All posts by piedhillprawns

Urushoil: Watch Yourself

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Watch yourself guys
near these leaves of three
along and off the trails we

stroll – the anointed
pretty little leaves

how wet and ready
to wipe fire
across your skin

look how the bees search buds
and how they search
for better buds

Animals aren’t affected by urushiol’
I tell my boy

he asks me why
the plant exists

I try not to answer
with some conclusion that some of nature
needs defence only against people

‘Perhaps there’s something special about them
we don’t know yet.’

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homeschool ravens

after days of rain we need to leave
the house is all spelling and online
math lessons wwhaat’s fo-or diiinnner
and the constant repertoire of piano
that sometimes accompanies the theatre
of my nightly dreams

midmorning cease, the grey sky ascended
distant, moving east. we take an apple
boots and a notebook each
into the woods behind, knowing
post-rain Fall is written for the senses

the burnt patch from early Summer
starting to sprout barely, mostly blackened
inside acres of yellow; the knee high kind of grass, sharp
through clothes, the scrappy kind that looks beautiful
for about ten weeks a year

the burnt earth exposes rocks and its soilless quality
this is manzanita land, oaks and the determined pines
with creamy nuts if we do the work

the house that burnt, it’s garage levelled, a drill press;
will it work again? a garden gnome stares from inside
temporary fencing (not at us) lifeguarding the covered
in-ground pool
no trades have touched this place yet

the house next door burnt two years ago
and rebuilt from its event of kids and cigarettes

my kids always find the best sticks and compete
bulrushes in the awakening dry creek
are about to burst, like those they found last week
explosive, unstoppable, these aren’t quite ready
my middle boy shows us all pushing with a thumb

two ravens in a flurry from the greater pines
and a great brown owl with it’s bulk body
is all wingspan and pointy eared out of a flattened face
we chase them for an hour following the bird terror
around the valley, a hunt for a glimpse
of the great night creature, who lands and disappears
into pines or oak, found again by the two crafty ravens
who we thank for exposing the rare evening bird

a deep closing bluish-grey approaches
faster than my estimate to make it home on little legs

because it is a fine day and

someone made
the rule: no one should have to school
on their birthday

it’s my birthday
and we do
the right thing

we school
for everyone
has to work
or study when the day falls
on a Wednesday

and why should it
be any different
for a homeschooling family

for I am to teach them
responsibility

and work ethic, I am
to teach them how
hard life is and how
hard they need to

we finish before midday
and go skating all afternoon

A warm winter’s bank

I sit reading Snyder
on a cedar log skateboard

there’s a wattle tree
next to the river

I stand and go to it
to touch it’s yellow existence

and while i’m still stunned by it
being here in california

a man walking his dog asks
about the log skateboard

and I ask him about the wattle

he’s a landscaper
and doesn’t know the wattle’s name here

but knows there are very few
I tell him aboriginal tribes

favour the timber
for making boomerangs

and he asks again
about the cedar log

I made into a skateboard.

Regulations

Walk your Skateboard!

Umm…
          pardon?

Walk your board across the bridge!

I stop. Swap my ten month old daughter to my right arm
and kick the board to my other hand, call out
to my three sons on bikes to stop.
The uniform keeps walking but is looking back
knows I’m going to ask.

Sure. Umm bikes too?

No, bikes are fine.

Right, so, why must I
walk my skateboard
across this bridge?

It’s policy.

Yes, I’m sure it is.
Why, is it policy to walk my skateboard
across this bridge.

 It’s policy.

I stare at him.
Then check that my three boys haven’t already
crossed the bridge to explore the trails on the other side.
I look back at him, swap my daughter to the other arm
and lean the skateboard against myself.
He drops his head, steps a little closer to reduce any scene.

The glass panels
get broken by skateboards.

Right, thanks. I guess
the skaters who are
ollieing yeah? The type
without a baby in their arms?

I turn and walk my board and daughter
across the bridge.
We enjoy the ducks below
with their butts
in the air.

all impromptu and barefoot

after putting the bins out
on the road

I take my daughter in my arms
and walk the trails behind our place

because sunset
has activated
the birds

and she says    Oooh
as our eyes track a large dragonfly

around the oak
high over our heads

a woman walks by

cute baby

and I must admit
she looks like one
who’d put her head down

don’t make eye contact
with anyone out here on the trails

but a bloke with a baby
in his arms
enjoying sunset

and the baby saying   Oooh
at the birds

squirrelI’ve moved to northern California for a year or so. It’s been
a big move but my family and I love it. I’ll try to post some poems
and photos a bit more frequently but there’s just too much to do here!
Hope you’re very well, wherever you may be.

Love always
Andrew Phillips

Andrew

to walk over there

it just became more and more difficult
to wear the responsibility of skin. never a glance

down a barrel aimed with shot
yet this is the modern loaded gun; glances
packed with distance

and sure you’ve got a clip
full of questions
questions

this timber bench seat has been painted dozens of times – so much sitting – the grass isn’t worn into tracks – the concrete path is wide – you could drive tanks full of handshakes and smiles down there

sorry isn’t sorry
if it sits down afterwards
sympathy feels wet and dripping
yet you’ve gotta carry something over there

what is the average weight of an accidental condescending comment? nothing
weighed against an attempt plus forgiveness smile, which is a collaboration

between two
arms folded
looking down at the same spot of ground
standing in a park in south brisbane

What if… ‘Eddie Gilbert Selected’

.        

     for the Australian xi

given a ticket of leave from the aboriginal camp

west of Brisbane

on a chaperoned train ride to Adelaide

instructed to

Bowl Fast as you can at England

there’s Jardine lying on the crease

                                                holding his head

Eddie’s boomerang wrist from a short run

Native Knocks-out England’s Captain Cold

 I reckon Eddie

 would have been first

by his side

to make sure he was alright

the next ball

a scorching yorker

England’s Bodyline Strategy in Shatters

 

Eddie hiding from headlines of himself

on the train back to Cherbourg

///

This is a piece I wrote earlier this year after viewing the work of Artist Ron Hurley at Brisbane’s GOMA exhibition.  The life and cricket career of Eddie Gilbert fascinates me. I hear that The Sunday Mail has run a story about Eddie Gilbert today. There is also a statue of Eddie in full flight at Alan Border field in Albion, Brisbane.

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

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.