Creatrix 44 Poetry

March 2019

Selectors: Peter Jeffery OAM and Anne Dyson
Submissions Manager: Jaya Penelope


Kaye Brand

Mateus Rose
Say Hello to Yourself

Peter Burges

The House Dad and Aunty Nancy Built

Geraldine Day

Cold Heat

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Monster Place

Frances Faith


Derek Fenton

Rhyme or Reason

Margaret Ferrell

Time Out

Rosalind Franklin

Fury of Fire

Ann Gilchrist

Like the Tug of Kite Strings
Building a Storm
Death in the Murray/Darling Basin

Kevin Gillam

The Golden Mean

Mike Greenacre

From the Rim of Knowing
Parents and Poems

Ann Harrison

About Henry

Glen Hunting


Ross Jackson

For Over a Decade

Mel Knight

Girl of Sin

Veronica Lake

Hospital Hiatus
Heart Monitor

A.R. Levett

The Good Boy

Mardi May


Glad Mc Gough

Golden Grain and Silver Fleece

Scott-Patrick Mitchell

Love Letter

Jan Napier


Julian O’Dea

On the Dressing Table 

Tony O’Donnell

Advance to Freedom

Virginia O’Keefe

On Nullarbor’s Edge

Allan Padgett

Here We Go Again

Ami Parekh

The Last Dialogue

Yvonne G Patterson

Hiccups of Time
The Children Speak

Barry Sanbrook

Antarctica in the Mist

Maureen Sexton

Reflections of Glass

Thomas Simpson

In the Shell Motel
Outside Cloisters Square

Laurie Smith

In His Best Moleskins

Traudi Tan

Turtle Mother

Rose Van Son


Gail Willems

One Gull

Colin Young

Melbourne Days


Mateus Rose

The candles glowed steadily
Standing on besser block planks
Old fashioned dripping candles
Snug in 70’s Mateus wine bottles

The room functional but bare
Everything we needed then
Pink Floyd The Beatles Carol King
Their beats flickering the flame

As night nudged the dawn
Gravitational wax set hard
Covering the pencil lined palace
Of the Mateus Rose labels

Oh! Mateus Rose what memories
Not the wine but the vessel
Providing curves in table settings
That even crystal cannot match!

Kaye Brand

Say Hello to Yourself

The conversation happened over coffee
With Eneko the stylish young Spanish waiter.
We’re at the Ham Yard restaurant in Soho
Signatured by quirky clocks and eclectic art.

This luscious Kit Kemp British styled place
Is steeped in imagination that mirrors the soul.
From the library, the orangery and drawing rooms
Whimsical interiors of curiosity and calm merge.

Our conversation was about that first coffee
Of its essence and individual presentation.
A double espresso, hot water and china cup
Created our own playful designer needs.

This charismatic character from Barcelona
Now lives and works here in London town.
He charms guests with his gentle conversation
And the meditative aura of a mother’s son.

Start this London dawn with Eneko’s meditation
Of bespoke coffee and thoughts for a new day.
With the worn copy of David Copperfield bedside
Enjoy a short black and say hello to yourself.

Kaye Brand

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(A Response to Fred William’s Paintings)

Gnarled                                      knolls
trees                                           scrub
superficially                            destitute
vibrance                                    scaled
pared                                  close-held
pains                                        fleshed
eked out                         decreptitudes
droughts                                  offering
ochres                                  and blues
purples                                      blacks
vitalities                                    moods
taken                                     from sky
driven                               to economy
diffused                            to starkness
land                                          voicing
Country’s   beauty   in  rough  daubs

Peter Burges

The House Dad and Aunty Nancy Built

the pink house Dad and Aunty Nancy built
yellow and white            not pink
so my memory’s been impacted by sunlight

blending geraniums         roses         fuschias
ohhh and don’t forget the grapesfigs apricots nectarines
the satsuma plums soooo blood-sweet on the tongue

that house still occupies spaces in our minds
as once we filled it with shouts and cries         laughter
all curving about within familial constraints

and revelling         even in cracks spiders crawled out of
to web insects        time         dreams         separately
together         cocooning all          to feed ideas

still rasping        filing         planing deep interstices
emotions too         once believed dead
and boxy sorts of happiness         though contentments

would’ve been better         being more robust
more likely to be reborn         to exhale delights at dawn
when us smalls ran all about clicking and burbling

below Mum-n-Dad threshholds that stop words in their tracks
break nonsenses         and silences too often dense
and black and yammering         as all silenced things do

prisoned in sounds
         as Dad and Aunty Nancy did
when their hammering rang out         loud
to mallee        she-oak         those palm-pressed jam trees

praying daily for risings         the laying of the gravity pipe
so water         brown-muddied         might find its way inside
to pink our home : )
to pink our home : )

Peter Burges

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I heard the argument in his silence.
Morning’s mettle dragging the chain
his mind already at work in the skyland
in the choke of canyons and tumbleweed.

Pressure of blame crests archways of his tongue
rakes salt over each loudmouthed bruise.

I tasted backstreet lovin’, too much loneliness,
bedded dreams, a pincushion marriage,
wore my armour inside out.
Kept my tongue to myself.

Sad, the day we met, the surface
oiled with words already drowning
in the cold heat.

Geraldine Day

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Monster Place

There is a shimmer and it is there
this concept of place that finds itself
as trees, a stream, a suggestion of mountains.

It’s always about mountains.
How they have bred into my DNA
sourced themselves in the rocks I find.

A dream fondled, then it is gone.
The crazy road of life with reality
force fed by 3D propaganda

to do the right thing
the in thing
related to living
in this life, in this world.

Days trampled by trains and cars
passengers and vagabonds
that belong nowhere.
Manage to drown everything.

It’s driving that chases the image
of belonging, that episode of recurrence
that seeds itself beside thoughts.

The company on lonely roads
that calls “there!”
and yet, “there” is not.

It’s always away,
somewhere else,
but driving
brings me close.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

The artist Paul Nash chanced on a field full of ancient felled trees that seemed to him imbued with unusual atmosphere and spirit. He wasn’t always able to locate the field again. Whilst driving, he had to let things slide by his eyes and then he might be lucky to find the spot again. It became a charged activity for him and the inspiration for much work.– Lucy Dougan


Your two-day growth is as shabby
as your shoes, scrubbed as if they
can mean something, but nothing fits.

It’s the same them/they reversal
that falters in the saying.
The battle to dream while

driving too fast, tires screaming
and you holding on.
Them rattled in round holes

when they is square.
The no-boy scream
that suffocates fitting in

and chopping comes natural.
Lopping heads and what ifs
when the day demands rules.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

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Tonight the calico moon plays a song
softer than sadness, shining translucent
as a maiden’s veil hiding purity.
Her beams probe my heart no more innocent.

Inscrutable Grace, perhaps you have no
substance at all and are but a hole rent
in the magic ever-dark of the night;
a puncture through to light magnificent.

I can no more halt the responding notes
of my muddy heart than snuff that bold light,
succeeding in keeping a soul wanting
to flee this body only with a fight.

Sing, soul, until your shallow rays ignite
to burn this hopeless love in crucible
of flesh. Translucent would I also be
and found in love at last immutable.

Frances Faith

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Rhyme or Reason

A rhyming poem, a stranger,
among the modern and obscure.
Does it really signal danger,
this rhyming poem, a stranger?
Just like a dog in a manger
who refuses to be demure.
A rhyming poem, a stranger,
disturbs the modern and obscure!

Derek Fenton

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Time Out

When days are filled with hurry,
phone intrudes and traffic crescendos,

I withdraw from that scene to find
my refuge.  It’s not too far

to travel – leave the road where
trees begin – almost there.

Before me are greens of
every hue:  alder, beech and hazel,

birch, oak and on higher ground
Douglas firs stretch for the sky.

The river runs alongside the path –
rushing, tumbling – a windswept

sheepdog.  A songthrush flutes
the air; a cuckoo’s muffled call

gives me pause in this oasis. From
here the subdued roar of a waterfall

thundering to massive rocks –
not the discord I left but part of

nature’s gentler percussion.  As I
make my way back, a grey squirrel

scurries along an oak branch.  I hear
chirping of a bluetit, clarity

of a blackbird’s song.   Then silence.
I wait

in the quietness.

Margaret Ferrell

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Fury of Fire

Horizon illuminated by walls of flame
Ravaging the dense bush
Fireball tornadoes
Turn tall trees into
Huge flaming candles

Nestled between forested hills
occupants of Nutkin cottages
watched in awe
as creatures flee
some are too slow

Fire trucks circle the people
Hoses raining on burning faces
Flames hurtle across
blue gum forest
becomes fiery inferno

Now breezes bend blackened bush
miraculous regeneration of life
Green sprigs of nature
fringe their branches
aftermath of a fire

Rosalind Franklin

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Like the Tug of Kite Strings

I can still smell the peat in the out house,
granddad called it the “potting shed,”
its pale rendered brick was my fairy house,
sunlight lit fairy wings like dust motes
under the bench the ancient clods crumbled,
peat sods parched in a wooden trough,
cobwebs strung across the disused silence,
umber fibres shrivelling into a drought

my parents bought the house as I turned three,
a Mediterranean muse, white as bones
washed up on the shore of a Scottish village,
two bedroom myopia when the third child arrived

the shed door ajar,
gazed at glasshouse and cold frame,
those places of puttied timber,
grey linseed, worked into snakes,
my father’s hands replacing panes
in broken panels

the potting shed, lit by morning’s thin light,
dusting a terracotta landscape on the bench –
and in the void behind the peat trough,
a swathe of dark blue silk,
the sheerest fabric childhood ever touched

I tugged at the treasure and the room filled with fairies,
their wings silvered like dust motes
and I sneezed as silk canopies exhaled on the floor,
“they’re no good anymore” said my mother, “ they were parachutes”
now, I envisage their cloaks of invisibility,
like slow kites in the night sky,
landing in fields, cut up like peat bogs,
the souls of fallen soldiers floating like dust motes

Ann Gilchrist

Building a storm

thunderheads border the ocean like hedgerows,
overgrown topiaries with barometric polyps,
horizons obscuring asthmatic breath

the Fremantle doctor is still at lunch,
nebuliser and AC hum together –
drowning out the soft wheeze of summer

the sudden whining twitch of a dog
chases rabbits into the undergrowth,
clouds fill their steely grey chambers –
and fire shots, like America

Ann Gilchrist

Death in the Murray/Darling Basin

I see two hundred thousand eyes
popping like bubble wrap,
slick decay sliding along riverbanks,
gills gasping, hollow mouths belching –
like a basin of forgotten bouillabaisse

all those eyes, crowding without spawn,
can you see their shocked surrender,
tourmaline sight clouded like ouzo,
shoals rising in bloated surrender,
retching a suffocating stench

you have held your breath too long,
your lips are grey,
your face is slapped by cod and bream,
a pixilated complexion of silver wounds,
drought pastes her reflection to your flow
and you have forgotten how to breathe,

now, the coroners are coming

Ann Gilchrist

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a cloud scuffed March day goes down among
Salmon Gums, though above the asbestos fence, bouganvillea

and grape are birthing, weighed down by plum coloured
trumpets and myriads of green baubles. closer by,

from some die-back ridden tuart and maze of fig limbs,
shredding then dropping their excitement over their shoulders,

the black cockatoos murder silence. their cries now have the
same can-opener urgency they had this morning,

and roosting after a day in flight they hold in their throats
the cacophony of now. for them, though the light at sunset

and dawn are of equal intensity, there is a turning earth,
a rising friction. out of the sky they drop,

an unruly squadron, carousing and goading each other on.
just as gum blossoms fill the March air with their scent,

the black cockatoos fill the air with their screeching,
heralding rain, and hinting, perhaps, at something

more ominous. and if humans ceased to exist –
of what matter are humans to black cockatoos? –

there might be one less fig to thieve, one more eon
in which to plunder. if they are God’s work

then the hands are steady and skilled, evolution, and the
production line smooth, proven, fate, and there has been

no twist. though we’ve caged, shot, driven them to near extinction,
they are not ours, and their raucous cries the sound of reason

Kevin Gillam

The Golden Mean 

 my father, eighty years ago, at the age of –
my guess – seven – was driven

with classmates in a bus on a
stifling hot February day to a Wagin salt lake,

marched to jetty end, and thrown in.
my father never talked about the ease of floating,

how their bodies formed spoons on the surface in the
spangled light, how tepid brine burned

at lips and scabbed knees, never told us
how a girl screamed when her foot found a sheep’s skull,

how three ducks watched from near the reeds, how the absence
of showers left them all with hair like dolls.

he did talk about the golden mean, ratio of weight to air,
that day, his first lesson in flight

Kevin Gillam

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From the Rim of Knowing

How can I say these words
that hold my tongue?
From deep within there
is a well of possibility
likely to drown
the faith between us now.

Should I confront her with
the bold face of accusation,
or remain incognito and
swig from the precarious
rim of innuendo, until
our unsteady words fall in?

It was in your eyes I could
see the truth springing
forth as words in confession,
your frantic texting and
worried brow trying to halt
the lover’s pulsating mind:

‘Don’t come around, I’ve
got family!’ … ‘get rid of
them’ I could hear his fingers
tapping, discarding
present danger with the
hardened flame of now.

Your eyes didn’t leave his
as you sank the beer he’d
brought to disguise his
footsteps – as connoisseurs
of deception, you thought
no-one else could see in.

Mike Greenacre

Parents and Poems

She was always eager
to see my latest poems
I’d photocopy from journals
as if already stamped
with some kind of approval,
but I’d stand waiting
interested in her reply.

Some easy to pass over
that didn’t venture outside
the straight blue lines,
while others sprinkled with
four letter words, or sex
or its innuendo, creased
the margins between us

stilting conversation, some-
-times left till another day:
‘Did you like the poems?’
‘Oh, yes,’ came the answer
no elaborations expected
as the days affairs shaded
any awkward glances.

My father was more widely
led   and as a bloke
perhaps easily confined
within lust’s eager hide,
even at 92, the long fingers
of memory placed him
at the point of total recall.

Mike Greenacre

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About Henry
A gift.
sixteen years ago.
He kept me company,
kept me warm.
Henry knew me, my foibles;
his gentle eyes gave counsel and
I relished in his soft shy cat ways,
he drilled into my softness.
He touched the warm fuzzy cat part of my being.

Henry was a dichotomist; aloof, friendly,
and so handsome.
He had a rakishness which made me laugh
really laugh.

One day I had to leave him…just a short time.
Sadness ebbed between us.
Henry failed to cope,
blindness and deafness stole him
into darkness.
He knew only light, he was light.
The vet said it was old age.
It couldn’t be
Henry was forever.
We had to say goodbye,
for the best they said.
It broke my heart.

Silence thrummed in my head.
He died with dignity,
I cried; such pain.
A bond was broken.
I miss him.
It will always be,
About Henry

Ann Harrison  

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The waitress smiles at me
as though she knows I don’t know
that I have egg-yolk congealing
at the corners of my mouth,
and she’s going to remove my once-used napkin
along with my plate (which she does)
in spite of, or perhaps because of,
this inglorious attribute I’ve acquired
and which only becomes clear to me later…

…along with this curious intrigue of causality
it required a cognitive sluggishness
and personal disquiet
to concoct and embellish,
and then secretly brood upon.

Glen Hunting


If we’re lucky, we grow in stature,
but only as we rub against the air.

The lyrical curve of the homeward ketch
can find, and firm, and fluidise
the carriage of neck and shoulders;
the breeze, a bellows’ easy force
infusing breath and timbre.
Or else, the epidermis
glows like skimming sun on water,
improbably enlivened
after years of callow blue.

But miasma is the evolution
of all the body’s pause and toil,
all the inquisitor’s dubious findings
whether projecting, or sifting soil.
Miasma sharpens the image
by staining it,
then bitterly framing it—
at ease to rue one wrong-turned way,
shaky on pins, imprisoned by pain,
or refusing to board the new day-to-day
while stroking the tickets for ghost trains.

But wait; it’s our own choice, you say,
to bewail the sad misstep
between our former shape and hue,
and our ancient texture.
And yet, what is intention
but that which is extorted
by private, inevitable universality,
bound to retreat and return:
all that is attended
and polluted?

Glen Hunting

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at dawn         beach wedding over
shreds of silver paper
set off on the tide for Rottnest

I’ll give it six months, a
friend says

so ungenerous
devitalising   but

on and on they swirl
in slowly flattening

Ross Jackson

For Over a Decade

before its redevelopment as a housing estate
afterThe Lakeway Drive-in closed up for good
a silent movie on a continuous loop
behind the locked cyclone fence

the old speakers lumped in piles
hairy spitfires, nose to tail crossing the playground pit
agisted horses cropping and crapping
on acres of tar broken up by weeds

the night skies there shone like
backs of playing cards
patterned with spangled stars
gnawed squares of the big screen

rustled in time with shaggy headed
surrounding trees
a dark drama Tennessee Williams
would have had sweated out

on an abandoned stage framed
by floodlit poplars, loose at the collar
a swinging Gladstone bag
the old Lakeway lying flat out

wheezing slowly like a piano accordion
under the cinematic moon
scars showing by the exit where cars once dragged
a small suburb for rich people now

Ross Jackson

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Girl of Sin

Coffee, toffee and your skin
it’s a sin to keep a girl like you, away from me
in the space between hello and goodbye
I breathe you in while you sleep

I trace I love you onto your thigh
in the hopes that it sinks into your coffee skin
and I can drink you in, for longer

Your sunset eyes are the only kind of ending
I ever want to see
I set over the horizon over your body
just to rise in the morning to your lips

You always worry that I don’t have enough time for you
that I feel so far away.
You keep telling me there is enough on my plate already
but baby there is room on my plate for you because I just want to

My girl of sin I’ll draw you in, any possible chance I get
You’re my wild one, all forest highs and river lies
body full of hope and ghosts
I wear to bed only 5 drops of your Chanel number 5
because nothing comes
between me and my Calvin’s except

Mel Knight

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Hospital Hiatus

on a journey, dawdling slow,
wending my way out of time,

adrift on a sluggish sea
tendrils like fog veil perception

overhead, a ring of black eyes
staring shuttered ghost faces,

I am the sacrifice
sluiced clean, rendered inert

a line of sound reels me in
thin and abrasive, vague

from a white fleece of cloud
to the dark sharpness of now

distant clacking, a crescendo
of intrusive, questioning menace

hands pushing, probing, lifting
painful reality restored, I am

time speeding tick-tock to normal
awareness returning, suffering acute,

Veronica Lake

Heart Monitor

Late at night in hospital
I cradled you in my arms
Our very own Pietà;
All wrong somehow
Me child – you Mother.
Monitor blinking green
Mapping those final moments
Trailing to a ribbon of silence

The hospital thrummed
with its own heart song,
went on without us
caught in our core
of silent understanding –
too late.

Veronica Lake

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The Good Boy

I am the tail-wagging dog
who rushes to the door
welcomes you home
after a work-weary day.

I am the foraging dog
who sniffs out foreign scents
leads your well-worn sneakers
down new paths.

I am the dashing dog
who chases the balls and sticks
you throw away
forget you need.

I am the cuddly dog
who delights in your embrace
as you weep away
your loneliness.

I am the hungry dog
who sits patient
as you fill my bowl
with healthy treats.

I am the beaten dog
who endures your kicks
when you need to vent
your frustrations.

I am the loyal dog
who constantly returns
an innocent companion
always willing to forgive.

R. Levett

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Angles chiselled by sunlight
a shoulder keen-bladed,
his sharp-edged sculpture.

Sketch of an aquiline scholar
spectacled and library pale,

Grey pants bone-tight
on lean legs folded precisely,
an origami heron.

He closes a red leather cover
with its lettering in gold,
unfolds grey heron legs.

His Redhead matches,
a pack of thin papers,
pouch of tobacco – ready to roll.

Mardi May

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Golden Grain and Silver Fleece

 They came, their skirts a-swishing ‘round their ankles in the sand.
They came to help their menfolk open up the virgin land.
Their tents of flimsy canvas, flapping strident overhead –
scarce shelter from the freezing wind, in winter’s dread they lived,
while in the searing summer sun turning pale-skin brown­ –
as menfolk sweated, swung the axe to bring the forest down.
From daylight near to dark they slogged, to clear the planting ground–
while woman stoked the campfire, to feed her hungry man.
She shooed the flies and wiped the sweat,
and settled on the coals, the cast-iron campfire-oven . . .
while black and dented billy hung by chain from crossbar pole.
None nearby there to talk to, in this isolated place;
For miles and miles lived no one, none, not one face of white,
as she missed her city lifestyle with its fashion and its grace.
Bravely her choice to be with him: to farm the land their plan . . .
her babies born in agony: no hospitals around
her help came in a horse and trap – once birthed again alone.
And letters longed from homeland, her letters rarely came.

The tribe of primeval people who watered at the springs –
were mystic Aborigines unknown to Europeans.
Uncanny rhythmic chanting, across still, dark air,
to innocence posed threatening, though none intended fear.
As months heave by, the slogging-axe still sings,
the rhythm never ending, as stubborn soil is cleared –
to yield the crops to feed the sheep and harvest fields of golden wheat.
Soon other pioneers followed to conditional purchased plots.
As neighbours, they came to settle on their government-granted lots.
Their properties grew extensively, hard-earned and rightly won,
And following their footsteps a bushland store began
and soon it wasn’t long to wait, as settlement grew in size
demanding its gazetting: and  the town identified  . . .
Now things have got much easier – a hundred years along,
With railway lines, a hotel, a swimming pool and a co-op is among
the other shops and services: a school, sportsgrounds and shire,
So celebrations rightly give, to those who worked, esteem –
to those who built their town of pride and live a new-found dream.

Glad McGough

Bibliography: Title adapted from: The Golden Grain and the Silver Fleece:
A History of Quairading from 1859-­1930 by Frances Eaton

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Love Letter

one day
you shall read this
in a book
an actual book
a physical & real

& you shall read
this actual book
on a real train
an actual train
a physical train

& you shall be
the only person
not staring
at a screen

& in that moment
look up: do not
feel smug but rather
slow down, realise
i am closer to you
then ever before

not in an actual
real, physical way

not yet

not until you reach
your destination
& this book
closes itself

Scott-Patrick Mitchell

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see her
draped like Isadora across the sill

on lino, skittery slipping to bowl
squeaking at proffered meal

dipping a nose in the pool       oops        splish

in bum-waggle ambush       convinced she’s invisible
behind table leg or shopping bag

matchstick tail-tip twitching       string inching under rug

see her

leaping       feline Nureyev        at peewits pied like herself
forepaws spread wide        pretending she meant to miss

back firmly turned until she hears yummies

wading through puddles       charging in wet legged
to repattern cream carpet      what’s the fuss

chewing through moving pen       swiping at blue mouth

see her
forlorn in a corner       smacked for snacking on forbidden mince


mewing for you       wriggly lizard tails       moths       snails
a cockroach       crunched guts oozing on upholstery

amber lamps lit to fierce       swatting at TV flamingos

stropping claws transparent as intent       cometing
up rough bark to stop wattlebird’s scolding

learning her catness       becoming jungle       reddening

Jan Napier


He jogged the trotters.
She cleaned chalk boards and school rooms.
When winners came in,
he got congrats and gold cups.
She got a polishing cloth.

Jan Napier

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Grandpa and I bonded like men
over cicadas,
the solid green ones, with their
grabby little feet, the ones which
left their brown cases behind
split up the back like a bursting
bustle, remaining on the trunks
of the alien plane trees on our

Boys took them to school,
and once a boy had a blue
specimen, with the beauty
of rarity, a morph they call
Blue Moon.

With their wings like honesty
seed pods, glassy, crackly,
like a dry spell, they clung to
a tree trunk as if it were
summer itself.

Julian O’Dea

On the Dressing Table

A forgotten tendresse:
on the heavy glass
of the perfume bottle,
beautiful, but empty
as a changeling child;
with just a lingering
scent, an air-kiss
from the past.

Julian O’Dea

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Advance to Freedom!

“Return to the charge!”

Hear the high clarion through the free air.
Feel how the blood chills
that soon will be running warm on the sand.
See how the gull swoops free as the air
scrounging and scavenging.
Forbidden the depths of ocean and mind,
forbidden the heights
the cry of one gull is much like another,
one parrot’s feathers as bright
as the next or the next or the next.
This is the price of enviable flight.

Polluted the feathers, shackled he waits
unable to take-off held by his “mates”.

“Fill in the form sir, sign on the line
here is your ration of Biblical wine!”

“Lodge your return, sir be certain to vote –
Oh! No, not you son – you have to fight!”

Freedom is costly but less so than wings.
At the height of rebellion then the soul sings.

The fighting is over, so, “Treacherous dog!
Lads the enemy stands there back to the wall.”
Pinioned his ‘pinions by bright, strong red tape.
Just as the sun peeps over east wall,
“Take aim, pull the trigger!” ‘Tis his sunset call.

Trimmed are his wings now yet hear him laugh!
Dying cheats failing with this epitaph.

Carved on the egg still warm in the nest
time will make clearer and chisel new zest
for the barefooted armies.
Disarmed they will dance
and will fly in eternal advance
so that never is heard the harsh bugle’s sad dirge.
Mankind is freer than mythical bird
and sounds the retreat of

“Return to the charge!”

Tony O’Donnell

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On Nullarbor’s Edge

That early day we stopped to watch the whales,
blasted gale and frost clawed up
the bight on icecave waves   But oh the awe
when rising from the depth the behemoths
mounted surf and surged along beneath our frozen gaze.
Calves and mothers plunging, waltzing, gravitas unbound
in ponderous ballet, whilst we,
perched on a cliff of dress circle seats amid melaleuca
and limestone clumps, roared in applause.

Doubt Eyre and Baxter watched in wonder, their whim on
weightier thoughts like water soaks and hafted spears
as into unknown lands they meandered;
elementally conjured, misfit as oars upon the sand.
Not for them calculations of spermaceti barrelled round
or bloody chase with harpoons hoist in roiling seas,
but a staggering atop the merciless drops, kicking dust,
stalked and harried by darker fears.

Whalers slaughtered in the water.
Men were murdered on the land.
Time and tide have washed them over,
now whales ply on while rusted
statues to explorers stand.

Virginia O’Keeffe

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Here We Go Again
crocodile infested rainforest
reminds me of sydney talkback radio
and the darker news that follows dusk
a prime minister got shafted
that’s four times in ten years
feels like almost every other day

a stench of betrayal palpable as sticky
dog shit on brand new runners
people are getting pissed off
a new pm hard on boats greases in
at least it saves the nation lurching further right
we might all fall off the edge if pushed

after all the world is flat and dangerously coloured
and anthropogenic climate change is just another fairytale
same time a boatload full of refugees
came onshore looking for life and freedom
out catching fish way up north
steered toward a land of milk and honey

where is the milk where is the honey
too bad there ain’t a surplus
snuck in on a fishing boat full of desperation
got missed by the authorities
got past 2,000 kilometres of protected coast
snatched from mangrove forest and manacled

assigned to a tiny steaming sadfaced island
made of birdshit and lies or crabs and rape

feeling chill winds of notwantedness
as crocodiles wait with bated breath
still as time in the mangroves
for politicians fleeing the ruins of democracy

air foetid and overflowing with sycophants
and bottom feeders
wastrel pollies hungry for change
self-promotion and eternal payback
bigger and hungrier than a crocodile’s mouth
stretched snarling across a sickening abbotonian grin

fresh off his bike all bent and crablike
stalks like a strutting priest
cares about as much maybe even less
there will be fancy tours to these ruins
in a hundred years or more where cashed-up
time travellers will be shown the broken lives

the shattered promises the busted faith
the silvered bones of judas
as they sip their warm-climate chardonnay
and pine the day away
in sunstruck reminiscence
aching hard in the gloaming

waiting desperately for dawn

Allan Padgett


she said, what do you wanna be
when you grow up, would you
like to be the man you never were
or something smaller, more tangible –
less tainted & stained by shambolic
days & restive nights

i might, i just might, ah ha, ah hum

how about i grow up to be
a hover fly, then, holding still
and horizontal, balanced by blinking
gyroscopes to simply hover on
liquid air & view my inner
turbulence like a fallowed field
of flatulence, bereft of growth & meaning –

ah ha, ah hum, yeh guess that’s
not a bad vocation, ah ha, ah hum

those compound eyes recording every move
those extending palps absorbing truth
& tension, those thousands of fly-hatched
eyelets combing fields of meaning
while i take time to gather memories
from those remnants that stuck
like tarzan’s grip to my becoming

ah ha, ah hum, now where
was i, o yes, hovering like a modern-

day drone, perched above suburban yards
and recording frames of private lives
as wives gambol naked under sun
and steamy thought
as husbands masturbate furiously
under arching hollyhocks –

while a thousand thrilling dragonflies
blitz each backyard sky
snapping coupling selfies
as blokes bend knees to need
as dogs piss in the undergrowth
as she goes shopping for another

hoverflies would buzz
if miked, a cosmos of universal
entomological verse, poetry
on the wing and zing

ah ha, ah hum

i hear i hear i hear a thing
i like this buzzing spoken word
zch zch zch zch

ah ha, ah hum

Allan Padgett

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The Last Dialogue

Sealed with a kiss, I go on exile,
A sweet slumber to death.
Someday, I see you again.
Somewhere, I feel you once more.
Somehow, I hear you in rain.

Gliding on the heavens’ stairway,
A knock in wait at Gods’ doors,
A winky smile, Satan appears.
Son, I have descended down.

Ain’t no curse,
I whisper mercy.
Flow with the tide,
Sail in timeless love,

Rekindle moments again.

Down below…
Dark thick blankets,
Robed her in misery,
Tears swelled up,
And spoke stories of grief.
My soul is reborn,
A whilte halo engulfed me,
I have risen from my body.

Close your eyes, Juliet,
Feel me, stay there.
Hey, my lovely,
You held me at the first hello.
You still ache my heart.
Falling in love with you
Made my best world ever.

My love, its me, Romeo.
I didn’t’ die.
I am back to rescue you.
I want my lasts with you.
The endurance is over.
Our tyranny has ended.
Memories will fade.
And Verona will grey.
But time will remain immortal,
Long live Rome and Juliet.’

Slowly, the halo disappeared.
And, I melt back into the cosmic space.

Ami Parekh

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Hiccups of Time

days were strange now        time passed in hiccups
the long-times were peaceful        usually
but the fast bits        too quick        to grasp properly

then those times it jumped       and forgot
to fill in the gaps        hard to know
how she got         from there        to here
and she        tried to fill in the gaps

or, lately, didn’t bother       to create the ‘betweens’
she called them her ‘hiccups of time’
like hickory        bitter cups of tea        ‘her hickories’
made them seem almost like friends

though, odd nonetheless        unsettling
odd, how the day was so short       now dusk
in that hiccup after lunch        just let it be
a cup of tea        sit at the window with a cup of tea

a tall grey haired man in a black woollen coat
odd, he said ‘mum’but, that deep mellow voice
something        so she played along
he sat, turned on music and spoke

of the woman with dark auburn hair
in a black velvet gown, a timeworn violin
playing concerts in far away halls
in the photo, framed in gold, on thewall

he kissed her cheek, held her gently, goodbye

odd though        her son hadn’t come
but       the sonatas were peaceful today
soothed the long wait
played on and on       in this long       long-time.

Yvonne G Patterson

The Children Speak

a young child’s fingers gently probe
a carpet laid beneath the trees
of mosses yellow, brown and green
streaked through with violent, velvet red

the trees are bleeding
No dear it’s just red flowers of bottlebrush
but         it looks like blood

their leaves are dry      bits of bark are dripping
like teardrops running down their trunks
the trees are thirsty
No, they get water from the rain

but        the ground feels very, very dry
their twigs are thin, they crush to dust

it’s like the trees are all lined up

in lines so long        the ends are gone
its like they’re leaving        walking on
walking        to the far away

world leaders met      another Climate Summit
talking, talking

school kids marched, left classes for the day
demanding action
Why are you marching dear?

our biosphere is in distress
we will be its voice

and Greta said

‘I will not beg the world leaders to care for our future’
‘change is coming whether they like it or not’

Yvonne G Patterson

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Antarctica in the Mist

crystals of water
their haphazard spirals
meander to the deck,
barely noticed
against the backdrop
of misty greyness
following the stern,
nothing to be seen
as though,
looking through
a mosquito net,
the end of the world
becomes lost
in an infinity
of subdued colour,
blue, cream, cobalt
and the white white
of glacial ice
then slate blue.
Prussian and ultramarine
of the Passage,
the indistinct hues
a horizon of sea and sky
into a blurred featureless nothing.

Barry Sanbrook

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Reflections of Glass

the bottle on the wall
empty, old
but beautiful
in its own way

sunlight reflects through
from the window
to the glass
to my eyes
a spark
I thought I’d lost

I once loved antiques
collected many
until time caught up
with me

the dust had collected
on the bottles, cupboards
and me …

.     until this morning
when I saw it …
.     a new flower on
the old rose bush I’d
given up for dead

red, luscious petals …
.     glistening like glass
in the sun

Maureen Sexton

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In the Shell Motel

Indian ocean glare
claws tears from
corners of squinted eyes.
A crack in the windscreen
widens on misjudged ruts
and curtains of sand.
Scratched by a key
into splintered lead paint
of a doorless iron husk.
— the shell motel
Corrugated walls growl
in the wind,
reverberating through
tin cups and chipped jars
left and lined
by each tenant.
— sardines from Porto
— peanuts from Queensland
— Italian tomatoes
Smell the world
in the shell motel.
Chitty-chitties sweep
corners and walls
sifting a feed
from ash and forgotten tea leaves.
Red sand
on skin.
Red sand
in swag.
The ocean laughs
white foam spewing
out of its jagged smile
as I dream of rain
in the shell motel.

Thomas Simpson

Outside Cloisters Square

Sensor light beads
through hundreds of holes
in the aluminum roller door
that leads to Cloisters Square.
Crawling in mechanical waves
up the battered steel mesh
of my blue trolley
like ants before rain.
Still hours from dawn
the upward moving bars
of light make the trolley leap
forward and dizzy me
rocking back on the heels
of my boots.

The man with the matted beard
screams at his reflection
in the door of a French patisserie
every morning I’m there.
Except the days
the bins are bathed
on the sidewalk,
the wheels of my blue trolley
slipping and tracking
through yesterday’s almond milk lattes
and gluten free granola.
I stop avoiding
eye contact with him.
Between his rants
he looks sure of himself.

By my third lap
white collars leak
off buses and fill
the cafes and juice bars
laughing to one another
or thumbing phones.
The man with the matted beard
trades his screams
for whispers to the cuff
of his khaki jacket.
He gazes upward
at Brookfield Towers airbrushed
with morning amber.

Last Tuesday, I saw him
darting between two steel bins
catching fresh cigarette butts
to salvage millimeters
of tobacco he’d tightly roll.
I offered him a fresh pinch
from my pouch.
Now he runs
up and down Hay Street
to the steel bins
and the red Post van
outside Cloisters Square.

Thomas Simpson

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In His Best Moleskins

It took the black trackers three days to find him.
A wound, not self inflicted,
the result of casual indifference
to a weapon he knew too well.

A dried apple core clamped in one hand
a half smoked roll your own glued to the running board.

They buried him on a knoll above the homestead
in his best moleskins and flannel shirt
in the cool twilight before tomorrow’s heat set in.

The coffin fashioned out of pine boards
from Plume Petrolboxes.
Two four gallon tins to a box and there were plenty of them.
Just as well, there were no other options.

A kapok pillow for his shattered head.
Not too flash.
The best they could do for him.

Laurie Smith

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Turtle Mother

.                                  full moon and high tide
.                                  on the Pilbara coast
.                                  softly a gentle surf rolls in
.                                  messenger of a calm ocean
.                                  on this hot still night

.                                  there now – something big
.                                  emerges from the water

.                                  a heavy-looking dome shape
.                                  heaves in the shallows
.                                  begins to walk
.                                  yes, walk right out
.                                  of the water
.                                  across the beach
.                                  up toward the sand dunes

how can this large sea creature move on sand, on dry land
when it’s been swimming its entire life, no need for legs or feet –
yet we see it walk up to the soft, sun-warmed sand
well above the high water mark where she stops

.                                              to dig
.                                                          a deep hollow

.                                with flippers now turned shovels
.                                she excavates a nest to lay her eggs
.                                sand flies everywhere

.                                one by one they drop
.                                large glistening white pearls
.                                and in one quick flick of a torch
.                                we see the mother’s tears

once finished the decoy is dug and carefully covered
only then she returns to the sea like a mermaid

.                   task accomplished she disappears
.                   beneath moon soaked waves
her only evidence an exquisite design
.                   of flipper tracks in the sand

Traudi Tan

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Dunhaung, China

long distance–
train fills the station
Orient Express stretches

from here to Beijing
gloss not left its shine–
Mogao Caves

believe all you see–
grottoes, murals, Buddhas
the tallest, a recliner
almost 36 metres

cut from sacred stone
station built in the forties
pearl white

walking all the way to
Shangri-la     the train
lies in wait    a sideline
for 2.21 departure

sky dimmed
Gobi whispers farewell
when she moves

tea porter enters the carriage
water steams          twinning’s delight
cupped as quickly
to hold Dunhuang in

Rose van Son  

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One Gull

pulled by air
.               dips and dives
quivers    folds on a pause
.                hangs a wing
cruises on crisp ripples of light
.                 tumbles
backstrokes small waves
.                 twists silence
escapes in the colour blue

Gail Willems

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Melbourne Days

Seconds string out their beads
While a tram grunts toward you
And your eyes fill with distractions
Of autumn leaves and memories
In a furnace where colours gnash.
So statuesque you blink
And fail to catch the tram
Just as you kissed him then
But neglected a new life
Where opportunity nested.

Colin Young
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