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Poetry Collaboration







Archived in Pandora


from Meuse Press –





Work arising from workshops in 2016.



FEATURING: David Atkinson, Louise Berry, Wendy Fleming, Betty Johnston, Gemma Mahadeo,

Cecilia Morris, Claire Roberts, Gisela Sophia, Lyn Vellins & James Walton




David Atkinson

Eddies of Memory


Murray and Darling junction;

river red gum saplings, reeds,

subdued chatter of yellow rosellas.


Deep convergence, silence.

A flashback fifty years;

sitting in a primary class,

remote country town.

Teacher strides. Our great rivers,

highways of the pioneers.


Wooden desk, attached chair;

cramped for a gangly boy.

Initials “B.T.”, a predecessor’s etching.

Sunlight dances on last year’s

ink spill.


Remnant fragments swirl,

corellas circling on the river.

Recollections flow, the tributaries

of recall; unconscious eddies.


Memory drifts back

like skeins of geese returning

to the river as daylight pales.



Louise Berry



branches scatter garden and verge

sun glints through gum’s dying leaves


does it know its life

is to expire under the roar of chainsaws

will it curse me with its dying sap

leave me to roast when its shade is removed


I grieve in advance

yet my remaining peace 

shattered in the chatter

of those carrying out my wish

protecting my home



I know that to take a life

for one’s own comfort

shows a callousness

hiding under a veneer of justification

will my guilt be eased

by another


am I and my ilk

the cause of global warming

will the anger of citizens

swamped by rising seas

remove my last vestiges of peace


you’re too thin skinned

I hear my mother say 


inside I know 

I committed an ecological crime

will spend the rest of my days

repenting         replanting       watering

forgiving myself.


Wendy Fleming

The day I decide to sort my sock drawer is the day the phone rings 10 times


to tell me of your demise.


I have seven pairs of dark blue socks,

several of abstract design and one green

knee high with black hoops (cost $30)

a hole in the right foot.


Some official, probably police,

called first, announced your death

in breathy voice said   ‘hospital…

but nothing could be done’ 


I like to wear the knee highs

or the green and purple stripes

feel a bit out there, member of a club

My rebel mum , you said.


The next caller and the next after that

and the next after that said

He was doing what he loved.

One EVEN said, His art consumed him.


It was JK6 who filled me in. He said

you had finished your best piece ever.

Look out for it rolling on freight

all over Queensland, back of beyond 


like the others it will make it to LA

The outrageous flares, vivid colours 

fit for angels. Like he knew. He said.


He said you were flying high, then Icarus-like

forgot the rules, leant back, punched overhead

power lines …melted man atop the car.

FAME. is yours


I'd celebrate wearing those loopy socks. If it didn't hurt so much.

Previously published Eureka St


Betty Johnston

The present as third party



are not the thing.


Even dressed in my best

and with a clean handkerchief

I’d feel more in keeping

hung on the wall

above the old Chinese vase.



is chopping wood, and scruffy

drinking tea on the back steps

with you.


Gemma Mahadeo

a sketch for a modern loss poem

after Tadeusz Rozewicz’s ‘A Sketch For A Modern Love Poem’ (trans. Czeslaw Milosz)


white is stark

grey, more reassuring.

petrol-feathered roadkill

coalesces on molten granite;

summer, in december


old love poems describe, inscribe.

flesh extols papyric virtues of minutiae;

eyelashes tease unsated skin



is tangible hunger


rattle the pips of an apple core

carcase; cages ripen solely for

marriage to century eggs.

that bird not yet born

putrifies. pomegranate molasses

plagiarise blood in vain

wasted organic chem texts


water : transparent thirst


absence, made flesh.

a description of love, this

  statistic seems high, tho—

hyper modern; loss

- a poem.


Cecilia Morris

Sometimes a day just passes


nothing marks it

not even the date

life measured in habits

something ordinary


that encasement in mind

an incoming tide

a girl standing small in a wooden door frame

wearing a grey tunic with black patent shoes

no pick up sticks or spinning top

just a girl

recording what she misses

someone still hurts for her


Claire Roberts

Behind and Before the Day

after Matthew

There's a voice barely
decipherable above the river water
sweeping a name under the tide.
Open-armed sunlight slowly passes
until evening throws darkness
over the city like a body bag
behind and before the day.

Comparison to the Continent

after Philippe Jaccottet

Outside daylight tunes its colours. Grignan
flowers: here woody as a girl's hairbrush.

Underfoot branches creak like floorboards
and dry grasses
pass a whisper along their fingertips;

there are no frail slits of flowers but a trumpet-shaped
orange and yellow Chrysophaea dipping its nose into a flame.



Now the summer flies hardly move
but seem bolted to the air.
The Overland passes the aged
Eucalyptus Pauciflora
bent with the seriousness
of their agreement with fire.


Behind and Before the Day:
the title refers to one of Matthew John Davies’ poems “Behind and Before the Day”.

Comparison to the Continent
: the italicised phrase 'frail slits of flowers' comes from Philippe Jaccottet's prose poem 'Colours, La-Bas' as part of And, Nonetheless: Selected Prose and Poetry 1990-2009  (Chelsea Editions, 2011).


Gisela Sophia

friday night

             fragmentation blues



their bellies bloat with corporation kilojoules consumed

     in solitary, their livers close to drowning in currents

of inebriation more perfidious than coastal rips 


infatuated with big sugar’s kool-aid promise of satiated

      cravings they’ve fallen for the anodyne convenience of

24/7 over-easy TV series that leave them all singularly


slouched on no-frills couches optimized for goggling

     celebrity gourmets self-marinated in medium-rare ratings

battles with teenage zombie vampires who now


proliferate on pornographically super-sized flat screens

    while tweets & texts metastasize unnoticed on symbiotic

my-phones flashing error messages about pixelating frontal


lobes & terabytes of far too torpid neurons languidly

     asphyxiating in sticky inter-webs of unredacted megadata

nothing that another virus check & defrag can’t fix


Lyn Vellins

Colour me popular culture.

On watching the final of Breaking Bad and looking back.


There’s nothing but chemistry here.

But doesn’t it seem like something’s missing?

What about the soul? Not life alone.

Death, too many blue on gold deaths ignored

all put on the line for that rush.


The incomparable contrast of freedom and control

hasten Heisenberg to his eventful downfall.


White amused by blue, Sky betrayed by an eye

the fallen king, victim of his own breaking body.


Out of control Pink and White zig and zag

as they crackle through hoops and sharp reliefs


Jesse and Walt spin into tribalism

deep shadows etched on their faces


Blue meth twisted out of White and Pink.


Who cares about Saul?

Endless life possibilities miss the fact:

The heart of the Matter is Gray.


James Walton

Dark Falls by Railway Lines/

The Murderer’s Motif


How the souls cry out their battered endings

from this shallow dumping ground,

here where the train gasps going by,

the abandoned rooms licking their cracked sour paint.


The sandy track glimpsed looking up

from the page or lap top,

the endearing favourite song fluttering in scrubby messmate,

my decorative sentinels shedding skins.


So carefully placed and tended now,

a travelling case, glove, sweater, leaky shoe,

the pair left at home in mistake,

the two dollar umbrella bought especially.


Cured now of all sentient need,

this is how I haunt those lost in waiting,

with the feinted shadow that old mail left unopened

offers the respite of a returnee’s call.


I shimmy down the greasy pole of hope

into the baking sweaty wakeful nights,

the fire blanket of visitation suffocates any promise

that no news tantalises the kindling of a chance. 


And into this terrarium of ordinary come exotic

is strained the pattern of vicarious makings,

for a scaffold of all the generous donations,

to craft the collection of what cannot be named.


My heart out of tune from this riff raff life,

sometimes sirens pass by other streets,

the arias of justice play to the audience of the comfortable.

Loaded up, all the mementos burned out of the vanity of possession,


leave only traces of material anonymity.

Gathered from their singularities my vacancies are filled,

one big breath on the overpass,

the express rushes to me.

Previously published Bluepepper




MEUSE PRESS publishes this collection.

All work © the authors.