Kent MacCarter

K MacCarterKent MacCarter is a writer and editor in Melbourne. He’s the author of two poetry collections – In the Hungry Middle of Here (Transit Lounge, 2009) and Ribosome Spreadsheet (Picaro, 2011) – with a third, Sputnik’s Cousin, coming out in 2014. He is also editor of Joyful Strains: Making Australia Home (Affirm Press, 2013), a non-fiction collection of diasporic, essays  from international authors now living, writing from Australia. MacCarter sits on the board of The Small Press Network and is active in Melbourne PEN. He is Managing Editor of Cordite Poetry Review. He was recently awarded a Fulbright Travel Award to read in Indonesia, promoting American literature.



Howard Arkley on the Afternoon of 21 July 1999       with Fiona Hile

Flat-backed and drafting up the Hills
Hoist subdivides a blue into a bonkers purple
geodesic Yves Klein stubbed his cones and rods on
grade seven, oily spills, pleats the Shadows
carp how Boris Karloff won’t obey
them now in wide-screen video
and how green sees things in waves
like a woodchuck in a hurry and cyan’s
purées heavy-petting a potted dwarf
Mandarin. It’s a two kilometre sing-along
of colour that’ll detonate your Smurf
and pelt it down on postcodes with a pinch
of coltan in a laptop’s cell where MS Paint
and red square-dance with a Kumbaya of breeze and Juan
Davila’s been sprung fisting our box of Icy Poles again
tricky is the sherbet’s please, this golden brown
albeit one of tongue and recidivist patrols

so that even Spinoza as Spinoza-any-woman
couldn’t have counted on the head of a parricide
the firecracker limbs of Pacific tide bores,
palisading the facade out of his cerambycid beetle
Or is it when a woman loves it is with air of the universal
he said, indifferent bobcat sorting through broken self. Why
privilege the beautiful over the good when you can seize
up love as a way of retaining poetic language: drained radiator people
cars, flowers, plot the scope of geometric existence
while the old-fashioned crepuscular head of
you and green were already gone by that stage


Late Christmas Eve in Hyde Park, South Chicago

I expand behind my second level
window and unwrap a chitchat with an outside
squall of snowfall
accumulating on a pregnancy that’s growing still
and icily defeated on the alleyway
filled recycling bins of curse words incubate
with heat
    Come ye all ye virgins!
   Christ! I shout
into the endless bucket of a wintry dark
and toward a phrase of figures assuming shape
on tiptoed steps
up the tiny hours sprinkled all along my boulevard. And appearing from the narrow
daguerreotype of testament inclemency
          float three Chinese
Kanji characters skating noiselessly and stiff along the sidewalk
delivering a late-night telegram to some address
     they can’t decipher
yet or … Jesus H! … are those the silhouettes
of three intrepid bootstrapped mothers
pushing prams across a sheet
              of December’s empty typing paper
at this late hour
curved and doubled over vehicles
in cursive fonts I do not follow
I cannot conceive. Why I compute
returning thirty years inside an outer space of three
hundred billion flakes of snowfall constellation and on a Scrabble board that waits
behind me … an abandoned match I wasn’t winning
warms the names of triplets tiled
out of order
       some ancient blinking off-set printing press
       an escalator up
           or Sputnik’s cousin
tumbling wild its dormant locomotion
above a gravity
that’s rearranged to child