Friday, August 29, 2014

cloud chamber

flagging and empty
 the carousel passes
a recurrent sadness

the playhouse
 where children danced
has blank windows

he stands there
 outside his reflection
holding its hat

only now he notices her
 in the sunshine
that she left behind

he has awoken
 finally in the moment
when she departed

like a wisp of vapour
 strung around the muons
and leptons of memory

arcing delicately
 to the floor
of the cloud chamber

the trail of tears
 as fine as spiderweb
falling from the stars

the masculine mind
 it grasps at particles
long after they have gone

tracing the rays
 describing everything
touching nothing

the missed kisses
 their kelvin number
noted, quantitised

 they remain even so

Sunday, August 17, 2014


catching the plague
an agar dish waits its fate

the poet brain
sniffing the breeze for an aria

when infection strikes
it is swift and forceful

like a sailor landing marlin
while the tub rocks

we cling at the greasy boards
in an ecstasy of conflict

the disease seeks out
the darkest fear in us

its microscopic probe
testing our weaknesses

while we seek to enwrap it
in a safe coat of languages

unmolest it
yet sedate it for later

but for Psyche the worst
that might happen

is nothing
at all

stylus fire

white copper
is stuffed
into polyester

the one eyed
zeros in

and locks onto
that feels good

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

the white castle

a kangaroo jumps untidily
into a barbed wire fence

man: marinj

star posts strike against legs
the entangling
ends in a hanging

policeman/octopus: djuŋa

so our national idyll is pierced
by a half forgotten cleansing

to stab: djug

songs of the land and its memory
smothered in woollen sheets

snow: gunuma

droving in the new furniture
with a newer design

to steal: maŋgai

modular towns, imported,
still smelling of the London dock

rotten: ŋulu-ŋulug

the old people disbursed
like smoke among the eucalypts

ashes: brinj

gone hiding in the mountains
some trees still show their shattered text

scribbly gum: balug

but time removes these fragile marks
lucky to evade the settlers' advance

a younger sister: galan

later while we cringed in our cocoon
the final speakers were dying

to cry: gambawali

they had the keys to unlock our isolation
but an empire's child we are proudly in prison

an obstinate person: njarala-muga

in a white castle washed by the sea
we file our name: delinquency

to roll one’s eyes: djuŋgul

this neighbourhood did not rear these weeds
but there is time for some reconciliation

sorry: ŋaralda

the embrace would come easier
if blood did not disfigure our face

a wild man/killer: dulugal

let’s heal these wounds
and make our country whole again

a doctor/clever man: budira

ŋarigo and Ngunnawal words used in this poem, with thanks to the Indigenous people of the Canberra region, and the pioneering language work of Luise Hercus.

Monday, August 4, 2014

mind fog ballast

THAT luminal night of urchins'
insolent lollipops so sucked spikes
antigone going into the gobber,
and to interior languid movements
but only occasionally breaking
abart - the f-fog only hides -
a tempest still rages.
UN Relief comes quick
in time although out of phase
with ocular senses
so a jagged tear opens
an shatters glass
an careers into a vortex.

These rainbow hued hours
These .. bring relief
to the dull bend of
daily pipework,
the flush and plunge
of life lit crespuscularly,
the vintage hued agony of
middle ages. "Riches beyond
riches" over the horizon they say,
the great unknown
revealed today, in a grain
of sand on the shoulder,
or a wheeze..

Rosel what moves thee?
that voice seems alveolar
which churns in your heart
- what could it be?
Fresh from out the milk thistle
your visitor seems happy
to flirt with every bud
and fool with a love
too easily delivered,
but he would appear
runny on the long knife.
The angels
laughing beside the Rye.

Might he deliver to me a vision,
that bent-winged bat hung
upon the Quercus?
Three violets buzz
with a fat gadfly on the green
sniff sniffing for oxblood.
A pumpkin king ruling among them
the queens admiring
his nascent tendrils
detuned a leprechaun orchestra
in a tower to overlook
the ocean - what a pyre burns
all the night
above storm rinsed sand!

See! Gypsies play with word games -
reversing the cards
my reading becomes a
prediction of doom, the
long chord unwinding allows
a sack to spill open.
The jewels tumble into the grass
and I am powerless to
grasp the same things
created by another me -
the long lived hours lain down-
the cursed pen prick-
the blood-
the words slipped out-

These are all simply reabsorbed
into the cursor.