Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Kit Kelen #1083 - to be sixty

to be sixty

for all my doggy codger/codgerina cobbers and china plates
and all the other creatures masked and shown for human in the zoo

here is the garden I am
two rounds of a whiff
past 36

and lean back into
among webs and dust

adorned with years
shot through sun

so here's a bunch now
and farther back than you can count
(that was the cloudless night)

behind a curtain of the creek
remembered in what rudeness once!

here be lifted
let the chorus come
skins thicker by the day

let this then be the record
how time was
how we have passed on
and round again

and Father Christmas too
visited in wrinkles
I can't see
can you?

Earth Dog round the clock
jia zi!
jia you
oil to add

hung by a web's thread glint

we take no prisoner's today

lost in a forest of friends
and memories
mulberry under as much as shade
here's the dauber, spider wasp
building and building
and out of my way

you curly tree
and flit
you who are coming into names
you whose names are falling away
each nevertheless sixty years of my epoch
by virtue of having always been

and I in the deeps, so easy foretold
come to live in such time

know that I am the garden
        just as I started out to say
            of picnic tradition
bears park their bottoms
                  and listen up
             each to a calling
              a shedload of griefs
         (bears drop their bundles)

then rumble up for us
sky, tin drip
wrack thy evening
     bolt from blue

scribble it down as fast

dog with feet of clay
       (ursine fantasist, now winged
            now dragon deep, now nodding into

strange shallow sleep of transgression
infested with old ideas
flaunting the new

humbled with
wild in applause

still you're that once-upon kid
    wink of never knowing

just a wandsworth of spell
admitting something long ago

wired to the wild, just say
mea culpa 

do you recognize someone here?
still by heart youngster

everywhere's the mirror
and a little wander in
paths fork

and now a blessing count
 reasons to be

sexygenerian too – the milf man
more in love with this world every day

ranting for it, lost to lusts
(bottles of the stuff)

and all this text
in continents!
 – it's just a scratch
here's the flea unharmed
treatises to go
nail up
get me a new door

spare me the exegesis

it's the sort of thing you'll have to swear off

no time for
moon shines through
and I have done

after all my golden ages
still this sun tumble
and silvery

in all my lacks and lusting after
this one goes straight to the music box

leaf deep mulched with

I have been pre-heated
run econo-cycle

it's how I've puddled home
and I ran dry

put on something red for it

of the dog come kennelling
calendar come home

and gone up

all in one go too
or spread out over seasons
sillier, each succeeding
and a total ban today

cup half what then?
some of the flimsy have fallen

hoping I'll praise incapacity
prodigal re-emergence
because I am now dad?

and like the present
so fucked up

no boundaries
but midst all
and I throw the roof
   I pier up
   I plaster
   take to tip

whose shite in pigswallow?
           take a deep breath there

I tie my tongue
          trot off
in other words again

crept to comfort
all year lit with shadows

in this place
rainbows other end us
here's the pot

and once upon a time to
every third won't-give-a-thought
nor bury, drown staff, book
but 'tis a good tiredness, give it way

climb out from under the pile of myself
a song yet
a few facts left to say

shall I give the rundown?

grist for the mills I run
say winter for the leap of it
imagine ice sleet snow
 and turkey
Christmas is a throw away

in all this plenty I've brought on
fish half plastic and to barbeque
 the ocean too

save these koalas' trees
save everyone's

the bacon is brought homw

and brightly into sprightly
force the wind at heaven's trap

so touching
is to decide
I only let the music in
and cultivate abandon

and jolly good after all
for he's...
bathe palmily with it

and friendlove
  gather me
as deathbed on

(moons of another world here must imagine)

continuous rant
as breath's become
just as trundle
and off into
which is mere preface in time to be

let rattle every heart
such failings
as average out to

our codgerdom

preserve me in hard liquor now
and smoke to me when gone

I'll love it if no one will believe
if someone asks to see the card
so marvel
disabuse of clean living
say self-indulgence was the thing
played with it till …
yet sprung back to life

it was always too much information

so sorry for another self
never this sorry self of mine

but it was outwardly I've lived
to give

we have been given so much
(some haven't and some won't)

better of course to push the barrow
(than be borne)
to stand on the soap
(than slip)

conceal disgust
make vagueness of virtue
necessity of home
but really
no one can ever believe

who is it lives this life but me?
hard to stretch things so far

remember to back everything up
ye know not when the system fails

irrational outburst
let's now and then

so tearily
borne upon time's thus-far palanquin
afloat all the day with well wishes

so life be with me
gentle till the flame
and bless my self
all ways

to be sixty
and never again

Tug Dumbly # 69 - One Version of Les

One Version of Les

What’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution
– Constantine Cavafy

Your bullied childhood your moneymaker,
embunkered otherness a blanket,
burred about you by your beloved nanny,
Nurse Grievance, flopping out her trusty old
dugs to be suckled yet again, way beyond
the age of consent, two frothing jugs,
bile and honey, poison next to cure,
one expressing a dairy of dissent,
the other drugging away the pain.

She soothes you to sleep with fairy tales,
fables grim to whet the spade,
to dig the trench to send periscopes
up all those sweaty academics  
and desperado intellectuals   
scoping you from their towers,
all those elites howling for your scalp,
stalking your corpus down Escher halls
of privilege and power.

Christ, what if the unthinkable happened, Les
and the barbarians cancelled the gig,
threw in the towel on pillaging Bunyah,
slapped ya back, said good on ya,
even worse, dared to love ya?

Jeeze, maybe someone blundered.

What if the enemy didn’t exist,
or had done a Gallipoli flit,
pulled out on the sly, leaving you squeezing
a figment of thistle in each clenched fist,
howling at a bucolic sky?

No lie, Les, but could be,
apart from the odd angry scribbler –  
the Last Tasmanian Poet gone feral,
carrying on a futile Thylacine resistance –
the Huns and Vandals have abandoned
their advance on your books.

Their Hercules couldn’t brook your tortoise
over the distance, you set to mean a slog.
(Though the animal could be wrong –
Jeremiah was a bullfrog).

To make more shrapnel of metaphor,
maybe your Turk has crept to their trench
to find nothing but gifts – chocolate bars
of critical acclaim: ‘Attaboy Ataturk
your salvos won the day!’

You stormed Normandy without casualty,
took Troy without a horse,
the fortress doors of Academia
are unguarded and swinging wide:
‘but come inside, you’re on the course!’

The chatterers and cultural pashas
offer garlanded entrĂ©es,  
Chairs bestrewn with posies, in
lecture halls bedecked with bouquets.

On a laurel sash pinned a note:
‘sorry we missed you.
Just popped down to the shop
for your latest anthology.
Make yourself at home –
we’ve drugged the dogs, drained the moat.
Everyone’s dying to meet you
if you haven’t another appointment …’

Fuck, what a fly in the ointment.
Universally lauded.
How dare they queer your disappointment!

But how ‘bout this Les –
if you finally win the Dynamite Prize
don’t chase us like the loaded dog.
Just accept our surrender.
You won the war, unconditionally, even.

Though she still won’t like the terms
your old Nanny, Nurse Grievance.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Kit Kelen #1082 - a psalm (for ataraxia)

a psalm

for ataraxia

in a garden

justice, all sorts
low flying

here are the words
run through a head

here is the track
set first to light

tether's end, is it?
sprightly, by path, sung up

this one praised and that applauded
someone summarily dispensed

clouds caught at my will
the garden is collected in books

a flower opens
all hearts must

sit truthfully to
ceremony and procession

all so too much seen
this world of all we are

here are the stars we took for night
here is the dew's still touch

up path
and sky revolve

let me be lost
and someone is calling

catch up with each other
so surpassed

seasons go silly here
stringed hymn

then shall we praise?
let light hold hearts

that we are sung to here

Jeff Skewes #59 Through mud

Change shoes
walk a new track
another birth remains
the same

journeys thicken
lotus stirs
mud creeps
waiting still


image - jeffree skewes / still life - in progress detail / ink, aerosol paint, recycled rice paper on interfacing

Monday, December 17, 2018

Magdalena Ball #46 - Soul Clap

soul clap

    for Kit, on the occasion of

there’s no boat 
the island no country

roads peter to glades
glades to graves
which could be heaven 
or gentle hell
depending on weather

the artist colony 
your corporate body
remains in perpetual youth
gathering loose cells

words like insects
blind with need
bound in time’s honey
perception past
passing, or to come

bind, cling, fuse

into song 
the golden bough 
your woods

this is the gift

from one microorganism 
breathing out carbon
otherwise scattered, lost

to be found here
in this space whole
pulled in, collected 
and shared

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Kit Kelen #1081 - the music box (song)

the music box

wallaby grazing on the dam bank
reaches right around for scratchin' her back

bird diving down to get a feed
you oughta know just what I seed

from the music...
from the music box

wallabeast's there
rotatin' her ears
I do everything to allay her fears

kookaburras laughing up in the tree
nuthin ever seemed so funny to me

at the music...
at the music box

mud dauber's flying in and out of the box
cause Desmond clearly didn't seal it enough
here comes a dragonfly
takes a sip at the pond
here's mud in your eye

at the music...
at the music box

looks like wallaby's ready to hop
but I'm making some music so she's gonna stop

kookaburras up there laughing along
they don't understand a word of this song

at the music...
at the music box

wallaby's getting into the groove
you shoulda seen that wallaby move

does it get any better than this?
welcome to my personal bliss

at the music...
at the music box

blue sky over me up ahead
aint goin' nowhere when I'm dead

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Gillian Swain - 29 - sand

someone’s left their babies on the beach
plastic catastrphies of play
mount shifting sands
small plump thighs wobble and redistribute
weight, design
someone’s left the children
sitting on the lip
the tide
of imagined worlds
a landscape 
the big ones soon forget

Clark Gormley #73

light rail tracks carry
a brand new shiny streetcar
named white elephant

Kit Kelen #1080 - nothing saves us in the end (for godsbother)

nothing saves us in the end
for godsbother / ataraxia

you could say
space and time between

I lessen towards
commit to it

this is the glue
in the all connects

no wishfulness
this undreamt

tricks of fear
are pulpited

I in among the piles of line
say anywhere we are

and try for
empty handed

here's a saviour birth
call breakfast

hatch the counted eggs
so down as if

there were a progression of numbers
it's a moment's thought to this

you grab at the idea

nothing saves us in the end
literally it does

by virtue of this knowledge
I am now healing here

Friday, December 14, 2018

Kit Kelen #1079 - rattled

for godsbother

with gamut again

the unknown gives counsel

as if a clock came after me
ye know not the hour

it's an ocean

bright sunny day
with here-we-are storms
and gauntlet

ache sudden
with twinge as well

sweat that it's summer
swim to the fore
of consciousness

where the weather
tells its bones
rattle them out
for oracle

old double decker tunnelling
red rattling night's

feeling of having been fooled

then knock on a familiar door

go breathlessly to count

bars of the cage
and this one given
with poetry
end of the cot

count blessings again
name myself for one

dizzy with the day
all to do there

the markets
the weather
these certain friends

the banks not speaking to each other

slighted by life more generally

the unreliable
forgetting the unthinkable

things missing
and nostalgia for

mosquitoes visit

rodents to wall me in

have we grandfathered that
with a sunset?
the tax on here and all I am


when everyone was alive once when
before we wished ourselves away

so many words ago that was!

climb to a falling height together

go breathlessly to count
giant paspalum
and parramatta
so many I can't name

against these

and here's the garden path I'm up
my sheep to sleep and counting

then there are my own thoughts drift
sweet sour
little business of alive
and looming the only alternative

on that sacred day will say
this is as far as we got

it's not a question of where you'll go
not an alternative at all
nothing to see here
but the great next dark
and the bright
I'll never know

Tug Dumbly # 68 - Fake Billy Collins Poem

Fake Billy Collins Poem      

This gentle acoustic bus goes electric
when she gets on and sits directly
in front of me, and I must rest

in my lap the book I’m reading
and take in her thick Spanish mane,
shinily fountaining up in a proud

black pony tail, spilling back down
over her caramel neck and shoulders
and swishing that lucky seat bar.

… Now, I know what you’re thinking.
Too many adjectives. But don’t fret,
this is not a poem about poetry.

Nor is this going to get weird or
pervy in any way. The only thing
arrested was my attention

and the only charge you could lay
against me would be grievous
dereliction of Pablo Neruda,

whose greatest hits I’d been reading
before my mind got waylaid.
But no way is anything creepy

going to happen, and in any case
I promise to give a trigger
warning if at any stage this poem

looks like straying into tasteless  
terrain. But it won’t. I have too much
respect for the artistry of

Pablo Neruda, and the earthy
magic and erotic pungency  
of his poetry, as well as for the

lovely looking Latino lady
sitting right in front of me,  
to transgress any boundary

of good taste, or socio-sexual 
propriety in any way …   
All I’m saying is my attention

was got when she boarded, with
her pregnant belly swelled to a ripe
Valencia under its orange top,  

and her skin hummed this expectant
blush, a million-tongued blood glow,
and there’s this flash of black jasper eyes,

dark browed and lashed, set in flesh
so sweetly tented to jaw and cheek.
And then she is seated, two feet

in front of my face, and I’m
ambuscaded by that lustrous,
prancing pony tail, which gets my

imagination galloping
on a ride beside this bus …
Plus there’s the way she rubs her neck

and shoulders, and digs her fingers
under her bra strap, through that
orange top, like it's eating too sharp

in the one spot and she just wants
to peel the damn thing off …
And I find I’m just about dying

to lean forward, get my nose in close
to her neck, and inhale deep that
warm horse hair and caramel skin.

And maybe I do lean in, just a bit,  
before I catch myself and think
how this might look to the other

people on the bus, me sitting there
sniffing the back of this lady’s
head like a dinner. So I return to

reading Pablo Neruda, and his  
fifty greatest hit poems, which I
found in the library. And Pablo’s  

everything you’d expect a South
American Literary Giant to be -
political, magical and dirty,  

and pretty soon I’m uttering bits
of the saucy old Chilean out loud,
close behind her, in Spanish -

Plena mujer, manzana carnal,
luna caliente - because this book
has the poems in both English

and Spanish, and even though
I don’t speak Spanish, and my 
pronunciation might be garish,  

more gauche than gaucho -
beso a beso recorro
tu pequeno infinito -

Pablo’s words soon weave their magic
and she levers her swollenness  
around in her seat and stares at me

from a well of darkest wonder. 
She says ‘Neruda? He's okay
in small doses. Though he can get

a bit cloying, like a heavy perfume.
I usually go for something with
a bit more lightness and fizz, like

Billy Collins. Know what I mean?’
The bus stops, she heads for the door,
but first turns and says, ‘by the way,

were sniffing me before?  
That was a little bit weird ...
you know, a bit creepy sorta?'

She gets off, and I sit and ponder
the power of poetry, and her Aussie
accent, which couldn't have been broader.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Kit Kelen #1078 - a mosquito comes

a mosquito comes

colour of weather

for sure, another world to it
steers the drips between

days, years
one to

this one's in a business suit
and this one channels satan

sleek limousine
craft lands
to excavate, extract

and I'm a new found
flagged to count

it's the bar code in the blood
by geeks of the little air

must be heavier than
some secret will propels

doctor innocuous
and your outdoor injecting room

a skin too thin to take

I coil up smoke
to cure the air
and bear my own
ill wind about

Clark Gormley #72 Flyover

Unusual numbers of people
are lining the coastal walk
large crowds of them
standing on headlands
looking northward
awaiting a Close Encounter

and at 10am
as foretold by The Herald
they arrive
awesome machines
the likes of which
have never been seen
in these here parts before

they fly in low
at less than a thousand feet
engines roaring
they give us all a buzz

these are not alien craft
but fighter jets
chosen by our government
our magnificent, clever
federal government
to ensure our safety

and cheap?
you can buy four of them
for the price of a light rail system
very good value for money
as the light rail top speed is 40 km/h
whereas the F35A reaches Mach 1.6
with the ability to wipe out
whole neighbourhoods in a mission
with targeted air strikes
using state-of-the-art technology
whereas the light rail can only kill
one cyclist at a time

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Gillian Swain - #28 - Quarters 4


And (then) there's
the other way of looking
through the only place you cannot see
it speaks
upon the lips strung long
the reply rolls out onto
the palm of your hand
through feet it came
You see now
remember that you felt it
all the way through
centuries you have stood
there in the waiting
you know every grain
of dirt and every turn of root
it is here
always was

Rob Schackne #827 - Senryu (3)

the train will shudder
I want it to turn hard left
it brakes on the bridge

Kit Kelen #1077 nesting


all the nesting night they're in
take sleep from this shrine

and creak
till there's song
and there's laughter
and light

how many years until?

get into a rhythm
of whimsy
like laps

dream with

they are the dark run rafters
they are the noggin scratch
and stud squeeze
brush plaster

they are batten track
scrape to underside tin
as if the same words said

run of the mill
they are inventing
with us like taxes
like fleas

they have fled
as simple as the rain

the borders were useless
to us and to them

tiny shy
their running terror

how they love to fuck
or do it anyway
far fleeting

weeds sprung up with
deep in the garden

and where's my sleepy python?

they have had more birthdays
and they know who they are

wake up to myself wishing ill
stretch to mystery
and I think of their sleep
heart dark with the deeds I'll do