A selection of work arising from
two workshops at Dangar Island, March 2018.
Archived in Pandora
from Meuse Press –
FEATURING: Linda Adair, l.e.berry, John Brinnand, Jeanette Campbell, Luciana Croci,
Anne Elvey, Irina Frolova, Marie Mc Millan, Mark Roberts, Ellen Shelley,
Erin Signal, Gillian Swain & Michael Williamson
with Kevlar-like charm
the rogue salesman
escaping the consequences
of near enough is good enough
knowing all the rules to break
one more time.
through the myriad of lies a single strand of truth weaves under and over and through by-passing the negative of this modern world until the only thing that matters is the innate truth of who I am yet in that knowledge there is doubt was Descartes right when he proclaimed his ability to think created his identity or is an artist in her righteousness correct her view of the world the one true one
yet if I am not a thinker a philosopher nor an artist do I have a right to know who I am was Yevtushenko true am I forever doomed to travel in the half-light neither one thing nor another not ichthyoid nor bird not one of them not one of us do I really have an identity that I can call my own hang upon the wall take out on birthdays
am I delusional like a trump hand believing I need to cleanse the world of mixed-blood leaving only those in my image to rule am I right the voices in my head tell me the undiluted truth or has that single strand been corrupted by proximity to its neighbours
Truth be $old
i read my feed today, oh boy
bespoke, it said that I’m a lucky man
and though the news was rather glad
i just had to sigh, can’t remember why
i agreed they could spy
like sugar, the feed delivers its hit
to my posse of righteous friends
but with no nourishment, no gristle or cud
i hang out to score, craving more
cheap shots, any trending whore
algorithm-shuffled-metadata plots my profile
my every want and then some
lures me to the free market (where nothing’s free)
merchandise I might like to buy, friends I may like
or at least try, any fish to fry
discounted for quick turnover, yesterday’s tweet
a post-truth stale sale to make of what you will
perhaps a rum trifle with alternate facts and double fake-news
then caption a trifling selfie, upload it to your feed
pray it goes viral, becomes the new creed
when identity is fashion and fashion identity
every body corporate, available to deal
you have to wonder, is anything for real
so if you’re a truth-seeker and not sure where to look
my advice…….get your arse off Facebook
The room resonates with chatter,
I sit, hands curled around my coffee cup,
try to look connected.
Those each side are turned away
conversing with others, palpable wall.
I stand and stroll towards the supper table,
feign interest, take a chocolate, unwrap the foil.
Friends are in a huddle of intensity,
maybe I can nudge my way in,
become a part.
I shift towards the trio,
linger on the outside.
No-one steps back, welcomes me in,
Compelled to withdraw,
I creep from the festive mood,
retreat to the balcony,
sneak down the stairs.
I head towards the safety of my car,
slip in behind the steering wheel,
draw away from the kerb,
drive into the night
Day at Dangar
houses are half thoughts
sheds of corrugated iron used timber flaking fibro
paint mould-stained or peeling
no fences each house separated by its own debris
weeds wooden posts slashed trees ––
pink ginger's spent shells
are skeletons on pirates' ragged pennants
dangling below a Cornish tower
on a treasure island off the Penzance shore ––
tin bird baths are coracles
aground on jagged rocks
in oceans of littered leaves
you can walk the island in a half-hour
presumptuous earthen paths named like city streets
where the smell of gasolene and diesel linger ––
no cars just motor boats and ferry ––
then a stone patio high over water
the sun reflects in glimpse of golden sandstone
behind fruit trellises and pink autumn camellias
a mish-mash of succulents and lilies –– a house where inside and outside meet
where walls become verandahs overgrown with climbers
where strength of giant bamboos aligns with antique wood
and energy radiates through elongated windows
on scattered cushions silks curios
and paintings and tapestries gleam from every wall.
A house where brown-eyed Susan dwells.
below via Mulino, Sottochiesa
The mill road runs two ways: beside and
down to a stream then upward slightly
toward land with the feel keep out, something
of tradition, privacy, perhaps also
privation. Water makes a short
fall over rocks smoothing, then pooling before
picking up pace under Sottochiesa Bridge. Pebbles
and course. Near the creek’s edge one stands out –
a stone the size of my fist. Deep grey. Threaded
with white. A hatching of white, patterned
like a Mondrian. Or hieroglyph that tells
the flow of stepped days under stacked
wall, as if human-constructed – naturally. Seams
of stone in stone. I have no tools to decipher and
dissect, or to date these signs formed in pulse under
acqua minerale naturale, glide of grit over grain.
All but the Moon
Alone in the sleeping street
A small flame in one hand
contends with a bigger unseen one.
Ashes fall quietly - thought
after burning thought. Later
the wind will sweep them aside.
The moon, she watches
through the foam of clouds.
They too shall pass.
She’s seen it all: the burning,
fallen ashes. All go.
There will be stillness.
Marie Mc Millan
Like a button sewn onto a cuff,
the thread of love secures and binds,
permitting the button of oneself
to slide smoothly
into the button hole
of the other;
the fit a happy captive.
The filament, the love bond,
needs careful choice …
cotton and silk gratifying,
in thread and fabric,
for both could chafe,
The knot securely tightened,
its immutable durability,
leaves no room for unravelling.
Properly chosen, carefully maintained,
conjoined, the dyad strengthens and endures.
across night desert
a scattering of lights
a richness of stars
in daylight stories
are hidden here
at night they call
reaching through the sky
in this plane
watch a movie
try to sleep
My body’s a swing scaling air -
graze asphalt like flint.
Under the surface and all around,
what’s left shakes like sawdust
a door slamming shut.
Your scent of indifference
opens me up
a whale in mid yawn
an isolated speck,
inhaled then out.
I remain in the dark
layers of skin
rubbed raw from rocking,
pinned between sheets
a pressed flower dries
the colour of a bruise.
from the asphalt
neon slashes paths
for the hungry beneath
which the creature appears
luminous scales descend
grip ground one by one
by designer shoes
flash like retinas
exits the car
retrieves feet later
follows yellow slick road
from side street where spiders
bide spinning their traps
he paints pavement
with phone light
creature twine trips
young beauty in traffic
knee hand emesis tripod
grips world amid toots
friend holds back
Howling. The walls have ears but are no help
probably have answers too
but cannot offer them, cannot be heard.
The cry travels vast distances, reaches out, way out
rooftops rest mute watch it pass
over tiles mottled with moss and the remnants of silty air
terracotta peppered with discarded words.
The window is grimy, wishes the voice had swept the grit away with it.
The glass is no clearer
like the lungs that had flung this surging grief into sound.
They remain heavy yet empty
the walls remain quiet.
Howling. Like a wolf I raise my chin to the sky
my song to the air, my heart to the moon.
The night is an audience of stories with good manners
hanging and quietly listening to this truth-telling.
The sky’s arms are wide open
arcing, like my neck.
The moon does not mind that I
did not wait for it
to be full.
My voice is dense with its light.
I am giving the bed of stars
fresh, one thousand thread-count rest
crisp clean luxuriant.
drink the cotton scented confessions
before they sleep.
Red wine, a joke about
his brown paintings. For good-
byes, a photo in plastic:
“You might like this…
I don’t:” Michelangelo’s
her grave, deserving head
on her rolling bicep,
her tumescent pigtail
draped under her right
breast, her nipples
dolphin’s eyes. Beneath
her loaded shoulder,
his mask, eyes alarmed,
weary, for her
for life. Below
her raised white thigh,
the vulva-headed owl.
Across the listening hall,
just the hands
of your wife in bed,
burning red nails.
MEUSE PRESS publishes this collection.
All work © the authors.