Category Archives: Brisbane

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

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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

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

 

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.

Now here’s something we hope you’ll really like.

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 

Wagtails

 

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. 

 

 

Stinson series – Sunday 28th February, 1937 (Day 9)

ix

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 
out here?  

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.

 

‘Border Ranges’ Stinson series – Sunday 28th February, 1937

viii

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
between Archerfield 
and Lismore.

burnt tree on a ridge
his heart rate
on the border

 

Stinson series – Lamington Plateau: 1829 – Today

vi

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.

 

 

Stinson Series – Friday 26th February, 1937

v

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

the downdraft.
‘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

The Stinson
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.

Stinson series – Tuesday 23rd February, 1937

iv

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 
that slope.  

 

Stinson series – Saturday 20th February, 1937

ii

leg bone –
aircraft pipe
through canvas

iii

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
never circle
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.

Stinson series – Friday 19th Feb, 1937

i

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.

 
 
 

Now the pallet’s gone

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

needed the
$20 deposit
you get when you return them.

Stuff going on (and a fishing poem)

clouds swirl
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.

Fishing
(with children)

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.

Speedpoets November 6th

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
jacarandas