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
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
looking down at the same spot of ground
standing in a park in south brisbane
(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
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
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
means place of swirling plastic beer cups
for Matt Reid
& for Nathan Damianopoulos
you wake from vineyards
of keith jarrett
slow-drip through veins
it’s a morning that promised thunder full of broken
and a new promise; you can pour
if you want the money
first touch of shovel is heavy
across a ribbed tray the six thirty sun wincing grapefruit eyes
the diesel engine
before it turns
into the street
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
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)
a million things
on in Brisbane right now. this
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
of river can’t be
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
what it did on the carpet.
In need of a poem
so I asked some buddies, who
shared their river.
Facebook Event: Riverwords
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.
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
Brisbane poetry seems to be bubbling at the moment. Performances happening everywhere (i’m missing one tonight I really wanted to be at).
Words or Whatever is coming up very soon and you won’t want to miss this one. If you hop over to Eleanor J Jackson you’ll find a great write up about my That zero year partner-in-crime, Tiggy Johnson. Check it out: When I was seventeen
By the way, if you want a copy of That zero year ($10), send me an email at: piedhillprawns(at)gmail.com
build a nest out of 2am humidity. She’s pulled all the sleep across to her side. Why should I give a toss, I’ll only kick it off anyway. Burned-out mozzie coil on the sill lets in a dozen thoughts. They scream in my ear till I give up, give them a pencil, then step outside. The street is lit with steel light, all the driveways tucked in and snoring.
Hands spin the map
to turn the ridge north. An identical
twin of the last tangled north
running ridge. It is like
a fog; no sun, no break
in trees, no view, I climb a fig. It is
one o’clock, five hours dropping
into gorges, lantana climb
and lawyer vine across the top, five hours
since I saw that one burnt tree.
‘Coo-eee’ A human voice
Must be another local
with the same idea
to scratch around
for an airplane. Better not
respond, confuse the poor
cocky. He is two tangled
north running ridges to the west.
Where I’m going anyway. Company
will be nice.
Out of the dust in cameron corner
the border dashes a straight
line for the coast. Then,
leaps off the 29th parallel
to swim upstream, for rivers should
be shared. It bends and twists
until it climbs out to traverse the great
dividing range. A dotted line
must be its own guide. So it wanders
from peak to saddle to granite
dome, skirting the base of wedding cake
shaped cliffs. It is a roller coaster hike and
before it jumps
into waves at point danger
it must scramble the subtropical
ridge of the tweed escarpment,
the inside rim of an extinct volcano
still gazing at its own belly warning.
8am on Mt Throakban
waiting for cloud to part,
to catch a glimpse
of his pencil line
burnt tree on a ridge
his heart rate
on the border
These are the hills
Captain Logan walked around;
‘impassable pine scrub
from base to summit’.
These are the hills the O’Reilly’s built
a cottage guest house
to retreat, to cut conservation
into the mountain.
These are the hills
Bernie went scratching
around for the missing
‘City of Brisbane’.
These are the hills
where the Japanese hop
out and breathe, snap rainbow
lorikeets on their Mothers head.
These are the hills
I scramble and take
with me, lose my way
to find something else.
His brother carved a farm
at the base of the lamington
range. That’s where Bernie is
among the black spotted pigs
that remind him of tiger cats
who haunt the mountain.
Herb points his finger
up the valley at last Friday
afternoon’s twin engine plane
entering cloud, trying to climb
‘That was a week already’.
Bernie didn’t see it fly over that day,
he hadn’t seen the newspapers either;
a santa’s sleigh of a plane,
over Coffs Harbour, Nambucca Heads,
Wauchope, Terrigal. Spare aircraft
search the coast and hinterland
the army head up
the Hawkesbury, then, oil
spotted off Broken Bay. All Hopes
Abandoned. Growing Belief
Plunged into the Sea.
Have you ever had a hunch? It is logic
I listen to, mostly. Bernie never called it
a hunch. He just didn’t
think newspapers have a clue.
The flask held less than a quart
they reckoned. Heavy, for a city man
on a diet of water, his daily exercise
to keep John alive. 300 yards
down to the creek; rocks, lantana,
lawyer vine, mama bird eats
the berries from a walking stick
palm. Today took
three hours to climb back up
leg bone –
The cyclone moved
off the mountain, moved off
the coast, retreating
from what it had done. Air
washed of its haze; buildings
in Brisbane and beyond the Glass
House mountains. We couldn’t see
our mountain held a secret;
flecks of blue through the canopy,
and wandering planes
our cries and smokey fire. Westray
couldn’t wait beside the carcass
of yesterday’s flight, his hand burning
to scramble down gullies. Gone,
in moments, swallowed by green
just the fading sound of a man slipping
through the undergrowth.
The pressure drops, the anxious
spin before the storm. Trees lose
what they can’t hold, limbs
crack, bring down vines, ferns explode
and send a squawk up the valley.
All of this is swallowed
by the howling. Behind the timber barn,
the girls huddle. Their udders and fearful eyes
wait until tomorrow. Stump to stump, Bernie
crosses the field to the rattling cottage,
inside, smoke billows
each gust back down the chimney.
Twenty miles west,
below the top of the plateau,
John escapes through a cabin window,
into the rain, pulls out two others
before the engine fuel
takes them all.
I drive through low areas
and ask for reminders of last
year; the string line
lick on the concrete wall,
acacias point wildly at the sky,
in the frame of a power line tower
a pallet’s splintered fingers
hold a galvanised beam. Australian
hardwood fixed with four inch nails, lifted
last January by a swollen river. CHEP?
LOSCAM? Its name painted over
in Oxley Creek brown. Maybe Brisbane
Market Corporation were forced
to take it down, or the Museum
wanted a souvenir, maybe a local
you get when you return them.
the brisbane eye turns
with the tide
I’ve been a Pied Hill Prawn. Not all business, some pleasure, and holidays. More on that later. Speedpoet’s went well. I think. I wasn’t in the audience so hard to say. I had a ball anyway. It was fun reading my poems and the haiku/senryu set with Sheish was sweet. Sheish played harmonica between each ku. A cleansing of the palate between images. Loved it. Thanks for those who came out especially to support and there were those Speedpoet’s regulars in the audience who were very encouraging. Cheers.
I’ve been participating in Ginko walks for the past few Sundays. It’s put on by the Queensland Writers Centre and lead by haiku poet Graham Nunn of Another Lost Shark. Check out this link to the group’s haiku from Kurilpa Bridge. Hop around Graham’s recent posts to see some anxious poetry about waiting for their baby to decide to head out.
Here is a poem from my recent time with the family down at the Tweed Coast.
The car park is a long piece of gravel
feet are light and the nylon line
must be cast for them. Patience catches
nothing half way through a tide
that encouraging nibble
would be nice. Their fish is given up
for casting stones into the river. Heavy
sinkers are found at the bottom
of the box. Another hour of biting
complaints and the car park is a long piece of gravel.
This Sunday 6th November I’ll be performing at Speedpoets as a feature poet. Yeeewww! The always encouraging Graham Nunn of Another Lost Shark gave me an invitation and I’m really excited about stepping up to read a handful of my poems. It’ll be the longest set I’ve performed. I’ll also be reading haiku and senryu as part of the set (with a little harmonica help on the side from Sheish Money). Can’t wait!
Also performing on Sunday is The Stress of Leisure with an old friend Pascal Burton (poet, artist, musician) and Ian from their recent residency at the Brisbane Powerhouse, AND a new friend (who for some reason insists on calling me Dustin) Michael Cohen who is the other local feature poet performing his humorous poetry.
There is also the open mic, free zines, entry is a gold coin so hope to see you there for the final Speedpoets for 2011 at Brew, Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane City 2pm.
Finally a ku:
quiet all year until now
for the neighbour’s tree
good sake though