Australian

Poetry Collaboration

#32

 

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

PREVIOUS ISSUES

 

from Meuse Press –

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

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Richard C. Bell

I’m driving she said

 

we had

been drinking I think it was

champagne

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

or

 

go home to bed

I added hopefully

 

but you changed up

from second

to third

grimly

 

and my hand

slid off your thigh

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l.e.berry

ROMAN BATHS

 

he eyed his favourite

slid into warm water

leisurely turned

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

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H. I. Cosar

The Demoiselle Crane

 

I

know

the

journey

south

is

long

 

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

 

Teach me

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

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Luciana Croci

Non-time

 

Gradually

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

island footholds

stay for a while

then submerge

Gaia inconstant

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,

fearful

caught in the helter-skelter.

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K de Kline

When you left

 

+

we loved like demons
our kisses, fresh
and fugitive

we snorted lines

as Cave 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
the wind
and you

 

+
when you left
I found long blonde strands
tangling on the purple sofa
a book of poems
about a tired sky
and a plane
dropping out
of sight
when you left

 

From the 2019 workshop, Prev published Backstory.

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Jennie Fraine

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.

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Sandra G. Lanteri

Adam

 

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

 

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Virginia Lowe

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.

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Kate Lumley

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.

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PeterMitchell

At Home

 

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.

 

Coffee's warmth

& 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.

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Cecilia Morris

Naming Things

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.

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Ellen Shelley

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

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Erin Signal

Listen

 

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,

 

outlining 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.

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MEUSE PRESS publishes this collection.

All work © the authors.

 

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