Creatrix 57 Poetry

June 2022

Selectors: Peter Jeffery OAM and Mike Greenacre


Ananda Barton
            Radioactive Jesus

Kaye Brand
            That Three Second Hug

Mar Bucknell
            your smell with the seasons

Gillian Clark
            Yonga Marra

Gary Colombo De Piazzi
            War Memorial
            Ngulla Boodja

Derek Fenton
            They’re Laughing at Us

Margaret Ferrell
            From another time

Ann Gilchrist
            Kick it to me

Kevin Gillam
            the watchful moth

Candy Gordon
            And we will sing

Jessie Gordon

Mike Greenacre
            Time Capsule

Rhian Healy
            On the Road to Margaret River

Jenifer Hetherington
            The Promise

Ruari Jack Hughes
            Fire Tunnel

Ross Jackson
            Herdsman Water

Nada Kesic
            Long Forgotten

peter knight

Veronica Lake

Scott-Patrick Mitchell
            Recipe to Stave off Grief

Julian O’Dea

Virginia O’Keeffe
            Bucha March 2022

Allan Padgett
            Fire in Ukrainian Hearts and Skies

Chris Palazzolo
            One Vote One Value
            The Remote Accountant’s Husband

Yvonne Patterson
            Closing Time

Glen Phillips
            Midnight Decina, 1949
            Spring Renews Settina

Ian Reid…
            Chip to old block

Barry Sanbrook
            Thinking of the Gods
            Semaphore Messages

Norma Schwind

Geoff Spencer
            al z heimer


Kaelin Stemmler
            I Love This Sunburnt Cuntery

Suzette Thompson
            Happy Birthday

Mimma Tornatora…
            Missing You

Maggie Van Putten
            White Crane Spreads Wings

Rose van Son
            Stringing Tomatoes


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Radioactive Jesus

On 29th December 1980 two American women, Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, and Vickie’s seven-year-old grandson Colby Landrum, were driving near Dayton Texas, when they saw a brilliantly lit, diamond shaped UFO on the road ahead of their car. Convinced that she was seeing the second coming of Jesus Cash approached the object, which belched forth flames and rose into the air, flying off pursued by helicopters. All three showed symptoms of serious radiation poisoning. Cash and Landrum unsuccessfully sued the US Airforce.

Tense with ecstatic fear
You gazed into the light,
Ignoring burning skin and smarting eyes.
Your friend’s pleas to leave,
Her grandson’s panicked sobbing,
Did not move you to flee,
“That’s Jesus. He will not hurt us”
You reassured, even as flames billowed forth
And the object, glowing, rose into the sky.

How did you feel as the glowing diamond
Vanished into the heavens?
Did you stand sadly
In the maddening beat of rotors 
Seeing your hope vanish
Into the night sky,
Leaving you with
Nausea, headaches, blistered skin
And falling hair?
Was the pain of loss
Worse than the sickness
With which your ‘savior’
Gifted you?

You did see the numinous,
Just not in the form you intended. 

Ananda Barton
Boorloo / Perth 24th March 2022

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That Three Second Hug

Like a rickety chair,
is it strong enough,
that three second hug?

Poems, words whispering emotions,
hugs, gestures embracing the same,
enfolding silent murmurs
of nurture, celebration and comfort.

Life is versed in time frames
with its series of three second windows.
Is three seconds long enough?

The hug, that explanation
stitching perceptions of the moment
into the fabric of the human spirit,
spontaneous and shared.

Three second bursts of feeling,
an osmosis, a diffusion
absorbed into our human landscape.

These natural hugging drugs
of oxytocin, warm pearls
to design our human repertoire,
reminiscent of the lovers of Valdara.

Like goodbye waves,
musical phrases, infant babbles,
hugs, so concise, so absolute.

Like that rickety chair
It is enough.

Kaye Brand

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your smell with the seasons
your blood with the moon
your key in my door
your clothes on my floor
stones in my mouth
dust in my eyes
the smell of you
is all that’s left
for as long as i can hold my breath
for as long as i can fight the wind

Mar Bucknell

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Yonga Marra

Did the ancient hands of time know I was for life?
After the flames lick and sweep the grounds,
I emerge a red and green spear brave –
Underground stem resilient to drought and fire,
Yonga Marra , Yonga Marra, Yonga Marra.
With paws of awkward nature coming from the chalky earth
Possums and honeyeaters mess all my buds and eat me.
What is beauty to the earth’s beckoning?
With rich red ovary and green paw petals,
I am the kangaroo paw of our Western clime
with fauna swan of blackness.
Woolly buds of cockatoo pink and grey in hues
Are aged and weary amid the fray,
which don’t align with emblem as flower.

As a grassy grower, I am kind to my namesake animal for their animation,
And they eat from right down snuffling into the dust dirt level, my leaves.
Stippled sun, with open arms, knows my sentience if not my name.
Onwards I erupt from the earth’s thirst and strive to survive.
The quiet trees in the bushland watch on as the land brings me forth through

Gillian Clark

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War Memorial

Shagged bleak days defying
the swarmed rim of sky. 
This gravity sucked black 
funnelled into something minor.

——-Ubiquitous lone pine
            bullet riddled hill 
            in the clash 
            of morning.

Shifted sideways, everything is a drop
one part of many lost in confused crowds.
Spun down, balancing up/down
weight to be borne rattled in body counts.

In a world of clothes too small
            ideas too big. A road paved
            intentions numbered like houses 
            in pick and choose.

Saturday night/Sunday morning
how two scroll into one, somersaulted
by views where no can be yes
on the whim of the beholder.

Spooled words on absent friends
            in a world of one, dark as night.
            Bleak days crash, crunch of feet
            on parade, spun down by gravity

sucked black by memories
lest we forget.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Ngulla Boodjar

I miss Ngulla Budjar
with its drought fraught streams
its dust paddocks and cockies
that weep for rain
for soil turned red
furrowed   wrinkled 
set for green and gold
the first scent of rain
wet dogs and cracked dreams
pushed ahead of clouds
black and fat
the rolling sound
as earth applauds each drop
how distance runs clear 
after rain and birds sing revelry
welcome the spontaneous sprouting
to widen mouths to beam 
crimp eyes to smile.

I am caught in a city hooked on radio
squared by laptop screens needing
excitement on stone fed streets
cars and pedestrians led by
red    green   lights against
glass and steel—
city heat.

I miss Ngulla Boodjar.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi
Ngulla Boodjar is Noongar for “our land”

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They’re Laughing at Us 
In Africa, there is a saying that when you are old, the hyenas and jackals are no longer circling the camp, they are in it! 

One more funeral, now they’re in the camp, 
those hyenas I thought would stay outside. 
Now the universe has installed a ramp. 
One more funeral, now they’re in the camp; 
me with my septuagenarian stamp! 
It is not me, but they, who will decide. 
One more funeral, now they’re in the camp, 
those hyenas I hoped would stay outside! 

Derek Fenton

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From another time

Last night I dreamed I went
to that same place again –

had to find the way in woodland
strange to me
but as I walk, led by chirping
of a chaffinch
I discover trees remembered
from another time:
oak and sycamore, silver birch
and larch.

And then, around the next bend
in this ancient woodland, I stop, 

In front of me I see an incredible
carpet of blue
akin to but more intense than an
antipodean sky; almost a violet-blue
and sweetly scented.
I have found the bluebell wood.

Now the air is still, punctuated by
the hum of bees crazy with nectar.
I continue to linger          entranced  

until I hear a songbird’s music
interrupting the quiet –  
a New Holland honeyeater.

I open my eyes to a new day.

Margaret Ferrell

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Kick it to me

Football is a slower game tonight
filled with time lapse images
bud and blossom open trapdoors
and bulbs part the snow tip by leaf
popping crocus and the green frilled skirts of snowdrops

Now blossoms shrivel in my garden
they depart soon after their arrival
lost in a rapid acceleration of decay
fast-forward dismantles my body parts
and tips it into pill boxes

Tonight’s game plays like children
the umpires wear rose coloured strips
whistling play-on between scrambles

I remember after school games
kicking off at the local park
until streetlights announced
dinner on the table
and mother tapped her toe
as the stew grew cold

Tonight the galahs are paired on the perimeter
pink breasted teammates and a white corella
their beaks busy with the root of problems
the sun dropping evening shadows into play
longitudinal corridors between stadiums

Ann Gilchrist

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the watchful moth

the river is so
black and the trees a
mesmerism of
matt finish thinking
as I wait for hard
sun to find skin. a
wattle bird chases
song, waves move atop
moving and the March
solstice sits painted
unequal on me.
and leaves do leaving
best? light gone to grain.
sell me only the

scent of things, moistness
not from home, talk to
me in the language
of spoons and couches,
in vowels able to
hold. the out wanders in,
spins infinity.
loose-limbed traveller,
was that, tierce da
picardi at each
digs. Oban the last,
the way the train looped
like Christmas lego,
no pieces missing,

Oban lost, fine mist,
‘haar’ they call it there,
skinless lake, swept to
share with unthinking.
where sits the watchful
moth? there, not still, but
looping and feeding
on fluorescent moon,
the river now a
thousand cuts on cream
satin, the river
a home for stones in
pockets, the river
a last deed yet done

Kevin Gillam

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And we will sing

when light shines down upon us
when rivers fill and flow
when bells ring out in victory
then you will hear me sing

we will no longer roll the stone
in an endless futile cycle
we will gather at the river
to sing each other home

for days like these must come and go
we will rise as one together
many hands will cradle those
who fell and lost their way

and many hands will turn the world
and the cleansing will begin
no robe and crown are needed
we will sing each other home

Candy Gordon

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The storm that broke the vase outside
Has found a home inside me
The gale that tore the branch from tree
I navigate through blindly

And as I hear the hissing storm
The wind through cracking eaves
I feel it also in my chest
In thoughts my mind believes

For having stated just the facts
Your clear and hard dismay
Instead of hearing of your need
I’ve somehow lost my way

My body now the weathervane
To tell how winds are blowing
But showing only my extremes
Of desert and of snowing

I imagine there are calmer ways
To sail through troubled water
But I bring storms of my own blood
I am my mother‘s daughter

So tell me more of your cold heart
Your mild, serene detachment
And I will speak of love like rain
That floods it’s only catchment

Jessie Gordon

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Time Capsule

Sitting on the kitchen shelf
the tea leaves tin
held pride of place
in the running of the house
from breakfast through to dinner.

‘Would you like a cup of tea?’
my mother would question
one and all as a welcome
and a kind of mental setting
for family and guests.

Many lives and times have
passed through that tin,
the ritual of ‘one for each
person and one for the pot’
almost counting out our years
as a family of four children
was suddenly one at home  

and I can still see them all
waiting round the table
for the tea to brew
until my father would pour
each cup carefully,
not one drop would he spill.

Into the seventies
the teapot reigned supreme
until suddenly the tea bag
had slipped in like a sniper,
picking off the minutes 
of conversation, as if
there was no time to lose.

Now we sift through our parents
belongings to share what can
be sold or used   and I grab
the tea leaves tin, thinking this,
of all things drew our family
together, by cup, by spoon.

Mike Greenacre  

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On the Road to Margaret River
for Peter Thompson

WE SPEAK about photographs while we drive.
It is late afternoon and the sun is falling to our right,
where the sea is. We talk about the golden ratio,
and Fibonacci’s spiral unwinds in my head. 
Now is the time to chase the light, when
it comes in slant, when it eases around the edges of things.
We talk about the photographs
we miss, the opportunities that pass, because,
like now, we can’t stop. This is a freeway,
there is nowhere to stop, the traffic compels
us forward, while
glorious photos pass by uncaptured.
The green spring grass, for instance, like a new haircut,
and out of it, thin dark trees rising, their canopies high and awkward, like broken
umbrellas, and through them you can see the falling light
paint highlights on the salmon gums, and bleed out beyond, into the bottom of the sky.
Peter talks about the rule of thirds,
and we look for examples. On one side, we divide the horizon and the clouds
into thirds; and on the other side we find big trees or buildings
to lock the golden ratio to. 
Dark clouds limned by light. Little rays of light spearing through cloud on the horizon like epiphanies
and one great eucalyptus standing alone.
In the foreground, little black lumps of cow, seemingly doubled over
in awe at the glory of the end of this October day.

Rhian Healy

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The Promise

Yesterday was a gift,
a slice of summer
wrapped in mint-green tissue paper,

sun warmed the dunes,
the air fragrant with possibility, a mudlark’s
piping heralded delight.

Today back in winter
I lift a corner of the tissue to peek,
squirrel the treasure away.

Flurries of fallen hope gutter in piles of
soggy brown dread, low light devouring sky
has bird song in its maw,

fingers of drab despair creep, reach
groping for the tight sealed
promise of cerulean days return.

Jenifer Hetherington

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Fire Tunnel

On the distant ridge top the fire ran full gallop
Racing through the gums, sweeping up the scrub

Keeping pace with us on our parallel path
Daring us to run with it, the fiery force flying

The road spun relentlessly, surging on
And the fire kept with us, in effortless rhythm

Across the sky, burning sky, stark flames splashed
We sped swiftly forward, ever more fearful

The route swung away from the companion ridge
Brief sighs of relief soon given up to dismay

For the fire turned too, through full ninety degrees
Came crashing down the hill, straight for the way

Leapt higher in the canopy, crossed the grey strip
Lit the forest on opposite side, a new wall of fire

Now a tunnel formed, a hallway through hell
We prayed, we cursed, we stared at death and rode on

Ruari Jack Hughes

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Herdsman water 

sun’s been quenched in the lake 
wind chill travels 
to shore bound bystanders
for those who tarry 
their ears must bear eerie sounds 
of chafing Typha rushes 
night heron’s loud splash landings 

stealthy as reed rustling water rats
frantic as hunting tiger snakes 
lovers hide from lamplit 
Herdsman Parade
doing what they do
before a foreground
of moon’s journeying silver stain 

addicts drink in the dark
to a background
of barking frogs and the rippling 
of listless wavelets
for aeons
the nightly grammar 
of a disconsolate lake

exhausted delivery drivers
woken by magpie larks
piping on nearby lawns
already full of morning
having pre-empted dawn 

Ross Jackson

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Long Forgotten

I cling to sleep
float on dreams
scant remembered. 
Down the rabbit hole
in mist of memories. 
buried deep within illusions. 
A world mine. 

I linger. 
Lid covered lenses
reluctant to invite the day
nestle easily within bony socket.

Was it a dream?
A hope
a reality lived
long forgotten
a door to another reality
of corridors I’d walked before?
I don’t recall. 
as fragmented images
slip through 
sleeping lashes.

Nada Kesic

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Though it may, at times,
seem to be your friend,
life is a terminal illness
that wears you down.

It tests you
against benchmarks
not all fully met,
you complain

You bend before it
when you should stand up.
You lose your breath to it,
at times,
you complain.
You may lose your taste
for life.
It may seem bitter/sour/bland,
often times.

You decline,
along your approach to that day
when you are to fold.
You are unhappy,
not accepting that you are
transitioning to another state
without choice.

You are unhappy,
you belatedly realise,
life got sick of you
before you got sick of life.

peter knight

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“Diversity leads to perfect harmony.”-Heraclitus of Ephesus

From different worlds we come,
blending bright threads
of culture, talent, ideology,
even the varied colours of our skin
into one vivid tapestry.

Together we make a new whole;
precisely woven, warp over weft
crafting a fusion of diversity,
balanced and beautiful,
strong, enduring and unique.

Such synthesis embraces
the manifold challenges of today
with courage, daring and ingenuity.
Together we build unity
in the face of world discord.

Loud is the rhythm
of many hearts beating,
binding our voices into harmony,
where hope sings out.

Veronica Lake

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Recipe to Stave Off Grief 

Every Saturday, my mother casts a summoning spell:
we call it family dinner. To oil, pour sizzle.
Add two teaspoons of jira and dhaniya.
In her mouth, spice and herb become verb
for a homeland she left sixty years ago.
Pot, become portal: through stomach, time travel.
In her hands, cooking is vocabulary.
How, in Hindi, onion equals pyaj,
lifting wrinkles from her skin.
Adrak, lahasun, mirch. Let meat golden
beneath wooden spoon. She opens front door:
fragrance fills street. An aroma that calls come, eat

Mother always wanted to be a doctor,
has the handwriting to prove it.
When we clean her house, every scrap of paper
must be checked twice. In case there is a recipe on it.
An enchantment to feed a family. Naan, poori, pappadum:
you will find instructions for them on opened envelopes.
On bills, a marginalia for raita. When she dies,
there will be no wreath. Instead, treasure hunt
for every chit and sheath, each spell an opportunity
to travel back to when she was here. In memory,
the swell of aged hands conjuring dinner plans.
These scripts, a medicine that shall heal our hurt.
This house, a prelude to elegy.

Scott-Patrick Mitchell

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There came a day when
the last monk left
for the mainland
leaving the wind
waving goodbye
and the congregating
seals waited with wide
salty eyes for a benediction
that never came again.

Julian O’Dea

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Bucha March 2022

When he was born she carried him home in her arms
wrapped in a shawl knitted by her mother.
As he grew older she wheeled him in a battered pram
handed down by her sister,
its wheels sometimes stuck in the ruts of the road.
At ten he rode a bicycle with large wheels
and a carrier for kindling at the rear.
They had no need of a car,
everything they used they grew in a plot out the back.

When the soldiers came she was pruning the pear trees,
her old bones sturdy on the wooden ladder,
sure in their stance and wielding the saw, familiar, steady.
She heard the guns, her world trembled.
When dusk came she used the wheelbarrow
to carry him home wrapped in a rug woven by the family.
She buried him in the plot where the potatoes had grown,
laid the ladder over him and, then, only then,
did her tears rain beneath the pear trees.

Virginia O’Keeffe

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Fire In Ukrainian Hearts and Skies

Dive-bombing apartments, hospitals and schools from shrieking jets,
slaughtering babies and pregnant women who burn in fractured
night to soot and beyond. If only these ashes could be
deposited in trembling piles on Kremlin steps.
Does conscience enter the bombing. If they said no to
murder, would they be sent to another century’s Gulag.
Tortured, starved, beaten, slaughtered – payback for native courage.

Cities sealed-off, ringed with machine death.
Drone-fed megaguns feed body-eating missiles to target,
to citizens sprinting in fear towards foreign borders
and maybe safety, to Ukrainians hiding under beds, in sheds,
in cellars, behind trees, returning home, as the bombs rain down.

This indiscriminate killing a game, like chess,
for the master evil-maker in Moscow. He smiles, tight-
lipped. The reptilian gaze of this madman architect curdles,
his bite strangles. Way beyond criminal in a corrupted universe,
nourished by rivers of streaming blood, torn flesh, atomised
brains. The broken, shattered lives of everyday citizens.
Not a blink as the death tolls rise, as the world watches on

in shock and anger. Passivity’s a curse, but a bellyache’s
worse. Ukraine fights on to re-home home, to save its skin
from this bloodied imperialist and his brutal deeds.
The world avoids imposing no-fly zones to forestall
a nuclear end to life as we know it, a mushrooming goodbye.
A cave with sticks and stones is just around the corner.
Ukraine fights to the death for life.

We watch on phones.

Allan Padgett

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One Vote One Value

For 120 years the argument went
five of them made one of us,
not because we were five times
more substantial but five times less.
Inhuman distance made us spectral
unless we filled us in with their power,
their careless decisive ballot drops;
to give the embrace of the state
a warmth even spectres can feel
suffrage was transfused like ectoplasm.

Well the good stuff has stopped now
and in our awakening we realise
we are lost beyond any meaningful
involvement in those affairs;
our forms which break sunlight
on the Kimberley dirt find fellowship
in the disappointment of seasons,
the pride of barren ridges
and the sweat we share on skins
as likely black as white; for if five
are for spectres and zero is for slaves,
             one is for human beings.

Chris Palazzolo

The Remote Accountant’s Husband

I’m a househusband in The Kimberley;
I descend to my meditative washing line.
While the stomps of mother-daughter strife
thump the floorboards above my head
I am at peace, shirtless and perspiring,
pegging the underwear and shorts,
my nose wrinkling at the resins and rot
of the tropics, my ear tuning in
to the one-note cicada choir; I can ignore
the shouting, even not concern myself
with that concerning crash,
for it is enough for me to breathe and do
one thing at a time in this thundering sauna –
one peg – one fold – repeat –
as all senses become one surface
for rashes to prickle and sweat drops to trickle.

Chris Palazzolo

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closing time
            (Western Australia 2020)

planes stop – from Cottesloe beach we watch
            blue sky settle into silence, white cumulus exhale
                        swallow contrails – shadows fall, re-cast
borders, restless empires rise –

after ’59 on celluloid Australians waited On the Beach
got stoned on coke and popcorn, on apocalyptic memes
                        took refuge from the death in tales from Decameron
now we binge on The Expanse, shelter from The Rain

jump to virtual worlds, strip mine for high tech toys
            torch the Amazon into online shopping malls – feign
                        shock – when a virus hijacks 2020, bunker cities
mourn when airports transform to mausoleums

‘we’ll be right mate, doing it tough there’–
            still the virus prowls, outpaces circuit brakes
                        politicians play roulette with quarantine and vaccine
– mutate, jump, mutate –

in Edward Hopper Diners we wait, inhale illusion, watch
            through rain-scarred windows, count the hours down –

Yvonne Patterson

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Midnight Decina, 1949
            (…gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm, 
            Fill up the intersperséd vacancies 
            And momentary pauses of the thought! 

            From Frost at Midnight, Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Midnight and air hushes in woodland trees.
Maybe a mopoke calls down by the lake.
In my sleep-out bed, stars are just a brief
flap of the roller blind away. I peer
through a closing gap and see dim shrub shapes—
shapes of dreaming moments briefly dozed through;
peer further at brothers’ beds then see flap
briefly of swans over water-weeds in
lake-waters and above them forms, maybe
trees? This is all too much, but it’s midnight.

Glen Phillips, March, 2022

Spring Renews Settina

First Nation people, they know
you’ll care well for the old ones—
leave them at the last spring
for water and move on. For
spring next year renews. So leave
one’s elders dignity. You’ll
know then what in life comes first.

Glen Phillips
Easter, 2022

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Chip to old block

On the sloping paddocks where you grew up
this thick grey lump could be mistaken
at first glance for a weathered cowpat
but it’s a chunky sawn-off stump

crevice-cheeked, shadow-smeared.
Crumbs of soil that seem to drop
from its ridges and deep furrows
hint at falling flakes of ash.

Fearing your final face might look
collapsed and battered like this block,
I refused to ‘view’ your corpse —
a craven error. I was young.

Instead, since then, I’ve searched for you
in oddments left behind: letters, clothes,
keepsakes, photos, spiritless things,
none of which could tell me much.

And so, old block, I’ll try to summon
semblances of what you may have been
by dropping a few lines to you and hoping
to glimpse you somewhere in between.

Ian Reid

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Thinking of the Gods

the ridge seemed to come alive
trees silhouetted against the black
the intermittent flashes
momentarily exposing their frailty
as the wind picked up
and rain and hail burst
upon them accompanied
by the deep resonance of thunder
the voice of Wuluwait
the God of rain
singing as he ferried
the souls of the dead
to the after life
the storm abated
dawn bringing a sense of renewal
a cleanliness
the purity of a new day
to those of us left behind
our hands touching the leaves of trees
the grasses on the plains
and the flowers
spread in abundance before us
we stare in wonder
such delicate subtle creation
the work of another God
whose name is unknown to us

Barry Sanbrook

Semaphore Messages

the bed
sheets crumpled
is positioned across the room
so that the open window
allows in the chatter of finches
the scent of the ocean
the sight of swaying palms
that grow beyond the tiny balcony
she could see the red roofs on the hill
houses she used to visit
their glass reflecting semaphore signals
she cannot decipher
perhaps messages for good health
or commiseration
both could apply

she had been a painter
her subjects
through that window
like Whitely in Lavender Bay
allowed her to paint her dreams
her nightmares
the love
the happiness
the pain

now in drug induced serenity
sleep artificially induced
pain eased by morphine
her illness consumes her

she calls out
begs her daughter
to bring her palette

Barry Sanbrook

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through summer’s bleached 
light in a world out of kilter
poetry escaped me

from a diary long discarded
I flicked through scattered
thoughts of other years

then wrote
            and wrote
                        and wrote

scrawled without cease
words from my heart 
page after page

wrote until my hand ached
closed the diary left 
it on the table

from chaos an order 
of words an 

this world of mine is now
a better place, the diary 

Norma Schwind

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al     z     heimer

                        is   the   scaffolding
of   memory

a   separation

from   reality  ..  ..
dazed   dishevelled
the   pathways
juxtaposed  ..  .. 

as   the
smiles   out
from   the
on   the   wall

Geoff    Spencer 

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This lake is the sound
of water receded,
of water freckled on the surface
of its fragmented mud ponds,
of water running thin,
carrying the cloudless sky
in pockets of glass,
their silvery softness.

This lake is the sound
of the carapace-shaped boardwalk
peeling at its mouth,
of quaking bones of fish
eaten by sun,
of the shimmer of beating
bird-wing mist
like lace on playa lakebed.

This lake is the sound
of breeze held like breath,
of air sighing through rushes
huddled along the very edge,
of wind slowly unstringing
beads of pollen into
fruiting catchments.

This lake is the sound
heavy with depth and colour
swooshing inside spaces,
untouched, unfelt, unheard;
touched, felt, heard;
a pulsating hymn
of birdsong, frogsong,
        undulating mudsoup lakesong.


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I Love This Sunburnt Cuntery

I love a sunburnt country
A land of ever-increasing droughts,
the Pollies don’t believe in climate change
though we can see the effects now.
I love exploiting nature
for anything that can be sold,
I’d sell off my own children’s future
for a lousy piece of coal.

An ash white burnt-down forest,
a species already doomed.
Why not shoot the all Koalas now,
they’re bound to die off soon!
And reefs once abundant with colour
now snow white as the trees,
but with a pathetic 2050 net-zero goal
companies continue to do as they please.

Core of my heart, my country!
A nation of deniers,
of smoke that can be seen from space
and ever burning coal seam fires.
For now, the rain clouds gather
but one day it’ll be too late,
for we’re cutting down all the bushland
that can precipitate.

I love this nation of convicts
who seem still intent on theft,
first of the native peoples
and now of whatever else is left.
Invasive species and farms of monocultures
of livestock with destructive feet
but it must be all worth it
for our nightly cut of beef.

Kaelin Stemmler

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Happy Birthday

Cutting the cake I see your face:
Happy Birthday we sing together
Who wants a piece?

All around us paper strewn across the floor.
 A mess of sausage rolls and pie crusts
Tomato sauce with biscuit crumbs.
Scream when you get to the bottom, I say
as my daughter picks up the knife.
She screams, we all scream.
Except for you.

Later we sit and drink our tea
while our children play statues and pass-the-parcel.
You roll up your sleeves and show me your arms:
Fine red lines crisscrossing white undersides
Some, newly etched, seeping delicate red bubbles.
I imagine you, little and pretty
huddled in the cupboard slicing and crying
as you carve another mark onto your body.
Knives have uses I never dreamt of.

Suzette Thompson

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Missing You
for Zio Leo

Mitchell Freeway
northward bound

As the light catches my eye
i turn back      marvelled

An apparition shrouded in 
white & blue linen robes

standing in the emergency lane
I saw you
waved & drove on.

Mimma Tornatora

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White Crane Spreads Wings

Watch closely and make this your aim:
assume the same
immobile stance,
a frozen dance
between sea and sky, wings outstretched,
silhouette etched
on silver glass.
Time ripples past
changing nothing, or nothing much,
till time as such
dissolves away.

Maggie Van Putten

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Stringing Tomatoes
I still string tomatoes and if all goes well
we will have tomatoes until Christmas
– R.P.

I ask if you still have tomatoes, those cherry toms
sweetened and strung from last year’s harvest?

Imagine your degustation      Christmas colours
decorator red, mostly green, father’s mantra, edible

grow edible, not flowers or fronds. In my mind
boughs of red, purple favourites, tomatoes

meld summer with season’s bells–
the angel, bottled sauce on my plate

I wonder–

Did you string tomatoes during late harvest?
Was there time to hang ripe berries in the cellar?

Did you pick summer’s fruit for your table?
Lick seeds of Mediterranean flavour?

Taste red and gold gems, scattered basil?
Peppers strung between zucchini flowers?

Salads piqued with garlic-flavoured oil?
Do you remember crimson nights across sky?

Was the tomato your rising star?
Was the angel your beginning or your end?

A gift remembered
as if it were mine.

Rose van Son

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