off colour

 

I’m painting the house
the wrong colour

just a smidge
too yellow-based myurrrk
instead of the blue-based green
I wanted

the next coat will cover it
but I’ve got to use up this 15 liters

and each brush stroke is deeply
unsatisfying

I look back at the last few hours
of weatherboard wall
wearing the wrong colour

(g)rug

 

the koala tucked legs
of squirm disturbed sleep
and grasp clenched fist

each child I consider
shaving this chest

 

one of those council parks

with boom gate entrance
secluded eucalyptus
tables and seats
sit empty in the shade
the carpark full

all the paths lead to themselves
rough pebbled short and bendy
past a struggling bottle brush

butcherbird and magpie
on the same branch of the ironbark
eyeing off the lawn for supple grubs

20131210-124915.jpg

when words sit and listen

.

I stroll in with a satchelful
of spoken-phrases
ink sympathy on A4

he reads out of his hand
held screen unpolished
smudged with struggle

she sings
through fumbled chords
a two hundred year ache
in her voice

.

.

Ashes

 (inspired from David Stavanger @readerinres ‘ashes’)

a bruised face records the good shots
an inelegant swann spins from vulture street
I miss the hill – I don’t
miss the dog track – what happened
to Happy Jack?

we aussies sing in beautiful chorus
when the lyric includes ‘wanker’ – Broad is
conducting crowds in a deep square
the kid in front is seeing the beach ball
like fruit-flys

the umpire doesn’t have his eye in
the member’s haze on stanley is rich
boxes come in air-conditioned
or extremely humid

Section 14 Row T seat 7 is bellow
XXXX survives on event monopoly
slow motion replays reveal VB stepped on
toes over the border

 the umpire called
‘bye’

 It requires 6 x ten, nine, eight, seven, six,
five, four, three, two, one for a Mexican 2 pi R

white is a canvas
bowlers draw batsmen
holding the bat out
there’s a spot they missed
for advertising

Wooloon-cappemm (jagerra)
means place of swirling plastic beer cups

domestic

milk grog face
she sleeps in the inside of my elbow
like half in a hammock

in the other hand
the rattle of lego up the tube

I’ve never been
so domestic as right now
think I’ll go empty the fridge
of a beer

skin is drum tight and has no rhythm

7 turns 8 and the new watch arrives. It’s water
resistant. We wait for a trickle past her knee.
4 might make it to 5 in a few weeks if he’d just Keep
your hands to yourself!
2 will probably wake early and shout
at the top of his voice that he’s 2
holding three fingers above his head.
Next week the eternal 10 weeks stops our heart
for the 6th time. 6! Where did 6 go?
0 is overdue by a week and a day. Batteries are low
in the remote and need charging if you want to fast-forward
from the floor. Ticked-off ticks off another
level of candy crush. A new record.
Eyes roll anti-clockwise.

Swirling concrete

for Matt Reid

& for Nathan Damianopoulos

1.

you wake from vineyards

the improvised

fingers

of keith jarrett

off beat

grapes

slow-drip        through                      veins

it’s a morning that promised thunder                    full of     broken

clouds

and a new promise;          you can pour

            a house

                        if you want the money

2.

first touch of shovel is heavy

on ears

across a ribbed tray               the six thirty sun      wincing grapefruit eyes

wait

for conctete

the diesel engine
before it turns

into the street

3.

your screed levels the first steps of a new family

sun’s hand on your back           you are papery

notes of sand pungent soapy lime            you forgot to swipe
underarm       fruity lactic   wipe a nose

across your shoulder                        a cedar blend

of Barossa Adelaide hills and a dusty
mushroom across your neck

when you wash

the wood float

it is furry

Throw your poetry in a boat

My friend Chris Lynch is heading to PNG for The Crocodile Prizes, PNG’s literary awards. He wants to take as much poetry as he can to hand out to writers who don’t have access to contemporary literature.

If you’re heading to Speedpoets tomorrow at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival, bring along some books, journals or zines you no longer read. Here’s the Facebook link for more info. And a couple of other ways you can help out our northern island friends. Poetry for PNG

Get on board!
(I have five licenses for bad puns)

Cheers
Prawns

there are there there are

a million things

on in Brisbane right now. this

is one 

shameless self-promotion 

riverwords photo

Brisbane Fringe Festival is in it’s second year. I really wanted to perform some poems on this river of ours. Partly to interact with the river in a different way, partly because it devastated us not so long ago and I want to learn how to love it again and also maybe just because we can get in a tinny and read some poetry (and that can be fun). If you’re interested… I’d love you to be there.

It’s this Friday night.

Two sessions –  6pm and 8pm.

Get a ticket – 6pm session

Get a ticket – 8pm session

or reserve a seat here: Brisbane Fringe Festival – Riverwords.  and here

is a poem I’ll read on Friday night (first published in fourW magazine 2012)   

 

In need of a poem

Fingernails full
of river can’t be
explained.   

Thoughts seep into the carpet.  

I want the nose of the knee-deep
throwing wet bags of stand back.   

They bulldoze novels into a council pile of lounge chairs.


In need of a poem that’ll break the silence
with the river we loved, point out
we are still deeply in love, but don’t

know how.  Like Grammar girls first time
back, stroking 5am oars. 

Because it drifts past like a dog at the back
fence wondering
what it did on the carpet. 

In need of a poem
so I asked some buddies, who
shared their river.

 

Facebook Event: Riverwords

 

an election countdown

before Saturday:

twelve outgoing tides will suck broken matter out from the mangroves

a seem of coal in the bowen basin worth $keeping-there has never been polled and will not get to vote

the word ‘asylum’ will not get any sleep
the entire 147 hours

the leader of the First Nations party, Maurie, who doesn’t use a computer is contactable on his mobile or you could also be the 516th person to like the Facebook page.

314 displaced koalas will find they like the taste of smaller trees

the number of hairs on the heads of the major party leaders will be considered not a fair comparison

five million pencil ticks will think outside the box

please note: you may separate your thoughts using the multi-coloured commas provided

please also note: counting down is frownable

a short poem

It has never looked like the right key. Hanging 
beside the others. I try it often and slowly
listen to the tumblers say yep yep yep 
yep. 
Shake my head. Sometimes
I quarter turn it 
just to be sure.
I can’t open it. 
That would be devastating.

hangover of words

If anyone finds me in a park        

dribbling metaphors in compass directions

lap full of new books      

and muttering how council workers enjambed

the hedge too much like a map of canada   

       

would you kindly

wipe my chin with melalueca bark

explain to the officer 

about the poetry festival on the weekend

and let me return to society another day.

sincerlycheers

wordfriedprawn.

Spoken In One Strange Word

Image

 

Even if you don’t usually go to poetry events

but wonder what-the-metaphor

goes on at them.

.

It’s free. It’s in Brisbane. It’s this weekend. Great venue.

There will be words that’ll bounce in your heads for weeks.

International  Australian & Local poets. GO!

Spoken In One Strange Word Program

unfolding you

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

you place you on top of the aeroplane pile
big-eyes, arms-out, standing on grass
it’s for me.

I pick you up and crease you with my thumb

cross your arms
turn your eyes over
and press your head into the table

when it’s almost complete
for test-flight hand over

you dissolve into sobs.

take gulpfuls to unfold your words.

I have no idea what I’ve done.

.

for Nogsy

Letter.Box.Stamp.Collect. & Meanjin

Check out this installation from the totally wonderful Pascalle Burton:  Letter.Box.Stamp.Collect. There are circular poems from feature poets that Pascalle has made into stamps (these will be at QPF in August) meanwhile other poets are interacting with the project online with their own circular poems. Mine is here:    Circular Poetry Contributor: Andrew Phillips.

In other news, my piece ‘Cooee’ is published in the current Meanjin Vol 72. I can’t tell you how stoked I am to be in such a beautiful and well read publication. I’m one super stoked prawn.

friar bird (haiku)

.

a friar bird in the banksia
on her phone again

.

.

.

.

For those not familiar with the friar bird’s chatter here ’tis:

review of ‘That Zero Year’

Phillip Ellis recently posted a review of ‘That Zero Year‘. Click on over if you have a few minutes. This is my first publication and therefore my first review so I’m pretty stoked Phillip has sat with our poems long enough to write about the collection and collaboration.  Here’s a bit from his review:

That zero year

The nature of this language is uniform between both poets. It can be seen clearly via quotation; the following comes from the final half of “Routine in Grief”:

I sit and wait
for the spoon to drop

try to work out my answer
to the question
that will follow

The language of this poem (and the others) is a pared-back, quiet language. It makes no stylistic flourishes but, rather, sets out its narrative and situation with a minimum of ideolectical qualities. This language is simple, yet not simplistic, emotive yet not emoting, and the poems are all the stronger for this plain-speaking quality.

If you would like to buy a copy of your own. Please send me an email to: piedhilllprawns (at) gmail.com and I’ll send one to you. They’re a great gift for new mum’s and dad’s and for $10 super-affordable too.

I’ve broken

ground and a roof tile
promises fishing line knee-skin

a vow into conversations those plastic outdoor
chairs that squash like baby giraffe legs a surfboard

wind curfew a heart
or two perhaps my wife’s favourite wine glass

and now at thirty-four bone
for the first time – it sounded like a twig and now
my left toe is sideways

it’s been ages

i
took my board
out yesterday. she said
You’re fat.

Well you’re dusty
let’s do this anyway.

ii
paddlepaddlepaddledive
paddlepaddledivepaddle
paddledivegulppaddle

iii
survival is on the success spectrum
by default
unmarked

iv
this morning as we walked
back up the beach
she mutters, I’m not
dusty anymore.

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