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



– 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
Tears prick your eyes
You snort
A spray of water hits the mirror
Toothpaste flecked mirror, snorting, crying
DAD you scream and dribble

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


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

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

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-

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


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
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