Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Water channels part:
your sweaty thumb slips
from the number 8, stunned.
Carpet stains where the remote drops
are a permanent reminder
of your love for live TV:
the asteroid fiascos,
wearing ecliptic sunglasses
for moments when the earth stops.
The second we realise the atmos-
phere’s mass ascendancy,
dark matter dominates
our deficient space:
imploding into silence
with the pin-drop of a lens.
It’s so titanic there’s nothing
you can do about it!
And the coverage:
time divided by velocity,
quicker than light
in its hyperbolic spell to reassure you
that all this wasted oxygen is
worth your wasted time.
These kaleidoscopic tides
(image upon image)
from the ground gaping up:
a shock of orange in a clear blue sky.
Again, from the smoke-
screen of the street:
a shock of orange in a clear blue sky.
And again, just to rub it in,
in case you’re entrenched
in a glossy magazine:
a shock of orange in a clear blue sky.
One more time
from the channel-changing
couch (terrorized):
a shock of orange in a grey-blue sky.

(published in SWAMP, 2011)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The intervals between trains are shrinking,
streetlights shaking —
one or two blink out
with every repercussion.

Planes fly lower and lower,
guard dogs whimper, and
every so often
a seismograph flutters

as if to warn us
that the orbits are out of whack,
that waves rake the ocean floors
and the hairs on the backs of cats

stand on end
because something unparalleled
is about to happen.
Light a candle, stock the cupboard —

alarms and sirens
have cancelled the silence.
Pay no attention to screams or the jitters —
when someone bolts, everyone bolts.

Whatever you say, say nothing
as a bystander
amongst the panic and the vomit,
do nothing and nothing will bend.

(published in Southerly, 2011)

Monday, October 17, 2011


If we don’t move, no one will
see us. The air-con will help us

to lean forward, help us to make
headway. Regular news updates

from dozens of flat screens
could save us from our musing as

blow-dryer music in the hi-fi section
warms the backs of our necks.

If we stand anaesthetised by the
cleaning lady’s spray gun,

dressed in the latest, we might blend in,
and late at night, when we’re blind,

security guards will make love to us,
though only with their torches.

In the corners of the ceiling, next
to the cameras, gleaming silver vents

will inhale our carbon dioxide, while
the vents along the skirting boards

exhale, to keep it circulating, this
air we breathe on condition.

(published in FourW, 2011)

Saturday, October 15, 2011


In sticky haze under dappling trees
shadows and limelight
after coalescing
through the night.
Emerging to a lurid sun
that slides up into the deep,
lifting its crusty eyelid,
I walk
down a pointless street
of morning people,
dumb pets
and coffee.
The stale alcohol
and cigarette breath,
the scintillating light
and compression of garbage
have a Doppler effect
on my stagger
so I skip,
but no matter how fast I skip
away from sidelong glances,
round corners,
under shopfronts,
impersonating shadows
to outfox the light,
I can’t escape the smell
catching up with me
of someone else
on my skin.

(published in Meanjin, 2011)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Library Animals

(after Shakespeare)

She follows me up
to the eighth floor of the library
where eerie dust,

shushed by a coy
draught, kindles
amongst the shelves.

We snake in and out
of the aisles, looking for a corner
or a space as dark

as a room in bedlam for us
to become the rude myth
of our birthright.

But with no Venus glove
for entering the nest
of the phoenix

we’re both fair game.
And the idea of it, of flesh,
almost becomes an impediment:

the spiced rivers of her hair
in our lips as we kiss;
the knuckles of her spine

like the rivets in her dress —
obstructions, abstractions, words
in the way — that is

until our burning will touches
the metallic shelves
like lava meeting glacier,

bumping the goose
in both of us,
steaming up the windows

that turn a blinkered eye
to the odds of being caught

“Put some more English on it,”
she whispers, with
my finger on her forepart,

as unbridled, I risk the faux
pun: “Are you a woman
given to lie...?”

But that’s not
how she does it now, alive
in the dusky back

passages of the library,
where the dimmed fluoro
and deep shadow

bisect our civil demeanours,
where we succumb at last
to our lower halves,

making love like centaurs,
a discreet but riveting

to a hushed and studied audience
of thousands laid
before us in many positions,

though mainly standing up
and jacketless, front
to back.

(published on the Red Room, 2011 and
partly in The Sydney Morning Herald)

Thursday, October 13, 2011


A drive up the street is light, is a boon —
is full of female matadors.

The moonbeam is a tangent
glancing off his eye juice —

a turn of the head, a crick in the neck,
tearing the muscle in his chest.

She’s an epiphany — the fifth element
setting off dominoes —

prang after prang into prang
as reflectors sing the car-crash song

and she flickers — a film projector
batting her eyelids at bull-bars

like tremors after an earthquake,
tearing the chest muscles of other men

(any man with a memory)
up and down the strip.

(published in Everyday Static, 2010)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Winded on a Trampoline

I clutch at clouds,
burn my brow on sunbeams,
lick blue moons with a rainbow-scythe.
But as day caves away
a wind whips through my stomach
and I’m dumped in its wake.

Magpies brush low over cut grass.

Thrumming cicadas numb the wet sandstone.

A pair of sneakers over powerlines.

Purple and gold in the clouds above.

Some stars beginning to stir.

(published in Visible Ink, 2011)