Tag Archives: Poetry

Chartwell, Kent – with Jay

Unusual heat boiled the tar out of sleepers
As turquoise dragonflies left cross-stiched streams
Over a pond that resembled 1940s Britain
Dirty, murky green
Perhaps a large puddle of displaced Thames
Heaved to Kent by a missile

The Sexagenarians held us up
Looking for lost years in the bushes
In pastel shirts and high waisted pants
They retired on the watered greens
Wiping their chins with their 3wood socks

Waiting, our deftly rolled cigarettes of shag and rice burnt a thin trail of smoke
Wafting through Churchill’s England, his Garden of Eden

Not the smoke of fires and smouldering terraces
That burned the eyes of crying children in hot, packed underground platforms
Tinned, swaddled masses, tripping down stairs and crushing one another

Think of them as victory fires, or traces from a hero’s pyre
Snaking souls of ash bound for some kind of blessed heaven
Where courage and selflessness are rewarded one thousand fold

Underneath the very same sky
If you strained, you could almost hear a rattling battle cry
And we swung our rifles, whipping tiny incendiaries past bunkers into holes
Roused with wit and humour
Buoyed by an unattainable wisdom

Afterwards we’d try and count the books on the shelves
Sealed by the lacquer of time
Thinking on what they fought for
Albion’s rolling hills and deep valleys,
The rose and apple, rhubarb patch and bumblebee
The chestnut and cider, and weeping willow tree

Summer, London 2003

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Haiku from the second floor approaching midnight

The dogs are barking
At the moon and noisey trains
Cars sound like an ocean

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Puck’s Eden With Kipling

Birdcall floats from tree to tree
And hanging leaves spin windily
They’re nicking fruit where it sprouts
On branches growing down and out

Thrush thrash branches between their beaks
And dance up dirt with taloned feet
While Minors signal, in piercing notes
In sharp alarm from echoed throats

Fantail bounce among the berries
The bramble-crown of ring-bound faeries
Who speak the tongue of birdish runes
And sing along, their fluted tunes
Warnings not for feathered wings
“Beware, you humans” — that’s what they sing

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The Boys Like Playing In The Creek

The boys like playing in the creek

They look for crawlies under the smooth stones and spiders in the hollow logs
Tadpoles swim between their legs, growing their own

Then someone slips and laughter fills the air
Cold water fills the pockets of their shorts

Every tree trunk is a target, and every arm a hero
As birds whiz past their heads like darts

They also like climbing the neighbour’s fence and pinching fruit
Then batting blowflies and bees with old tennis rackets

Though they aren’t too keen on kissing girls yet
Or when their parents call them home for dinner

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January 9, 2016 (& 2002 & 1980)

In 2012, I paddled out before the sun came up in Manly, surfing as it rose. Today—on the same wild ocean but kilometres away—I wade into the water again, watching the waves crest and crumble through palm fronds jammed into the sand. The dew had made the top layer dark; and hopefully it had also run the dog piss off the car tyres. The foaming pacific felt warm and light as a cappuccino but the bared teeth of the mottled mongrels were chilling as they chased me off the beach. I can still hear their barking. The shore-break was detonating in rumbling, rolling white-outs while I remembered that half a lifetime ago (1998) I got my first guitar — as today (2016) I was getting another one.



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On Reading Rimbaud, The Little Asshole

Is it possible to make one’s face so lifeless that it becomes invisible?
I think it might be. I know it
In fact, it’s as easy as an icebreaker through three-foot thick drifts
I’ll practice it, become a famed magician, conjuring horizons and bending light round my body
What time I’ll buy, a non-person, a no-one
Free as an asteroid out of orbit, tracing a silent arc through the endless dark
Only to reappear at will, saving face, playing the percentages
I’ll be a rich man, rich and redundant
The world getting along just fine without knowing my step
Energy distilled into a direct beam
Hot enough to melt sand and make a mirror in which my reflection is seen only by me
Self-sustaining, vampiric, in unholy, solitary, unfettered happiness

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What a Sound the Sea Makes

It sounded like tearing sheet metal when the wave broke
Another offcut ribboned from an aluminium sea and left on the sand
Behind us, the blue cloud was banking and bruised
Hiding the Kilamangiro that couldn’t be there
Finding a short stick we mapped a rough outline of the bay
Using our memories as sounding weights
We zoomed in on the long, eroding beaches down the coast
Where we jumped from rocks in between swells, falling faster than spit
As the rain began to wet the top of our shoes, we washed the orange juice from our fingers
And chose the steepest path back up the hill to the house, to the pot of hot coffee
At the escarpment’s top, a shove of wind—the kind that had felled bigger trees than us
The proof at our feet, a splintered trunk laying heavy in the pine needles
A stone-like Ozymandias, now fuel, all transitioning power
What a sound chagrin makes
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After Melbourne’s Coldest Weekend

This dark chill is theft—daylight robbery
The sun roped up in the back of the van
Our good humours gone with it

To a human we’re phlegmatic, melancholy
And no draft is too crafty
No teeth or bones too still

They say it’s a vortex that’ll last the week
And eBay is selling out of finger-less leather gloves
But we’ll get up anyway

And at night, well, we probably won’t think of those in bed alone
But we should
God knows it was me once

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