Three poems up at Stickman Review

Anthony Brown, editor of Stickman Review, has been kind enough to include three of my poems – “Driving around town, 2 a.m.”, “Eddie’s” and “In which you are still leaving” – in Volume 17, Number 1, which has just been released online.

Big thanks to Anthony for finding space for these three amongst some very fine poems indeed. I’d particularly recommend checking out David Lohrey’s “Saturday, the 19th or the 20th”.

 

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Errands

Errands

 

Errands

 

When things were good and I still believed in us,

even the mundane obligations sang like whales,

and taking the wiry road down the hamstrings

of the island to its full-stop, on those bastard mornings,

a single cassette on the stereo to numb the losses,

always made unquestioned sense. Sometimes in

light hushed with pearls, sometimes with the blade

of the wind knifing clear to the marrow, I’d time each

arrival against the tide, sifting it for treasure, perform

the errands, light the fires. Then return to you, the road

now huddled into a spool of knees and elbows, the

mountain a tight wedge tripping over its own steps before

falling like a tantrum into the kettle-grey ocean below.

 

first published in San Pedro River Review, Spring 2017

Traffic report

Road ahead closed

Traffic report

From here you can see the future
– a free-market version of it –
but not exactly where it ends;
only where the blinking red eyes
of its tail-lights disappear, inching
like hope into the underpass.
Bunched in its sneering wake,
we are all indignant but resigned,
each rehearsing their part in a
symphony of rage. We’ve evolved
to breathe in nitrogen oxides,
metabolize particulate matter.
Somehow, none of us is where
we think we really should be.

first published in Thirteen Myna Birds, 2017

Going Home

Going Home

Going Home

Falling asleep on our journey back tonight,
you didn’t see how the sky was starred with a thousand geese,
spearing off in confused fragments to all directions;
some the usual south, others west, others even north-west.

Your eyelids flickered at the horizon instead, painting yourself a brief dream,
far away from the violent uncertainty of these last three days,
the astonished air still bruised with unspent cloud, above the washed earth,
the rivers of angry traffic still fighting their way home.

 

First published in Allegro Poetry Magazine, issue 13, 2017

Call me a bit slow, but…

Eggplant

Call me a bit slow, but…

 

…it was almost exactly two of those
old-fashioned, pre-decimal years later,
on the other side of the world, and I was
nursing a rusted old dragon of a truck
down a red road you could see streaking by
through the lacy floor of the cab. And it was
just after midday, because the shadows
were mean and riveted on, and I don’t
know why, but all of a sudden I realised
you’d actually meant what you’d said,
that they hadn’t been just giddy, disposable,
2 a.m. words you might say to almost anyone
at all, to be laughed off the next day, like dust
from a mirror. It was possible that if I eased
further off the gas, I wouldn’t get back until
everything was already picked and safely in
the chiller. And I wondered if those brahmans,
drawn and incongruously skeletal in such a
fleshy, civilised country, would be nosing
around in their paddock again, grazing on
fresh air, amazing me that they survived.

First published in San Pedro River Review, Spring 2017

 

Two poems at Allegro Poetry Magazine

Bird graffiti underpass

Issue 13 of Allegro Poetry Magazine has just been posted online, and includes two of my poems, both of which have bird elements to them, coincidentally. Many thanks to editor Sally Long for choosing to publish Going Home and Empty nest in this issue.

You can find both poems by clicking here and scrolling down to just before halfway (or alternatively, read them all – there’s some really great stuff there!).

Being Neil Armstrong

being-neil-armstrong

Being Neil Armstrong

You imagine it sometimes happened unexpectedly;

he’d be out walking, or in some Earthbound vehicle,

and his apparently random trajectory would bring

a moon into view, just like that, framed like a

backlit well between two buildings, or in a hole

bitten out by time’s lazy doodle on a mountainside.

 

But then other times perhaps he’d wait deliberately for

one to rise, parking up the car or resting in a silent chair,

always facing eastward at just the right moment;

he’d have that uncanny knack you couldn’t explain

of knowing when it was lurking just out of sight, yet

about to breach the slowly turning curve of the horizon.

 

You just couldn’t know, could you, what it might be like?

To be him? Knowing how it all looks from up there,

remembering. Waiting for Sting to come on the radio,

when you’re driving home all alone, singing about how

Giant steps are what you take…” and screaming out

at the dashboard, or into the utter emptiness above us.

first published in Bunbury Magazine, issue 13, 2016