Monday, March 27, 2017

Kit Kelen #447 - snipe (for a series of village idiots)

(after Herrick)

Snipe is poking things again
Snipe is waking you up from your siest
gets a finger in the ribs and digs
at all that you thought blessed

Snipe sours
the tone
the tune
the beer

Snipe likes to stick at the back of the head
it's quite comfortable there
Snipe lays in bed
pokes at I-pad
all unlikes

odd positive to give the flick
and even fully formed ideas

Snipe's a hairshirt wardrobe short
admires himself in all the mirrors

Snipe's a little grey patch
a whinge-in-fellow-form
one stiff breeze will blow away

sometimes one wonders why Snipe's here
to test your character of course!
one dare say nothing of his

it's not really conversation
he wants to have you twist and turn
with Snipe you'll never win

this has to be a kind of fear

Snipe has all the same heavens above
but you'd never know
Snipe won't
Snipe can't get on
can't see himself
the mirror's someone else's fault

this has to be a kind of fear

what to do with Snipe (?), you ask me

best thing is to drown the bastard
in a bucket of good cheer

Rob Schackne #282 - "The elephant footprint"

The elephant footprint
contains last night’s rain
the white cat’s greeting
(and my pleasure hello)

the passing of misty night
the bamboo workers

outside my window light
last dreams everyone
the letters I didn't send
the work that's left to do
a small discarded poem
the sky’s unnatural pink

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Malady # 86

She wanted to marry only
a man with an impressive
collection of dictionaries
not a diplomat or a dignitary
or a celebrity

She wanted to talk with him
about their notebooks
each evening
discuss the entomology of words
to be with a man confident enough
to never have to tell her
that she was not beautiful
or talented

But she felt as though
she worked as an interpreter
the subtle put downs
did not pass by her
even though she showed
no response at the time
she clocked up these incidents
had names for
the forms they took even
and so she made her first steps
on the path
to becoming a doctor

Kristen de Kline - #76 Bloody Plastic Linda 1

Malfunctioning     bloody
Plastic Linda from Coburg
wrestling with fan blades that jangle and tangle
one of the damn spokes starts speaking up
what a fuck-up you are don't know where you're going
screw everything up don’t know where you’ve been
damn spoke     couldn't you have lost your voice     become
catatonic     half-way inside my arm     couldn't you

I tried fixing her, really I did
used a switchblade first     then a chopstick
plugged her in replugged her turned the LOUVER button on-off-on again

Twisted the chopstick into the engine, turned the blade around the louvers
the Polaroid shows you hidden behind a black balaclava     those were the days my friend  
there's a sawn-off in my backpack and I'm smiling    half-way inside my arm
could you blow me a kiss      we thought they'd never end    
nail me at the hip     could you     twist a little bit

Shouldn't she be breathing on her own   by now  
fanning the bedroom     cooling the sheets
there was a city in my mind     it’s faded
don’t come along don’t take that ride     shouldn't she
be breathing

Bloody Plastic Linda     I knew she was a mistake
luminous white spokes wrangle, tangle
skin your heart
not even her blades rotate
the plastic darts wobble unevenly
stutter     pause
can you attribute melancholia to a cheap plastic fan from Coburg?

Isn't she ready to slip into a dream     she’s been
unresponsive for hours    time for the devil to take
tomorrow     to jam that tube down her throat     too much wine
too much song     God tonight
I need a friend     are all the birds singing in the sky
don't throw her on the dumpster     is Spring really in the air
even the poets want to resurrect her     half-way inside my arm
are there flowers everywhere is it hard to die can you hear the birds sing

Kit Kelen #446 - a breeze begun

a breeze begun

you can see right through

but later it grows teeth
takes roof

and one day legend
how the hurricane took off

piano's pounding somewhere

tells this world
you've smoked too much

was ash once in a pile

but now a whisper through seraglio
rose scent
and apple tea

a Bosphorizing breeze
slows to a single leaf twirl

then a breath of autumn's being
bring on fiercest maenads
for the jolly romp outdoors
whole forest of a tune

a classical disunity
everyone's joined in

then it's under the blood
it holds hearts high

a toybox breeze
and virus burnt

the strings and brass accompany

works in a spanner
to loosen your hinges

it's under the door
tickles the sausage dog
rattles paint
from window frames

cleaves chasm
trumpets prophecy

comes to this last corner again
won't remember a thing

it won't matter how mellow your mist

who gives stillness a second thought
if there's a breeze begun?

Rob Schackne #281 - "What does it do"

What does it do to liberate
I never tasted chocolate
nor let go my bearings
or climbed up a mountain
when finally the moment came
you were the first one I disappeared
then other things went missing

(as simple as going fishing)
until the habit gripped me

I was staring into darkness
and the numbness spread
what did it do to liberate
when I let go the rope

looked around
and fell

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Skin #85 Claine Keily

Tired of
recounting all
the details of the accident
she took down the slippers
she had placed on the bookshelf
under which she kept
the note from the insurance company
in which they
offered to pay her
a paltry sum
as a way of reimbursement
and decided that despite
long scars and lack of movement
the damage was slight
and that she woukd drive again
in the car warm at last
and that there would be laughter
and gossiping
dinners diced up with friends
as if confetti
and this self she was now
would be shed like a useless skin
around her

Kristen de Kline - #75 - lighting candles

lighting candles (for Johannes Siim, 1910-1945)

half a world      away     they're lighting
candles     twenty thousand     across Tallinn Tartu Pärnu  
one for each Estonian manwomanchild 25 March 1949 deported to Siberia    
on You Tube, colour images of multiplying number of candles clash
against bleached out sepia shots of gridded track lines smoking trains
deportation lists with double vowel surnames you recognise but wish you didn't
Johannes went in an earlier 'wave' but there's something about candles
bursting out light    flashing across the sepia news reels      saying
we remember you      we have little left     your photograph     the last
heavily photocopied letter    from Siberia     what can you write    
you miss your family love them     you want your son, my uncle
to be strong     to look after the family       what can you write
there's a certain weight crushing down     the Nordic gloom    
can you cut it out surgically remove it, attack the heartstrings with serrated knives?

you listen to the testimony with tenses, changing in every line:    
people get tired    there was no food    
they dropped     he crawled around    a frozen person  
looks awful  
you know how a person crawls     like this  
then they brought him back     he was white and dead
and white and

From the Gulags     some returned
their families say they were: "not the same"
I like that turn of phrase    but never the weight
of living with it     that one letter     what can you write
one remaining photograph     a memory you start to think you made up

the ones who didn't make it back    were left to
wrestle tangle bargain with the heaviness     crushing inwards,
eating away at their inner organs     savagely
how does a person crawl     I don't want to ask
can burning a candle achieve     anything
was Hitler right when he said     I don't want to say  
the Russians were sub-human     I told you I didn't want to say it
can anything melt through the strains of Sybelius and Dvorák    
political cynicism    melancholia      hardened beyond .... words? poetry?
concrete slabs     that featured somewhere in the family history
maybe I should delete them

Kurat: first Estonian swear word I learnt      this was meant to be a quick post    
Damn it     half a lifetime world countries removed    the lines I falter over     languish
awkwardly     in a foreign tongue       uncomfortably long they chatter
amongst themselves in the wrong places     they wrestle with questions about candles
and symbolism     what sort of person Johannes was     how different life, everything, madness
would have been     had he lived     can darkness ever be a beautiful space
how do you translate "not the same"
from Siberia     what can you write
just throw me the Redheads and I'll light the bloody candle

Kit Kelen #445 - beginningish

getting out of bed on the right side

first thingishly
of light much
and of bird begun
so winged with seeing
and as with sky
so we reflect
how dark it's been

a road runs
then by bicycle
a whole world rolls
and rolls away

first thingishly
already flown

say I was dog
and here is bone

winged pup
I won't be bitter
have heard the song
for some bald bark

I slobber cloud
how tenderly it touches
and makes a meadow in me

but stretch to it
restore and swing both arms about
wreak havoc, harrow, resurrect

there was a breeze
to twinkle toes

the making is all me you know
much thanks creatures
for the ride
for tide that I rode in on

time has come this far along
as in my bones to be

first thingishly
I was otherworldly
uncannily at home
I could smell
the day pour through

first thing it was
there were those
who so to speak
as if once upon
ever after happily
for me were all

obverse – remember
(it's the same)
someone stood in the stern
to till the sea
and it was river run
where from?
where to?

what was a little ache to me?
all the day's already in
and everything I'd do
is of this sky
to say
to see
to show how

I got out of the bed's right side
now I could go anywhere
that's our conversation come

isn't the music in me then?
how else could it be
I swim

Friday, March 24, 2017

Kit Kelen #444 - on the question of prayer (for gosbother)

on the question of prayer

there's no addressing gods
they're far
they're faint
their heads are otherwise inclined

all alien to us
we can't see them
or we should not
let's not forget the blinding

if we could see we wouldn't understand

would they know us?
are we persons of interest?

when symmetry's hand made like this
palm to palm
is one self

how are there selves beside?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Kit Kelen #443 - boy's own poem

boy's own poem

the president is taking a dump
(I think that's how he puts it)
laying a pipe
(all the way to Alaska)
this happens most days
and sometimes more than once

it's a tweet
it could be fake news
no one can do this for him

still I believe it's happening
now and that won't be an end of it

the president is leaving a log
on whom will glory fall this day?

he did this long before he came to office
perhaps he'll do it a long time after

it doesn't seem very presidential
though I suppose it is a product of democracy

the red necks who have prayed for this
they have gathered in the old rust shop
the hour is nigh
for the next big drop
they are ready to receive

it might be this president's finest product
and yet as you focus your attention here
over time I think you'll admit
the image never becomes less disturbing

the old questions come back to us

one waits for history
to flush

Kerri Shying R - # 204 - the text to say you tripped

the text to say you tripped

be more careful  you see I don’t want to land at some regional
airport just to come and slap you for falling down getting injured don’t
you know what love means to me    the kind of mad unconditional
drive up the coast   love that you hand out like a fresh jonquil   I am
Helen Keller’s hand beneath the pump   old woman   always listening
inside this snail-brain vault for what makes the humans  whirr and
tick    your flash against my palm    don’t fall

Rob Schackne #280 - "Patterns of the moon"

"Patterns of the moon"

Patterns of the moon
phases of our speech

the costly throwaways
and the living pain

the plastic bodies of
crutches beyond reach

the performative acts
the rhyming of the rain

a band of children

walking in the rain

the things we've done
we called them deeds

there the dark shooters
here they come again

never solid enough
none quite missed enough

not even close
or just me
or you

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Paths 84 Claine Keily

She dragged the statue
of the madonna
over to her bedside
looked out through the window
at the spray on pebble driveway
and wished only
for fields of wattle

But she saw only
the plastic peeking out
from in between the rocks
in her mother's garden

She wanted to go to
the movie theatre
to feel tears
stain her face and take
her mascara with it
to be messy

But the one tree
on the lawn
marred her dream
as did the snapshot of
her mother
smiling wanly
in a cheaply carpeted condominium

Kerri Shying R - # 203 - tramal


sucks the words back in  between the  spaces
of the teeth   the slow releases  trace  the
minutes of the hour  glass   of nothing

taking time   instead of pain  space the face
of day   lips buzz hands grab at seconds
  flutter-bys  - swans of serotonin’s glib
secret   sticking down the
boiler plate of ailing   those warmest   
the wanting

Kit Kelen #442 - down to earth (for Tony Lintermans)

down to earth

for Tony Lintermans

after the wind
the grass upstanding
far corners gather in

the happy whisker
its own colour
to a beard
and plucky
where the snow has fallen

does happiness have any direction?

it's often before the event
or it's amorphous amounting
so you couldn't call a cause

easy to list what sets off the recognition

every declaration of peace has this substrate
even the wish to share
just about everything
for instance

it's your star
go on
I caught it falling
so happy it's for you

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Travel # 83 Claine Keily

Once she had sipped Sangria
by the sea in
a restaurant in Barcelona
now she could no longer remember
the name of the hotel there
in which she had stayed
nor the shine
of the stained glass windows
what  she did remember
was that being able to travel there
had made her feel
she stood at the centre of the world

Now she viewed maps
in her bedroom at night
unsure if they gave her hope
or sadness
as she read The Economist
and feared she would never
travel again

Kristen de Kline #74 - malfunctioned

Plastic Linda from Coburg
malfunctioned     just like that
the white plastic grids     didn't tangle
or spangle or do anything
fancy     but one of her spokes started
speaking out     didn't like the way your life was
heading     the highway up North or the road to nowhere
did it matter

she could have     broken down
on a cooler day     not an afternoon when you're
sweat saturated     your face is strangely bloodied  
flesh covered in petals like
     tear drops tattoos
but she chose     today     to quit working
just couldn't     get out of bed
could no longer fan the room
chase the breath     even the slow, melting kisses
she was no longer interested in tracking down

Plastic Linda was right out of warranty and even if she was in warranty you'd have no ideas where it was and even if you could find the docket the purple ink would have faded so nobody could read it whichever way     you look at it     you're stuffed

... it was Plastic Linda's nineteenth nervous breakdown
well that's what Mick Jagger     told you
in lyrics     you can remember
lines that run amuck in your head for an uncomfortably
     long time
my accountant told me I should find a day job
poetry won't replace Plastic Linda
my maths have never been that good
it could have been     the twentieth malfunction
     but who's counting
Plastic Linda has weathered heatwaves firestorms relationship breakups
I guess it was only a matter of time before
she malfunctioned    before the spokes started
chattering      amongst themselves
in the dark     it's a beautiful place
or so the other poets tell you

Kit Kelen #441 - the insect that came in vanished without a trace

the insect that came in vanished without a trace

there isn't a reason for anything bigger
than what we can work out how to explain
well there might be
but for all intents and purposes
you're pissing in the dark to go there

mind you
the dark is a beautiful place
or whatever you call it or don't

however grateful you might feel at times
the important thing to bear in mind
is that there is no one to thank

James Walton #44 Richard III before Bosworth Field

The ones I don’t recognize
are the inconstant future
of this rolling wave

within the crest they look at me
the past the present the maybe
not quite fish

but a flapping form
gelatinous in their knowledge
accusing me of only attending

four funerals in my life
with no regard for the little Princes
damn their sqiddy insistence

the rap rap rap of so many arms
ban all these fucking ceremonies
this is the surf of remission

the writing in the sand
draw a line through the guilty
erase Antony’s better lines

neon above the Tower
cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war
my horse’s name escapes me.

Rob Schackne #279 - The Sandroom

The Sandroom

Saw you coming
tell you remember
the something of poets
the reason they wrote

say me again if you please
how this came to be
ah the trees were ripped
after the windstorm

after there was rain
it was another world
I like your sculpture
when the storm passed
the leaves shaking
it rained again

Ambulance # 83 Claine Keily

There in the ambulance
it seemed to her
he took his time
and she there
her breasts impossibly swollen
curves hard anchored
save for with blood

There are men in the world
she thought
who savour
seeing a woman
tacked like this
in a cubicle
wearing nothing but blood

Foolish to believe
she thought
that men dream only
to bring women bouquets of flowers
or long to take them
to restaurants
in the hope of
kissing their hands

Cui Yuwei # 35--"Position"


written and self-translated into Cui Yuwei

The streetlamp casts a dim light on the ground, like a train trailing behind.
I’m now squatting down by a rocking horse, on whose back rides
my daughter, hands firmly with the handles in a wanton ride.
Her lips half asunder, a joyous giggling is unleashed; her eyes
grows invisible, the inky night enclosed inside.
Five meters away Mum sits in a rocking chair, alone. Her limbs
hang down loosely, with a serenity like a statue.

In a flash, as it were, I drift into a vision where I sit in Mum’s position
with the same serenity; my daughter squats in my position, regarding a child
on horseback. Mum is mute, as she is lying in a shroud exactly like how
Grandma is positioned at this very moment.



Cui Yuwei #34--"Breaking Two Habits"

Cui Yuwei #34--"Breaking Two Habits"

Breaking Two Habits

Written and self-translated into Chinese by Cui Yuwei

I’ve been hooked on
Two things since I was
A middle school student
Thing one: I bite my fingers
Bit by bit
Till the nails are jagged and
The tips raw with
Blood and flesh
Whenever my hands are
Thing two: I tear the layers of skin
Off my lower lip
Bit by bit
Till it bleeds
Whenever my lips chap

Getting off bed this morning
I stand in front of the mirror
Gazing at the ghost-like
Reflection of myself
With tumbled hair, vacant eyes
Cragged fingertips and bloody lips
I feel so scared
That I cram the two habits
I’ve long possessed
Into a paper envelope
Fold it up and squeeze it
Under one leg of my marble dining table
The shriek from inside
Is also blood-red