A selection of work arising from the 2020 workshops in
BRIGHTON & DANGAR ISLAND
FEATURING: Richard C. Bell, l.e.berry, H. I. Cosar, Luciana Croci,
K de Kline, Jennie Fraine, Sandra G. Lanteri, Virginia Lowe,
Kate Lumley, Peter Mitchell, Cecilia Morris, Ellen Shelley and Erin Signal.
Archived in Pandora
from Meuse Press –
been drinking I think it was
and the unfamiliar roads
unfolded past the car
as I turned the pages
of the street directory
it was falling apart
we too felt that way
Sue I said let’s stop
find out where we are
and where we’re going
go home to bed
I added hopefully
but you changed up
and my hand
slid off your thigh
he eyed his favourite
slid into warm water
on his back
he wriggled in anticipation
at a clap of his hands
a slave brought grapes
filled his goblet
drops glistened then ran
he moved in anticipation
his toga slipped further
down his oil-softened torso
sweat dripped from his
brow down his chest
he stood in anticipation
warm water glided
over his once rippled
chest then sent
creases to water’s edge
he swam in anticipation
H. I. Cosar
The Demoiselle Crane
You are preparing - it is not yet time
You are hard wired to uphold tradition
You will follow the path of generations
So I will wait
But listen- is that the whisper of changing winds
I feel the lick of monsoon on the back of my neck
(or is that a memory of your kiss)
Fly to me my sweet crane fly
over lustrous wetlands
through ferocious winds
across shadows of snow capped mountains
face and fight the golden eagle- win
how to dwell in deserts
how to move with seasons
how to survive this mess
Since the storms pushed me
Off our path
I’m a vagrant near the brolgas
Who peck me away
They don’t hear my cry
I am a crane too
You can hear me
through the sky and deep seas
Come to me
I know you want to dance too
Put your face near mine
I want to see your skin change colour
and expand from joy
Fly to me
so we can dance
to our ancient song
gases make peace,
rain down as water
harden as land.
Skull plates grate
in the throes of fever
magma spews into mountains
steals into seas
warms ocean streams.
Aeons of cold
welds water to ice
stay for a while
in cycles of change.
We thought She stopped
falling through time.
In our Garden of Eden
we were bold
all was allowed.
Gaia's agony of becoming
is ours now,
we cling to her bosom,
caught in the helter-skelter.
K de Kline
When you left
we loved like
our kisses, fresh
we snorted lines
wrestled skeleton trees
crooned away to KD:
hold me captive
just a while
on willow-pattern plates
and pieces of tin foil
I chased the dragon
when you left
I found long blonde strands
tangling on the purple sofa
a book of poems
about a tired sky
and a plane
when you left
From the 2019 workshop, Prev published Backstory.
FOR THE PALMS UNDER THE SIX UNDERPASSES
Darling Harbour, Sydney
The way your topknots dance I sense
you get some kind of rush from the waves
of cars and trucks whose tyres send
vibrations to the earth in which your feet
are sturdily planted. Sitting here, I admire
your delinquent greens, stubborn undergrowth.
Whatever feeds you, it isn’t classical
melodies, or songbird assurances,
or the swash of warm Pacific beaches.
Here comes your squawking chorus:
two rosellas, a dozen galahs, a lone
cockatoo, counterpointed by a horn,
the grunt of an impatient motorbike,
more blasts. Now a sharp-beaked heron
pierces your space through
the invisible fabric surrounding you.
The waters nearby
remain single-minded, imperturbable.
The birds, entangled briefly,
spin away, agents of cacophony.
Sandra G. Lanteri
Eve’s been with him for some time now
and though delivered fashionably designed
to his precise specifications,
he occasionally wishes his daily rituals
are not always met with her
silent, predictable acquiescence,
then smiles at such arrant hypocrisy
and returns her to his favourite closet
Dicing with Poverty
I am convinced [the Old One] does not play dice with the universe. Einstein
The bridge kept the rain off but not the rapists. The dog kept the cold at bay, but couldn’t prevent bullying. A Macca’s filled the hunger void without supplying any noticeable nutrition. Goddog in tatters pushed a laden trolley under the bridge, pulled out an old blue sleeping bag and laid it in a spare space. A tin of tuna and a loaf of sliced sourdough led to an outpouring of tales amongst which violent husbands featured most often as the protagonists. Shehe was amused by the thought of the fancy fairy tale princesses in their beautiful virginal white dresses devolving so quickly into battered mistreated wives. What irony! How these humans ran their society! These homeless women had done all the caring for little or no money, and now were cast out of home to sleep on the streets. Society, which had deprived them in their working years, made no attempt to find compensatory accommodation, even to sleep out of the weather, let alone to call their own for ever. Doggod allowed the deserted women to play a game with Hisher dice for a few moments, then remembered planet Yorg with its goodbye songs and favourite meals, as the innocent well-wishing inhabitants tended to the dying. Taking the dice back Shehe rolled them to see what they would decree.
The last walk we took
for Glenda Linscott
Along the littoral at Cullendulla,
past middens mosaicked on the sand
a flick of fish corral between mangroves
soldier crabs are the mud’s heartbeat
on the bay, black swans cut their form
from air to water then back to air
the salty freight of wind hums through casuarinas,
a low lament that rounds the shore.
I am prone
on the carpet: eyes closed, muscles tight-strings.
Depression clouds; the sum of my worth:
zeros line the horizon.
Taps drip, a huntsman
runs under the table
& the earth spins.
The bed-clothes call Come back.
I am a bird-man
in a warm nest.
Later I rise,
a body vast with longing,
but breathe deeply & trust,
a green vista just ahead.
& sweet bitterness, the hearth
of a cigarette & the sun's divinity
on my shoulders, cushion the muscles.
I slide Open Up by Leftfield
into the player. The drums
and base thud. My feet step
one-two beats & swirl around the loungeroom.
John Lydon snarls Burn Hollywood Burn
& whirls my body through
the rickle of the day.
Breezy early morning summer.
I slip with ease into red garden clogs.
Shasta daisies like blotted cream
bend and sway and Hollyhocks
float pink lace edged petticoats.
I move beyond the large green leaves of
the Taro which gives me a gentle smack,
keeps me alert to walk on stepping stones.
Against the old paling fence,
beneath the violin shaped leaves of the Fig tree
is the Green Goddess Lily, its cone like contoured
flowers captivate my eye.
I’ve overshot the path a little,
there’s a nest of 4 eggs under the
Plumbago it’s built too low for comfort,
The magpies will have a treat.
Nearby the honeyeater hangs topsy turvy
to sip nectar from the Chinese Lantern
I delight knowing its botanical name Abutilen.
Then the phone call and you tell me
tests found something growing inside you.
But you can’t name the thing.
You leave it up to me to ask the question.
When I Listen
to the not so pretty
down here in this trailer-park an inlet both wild & farmed
tinnies rev hard the oysters fix to brackish racks
at the end of a road
people knocking on a last resort
& time is a stand-still
washed up particles hidden from only who knows what
numbness opened at the same time each day —
but little matters here in the off the grid
the unobserved routine of apathy resigned to basics
the unstitched plastic of a foldout chair
patched over hardened against the ground
stumbling becomes an opening
a fissure for the grime
isolation seals off its contents
trading in its warmth the only way it can
I put in the new hearing aid and fly
from muted bush to crisp golden rustles.
Birds in stereo as we take the rise
through a butterfly cloud, my girl and I.
She stomps to scare snakes; we place hands with care
as the old ones did laying their stencils,
knowledge in expelled ochre
on rocks undulate as my prosthesis.
Now Bunjil crouches in a tiny cave
with daubed dogs behind bars and barbed wire.
A roo stirs with a crackle and I squeal,
spin, come to rest against the smoky wall.
Domestic calm enfolds me where untold
other daughters and mothers talked by fires.
MEUSE PRESS publishes this collection.
All work © the authors.