Emily

Standard

emily dickinson 1

It’s Emily Dickinson’s birthday. Here’s a poem I wrote about her, ‘found’ from within her own brilliant creations.

Emily

When I was a little girl
They shut me up in prose
Because I dealt my pretty words
Like treason to my foes.

A loaded gun – they called me –
And carried me away
And locked me in the closet –
A false captivity!

Demure – and you’re dangerous –
Assent – and you are sane –
I breathed enough to simulate
Their narrow parlor game.

But a wounded heart dives deeper –
Tis the profundity of pain
That drives one to explore
The glittering continent of the brain.

And though they could not see my mind
Behind its Vesuvian face,
Or sense its darkest madness
Or know its divine grace

As easy as the gushing spring
That wends its way to sea,
My inland Soul exhaled –
Into Infinity –

* A found poem sourced from the poems of Emily Dickinson

Everything

Standard

unravelling1 Everything

Everything’s so full of lasts,
quivering, on the brink.
Time thrusts forward.
The body vehicle will not cease
decaying, children growing
ever distant, the umbilicus unraveling
to unbearable lengths
as we circumvent this world.

Pause pause pause!

People pass by in a slurry
of incessant transformation.

Surely there must be a limit?
(There is not.)

Death, inbuilt in those I’ve born
is yet half grown in me;
close to flowering powerfully out
of my grandmother’s powdery furrows.

Routine lends the illusion of solace:
tranquilised to truth we sleep
fitfully, swaddled against horror.

* First published in Bluepepper

‘Ms Suburbia’ published in Salon Style

Standard

salon style

 

I have had a poem, Ms Suburbia, published in Salon Style: Fiction, Poetry & Art.

Edited by Brian Centrone, Salon Style is an e-book of work by writers, poets, and artists, in diverse genres such as Gothic/Horror, Sci-Fi, Women’s Lit, and Americana.

It really is a very eclectic mix of voices, and I’m proud to have been included.

The book, which will normally retail at $3.49 for a kindle edition, is free for its first week out in the world. You can get yours here, but you have to get in before the 21st of November.

 

 

Ms Suburbia

What a tame beast she has become, idling
in the paddocks of her family’s unmade
beds and mountainous dishes

circumambulating, endlessly, the dead heart
of this domestic poppy field; pausing
with lost purpose to pick up
some   thing   here
and artfully
place   it   there —
in abstract justification
of an involutionary existence.

Look: see how she is
wiping grime from surfaces and
framing frozen memories and
harmonizing dissonance and
feeding feeding feeding

(those who will never be sated)

while deep inside, covertly she is
self restrained by sedatives and
spurred to life by stimulants and
lured to the end of day by the promise
of the darkling hours in which to unfurl
her monstrous might and play —

(what desperate play!)

O what a noble
beast is man
and
O what a cowed
beast is woman —
tethered by the whim
of reproduction
to her most
nominal
self.

 

 

 

 

A Halloween Poem by Moonlight

Standard

blue hour coverMy spooky little Halloween Poem by Moonlight has been picked up by the fabulous Blue Hour Magazine to be part of their latest print anthology. It really is a beauty, with so much fine poetry, prose, and artwork to explore. Please consider buying one, and have a spooky Halloween!

A Halloween Poem by Moonlight

I want my poems
to disturb you
creep up sideways
and unnerve you

sidle into your
peripheral vision
and slither in through
your too thin skin.

I want my poems
to observe you
coolly through
their slitted eyes —

and when you’ve had
enough of them
I’ll call them home
to me again.

Engraft

Standard

upstart remix

I recently had a poem published in Upstart: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies, as part of their Out Of Sequence: The Sonnet’s Remixed project. Editor D.Gilson says of the project that ‘I was most interested in editing this collection as a way of exploring how in a specific moment — today, the second decade of the twenty-first century — we might remix the most famous poetic sequence of all time, William Shakespeare’s The Sonnets’.

The responses to the sonnets are varied and spectacular. As Gilson writes in his introduction: ‘Here you will find a wide variety of remixes; entries various by their form — poems, short essays, comics, songs, and art; and various by their remixer — poets, essayists, artists, musicians, and scholars. As such, I imagine these pages as a type of queer utopia, a place where things and people touch, though they are too often taught not to.’

My poem, Engraft, is a found poem sourced from sonnet number 15. You can read it (and Shakespeare’s original) below, however I strongly urge you to also visit the Upstart website, and explore all the other amazing remixes on offer. In particular take a look at my fellow Australian poets Stuart Barnes’ and Ivy Alvarez’s creations (numbers 6 & 13 respectively) – they’re terrific! Enjoy.

Engraft

Man is conceived upon this sullied stage
And like a seedling grows, but then decreases.
He vaunts his youthful sap in brave conceit,
Till wasteful time decays his day to night.

Everything holds but a little moment —
Even your perfection cannot stay.
So I’ll make war with time and as he takes you,
Make love, and with my pen engraft you new.

 

Sonnet 15

When I consider every thing that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and cheque’d even by the self-same sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay,
To change your day of youth to sullied night;
And all in war with Time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.

 

Self Seen

Standard

 

photo (1)At the beginning of this year I was asked to read my poetry at The Woman Scream International Poetry Festival in Sydney. The festival is celebrated in March every year in many countries throughout the world, and seeks to bring attention to issues such as violence against women, as well as to support and showcase the voices of women in the arts.

It was an honour to be asked to take part, but it was also rather nerve-racking! I was punching above my weight with this one, reading my work alongside other Australian poets who are much more widely published and well-known than I am. Scary!

Happily, it turned out to be a wonderful night; everybody was supportive and gracious, and I even made a few new literary friends. :-)

However, when I saw some photos of the event afterwards on Facebook, I was dismayed. Everybody else appeared so at ease and animated; I had tried so hard to look calm that I ended up looking completely expressionless: zombie-like in fact! The only clue to my anxious internal state — a very shiny (ahem, some would say sweaty, but we all know that ladies don’t sweat) face. Oh well! Poet Michelle Cahill kindly gave me some make-up tips for next time.

On a more serious note, the experience got me thinking about the dichotomy that often exists between our external appearance and our internal reality…and so, dear reader, I do what poets do — I wrote a poem. ‘Self Seen‘ was first published in the fabulous Blue Hour Magazine: read it there, or here below.

Self Seen

Impassive as a mountain
I sit, hands resting reverentially in
the infertile valley of my lap,
face glowing like the gibbous moon
and hair as vaingloriously glossy
as the Jewess’s wedding wig.

Others incline inquisitively
their thoughtful hands cup jutting jaws
their sharp eyes peck the gold from dross
and their hair like blazing halos
is conspicuously mussed.

Only I seem to sit
insensate as Vesuvius,
internally vibrating on the verge
of deliquesce—

Flowers

Standard

flowers2
I  have had a new poem, Flowers, published in Deep Water Literary Journal. You can read it below, or go to Deep Water and enjoy some of their truly wonderful poetry, fiction, and art.

The journal publishes “works which engage with the psychological and physical aspects of the darker side of the human condition.”

Please take a look, and perhaps consider submitting something yourself.

 

Flowers

Flowers, swaddled
like the babies you keep
losing, are a meagre offering to place upon
the altar of your abysmal grief;

their dilated eyes
and flaring heads
are sucked
into that cruel void.

I can feel
your pain’s gravity distorting
everything I dare approach with.

The hospital a monolith
to suffering, our suffering —
but how could a mere building
contain such suffering?
What kind of feeble bastion
against the unbearable black seed
that grows inside is this?

Standing, bereft, in the stark car park,
hungry for a shred of grace to ease my heart,
the only suggestion of God I find:
a flickering light; the aroma
of rain; electricity
quickening the air.