Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Tug Dumbly # 17 - Renaissance

We pine to be rebirthed like stolen cars
because we deserve it.

(‘Deserve’s got nothing to do with it’.
William Munny, blowing away     
Sheriff Little Bob in Unforgiven).

We’re greedy for identity,
if not by theft then legally,
to become the sum of our shopped for selves

all that murderous choice,
all that toothpaste
avalanching from the shelves.

It’s exhausting, this chain gang
chipping at rock to find your voice.

Be nice to just say ‘no. My Authentic Self
fled years ago. Last I saw he kicked in a window
and bounded across the asylum paddock
yodelling into the trees.

I like to think he’s still out there,
living off roasted Quoll, happy’.
But ‘no!’ they say, ‘you must seek
and distil your destined stock

strain the essence to a primal broth
through a stocking of gold brocade

reduced to a thin clear soup of you.
Once you got that you got it made.

Tug Dumbly # 16 Hubba Bubba

Still stuck on you
                            my past strings behind
                                                                like bubblegum
                                                                                         on the sole of your shoe

Clark Gormley #39 Category 5

something goes
wrong and you
think no sweat
I'm a well-
calm composed
human I
will not let
this affect
my day

but while you're
thinking that
something else
goes awry
and you fly
into a
5 rage

ally this
has led to
tension in
the shoulders
raised heart-rate
blood pressure
a flood of
and damage
to household

but while you're
in the eye
of the storm
you reflect
this is a
bit over
the top

you're para-
since there's a
to these dark
and stormy

it happens
all the time

Kit Kelen #992 - things show up in odd places

things show up in odd places

impossible to predict

the next door chooks
lost socks
parsley in the weed heap

sun first thing shows east
or snout told little traipse along

things unaccountable
larger than life
turn up
for the books

comet for sky smear
season there

the fence unstuck
temperature everywhere
only in the room

breakfast in the branches

voices of least birds
and ourselves along

an itch, an ache
even laughter augments

in a calendar of other days
can’t call epiphany
it comes

a sharp
a flat
something diminished

a broad grin
likewise, firm resolve

the poem spilled over the page
or stretch for the imagination

you could find yourself in treetops

words long since sunk
will bob up here

out of nowhere
mist come

the rain when hope
was all exhausted

an arrow showing through
some shining

it could be a hand
near the top of the clock
or yours in mine remembering
the road to bring home

throw a line of dots
in this lost heart
find love

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Kerri Shying R # 515 - wait until the surface of the oil shimmers hot

take the first handful   of the choices
you made    so long ago   the ones you
had to live with   long past    what was
sensible  even to your mother   throw
them  hard over your shoulder    always

wait until the surface of the oil shimmers hot

do not allow  these  slivers of the past to
grow translucent    or you will dive  off
that  cliff-side  memory   rescuing   the
poor harp seal   you hear   barking  on
the slick wet tears   of your   hot heart

Clark Gormley #38 Lever Arch Folder

you look important
up there on the shelf
stout, an impressive

but it's a facade
since you're just as wide
full as when you
are empty

a large hole in your spine
so the paper can breathe
is showy and wholly

your lever and clamp
are bondage gear for
abusing your A4

it's you and the hole-punch
a torture tag team
tying down and piercing
your specialty

you flatulent fallacious
cruel and depraved
brutal malevolent

Kit Kelen #991 - having so much and wanting more

having so much and wanting more 

we fill up the space
fill ourselves up

works and seasons
days and hours

to the gunnels!
a shipload and more

starts with the spare room
and shopping

more from the bottle
more of the cure

sugar does the trick
continents of us

between the stars
call constellation

we discover more
and name them

pure demography

less fauna
in the tree laid down

for instance
all the eye takes in

and then consider
picture, map

baroque arrangements
the scribble come out of the frame

and you and me
others of our ilk
say family
say empire

then I’m a little leaf turned tune
in branches up
and innocent

instance truth or love

gather the all to me here great God
a buffet for my breakfast
and mightily dispose

you tired
you huddled

and suddenly I am
give wishes

I’m boundless too
will we?

won’t you be
one of mine?

won’t you come verdant
to my shores

Tug Dumbly # 16 - Vivaldi's 4 Seasons

‘Your prayer has been put in a queue and will be answered by the first available operator.
We are currently experiencing a higher than normal prayer load due to the latest massacre.
If your prayer is not urgent, a non-emergency prayer, a flippant, non-essential, half-arsed, hypocritical, not-really-meant, hot-air prayer, press 1 for gun control, or you may prefer to call back later. (Like in another life).’

Tug Dumbly # 15 - Pleasant Avenue

Things finds their opposite
like a magnetic law.
The plastic tinkle of New Age shops,
their toilet spray smells,
so exactly not the
spirit they sell;
‘Greenwood Estate’
a nullaborial razor scrape,
Pleasant Avenue the ugliest street
you ever saw.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Kristen de Kline # 227 Whatever

When the sky is blue

dance as fast as you can

the light may be splattered

with clouds, a burst of yellow

     and everything

that you we I couldn't say: no words

it will slap you hard and fast

the longing - your absence -

Again. And again. And again.

Free falling in reverse:

4. There was nothing left to say.

3. I got myself a gun.

2. I woke up one morning.

1. Whatever.

Kristen de Kline #226 whatever happened

something about the
way you move, stars

that don't shine, sleeping
amethyst skies, in the corner

of the screen, clouds flock
lightening blue sweeps

across the horizon, it comes
to me in a dream: a field flattened

with sunflowers, your proposal
caught on faded Super 8

etching love on my arms, vanishing
into lost highways, trapped
on the last mile home

something about the sky,
that day, whatever happened

to the light, did Van Gogh really
cut off his ear?

it's always the third track
the vinyl's scratched, it jumps

then stutters:

for years and years 

I roamed


roamed ...

something about that day,
the sky, you took a razor

to the sun, pierced another
hole next to the stretcher

jabbed a rusty nine-inch nail
through flesh
flattened sunflowers
and bone
sleeping skies 
and blood
not shining, the stars


to the light


Rob Schackne #752 - "Let me live off leaves"


        Let me live off leaves
        follow the tiny birds
        to their seeds, I‘ll die
        forgetting how to be
        like this, a lighthouse
        a trolley’s final wheel
        spun in twelve directions
        a portal to pass through
        the light, what happens
        how will it be missed

Gillian Swain # 9 - Nicki

they took you to hospital this morning
I am paralised and mute
in an earthquake of sadness
the aftershocks will come
but for now I balance
on love's groundswell of stillness

Danny Gentile #69 - “Foggy Notion”

If I could make a shawl from 
the pubic hair of all the men
I’ve known   what would it say
about me   but hair can’t speak
directly   so   filled with assumption
it might float on a tide of disagreement
and that would be something   wouldn’t it
or perhaps it would stink of old romance and
lust and the fog of memory carried on and on and on...

Kit Kelen #990 - kept


a voice, a face
you keep these

how much meaning to me
scribble of a place

slip world to world
by heart

in a box to which you are precious

weather stiff with us
and scratch
all chooks for the dust

yours, mine
though we were taught the same

lost in some certain chords
led by strings away

I go into the dark with this

and a question hung over the hills
got away

the truth is telling me again

who keeps a tidy mind
clean heart

so many ways facing
like the blood runs down

so many parts to play

and a kiss
that keeps
me whole

Clark Gormley #37 In My Dreams

other people's houses
are the sets of my dreams
I run and sometimes
fly from room to room
through the front yard
down the driveway
and into the pool

the unfenced pool
since this set is
40 years old
and these houses
belonged to the parents
of my schoolboy friends

and my schoolground
is the set of my dreams
but now when I drive past
the monkey bars are gone
the netball court is gone
the asphalt is gone
replaced with more buildings
and shadecloth
the windows that we opened
with long poles
are permanently shut
and blocked
with air conditioners

and it's unsettling
because I spent
so much time
at the old place
and continue
to do so

these old places
are the sets of my dreams
I don't care what
you think it means

Lizz Murphy Poem #372 a boat upturns spills

a boat upturns spills splits spills  they fall  spill  as if out of the sky spill their lungs spill crack breathe water spill blackness a telescope measures black holes 12 billion years old

Tug Dumbly # 14 - Orwellian

They’ve banned the use
of the term Orwellian.
It’s Machiavellian, Draconian,
Kafkaesque, Dickensian.
It’s totally totalitarian.
It’s … it’s … oh well

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Rob Schackne #751 - "The magpies swoop"

                 for Denis Smith

The magpies swoop
it's stranger day
two balls of cat
on the bed
hear each moment
the mystery
dream quietly

buried in person
the river flows
speaking is hard
though I pretend
the sky grows darker
winds are gathered
then the rain

Gillian Swain # 8 - Years of dedication

Is a pub still a place where
a grown man can cry?
The Brylcreem type
from another era

with schooners and short whiskeys
silver hair  deep mute wrinkles 
would sit  condensation 
sliding down the glass like shiny regret

exposes lines of clarity in it's wake.
Nicotine stains on first knuckles
the profit after years of
dedication and rollies.

He'd read the curls of smoke
that told all 
his secrets back to him
over and over  curl twist curl vanish

Cry into your beer  wipe 
the froth off your nose 
and get on with it
That's the way we get things done 'round here.

Clark Gormley #36 Soap

I yearn for the days
when soap was solid
if you're going to live
in squalid conditions
you need the hard stuff
not this push-button
anti-bacterial anti-
dandruff woosy greasy
foaming gel it makes me
uneasy and why the hell
is moisturiser in it?
isn't that putting back
the fat that the laurate's
removing it doesn't feel
clean and far from improving
the shower experience
that it never enhances
I'd rather drop it
and take my chances

Tug Dumbly # 14 - The Old Man and the Bream (draft)

Brawn turns bathos quick, like killing     
a fish, gutting, scaling, baking
the poor bony thing, my girl howling
your tasteless flesh ash in my mouth.   

There’s no logic. I eat meat but have
softened to catch and release  
til you deep-throated the hook, lip
to gullet, musta ripped right into

that stinky mullet the old guy said
to bait with, just like he showed me
where to throw in that golden hole
in the reef. A purple evening cast,

the rod plunged to a longbow and god
you were glory to catch, just murder
to kill, the thrill quick slipped to scale
and blood as you bashed your muscle on rock.   

I clamped you in a teatowel and jiggled
and yanked that chemically sharpened
shank tented too deep in flesh for parting,
barb a pitched part of you, like your little

parcel of bone reverberating later     
down my own sad gulping moat. No good
cutting the line just to let you die
so cruel to be kind I cut your throat. 

No Isis decap more bungled. Please fish
just stop breathing, but your gills keep  
going, little blood bubbling bellows, wrists
slitting over and over like the raw hooping  

sobs of my fishergirl, deserted me now
up the shore, horror fled the scene
of me cleaning you badly in the dark
with a poor kitchen knife and Samsung light …

Wasn’t dinner a hoot that night?
‘He killed it’, across the immiserated
maw of the table. Come on daughter, you
eat the stuff, I just cut out the middle man …

Pain cools like a pie on the windowsill
of a Loony Tunes cartoon, and by tuck-in
time she at least looks at me, with this new
depth of wound that sees the monster in her

father, or some transfigured creature, and
via that last pathetic look on which
I snap the light I see the jellied black  
saucer of your own dumb eye, stupid bream.

Kit Kelen #989 - I was buried in a poem

I was buried in a poem 

no one would find me there

wrote the silly thing myself

like at the beach
when you heap the day over
so friends must dig you out with a beer
(all they have in their hands)

a moment there though you could
be left to the bluebottle tide
washed off like a message bottle

and read
like the far bloated
island of trash more than fish
set like a moon
like the stars

on dry land
I was in the papers – trail and pile
now and then caught fire

wagtail came to the window
but I couldn’t tell the time

had a sort of Sunday heart
sleeve hung
mouth of it there was
blue mooning
and Bush Week too

what I felt?
who could say?
your guess as good as mine

no fallacy intentional
but well there you go
greatness! so soon was I forgotten
words were away on the stone

I myself was weather in there
sport the morons watched

and then there were the times I drowned
took poison, bolt upright in electric chair
your hair on end everybody cared
it was tragic and you had to laugh

a little cough
the lights go out

there was a poem lodged in my brain
(that severed head with time for a haiku)

wonderful company there
in the poem
everyone you ever knew
every animal was calling

worlds were upside down or you were

there was affection of those times
and how we kept afloat

but the sun was always shining
that’s how it is to look back

mind righting itself
so the past adjusts

I had several lives in it

creatures were all made up
ready for the ball
and bounced along
and off the walls

if anyone asked –
because it’s a poem!
haven’t you been there there?

and what was meant?
who meant it?

someone once peeped in
but they wouldn’t stay long –
some deficit disorder

it’s not like any other place
no one will find us there

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Gillian Swain # 7 - Touch language and bad decour (draft)

They move in rippled shadow
women who know skin  how to make it 
Velour wallpaper  lush limbs  velvet
fuzz smooths over ridges from
a day not worth mentioning
Tongue talks nape into  froward reach
smooth sheet  lighting that promises
to keep secret  the meeting
the preference  the fetish
They move  away from who they 
are to everywhere else
become supple in her fingers the
wrinkled notes stay
in the wallet  only card here
but which one
are you

Kit Kelen #988 - at a stretch (a day at home)

at a stretch
a day at home

one at a time
and this one today

the clouds I comment on are gone
stars while you watch blink shift

all comforts of
and awkward to be

making home
so as to

leaf by leaf
be breeze borne

stretching into skin
never quite fit

how small to this sun
soon swimming

trying to breathe
with the given equipment

through moonleaps
and a little pizzicato

I distract myself at it
with every adventure onto another

aren’t we just the map
time takes?

as in a golden afternoon like this
before the big wind’s upon us

choosing to haunt
say home

Danny Gentile #68 - Untitled

Crepe myrtle echoes in the yard
Go back, go back
To your filament
To the grain of paper
Where you gather the news
Go back to where the word
Is the figment of dry weather
And the sword streaks
Through the lantana 
At the back fence 
Where the water tower
And it’s compacted earth 
Are a simple division
Against some higher purpose

Friday, September 14, 2018

Gillian Swain # 6 Sky Closer -(draft)

Fog has the sky closer this morning,
that other house
and this
is all there is.
White ocean blanket
silenced the cacophony of rooftops.

I could be a hermit
at the top of this hill.
All the land around me
rolling out beneath the mist
unseen yet promised.

Tug Dumbly #13 - Funfair

I threw up on my  
Emotional Rollercoaster
after checking out the rest
of my mental funfair –
my Emotional Roundabout
Emotional Octopus
Emotional Cha-Cha
Emotional Ghost House
Emotional Laughing Clowns.
Then I find this guy crying
in my Emotional Hall of Mirrors.
I say what are you so Emotional about?
He says it’s not me, it’s you,
take a long hard look at yourself.
Anyway, we had a good laugh about that.
All in all it was a very Emotional day.

Rob Schackne #750 - "In the beer garden"

In the beer garden
out the back
enjoying the sunshine

like a trip to Bali
having a cold one
we got to yarning
so what is it you do mate
he said I write deathless poetry
so what’s that like I asked
it’s ice on trees for a million years
waving like little flowers
living down the rabbit-hole
always there for the good
anyway the skies are mostly blue
anyway he said it never dies
and what do you do
I said I’m a plumber too

Tug Dumbly #12 - Who Will Help me Plant the Wheat?

Most kiss the hem
of religion and rhyme at the end.   
A bit of St Paul, the funeral poem …
No cold godless philistine
can stop friends cocking legs
to tinkle a bit of dogma and doggerel  
over his box, just a little
sprinkle to send them off
to – who knows? – perhaps
a nice after party with Jesus
jumping from a cake:
‘Surprise! Glad you could make it!
Hey, don’t sweat your atheism –
we’re all grownups here!    
(Well, apart from the kids …)
Anyway, grab a beer – got a  
thousand makes … salad, steaks …
Not too rough hey? …’

We’d all love to taste the bread
of the Little Red Hen.
Just not go through the hassle  
of making-believe the stuff.

Kit Kelen #987 - in all we've built

in all we've built

the gone were there

here-now minded

how we had been hoped for

some call was answered

arrows all ways
were page or picture
you decide

came to the window
and someone was climbing out there
one sat watching – that was a laugh

celebrated the snake in the wall
bon appétit

in all we built, close
and caught some pillow sun

frogloud in the months of fire
silly with endearments

the towns were there
for nails and such
and we worked up a sweat

there was nothing without words
and we had them with

squabble sunk at a touch
trees outside higher
and every time you blink
clock run away

some road was peering in
music of a world turns

but we were the ones evolving
the me-and-you and found advice
coin came and went

how lovely when they've left

ambivalence, contention
detente, denouement

a roof come settled
tin like wings
and there's the weather absent

then were the birds in the nest agreed
and in the bush as well
hand to hand jungle

and tuck you in of night
we wished till it was true