Sick

Everywhere I look the stillness is sick
I can see my death written in it, in it

The end table the doily the iron the nail the mantle the bed the curtain the rail
The exhausted mirror the sliding door the spare bathroom the tiled floor

Everywhere I look the stillness is sick
I can see my death written in it, in it

Chatter Chat Chat

"What I really want to say" and an image of Brian Brown holding a typewriter

– Harry and Nicola

words came thick and fast in my past
off the cuff from the pen it was easier then

chatter chat chat went the typewriter flat out
and spat out my words, again and again

chatter chat ding the typewriter would sing
way back then when I sat and kept back not a thing

now many years later I kept the cheese grater
the chatter chat chat is a sound from the past

now many years later it’s a sound I can’t hear
yet nothing else sounds so sweet to my ear

City Limits

Walk in the forest, come back, use one of these prompts: Green / black, the voice of the tree, banksia / bracken / bark, I walked into the forest…

– Harry and Nicola

Fresh air and gums, green and black
Land becomes heart becomes land
That’s how it works, I understand

But darling, know
If I ever lived here
I’m doubtful I’d make it a year

The wind is the thing
That would get me I fear

It roars in the night
And without you I might
Come unhitched
Come untethered
Come unmoored

In the morning I’d be no more
Just a stained coffee cup and an open door

I know my limits
They’re the same as the city’s
It’s not the buildings or the roads
But the people in it

The people
The people
The people are home

But out here living on my own?
One heart is only so tough
And sometimes one heart is not strong enough

Loved to Death

Oh, much loved soldier
In dog saliva
Oh, heroic sewn soldier
With mystery stains
Oh, stripey brown warrior
At the end of your tether
Oh, smiling grim champ
Oh, rope filled brave

Duty to the last
We honour your past
Your squeaky head where he did cleave-ya
Oh, nondescript mammal
In your hard spit enamel
What even are you? Like, a beaver?

The Lie

My therapist told me to write my thoughts
My therapist told me to process and move on

My pen has frozen above the page
My pen appears to have run out of ink

A memory a toxin
A toxin a drug

Did you write your thoughts? my therapist asks
Did you process and move on?

Yes, I say brightly

I bricked over it all
I kept all of it, all of it
I wrote you into my walls

Hair

Hair

– Harry and Nicola

I can push charcoal into any hip
Chiaroscuro shade any lip

I can drag particles of dark
Around any stark form
Form a voluptuousness
From her belly and light

Canberra nights, secret evenings
Behind closed doors
Winking light from the drapes
Naked forms taking shape

But her hair
But her hair
How to render her hair

Not a thumb
Not a smudge
Not a twist
Not a wash

Not a scratch
Not a line
Like the arch of her brow
Or the curve of her spine

Her hair, her hair
Its lustrous sheen, flowing over her breast
None can decipher
Not even our best

Bird-Shaped Cliff

Weathering, extreme (weather) event, Glasgow rant / rant of choice, one in a hundred, yesterday / today, good news

– Harry and Nicola

how’s it going with that new chick?

the plot is thick
she is intrigue itself
like me, she’s a poet!
her angles sublime
in time I will woo her
I’ll incline her to me
her feelings besot

is she hot?

the warmth of her nature
is sunlight in summer
her smile alone is a fiery thing
a telephone call from her
a forecast of spring
I’d brave any dark winter
if only to woo her

telephone? mate, did ya even do ’er?

would I dare?
to place me in there
in her frame
in a place where I
might brashly darken
her burgeoning fame?

that’s lame. so you haven’t?

what have I?
have I what?
could I be?
could I not?
could I hope to raise a thumb
to her negative space
which fluctuates
at scales at which
my instruments fail?

no tail? you mean you couldn’t get it up?

I am heightened, my cup
overfloweth, I’ve dispensed
with pleasantries
my peers don’t know me hence
every planetary globe of grass points
to where I wander on high
the very air
my only alibi

did ya even try? grass? you did weed?

oh hush now you see
my condition, a weed
that is innocent
but for displaced position
like my feelings did flee
to be by her bosom, where they
lost all claim to naiveté

yeah, right. okay. cool man. that’s cool.

Wind Passes From My Buttocks

I’ve been waiting thirty minutes now
For you to go to the bathroom and brush your teeth
Thirty seconds a side
With me poised at the corner waiting
For you raise a cup to your lips
And drink
Wind
Tears prick your eyes
Passes
You snort
From MY BUTTOCKS
A spray of water hits the mirror
Pffffffffffffttttt
Toothpaste flecked mirror, snorting, crying
DAD you scream and dribble
WHAT THE FLIPPING HELL!

Red-Faced Man

vax, ruled by numbers, opening up / opening to, masked / unmasked

– Harry and Nicola

Outside fair Woolworths we lay our scene, where civil rights make civil hands unclean

WASH MY FUCKIN’ HANDS???

YOU reprimand ME
YOU dare to demand ME
ME, who paid taxes
To get TWO FUCKIN’ VAXES
And scan a QR code
Before I can go load
My trolley with Solo
Double salted prosciutto
Sebago
Potatoes
Two kilos
Brushed white?

IT’S MY SOVEREIGN FUCKIN’ RIGHT
To blow bits of spittle
To push past you pitiful
Pimply teenager
Stanning dictators
Your rules are for sheeple
Not for sovereign people

Call your manager, go on
I’ll punch on and prove wrong
He’s a communist, hold on
He’ll sing a brand new song

I’m a citizen under the law
You want more? See this flyer
I got from the net for you liars
PROOF TRUMP’S THE MESSIAH!!!!!!

Masks make you gasp
Can’t your puny mind
Grasp how you ask
A elder, a man of my age
Who worked hard for a living
Who brought home a wage-
To-
To-
Hnnnn

His face turns to ash and he clutches his chest
And what happens next is probably for the best

Since Lockdown Ended

Since lockdown ended I’ve…

– Harry and Nicola

Since lockdown ended I’ve
Lain in the deep end and
Looked up to see you
A tangle of limbs

Light bounces like rainbows
Your kind face refracted
Perfect teeth but beneath
Bent this way and that

Distant squeals of delight
Friends chase friends and hunt you
Warm sun summer partner
They’re calling you now

140

Add a single poem to the information superhighway
A drop of colour
From the tip of your tongue
Into a fast moving river
Will anybody see it
Be enveloped
Merged
A wink in time
I doubt it
But maybe
Some gormless soul
Sitting with fluorescent face
Some highway sitter
Will spot it

It’s Just Water

it’s raining softly like
don’t mind me
just quiet rain
just water

for the silverbeet
for the parsley
for the basil
the birds

it needn’t worry you
rosy cheeked babe
noisy and bright
tumbling about
please don’t worry
about me
it’s just water

Unfortunate Clothes

Galloping with Gertrude

– Harry and Nicola

The cause of utility passed over his wardrobe. Not even intent. Pants, but falling. Constantly falling, a waterfall of pants, a cascade, a cataract of pants. Knocking at hell. The fall of pants. The snake. The fruit. The shame. The exile. The flight if only flight were possible. But whereto flee exiled from bliss with ankles bound by infernal pants. Flight eludes the hapless and one must sit, one most pause, one must wait for a more competent evil while the hapless one shuffles from the stage. So dies a sort of monster its torrid panting master slain, itself slain, its master slain. It is not even any particular length.

Brave New World

Harry and Nicola: If I were a bud

the sun rises to set the scene
I am spread out on the bed obscene
the fly screen’s busted
blood’s encrusted my foot
it took a shard from the dish
you hurled at me from several paces
missing and smashing against the wall

(the next one didn’t miss at all)

and though I still feel your warm embrace
when I dithered and wondered if I really needed the space
and your lip slowly curled
and your eyes slowly curdled
and you slipped from my grasp

(and looked at me like I’d murdered)

and though last night’s sounds
surround my bed, I wince
at the way I remember you said
when I went for my keys,
"Oh God fuck no please"

(queasy you looked, as you looked back at me)

I slide out of bed and limp to the bath
and pink swirls its lazy way to the drain
and okay, maybe that could have gone better
I find the dustpan to clean shards away

(and outside my window it’s starting to rain)

the man on the TV in emotional strains
while standing alone in a scene monotone
of bone dry black stumps says if only we’d known
says of the black summer, unprecedented
extraordinary loss, the country’s in pain

(but I can’t help but notice, the smoke’s blown away
and outside my window it’s starting to rain)

A Dog’s Life

the frappy ones with wings
are frighty scaredy fings
they quack and honk and jump the sky
when I come by they jump up high
they frap their wings and they retreat
and reave for me brown tasty treats

nomomomomomomomomom

Wild Horses

Strange fruit

– Harry and Nicola

Lying around, we talked about our favourite songs
We watched one with kabuki masks spinning towards the screen
Terrifying
A woman sitting on a giant leaf eating a red powder
Powder on her fingers
Powder on her tongue

Lyrics like

Take the heat
I don’t trust
Those wild horses

It was about a father wanting his daughter to shoot her rapists
It changed key and I woke up weeping

Tea Cups

Focus on an object

– Harry and Nicola

what would Scandi TV detectives say
if they came to the house while we were away?

they’d wear trench coats and hardened faces
they’d measure the distance in detective paces
from the front door to your bags on the floor
they’d photograph the corridor

they’d note our tea cups nestled together
the doona imprints, the inclement weather,
the line of clothes to the bedroom door
where they’d photograph a little more

one would shoot the other a look
the other’d respond in kind
would he arch a single brow
or would it just be in his mind?

no murders here, they’d close their books
just two lovers by the looks

Marmalade

Shaye Loudon: Marmalade. Is how we see ourselves the same as others see us?

i’ll hide behind
my red gingham shawl
don’t find my rind
with your unkind mind

seal these lips
i’m not all jelly
don’t feel my peel
the bitter is real

Some Days We Wake as Gods

some days we wake as gods

muscular physique
mind eclipses
reality
we float down streets
transcendent
every dream is in reach

we saw your profile, your wet eyes, through a window
we stepped towards the door with certain mind to liberate you from your confused situation

Search Party

Nicole: Joining your own search party

that summer I lost a house and a car
but I kept a bed to hide in for a year

that summer I howled all night like a beast
or I danced all night frenetic and senseless

that summer I caught the bus to see you
and sat with you in the light all the way home

that summer all my friends became pictures
glowing images scrolling silently up

I suppose I did the same trick to them
and they looked around sadly asking themselves

where is he really?
we only have his photograph

but you know, I think they knew where I’d gone
that I had opened a tiny door, inside
and had followed myself through it