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,


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 



Day breaks on those Parisian curtains,
Freckles and scars illuminated along

The creases of your form
Rising, falling, plunging 

Through the incense [holy!] atmosfears
The leather gloves, my silent gasp,

The nails tearing down my back
Rip me awake and I dare not close them

I can’t bring myself to distractions,
I want to be consumed by those parted

Lips all bloody rouge with Shiraz,
Limp skin sliding off 

Like those paper-barked voyeurs
Peeking through the panes

Stained with the fog of the next morning,
That film-grain same rotisserie sunrise,

You tried your best 
To talk me out of it again

Rolling over then,
You checked your phone

Something strange was in the air
and Notre Dame is burning.

Ivory Walls, Empty Rooms

Saying goodbye to empty rooms

Palms on bare boards that held your bed

Cupboards that yawn like empty tombs

If you were here what would you have said?


Amber bars of light from slatted blinds

Where you stood white-capped, serene

A trail of dirty finger marks left behind 

That final garden in all its shades of green


Is there a trace of you on these ivory walls

Upon these dusty moats

Some withered cells, a stray hair falls

A bit of ash stuck in our throats


The heavy door clicks shut

Mirroring that close of musty drapes

Farewell couldn’t be more clear-cut

Flames consuming that beautiful face 


I holler your name into the waves

Could I be more cliché?

The expanse of the ocean is your grave

A grief I can’t allay

Rudie / Elephants

Your hand electrified the back of my neck
As we hopped down the highway
Listening to Rudie Can’t Fail,
Talking of Tintin and juvenile justice

At times your fingers would chisel
Down my jaw and across my throat,
Molding me
With my hands trembling
On the wheel,

Calling me your little elephant,
I thought of the skin
Between your two freckles that,
When squeezed together,
Would make a trunk

Sometimes I wished
I didn’t remember.