Wednesday, September 23, 2009

september song

go to sleep.
draw the paintshades

down across your rivet eyes

go to sleep.
fold your bullseye head
under your switchblade wing

go to sleep.
let sweet lips of infant pity
kiss your kerosene tears away

go to sleep.

dream of flying.

dream of flying.

Monday, September 14, 2009

vanishing point


he stops.  says he has been waiting.
she smiles.
he asks her where they are going.
she smiles.
says all roads are like this one.

she says she takes her coffee the way
she takes her roads.
he brings her coffee.  the dark liquid slips down her throat
the red tide of dawn flows out towards them,
sweeping through the thin scrub
to break over the low building.
beyond it the heat begins to gather.
he says it is time to move.

if there were bends,
around each would be
a carcasse and crows
there are no bends.
crows are lifted and scattered
as they pass.

he thinks he sees ahead,
at the limit of sight
a kadaichi man
walking on his reflection
singing a thing into being
his feather shoes
rippling the air.
he thinks he hears a bone flute.
the tyres hum with the sound of bullroarers.
he thinks he hears his name.

when they talk they say the same things
in different languages.
she says there is no leaving.
he says there is no home.
their words hang with the dust motes.  the heavier ones
settle with the flecks of ash from his cigarette.
the radio rattles with a sound like irrigation.
fragments of song spray out, and evaporate
when they reach the ears.  she turns it off and they listen
as the road spins the wheels and their talk
is plucked out through the windows with the blue smoke.

now there are bends.
she touches a place on a map.
when he shifts his feet on the pedals
the needles on the gauges
flick like dowsing rods.
he turns off the road, the wheel
light between his hands.
when they stop, the red dust rolls over them.
she writes their names on the dashboard
with a wet finger.

now they can hear the heat
pressing on them with the sound of locusts.

there is a look between them
which neither of them owns.
above them leaves hang blue like blades
and dull chrome bark is streaked with rust.

they share water.  the water is warm. 
they eat.  bread, salt, oil.
after they have eaten
he presses her lips against her teeth with his.
she tastes of olives.
they talk tongue to tongue
omitting the spaces between words
not trusting the air.  almost
everything vanishes.


there is the sound of water
and the sound of sand.
they walk
towards it through the low grasses
scattering crabs and lifting gulls.
her calves are cuttlebones beneath skin
and the cables that anchor her toes
push bow waves through the white grains.

she stops.
he smiles and asks her which way.
he knows
which way she will say.
she says
this way and her gaze slides
over and past him.  there is
a grain of sand in her lashes and the smell
of salt in his nose.  the sand is
a broad ribbon of shot silk under the white sun.

a quick gust raises a nap of grains which briefly stings
their legs the way a puff of breath through the nostrils can
sting a lover.
he wants to cut her the way
he can cut water and slide up the face of her
beneath the skin of her
breaking wave,
to burst through with both their strengths and
crash back into her.
he can feel this, and certain muscles
flicker beneath his skin in quick rehearsal.

behind them, behind the dunes,
the road waits crouched in the heat and ticking.

they are talking.  she looks
now here, now here, while he skips
his sight over her face and darts it
like a tongue into what is between her open lips.
her voice is low and measured, and he uses his
to wedge open sentences so that words flow
and spill and pool.  water and sand.

he carries his shoes in his hand.  he is
closer to the water than she.
as they walk and talk she is edging them
gently towards the water.  he feels
he can see beneath her bones, and
he smiles with the side of his face that
she cannot see.
small waves spend their strength
hissing up the hard-packed sand to lick
their toes.  there is the crack and pop
of breathing holes opening behind each
recession of the sea.

then they are walking through the water ankle-deep.
it is cool, and now he feels the prick
of sun on his neck and face.  the water
catches at the cuffs of his trousers, climbs
through threads.  later
there will be tidemarks.

ahead is an abutment of rock.  molten it has squeezed and bulged and run
so that it twists and spills like flesh.
they climb.
at the top they sit cupped
in each other, watching the water.
they talk of the past.
they talk of the present.
they talk of the moment.
they talk
of falling.

everything vanishes.


they are in the car.  they
are on the road.
from the radio buzz.
he drives,
his eyes
drinking red miles through a black straw.
she sits,
her eyes
behind sunglasses and milk-blue lids.

two flies
entered the car with them.
now they write in the voice of
their wings
on the windshield.  beyond the glass is pressure of air
enough to
destroy them.
against the glass, they are safe from
the pressure,
and in terrible danger.  he
bats at them with the back of his hand and stings
the tips of his fingers beneath the nails against
the glass.
for a moment, the sound vanishes,
the small black bodies with it.
he peers at the dashboard and the car
slides off the shoulder of the road.

he twists
the wheel and the flies
from where they have been hiding
on the black road of two names
winding through
the red dust coating the dashboard.

already a fine down of red
begins to blur the black letters.

she breathes
a deep breath and her head turns a little
towards her window.
she opens
it an inch.  two.  more.
there is the harsh sound of air
being torn.

he speaks to her
of the flies.
she bats at his words with hers
and a crease appears
on the side of her face that
he cannot see.
she says
she will drive. certain muscles beneath his face
flicker in quick rehearsal
of speech.
he speaks.
she is silent.

they do not need to argue
to argue.

the car is stopped.
he climbs out and walks towards the thin scrub.
he makes red mud with water from his body
and looks out across the red metal heat.
he thinks he sees
a kadaichi man
sitting crosslegged on his reflection
singing smoke into being
his feather shoes
tucked beneath him.
he thinks he hears
flies droning.
his ears roar with the sound of roads.
he thinks he hears his name.

his eyes roll up
beyond the sun and into the red.
and then the black.

everything vanishes.


the white sun boils red
at the back of his eyes
and crowbars up the lids.
he turns his head and stones burn
his cheek.

she floats and flickers above the road.
she is moving around the car.  the car
floats and flickers above the road.
the road floats and flickers above
a reflection of a road.
a reflection of a car.
a reflection of
she floats and

heat squeezes his skull.
he thinks levitation must be a sin.

he thinks
they may be lost.
he says
he looks for himself
among the crowd in
her ears and behind her eyes.
where she looks for herself.
she is too far for his small words

rattle against his teeth and drop pebbled
onto the red sand and the burning rocks.
some are blown into his ears
with the sand and seeds and feathers
twisted up
by the screw of dust and wind
which moves like smoke.

if there is a look between them
it belongs to them both.

they are too far to see eyes.

she calls.
her words
drop through the thin air
and stop to hover in the blast of heat
above the road.
what is between them
crouches like prey
trying to turn its skin
to stone.

his thoughts are wax melting.
his thoughts are a father
watching a son fall.

his thoughts are a sun
falling through the red
into the black.

in the black,
everything vanishes.


the shadow of a low building
sweeps away through the thin scrub.

when he looks down at his feet
he sees feathers.
there is the sound of singing.

he begins to walk.


a trick
of perspective and curves
and the lensing of heat

everything vanishes.

nothing disappears.

Friday, February 27, 2009


sewingcircle mornings

the click of needles and tongues

threads caught and kept

and made to darn and mend

purse-stitch closures lipsealed

over rents before they grow

the tut of dear good friends

chairs drawn so close they touch

Thursday, February 26, 2009


surfacing through
greenswell, hefting
his netted finds aboard

the deck tilts.
nothing ever
washes away.

in all these shells must be
the nacre-smothered grain
for which he bursts
his lungs.

later, beached,
the tops of his toes
skinned by his rubber fishfins,
sand crusts with blood and wounds
are roughly mortared closed.

tomorrow he will open them afresh.

later still
while casting for bait,
he is stabbed by memory

of a time when bright steel was enough.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

february poem -


rain again

rain again

rain again

Friday, February 20, 2009


and then it broke
over him like a wave

and he was flung
the face of it

and he kicked

how he kicked

and the white
the white


and he would have drowned but for swimming

and he would have swum but for drowning

and he laughed in the white
water he laughed

and every drop a bright


every drop

a pearl

Thursday, February 5, 2009


in the time between sleeping and waking, they talk. she sends him many small messages. the text is white on the small black screen. she sends photographs. he is online. they are connected. they talk. their voices are warm as breath. they touch with their candle eyes. they see with their bloodshot hands.

he wonders if this time is more real than the time of being awake. it is her voice in his ear. it is the heat where their skin joins. it is each hair of her head separate and distinct, its own small scent growing into his awareness. if he doesn't try, he can slip into this time and linger there. it is a time without ticks or taps. it is a time without befores or afters. he wonders if she will let him.

he tries not to try.

when he sleeps, he dreams of them. he dreams knowing that he is dreaming. in his dreams he is awake. sometimes he dreams he watches her sleep and wonders what she dreams. in his dreams he asks her sleeping form many questions and he tells her many secrets. he smiles and reaches out a hand to touch her. in his hands she is a fish, silver and quick like light.

he remembers that in the old words, quick means alive. the quick and the dead. cut to the quick. he feels a quickening. he is breathing deep, and quick.

when he is awake he dreams of the time between sleeping and waking. he thinks of sleeping and dreaming.

he is stretched. he is transparent with the stretching. he is running. he is running and not stopping. he knows where he is running. he knows why he runs. he knows who he is... he is gulping hot desert breaths. he is astonished by the length of days.

he does not exhale.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

january haiku


such wanting pulling

you towards me clouds gather

summer storms blue night


gravel under foot

a cricket dies on my floor

we wish words were wings


there is red desert

there is a place beyond it

sweet rain falls soft there


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

swimming in Ondaatje

in Ondaatje

with Chesnutt about to

in my doorway

the grass open

its arms to the rain


i had thought to steal

something that smelled of you

Saturday, January 24, 2009

the correspondence

between letters
he fingers the tiny ridges
traces the small depressions
of each postmark on the buff envelopes


"with / in
i am..."

between letters
he sees small gaps
notes the matted fibres
the warp and weft of creamy paper


"but / how
may we..."

between letters
he reads other, older missives
addressed "to whom... and "it has.. .."
softly tugs the knotted red ribbon packages

hefts their welcome weight

they fuck with their eyes open like books
amid cries of "author! Author!.."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


clicks n taps

a morse languageof


a window discloses only
the ambivalence of

- halfdrawn curtains -

in braille
the fingerpads

loom large

and soft as pomelo's
the page makes its many points

the awl always
fitted to the palm ready

for pricking small boxed meanings

the trickle
of watersoundstherush of

bristled porcupine antennae

balled around the soft belly
and the head tucked in
the nose in the navel

the scent of one's self


- on the fingers -

a hypodermic whisper

to inoculate against

- the reaching silence -


the hush
the hushed
the hhhhhhhhhhhh
we have ears for the unsaid
we have mouths for the unspoken

for remembering


- reaching -

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


open and step

certain temples have

     a low lintel
     a high threshold

one must
     look down
     bow the head
upon entering it is

a way to honour

cross now

here is an altar

Thursday, January 15, 2009

more freeform haiku


your coin-operated hips
i have change in
my pocket


little spider
gives you something
to remember him by


though the wind
soughs through the boughs
it cannot blow this away


three short poems


walking once more

to the end of the pier

there is a fisher
with a crabpot

there is a plane


walking and walking
throught the evening
towards a tower

"it's a navigation aid"

"it's a pirate's lookout"

we are in




another dog
bounds along the beach

"that one's cute" you say
i pant a little


if you see
my tail wagging


formal haiku


clouds are like fishscales
pines are black against the sky
summerdawn Glenelg


freeform haiku

making out on the beach
like teenagers
together coming undone


my body
speaks louder than i
i tell it hush
you tell me listen


feet walk one way
heart walks another
not stretched but grown


what continents we crossed
deserts and oceans below us
seen through small windows


before coffee
brave little muddlehead