Monday, June 2, 2014

Poem Seven

Put a boat on this sparkling sea,
Sea that is seven kinds of blue
Blue as a mushroom stalk
Blue as bubble gum and nail polish and blown glass
As a copper dome, as a baby’s eye
Blue like a clear day made liquid
And spread out under your boat

Your boat will have a yellow net
Yellow as fruit juice, or jet fuel
Or her hair
Mended with the promises of lovers
The tales of cats, and the talk of old women
Spread out like an oil spill on deck

Take up that yellow net
Dragged behind you in summer storms
And fog and freezing winds
Cast it till you catch me seven fish
Lay them glittering on the deck
Small and large and fat and thin

And when the gulls flap down
And call for their share
Spill their guts and tell me what you see
On the deck above the blue-eyed waves
Shoo away those birds
Let the entrails tell of times not yet seen
As the warm bright fishblood drips from your fingers
What do you see?

Will there be fish in these waters in the future
Fish enough to catch and spare and spill their guts
Fish enough to pour out tomorrow’s future from within
Fish enough to fish tomorrow.

Post originally published at

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Number Six

Medusa had a daughter once,
Sent her far away
From that island rock in the sea
Fearing hero’s swords
Fearing to even look at her
Lest her bones turn to silica
Flesh crack as she became
Stone and moved no more.

Medusa’s daughter has been many years away
Has a baby of her own now
Medusa’s daughter is coming home.

She walks along the waterfront
Barefoot, babe in arms
The tourists stare
The waiters at the tavernas do not offer her a table

The Gorgon’s child has snake hair from her mother
It grows not on her head but in her armpits
Friendly little adders, she cannot bear to shave them
So she keeps her arms by her side,
Holds tightly to her child

The captain of the hydrofoil, fastest ferries in Greece
Turns her away, that dirty little beggar
She gives him a lithifying stare
Wishes rocks into his bones
He rubs the top of his spine uncertainly
His joints feel somehow stiffer
He’ll have arthritis till his old age
But he still won’t let her board

The catamaran leaves in half an hour
A ferry for the rest of us
Slower, surer, twin hulled
She sits down on the dockside to wait
Pale blue waters of the Aegean lapping at her feet
*Mother if you could see me now*, she thinks
She lets her baby find her breast
Snake heads from her armpit
Acid green and brown and black
Nuzzle his fine sparse hair

The captain of the catamaran
Shakes his head and looks away
I cannot let people like you on board
For luck, for people getting scared
He won’t meet her eye,
So she can’t give him osteoporosis

She’s tired, so tired
She slips down into one of those fancy, pleasure cruise type sailboats
Crawls under a tarpaulin, falls asleep
Later, she feels the waves move beneath her
They’re leaving port
Afloat, at last!
Her baby snuggles against her

Her mother didn’t teach her much
Didn’t have time before she was smuggled onto a ship
Most of her lessons were about stony stares
and dealing with snake-head split ends
My baby’s father’s in Germany
she’ll tell her
they’re very accepting there
I even get health care
Though I’m too scared to use it

I missed you, mama
She wants to say
I wished I’d asked more questions while I was here
Wants to show off her son’s fragile life
as proof of her own

She’s been too far away to hear
of Perseus and his burnished shield
of how he snake head finally fell
too far away for her aunts to send word
of her final resting place
in a cave
by the sea

Later, she’ll talk to these people
Make them take her to her mother’s land
Threaten them with stiff joints and brittle bones
Plead, over the cries of her tiny child
Brandish her armpits
Or weave wistful tales
She’ll make them take her home
Later, the waves whisper
And she sleeps

Post originally published at

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Poem Five

My mother once told me
the way she folds the clothes so precisely
is a way of saying I love you
The way you draw the curtains
is a way of saying I love you
The way you charge your ipod
is a way of saying I love you
The way you wait at the lights
is a way of saying I love you
The way you check the train times
is a way of saying I love you
The way you packed those boxes
is a way of saying I love you
a way of saying
I will come back.

Post originally published at

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Poem Four

On a bicycle in Berlin
Suddenly I speak the language of this city
I can’t make much
Dinner conversation in Deutsch
But with these two wheels
Movement through space again makes sense
Passing people outside in the summertime air
Passing dogs and cars and lovers
Passing the strangeness and the familiar
Until it’s a strawberry milkshake blur
Just switch your mind from left to right
Like playing a cassette backwards
Go around corners at speed
Again and again till the scenes form a zoetrope
A convincing lifelike story
To tell myself
Again and again
As jetlag takes me in her arms
Pulls me down to sleep

Post originally published at

Monday, May 26, 2014

Poem Three

a city
the smell of diesel and sewage
queues at every ice cream shop
and bridges over the canal
and concerts under the bridges
in a canoe
and youtube videos of the concerts

Post originally published at

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Poem Two

loose cobblestones to trip over like broken teeth
heavy and brittle and square underneath
I’m mumbling with a mouth full of cobblestones
in this upside down sleep

Post originally published at

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Poem One

Lake George is all lake bed
Layers and layers of lake bed
Marking time back through ice age and jungle
Till before continental plates collided
Lake George is time made flat
And brown and green
Covered in sheep

If all geological time could be stretched
Into the past seven weeks
It would not be enough
And if time was emotions
Then epochs and eons
Have been laid down
On the chewing gum stained concrete
Of the Jolimont bus station
Sixty years of reunions and farewells
Soaked into the cold pavement

Cold, like goodbyes
Not the first or the last
But laid down in layers like sediment
At the bottom of a lake

Post originally published at

Friday, May 23, 2014

Across the world in 90 poems

Somehow, because I’m very lucky, I’ll be floating around Germany, Greece and other exotic places for the next 90 days. Yes, you heard me right. I counted right. Possibly. Date lines are only there to confuse. Be wary.
But. The point is,
the pointy bit of the point is
that I intend to write, something, every day.
A poem a day. Not all of them will be long. Not all of them will be boring. Not all of them will be about airports.

But. You will be able to read them
All ninety of them.
Right here,
As they grow out of my brain.

This project is very much inspired by Throw Down Words. And, just like Throw Down Words, there are two of us: Amelia will be poeting alongside me at

Post originally published at

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Probiotic Prose

I wish my words were yogurt
I could leave them in a warm place overnight
and they would coaslesce
into something useful
that I could eat for breakfast

Post originally published at

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Also: Fuck yeah Ellen Page!

New houses start like this.

There is always poetry, words late into the night, there is always rain. Stumbling home too tired to be on the roads. Too tired to be
Fumbling fingers for unfamiliar keys
This house smells sweet and old, of wood and mould
Someone’s left the light on. For me? I don’t know
New houses are rooms of strewn stuff and beds unmade.
Forcing different windows open to listen to the rain
Stealing someone’s toothpaste cos you can’t find your own.
Then putting your brush with five others in the cup:
Four housemates and a one partner who stays over a lot

New houses are high ceilings and walls a blank smudge
Boxes full of of everything that defines you but hiding everything you need
To find your way to this new bed
Can’t find your joiurnal so you type this instead

Friday, November 1, 2013

You guys I wrote a song. It was very poignant and original if you pretend that Joan Baez never wrote Please come to Boston, it was called Love, Live With Me In Canberra, told of heartbreaking romance over the backdrop of our fair capital. 
It had one chord, a new one that I invented on ukelele. 
It passed away quietly, after 20 minutes repetitive melody.
Those close to it said they wanted to ‘remember its time with us fondly’.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

C-bomb poem


Cunt = c-bomb
Capitalism = c-bomb
Child = c-bomb
Canberra = c-bomb