Category Archives: poetry

Urushoil: Watch Yourself

IMG_4239

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

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.

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

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.

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.