the last groove

the plates drip dry
up-turned cups drain
as water runs in rivulets
into the sink

smoke escapes
from the chimney
of the house
across the garden
while black birds forage
pull up worms
from moist
new turned soil

music is playing somewhere
but for now
my revolution is over
on the sterile CD
the unscratched
version of the Pistols
has come to an end

how I miss the sound
of a stylus
playing the last groove

Jim Bennett (UK)


The catbeing

A sleeping catbeing,
black white ochre body curled,
furred cheek turned
     (Her free ear flicks
     as I shift on the wooden stool,
     as my sock scuffs the floor)
The catbeing, catmind, lithe catbody
has made her toilette
     (as Eliot said)
and now takes her repose

Pets are banned
But she is not my pet
Responsibility is claimed
by Unit 33
Kipper, their collar calls her
     (A motorbike dopplers past:
     her head lifts, then subsides)
She is the gentlest
of the three local catbeings,
the one most partial to humans
     (or, at least, to me)
She has come to my room for refuge,
for a pause in her difficult war
with the powerful catbeing from
beyond the fence
whom I stroked at lunchtime
but did not admit

The weary catbeing has come to rest
on the faded quilt I use
as a meditation seat
I unfold it to cat dimensions,
smooth its green 70s geometries
flat on the scarred sofa
     (catbeings enjoy a soft bed)
She kneads and stretches and washes,
clips her claws with her teeth,
clamping and yanking,
then works through a sequence of postures
until, eventually, she settles.
     (I unplug the phone)

Her spine is an opening parenthesis,
a yang matched by the yin of her tail
All along her rounded back
her filaments stand proud, separate,
like iron filings inscribing
the north and south of a magnetic field.
The purring catbeing, earthed, live,
is locus, nexus, nucleus —
a cluster of cells making waves
of Thursday afternoon peace.

Jackson (Western Australia)


Broken TV

‘My mind is a TV with no sound. And the teletext is broken. But the show goes on and I have to watch.

It gets really good around 2am. Sometimes beautiful women light up the screen.
Sometimes they teach you how to fuck.
Sometimes they fall in love with men with perfect shoulders.
Sometimes they just spend hours talking.

Sometimes there are men fighting. Sometimes they bite great chunks out of each other.
Sometimes they stab and shoot and burn.
Sometimes they hold each other.
Sometimes they cry and bleed and die.

Sometimes there's just a kid who looks sad. He's got no toys so he makes friends with the mice in his walls. He builds little houses for them out of boxes off the floor. He makes tiny mice sized toys for them.

Sometimes there are just people crying.

Sometimes there is a teenage girl lying curled up in a ball on the floor. She writes in a diary that she just wants to die.

Sometimes there are women with empty bellies and blood on their feet. They sit on the ends of beds for hours. Just crying and holding their stomachs while men watch.

Sometimes there is a man buying a rope. No one asks him why he only wants rope.

Sometimes everyone is happy.
Sometimes everyone is laughing.
Sometimes a cat falls asleep on a dog.

Sometimes lovers finish each other's thoughts.
Sometimes a kiss leads to sex.
Sometimes they fall asleep all tangled up like a plate of spaghetti.

Sometimes nothing happens.

Well actually, dark happens. Different shades of dark. Sometimes that happens for ages.

Sometimes when it's dark I wonder if I could stop watching.
But without any sound what would happen to the pictures?
Sometimes I wish I could fix it. Sometimes I wish I could turn it all the way up so someone else could listen while I shut my eyes.’

Megan Watson (Western Australia)

Holiday Town

We watch them come, from Cup Day on,
The caravans and tents.
They’ll all be here on Boxing Day.
The foreshore will be dense.

They’re here — street signs are mangled now,
To confuse our whereabouts.
We shrug and sigh, and say aloud,
‘It’s all those holiday louts.’

Picket fences, letterboxes,
Local structures all abused.
We pay the damage someone does
Just to be amused.

The shops are full of trolleys.
They jam up all the aisles,
And queues to all the things we want
Go back for miles and miles.

But wait! We see kids paddling
And playing on the sand,
The bike track’s used by families,
They’re all in Happy Land.

The holidays end, it’s ‘Back to School’,
They’ve packed up in a flash.
So come again you happy lot,
And don’t forget your cash!

Shirley Burgess (Victoria)
First published in Positive Words


cradle of extinction

a cradle and a darkened glass
the moss of our extinction
hoarded here

the brush of skin and ash and hair
their fall a cry of loss
made infinitely small and rare

the tree that holds a family
comes to this
a hand-made dress
of Limerick lace

the bones of heirs
laid down to fade, to rest

Marjorie Lewis-Jones (New South Wales)


her nails dug in through flesh and pith
released the scent of Californian groves
and made an orange smile

Jim Bennett (UK)

on seed dispersal

! flood, come : wet the
. cells chime, molecules
bind : a body of water
stands up, stretching

rain-shaking hair slick
everywhere : here, the
pitter-patter’s chatter, as
heard by earth. girth

of seasonal birth is a
surge that drowns this
world in aqua love so
tense, plants relinquish

of themselves, circumvent
. future floral instances
float trope, swimming
pool in hope of rooting

from which to sew growth
, out further, at wetland’s
highest slope, a new note of
how melaleucas cope under

......& the paperbarks gasp
grasp air round themselves
holdfast as trunks dive &
descend & up, water table

Scott-Patrick Mitchell (Western Australia)