“I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things.” ~ Vincent van Gogh

Friday, January 31, 2014

Bin Morning

The garbage trucks rumbled up the street, whined to a halt, and hit the deeper, grinding note to lift and upend my bins. Now they have clattered away, and I hear my neighbour bumping his empty bins back up the driveway we share. There is reassurance in these habitual noises: the world still turns. I know what day it is.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Poem for Patsy

Patsy is wearing her white blouse
with the white-on-white embroidery, 
over her skinny black pants.

We sit on her couch 
and look at our iPads.
I show her my photos on Facebook.

She hands me my Christmas present
in a red envelope: a voucher
for a massage from Sarah.

'Write a poem for Sarah,' she says.
'Go on!' But I want to write a poem
for Patsy, who is kind to me.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Two Dragonflies

The wind rouses.
Two dragonflies, darting in and out 
of the vines on the fence,
are golden.

Plane Over My Back Yard

I come out of meditation with a start.
A plane goes over, loud and sudden,
then drones away. 
Its rumbling lasts a long time, 
fading down the air.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Two ripening pawpaws hang from the tree like pendulous yellow breasts.

As the wind rises before the rain, my little cat starts running and jumping as if she was playing with something visible.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What Is That Singed Smell?

What is that singed smell in the air?
I look for some appliance I’ve left turned on,
find nothing. I decide it’s the smell
of 34 degrees Celsius. Then on facebook
my friend Ondine posts a status update:
'The wind has bushfire breath'.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Soft Breeze

The soft breeze of evening
stirs my wind chimes,
ruffles the fur of my lolling cat
and washes my neck 
with delicious cool.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Seeking Magick

Wanting, he said, to learn,
he kept talking and talking and talking
of what he had read and done.

‘To keep silent,’ one of us murmured.
He gave no sign of hearing the words,
let alone recognising the quote.

A nearby crow cawed repeatedly, loud.
‘Perhaps we need to tune in,’ I suggested,
closing my eyes. He kept on talking.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Touching the Leaves

Two vines grow over my fence.
When I weave the tendrils into each other,
the leaves of one are cold and slippery;
the other's warmer to the touch,
finer and softer, like textile.
The new leaves on each,
baby small,
feel thin and crinkly.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Pretty Hill at Gloucester

Bushes at the top, bushes at the bottom.
Silvery leaves, bright green leaves,
yellow-green and red-brown leaves,
and the straight white twigs of the gums.
At the top is a radio tower,
at the bottom is Gloucester station.

The train pulls away. On the next hill
white and grey stones break the surface.

Friday, January 10, 2014


On my pilgrimage to the past,
my journey of completion,
he hears that I'm in town -- 
suggests we meet
for coffee or wine.

But time's too short;
we don't make it happen. Ah!
The Universe, I see, decrees:
that water's under the bridge,
no completion needed. 

Just in Case

Careful selection of lipstick,
trying every colour.
If that man comes to visit
who was once my lover,
may the passage of 40 years
not look too horrifying!

Creating a Monster

Discussing archetypes,
she tells me, 'You're the Queen.
Haven't you noticed
how people help you?'

She treats me like one
during my visit. It takes 
only a few days until
I slip into the role --

holding out my arms
for her to assist me
into my jacket;
preceding her through doors.

Rescuing the Cicada

The wings of the cicada
are black lace,
its eyes are tiny red beads.

She lifts it from the path
where it lies on its back
and carries it to a tree.

It walks calmly across
each of her hands in turn.
She finds it a tree in the shade.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Visiting My Friend

She plays Billy Bragg
because she knows I like him.
I have to be sneaky
to pay for her coffee;
she responds by shouting me 
organic ice cream.
I sleep a cosy eight hours
in her guest bed,
cuddling the toy wombat
she left on the pillow.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


In MONA (Museum of Old and New Art)
coffins are beautiful — painted sarcophagi
for ancient Egyptians with calm faces. 

When I pick up an ordinary coffee mug 
in the Gallery shop, I am not prepared 
for a different depiction: no face at all, but

a male torso upside-down, with penis
chopped off at the root. The hole allows sight
of the inside bits of the body — blood vessels,
nerves, bits of gristle. Yes, I recoil.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

I Hear a Voice in the Airport Lounge

I hear a voice in the airport lounge
which sounds just like my son's —
either of my sons: the one
I just said goodbye to, or
the one I dread to see
ever again. But it's not —
not even that familiar laugh.
It's a group of young men.
So I understand for the first time
my sons have Melbourne voices.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

In a Local Park

The young father
stands behind his tiny son,
holding the boy's hands
which hold the basketball.
'Now!' he says, and the kid
bends his knees and throws
while his Dad throws with him.
Into the net!  And we all clap.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's Her Voice

It's her voice --
the way it smiles even when
her mouth only quirks a moment
in her face that remains calm
while her warm voice
soothes and invites.

In Person


We adopted each other
years ago as Sis and Bro,
co-admins of online poetry groups,
cohorts in politico-social outrage,
and co-conspirators in
(sometimes refraining from) 
epater le bourgeoisie.

We met, of course,
under the clocks.
'I'll be wearing an avant-gardenia,' 
he said. No, but he was wearing
a black T-shirt saying: 
'The revolution will not 
be televised.'

I'd texted him on the way:
'I'm wearing a tie-dyed caftan'
[it was the one hot day]
'with a carry-bag advertising
The New Internationalist. 
Think I'm joking?' 
He didn't. He was right. 
(Well, we were both left.)

I'd wondered how it might be
meeting at last in person,
but there he was
looking just like his photos.
Nothing was more natural
than to hug.