My communion coat got left on the bus
It is lost
My communion coat got left on the bus
And Dad is sorry
But it is lost
Someone else is wearing it now, I suppose
My new red coat

My communion coat cost seven pounds
(Granny Griffin paid)
Seven pounds!
‘And what am I to tell her now?’ shouts Mum
And she cries
And slaps my face, hard
‘You should never have taken it off!’

I remember the day my communion coat got left on the bus
Dad pawned it in the shop on Talbot Street
While I waited outside
And we never did get a bus
We walked home
And it was cold
With no coat

SG Capelli (Western Australia)

My Father’s Dying

My Father is dying.
Week by week the cancer swallows him up
so every week they have to move him
and every week the wards get smaller
and the walls close in around us

My Father is dying.
Today, he’s holding an orange, deep in thought
and no, he doesn’t want me to peel it for him
He just wants to hold it, he says,
‘I might smell it tomorrow. Maybe.’

It’s tomorrow, and my Father is dying,
and they need to move him to the hospice
but it’s proving difficult
because finally I comprehend that my Father is dying
and they need me to shut up wailing, now!
But I don’t know that I’m wailing

so I’m crying, pushing them away, shouting ‘fuck off nuns!’
as another version of me,
surprised, puzzled,
peers inside my soul,
‘What’s wrong with you? You don’t even know him’

SG Capelli (Western Australia)


open home

an so it is so i look inside
an i see wot i want
so she sezta me ya gotta take a chans
an i saw ta meself all them fings i like
thay ar jus wot she likes
an i carnt see eny reezin wy not
cos th sine sez its open an its home
an nobody mus be livin ther
cos th dor is open like thay sez
an evrythn is jus ther for evrywn to like

an then im inside an im lookin aroun
an my eys kinda gettin ussta it
til its not dark eny more
so i can see all thees fings
an i jus no sheel like em jus like i wd
an so i look aroun an kinda make a list
like wen ya go shoppin or wot ya want
for crissmus in case enywn evva shoz up
wen ya sposed ta be sleepin
an not holdin ya breth or jus pretendin

so therz a big room now
an im lookin aroun wv me list in me hed
but its a bit mixt up cos i keep seein
fings that i like an i no she likes
an fings i dunno wot thay ar
but thay look kinda cool an maybe cost a lot
an yeh maybe sheed reely like em 2
an yeh i wish she wos here yeh here wv me
so then i cd aks her
an then she cd tell me wot she reely likes
now my heds in a spin an i dunno wotta do
cos therz 2 meny fings to choos

but i don wonta make her sorry
an ya don get a chans like this very offen
so i turn roun wv me eys still sorta gettin ussta it
an i see a pitcha an i stop but i dunno wy
but enyway i look clos an pick it up
an it sorta makes me wonta cry
so i stop wile i can jus in case in case
she trys ta tell me sumfin diffrent

so then its sif im havin a dreem
sif im finkin about wen i was littel
wen she was warm an she had pretty hair
an flowrs an she ussta hol me hand doun the beesh
an showd me birds an shyny fish an seeshels
or sung me songs i didden unnerstan
nah but then ther wos a storm or a fire
an peepel havin fites or sumfin ya no
punchin an yellin all kindsa stuff i didden get
cos it wos dark an i wos jus ther by meself

an now she sezta me ya gotta go son
ya shouldna be here ya gotta find the lite
an follo it home 2 ya reel home
yeh i rekkin yeh but i dunno wotta do
cos i seen so meny fings i no sheel like
an i wanna giv her sumfin so she noz
im still here an this is an open home
jus like it sez on the sine out th front
an then maybe sheel tell me
wy i still got all thees tearz in me eys

Ian Gibbins (South Australia)

Howdy Mate

you beauty
what a prize
you're a champ mate
booze you made, mate
hits the spot
number one for me
howdy mate
your brew
is number one
you're a champ
hits the spot
right on
you beauty mate
what a surprise
the booze you made

Stephen Cole (Western Australia)



Back in the really wild days,
in this colonial outpost
as mud and stone houses went up
and Noongar folk looked on bewildered and confused,
so much was said by poets and others
about the wind in the Casuarinas.
As if that wind were sent to spook us.
Spindly trees with skinny leaves
all along the banks of the Swan.
Their real name Kweela.
That wind is surely just a wind?

Those skinny leaves make a soft and constant sound,
no ululation, no change in pitch,
just a long whisper, like a distant jet,
whooshing through our ears
reminding us of way way back
before we left our mark, and what a mark we left!
And now we've named a prison after those skinny trees
and fill it with the bewildered and confused...

Don Smith (Western Australia)


Post Office Creek, Bidyadanga

cod and red bream gasp
beat mud with their tails      a bird
calls from the mangrove                 spiders
prick the water’s edge to eddies

the ocean sighs in a bailer shell
Venus rises      all the other stars come out
from beyond the sandbar the sea calls
its Saltwater people
                                   draws their spirit
                                                                               with the tide

Rita Tognini (Western Australia)


I keep having this dream where

there is a crack running the length of Main Street;
when it rains the crack fills and flows like a river.
Tonight it is raining
Oil slicks on the road reflect street lamps;
artificial Northern Lights.

He hadn’t paid his power bill, so
he leads me through his apartment by the light on his phone.
In his bedroom I see the mess even in the almost dark.
His bed is a mattress on the floor;
sheets barely cover it.
He lets go of my hand, pulls his shirt over his head.
The light flickers as the phone battery runs low;
he puts the phone away.
He undresses me.
In the dark I stand, naked, in front of him.

But then I reach for this zip along my side.
The zip begins under my arm and runs the length of my torso.
There is another along the length of either leg — hip to ankle.

I step out of my skin.

A river runs out of me like the one in the crack along the sidewalk.

I’m much smaller now
                                                  much more myself.

Tamasine Loves (Victoria)


In my grandparents’ taut October house
time was a hanging fruit
swayed by the sea wind

My grandma finished her portion first
dropping by the mangle,
the pips still in her mouth.

Andrew Turner (UK)