Australian

Poetry Collaboration

#28

 

Intense Workshops

Dangar Island

 
A selection of work arising from
two workshops at Dangar Island, March 2018.
 

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from Meuse Press –

http://meusepress.tripod.com/Meuse.htm

 

 

 

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

 

 

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Linda Adair

Dodging Bullets

 

Again …

with Kevlar-like charm

the rogue salesman

floats by

without concern

or comeuppance

escaping the consequences

of near enough is good enough

knowing all the rules to break

one more time.

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l.e.berry

Bubble Babble

 

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

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John Brinnand

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

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Jeanette Campbell

Belonging

 

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,

overlooked, disregarded.

 

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

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Luciana Croci

Day at Dangar

(for Susan)

 

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.

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Anne Elvey

Inscribed stone

   

     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.

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Irina Frolova

All but the Moon

 

Alone in the sleeping street

you linger.

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.

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Marie Mc Millan

The Dyad

 

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,

weakness gauged,

in thread and fabric,

for both could chafe,

become frayed.

 

The knot securely tightened,

its immutable durability,

leaves no room for unravelling.

 

Properly chosen, carefully maintained,

conjoined, the dyad strengthens and endures.

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Mark Roberts

Hidden (17/12/2017)

 

leaving melbourne

flying northwest

across night desert

below

a scattering of lights

above

a richness of stars

in daylight stories

are hidden here

at night they call

singing

            across country

reaching through the sky

            in this plane

we eat

watch a movie

try to sleep

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Ellen Shelley

Desiccated

 

My body’s a swing     scaling air -

chained limbs

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.

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Erin Signal

Serpent

 

dark seeps
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
of discovered
prey
teen boy
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
sweep
girls bobble
creature twine trips
young beauty in traffic
knee hand emesis tripod
grips world amid toots
friend holds back
glossy curtain
of hair

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Gillian Swain

Howl

 

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

still heaving

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

clean sheets

fresh, one thousand thread-count rest

crisp clean luxuriant.

The stars

drink the cotton scented confessions

before they sleep.

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Michael Williamson

Michelangelo’s “Night”                                   

 

Red wine, a joke about

his brown paintings. For good-

byes, a photo in plastic:

“You might like this…

I don’t:” Michelangelo’s

recumbent marble

‘Night’ rests

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,

sculpting

burning red nails.

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MEUSE PRESS publishes this collection.

All work © the authors.

 

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