Monday, July 31, 2017

Kristen de Kline # 120 tell me what this means

This moment in time
I never want   back

the day throws itself upon me
slaps me,   hard

offers me more scar tissue
this moment in time

celebrates with a flash of blue
brings out the woundedness

too fast, too final
what was that about worlds and ghosts

who called the police the first time
tell me what this means

lots of things are written about the dark nights of the soul:
it's always three in the morning ...

...   it's a little bit like     poetry
house holds     unfold
people come

trying to get in between the pages
more FRAGILE cartons to load up:

obituaries poetry zines an All Blacks tribute
a Patti Smith vinyl and an enlarger you've carried around since the 70s
a freezer bag filled with bottles of tonic and tins of Rocker Wax Urban Fudge
three SX 70 Polaroid cameras retrieved from a back shed
none of them work   you'd hold them in your palm
blow on the images, gently   make the colours

most of the night
when we first got together
that neon Coke sign flickered away
like somebody having an epileptic
some   where

most of the night
we waltzed across the bar-room
didn't sleep
in out in
of love whatever   wherever   that is

tell me what this means

love tries to make sense   of   no   sense
gets wedged between the pages
stuck in between words
it's a little bit like poetry
I can't keep up

tell me what this means

Rob Schackne #416 - "Bound to lose"

            (h/t The Holy Modal Rounders)

Bound to lose
it's not real
I'm working in
the laboratory
on burnt denim
and stardust
comes and goes

it's not home
it's not real
I got me an apple
I got me a pear
got from a planet 

riverboat gambler
bound to lose
from town to town

we waltz the night
I waltz me the night
tell me what this means
what this means
riverboat gambler
it's not real
bound to lose
so bound to lose

lay this body down

Rob Schackne #415 - A Faint Dictionary Of Scars (10) "Celebrate a blue sky"

Celebrate a blue sky
Applaud a glorious sunset
Look forward to a clean river
Throw horseshoes up a mountain

Take me to a good restaurant
Give me more scar tissue

Cicadas at the end of time
Dying of our diffidence
Accelerating the people's misery
And that was how it was
In the days of the toxic haze
Punching out poem after poem

As comrade Hemensley wrote
"Time (again) to think & say clearly
What Poet is, what poetry is
As not an element of however
Sexy a vis-à-vis. Anyway..."
Anyway the bloody scars

I'm a bloated technologist
Living in a blighted city
The worst place on the planet
Looked back like Eurydice
That was all she wrote
Orpheus taking up the slack

Kerri Shying R # 289 - Narcissae


never saw his own reflection
in the sky      arm’s length

selfie sticks  are
not a patch on

his fake tan
the love machine keeps my

society in the tin can
laptop on his knee    the heating pad

a lover far more
constant than  you

ever tried to be  in all the time
we shared a bed

I count
the times

 you met my eye

Kit Kelen #575 - how we see

how we see

a ghost in the body
in all that was

colouring when we came
not really

then trying to get between pages
going the wrong way

trying for words

one sees some whole ideas
half formed

eyes opaque today
to me

still trying to get between pages

as if by utterance end
might mean

could have meant
that could be good

this is how we see into the moment

trying to get between pages

let a ladder down there
let a bucket and rope
where it's lightless

as if one could reach
so far to find

the world is such a ghost

Rob Schackne #414 - Postcard From Shanghai

Postcard From Shanghai

                           for Claine Keily

Grandma led her to her date
holding her hand real tight
too old no one wants you

(she's talking to her)
you're dirty and anti-social
I found this fellow on a website
he doesn't care about your age

he agrees his wife is divorced
stand up straight sit down last
be modest don't declare yourself
let the turtle talk about rabbits
say you're nearly a virgin thirty-one

awkward and inexperienced
(she's talking to his parents)
not pretty but she's hard-working
those girls today are different
they do what they want so selfish

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Rob Schackne #413 - A Faint Dictionary Of Scars (9) "If I could save this time"

If I could save this time
In a bottle (maybe this one)
I’d cast it into the sea
But keep that one intact
Park it somewhere in the sky
Near her amethyst eyes

Love tries to make sense
Like water on a hot pan
It's a little bit like poetry
But what's the comparison
When the heart’s a charge
And the eyes are exploding

Collecting the rain drops
Manage it a whole lot better
The jobless getting jobs
Removing all these scars
The sun shifted to rise later
A sweeter song for sunset

Heart's a strong monkey
Hurts fastest runner through
But sure it's just a poem
I could forget a few moments
If I had actually survived
If I remembered you

Rob Schackne #412 - Diogenes, Or, A Reply To Kit

Diogenes, Or, A Reply To Kit

The ekphrastic
the poem he's writing
wishes to describe what
it really means to write about

(one hundred years ago)
a painting of some old bloke
(two thousand years ago)
writing some old poem
bathhouse on his mind
stinking in a barrel
like a 3-day-old fish
who when he isn't thinking 
he's had too much to think
sees honest women everywhere

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Kristen de Kline #119 The restaurant

The restaurant
I walk past
and look in the window
they're sitting at a table by the fireplace   drinking
eating   talking
there are at least three wine bottles on the table
a carafe of water and I think I can see a Corona wedged with a lime
it looks warm in there
I'm not the only one outside
the winds are crazy today
the world is closing in around me
black shelves blow out of the bookcase
harpooned on the trailer
Ikea shelves fly over the Princes Highway
the fridge topples and dents
engraving a scratch across the white surface
everything you move     it's kind of fitting     every breath
you take     wheezy,   battered and   bruised     a little
the winds are crazy today
energy cans blow down our driveway, a stray
tree branch rests on the letterbox
the restaurant
they're still there   drinking
talking   eating
I walk past
and look in the window
it starts to rain again
the winds get even crazier
the world     closes in
tightly this time
I sit in the dark
look out at the skies
don't turn on the lights
always     amethyst
I listen to the wind     blowing

Kerri Shying R # 288 - Start


my heart
right now
begin the thing
again     make new
the valves
the fittings

give me pipes
with fluted ends
the blood
directed red
falls upon
exhausted bone

the jug I’m
at an
the crisis
more than
I'm home

Rob Schackne #411 - A Faint Dictionary Of Scars (8) "Old gangster off grid"

Old gangster off grid
One day took up writing

It kind of hurt when
His friends laughed
He started winning prizes

They asked what's the secret

What does a bug house
How will a loony bin
All the treasures
Fix for a time in rhythm
The scars of language
It's a good question

Poets are created by
The scars they mention
Wasn't totally wrong but
Didn't sound quite right
I write because you don't
Made them laugh even more

Years down the track
And friends have changed
Each is some kind of artist now
They're the same people of course
If we don't hang together
We'll hang one by one

Kit Kelen #574 Diogenes in the tub of straw (ekphrastic)

Diogenes in the tub of straw
(John Williams Waterhouse, 1882)

girls tease at this grimace
and park their petals on the stairs

what drapery to his sackcloth
the one with the feathers most smug

it's all blue and cloud scud
a sun slants in the barrel

the only thing black is a slave
Diogenes had a slave once
could live without him

Diogenes became a slave

but here in Athens
scatter of onions
as if to eat raw

snows behind for his head
an artist of sorts
a coin defaced

grim zealotry
where the city's wealth
won't stick

all day
waiting for a king
to cast his shade

all night
with his lamp
and never finding
an honest man

Friday, July 28, 2017

Kristen de Kline #118 Matrimonial Harmony

Matrimonial     harmony
married to the second colour TV
Matrimonial     mistake
tied to a house and a wedding cake ...

what does a house    hold
    un fold     empty out rooms cupboards wardrobes into

candy-striped bags cardboard boxes marked FRAGILE
as if we weren't      walking on un folding eggshells     somebody

else's life   wife         knife

how does a house     un fold
it's not always the first cut that's the deepest

pack   and   dash, they say, count your losses

Empty out:
your son's Croatian basketball singlet crumpled in the linen closet
you smell cat piss   a Memphis Grizzlies flag winds tightly around
a wooden pole   high school year book     DIY volcano kit

he's grown out of it   all

Dis mantling:
framed prints no longer dangling     tentatively off walls

son, daughter running on sand at Bateman's Bay
Pierre and Gilles on a Mardi Gras poster '95
two turtles kissing on a Samoan tapa cloth
an accidental text artist print
bursts of brightness, overtones of Yayoi Kusama
colour     bursts, bleeds    

I've nabbed them now   in the rain   wrenched
heavy frames through the cars' back doors   thought I heard

glass break    felt a frame slip out of my hand    thought I saw
Ned Kelly pointing a gun in my direction     always masked and

kind of fitting that it's sweating    rain and blood    during my last
pack     and     run

my son, he won't come back     too many bad
memories he says I don't want to see     him
   the house
      any of it

at night you see he's taken a Santa snow globe from one
of the boxes, placed it on his bedside table by a cigarette lighter  

you find your German Stein in his school backpack   remember
purloining it from a Munich beer hall after your day trip to Dachau

he wrote neatly in his trip diary: it was a sad, sad place
you sampled German pilsners talked about Nazism   passed out

another hour    more rain, sweating   hoisting another carton
into the boot, jamming another striped bag through a car door

the framed pictures - another slips -   glass     crackles,
shatters like the spindly webs on the face of your mobile



comin' down

Kerri Shying R # 286 - Octopus Spirit

Octopus Spirit

So you guys all know each other
right    know the same words

or you aren’t one
one of them   fullas

bidgee  that’s how you say it fraud
I know your little game      the texts go

ping  while the spanakopita
is ready  and the long red spuds

are browned and full of fluff
I want to let them be the sonar

of the racist world  feeling me
from the far rock shelves

envy   hatred        spaces I don’t
share    I take my octopus scuttle

along the soft drift of the sea bed
in the mistiness I find

you my loved one there

Kit Kelen #573 - parergon


can one ever see out of a picture?

it's populated
and we know they're in there
making the tracks
cooking up excuses

know them by sight
a city moves around them
all kinds of landscapes in fact

we have been spotted ourselves

but even blank
the valley folds in
as if under were the stones
to speak

the picture has a past
else how otherwise?

in fact it's all that's gone by
in the frame

it's only this moment
we live now
seeing in

and have the heart
for what's required
which is to ornament the frame
to be the window

and to be that shining face
the face that looks out
at me

Rob Schackne #410 - A Faint Dictionary Of Scars (7) "Rid hard put up wet"

Rid hard put up wet
Melancholic bets
The left keeps placing
The stomach’s full
The head won't reach the sky

Hopes survive the storms

Hop o' me thumb
It's called a game

It's been declared
The world's a stage
The fruits of the mind
Are like pineapples

I want realms of memory
Links of failed utopias
To look forward
To not looking back
From the land
Of illegal charities

Today they wonder

About the point of us
Not angels or devils
Contentment or joy

The short-term feeds
Think small bellies

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Kit Kelen #572 - what does a house hold?

what does a house hold?

years of course
except when they are all to come
and it's only world at arm's length

that's holding og
roof up
keeps sky over above

and for the householder then
radio spins tunes
moods are made of

everything was new once

but a house holds
years in
old tantrums
a fly-through
a crawl in the gaps

and they grow
the weird sadness

or a sneeze
say, tickle

a house holds every echo

each dream day forgets
hard words then forgiving

like a census stuck
on a question we no longer ask

has a vintage
when a garden grows to it
hard trimmed

so much coffee, tea
sleep comes at last

you make your own madness here
you wish

under the doors and through windows
comes day
later leaks away

a house holds
the faces of those loved

treasures that are time ahead
truth won't go away

Rob Schackne #409 - A Faint Dictionary Of Scars (6) "If you're very lucky"

If you're very lucky
It'll take place outdoors
There's an early chance to run
The drill happens somewhere
In classrooms of the demented
The feeble-minded and insane

If my body is ruined

And my mind is poisoned
Why then is this citizen
So intent in a bar on a poem
Eight miles of wishes high
While lawyers wash their hands

In the mirror behind bottles
Look at the people behind
Our case drifting in dreams
Education always elsewhere
I study the cliché with hope
A woman does the crossword

If my brain is scarred
And my estimate correct
The missing word was grace
You learned it in your room
Or one morning by the creek
Forgotten you thought

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Kit Kelen #571 - they have taught me fear

they have taught me fear

the money ones, the masters
the papers, the screens
a tone of voice
the elect
who won't pay their share

they have taught me
this far into my skin

it is a trick to make me sneeze
this knowing who's not in the mirror

hating the job
how I am to say?
to make a point?
to praise?

knowing the powerless go on
with their nothing
their nowhere to go
and no one to notice
or believe

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rob Schackne #408 - A Faint Dictionary Of Scars (5) "Every turn a goodness"

Every turn a goodness
Working the dead ends
Shortcuts go nowhere
Daytime vision is dark
Drum sounds get louder
Shock develops in the head

Jeopardize the hole
They pounded us for years

Creatures great and small
Wonder anyone survived
One by one we surfaced
Laughing half screaming

Falls from a shade tree
Falls from a hayloft
Any fall from a cliff top
Always hit harder back
Give as good as you got
Don't waste the anger

Deep pit that was
The pity that wasn't
Bright and beautiful
Tunnels punched with holes
Old music turned into bombs
Fire smoke there was no water

Kerri Shying R # 286 - Review Copy

Review Copy

So you get paid by the word
do you   make them up
 do you hold them in the back of your head
or do you collect them
 like seashells

like rocks
like the clothes I see spilled out your wardrobe
that speak to a smaller you
a different-shaped girl

I saw those words all
frolicking up the hill
before the trucks came
mercilessly herding
 round and down

shots fired
and the crunch under the wheel
the stink of the blood in the dirt
you got them all in
and counted
by the close of business
that’s today

Kit Kelen #570 - closer


here I am at the turning
all my own dark
as in prayer

one wishes to leave
without the bitterness
takes some bluster

like the little blue pill imagined
past it's use-by
the iron taste persisting

see the dark come down
spreads from the ceiling

how dark it is they go
even if to light
the loved

till I am the edge

the turn is at the line abandoned
there's no one there
there never was
there's no one
ever there again

Kristen de Kline #117 Crushing charcoal (thanks Kerri S)

Return to Lawless you can never stay away   for long  
 - a shadow?  - an abandoned engine?   someone  something beckons you back

to the darkness, the danger, the edge of Lawless: kerosene lamps, strung out like fairy
lights illuminate the allotment: discarded motors, chrome car corpses   always

hungry,  thirsty, gasp for     breath     on the toxic waste dumpster at the edge
of the block fluorescent skulls and cross bones streak across the bin     we scavenge

for loose coins, metallic tools - wrenches to the heart,   runaway lines, stray
words     that stutter on the edge of your page, hesitate before breaking into song:

speaking   shouting   purging     louder,

increasingly     by the minute, crazier:  the end of laughter and soft lies
wrapping you up          bringing you

fuelled by AA batteries the ghetto blaster propped on a milk crate tower emits a scratchy wail:
I'll never look into your eyes,     again  

There's a finality there.   Again.
And again.   And again ...

Before Lawless     can one picture it?   mortgaged property  suburban cul de sac
housing estate  long term partner  children  private school  vehicles: not rusted out hoisted on

Dominion Brewery beer crates - not  a "contested item"  -  houses one could enter   streets
one could walk up and down     institutions you'd cross the threshold of without   being

slapped     hard
kicked down
slapped again

that hurt

Before Lawless

Return to Lawless   the man with hollow bones and peppermint breath like Oddfellows
hands you a glass of red in a paper cup    someone's slashed the Valiant tyres, he says, you won't

be drivin' it anywhere    stay close to me: another glass of red, red wine  
a man, ghostly desperately in need of a stranger's hand ...

the flames burn through the night down Lawless Way   ashes never waste away    the temperature drops to minus three  
insistent spokes from the back seat of the Valiant target a spot in your spine

in the Valiant with slashed tyres you fail   - don't get stuck on that word -
hold that thought - fail    fail    FAIL - try again

with slashed tyres in the Valiant you fail to fall asleep   for a thousand nights
you     don't     sleep
don't dream don't fall

for a thousand years you could   sleep

but     you    don't

[interruption to #117.  former housemate on mobile.  two envelopes from the Magistrates' Court. redirected from undisclosed location postcode 9999.  one's a contest mention.  you've got to  appear. they've ticked a box.  plea entered.  the second one an adjournment.  you can send your lawyer or legal team   ...   yeah right]

I told you I could never stay away for long.
Things were turning a little crazy     without warning    
soft lies multiplied,   crazier
by the minute  

Just not that good at playing   normal.
Defeats me  every time.
Told you I'd end up back here: the unseen country.

On the edge of town, down Lawless Way
burnt   ground     a stranger's hand
scorched earth     a desperate land
time to find a good rock to bash out the living daylights
time to crush the charcoal

Monday, July 24, 2017

Kerri Shying R # 285 - I miss it ( drafting Lawlessness for KDK)

I miss it ( drafting Lawlessness for KDK)

down in Lawless town
where ideas  are your own  her

unseen country
holds in check

what must be done    we
keep it ticking over

the hateful shithole bomb
inside me  speaks

 shouts it screams
it purges   gathers
 everyone around  

their urges     just the person
 they were born
not the one they die

who is
 there to stand and clap
 skriking out
 well done

 with the pennant
ticking boxes
pay the bonus
telling us good one
 Lawless got that
knocked      it's sweetly

Kit Kelen #569 - time please

time please

time is all beyond me
just out the window there

time was before me as well
and time is winging in

so delicate, diaphanous

I'm for the river
I'm washed off

towards the all I need to know
I dedicate my time

the story is telling me
that's the arrow

I'm listening
to be proven

I'm at the heart of it
pierced, bleeding

the mouse is on a timer
treads the turning heart

I'm the one who fired it off

I'm listening for the tick-tock
I'm on the beat, I'm off

the arrow turns
the calendar runs up a wall
time will be where I'm behind

confusions of the dawn dusk light

it's like this
it's a life's work to be in the moment

where I will take my time

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Rob Schackne #407 - A Faint Dictionary Of Scars (4) "All of this for solace"

All of this for solace
What you running from
Thinking about her
Five years old already
Slammed into a lamp post
Your broken collar bone

How scared you'll be
Pain check noises check
Don’t forget it's thirsty
Wandering in the desert
Voices near the bones
The insects intersecting

The sacred wizardry
Of the tendrest touch

Work 4 years in casualty
Get a first in others' pain
Scar your last voice in love
And figure now it's time to leave

Stitch it back together
Stretch it beyond knowing

Love us like no worries
Come clean with the story

Nemo judex in causa sua
Jesus we're out there searching

Kristen de Kline #116 The best scars (thanks R.S.)

The best scars you'll never see.

The broken brained.
We use the same four digit pin for every transaction.
Never get the hang of phone banking.
Can't remember verbal passwords.
Prefer poetry because it's shorter and we don't get lost.
Poetry prefers us because it    weaves and winds
all over the place    like a rhizome   teases us     plays games
keeps us     alive and     kicking

Broken brained.

The black and white dead people.
I sit in the hotel room     leaf through the photo albums
Lots of black and white photos of dead people
Five or six overdoses
The end of a rope     a cell
Hanging     finger nail marks etched on her neck
she tried to stop but it was too     late, the coroner said
Car crashes
Pills & wine
A bullet or two     he didn't dodge
Survivor guilt     they call it    I sit in the hotel room
touch the dead people     smother them in kisses, black and white
and fading     fast

You don't like me talking to them.
Say it makes me     melancholy
catatonic     zoned out     numb.

I don't want to join them     today.  That's progress.

I still talk to them     most days they talk back.

At 2am 3 am 4am you find me in my Chelsea Hotel room, blackened  
looking out that window     at what

Neat stitches cut across my neck.
You didn't know someone slit my throat     once      did you.

Walking out.
She walked out on us when we were     young
Turned up the volume     Dvořák New World Symphony    wailed
walked     out
kept walking
did   not   come   back

Turn up the volume.   That hurt.   Hurt that.

When we were     young    things turned a little
stranger     without warning     silence grew, crazier
by the minute  

The best scars you'll never see.

Rob Schackne #406 - A Faint Dictionary Of Scars (3) "Lord where it ends"

Ask where does it end
But where it always does
The end of a rope a cell
A drop of something in a bucket
Some fascist president
We won't be there

Say the State is doomed

Shit there will be others
And wherever that ends
Fuck that against the world
The unrepeated is repeatable
Fuck that against the world

Also say he’s rather small
To kick up against the pricks
The cicadas don’t get there first
Going towards the cool wind
And the unbroken heart
Maybe born to know

To pull means to push 
He spits the dummy
Fort-da is fun for the young
Wipe off most of the dirt
A little bit is good for him
The best scars he'll never see

Kerri Shying R # 284 - The Holidays

The Holidays

the only the flower in the garden
it is you

awkward as the uncut are
at pretending

nonchalance     today’s conspiracy
and caught forever

in our keepsake
photo       the flower

in your hand took me
all the week

to find

Kit Kelen #568 - nightlines


get the grimness gone

we're of the instant
here, lying down
drawn out

taking our dark like a pill

then the things you say inside are true
what you tell yourself is news

draw the flowers
and you must smell them
you only have to do it in your head

time is a hammer in the early hours
the telling tap
or there's the heartbeat of the house

we're ghosts
now it's the animals rule
only they can talk

there's all the light fallen to us
there's all the dark we hold

you can't read
a way back in

trussed in time time all sorts
and colour patched and spat

am I drifting down?
am I to upfurl?

committing to ephemera
now that I am here

a bird sings into morning
but at first you can't be sure

forget the thing you meant to mean
must check the grey for that

alarm clock
ever bent on revenge
for all of those bashings before

it's always
what's for breakfast then

a call
as of the wild

a clock seen from above
would show all down the drain

remember you're the most dangerous animal
that should cheer you up