Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Rob Schackne #942 - "Stretched out"

                      (i.m. Les Murray)

Stretched out
reclining in a chair
pensive poet, vale
yes, might as well

make what you will
a cup of coffee
a book of poems
the struck hand
relaxed in trance
the hat's outside

the search terms
the available grants

pull the other one
please, gentle winds
grace and presence
now translated

a bit of forever
into other tongues

Kit Kelen #1217 - I keep a door in my woods

I keep a door in my woods

is there some smaller than to be here hum?
beautiful biscuit into paint

over a stile it is a tree
was planed once, morticed

a rusting timber
leaves have stained

a world is passing either side
how many have come through?

out of this press, words otherwise
ancestors are

might lie in wait, climb stairs to it
and fallen just so far

a courtesy to knock
wait for the visit – my cure

the paddock between doors
the woods in the way

I hear frogs through there
cicadas of a summer long since

once I was lost for the word
keep them in the passage now

long grass waving unseen with the wind
still broad daylight in there

where a mansion could have stood
feet in the river

hung on a peg
only a nail

in my mother's long coat
the wrong key

nothing to lock up now

Tug Dumbly - Les Murray Through a Glass Bottom

Les Murray Through a Glass Bottom

Les looks down
through a glass-bottom
at the fishes and the weed,
at the reef that knifed the Sirius.
A big man in a tiny boat.
Only about six of us.
This much I remember, though
most of the time I was gilled
on duty-free gin.
I barely recall my readings
on Norfolk Island.
That’s another poetry festival
not to have me back again.

I get a flash of me and Gini
running into Les and his wife
outside a convict ruin on the green,
of Valerie being lovely
and Les expanding free
on the place’s history.

We find Dorothy Porter,
alone and under the pines,
high above Anson Bay.
It’s evening, and she so small,
dark eyed and self-contained,
far from anyone and anywhere.
She smiles. She gone too.

But what sticks most is Les,
too big in that boat too small,
peering down through the glass
into a clear green fathom,
and me thinking Prospero, 
what’s he seeing down there? 
No, what’s he really seeing?

Stuart Rawlinson #100 - One hundred

I know what you’re thinking
two plus years 
for a ton of slim words
older than my son
but shorter than each season
since then the man maths
has been painfully 
an unequal equation that 
won’t solve itself
lacuna. Space in the loft
unfit to end
a paragraph in another place
missing suffixes 
mean paper in the bin
it’s a stretch, I know
but another sentence
should just about fit

Rob Schackne #941 - "There is the shopping"

There is the shopping
and the dinner, we
sit down in candlelight
the pleasantries
my body has traveled
well I listened

I am so weary
to be excused
what sort of mask
painting my portrait
by brushstroke
my face in the dark

Monday, April 29, 2019

Tug Dumbly - Woodwork


Your end came smooth  
as a shaving planed
in a tressing arc.

Only later did you rattle the latch
to coat-hanger
a question mark:

splayed and deep
as cold crow’s feet
run the tapering lines
of our own resolve

the haywire spires
of heathen hopes dashed
weave the wind  
like drunken ghosts,
or quietly folded
and put away
still tug at the sheets
to lie with their hosts. 

Frailed intention knocks,  
papery knuckles
at a lacquered box.

Hands that loved Cedar
to varnished beauty
now gnarled to the bed
in a nursing home.

Between metal rails,
tilted and frail,
did you know this
to be the finishing room?

The nurse’s clinical
click-clack spoke plain:
there’s no pretending.
you and I both know
this is the ending.

But you must have sized 
the rough outline,
if not crafted the thing exact.

You smiled, though couldn’t speak -
the stroke had seen to that.
Yet stroked the dogs
my mother took to visit,
dumb animals
you once fed scraps.

Kit Kelen #1216 - trail following

trail following

I am following your trail
they are several
the way a word is more than one
how hearts beat for the idea
so many houses among are the same
where the birds begin
I am gone

they will come
and time refer to itself
time will, you'll see

here I am
this is the other side of the page
there are plenty of us here
follow the rules of the grammar to be
I am gone and how about you?
you never know which door, which room
it may simply be an idea
hearts hung
for how many worlds are there?
here we are for one
they are several

I am following your trail
I am gone

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Stuart Rawlinson #99 - When faced with the morning

when faced with the morning
and it’s amber light
water droplets hang invisible 
in the air, the clouds’ 
last retreat: a vestige of warmth from a night 
cancelled and overwritten
words get caught; thoughts viscous, half-numb
the train will come soon
automatic doors swoosh-ready and right
the reverse flight
divert all calls, cancel my appointments
hasten the night

JC Inman #6 An 18th

for Jamae

Forget the lessons its time to learn
Blow out the candles, start to burn
Shed the husk to show the fruit
That ripened to fall and take root
                                         or rot

But no pressure -
The caterpillar leaves the cocoon it made
To find pleasure
And teach us how soon it fades

Kit Kelen #1215 - bury me too

bury me too
for ‘come to my funeral’

I want to be lost in the land

have a forest grow
wherever I fell
wherever’s convenient in fact

and that should be more world than now

where these words were lost
then I’ll be gone
so creature will ever know

I want to be lost in a forest – forgotten
please do not mark the place

have all  of this our world a garden

grieve as we go
will you, with me?

I want to be lost in the forest
that hadn’t been there
before I was buried –
a forest of now, not long ago

when I’m nothing
won’t wish to be found
must do the wishing now

after a while
there’ll be no one to guess

who was it took up so much space
for whom so many died

who cycled the air and the water
deep dreams

I want to be lost in the forest to come

this is my last will  
where I want to go

Tug Dumbly - Two Girls Play Boko Haram

Two Girls Play Boko Haram

The fault may be mine,
my lack of imagination the hate crime
against a word I can see
only as a crime scene,
a cinema of blood.

But I flinch at that word,
like an oyster under lemon.
It sounds like a slow gas hiss
of dead breath.

It has become an ugly word,    
a dirty word, brutal and blunt,
cruelly curled around the world   
like a bitter peel   
on its spiralling hunt.

Yes you have done your job well
you keepers of the Word,
you have converted me
to an enlightened state
of disgust.

I have come to believe
as believe you must
that your god delights
in watching his prey
lopped with machetes
then posted like pop clips
on the Youtube butchery.

It’s just a word
that Word you enact.
But words come with baggage
strapped to them  
like bombs in fact.

She tried to dash across the road
but she also exploded
the trader said.

Stuff sticks to words,
like spattered flesh
to a market wall.

Unjust to tar all
with this hate crime.
But those pieces of girl
won’t be scraped from my mind

and blinkered though my view
of that Word may be
I fear this is all it wants me to see –

Its colour is black, its number none,
Sliced to ice its limbs are numb,
Ladling waste and lamentation,
A sound of wind hissing through a
Mindscape of pockmarked desolation

a relentless, ululating grief
sirening nothing
but what it seeks to extinguish
as with clockwork heart
of scriptural beat
its inmates from asylums
nightly creep, encrypted to kill
their keeper’s meat.

I saw their dead bodies.
Two girls about 10 years of age …
you only see the plaited hair
and part of the upper torso
the trader said.

You may see more beauty in the Word,
the praying spine of civilization
graceful and curvaceous
as a bejewelled scimitar.

If so, how lucky you are.
But I see cleavers and butchers’ blocks,
a raised proscriptive finger,
in the other hand a Kalashnikov.
I see two little girls, dressed
as bomb dolls, as they go off.

Enjoy Martyrs’ Paradise, thugs,
that rich reward for strapping
your convictions to the chests of children.

Did you say it was a game?
Did they volunteer to play?
Well then, that’s okay.
It’s for them we must give thanks
and pray, as they play,
laughing at the feet of the prophet,  
squealing with glee
as they kick about an infidel’s head
like a soccer ball.

Don’t worry, if one should fall
through a cloud, god’s got a
cupboard of heads.

Who knows, Mr Boko Haram,
maybe you’ll get a postcard of thanks
from those two girls
for sending them, express post, to Paradise.
Wishing you were there.  



Jeffree Michael #71 New heart

This old heart 
will it last
barely rhymes 

because of these times
the calls and listings 
a like-like here a few rights there
some a sign you're listening
no amount of extra memory 

is enough for what it takes
the here and now
to know somehow
feet below
do the shuffling

all souls
everywhere beyond 
mindless mindfulness wrestling 
is so yesterday

to the fore we go
on and on 
look ahead 
but not too far

how many horizons
does one need 
to comprehend
the earth
so round

the travelers

image jms charcoal pastel pencil conte drawing + software

ha - arp #-1

All the days fall into one 

Rob Schackne #940 - The First Chapter

The first chapter
How To Wash An Owl
my last year as a fairy tale

(an age-old orbit
the film is in the can
what do you cancel)

more wing than you think
flying in the kitchen
the dream of wild eyes

it was a surgeon
that lost its children
now hungry for fingers

how did I forget
what it takes to play
sometimes to walk out

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Kit Kelen #1214 - for the love of all seasons

for the love of all seasons

a prayer against religion

clear the sky
stare out

what God does and we –
who can tell us from the truth?

and under whose trees?
in whose shade now?

how ignorant
these priests of light

so in the open arms
of Spring

come shoots
come buds
come flowers

guessing ever to be home
the animals named after

let eyes clear
rest you

at a Summer swim
and bent in old salute
burnt, tired with the day goes on
and days
till fade
the Sun
sick of itself

giving out in Autumn
sly, and down by leaf
damp, trod
till first of frost

then Wintering
in hive hum
cave the dark of it
roll dreams around
wrap close

homely here

and through the drowse
an ear out

in mind’s eye
as with hands to hold

this touch
and here release

the little bird’s
yet to speak

Friday, April 26, 2019

Rob Schackne #939 - "I was convinced"

I was convinced
I was watching
a bee die
on the table
in front of me
waving one last time
circling its parts
which looked 

like tasting itself
the sun was shining
and the wind was down
and it shuddered
(the morning was autumn)
its last mortal act
was suddenly to fly off

JC Inman #5 The Office and The Will

The Office And The Will

One waits patiently for love
Knuckles white grip obligation
Dormant womb persistent welcome
Hometown Argos, I turn my head from you in the street,
your envelopes unopened emails unread, knocks unanswered.

Distraction is binge sess, comfortable blanket,
A profane bottle,a rightward swipe, my own hand.
I call the sullen one.
It's cur-kicked circumspect; this devil's price is higher again,
The ritual requires more blood - the leeches are full and I have faded frail.
This is my one task, by love and by law
My liver must regrow, my stone roll back.
This morning the eyes of vice are drawn to Africa

Atop weary stairs the temple sits, lightning in its veins,
the keys of heaven spread lovingly, invitingly, qwertily.

Do I sip the sacred cup or sacrifice myself again on the altar of Alt F4?

Kit Kelen #1213 - spin


stand up dizzy
take a seat

here’s everything that saves my life

go with it

make my way
through mist of day

time settles
sweep it off

so soon I will be gone
and you

I take my cue
and at the balls
I pocket a canon, two

read the lesson

words run altogether

truth is always telling
that I must ask a question

I’m in the book
in eyes up too
and I’m afoot with purpose, task

inform my
next of spin

and steady on

that ringing
you might call it

both of my ears burn

to hear the music of this sphere
to feel this old world turn

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Rob Schackne #938 - Senryu (37)

Not like this morning
the meteor shower tonight
still no rain in sight

Kit Kelen #1212 - a bugle call to memory

a bugle
(call to memory)

When he came back, my father would never march. He said ‘they don’t mean to,
but they glorify war. They drink and that way they make it all glorious’.

a bugle
for the lost of all nations
and for those of none

bewildered, ask
where is this hate for us from

war came to where?
from what?

we were fooled to it

it wasn’t here
but when the blacks went down

with rifle
best with lies

o brave
how sacred is your gun?
(mustn’t call that war)

again and again
we were fooled to it

real white men
when order was divine

they served, the blacks
returned to mission

and was the British Empire better?
poor little Belgium – how’s your Congo?

there was only one war worthy of us
and now we make great friends

the rest were greed and pride and oil
and arrogance and fear
and on

and to this day
bewildered, we ask
where is this hate for us from

hate’s not at the base of every war
but it’s there when war comes on

there is the arrogance of right

in smug reflection
so the winners
decorate our scars

then where’s the glory?
where’s the shame?

do you blame the dead?
should we blame the unborn?

in numbers the safety
of God on our side
that’s how nations are

and lift our voiced just to be
better than the rest

scrum, tackle, whip the nag

remember why they fought
remember what they saved

if someone stood to ask a question
then lay weapons down

should we test the weapons
on their makers
on those who sell them on?

if we could shake hands for Christmas

there’s nothing we can’t talk about
when hearts are full to choking

thanks those who are nothing
for all that we have
for everything we’re not

what’s opposite democracy?
obedience, I think

war?   what is it good for?

hear the drums
again again

and feel the sanctity growing
with the sanctimonious
up on their stumps

see how they stiffen a lip
so thinking won’t get in the way

kill or be killed –
it’s ancient I-won’t-call-it-law

but no one remembers the names of the gods
they fucked for virginity – that’s how we’re here
such flesh was in our saints!

and so
a bugle for the best now gone
and long since
laid never to rest
because there’s none
for the lost

points to the biggest lie of the lot

age does not weary memory
these dead are soil long since, that’s all

it was the tyranny of orders
always from on high

is it duty calls?
will you give us a thought?

can you count oil and cash and tell me
who was it coloured the map?

lest we forget where we are
and how and why

stick these notions in young heads
and have them all adore, adhere

here’s the boy on the floor of the trench
in his blood –
he was shot for fear 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Rob Schackne #937 - (Untitled)

My boy killed
in the bombing
my husband too
my sister 
last year 
from the cancer
my aunt
both parents
in the civil war
now feeling
outside myself
the bees
took my tears
how empty
my life
just started

Kerri Shying R - # 620 - sydney


your ovals
arrayed like moons
in misty night

owl-eyed     peep
back up at the plane

everything is nothing
much     but humdrum
passage      this team
to the next

and all the lights
this tuesday night
are on    for frosty knees
in training     up

going somewhere

Kit Kelen #1211 - time of my life

time of my life

in among the everywhere wonders
where I have held my days          
                                  and do

so I come to you
in your own colours

                       try to see
                    it’s why we live and breathe

and flimsily the fabric
    all apart in hands

everything built
is only a moment

it takes roses
to smell time

I always travelled
by means of a question

to have an open heart

learning the world
was my work
shall we say

was all my work
and given

it’s hieroglyphic with adventures

of course I am lost in the story

and there’s this blank page we’re at now
it’s where we always start

Tug Dumbly - Corellas


Mad flyers.
Drip like snot from wires.
Strip Plane trees
like a cheap strip tease.
Voices like woodchippers.  
Waddle like old washerwomen.
Eyes purple pouched
like drunk uncles – drunkles.
Corellas. Love em.  

Tug Dumbly - Cemetery Solutions

Cemetery Solutions

Nest corpses on traffic lights,  
gaffer them to power poles.
Put bodies by bins,  
pin them by swings in
playgrounds and parks.
Prop them, like buskers,
to the wall outside Coles.  
Use them as archery targets,
let them decay, in an artisan way,
at farmer’s markets. 
They can feed Ibises in public places
and we’ll be Parsee passers by,
Zoroastrian pedestrians,
seeing where the tom tom takes us.

Jeffree Michael #70 In


this time will be seen
isolated celebrated
cut away from the rest
to form futures


events reasons
rally another moment
one to the next

what ever

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Rob Schackne #936 - The Private Equity

The Private Equity

Ignore the signs 
or deface them
getting closer
almost out there
no need to queue
to show commitment
mustached giaconda
politicians with horns
oh yes there it is

oh yes there is
a wrong way of anger
but no theory
(I don't think)
beyond fairness

(weigh me right)
occasions of grace
& its opposite practice

Kit Kelen #1210 - after the blast

after the blast

no one has claimed
the faith goes on

you won’t kill a thing like that

ages of terror
are all after the event

grip of, gone down

the diagram exploded

the gone are thought so sent

into the church
the mosque
the temple
in the market

bad luck struck

no one remembers what those deaths were for
no one has claimed

someone in a suit and tie
sold them the toys to play

throw bombs
spray bullets
poison water

the king is any head of them
draw, quarter, boil a king

here’s everyone aghast in grief
what good will it do?

in another generation altogether
there’s only to remember the gone

soldier trained to give his life
her life
give blood

outside the ruin

and from a makeshift stage undaunted

the gone are thought so sent
but they are, there is
nowhere now
only thoughts with them

what if excess of love?

there must be some kind of tune to the calling

the map grew stiff with planning it
my country is a corpse

to mesmerize the heart
dead tend to the dead

hell is here with us
so heaven’s full today

the hatred of strangers is always easy
easy to anger the wronged

no one remembers what those deaths were for
no one has claimed

they went to the fire
they went under

take the body of words
of wishes
this we  

be dust and smile

take the body apart

can you imagine
that anger
that hate

that there was no other way

Tug Dumbly - Arvening


A boy enters quiet, and there’s the tiny shock
to catch a dropped face, faintly sainted
and suffused in suffering she stands
at the suffering sink, counter sunk

in unmoored light. His Mother no more
but a beast unawares, pastured in night,
asleep on its feet to an elsewhere tethered life.
Tear trek dried through floured cheek,

onion hands to apron thighs, she lost
and profound in the arvening glow
of orange-pink haloing a yard overgrown,
this light brimming eye and spilling lip

of a kitchen window, bathing a face sagged
to its natural resting place, that unmade face
they most met in long ago, ripened to windfall,
to the goodness and sadness of a patient mango.