Deathwish (2019 edit)

If I were a man, you’d
call me brother. We’d
drink beer sing songs read poetry
late into the night

But I have a body that makes
you look. Legs
babyface symmetry plump lips and that thing
you have knows no language — only
a wombwish

You might
be the man in my dream — the one
about the old house with books
paintings guitars cats
friends —

but the woman in my dream
isn’t me.

She’s the cushion woman
the carpet woman
the send you hearts on facebook woman
The sari woman
the sandalwood patchouli woman
the bells on her fingers rose vanilla lavender butterfly tattoo woman

She’s the tongue woman
the womb woman
the open up and make room woman
the overflowing cup woman
the boneless chicken salt tarragon lemon your name her breath woman

But I’m the
cut you down to size woman the
right back at ya woman the
eye to eye hand to hand side by side woman the
boots woman the bare
truth woman the knife
and leather belt woman the don’t
mess with or else woman.
I’m not

the soft-poemed
scented woman
lighting the candles
arranging the cushions.

If I were a man, you’d
call me brother. We’d
drink beer sing songs read poetry
late into the night

From my book “The emptied bridge”, coming soon from Mulla Mulla Press. The original version of this poem was published in 2010.


And you?
You’re a cafe
with retro decor
On the wall
you have a picture
of Audrey Hepburn
as Holly Golightly
wearing that dress
showing you
in black
and white

You know
that Audrey is dead
and Holly lived only
in Capote’s mind
Neither of them
will ever
come in

Each woman
who comes in
has a coffee at one
of your little tables
Maybe your faded formica surface
and chrome edges and screws
feel like her mother
and father

She raises
your warm black cup
Considers the froth
the white heart
you’ve drawn for her
Puts her mouth to it
Sucks it
to an abstract

as Audrey
and Holly
from your wall

First published in Uneven Floor.
An earlier version was commended in the 2013 Melbourne Poets Union International Poetry Competition.

The secret slip

This is the point from which I always leave
I lock my baggage into a box
to free me while I wait
The key is a number
A secret printed
on a slip of paper
My instrument won’t fit
I have to carry it

This is the point
Under the table my instrument
crouches in its sheath
The locos stand on the lines
bellowing their punk
A sound like yellow streaks
in smoky black
I loved you so much I wanted to unlock
the boxes in your head
and write your healing songs

It doesn’t happen like that
This is the point from which I always leave
I’ll turn my back on the lines
I’ll wrangle my instrument
unlocker my baggage
and put them
on a bus
I’ll sit beside a cellist from Chile
who produces trance and trip-hop
I’ll throw away
the secret slip

First published in Creatrix

Green dot

Gmail showed a green dot
beside your name
just under the green dot
beside mine
We the two awake dots
among the sleeping greys

One easy click to chat you,
reach through the net,
pop up a smile —

One easy click for you,
too. Maybe your screen
had many other dots
equally green, and mine
was way down the list,
outside the frame —
or maybe your screen did
juxtapose our dots,
but you were busy
with your emails

I only wanted
to say ‘Hey’, as if
I was working, and you
came in. I’d look up,
smile, say ‘Hey’.
You’d smile back,
say ‘Hey’ back,
go to the fridge.

One easy click …

One easy click to pop up
a box.
A terse prompt.
An underscore.

I looked at your green dot
again, read your name
once more,
looked up,
said ‘Hey’

An earlier version of this poem was published in Positive Words