Part of Me

How long will you grieve? she says
What do you mean? I say

There’s part of me misses you
Kidneys and stomach

I can feel it
Skin and hair

I can feel it
Bones and blood

Inside me somewhere
In there

Dream

Despondency globe suture wire vista work kangaroo paw dogpoo mull tattoo wombat harissa cloud sun rum window scintillating duckling crow atheist stove cabaret (two words from each person)

The waiting room stinks
Of despondency
A dim globe
Silent nod
I go in
While outside you
Will nurse your pain
Until again
A nurse emerges
To nod at you wordless

Get up
Walk in
Disinfectants
Large gauge
Syringes
Sharps bin
For sutures, sit
Flesh pinched
Wire’s in
And out
Of my skin
I wince and look
At a dreary vista
While he works
Faded landscape
On the wall
Roo-paw
Looks like a sepia dog poo

Mull to myself what this will do
To my tattoo
Of her name
All the same
Never mind
She left me for half the street
She’s got
Momentum
Like a wombat in heat

So, close my eyes
Savour past flights
Lunch, harissa
No, losing it
Overpowered by dust
From carpet with walked in
Channels
Cloudy stains
Faded
By an absent sun
In the cabinet
Iodine and rum

No window
No scintillating word
To lift the poor sods’ spirits
Poor drab ducklings
Perched outside in a row
Like crows
Outside this church
For the atheist
With its
Pad of salvation scripts

He’s done
I’m stitched
I’m cooked
Slide me off the stove
Let me out
Past naked legs and arms
My armour
At the door
Get away
Let me out wake me up
From this bleak
Cabaret

My Country Is Highway

Re-work one of your poems

– Harry and Nicola

I peel myself free
From my car seat
Legs creak
I stand up
My head peeks
Above a long reach
Of car roofs
A dim sea
Stained with salt
Windshields
Form a beach
Neon lit
By these shops

We stop off

Stale human smells
Meet a complex air
Sand salt pollen clay
We’ll stay
’Til the night
Threatens us with a chill
A few minutes at most
In the last light of day

This bitumen patch
Like the one
I sulked in
As a child
I’d wait
For the adults to shop
I’m dropped
In a moment like many
Absorbed
As a child
At a stop
Car park
Book shop
Sand salt pollen clay
Faded holiday motels
With names
Like Pacific Wave

My country is highway
A stretch of beach
A pit stop
My dreams stink
Like the back of a fruit shop

Consider it a Creative Constraint

Consider it a creative constraint
Not to light the fire
When the mind goes blank and the ink runs dry
Let the shivering inspire

Consider it a creative constraint
To dance while penning words
Of your admissions of childhood shame
Of turmoil, and butchered birds

Consider it a creative constraint
Unlike a common amateur
To incite revolt against the PM
In strictest iambic pentameter

Consider it a creative constraint
To finish this poem before the chance
The too-much-tea you drank at lunch
Makes another appear-ance

Consider it a creative constraint
To include footnotes in the structure of rhyme
An avant-garde suggestion you’ll find
Is an idea well before its time

Consider it a creative constraint
From the burning mulberry don’t flee
Address the root and branch on hot singed paper
If I may recommend, quite rapidly

Consider it a creative constraint
To write a poem with pretty shitty meter, at least one dodgy rhyme and no real conclusion

Early Settlement in Australia

What the world needs now (have a rant)

– Harry and Nicola

I wouldn’t say no, to a hearth and a home
But pending a pay rise and then some,
I may be content
In this tenament
Squeezed for two thirds my income

I could use, a break to relax
But having just done my income tax,
I may choose to unwind
By crying at work
In the cupboard next to the thumb tacks

At the Opera House (which I think is grouse) I get lost in a reverie
But our leader says
That pride can cool it
That it’s not even
Fresh in our memory

Cathy Cathy, to my window come
Your Heathcliff waits for you
But if perchance
You don’t exist
A substitute will do

There Is No Reason for Loving

Printed on the back of my notebook in a jaunty colour

Thank tra-la-la
Thank sticker fun!
Thank kids ’R’ cool
Thank Insta lyfe

Thank price tags thank teens thank youth thank bliss
Thank the infinite monkeys that came up with this

Move On

After a walk in nature

Join the escalator rush
Human smells, a fluoro crush
Trolleys filled with plastic shit
Get shitted out near the car park lift

Kids beg ice cream, beg play dates
One parent capitulates
Move on people, move along
Moving on, I move right on

Giant hair and teeth stare down at me, man, colossal, risks collapse

Back lit slender hips and skin, bikini clad wall, shivering

Gold rings gold things, pinstripe man, gold tooth grin, golden hand

Donuts donuts donuts, jam, beef and chicken, cheese and ham

Moving on, I move along
Moving’s good
I move

Slip round a bend
Exhale
Respite
From
SALE SALE SALE

What looks like books
A refuge, I take it
I wander isles of ink on crisp paper
Pencils, pens and tiny staplers
Breathe normally
The stale stationery air
I decide I’ll stay
Resolutely there

Any Day

I appear to be in a kitchen, lying on the floor.
Down in the world of kitchen cabinet doors, stains running,
Large white tiles.

faintly damp?

Faint fridge humming, can’t quite hear a gurgling slug, recently salted, slowly growing, bubbling.

Amongst dust
Detritus
Little husks
Bits of corn
A human hair
Pencil shavings
Eraser rubbings
Drippings
Sinkings
Fridge grime
Rot
A coin
Faintly winking

Fifty cents?

Fifty cents. I make a curious sound.

I place my forehead on the cold tiles and ponder it. Fifty cents.

Fifty cents.

My diaphram spasms.

Fifty cents. Payment due?
Fifty cents. Coincidence or?
Fifty cents. Extraordinary.
Fifty cents. Not my level reach of blue.
Fifty cents. Left for me.
Fifty cents. But by who?
Fifty cents. Makes no sense.
Fifty cents no fucking sense.

My stomach tightens, air rushes tears fly I curl into a foetus I roll on the floor I clutch my painful laughing sides, can’t breathe, gasp quick gasp fuck what

what

is

happening?

to me?

something new?

So.

That’s how it happened to me,
When I knew I’d be okay.
That happened to me, so I know, heart,
For you it might be any day.

Distance

I recall a time long ago
Sunkissed sands and holidays
When we played and napped and smiled

Long time ago

Before we grew up and weren’t allowed to anymore
No time
No cash
Before the marriage and the job and the work-a-day week and the phone calls and the bills and the everything

Before winters, like cold stones, piled up

I think you left your car keys on the table in the hall.
Anyway.

I think we were happy once

1988

1988

– Harry and Nicola

Looking down
Clapped out school shoes caked in dirt
Standing on hot clay
The soles of my sweaty feet burn
The sun is everywhere
It bakes the earth under my shoes
It bakes the earth coating my shoes
It bakes my ankles, my legs, my arms, my neck, my brain
I am standing in an oven
I am clay

It’s OK

struggle to inhale, can’t
take a full breath, can’t
stretch, just shallow breaths
don’t fix the craving, can’t
yawn, that reflex, can’t
satisfy, but I force it, can’t
quell the panic

body shouts

BREATHE

i reply

it’s OK

just keep gasping, you’ll survive

Ritual

Ritual

– Harry and Nicola

Tackle bears!
Deliver!
Impress!
Go team
We’ll scream!
Dream big and gamble!
Win!
We’ll laugh
We’ll spend our evenings
Boozing and wheezing
’Round the city and stealing
Time from the clock
We’ll go out on yachts
Drive fast cars
Eat the stars
Flip bills at fast women in bars

Shut up, I think
Take your morning dump
In some other heap
This company’s carpet tiles
Are miles from your
Bikini-clad shores
No-one believes you, you twat
No-one wants that
What’s your damage?
Take your ritual and shove it
Find some other tortured habitual

Mister

Pick two vowels and use them prominently

– Harry and Nicola

cruel fisted father
used us up then twisted
’til my sister cried.
not missed, you are
not missed.

Ache

Pick two vowels and use them prominently

– Harry and Nicola

ache me, like you do
take, what you do
make, what you do
from me, your clay
make me, that way
you do

Country

Road

– Harry and Nicola

I park the car.
A row of windshields
Reflect the neon stop lights.
I stand and my legs creak and stretch
My head above the row of salt stained car roofs.
I’m met by a breeze carrying
Salt, sand, pollen, clay.
We are near a highway and near the ocean.
The last light fades above a row of dark houses.
One stopover before returning to our lives.

This little patch of carpark, growing dim
Is just like the one I sulked in as a child,
Waiting for adults while they shopped,
As children do.
So many moments to absorb.
Car parks. Highways.
Salt, sand, pollen, clay.
Wind blasted holiday motels with names like Pacific Oasis.
Birds mourning the day with their last plaintive cries.

My country is highway,
A stretch of beaches,
A stopover.
The land of my dreams
Stinks like the back of a fish shop.