Thursday, January 31, 2019

Gillian Swain - #57 - Salt is not a season

we sweat like pigs 
(do they even?)   feel the entrapment
even auras pant   we sweat
salt is not a season
throat wants not heat on air
the supping was more than enough
after the first week of forty-plus   enough
was when the air stopped breathing
that pigeon won't leave her nest
she won't eat won't drink

must shield eggs   cooler to incubate
the night will have its calling

Kerri Shying R - # 585 - light


from the bus   you were the high wire
people  dancing     on skin   on concrete
handfuls of each other     up against the
shirred wheat stucco      by the air con
a small haul of white powder-coat balcony
set dressing jenga-stacked       to give you
purchase      in the absence of the sea-side
view     a hot day   this knee trembler   us
below    who looked up   only because
we are not used to seeing cranes

Rob Schackne #883 - Senryu (28)

The gusts are so strong
five cockatoos fly away
the tree waves goodbye

Rob Schackne #882 - Hat Island

Hat Island

          (after Vollmann reading Twain)

Old master Bixby
the Mississippi pilot
read 1000 miles of river

the face of the water
in time, wrote Twain
became a wonderful book
today the face is muddy 
new snags were created
Hat Island disappeared
and the old knowledge 
of a place is useless now
where does that leave us
except tired and behind
with our little gifts of sorcery
more temporary than ever –
do we care less because
our dreams were rattled
do we care less because 
our time is running out
come let's ride together awhile

Clark Gormley #86 sad haiku

it's harder to write
sad haiku apparently
you use more muscles

Kit Kelen #1128 - I'm the one got away

I’m the one got away

the others were herded
death had them
such various
no one saw

I got away from the crowd
slipped under the wire
I escaped in a dream

I was fed on gravity
blear light
had to keep a record

somehow the ticket was good
I walked all the way
had the visas

I got the coat
the others froze
I climbed to the top of the pile

changed my clothes 
my skin
my tongue

I am the survivor’s son
take the lesson to heart

not all of my ancestors were
but enough

someone pointed
they were heaped

how happy must they seem to some
I prefer fresh air

I was a lucky fool
and there but for the grace

but someone had to stand through time
and keep the queue alive

I never believed anyone would save me
I knew there was a better place
I never asked the question

you’d have to wait until Christmas to know
I secreted myself in a crack
called that the future

I was the one who had a gun
they saw me as defenceless

I ducked
I bribed them all 

rolled away in a little ball
turned blind eye
winked as well

I could not be detected
I made myself so small

although the light was shone in my face
I told them what they wanted to hear
not what they needed to know

they were distracted when it came my turn

because I was so innocent
because I was a bully
put up a fight
lay down

I was open to that kind of idea
could do all kinds of tricks

the time had passed
and I was still there
by that time I’d set out

better to die
a great age in my bed

I could entertain
and I sold myself
I had no soul to sell

in the dead of night I snuck
caught a cadence, rode it
just those last few chords
were a life

there was a gunpowder flash

it was like it was, I suppose
and cannot be explained
things in those days

along the way
one grazed
could have starved
been taken for or to or from

anyone would

so much almost
I slipped away
and now I’m here
was never chosen

we do not speak of such things now
you wouldn’t understand

we sang to keep our spirits up
it was summer or some other season
I hid the thing in my nose
or other orifice

leaked like a sieve
made music

it was everything till now that let me
though we never knew it then

it was the angle of the thing

a leaf fell
where the web was loose

the world’s too young to know
I did it all for love

sharpened the sword and passed it on
you have done just the same

come into the magic
I’m still here
impending as with all deaths

if you like you can call all of this betrayal

someone had to stand through time
and keep the queue alive

I will do the important things
do what needs to be done
I’m the one got away
I’m telling the story today

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Rob Schackne #881 - Senryu (27)

Without my specs
the imagination
is just hearsay

Clark Gormley #86 List

written on used envelopes
sometimes prioritised
sometimes asterisked
meaning Do Today!
I’m ticked off
until they’re ticked off

after a while
they form a notepad of sorts
bulging the pocket
that’s when the cull occurs
those with only a couple
of uncompleted items
have them copied
to a new list
and the paper is chucked
since that’s a document
of achievements
being thrown away

Kerri Shying R - # 584 - the summer sea

you were the first
to swim  beneath me
alligator     tortoise

eyes blue as the sky
wide as the sea

water slick on your shoulders the
varnish on your hardwood floor

shoulders of ancestors
all branches   in all directions
no falling

Kit Kelen #1127 - without a thought in my head (a little effort at meditation)

without a thought in my head
a little effort at meditation

can you imagine what such a silence suggests?

beyond mere breath
a striving for the nothing there –
the all-beyond of strife

as if a breeze from empty air
between the ears

and all of this something
always something else
mind trains on

must keep an image tether to
make sure that I don’t float away

empty ideal you could say
but shhhhhhh!
all such bubbles are soap
so portentous

in order not to have a care
to brush off the grime of day

must sometimes trick myself from thinking
so make all things new and far

the colour of nothing
is all of this time between zero and one

fall through or for it
and from this great height

it is a well, moon minded
dust of nothing
and no one to kick

we imagine
join dotted lines

so far and away so good
the head returns to a roll in the hay

listen for it
how the world stops at the top of the clock

an open window
or else I’m a mirror
step through

insects land from the future
not a thought in their heads
but here we are

life in the egg
bound to be like this

cross the eyes
and dot the teas
worry us into a new disease

try not to follow a train
or stoke
keep parallel with tracks
deal with the simplest facts of brain

and so on till infinity

come clouding clear
in a glass of water
follow a lit speck there

I make myself a fascination

to be unknown among my works
lauded for such absence

interested in everything

and so it is we must imagine

blank mind
pure soul
clear heart

Clark Gormley #85

A woman steps out of the shadows in front of my car. I stop and at first I think she wants to get in, but she’s arguing with a man who is walking a few steps behind her. I recognize the situation. He’s always just a few paces behind. Then the woman on the radio asks “when were you late for a party? Maybe you were caught in a storm or your train was late? Call in or text us on blahblahblah”. But I don’t.

James Walton #130 De Heading the Hydrangeas

Amongst the old
spent heads falling
the colours gone rheumy
bleached bones on the ground
just peaking dawn
air’o mist from the summer night
suddenly next door’s Terriers bark
then quiet as a pricked balloon
in the shade of the strawberry tree
older than our country
the monsteria of politicians’ lips
mouthing over Menindee swollen fish
a detonation for waking
but can I still drive that far.

Rob Schackne #880 - Senryu (26)

I read the music
and I listen to poetry
is that the right way

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Kerri Shying R - # 583 - Identify the Kestrel

 Identify the Kestrel

he can see as far as Dungog   hear
us from Pine Gap

we’re not    complete
this family     all burnt

around the edges   stained
with tea     some old map  

stood beside the stove    kept
company by sausages that whistle
from the oven     I know

I mustn’t touch you
my fingers hurt too much

Kit Kelen #1126 - on Day One of the poem

on Day One of the poem

I was there
remember you darling hung
the playpen beads

I built it out of mud and timber

everything was made then
you can call it primeval

call it the cranium cave lamp

yesterday’s sun still with us
everyone got the headgear at Bunnings

no one fell to their knees
in a penniless loft
will someone anyone strike a match?

another was already begun
and persevered with it

from chaos
(can we even spell it then?)

a dabble to begin
and out of compost muck I mulched

one imagines then rain
on such a night

was I an envy green?
but no

I had a face to it
and grew
into the storm

every inch of it a stretch
all the forevers there

and flowers
no one knew that they’d been said

my aim in all
not to be remembered

I know I will be buried in
best suit I ever wore

this is how I go to the maker

Day One is a tautology
and yet we are believed

you had to have been there

Monday, January 28, 2019

Rob Schackne #879 - Dark Moment

Dark Moment

A dark moment
we were speaking
he said all he'd miss
was a dozen people
the animals and birds
the beetles

rain and thunder
the lightning
the stars at night
how the wind changes
he would miss

the colours
a few sunsets
full moons
good booze
and the grace
of a few seconds
sounds not so much
what do you expect

he said he'd miss me
yes and a couple poems
he never wrote

Kerri Shying R - # 582 - woo and tricky

suburban    basket of woo and tricky  footpath
cracks asprout   the leaves about to stain

who knows  who planted the Illawarra plum
We go with baskets   a day too late sliding

in magenta     answering everyone who passes
what are they and can you eat them    try

to hold it all together    this fragile ecosystem
let the small dogs and children roam

Kit Kelen #1125 - desideratum


among my wonders, few behold

things I cannot, must and can
and on the list today
and lost
for resolution

then there’s that for which I wish

not all of the seen must be known

few do

how close, how round the ends
another world I stretch to reach
angels pinned to the board
still preach

few will know my crimes
and who detects humanity?

and in the creek dark cool

how task bent to the truth I’ve been
(as on the wheel)
for just this gardens weight of grief

how little and lost
gone and gone
and me to the mirror too

the bailing and the bilge
salt snout

the art of it
and set to sea
in less than a canoe

how long the damned thing takes
scribble on the floor
and of the tune

I have to be the fish

there will be few recall
how far in time we are to go
slept and dreamt and drawn aside
called to the curtain again

all points of a compost green
to the treetops!

the robot moves
the dinosaur thinking
arrows all directions

how I am bent to the tune you won’t hear

how on a stick
sat up with


and everyone imagines me
the beer and even skittles

how humid all
before a fall
how still the listless cattle stand
in saplings
and breathless
clouded in self

how far few
the ways I dreamt
and all aboard

how tumbling down the house must be
and come along with you

paint it
or pluck
blow it all away
but wish

how lost I am among you
quiet in prayer
no one is listening
though every poem is

and I, most wanted here
have stood for the rain
where it would not fall

here’s me going off
all mouth
how exercised I always am
out of an ache of morning

the struggle up
as in the sun
my day in
pile of some clock’s leavings

no one would know the top of my game
how deep my well of failings

the weariness of it as well
how shook the bones to have been
… and more  

mere words to lead me away
more words to bring me home

not much of the known is ever seen

then will it be the same for you?
I know it must be so

unnumbered senryu - pumpkin pride

unnumbered senryu

was it because of my pumpkin pride
this summer
no rain fell

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Gillian Swain - #56 - heat collisions

You think a cold shower
is the answer
there is no chill in the ruination
of heat swept insomnia
the room presses on your forehead
chin up and take advantage of 
this wake   trailing behind
like a day half spent
your thoughts   cave in
collision has no landing   only   pieces of
better ideas   judder
cajoling you into plans and bent
on a staunch stance   for tomorrow
when   you'll take that heat
and swim it like soup

Kristen de Kline #248 Goodbye 5

it's the English words you lose
first, in the card you sent for our

boy’s birthday you write in a curious
mixture of upper and lower case letters

English and Spanish words   hearts and
flowers etched in Indian ink like a frame

I listen to your words over the mobile
each syllable slowly crumbling, an Eagles

riff sneaks in from the nurse’s station
he says: you're hooked up to the nines

I watch another helicopter hovering overhead
with one of those giant buckets of water

they dump on flaming houses   it’s true
we never get to say goodbye quite the way

we imagine it,   the things my son tells me
I did wrong   - they're all true - and more 

I turn the air con onto MAX    go out the back
where concrete pavers burn my feet 

and cry 

your ashes blow over the veggie garden you
carefully planted      palm trees, bend double

whatever happened to us

Kit Kelen #1124 - cookin'


days like this we all catch fire

first thing up in
wilted to the flower
and too much summer said

winter is a bonfire waiting
and clutter up to flame
we live

as if a lightbulb bloomed in the dream
till all of Christmas lit

yesterday’s sun still with us, stays
can’t get it out of these rooms

yellow as we are to it
and tunnel ending ever after

a kitchen caught us
who could stand that heat?
there was no getting out

poached up

leaves above us falling
books as we read – fire

there’s just this one bottle of winter
I’ve kept to crack on a day like today

the ants are
from drought to this
a flame away

the nakedness is ours

days like this
fire catches us
Vesuvius prophetic
at deeds and chores

we’ve hell to burn

another day of our cremation
we brought this on ourselves you know

and it goes on

do you imagine
it droppeth as a mercy would
upon the place below

keep faith and cling
imagine that

on a day like this you must

Kit Kelen - of the innumerable

of the innumerable just one day is
tree is like an arrow laid up
trunks in the flood
branch breezes to sway
a leaf for a turn in the story

Tug Dumbly - Exploded Monologue From Unwritten Irish Play

Exploded Monologue From Unwritten Irish Play

… cobwebs float

spectral strands of unborn self
rows of little polio cripps                pitiful things curled
and browning in spirit                    jars on shelves 

webby back sheds              


of what you think you’d think
if you could think
but you can’t think

beyond a tiny clammy hand
                            tracing your spine

spectral sense insensible 

cobwebs float unlodged    lonely

unrealised undead
    poor bawling little edits crawling
           round your feet
not understanding the dance
mistaking the chance they never stood
they float on        choked on          all their terrible         

dead child potential

midge cloud of coulds       not knowing
they’re unknowing      little edits           
                                bobbin dolls unspooling
millennia of
spilt umbilical thread

sniff blind long gone to dust
parent script      seraphim spitting
light of death

flap like fish on the black lip
of a mercury lake

mutely mouth for mercy’s sake take me back
and develop me
I’m your property   
take me back and develop me
like a property developer
develops a property
develops a child   

wards of wards
of crisp white scripts

Nurse Butcher & the little polio crips
the undead unread          scalpelled
in white sheets …

Shhh now
Shhh, go to sleep
go to sleep …

o, to sleep 

count backwards from ten
the dream of a dying fish
on the black lip
of a mercury lake 
mutely mouth for mercy’s sake

dream an army of snowmen
searching your head
for little lost black eyes 

mutely moaning  
manmade mouths

just go to sleep
count fire engines   or dolls   that make a sound
like fire engines

flotilla of plastic dolls
backwards bob in the wake of a ship
forever receding
moaning mute beyond the scream
take me back, for pity’s sake!

ship disappearing into dark
over a black ocean
ship receding
and all those plastic dolls
bobbing in its wake

big screw turning
churned cappuccino foam
settles to espresso black 
forever to black …

no one saw you go over
another gull cry
no one’s coming back.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Gillian Swain - #55 - he passed, part one,

(prompted by Kit's He passed, She passed poem)

He passed   on
another day   had had enough
was ready   to let   it   go
he passed   the memories cluttered
left them on the shelf   in 
your heart   quaking the gap
he   passed them as he left
it was as they'd said   those
last   obscure glimpses   and
stand   alone   images   like company
one more visit   he
passed the years
doing   occasionally pondering the
being   he passed
the tidbits on   to those he remembered
to tell   gifted morsels
resonate at grave side   old stories
still told   some died   with
him   and the past

Kit Kelen - unnumbered - as the forests vanish

as the forests vanish

behind the land
a mirror sky
the bone home of the gone

little house in the woods
where image and emotion live
each always daring the other

there is no way of dwelling forever
we have to pity the homeless gods
their morsels of worship

Rob Schackne #878 - "Last night I revisited"

                Last night I revisited
                an old overhanging horror
                another Grampians test piece
                no belay light free solo
                the climb's a piece of cake
                the crux revealed itself
                a pinched hold to the left
                cross leg and short dyno
                latched into a big crack
                problem quickly easing
                I must've been dreaming