Featured poet, Judith Beveridge has published four books of poetry: The Domesticity of Giraffes (Black Lightning Press, 1987), Accidental Grace (UQP, 1996), Wolf Notes (Giramondo Publishing 2003), Storm and Honey (Giramondo Publishing 2009). She has won many awards for her poetry including the NSW Premier’s Award, The Victorian Premier’s Award and the Judith Wright Calanthe Award. In 2005 she was awarded the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal for excellence in literature. She is currently the poetry editor for Meanjin and teaches poetry writing at postgraduate level at the University of Sydney.
This poem was video translated at the Memoria del Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín, Colombia. The International Poetry Festival at Medellin was founded by Feranando Rendón "to oppose terror with beauty, to bring poetry face to face with violent death. We interpreted the love of poetry and the will to live of thousands of people, at the right moment." (Poetry International Web, July 2007) In 2006 the festival was awarded the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize.
La poeta australiana Judith Beveridge interviene en el curso del IX Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín, leyendo un poema que contiene una dura metáfora sobre la melancolía y la hecatombe. Judith Beveridge nació en Londres, en 1956. Vive en Australia. Ha publicado los libros de poemas: La domesticidad de las jirafas (1987); Un paracaídas de azul (1995) y La gracia accidental (1996). Ha ganado diversos premios de Poesía en Australia. Se ha desempeñado como docente de Literatura y como colaboradora habitual de revistas y periódicos en su país. Fue incluida en la Antología de Poesía Contemporánea de Australia, editada por Trilce Editores, Bogotá, 1997.
Gurcharan Rampuri (born 1929) has been writing poetry in Punjabi for six decades. Author of ten volumes of poetry, he moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1964. He has won many awards, and his poems have been translated into many languages, including Russian, Hindi, Gujarati, and English. His Collected Poems appeared in India in 2001. Many of his lyrical poems have been set to music and sung by well-known singers such as Surinder Kaur and Jagjit Zirvi. He has won numerous awards in both India and Canada, including the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Punjabi Writers Forum of Vancouver, as well as the 2009 Achievement Award for Contributions to Punjabi Literature from the University of British Columbia.
Amritjit Singh, Langston Hughes Professor of English at Ohio University, is a freelance writer, editor, translator, and book reviewer. He has authored and co-edited well over a dozen books, including The Novels of the Harlem Renaissance; Indian Literature in English, 1827-1979: An Information Guide; India: An Anthology of Contemporary Writing; Conversations with Ralph Ellison; Postcolonial Theory and the United States; The Collected Writings of Wallace Thurman; and Interviews with Edward W. Said
Judy Ray grew up on a farm in Sussex, England, and has lived in Uganda, India, Australia, and New Zealand. Currently she lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she is a volunteer ESL teacher. Her books and chapbooks include Pebble Rings, Pigeons in the Chandeliers, The Jaipur Sketchbook, Tokens, Tangents, Fishing in Green Waters, and To Fly without Wings.With poet David Ray, she has edited Fathers: A Collection of Poems (St. Martin’s, 1997).
Love smiles when it stumbles.
A star shines throughout its fall.
It takes an age to numb just one pain.
The next moment awakens another hundred.
How can one sleep when longing for the absent one,
And who will sleep on the night of love?
Sadness is my only companion.
Who would befriend me in my melancholy?
The peacocks cry even as they dance.
The swan sings even as it dies.
Beauty yearns for love
as surely as the moon goes around the earth.
One thought contains the universe.
The moon illumines a dewdrop.
I have just burned your letters.
Look, I have bathed in the fire!
Through this pilgrimage to the grave of love
I have revived forgotten pains.
The smooth dark night of your hair –
my fingers have caressed its lush shadows.
I have spent a tearful night
and the dawn is red-eyed.
I have consoled my weeping heart
by imagining scenes of intimacy.
The stars want an encore
though I am done telling my tale.
Life is both sorrow and music,
and I just sang your song.
To light up a glimpse of you in my dreams
I extinguish my own lamp.
Songs, Promises, Tears, Hopes
have won over my estranged lover.
Lies, lies, lies all the time, repeated
until they become today’s truth.
A lie sits in the seat of power,
lies are armed with daggers,
lies have many followers.
The platform sure is crowded, in thick fog,
with the confused old holy man in command at the center.
A deafening racket blasts all around
and dark clouds of ruthless death
overshadow the skies.
Brutality, rage, fear and helplessness prevail,
but we cannot escape the need for food.
The terrifying abyss of need has deepened.
Death lies in ambush at every corner.
There is someone walking toward me,
but I don’t know if he is friend or foe.
Should I trust his smile, or is it poison?
I will not make eye contact with him,
weighed down as I am by guilt
of sins I didn’t commit.
These cheats and cowardly braggarts
keep on throwing dust in the people’s eyes,
leading them on with deceitful, well-rehearsed lies.
Professional politicians on the one hand
and the ruling elite on the other,
together they have built their empire of lies.
Yesterday’s friends are today’s foes.
Even a brother has a sinister look about him.
Now he accuses with stinging words.
Blood relationships are meaningless.
Today, venomous arrows, daggers, poniards, lances
are plunged into the hearts of one’s own.
Yesterday’s enemies are in close embrace today.
With wounds from the sword healed,
these sycophants ignore the poison of hate in their hearts
as they dance to the pipes of self-interest,
kiss and lick each other.
Labels pinned on one person yesterday
are now used for another.
Those who were called corrupt
are now held to be virtuous.
It is easy to line up arguments
to justify any good or bad deeds.
Since the dead will not return,
who will want to lose today’s profit for their sake?
In pursuing a dream of ideals,
who will ignore the weight of power?
Who will sacrifice national interests
and ignore the lines that divide communities?
Who can beat these sharp villains in glib debate?
So what if they commit awful deeds?
Yesterday was bearing
a dream called Today.
Revolutionary fervor for the dream
powered a restless sleep.
The enchanting dream
smiled like a golden dawn.
The cursed mother committed
a horrendous crime, killed the newborn dream.
Then with a wild laugh
she went alone and buried the baby.
Yesterday bore Today,
but Today also had a dream which the mother killed.
Cath Vidler’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various literary magazines including HEAT, Sport, Quadrant, Turbine, Southerly and Cordite. Her first collection of poems is forthcoming from Puncher and Wattmann (www.puncherandwattmann.com) in 2010. Cath is the editor of Snorkel (www.snorkel.org.au), a literary magazine specialising in the publication of creative writing by Australians and New Zealanders.
Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé divides his time between his art and teaching creative writing. A recipient of the Singapore Internationale Grant and Dr Hiew Siew Nam Academic Award, he has edited more than 10 books and co-produced 3 audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organizations. Trained in publishing, with a theology masters from Harvard University and creative writing masters from the University of Notre Dame, he has recent or forthcoming work in Blackbird, Copper Nickel, Cricket Online Review, deadpaper, Dear Sir, Ganymede, Pank, and The Writing Disorder. Also working in clay, Desmond is presently sculpting ceramic pieces to commemorate the birth centennials of Nobel Laureates William Golding and Naguib Mahfouz in 2011. Works from his Potter Poetics Collection have been housed in museums and private collections in India, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.
hsuan tsang before the taklamakan desert
That was a way of putting it – not very satisfactory:
A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion,
Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle
With words and meanings.
~ T. S. Eliot
as lettered as song sparrows, finespun but ambivalent, purling rune, verse-love-elegaic
letters, ringing bells pealing-bowling-tolling, over-diatonic, dropping from belfries
a bunch of letters homophony-unwrapping-polyphonous; more becoming, becalming
as lettered as dash-of-love dreams, the scrunchy unscripted curves of them; they knell
slow, only lettered stubs of permissibility but not clarity, not token, soft-shod monody
as lettered, like someone else and his parcelled ideas about someone-else-especial
as a lettered dõgen inhales carbon-copy scruples, never sound changes, or cedar oil
there are nothing but sutras everywhere in time and space; sometimes sacred letters
are used, sometimes profane letters; sometimes divine letters, sometimes human
letters; sometimes the letters of beasts, sometimes the letters of ashuras; sometimes
the letters of a hundred grasses; sometimes the letters of ten thousand trees*
yet lettered to curatorial people doubled over in tracts, their inscribed, stolid podiums
as pasty; nothing letters what it seems, like rifling-trifling words split into infinitives
and supernal letters; they vacillate themselves, planate-unrest, periphrasis ill-at-ease
as lettered as their flamboyance letting us hide, letting go; we seek iliadic-baneful signs
kernels anew as lettered this vanilla midnote; I am such rest, the painful rest of it too
such serial-story calligraphy finely lettered, like love-in-waiting drawing likes as red
morning of herons as lettered as it is watery, disavowing, surging alkahest in hallways
as lettered, me beyond my own instruction, content as contusion art, euphony combing
still lettered, can’t he see? I don’t instruct my art nor its lost parts and whisper plains
these belles-lettres scarcely ciphers; tidy dais yet ochre-known, conduits so recondite
these belles-lettres unearthed that bless today of our sudden star-turning, terrene days
its letters as wrapt, happy-as-filigree trappings, us in puji si, whetstone and greying
* This verse has been lifted from a citation of Dõgen by J. P. Williams in his book on apophasis. Of Dõgen’s ideas on the use of sutras, Williams writes: “Thus we see that the ineffability of reality is not a question of there being no words we might use to describe it, but rather that there are no words which would describe it completely.”
A dual Australian-Irish citizen, Nathanael O’Reilly was born in Warrnambool and raised in Ballarat, Brisbane and Shepparton. He has lived in England, Ireland, Germany, Ukraine and the United States, where he currently resides. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Antipodes, Harvest, Windmills, LiNQ, Postcolonial Text, Transnational Literature, Prosopisia, and Blackmail Press. He is the author of the chapbook Symptoms of Homesickness (Picaro Press, 2010).
Driving in Texas
A woman pushes a baby
In a stroller down the centre
Of a busy four-lane highway
As traffic speeds by on either side.
A black pick-up truck overloaded
With tools, bricks and buckets
Weaves in and out of its lane
On a narrow county road.
Three African-Americans kneel
In the grass facing away from the road,
Their hands cuffed behind their backs
As cops search their Cadillac.
A helmetless motorcyclist wearing
Shorts and t-shirt hurtles down
The freeway at ninety miles per hour
Zigzagging through heavy traffic.
Five white flower-adorned crosses
Ranging in descending order
From daddy-sized to baby-sized
Testify in the grass beside the highway.
A roadside canvas marquee bears
A hand painted sign proclaiming
Holy Spirit Revival
7:30 nightly 24/7 prayer
We killed time at the empty skate park
In Matamata, where I pretended I had
A board, running up the quarterpipe
Chucking one-eighties, sliding along
Steel rails, simulating ollies and kickflips
While your mum toured hobbit holes.
Too young to be embarrassed,
You thought I was hilarious.
Worn out, we retired to a main street café
Where we drank chocolate milk and a latte
While sharing an Anzac biscuit,
Then drove until we found a playground.
You joined in with the Maori kids,
Too young to know or care about race
Or nationality, rolling down an embankment
Into a pile of crunchy June leaves
While I exchanged nods with the other dads.
When your mum returned from the tour
We took the narrow backroads in the rain
To Te Awamutu, hoping in vain to find
A monument to the Finns. We had to settle
For Waikato Draught at the Commercial Hotel.
You sipped lemonade, too young to understand
Why we cared about music from New Zealand.
Peycho Kanev’s work has been published in Welter,Poetry Quarterly,The Catalonian Review,The Arava Review, The Mayo Review,Chiron Review,Tonopah Review, Mad Swirl, In Posse Review, Southern Ocean Review, The Houston Literary Review and many others. He is nominated for Pushcart Award and lives in Chicago.His collaborative collection “r“, containing poetry by him and Felino Soriano, as well as photography from Duane Locke and Edward Wells II is available at Amazon.com. His new poetry collection Bone Silence will be published in September 2010 by Desperanto, New York.
Abandon The Moment
Her breasts like temple’s bells
swing back and forth…
and the highway of her legs
disappear in the horizon,
into the mist of the dream:
there is nothing else except
sweat, lust and sorrow.
Everything sinks into the deep well
of the memories,
once her sure body lit candles
for the darkness in me
and now the pulsating neon of the night
is thicker than any light could banish.
What was once
will never be
The sun goes down
behind the hills
and the birds on the wires –
tilting and silent like
boats by the lake shore.
and all will be again
with or without
The sun penetrates the glass
and hits the small plant on
I look at my toes,
I observe my arm.
From the whiteness of the sheets
her face emerges like some fat drunken
moon and asks me:
“Do you have any cigarettes? “
I light one and put it between
the waiting fingers.
I watch the ashes,
I see the butt.
And then she gets up
and walks naked to the bathroom
leaving me in the empty bed
with the swirling smoke
and the burnt desires.
Some people go through all
of their lives without experiencing
something like that
as for me this is my everyday
Ansley Moon was born in India and has since lived on three continents.
Her work has been published or is forthcoming in J Journal, Jersey
Devil Press, Southern Women’s Review, Glass: A Poetry Journal and
various anthologies. She has received a Pushcart Prize nomination and
was chosen as SLS Unified Contest Fiction Semi-Finalist. She lives in
Brooklyn, New York and is a Poetry Editor for The Furnace Review.
Visions from a Brooklyn Window
Sometime between night and morning
we are awaken to sound of gunshot.
You held me down.
“That wasn’t a gun. Go back to sleep”
But I am reminded of him, years ago.
The rifle by his side. I know that nothing
sounds like a life being taken
but what it is.
Sometimes, I am sometimes shaken from sleep.
You always, undisturbed beside me.
My side damp with a feeling that maybe
I could have made what happened
Your snoring, a reminder that reality
exists, only if we believe in it.
My father baits my worm,
piercing the silver hook
through the flesh. Delicately,
killing it. Each time he says
that I, like my brothers,
must learn the art of killing for myself.
Preparing me for the life ahead,
He pushes the throttle down,
slowly, eases out of the cove.
His cigarette suspended
in his left hand. His beer
in the cup holder.
As we leave and charter
into the mainland, the sun
bakes his skin a dark brown.
On the evenings in Georgia,
we would huddle in the front
of the boat as we glided through
the waves. A soft thud as the motor
lifted out and back into the water.
And the gas from our engine showed
our trail of breadcrumbs, but we never
wanted to find our way home.
Year passed. The cove went up
and down, and back up in price.
My brother saving my cousin,
my mom’s Easter lilies, grilling fish,
playing checkers, swimming
in the dark. And all of us.
Washed away with the dock.
Summer was picking blackberries from the vine,
being the smallest and the only girl, reaching
beyond my brothers. Throwing some back
but keeping the ripest for myself, inside
the bowl I made with my shirt. The stain,
the proof of my guilt.
Scratches like border lines
of divided countries, the blood,
small bodies of water.
My legs, a map of all my sins;
the trees I climbed. And almost
being caught. On someone
Viki Holmes is a widely anthologised and prize-winning British poet and performer who began her writing career in Cardiff as part of the Happy Demon poetry collective. She has been living and writing in Hong Kong since 2005. Her poetry has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in Wales, England, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, Macao and Singapore. She was twice a finalist in the John Tripp Award for spoken Poetry (Wales), and was a runner-up in Hong Kong’s inaugural Poetry Slam. Her first collection, miss moon’s class, is published by Chameleon Press (Hong Kong) and she is co-editor of the Haven (Hong Kong) anthology of world women’s writing Not A Muse, which has launched at literary festivals in Ubud, Hong Kong, and at a variety of locations in the US and Canada.
We didn’t know what to drink, what was possible
when the light beckoned; kinked finger’s promise
of a coin flicked to the ocean’s wishing well:
spun from thumb to fore-finger,
tossed in the tumble of tide and night.
We hardly noticed it at first, huddled
in the depths of the evening, but
the doors hinged open, in an instant,
we were more than warmed, cuddled up
in an amber glow. We were soaked
in light: sub-mariners peeking
from a fringed amber bubble,
questing for treasure.
Our eyes swum; we found a place to sink into.
Shoals of wanderers ushered the closeness you’d written.
through the fronds, we plunged together,
a kiss predicted, promised. I replied:
fumbled clutch at a coin’s wish; latched
in the murmur of a mermaid moving seawards.
Silently but singing.
discoveries made collecting botanic samples after Adam Aitken
on these cliffs we imagined we knew one another
looked back on how we’d nostalgised endlessly.
it was over before it started:
caravan’s land of grey and pink, pre-history,
pre-liminary. set adrift, we fashioned
joints from bamboo, made fires over
sand-hoppper cities, watched cliffs
burn. it was our last place, running
away from a hatful of acid and
not enough drugs. the sky loomed
and we came back here, parked
up in your red car, shivering
through the sun’s comedown.
somehow we made it, and in
the cradle of the night’s arms
we almost made it right
that time. yellow gorse
waiting for the scorch
fire razes some,
others need the
heat so they can burst.
a cormorant flashed
for a moment,
years below us.
us let go.
Dean Gui is first generation Hong Kong born, having left when he was fifteen from King George V School to finish high school in Saint John’s School of Alberta, Canada, an all-boys’ Anglican boarding school. He spent the next twenty years living in the USA, the first sixteen of those in Chicago, and the last four in California. Getting back into academia was the last thing on his list of things to do after a BA in English and an M.A. in Creative Writing to follow from the University of Illinois… but through the guidance and wisdom of one friend in particular, he taught his first high school English class in 2000. Since then, Dean has made a career of teaching. His poetry has been published in small press around North America, in magazines such as Arizona State Poetry, Innisfree, and Worm Feast.
the perfect princess
took off her tiara this morning
after a fierce night
bumping with celeda and the queens
peeling off a cat suit
claws and lashes
she plopped down onto her loo
a darling cigarette between dry lips
bent-over churning inside
exhaling into a black and white
photo album cracked open on the floor
full of black and blue memories
of a little boy
with little girl dreams
skin like powdered lilies
wishing everyone away
and when the wigless, crownless
princess scratched her balls
clicked her heels three times
“there’s no place…”
“there’s no place…”
“there’s no place…”
the sun suddenly disappeared
shadows laid out another line
and with three snorts, starlight, and stardom in her eyes
B N Oakman writes poetry that has been widely published in magazines, journals and newspapers in Australia, the UK and the USA. An academic economist, he lives in Central Victoria and has taught at universities in Australia and England.
Creature From The Black Lagoon hangs
on a wall of the room where I work,
and on the other side of this wall
an analyst swims in unfamiliar waters,
encouraging diffident charges to paddle
in shallows before executing cautious dives
in quest of Auden’s ‘delectable creatures’,1
seeking acquaintance, perhaps tentative union
in depths unplumbed, then cautiously,
when these disavowed beings seem less alien,
stroking closer and closer to the surface.
But my poster displays a misbegotten thing,
a slime-green hybrid of fish and man
grasping a young woman in webbed claws,
oddly careful not to scratch her as he drags her
down to a subterranean lair, deeper, darker,
her soundless screams just little bubbles from red,
wide-open lips while the creature stares into her face
with great limpid eyes, tender almost, watching
her writhe in its scaly embrace, sleek
in a tight white swimsuit, but not doomed,
for in the movie her male friends spear the fish-man
and she surges up to the light in her lover’s arms,
never again to plunge into the black lagoon.
Also in my room is The Invisible Man
who imbibes chemicals to make himself vanish,
becoming discernable only by his garments,
for if he goes naked he seems not to exist,
though he may be present in every other sense,
perhaps even in a room like this, crammed
with paraphernalia, my books, furniture, papers,
posters, pictures – and should the analyst,
glistening from her immersions, decide
to walk through here, she, of all people,
ought not be fooled by such disguises: transparent,
murky or opaque – for these are Universal Pictures;
it even says so on the posters.
1W H Auden, In Memory of Sigmund Freud, stanza 26
Delusional Moments before my Cell Phone
One occurred in Rome, in a small pensione close by
the Campodei Fiori, when the slumberous morning
was torn by shouts, shrieks of motor scooters, swearing –
a brawl in the laneway two floors down. Alongside me
a woman was asleep, black hair swept across a pillow,
bronzed flesh stark against the white sheet;
and I lay quiet, content to watch the Roman light
infiltrate the wooden shutters and stroke the sparsely
furnished room with bars of black and gold, to listen
to the row subside and wait for Italian commerce
to stir and climb slowly, irresistibly, towards
its daily crescendo. My passport was in order,
I had money, sufficient to last a few days,
and trunk calls were expensive. And I imagined,
I cannot say for how long, that I knew how to live.
The other, years later, was in Naples, by the docks,
waiting for a bus after a choppy crossing from Capri,
most of the passengers sick. I was standing in the tepid
rain with my arm around a woman, both of us soaked,
drops of rain forming on her face and glistening
in the streetlights like diamonds splashed wantonly
upon her beauty. Nearby a newsstand screamed
of murders and around us cars snarled everywhere,
anywhere, no place safe. My passport was in order,
I had money, sufficient to last a few weeks,
and trunk calls were expensive. And I imagined,
I cannot say for how long, that I knew how to live.
Since then I have never again imagined, even
for a moment, that I knew how to live, although
my passport is still in order, I have money, sufficient
to last several years, and these days I have a cell phone.