Mark O’Flynn has published two collections of poems The Too Bright Sun, and The Good Oil with Five Islands Press. A third is forthcoming in 2007. Eleanor & Eve, his seventh play, was produced at Railway Street Theatre in Sydney in 2003. His novel, Grassdogs, was published by HarperCollins in 2006. He lives in the Blue Mountains with his wife, two children and one dog.
[Language is the house of being – Heidegger]
In the house of doing
the origami crane
or is it a seagull
becomes the residue
which we praise to the limits
of our clumsy grammar.
Pause to collect
all our thoughts about cranes.
We mime abstractions
and screwy semantics,
a tiny trout in its beak.
A paper crane is a door
that stays open too long
on a lake of amputated reflections.
The phrase book a tennis ball between us.
Hilarity is the difference
between pig and fig.
We are learning much.
What she thinks
is etched on her face
like an atrocity,
a sundered morpheme.
Fear has no gender
but its bare bones
and the inability to speak.
We make cruel signs of soothing.
In the house of bumbling
the syllables of my cooking
are the unspoken stuff of nightmares.
Her attitude to lizards tells us apart.
We swap no worries, and good tucker
and konichiwa but this is not enough.
In silence we cannot be silent.
Tears have no culture
beyond the distance
of a loveless boy
with a trout for a heart
who does not understand
the word kindness.
Language is mute
in the house of drowning
where she is lowered into the water
bonsai sprouting in her mouth
tongue’s words pecked
alive from her gills
by an origami crane.
Ross Donlon lives in Castlemaine, Victoria. His first collection Tightrope Horizon was published by Five Islands Press in 2003
Swans go about in pairs,
They mate for life.
She spied them from the house they leased
to sort out their marriage.
She sees them splash inside the reedy wetland
in overlapping circles.
They flurry and call as they bow to feed,
never far from one another.
Later he sees them flying
through the scarlet sun,
steel necks straight against the sky,
bodies packed like jets,
their trajectory flat
like a fresh line drawn on a map.
David Gilbey is Senior Lecturer in Literature and Creative Writing at Charles Sturt University. He is editor of 4W literary journal. Born in London, he migrated to Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney. Involved with a variety of arts groups in the community, he has been known to tread the boards and impersonate well-known public figures. His reviews have been published in Australian Book Review. His first part collection of poetry is Under the Rainbow, FourW press, 1996. He has just completed the manuscript for his first full collection, having travelled to US, UK, France, Japan and China on Study Leave 2006. In 2007 he is teaching English at Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University in Sendai, Japan. David is married to general practitioner Dr Geraldine Duncan and they have four children quickly exiting adolescence.
Outside the Quan Jude Roast Duck Restaurant
a candyman glassblower makes animals, figurines,
from caramelized sugar, smiling at his skill:
brittle brown prawn skins, antennae, mouth and legs,
shining exoskeletons of dog, balloon man, and, for us,
a horse –
distending a head from the soft globe,
pinching a mouth, ears,
stretching a billowing tail
from the soft, streaked sugar sheen
hardening as he works it.
Somehow there is movement in the twist of neck
and leaping haunch, though in what we call reality
impossibly dwarfed back legs could only hobble.
A mystical beast for all that, a windrider
to carry us off to our dining palace
along the freezing street.
In the restaurant I say I’ve brought my horse,
tried to park it outside – couldn’t find the rail.
Luckily the waiter’s Chinese
and doesn’t understand my cowboy joke
but grinned just the same.
David Wood is a writer and musician living at Springbrook in the Gold Coast Hinterland. His writing includes poetry, novels and, more recently, an extended philosophical treatise, Plato’s Cave which draws upon scientific, philosophical and mystical insights. David has recently built an octagonal sandstone dome in which he lives and writes. He has been Principal Piccolist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and has contributed to many publications including The Canberra Times and The Courier-Mail. David has been a guest writer at the Adelaide Festival of Arts.
are flying through the orchard,
making love in flight.
I would not have thought
it possible – but there they are,
crisscrossing the budding
branches of the fruit trees
where the wind
has caught your skirt,
lifting it into the air
like butterfly wings.
Who taught you to kiss
I am coming down the
track between the trees
to the brown dam,
to the grasses
And the day
opens like a palm,
a pianist’s hand
I reach up to and
hold and gently
draw down towards me
into the grasses,
the fruit trees
sweet as the
nectar on your lips
when I taste you
You woke and turned, your head upon the pillow
sculpted in a silvered cave of air,
naked, lying by the open window,
stars rampant in the tangle of your hair.
Last night we slept upon the drifting waters;
the moon sang like an entering lover
secret songs that lovers’ lips might whisper,
hair falling through the moonlight like a star.
A kiss to brush your eyes into the sunlight,
to gentle you from sleep, a lullaby
of hearts so close that sing upon the waters,
flowers in the iris of an eye.
Kylie Rose is currently studying creative writing at the University of Newcastle. Her suite of poems, Doll Songs was commended in the 2006 Newcastle Poetry Prize and she received second place for her poem Shark Egg in the 2006 Roland Robinson Literary Awards. She lives with her four children in Maitland.
Temple of Heaven
I always see a woman in the moon.
Concubine of solar congress,
undressed in the dark.
I never knew the moon was a man
until I found the closet
where he keeps
his sleeping tablets.
God of Nocturnal Brightness,
you fill and fail,
obedient to the seminal
will of the sun.
You will never look the same.
Seventeen Arches Bridge.
Afternoon is an oyster,
pearly lake and sky
adhered to the luminous womb.
Seventeen Arches Bridge.
Men smoke, giving breath
to marble dragons. They fish
the ox-bronze sky with kites
on rod and reel.
Seventeen Arches Bridge.
Pleasure boats skim the peach
lake, hulls a flurry of bat
wings that fracture
Seventeen Arches Bridge.
I watch willows
defer to the mottled
milk of evening’s dawn.
Their branches lip the sun.
Seventeen Arches Bridge
divides this watery
day like a woman’s mineral
wrist escaping a heavy,
Suited street vendors converge on the bus
carcass of maggot-white spenders.
Welcome swallows and willows
skim the moat like nimble tongues
affixed to no mouth.
The South Gate parts her lips
and admits me into her
illicit stone pipe.
Toward the secret lacquered chambers,
I tread the golden stones.
Women are still locked
up in palanquins and camphor coffers.
in empty chambers,
let me out.
Libby Hart was a recipient of a D J O’Hearn Memorial Fellowship at The Australian Centre, University of Melbourne in 2003. Her suite of poems, Fresh News from the Arctic won the Somerset National Poetry Prize in 2005. Her first collection of poetry, also titled Fresh News from the Arctic, was published in 2006 by Interactive Press and has just won The Ann Elder Award for poetry.
I see you there, standing in only your legs
and a cloak as dark as winter night;
your one eye gleaming, as if a glass eye.
And true, it is glass. Yes, it be.
For my doctor, with hands dipped by chemical
performs a magic before me.
In focus, I gather its light
and dare not move.
I feel the weight of feathers.
It’s the fallen bird that keeps me grounded
to this chair and to this room.
To the very stillness of things.
Note: This poem was written in response to Hugh Welch Diamond’s
photograph, ‘Seated woman with bird’ (c.1855). Diamond was one of the
earliest photographers. A doctor by profession, he decided to specialise
in the treatment of the mentally ill and was appointed to the Surrey
County Lunatic Asylum where he produced numerous photographs of his
patients. Diamond believed that photography could assist in the
treatment of mental disorders.
Your Body Bare
‘According to Inuit culture in Greenland, a person possesses six or
seven souls. The souls [are] scattered throughout the body.’
− Annie Dillard
Hold your many souls like a juggler, this is Inuit land.
The chest and arms, all Inuit-souled.
Even the eyes have two souled-suns that burn a gleam
through a viewer’s head.
This is the breadth of your many engines:
a hand, a moon-shaped sigh
a cheekbone, rare
a glimpse of finger.
The turning of the body
You are like a horizon
bending and shaping itself at will −
a balloon of escape,
a lung of tree.
The form of things to come.
Nightfall comes hesitating with light.
It reaches out in short, sharp Morse Code.
Indecipherably lingering, and then it leaves.
All I have are three letters: I.O.U.
Then it’s gone like the wind that’s forgotten its anchor.
Curled and weighted like an anchor
you’re as heavy as sympathy
and as warm as December.
Waves roll in from the half-opened door.
Agnes Vong Lai Ieng is a postgraduate student at the University of Macau, currently completing a thesis on Macao poetry. In 2006 Vong had three original poems (as well as some translations) in The Drunken Boat’s Chinese supplement. Vong was the assistant editor and a contributing poet for The University of Macau Poets’ Jubilee Anthology and a translator for a selection of Yao Feng’s poems in his recently published Faraway Song. She has just finished a collaborative project with Christopher Kelen on translations, variations and responses to the poetry of Xin Qiji. The resulting book, Spring Wind Brings the Fireworks – is in press with VAC in Chicago and expected to appear in the coming months. Vong’s own book of Macao poems is currently in preparation.
ying yang hotel
a mixture of water and milk
so the Chinese say
it sprang from a fragrant, milky bath
a white towel wrapped her black body
heat sucked up the water
a local paper, with compliments
women from afar
in red and black
smiled sweetly at his Rolex
under the blazing sun
half-naked men covered in mud
scaling bamboo, to and fro
lover of fairy tales
a valley of shadows
secrets between my footsteps and
the tangled bushes
a twig from the first branch
for the ash girl
a red apple
for the snowy white girl
a magic door
for the nosy girl
at the end of the valley
my grandmother’s grave
incense for Buddha
the only order in this pig sty
drink makes blur of reality
sickness of the heart
light burns brighter
the mountain turning grey
my final symphony
carried away by a sparrow
and delivered to Buddha
burning incense for me
Born in Malta, emigrated to Australia at fifteen, Charles D’Anastasi has had poems published in various publications, anthologies, and on line poetry journals including malleable jangle, wandering dog(UK), Going Down Swinging, and Divan. In 2006 The Melbourne Poets Union published his chapbook The unreliable harbour (Union Poets Series).
the man in pierre bonnard’s ‘the open window’
he comes home after the monochrome of another day to believe in bonnard’s ‘the open window’ the room vermillion splashed rouged heads straight for the open window stretches a hand in the cool air reaches for the stillness of the trees he comes home to a system of beauty considers himself gripped by the bay in the sky he comes home to the open window some kind of moment quiverings scheming in his head he comes home convinced this is not only bonnard’s room rubs his face in the burning walls he comes home all things midnight a much descended staircase he comes home to the windowsill works the slowness of the hour almost invisible half-man half-bird knows it’s there doesn’t know how it stirs just feels it like the fire in his throat he comes home to the open arms of the window the smell of pine inhales the moment flies past the comfort of the window’s ledge
Cath Vidler edits Snorkel (http://www.snorkel.org.au) a literary magazine specialising in creative writing by Australians and New Zealanders. Her poems have most recently appeared in Turbine, Trout, Otoliths and Nthposition. Her first chapbook, Cloud Theory, is forthcoming from Puncher and Wattmann (http://www.puncherandwattmann.com).
Five Collaborations with the Google Poetry Robot
1. It’s late
It’s late. I buy DIY bonsai potato home shrines. I wish to see The World on the Internet. I might Cheat if the original painting is not framed by titles like Falcon 4 etc. My favorite food is still more secure than Windows! I hope to spend 2 nights at the Apple Store online or at any site based on Xoops 1. I dream that one day all volcanoes on Earth are shrunk to epigrams that inspire wonder and provoke a buildup of Alternatives.
2. The first person.
The first person is a relative of mine. I think this is FUNNY. My mom Calls me Brenna but my friend Leonard has recently quit using names because he thinks they are flimsy firewalls.
Lists. I work at Burger King Corporation. Bill Gates was Once Arrested for switching Policies on the Use of Knowledge. I love my Mac because when I’m hungry it says Here you Are and gives me a Link to a story about a Different Kind of Blue. Menus. You never get tired of reading Commercialized Lists. I like to eat ‘Cultured’ items but Vows to stop rubbish-dumping at Multistorey buildings are exempt from nutrition.
4. See you later Alligator
See you later Alligator. It’s still too early to commit. My cat is going into Opposition because many districts base their curriculum on areas of Special Expertise. I hope you have time to Think ahead. My favorite Word often changes depending on current errors. Adios. I enjoy Flying low over farmland in South Georgia and its associated Enterprises in India including Sinde. I learn Greek phrases and indications of Geographical origin. Thank you again for having me in your Language.
5. Winter in my Garden
Winter in my Garden is asleep and twitching softly. I saw deserted trenches and the difficult Path. I want One Of Those Days when the blank page fills up with Boeing and applicable privacy Laws are better defined. Why do I Have to make my avatar look like the second most Popular recipe from kelloggs? I never Promised to fix the roof while there’s a galaxy to grow. I might See the Boom shadow falling on the Cedars.
Keri Glastonbury is a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle. She completed a Doctorate in Creative Arts at University of Technology, Sydney, in 2005. Her thesis, titled ‘Shut up nobody wants to hear your poems!’, staged a friendly title bout between painter Adam Cullen and poet Ted Nielsen, two male grunge auteurs of her generation. She has published two books of poetry, Hygienic Lily (Five Islands Press, 1999) and super-regional (Vagabond, 2001) and has an unpublished manuscript ‘Grit Salute’ (2004). She is an editor of the small publishing company, Local Consumption Publications (www.localconsumption.com) who are this year releasing the title Strawberry Hills Forever by Vanessa Berry.
‘but are you social nexus or cultural interstice?
that’s the type of question the tour guides
Ted Nielsen, ‘Pax Romana’. ( effusive:
you’d like to be differently enculturated, though in the end
there’s a charm in being in relation to yourself, irrespective
like age, that won’t excuse anyone—& yet, tonight
you fell in love with her impeccable rendition of rebellion
so braced, like a sleek carriage with a hybrid accent
acquired abroad. you, all the while, way too verbal
is it really freeform? even the american was grounded, smoothly
modulated, listening to your mental garbage cleansing—as the
roman sky turned cobalt blue against the mustard church
you’re surrounded by new exteriors & too many saints
as suddenly all your tropes seem so maligned—being gentle with
yourself to coax the high down
what a lot of english you can sprout
( hygienic italy:
pigeons and satellite dishes occupy the event horizon
across vast condominium rooftops
perhaps fluttering anti-angels leave the basilica
for the smashed terracotta hill of testaccio
or form emergent, from the grunge and gravitas
but are they, even ala
laurie anderson, luce iragary, jorie graham
your ideal intermediatries?
at a point where art & money cleave together
or apart, a plaque on the wall tries to unite
in new ideas and faith in talent
heralding all our smug alterities (eg: poems)
a situated intelligence
which leaves you to gesticulate on the streets
the mastery of repeating language acquisition
something else you always yawned at, until now
a sonorous cipher, you wish—along with a fiat cinque cento
for hooting around
( bella figura:
the driver in pigtails and furs tries ardently
to elicit more than physiognomy’s silent science
the movement of the car naturalising the city streets
to a point of cathexis that never arrives
trouncing your fledgling accretion process
your fringe mown in an attempt at suburban sharp
& more like, a member of hush. you sense
you’re surrounded by voracious readers & translators
not afraid to overshoot the mark.. so, it’s preferable
to internal monologues, or the self-deprecations
of the ‘performative’ you’re used to
or cowering in the face of the high femme
once summer breaks out the mini-skirts
followed by a joke about trains full
of perfumed boys playing pocket billiards
( 3rd rate hotel:
a sandy rain, born devotional
roughs a sirocco sky like stone wash
while you’re breaking the settee
of arts council fantasy you believe it
when she says rome’s been spoilt
post the 60s but let’s not get glib
there’s always memory studies
and expatriate experts even angels
have right wings as if a counter-reformation
on traffic infringements might start
a spate of double-parking in perth
her sister-in-law as howler monkey
so it bothers us, like passive smoking
the botticelli’s so blanchett
& woo, i’m feeling so bohemian like you
( justified & ancient:
a slumped angel
headstone and gramsci’s grave
find you among the conifers
& a posthumous library
weighted by voluminous spines
& a short shelf-life
a shift to the affective level
getting your attention
like heavy handed art house
reading old books
has you surprised to learn
the dog ‘shat’ in the tucker box
though for the most part
you remain disengaged as a cabby
on imperial administrative interests
driving home the episteme
a rapid summer downpour, street’s full of motorini
horns and sirens, while you’re buffeted along
plateau upon plateau—jargon relative
as rabbiting on, whatever else concomitant with that
one day molar, next molecular—illuminated manuscript
or subcontracted signwriter, THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT
in 500 point georgia bold—a question of flow
god is a vector monster, remaining beneath, above
& within the product—or just shot through
your spiritual highs make you reach for the love addiction guide
as you will the lines closer together, into a thrumming scaffolding
no grumpy bastard could use to translate or reproduce
later, rain sprinkling in through the roof’s natural shower rose
wandering home from the family palazzo, the etonian accent
of the prince roller-skating round the ballroom
the squeamish pope in red ‘too real’—& st john the baptist
in nomenclature only, a wry tuft of adolescent pubic hair
soft, as upholstered walls in genovese velvets
infused by gradients of atmosphere, as the city’s spring
makes the laundromat cheery and deferred purchasing
limns the shopfronts, a threshold away from murano glass
and your exquisite ambivalence. the street’s pock marks
the pique arousals. poor pride, as well as prada
street vendors assuming you’re nordic, demure, pure
& full of forgetting in the self-image quiz show
things just playing out, remnants of the
feminine, adjusting your antenna—to appreciate
bras and leather goods in the windows
wondrously—& no magazines have colonised
the space you are in. you won’t enter the stores
and cultural discretion will thrive on these glimpses
the body there, but you’re not in the driver’s seat
perhaps you thought it was the passenger side