Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On the Slink

Bottles in gutters,
alley cats on the slink
under streetlamps that crystallise
in the corners of my eyes —
shopping trolleys gliding by
like giant legless ice skates —

this brittle night taken out of the fridge —
it’s spring but cold still,

still as glass.

Sobering up, a breeze —
if I cast a rock up through the air,
between the wires, the tooting owls,
beyond the rooftops
into the twisting funnel of stars —
I could almost crack open the night

and swig.

(highly commended in the Aesthetica
Creative Works Competition, 2011)


Anyone with double vision
can tell why the small black dog

steers clear of astroturf;
why the dog’s eyes follow magpies

navigating via street junctions;
why veering in squares, not circles,

the blue car makes a beeline
for a lamppost, the traffic light

goes gridlock-orange, a bullet train
is trapped on never-green tracks,

and jets fall out of a marooned sky;
why, on waking today, my vision stings

and my face is puffy: dreaming

is forced to move along paths
that are too well-paved.

I’ll sleep with my eyes open,
stop my shadow running away.

(published in the Paradise Anthology, and highly
commended in the Brisbane-Reason Poetry Prize, 2010)


I plant forests, and they wither
behind me. There’s a traffic light

in my heart. Which colour? I don’t know.
The high-pitched whine circling my head

isn’t a vulture, it’s my halo. My double haunts me
in windows and lakes; the size of his eyes

erodes my mettle. Wherever I travel, metal
detectors go mental and the stink of burnt

sugar stalks me — crackling, always crackling.
When I fuck, my mind drifts. My whores

say it’s a lack of friction. I guess I’m made
of cold blood, my skull is full of earwigs,

my visions littered with wheezing stars:
in the mirrors on the ceiling, miracles

have ceased. I blunder across these bitter
nebulae, hemlock on my tongue — no wonder

I’ve got the sniffles! Only a nightmare
will help me sleep tonight.

(published by Otoliths, 2010)