1 August 2013

My life in dogs: micropoem

I count my life in dogs
fluid decades of love and loss
so that the tide of memories,
worries, speculations retreat
and I learn the pearly pleasures
of the moment.

27 July 2013

Navel gazing: spoken word poem

If I could be re-birthed
in a new skin, prickly and pocked where quills might grow
all identity erased for an unsullied start
I would be hatched,
shaking free the shackles of spent shell
where I tumbled free in a soft balloon
ready to glide unfettered on the updrafts above the earth.

If I could be re-birthed, I would be hatched
not born bearing the mark of my mother’s pain on my belly into my death
that no amount of navel-gazing will explain or erase.
Not born, with this reminder of my mother’s fears
pulsing into my eager cells along with her blood
so that I live my life through these things that were not mine
and that will never leave me
reaching through the umbilicus
and down the generations with disappointment and guilt.

Spending my life tending those scars
picking over their shape and depth
until they open and weep into mistakes I make, as I try not to repeat hers
until I recognise her disappointment in my own heart.

And yet
in those moments of greatest pain
when the world betrays me
and a cyclone of fear or grief lifts me from my moorings
I will clutch my arms to my belly
and howl
at the terror of my untethered solitude.

4 May 2013

Lost world: spoken word poem

My sketch of Sayoko at Lost World
I lost her
in the shadow of Lost World,
a ragged plateau
baring its stone teeth
at the Queensland sky.

I lost Sayoko
who, in her few English words
said she would walk,
gesturing at the ancient teeth she’d been sketching all morning
crouched in that deferential way
a curled human boulder
in the high sheep country
scarf draped against the sting of alien insects
her head bowed at the feet of the escarpment.

I lost her at Lost World
where the stories already told and retold
wove a dark filter
as I held my hand against the sun
to squint at the looming stones.
Stones, said to be no wider than your foot
by those who'd dared to tread the trail
to that imagined land beyond
of hanging swamps and ancient caves
and the bones of those who could not turn back.

I lost her all day
and into the silent night
sitting alone at a wooden bench in the hostel
where last night she cooked tempura
taught me to toss a raw egg into hot soup
(a revelation, until I tried it back at home without the taste of danger.)
The same bench where I told her not to trek alone
to carry water in this unforgiving land
nodding as we exchanged our broken words.

I lost Sayoko
until she emerged, ghostly in the moonlight
scratched and bruised
a raw and wild excitement
in her breathless words
as she stuttered
that she had felt compelled
to climb higher, and higher, and higher
and was almost lost
to the jaws of the earth’s ancient howl.

4 January 2013

January smallstones: observations

Participating in the Mindful Writing Challenge of writing a 'smallstone' each day during January 2013

31 January
Lime green canvas shoes slap the pavement with resilient repetition. Eyes riveted, I follow across gutter and tram track.

30 January
In the spotlight of the lamp, I wake from abandonment to the urgency of broken phrases and the indent of a pen upon my cheek. 

29 January
Behind the wipers, the city wears mist like furry mould. I think of all the grey in life, that once was black and white.

28 January
Beneath the gutters
arrested raindrops
glint raggedy
strings of diamonds. 

27 January
A bear of a dog, large as a man, sits in the passenger seat of a passing car, arm casually dangling from the window, smiling.

26 January
The moon wears a rusty halo, enduring as a stain, despite the cyclone-nudged scudding clouds that slide across her curves.

25 January
Corellas patrol the streets, wheeling above me, calling each to each. So busy in the airspace, I feel the urge to duck.

24 January
The guitar notes cut through the TV noise, strumming me. Every cell resonates as if I am the melody and nothing else exists.

23 January
Cicadas pulse in the heat. The park exudes a childhood scent of cut grass, so desiccated I imagine a whiff of burning on the air.

22 January
I ride the escalator, rising above a mass of red and gold Chinese lanterns. Inert suns suspended in my lunch hour, and I in orbit. 

21 January
A parade of planes, airport-bound, out-roars my thoughts, now replaced by the complex pitch and rhythm of sucked and spiralling air.

20 January
At the traffic lights
a red light
on a distant tower
blinks away my thoughts. 

19 January
Sun-bruised chillies
livid in transition
from secret bud
to scarlet arrow.

18 January
Death mimics life. I mimic the pigeons as we all peer tentatively at the wing of a dead pigeon fluttering in the breeze.

17 January
I could be in a gallery contemplating the piece before me.

Ibis art
Organic vertical lines overlay the precise horizontal of the park bench. The calm pose of the ibis implies rightful ownership. The other seats are full yet no-one challenges.

16 January
My heart races as fast as the fire on the news. A singed sheep drops to its knees and I close my eyes.

15 January
It's summer, not autumn, yet the gutters vanish under dead leaves, swirling at surprised feet that skid on their papery mischief.

14 January
Sirens. A door closes. The foliage drips. Dog paws patter across wet pavings. The thunder of a low plane obliterates all.

13 January
The flying fox is just a silhouette but I can see its clawed wings pull a branch closer and its fervid lapping at gum blossoms.

12 January
Water green as lilies.
Hardhead ducks as reticent as stray dogs.
My camera is not bread.

11 January
Like rubber ducks, umber-glazed bodies hang in the window, necks craned, heads askew, while the chop chop of a cleaver smashes bone. 

10 January
Cheek to the bitumen
urban ibis
drinks from a puddle

9 January
40 degrees Celsius. The shade of one large plane tree harbours 20 stationary seagulls. Another has 12 white ibis slowly circling its trunk to avoid pedestrians that come too close. The benches along the park path hold sprawling tourists with their luggage mountains and homeless men, mostly asleep - although one smiles at me. My icy skin savours the oven-blast of the searing north-westerly bushfire-wind, before I make my way back to the air-conditioned office.

8 January
Beside the bed
a dishevelled pyramid
seven books
I'm too tired to read.

7 January
One white feather
suspended in foliage
holds the memory
of Corella mirth.

6 January
A wasp dangles stiff legs
like jammed landing gear
on a jumbo jet.

5 January
The iron gate is cool against my hot skin as I lean into the sea breeze and know how lucky I am.

4 January
Low tide. Oysters cling to the sea wall. I inhale the same fish-salty breeze as those who stood here did, 50,000 years ago. 

3 January
In an all-grey tableau of sky, water and fish, a tiny mullet leaps into the air and skips like a stone across the water's surface.

2 January
I mirror the universe. As I step into the night with my dog, Orion with Canis Major at his heel, is striding across the sky.

1 January
The moon crept from clouds of ice and fireworks, bitten and misshapen in her wane, yet trimming the clouds with luminous lace.