Julie McElhone #30 Table with Contents

The kitchen table where we meet dependable she and I
and have breakfast and teach and argue and storm away from
and come back to and learn and make craft and pile books
—extendable—
an often lonely answer

to the call of things. Those, those things,
pose like undisciplined acrobats,
the debris of our day sometimes in rhyming couplets:
there’s a bus pass
and a drinking glass
a cut-up toilet roll
in a wooden bowl
a tiger key ring
and a ball of string

you get the picture: unruly data
shape shifting reliefs of each other.

Robert Verdon, #222, Ainslie Backyard

birdlife comes for its breakfast every morning
the magpies are my friends, I give them porridge and apple-pie
the cats don’t bother them
they don’t yet have names
— unless they have names for me
‛soft touch’, ‛soft head’, ‛human’

the currawongs are warier
they eat surreptitiously
as if about to be chased off

the mynahs don’t beg just screech at the cats
one ate one once
about 2010 I think
the elephants of the skies

pee-wees are rare
and the crested pigeons never come
nevertheless I spend too long feeding
and talking like I am mad

they cock their heads
scattered across the lawn like rosary beads
tossed by an apostate


Rob Harle #29 Dancing In The Light

Delving into my brain cells
neurons of revelation
explicitly indicated
a virtual body is essential;
without artificial bits attached
No Extended Life Support,
such is the expenditure of neural systems.
Dynamic neural labyrinths editing
complex interconnections of memory,
memory alone clones our memory.
Never underestimate the unseen,
the omnipotence of data molecules
hiding in quantum waves
ready for consequent regeneration,
regeneration of the ultimate goal
the realisation that everything is light,
photons and pixels
dancing in harmony,
a Waltz in the zero-point-field.

“If that’s all there is, then let’s keep dancing.”

Susan Hawthorne #211 cyan

colour code for printing blue
Kyane is older than us all
river home for a Sicilian nymph

but she was no nymphette
she stood up to the death god
abducting her friend Persephone

called out to him stop this is no way
to gain a wife let her go Hades
in self rapture ruptured earth

Kyane stood in silence and wept
and wept yet more and with each
new tear her body dissolved into fluid

her hair blue as the sea melted
limb by limb shoulder by arm
she wasted away in grief for her friend

when Demeter arrived all speech
had been swallowed into liquid
no words just bubbling and burbling

but she showed to Demeter the sash
of Persephone and Demeter knew
the truth of her daughter’s abduction

in Syracuse they remember Kyane
her transformation her metamorphosis
from young girl to sacred blue river

Nathanael O’Reilly #30 Ice Cream Connection

Ice Cream Connection

At Ken’s Ice Cream on Route 66
in Tucumcari, New Mexico,
we meet a retired couple
from Birmingham traversing
the mother road, unperturbed
by the decay, the boarded-up
abandoned motels, gas stations
diners, restaurants and bars,
possessing the ability to see
past the present into the past,
to ignore depressing reality
and envision the glory days.
We sit in adjoining booths,
talk about shared experiences,
quickly learn that we were all
in the same English town last
New Year’s Eve and agree
that the bloody rain ruined
the evening. We share travel
recommendations, compare
notes regarding theme parks,
hotels, cities and towns
from Los Angeles to Chicago
as we eat our ice creams
and enjoy a brief reprieve
from driving. After the last
drops of ice cream are licked
from fingers we shake hands,
part without even exchanging
names, resume our journeys
into the past and the future.

Kerri Shying R # 32 Birthplace

Birthplace

We all wished we might be someone else
so we were

this
and then those

fellas

for a time it sat tight like tongue and groove joints
the masons with the aprons

fitting in
leaving out

the kerbside collection of junk dna
the forebears lesser smaller darker

ill-fitting parties to the big fat picture
our great nation

we let it ride
us down

even then we knew
where being that would go.

Rob Schackne #29
Aftermaths


After Eurydice

No white tiger
to come back
the white tiger
painted white
to come back
white as paper
white as Sunday
and white as
snow that falls
on the blue tigers
to come back
near the blue
waterfalls
to come back
and behind them
the red flowers
to come back
keening for the sun
the sun is water
the sun is black
to come back
listen to me


After Guan Guan

No night gardener
under moonlight
the sleeping blossoms
shadows lengthened
there was a lake
a lake of mud
this was the ground
a ground of lotus
and now this room
once rooms of marsh
somewhere near here
there was a pond
was it really a pond
that is now a pond
that is now a house
once a house of lotus

After Du Fu

No emptiness
takes leave
time passes
the speaker
is erased
no absence fills
with memory
everyone is
the same
everyone only
lonely

After Han Shan

No taxis
in Shanghai
no trains
no buses
no horses
the way is clear
there is no path
dark clouds
point at nothing
the wind says
Don’t stop!
I have eaten
enough today
it rains again
because I’m thirsty
see you someday
in the mountains

Mikaela Castledine #201 Perfume

The perfume they wear
I’m a little bit
allergic
when they hug you
it attaches itself
to your clothes
it’s like walking down the street
being barked at by every dog
behind every fence.
a small
but nonetheless irritating
assault

Anna Couani #178 grandpa alive

my Polish grandfather refused to volunteer
in The Great War
said it was an unnecessary war
long before the Lusitania evidence
some kind of understatement
spoke English with a Scots accent
happily contradicted patriotic Aussies
in the town

his father had been teaching Polish
in the Russian partition of Poland
and exiled inside the country
the place was a mess
well the war cleared that up

Stefan age 15
set out with nothing before the war
tripping through Europe
and ending up in Scotland
came under the influence of Bolsheviks
somewhere
in the days of The Wobblies

ended up in Australia
in that small town
where I remember
a pathetic granite wall
with names of the dead
carved and with gold leaf

the lines of Dawe so apt
“the spider grief
swings in his bitter geometry”
about the Vietnam war
and that pointlessness
and periodically, sadly
after Anzac Day or Armistice Day
I guess
a pathetic wreath would appear
wilting in the blazing sun
across from the railway station
where Grandpa, alive
waited in his taxi on the taxi rank
and behind that in the park
we swung on the tall swings
in the cold emptiness

Efi Hatzimanolis #161 fallout

the neighbours
argue in their bomb shelter,
the fall out

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