Ginos

 

Of course she was late.

Long black, thanks.

The chairs sat in utter suspense.

 

When she came

the moment was precious with rage.

Cornered, she smiled in defence,

wavered for a while

between Madam and Eve,

but then the lipstick

stuck to her words

and I saw nothing but red.

 

It all ended where it began:

Ginos

 

 

 

The Extinction of the Phoenix

 

It happened fast.

One was trapped in fact.

Another talked over and done with.

A third one appointed to the past.

Others were shot

by the irreversible arrow of time.

The last survivors died

under the sceptoscope of doubt.

 

But one escaped

into the safety of imprisonment

every flame stripped from his wings.

A legendary pet

inside the cage of myth

a fire-extinct species

in an imaginary Zoo.

 

He has no chance

and yet he flaps his wings

as if he were to fly.

There are no flames

and yet he still looks burnt.

 

There's no escape

and yet he pecks the locks

as if a door would open.

 

His upkeep, though, is easy.

He feeds on words

and other crumbs of resurrection.

He drinks the tears he sheds.

He weeps, it seems, for us

his captor's sake

who know not what's inside

and what's outside

of a cage.

 

 

 

Outback

 

First it was just the knuckle of stone

the gravel of sun grinding the way

the persistent corrugation of heat

the uneven of hills

and a far away rock face

slapped by the light.

 

Then it was trickle of shade

the random dispersion of trees

the tightening noose of horizon

the redness clenched into a fist of stone

the slow erosion of contour

the final failure of light.

 

But now it is

this thin tent pitched against the dark

the stump of silence,

the closeness at hand

the uncertainty of us

and even this feral fire

under the crackling stars.

 

 

 

The Maritime Museum

 

I

For some it is simply

a memorial to the day

Australia discovered itself

hooked on an anchor,

trapped in the net

of longitude and latitude

and hauled on board

of this world,

 

a reminder of the day

when the first bowsprit

cut the horizon

and white sails

billowed like shrouds.

 

II

For others it is

the long line of boat, float, raft, craft,

kayak, catamaran and canoe,

of barge and barque

ocean liner and steamship

pointing to the inverted figurehead

 

 

 

The Rottnest Museum

 

It was too cloudy today to swim.

I went to the museum instead,

sampling the island’s past.

I read the texts:

The first sailors mistook

the quokkas for rats.

There was much mistaking then.

 

I looked at the old photographs:

all black and white,

the dark faces startled

even now.

At last I saw the chains

imprisoned behind a layer of glass.

When I left it had started to rain.

 

 

From Buddha in Honey

 

Sixth Admonition:

 

If you watch your words

you are a Buddhist.

If your words watch you

you are a poet.

Your only choice is

write or wrong.

In either case

take the middle path

to the extreme.

 

 

The Plagues in WA       

 

cane toads invading from up north

die-back coming from the south

locust swarming from the east

seas rising in the west

 

skin cancer descending from above

salt oozing from below

 

but the worst,

the worst of all

is complacency,

spreading from within.

 

Poetry Prizes

2000   First Prize for ‘It was you,’ Festival of Love Poetry, WA State Literature Centre, WA

2000   ‘For my Mother,’ Significant Merit, Southern Cross Literary Competition, Ballarat Writing Council, VIC

2001    First Prize, Write Away Poetry Competition, State Literature Centre, WA

2002    ‘Buddha in Honey’ Commended Entry, Newcastle Poetry Prize National Anthology, NSW

2008    First Prize C.J. Dennis Literary Award, ‘The Earth from Space’

2009   ‘Maritime Museum,’ Highly commended at the Bruce Dawe National Poetry Competition

Commended and published poems 

2000   ‘Boyagin Rock’ Highly Commended, Banjo Paterson Writing Award, Banjo Paterson Arts Council

2004   ‘Rottenest Museum’ short listed for Tom Collins Poetry Prize, Tom Collins Writers Centre,

2005   ‘Ginos’ included in FAWWA 70th Anniversary Anthology ‘Lines in the Sand’

2006    'Outback’ one of three poems selected for West Australian Anthology: ‘Weighing of the Heart,’ OOTA

2008    ‘The Plagues in 2007,’ Commended entry Peter Cowen 2008 Patrons Prize

2008     Poem ‘Perth’ selected for ‘Filed of Ideas’ Installation in Wolfs Lane, Perth

2009    12 Poems from ‘West East,’ selected for master class with John Kinsella (The Next Stage)

2009    'Salt’ selected for dotdotdash

2010    ‘The Conspiracy of Crows’ selected for Indigo Journal, WA