Black Spot

Rocks fling from the asphalt, loose pennies cast at my upturned bowler-hat bubble car, asteroids challenging my ozone windshield;
I’d forgotten how these roads feel.

Scattered with obituaries to long-dead high-school hopefuls. Laminated photographs,
cryogenic colleagues forever youthful; trunks smiling with plastic flowers, music blared: my Piccadilly daydream-

Each sliced bud grows in me, burgeoning, brimming with belated dreams: lifelong passions… complex machinery evolving day in, day out, all erased by a flick of the wrist.

The power of gods in these hands. Who let us behind the wheel?

It feels heavy in my hands like stainless steel.

Now you’re gone

My hands grasp tight the empty air

And I can hear my breath

If this song doesn’t strike me down

Then the hunger will

The air is sucked out of my lungs like the speckled stars in an unlucky galaxy

ingested by a wormhole

These bit down fingernails hanging around my throat like a gaudy piece of costume jewelry

Whole memories of brimming love,

Our fingers camped alongside one another

Your square set nails and skin like nutmeg sprinkled onto a glass of frothed milk

When staring into your eyes, a still puddle reflecting a summer sky,

Didn’t cut me

Dancing because it all rose before us magnificently

The dog scratches his ear

Thudding the ground with his paw

I can hear crickets just outside the open window

To have and to hold

From this day forward

Hearts in context

I give you space when you’ve got mourning to do
Because when they say we’re through we’re rarely ever through.
I will never have all of you
Nor should I ever desire to.

Your heart has many doors
Your bloodstream never snores
You play rewind and pause
On the garments you once wore,
You bore

A Hole in my skull about six feet deep,
You’re hardly ever sleeping, weeping, peeping at pasts
That pull your feet out from under,

You plunder down down downtown
Monster mash you dash
Your gash seeping (never sleeping) You tumble through the bramble,
Scramble down past the eggs of your best interests.

You get dressed anyway, put on your face
(You know the one)
Pimple-free and twenty three
Or “twenty something.”

You try to forget their promises
The certainties
The “would you mind watching my bag please” while I slip out over the eaves
And now you carry it, both straps
And wherever TomDick&Suzie went
Brain lapse

They took more than your novel, your chapters
They took your pain, they took your laughter
They took the long evening stares, souls bared
Not a place on earth I’d rather be,
With you here under me
Whispering us to sleep:
It’s your past that they keep.

But may it rest and rest with dignity
For they may be gone but each trick or treat
Opened doors that led you to me,
Each fig plucked from your tree
Pruning your soul for a new fertility.

Forgive me, for this may not be your last station
I’ll lend you the coal and you go the distance.
If it’s with me I’m happy,
If not please forget me. Let me
Not tease your mind, let me not chain you here
For an anchor to your moor
Is like a locked and bolted door and

Agoraphobia doesn’t suit you well darling, keep smiling
Remember our smiles if you must but let the rest rust
Smiles tinged with tears
Beating down our busts but I trust you.

I trust that they’re gone
and I’m here, that that is fog
and this is clear.
That the sweet nothings whispered in my ears
That I’ll forget in the morning,
Past the muesli yawning
Meant absolutely everything.

Wishing away my life, one sleepless night at a time

Wishing away these shoestring years

The cold breath of winter gasping up through pencil-wide gaps in the floor

Breath like smoke puffs

While croaking heaters sit unplugged

Overgrown lawns and porridge for dinner

Budgets tighter than the waistband of my pre maternity jeans

Leaving angry red marks along all our happy places

Nowhere to call our own

Tired mouths growling in the dark about tax bills and the price of children’s shoes

Stretched pay checks that barely cover the groceries

All we’re really asking is

“Have we fucked all this up?”

Wishing away this youth

The sleep debt and the brain fog

These strawberry fingers, these shirts dipped in jam

In a cacophony of pre-dawn breakfasts

And 6 pm house arrest

A carousel of tight pegged clothes no bigger than my fore arm, pink leggings kicking in the wind

The parade of days all exactly the same

If only we could make it another week,

Another month,

Til next year

(Or is it the year after that?)

When our bank statements are filled and

The tiny fingers have grown

When hands are emptied to take hold of pencils and paintbrushes

Then will we spend the remainder of our lives staring into light spotted mirages

An album of frenzied, wished-away memories

Trying to close our arms around hot bodies that aren’t there anymore

122 Australia St

I didn’t know it could be like this
not a great way to start but I can’t quite resist, as when I’m

Falling asleep to the twinkling chatter of your jaw
Running its sleep cycle diagnostic tests,
Your fingers curling into the skin of my
Bicep a little too tight and my latent
Claustrophobia forcing 3 of 4 limbs out
Of the covers to catch the soft 8reeze:
I feel unimaginably safe.

The relief in Finding your warmth
beside me each morning
Like a nervous hand tapping a back pocket
and finding a wallet,
The small hairs down your spine sending
Telegram signals to my own when
I turn my back to try to distract,
to find some reprieve,

—  —  —  •  •

This isn’t our life but maybe it could be,
This house not quite our taste and quite
Probably out of any future price-range,
You ask me what colours the walls will be,
Where we’ll keep our library and
Memorabilia from every journey.

Lying back on your chest in the bath,
Tears carving through the pores of my cheeks
I, your block-printed ecstasy,
You told me that tonight was the 20th
Of July and you loved me
And tomorrow would be the 21st
and you’d feel much the same…

—  —  —  •  • 

Then the dog starts with her moonlight cries again
But you tuck her in, g
ive her a treat,
whisper her to sleep-
And maybe all of this is masquerade
A strange charade that we don’t quite fit into
But I see visions of you i
n scenarios
That seem so distant but here
An accordion compressing and relaxing
With each of these flashes followed
By each hopeless argument,

Each time I feel at peace, my
Mind wages war again.
So I lay my head upon your sheets, listen
To the chatter of your teeth
Tapping out our possibilities
those signals pulsing over me,
I let our bruises feel the 8reeze-

growing pains I say, I’ve never done this, not really:
Never felt so at ease.

My Boots

My boots
they get me from A to B
And follow me faithfully over the seas,
Airplane rubber lending me flight,
When no one else will
They’ll hold me tight
To my path, tied to my mast, right
To my future and through to my past,

But the leather is worn, the
Rubber has holes and
When I walk in a puddle it
Soaks through to my soles, they’re
Quite temperamental, they temper the candle
Lit under my left foot and melt the ice-cube
Underneath my right, they hold
Me in balance so please forgive
My reaction to that quite rude statement
You made the other day, that these
Crummy old things ought to be tossed
Away for good for they’ve reached the limits
Of hipster viability and if the fashion gods
Had any will left in me I’d smarten, follow
Your tips, grab me some Martens, but please
Sir. See, Sir, Mr. Docs, Sir, that
These here boots mean lots and lots to a boy
Who grew up surrounded by crops whose dream
Was to keep walking and to not ever stop,
Whose soul is beginning to grow thin.

But I look at each deep-fryer blotch, each
Mark on her or him and I find that
Each stain on my heart is reflected
In their skin,
You can find remnants of each fatal low
Buried deep inside each toe and spot
The joyous wrinkles from each crescendo and
I’m forever grateful for that poor fated animal
Who was slain for this purpose: to trample
The earth with me, in my service, and
I hope I’ve given them a new life away
From the mechanized misery and
Strife that they’ve witnessed and

When I do decide – on my own accord – to
Put them out to rest, I’ll feel
It in my deep heart’s core that
For you, my dear, I tried my very best.

Flames at the tips

We walked under maple trees and
The dewy autumn leaves were plastered
Thick and heavy like wet newspaper strips
Folding and praying for their papier-mâché
Tourniquet to hold our splayed limbs
Together so this moment lasts just a little while longer

But the leaves will dry,
The winds will pick up,
For this is the season
We chose to plant our love.

Hello again, old friend

The last time I saw blood 

I was in the basement of a

Fluorescent lit

Roman cafe, in limbo,

Sipping red wine

Before our dinner reservation

I’d thought, that maybe,

The seed of a baby

Had been planted

Beside a Venetian canal 

Four weeks before

I rejoiced, I grieved

For these hands were already loaded

With the weight of a tiny,

Burgeoning man

I drank the wine,

Guiltless

A silent celebration

And plied a travel weary

Sixteen month old with carbonara

A toast

To empty wombs 

And final nights

We succumbed early

Traipsing the cobblestones

To a lofty paneled bedroom

Where our heads found European pillows

For the last time

A night out

Screeching cockies 

Plum staining the sky

We left it too late

Our breath, clouds 

And the lamplights whirred golden

We could hear the music from streets away

The pummeling of drum skins

And a sitar 

Rosy light from fires 

Underneath the looming gum trees

Shedding leaves and branches

They snuggled in, the two broken-off bits of me 

Swathed in wool and fur

Woodsmoke descended like a feather down quilt

And I breathed in its warmth 

I left them lost in dreams 

Filling my throat with too-cold beer

And my skull with fog

I taught my self to dance again, 

Surrounded by every generation

Children, mothers, great-grandparents 

Hips, knees, feet

Clapping the floor beneath me

Moving to the strains 

Of Eastern European polka

The world spun blood orange

And my memories gathered me back to myself 

Like the catching of poddy mullet in ocean pools

This new self, this older self 

All the days I’ve been in this skin suit

Breathing, moving, taking up space 

Faces laugh, make eye contact 

They know what this is

To be solitary and alive 

I was told I was beautiful, once

I was told I was beautiful, once 

Loveless, void

I’m half the woman I thought

Stringy haired and bloodshot

I sit alone, walls blank

Nobody talks to me 

 

Not the right fit for anyone

My edges gouge and leave empty spaces

Leaves fall, dark purple like clotted blood

I’m chilled right down to my skeleton

Face awash with sour milk

 

Someone’s taken an eraser

And smeared my perimeter

There’s new skin that ripples and pools

I hadn’t thought it a bad thing

But it keeps you away

 

Am I your breeder, your whore?

(Surely I’m more?)

I remember love like a childhood mirage

Golden flecks where the sunlight

Gets in the way

 

Once I was held

This body not abandoned

Hurtling through space

An old model discarded

For a fresh breeze and an untouched waistline 

 

I could go a week, a month

No voice speaking my name

Surrounded by life but,

Lifeless, void

The greasy mark where skin once pulsed

 

I see you, I see a stranger

Could we have ever been

Known by one another?

Your ambivalence, your silence 

Saturating the seams of your face

 

Are these two splendid beings

Who have grown from the crack 

Between you and I 

The only fingers holding us 

Together