poems

To a brother, now gone.

Adopted by wolves,

The baby was.

Taken on a heavy moon night

When the wet grass turns to ice, and the wind investigates what the day left behind.

The gray mother-wolf carried the tiny boy

Through the hollow and into the forest.

Brushing his tiny face against soft leaves

And supple branches, until turning twice she curled up with the babe

And fell asleep.

The baby lay for a while in the heavenly fur,

Snuggled with the warm animal, smelled

The dog smell,

Framed by the damp forest scent

and looked out past the fur and leaves,

glimpsing the silver apples of the moon.

This baby, raised on bitter wolf milk

Grew stronger and dog-wise

Until one day, in a clearing, when the boy was older,

The pack saw humans on a brown leaf path.

They froze, and turned, fleeing into the thick trees

Of that autumn palace.

Poetry

She told me she could write poetry

And she could.

She told me Penguin were publishing it.

She showed me pages of her writing.

“I wrote this,” she said

“After dinner at my parents.

We just sat there, no one spoke.

All I could hear was the silver scratching on the fine china

And the neighbour’s kids playing outside.

I gave birth to this after that terrible night.”

She held the pages up and shook them.

I nodded. It was well written.

But poetry isn’t only written over silent dinners.

It’s also written over lonely nights in cheap apartments

when no one is going to visit you, or cares if you are alive.

It’s written when a woman screams abuse at you on the street

Or someone jumps you for your phone in a park

as you walk home minding your own business.

Poetry is written when you know she doesn’t love you

So you can’t get it hard

And you look at it in the bathroom and think about ways to leave

Without saying goodbye.

Poetry is written when you are standing on a city street

And you see a man hit by a bus

And he drags himself off the road

With a leg twisted behind him.

It’s written at 2 am

If it’s written well it burns out the top of your head

And you know you earned those lines.

 

 

Moments on East Park Street

Mary opens the window and leans out

The cold weather has set in; the rain will fall soon.

Her boy is in the garden

Moving the 3rd battalion against artillery.

The artillery is dug in and cuts the brave men down.

The cavalry charge, to some success

But for the 3rd it is too late.

The boy laughs and clutches a tall soldier with a red coat,

His wife will never see him again,

The worms will destroy and conquer all.

 

Mary pulls back and shudders,

The boy’s father works on the fishing ships and comes home drunk

A heavy man with coarse ways.

But the boy always has shoes and clothes

And more toys than he needs.

The little girl in the bassinet cries softly once,

Turns and falls asleep.

Mary closes the window and watches as the first raindrops fall on the window.

 

The boy feels the rain too,

And smiles.

The cavalry becomes bogged down in the muddy ground

And riflemen come out and cut them down.

The rain comes harder and the boy can’t find the reinforcements,

They’re lost in the clover.

 

Love overall

I love you because regardless of how hard the world is

You continue to love

And continue to breathe the air as a child does,

With wonder, hope, and joy.

I love you because seeing a rainbow makes you excited

And you tell me it’s the most beautiful rainbow you’ve ever seen,

No matter how many times we see a rainbow.

 

I love you because you have never seen a shooting star

And you make me promise to show you one, one day.

I love you because you are allergic to dogs

Yet love my dog.

No matter how cold, you walk me to the bus stop.

And I love you because when things hurt me,

they hurt you too.

 

 

The young poet

In a small house on Rumber Lane,

a boy lived with his mother and sister.

This boy spent his time in books

And dreamed of composing lines of glory.

 

The young poet, standing in the hall with the last shadows of day,

Watched the beetles make their way across the stone floor.

Looking up as the trees turned gold in the last rays,

He saw the neighbour coming home from work.

 

The neighbour, a big man, carried his bag on his shoulder

And smiled arrogantly at the women passing by.

The young poet watched how the man moved,

 With the wide heavy motions he made.

 

The neighbour’s daughter would meet the boys by the river

On Sunday afternoons

And raise her dress for them.

She wore no underwear.

 

The young poet was never invited, but

By hiding in the trees

He had seen her reveal herself,

Her body golden, shining like embers.

 

He had only a few friends, one boy,

With a sour breath, smelled of piss.

This boy would wet himself in class.

Deep down the young poet despised him.

 

The night grown dark,

The young poet turns to his book and reads.

Writing down words of interest,

And reciting lines that appealed to him.

Songs of love

The stars above know not of love

In their cold vacuum above,

And so they shine and seek our eyes.

But we know of love

So let’s hide away,

And at night, be never seen.

We shall lie in each other’s arms.

Happy to be lost in the night, together.

 

 

Open the window and cast your gaze out onto whatever you see,

All things you see are caught in time,

And can only last so long.

You cannot see or hold love,

As so it should be,

For true love lasts forever.

Time can destroy what you can see

But love is the closet we can come

To immortality.

 

Hold me close and smile on those you hold dear,

Hold me close and come with me to visit beautiful places,

Hold me close as you fall asleep and dream.

I hope that life brings you all you want

And that you always hold me close.

Today, now a memory.

A yellow fog lay across the suburb today.

Row after row of tired houses

With a yellow fog, heavy on the roads.

A few lights turned on, but still, the fog made everything look old and dirty.

Walking home tonight, I took the back lanes.

People in their houses, eating dinner,

the gutters by the road flowing with rain water.

The suburbs looked alive.

I passed the cancer hospital, still and empty

This time of night, the dying hours, everything is closed like broken eyes.

I think of the fog

And the midday rain.

I dream of sleeping, and waking in a new place,

Like a man who sleeps on a train

Or like a child in the car,

Falling asleep and waking in the morning,

As the family drives into the coastal town

beginning the two week holiday at the beach.

The old man who sits outside the K-Mart

Sun dancing on a silver can,

a man, sitting alone on a park bench on a cold evening,

remembers when he was twenty years old and was chased by the girls.

A cat, not having eaten in three days,

finds a piece of fried chicken behind a tall building.

It eats quickly, as

the sun sets and the light drains away.

The departing sun leaves the sounds of the day to become muted

and allows the sounds of night to grow.

No more children’s voices,

now car horns and conversations fill the streets.

A lamp is lit in a window

and the oak tree that has grown on this street for sixty years

shading this old park bench, is lit up.

The old man slowly raises himself from his seat,

his dreaming ended.

He wanders home to the lonely room he rents

in a building full of people

whose dreams look just like his.

Young Entrepreneurs

I sat waiting to get an x-ray

In some depressing medical centre

When a thin man with long black hair walks in,

His eyes are crooked as if they are spooked

And fled to opposite sides of his skull.

He has a slimy look.

He sits near me and leans forward,

“Do you think they’ll be long? I have a meeting of the young entrepreneurs tonight,

The YEM.”

“I don’t know,” I answer.

He gives me an unhappy look

And then his eyes glance up and down, taking me in,

Sizing me up.

His crooked eyes do not seem to like what they see.

“We’ve had a lot of rain recently,” I continue.

“Yes,” he snaps and looks away.

 

A pregnant woman walks in,

A man wearing the blue uniform of a nurse follows.

They start talking.

“Will I have to wait long?” the young man interrupts.

“I don’t know,” the nurse answers and turns back to the woman.

“Only I have a YEM on tonight.”

No one speaks to the young man again,

No one likes anyone.

The long haired man walks away, probably to find someone else.

“What’s a YEM?” the woman asks the nurse.

“Young entrepreneurs,” I answer her.

 

After my x-ray, I see the young man in the street.

He is leaning on a black car,

The bumper is kept on with black masking tape.

He is yelling at someone through a phone.

There is a large sticker on the back window that reads “KORN.”

I wonder what that means.

His yelling continues as I walk away,

The day is sunny now, but it is humid,

Due to all the rain we’ve been having.

Written During The Presidential Debate

Edith Stillwell, 94

Lies in Stillmouth Church Yard now.

Obese woman in Church yesterday

Did not feel well that night,

Now silently rots

In her bedroom

No one knows, no one checks

No one misses her yet,

Purple and black she turns.

 

The day has dawned, the sun visits the streets

And illuminates the pebble concrete of the shopping centre.

Lie still beautiful lover, see the new day born.

Let your hair spread on the pillow a little longer.

You are all he dreams of,

Your hips and stomach,

The firmness of your thighs.

You are young

And soon to be a mother and wife.