Saturday, April 30, 2011

Not a Painting

I found this photograph in the local paper a few weeks ago.  It is a sad tale, with a terrible beauty.  I thought it was a painting, a collage, an installation.  I was shocked to find it was 'real':


Friday, April 29, 2011

232 Voracious Time (Poems of Exile)

Voracious time devours all, seizes all,
dislodges all foundations, nothing will remain.
Rivers fail, seas retreat,
mountains and ridges crumble.

Why speak of small things?  The awesome heavens
will ignite spontaneously and be consumed.

Death requires all;  it is the law, not punishment, to die.
One day the universe will be as if it never was.

the ultimate monster

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The cat on the doorstep

The cat on the doorstep

Pink Floyd is back,
taken up residence on our mat,
can’t go out, can’t come in,
without a tangle of paws and tails:
of the ones inside trying to get out
and the one outside trying to get in.

I can’t take a picture of Floyd on the mat,
if I am out, he is around my ankles,
calling and purring; 
he comes for walks in the evening and the morning,
my feline escort.

He lives on the mat otherwise.


Monday, April 25, 2011

RTA - Mag 63


wet road
street lamps turn to paint:
red, green and amber
smeared across tarmac

black moon texture at eye level
sucking heat
etching stone, face and heart

blue lights flash off
post and tree, glass leaps
from black to white to black dazzle

the siren caws: too late too late
quiet now
the knock at someone’s door

prompt from Magpie Tales 63:


On the Vietnam War Memorial

the dead in ruins now
war cemeteries   rocks   stones
memories of summer vacations
lying on the grass looking at the sky
now they’re looking at the underside of roots
trees growing through
apples blooming in their chests
            we think we can still talk on the phone
            on TV, send letters or emails
but they are not listening behind the wall
the roots and grass are all they hear

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Abundant Vegemite

Vegemite Replies

that imposter-poet
who sang of missing Marmite
and lost soap-bubble-dreams
and abandoned dresses
forgotten hallways
clutter and treasure and all manner of junk

she is a mis-fit, a mis-take, a mis-belong
homeless, wanderer: heart in a shoebox

but forgive her

she keeps a locker stuffed with
love letters and lipstick stains
lost voices, sepia snaps
and tangled laces:

the perfume of wintering geraniums
dank basement concrete
and worn rubber boots
become her

the shoebox overflows


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Secret Transports

image from

Secret Transports

How do you measure the velocity of love?

The ancients used the flight of Cupid’s arrow
from bow to target in two heartbeats.

Chaucer said the flutter of a wing
 when fowls chose their mates.

Elizabethan seductions passed by hand,
swept up a sleeve, tucked in a bodice, 
and loved danced a madrigal square.

Later Miss Austen took love’s temperature
declaring estates and carriages the measure,
until Brunel powered love by steam engine,
Orville and Wilbur made it fly
and Campbell tried love on land and water.

What is the velocity of love? 
The high speed rail link between hearts?
The hovercraft of desire?
The rocket-ship of lust?

Nothing has changed: the velocity of love is light over you.

image from

for Poet's United prompt 'Secrets'

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Last Jar

What if this were the last jar of Marmite in the World?
I confess I mourn the passing of Pear’s soap
rich with rosemary and the baths of childhood

But what if this were the last jar of Marmite in the World?

Clothes decades un-seen,
revealed from trunks and boxes are tangible memories,
denied to relentless tidiers

But what if this were the last jar of Marmite in the World?

Madeleines worked for Marcel,
giving taste to his rememberances

But what if this were the last jar of Marmite in the World?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011



 image from


The moon has two yellow eyes
and a crunchy brown hat
rising in a willow sky
chanting: eat me, eat me, eat me!

magpie tales 62:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Petit dejeuner avec Henri

We sit over the sunshine harbour, balcony with view,
your table set with a scrap of linen,
blue plates and green glass

In the square below the farmers
offering fresh tomatoes and herbs,
the cheese stall piled and the bakery
overflowing queues and chatter,

shopping baskets knocking against knees

Petit dejeuner avec Henri

Baguette and brioche, pain de compagne to soak up the summer on a plate
saucisson and champignons, and a pale glass of rose
a bowl of cafe  at your elbow

Your pipe jetting sparks
and the crisp paper releasing its inky essence

The shutters half open, the sea against the sky,
mimosa and figs and a cat with geraniums

photo courtesy of Tess:
magpie 62

Sunday, April 17, 2011


KM self-portrait  copyright

paint brush distilling pure emotion
precise colour
onto canvas

bow conjuring harmony
acoustic architecture
into air

we wrestle across languages
to seek out the
ineffable why


Saturday, April 16, 2011

To the girl with the walking frame seen in the hospital corridor:

I heard the thump as you moved the frame forward 
and then I noticed your askew ankle and your hanging hip
I saw your scarf, long sleeves, all covered:
an abaya would be impossible
I was glad you chose movement over decorum

And then I saw your face
ablaze with effort
and I looked for your eyes
and smiled in greeting
Hi, I said, I’ve seen you upstairs
and you smiled in return,
Hi, I’ve seen you upstairs too
and then I heard the thump as you moved away


Friday, April 15, 2011

First ...

the first was a school chum’s brother,
and terrified,
I avoided the corner of our house closest to theirs
and walked on the other side of the street to school
I was eight, maybe  

all the photos of Philip were hazy, out of focus
I noticed that pattern recurring
in year books and albums:
the ones who die early
cannot be photographed
or maybe that is only my


Thursday, April 14, 2011


I have a pair of fine scissors –
silver, découpage
I have snipped all round my heart
it lies open like a flower
I will press this for you
between sheets of tissue paper
so its fragrance lingers
you can keep it with your handkerchiefs
I have no further need

I had technical issues yesterday and was unable to post the photo, corrected now.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


never suffered a day in her life
no wars
only unknown grandparents passing on
no violence
took herself away from her friends
no abuse
reclusive, keeps to herself
no drugs
sheltered – does she shelter herself?
no poverty
always the lucky one, things come easily
no failures
well she left him, he was gay
never suffered
doesn’t know she is alive, unmarked face
not raped
no grey hairs, no wrinkles
not raped
her hands are un-worked, callous-free
not raped

not red and raw from too much washing
not raped

not raped


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Gecko

Picture the gecko –
transparent skin:  entrails, dinner and faeces on display
stuck to a Velcro wall or ceiling
tongue a blue flame against insect meals

We picture ourselves –
opaque skin: hiding envy, lust and anger
pinned to our wriggling important lives
tongues of venom against the world

Picture the angels –
radiant in starlight
hovering beyond space and time
tonguing orisons of grace


Monday, April 11, 2011

Two Islands

Two Islands

we are two islands in a red sea
drifting in circles, in the glow of the sun
drunk on some potion – call it love, or lust
I prefer to see the Universe arranging us to order
swirling in some galactic wine glass
my lipstick on your rim
your fingers on my stem

they said it wouldn’t last

photo courtesy of   (Magpie 61)

My new button

If you look down at the bottom of the page you will see the button my friend KP sent me from old Blighty.  I liked the sentiment so much I scanned it and have awarded it to  the exiled blogger.

Here it is again:


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

WHAT THEY SAID --- What I thought

Ready to move again if needed                 that’s me
Part of a revamp                                          that would be her
Growth                                                         do I believe this? 
Pursue                                                           we all want hope, love

Rescue package                                           a parachute, a submarine
Plans to raise                                              a laugh, a smile
Leader to go                                                 with dinner on the side
Social taboo hampers treatment of ED                        (guess why?)
Strike kills                                                  everything, kills hope
Spending offers huge opportunities        more debt, again

Errors still common                                 errors still common

The prompt from Poets United was 'headlines'.

238 Now swollen Phoebus carries out the light (Poems of Exile)

In the weeks leading to his arrest and sentencing, rumours circled the City: the old man was fuming, he was after blood, someone would atone for his embarrassment.  Even the poet heard stories he shouldn’t have.

When the sentence was delivered, he was given eight hours to attend to his affairs, pack his bags, say his farewells and depart.  Those hours passed in frenetic activity;  things were hurled into crates, loans called in, patrons and clients similarly dismissed.  Like all men in crisis, part of his mind stood aloof, waiting for the joke to be revealed, waiting for time to slow down to its quotidian pace ... for the reprieve.  Another part of his mind argued with the disbelieving part and harried the panic:  the part that preserves skin at any cost.

The hot afternoon closed, taking the swollen sun to deserving rest, washing the cares of the day from its radiance in the soothing waters of the river of dreams, of sleep and renewal:  Tethys.

Ovid had one minute to note the brilliant moon arching into the sky like the back of a snowy sacrificial bull, rising to join the gambolling lambs who drink the nectar of the milky night.  Time frozen in starlight.

For years after he remembered that teetering moment between exile and home, day and night, citizen and banished.

Not PC

Ovid knew his error
heard the sentence
fled obediently:
banned from the radiant State

I can only guess
furnishing the usual crass unknowing
Augustus lived
do you?


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Flamenco Boy

flashed his shimmering tail
formed a huge arc of green and blue, gold
plunged his turquoise neck
dipping to the dust

a flamenco whirling
castanets snapping at the ladies
hissing and honking

rippling towards them
frothing back

then like a dowager collapsing her tea-fan of ivory
tapping disapproval on the tray
he swept his train of feathers in the dust
“Oh come, my lovelies, aren’t I fine?”

my lovelies 
            … my loves


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Should I Disrobe?

Should I undress and reveal my nether regions to you –
the basement dungeons where the ghouls play
and the warders march clockwise with whips?  
Should I show you the mirror – oh we all have one –
where the shame and miseries lurk, hoof against back, paw against throat? 
Should I show you where the bodies are buried,
the discards of life,
the refuse of my heart? 

I prefer to keep it light, dressed in stage paint,  
disguising my voice – I have a funny accent to try,
I could speak   s lo w l y or softly,
but you might turn away, discouraged, and bored.

Lights on or off?
Is that the shibboleth of desire? 
Or what books do you read and have you been assimilated by them? 
Do you prefer Kant? 
Do you prefer lieder? 

Know yourself?  Know me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What we dream of in the desert

Do you know that feeling waking up in a room with an open window above a garden,
with the sound of rain tapping on the glass,
and the warm mushroom smell that emanates from the earth like a flower turning to the sun?

Do you know that hush before the day draws breath,
when the trees whisper to the birds, it’s time to wake up?

Do you know the lush scent of cut grass
crushed underfoot by squirrels and patrolling cats?

Do you remember the sound of the milk float easing his electric motor forward,
the thud of rolled newspaper on a damp welcome mat?

Do you know that clasp where the groove of your hand
slips into the groove of your glove-like life?

for Magpie 60:


I have been struggling with the idea of how to write about both Susan T Landry’s choice of Tuesday poem last week ( ), and my feelings about the recent case in Melbourne of ‘filicide’.  I don’t think I have actually said what I want to – perhaps that will come in another form in time.

I left a comment on Susan’s blog saying how topical her choice of poem was for me, as I had been reading about the trial and conviction of a man in Melbourne for murder:  he had thrown his four year-old daughter off the West Gate Bridge, at the height of the morning peak hour.  He’d made threatening phone calls to his ex-wife, along the lines of you will never see your children again.  When he killed his daughter, his crime was witnessed by morning commuters and his two young sons, strapped into the back seat.

The Iphigenia of the poem was sacrificed by her father Agamemnon in order to appease Artemis and ensure winds to enable the Greek ships, confined for weeks in harbour, to sail across the Aegean Sea to begin the siege of Troy.  Being king and father, Agamemnon clearly felt a fair wind was a fair trade for a fair daughter, his possession to treat as he felt proper and necessary.

Do fathers, outside the rules of Greek tragedy, have the right to treat their children as property or pawns in some strategic conflict?  Honour killings in some societies suggest they do.  I believe most civilised people would consider such attitudes evil, and yet child killing by otherwise loving parents occurs heartbreakingly often.

There has been much debate in the Australian media surrounding the role of the Family Court, and whether it has ‘failed’ fathers in custody disputes, casting the father, less so than the child, as victim; and further arguments that the safety, happiness and well-being of children should always be the priority.

I read a persuasive essay ( )   that suggested the father in this recent crime was motivated by revenge, to punish his ex-wife for leaving him.  A further recent incident presented the same argument: child-murder as mother punishment.  These are deeply disturbing cases.

I thought about Iphigenia and Agamemnon’s belief that his daughter’s life was his to use for his own ends, which led me to think about other mythic child murderers, especially Medea.  She murdered her sons to punish her unfaithful husband, Jason.  Agamemnon was frustrated by his ships’ inability to sail and his offense to Artemis;  while Medea was possessed by a towering rage which tore apart her very sense of self.

In our culture of ‘find the guilty party and assign blame’, I wondered if for Medea and these men, there was a point where their choices became inevitable, where they were locked into a tragic course, or whether in fact at some moment they could have chosen to act differently – or been helped to behave differently.  Perhaps it is inappropriate of me to link real people, real crimes with mythic figures.  I can hear you question if life is really like Greek myths and what could they possibly add to our understanding of current events.

The more I thought about Medea, the more I saw the recent child-murderers in her character: rigid, threatened, unable to adapt to new circumstances and apparently believing the only solution to such changes would be the destruction of all that was once dear.  The parallels seemed compelling.

I sought some more evidence, in other cases, only to find that these men are unusual filicides.  Revenge against wives may be under reported, but it seems to be rare, the more typical picture includes addiction problems (drugs and/or alcohol), a history of violence and child abuse, and significant levels of mental illness.  Sons are more often murdered than daughters, and the crime is often followed by the father’s suicide.

I had planned to write a somewhat feminist piece, railing against the continuing objectification of children by fathers, and the commodification of female bodies, linking these to ancient ways of being as seen in the Greek myths.  I find I cannot write the piece I envisaged.

I continue to be haunted by the image of a father bearing his daughter’s body towards her death.  

Note:  I am having enormous problems with Blogger, apologies for formatting clumsiness.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Barbie Cycle 9

Letter to Ken

There you are in the news again
I don’t want to write another poem about you
I am bored Ken, tired of your games, filled with ennui,

a new face – you certainly needed it but I’m not sure it’s an improvement
a new ‘internet reality show’ – that’s an oxymoron I think? 
your backers want you to compete with Her in the fashion-plate stakes – what?
‘the ultimate boyfriend for every occasion’ 

so you are to be enhanced to resemble
a neck-less, brain-less booby
pumped with iron and steroids  
hairless and toothy (they report nothing of your crutch so I can only guess) 
full of romantic gestures 
you have gone from plastic mannequin to plastic god-freak 
truly a fitting consort to that diva in pink
I think they are lying:  you are not built to celebrate boyfriend-hood
rather the ultimate genie of
The Man

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Payback Time

All our debts are owed to the living
only paying those obligations can appease
the shadows of the dead inside us

We mortgage ourselves –
we borrow against future intentions
trusting in some celestial banker to approve our loans

And when those debts are called in –
when the lender forecloses
it is too late to choose a different financial instrument
to say what we left unsaid
to do what we left undone

All our debts are to the living
those to the dead we own forever

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool - Me

It must be blogger playing a trick on me - every time I paste my essay it messes up the formatting so that there are single spaced paragraphs and double spaced ones, willy-nilly.  I have tried the old stand-by of closing everything down and re-opening but that has not made any difference.  Instead I am going to throw the whole thing in the fountain.

Do lap tops swim?