’s being spat out from underneath.

Take this here for example. A fragment of something. Could be an old photograph printed on glass. Is that someone’s eye looking at us now, looking across some medium I cannot name. Time maybe, whatever that really is. Careful now, it’s sharp. One day, they will come and clean the canal, drag it all into dirty, rusting barges and, since no one is going to take on the job of sorting that lot, they’ll bury it. In a licensed hole somewhere. Dump it and then push the earth back on top with a heavy machine that breathes out thick, black smoke when it gathers itself to move. The water will be clean then, free of history and ready for the holidaymakers’ boats.

Jim Conwell (UK)


Corner of a room

Can a room
preserve a memory?
The key is hidden,
but the curtain is drawn
back to allow the eyes
to settle on other lights.
Chairs, a table simply laid,
canvases at rest,
quietly the corner emerges
from darkness.
Summoned by the act of patience,
it is there in the mind's uncharted
corridors where life goes on.

Byron Beynon (Wales, UK)


"at rivers edge"

at rivers edge
this blackest swan
licking at my feet (again)
and the concretes
all spin up, up
at those weak birak skies
not ever deep, only ever
just bunuru empty

and in djeran
sometimes May storms
pummel-wreck our vegetables
spring onions broken, uneaten
and makuru silverbeet trainwrecks
and bugs, fat brown caterpillars
wait in plastic containers
for some hint
of djilba spring

yet here, kambarang
keeps the chiddi chiddi
talking, swish-tails at insects

seasons here, brother
are measured not in ¼s
but six times
until birak licks
at my feet (again)

Allan Boyd, aka Antipoet (Western Australia)

Editor's note: Click here to learn more about the six seasons of south-west Western Australia.