Re Andrew’s EPISTLE

on the shoreline of day

on the shoreline of day

Rae Desmond Jones’ ‘Going gently into that good night’

(for Karey)   The air conditioner whines in the background invisible in a tub of motionless air, Mixing a recipe of motive without meaning:   An opaque shadow impresses her presence gently in a corner Although she hesitates before moving She has been there before life began, knitting her secret creations   She knows my objections but wants my end to be easy & so Chooses to erode those stubborn noisy objections I begin to wail (they avail nothing but make the process difficult for all involved –   What else? She whispers, there is no point in all that angry poetry She does not promise heaven or hell or anywhere in between because Dealing will only make this simple common thing difficult & unpleasant …   If I want angels, I can have them singing in choirs as the pearling gates open & a drawbridge lowers slowly over emptiness; If I want Demons they are waiting, howling & gnashing cannibal teeth & spitting fierce revenge but really   Behind & beyond them all, before gravity & matter & time began The indrawn breath of nothing.


like an old gunslinger

like an old gunslinger

Graffiti Artist

In response to Claine Keily’s ‘And then it comes’


for Jane


She is the woman who writes

on roads

white calligraphy materializing

in the cracks of dawn

Murray Jenning’s ‘NOBODY’S FAULT’


(for my parents)


It was nobody’s fault that we didn’t know who I was

Not yours, not mine

That we didn’t know who I was going to be

Not yours, not mine

who I was going to be when I grew up

Not yours, not mine

when I grew up and grew wings

Not yours, not mine

grew wings

and flew.



Andrew Burke’s ‘Epistle to David’


It’s the morning of

7th April 2014 and I’ve

just reread your bandicoot poem

about the ‘death

of poetry’. Already the

preparing of breakfast, the making of

coffee and the drinking

of same, the morning cryptic

crossword with

my wife

spouting the clues ‘from

doggie’s point of view it’s

a refill’ has interrupted

my waking idea for a poem. Elements

of the cryptics alone would

save poetry from a dire fate. There’s

a suspense in what

the next clue will

be, never mind


Are you coming for Easter? Just

autumn and the bushes have been

trimmed back, bees are buzzing

in the rainwet yellow blossoms, white rose

petals scatter, and new moss begins

a bright green on

the old clay bricks. Do vegans eat

Easter eggs? I have a recipe

for a vegan chocolate mousse –

will that suffice? ‘Poker-faced

faculty head hides promotion

and keeps quiet.’ Exaggerations of

position were more the game

when I worked in

the funny ward, titular swelling

of the bullshit gland. ‘Fancying one

is boss becomes

a compulsive interest.’ The day

grows song –

magpies, corellas and

a late morning crow of

the  red-combed rooster. I’m sinking into

a list poem now, I

must break free, ‘in agreement with

salad or chips’.


Midnight spiders have

cast their nets

beneath our bed head, so I must

draw them in, ‘take

fish to a finale’,

lying flat on my stomach

on the shoreline

of day.



James Walton’s ‘The Prime Minister’s Carnivale’


He walks like an old gunslinger, slightly bow legged

An itchy finger rubs at the spot of memory

Where the whale or ivory handle used to sit.

A wrist hovers, pushes a hesitant hand out –

Once so quick to adjust now hanging a little.

There’s a nervous nod in the greeting

Going through the stalls, down the old exhibits;

The free quarter a pint daily of socialist milk

Gone sour on the people’s bank stall.

The airline bag of state school texts,

Left out in moulding day, gives off the unsettling smell

Of first day there leather.

The ghost train is still worth a giggle;

The old commonwealth skeleton dangles,

Drags over furrowed brow, scrapes over the newer skull to reveal

There’s hair rising on the nape of uncertainty

Where the rails slip direction.


Re Philip’s BABY PRIDE

Grab your pony and laugh.

Grab your pony and laugh.

A small poem inspired by Haiti. (Sent in response to Philip Hammial’s ‘Baby Bride’.)


Makeshift shelter
No latrines for girls
No protection for girls
Makeshift night

Philip Hammial’s ‘Baby Pride’


Got to get us some of that baby pride. If it means

a manger war so be it. As for cupidity we’re habitués

of coitus relief. As we have not in any sense made a roast

or a fry of a lamb we need not skulk in a shelter. Though

espied we won’t be trumped by purlieu. Lief as borrow

a box from a dead man as a pail from a poet. Such

a wonderful dumb. It’s perfect. If only we knew

who is the true person to help.

Dick Cheney

backs my girl. A grocer by profession,

show me what’s adjacent. That whatever shall be spoken

shall be fetched up from God’s store. Masters Peter

& Paul a pox on your paramours. Let stark naked Nature

be as bliss on a rubber mat. As hiss

as hike a skirt, I’ve proofed it all: wet beds

& teeth to pull.

Old baggage

of the languishing sort is no foundation laid

for some new & unworthy endeavour. Let

girl lords cut to the chase. Let them roll

what’s best for those jerk & soda masturbators

who’d have us drink at the fountain of lark. In church

that I may stand a self integral I’m prepared

to come out spanking.

Grab your pony

& laugh. For sure Beauty gonna skin us. Boggie or salsa,

which at your funeral? If you’re swift in news

you can leave the Michigan mess. Yes, Yasmine

does hum (it’s what she does). When she got

that big star fright you can use her

for your wren. Don’t eat that, it come up

from underground.

Next stop: Aunt Jemima’s. In

cahoots with the Tonton Macoutes, she owes her life

to Grimmelshausen, his minions under glass, a ghastly

summer place it’s open to escrow; it’s a theatre

for deep web drama queens. How’d I wind up

with coffee in my socks? A papal blessing

what I need. If you’re telling me crazy

tell it so Mommy can hear.

Which larnin’

we got here? A kind that help us

fetch & snark? I doubt it. I doubt that handing out

molasses will see us clear to Chippendale. But not

to worry. After I shoe myself I’ll shoe you, cutthroat

soirées tiptoed to – a mezz solution but good enough

for a multiple Z shuttle-snatch, Q riders

home & hose.

I don’t suppose

that those hackings in Haiti have

an application here? – dicker over diminishing

returns, the nesting shortfall in Nemesis. Surely not

a serious question, these en pris encryptionists

as clueless as Gaza, they’d have Papa Doc look-

alikes outsourcing culls to Macoutes

untrumped by purlieu.