Brook Emery

Brook Emery has published three books of poetry: and dug my fingers in the sand, which won the Judith Wright Calanthe prize, Misplaced Heart, and Uncommon Light. All three were short-listed for the Kenneth Slessor Prize.
The black hill looks to float straight out to sea.
Cars incline. But the driver’s eyes are raised
to an unvarying wash of night.
For a moment, just an instant, his gaze
is arrested by a tree beneath a streetlight,
a lean, straggly, unkempt bottlebrush he thinks,
and strangely, beneath the light, it is the focus
of his thought. It’s almost two dimensional,
as though it were the section of a tree
pressed between two sheets of glass
for microscopic examination. It stands for nothing
but stands as something, its shapeless branches
and drooping leaves as nondescript
as any failure of a man, any thought
whose time has come and gone and gone again.
He’s nearly home. It’s about to rain,
the wind is getting up and he can sense
an approaching chill. He’ll be home before the storm.
He’s shut the door. Locked the outside
outside. The gathering dark, the gathering cold,
all the unhoused, creeping possibilities,
the distresses of the day, tomorrow’s fears,
wolves howling on the Steppe, hyenas
around the stricken cub, roaches, slaters, snakes,
the tubeworm deprived of light, no mouth,
no anus, dependent on bacteria
to process food, the nonexistent nameless dread
that nonetheless exists with rapists, goons,
gangs of untamed youth, the super-heated words
of presidents and priests, toddlers fastening bomber’s belts,
and stepping out in supermodel clothes, crewcut men
in sunglasses sweeping children off the streets
and banging on the door; the looming nursing home.
The heater’s turned to high. The television
splays its cathode light across the room,
a cup of tea is cooling on the armchair’s arm.
That stupid, ugly tree, he thinks,
the light between its leaves, its immobility,
then the way it twitches in the wind,
what is it that won’t let me be?


All morning it’s been difficult to settle, difficult to harness
    energy or purpose for all the things
        I have to do. Charged sky,

sudden light at the horizon, grey, then streaks of blue, then
    grey again. An unsettled sea,
        white water contending point to point,

waves like another and another avalanche, unceasing noise,
    sand compacted to a crimp-edged,
        man-high bank and I can see,

then can’t locate, a buoy like a white-capped head
    sinking and floating in the rip,
        wrenched from its deeper mooring,

now driven in, now swept back out, tethered there
    by net and anchor that, for now,
        have new purchase in the sand.

Conceivably, should I be silly enough to surf tomorrow
    it could be me entangled, drowned:
        mistake and misadventure; bad luck.

In Switzerland they’ve flicked the switch and particles
    surge round and round a tunnel
         in opposed directions preparing to collide

in an experiment to explain how the universe got mass
    in the seconds of its birth,
        why what we touch is solid.

We stalk the irreducible, the constant speed of light unfolding
    though the eye can’t see and the hand
        can’t touch such magnitude:

time may shrivel, outrun itself, sag under accumulated weight:
    end in our beginning: red shift, white dwarf,
        rotten apple on the ground.


rob walker

rob walker has three published poetry collections: sparrow in an airport (Friendly Street New Poets Ten), micromacro and phobiaphobia (and is currently looking for a publisher for his fourth.) He lives in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia, dividing his time between writing and teaching. He is also a member of the unique jazz/funk/impro poets collective which is  Max-Mo..





Tropeland. Surreal estate.

In the Land of Trope
boxes of matches spontane combustiously,
self-ignite like passion.
Vampire bats appear as garbags snagged on barbed-wire fences
Butterflies float skyward like liberation

In the Land of Trope street lights go through the phases of the moon
while the real moon waits for the traffic lights to change.
Deep serene ponds resemble your eyes and babies’ cheeks are gardenias

In the Land of Trope ears roar like the ocean
when you hold them up to your shell.
Cellos are the waists and childbearing hips of
 country girls.
Cotton wool confined
to bathroom cabinets knows it’s a cloud
forming over the ranges.
The day sky tries to be as blue as the child’s pencil
while the night
leaves itself deliberately empty
for the distant sound of a lone

In the Land of Trope sweat from armpits impersonates
cinnamon bark and vanilla pods
Similes assimilate later as comparative as a comparison 

In the Land of Trope dark sky splits white lightning apart
and all poetry is black                                                  except for
the pink bits
Silver coins are rain-filled sheep hoofprints.
Clocks at 2 a.m tut-tut that you’re not asleep.
Mountain scenes are almost as realistic as paintings.
Surreal estate.
Every autumn leaves fall
in love.
Drums beat like a

In the Land of Trope dogs feel as sick as a man
wheels are as silly as eccentric children
and tacks never feel flat.

In the Land of Trope rainbows come blank
so you can colour them in yourself
from ultra-yellow to infra-green

In the Land of Trope pins are as neat as houses,
rabbits breed like the poor. A whip
is as smart as a sadomasochist

In the Land of Trope
money is mute and
humility talks.

In Tropeland
It’s better for you

And metaphor me


Sluggish returns

The dew dragged that giant slug from
the retaining wall again last night

Perhaps he was indecisive
on the up/ down question

Perhaps he has a one-second memory
and constructs his journeys randomly

Perhaps he was lost

Perhaps he just wanted to leave me
a silvered graph of yesterday’s
All Ordinaries Index


Poetry of the New Millenium

it’s all entropy
and things bleeding
into something else.

i’m tired of hearing
about your lover
and shards of things.

your journey holds
no interest.

your maw
is just a mouth.
shut it.


Anis Shivani

Anis Shivani’s poems appear in Threepenny Review, Iowa Review, North American Review, Harvard Review, Poetry Northwest, Fiddlehead, Meanjin, Washington Square, Verse, Stand, Times Literary Supplement, and elsewhere. A debut book of criticism, Against the Workshop: Provocations, Polemics, Controversies, will appear in July 2011, and a second collection of short fiction, The Fifth Lash and Other Stories, will appear later in 2011.


The Death of Li Po

Li Yang-ping, preserve my poems. The emperors,
on whose behalf I wandered, are jealous like wives.

To travel a thousand rivers upstream or down, in a
moon’s half cycle, is only to deliver one’s true debts.

In Ch’ang-an, the winehouses gave me a special name
I both abhorred and loved at the same time:

Banished Immortal, meaning he who imagines life
as a continuation of the mountain’s other side.

Long ago, in the gibbons’ shrieks I heard in K’uei-chou,
a passage of sorts was enacted. I lost my strangeness.

Now, on this river that beckons to the civilization
still remnant in the shrunken land, land of half-sight,

I embrace the moon, its diffuse wavy pattern, its
silken bodice, its talkative-silent recital – a poem

inherited among the thousands I most love,
to live through the tough interrogation ahead.

Li Yang-ping, preserve my poems. If I drown,
in the brown depths the poet’s only disguise flutters.


To Orhan Pamuk

You have the hüzün, the melancholy
of undying empires piled on each other,
the intrigue of the word-defying holy,
the torture-games of brother by brother.
You strand the Bosphorus on feet of clay,
an Istanbullu fifty years on the same street,
seeing the Golden Horn as on the first day,
nodding to the names behind the retreat.
We, loud exiles and immigrants, toss-offs
and runaways, our good parents’ heartbreak,
dig for first and last names in the old troughs,
defend to the death our identifying stake.
Your loneliness is spared the daily death.
We, the free, delineate each new breath.


Dear Paul Muldoon

Barricade the America behind the Princeton
oaks, behind the New Yorker’s gates, in a-technical
language of your aged-youth, steeped in the tragedy of
loaves and laughing sciences and lush O’Casey;
barricade it from the striptease of hidden views
familiar from publishing’s megacelebrities touring
the country in birdcages lined with squawk;
barricade America’s broken highways and silenced
cancer wars with ribbons of your faltering
precious dialogue with Heaney and his forefathers
and theirs, buried deep in the potato fields from
whence no man emigrates sans soul in a coffin box;
barricade America whose gift to herself is platitude,
toward blue Eden, soaked with irony,
a flatulent brig staggering onward to foggy coasts
borrowed from other continents, land masses
whose shape resembles fractured skulls.