Monday, February 28, 2011

Four autumn haiku

(based on suggestions from peeps at Paul's birthday party, but I can't remember from who! Mystery contributors today.)

**Update! Aimee has reminded me that she was the one who suggested dog food. A discussion of why there were peas in dog food followed.


I fell from a tree!
Our thoughts produce xanthophylls
Leaves land in dog food


A wet gumboot march
Rubber stomp of size six dreams -
Bought before your birth


Spoon breaks the suction
Plop! It falls into the bowl
Autumn-toned dog food


I would remember
Wet leaf dreams and dog food spoons -
If I'd had less wine


Today's poems are haiku, 3 line poems with 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively. They traditionally contain a a kigo or seasonal reference (autumn, in this case) and a kireji or cutting word - this has no equivalent in English, so English haiku often use punctuation (eg. a dash, ellipsis or exclamation mark) to cut the stream of the poem or make the reader reflect on the juxtaposition of images/thoughts.

Haiku are a bit like picture books - people think because they're short they are easy to write, but it's because they are short that they are hard. It's easy to write crap haiku. I wrote heaps this morning and these are actually the best ones (no, really. You shoulda seen the ones I chucked out).

I'm also long-winded, so restricting an idea to 17 syllables without being too mundane or simply telling a joke is difficult. It's a bit like cramming a thought into a tweet, and you get 140 characters for that.

These haiku are based on suggestions made at Paul's party (dog food and dreams), which I had to ask about again because I couldn't remember what was suggested, and I still can't remember who suggested what. Sigh.

Xanthophyll provides the yellow colouring in autumn leaves.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pickup time

(based on suggestions from @pinknantucket, @1000yearsago, @realnixwilliams and @MJPhotographer)

Let’s go look at the possum in the bin!

We saw Dale eat a sandwich out of there

Hey, if you were a Transformer

Would you be a Mack or a Kenworth?

Dancing on chalked up foothpaths

Legs and arms on a string

Sprayed with a shot of freckles

Feverish dandelion hair.

My dad says your dad drives a Holden.

My mum’s bringing home KFC after work.

What one? Family bucket. Lucky.

Why did Miss Ford yell at Dale again?

Filigree of dust on glue on skin

Mucilage of grime-edged hands

Blue and orange veins of texta

The magic of glitter under fingernails.

My oldest sister is househunting.

She says real estate agents are arseholes.

And prices are bloody horrendous.

Then she said the C word.

Love lights up their collar bones

Precious knees, careful ankles.

Sleek joy whirls in a swinging bag

Turns; sings out like a clarinet; runs to me

Runs to me.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from four peeps:

  • @pinknantucket: "how about using the word 'mucilage'?" (I do believe this is the first time I've used the word 'mucilage', ever!)
  • @1000yearsago: "househunting :\"
  • @realnixwilliams: "holdens! no, fords! (or the east gippsland logging equiv: mack! no, kenworth!"
  • @MJPhotographer: "light love"

But also based on me eavesdropping on kids outside a primary school while they waited to be picked up. Kids are awesome.

Friday, February 25, 2011


up my spine from your latest.

I excel at pretend sharing,

this is not how I dreamt it;

wearing my ring.

Yell ‘YES!’ every time

poetry most of the time.

What happens if you cut

the top shelf off the bookshelf?

Speaking as myself, off the cuff, is a challenge.

Caveat: I am no expert.

I’ll withdraw my condescension,

reserve the right.

Spoon some in my open upturned mouth?

Related to that: repeat in different ways our whole lives,

this is not an insignificant achievement.

Cry in front of everyone.

It just turned up in an image search,

promised a hot air balloon and a dinosaur.

The temptation is to frame this as well.

It does suck for a while

Put lovely photos around it

Tearful? Silly pictures sent your way.


This is an extra poem for today. When people tweet at me, I am often struck by the lovely structure in their words. So this poem is just from tweets I have been sent today. Just from today, and they're in chronological order - so the poem starts at the end of today, and ends at the start. That's a timeline for you. I haven't added any words at all to your words, I have only added punctuation and line breaks. There are some beautiful phrases being tweeted, I think. I wanted to show them off.

Contributors are:

@snazzydee, @sulphura, @anthonyeaton, @jellyjellyfish, @kumuda, @facelikethunder, @realnixwilliams, @timsterne, @twitofalili, @dogpossum, @matchtrick.

Nervous Writer Note: This is obviously taking liberties with your words, so let me know if you are unhappy with your letters being plundered like this, and I'll edit to remove. (I am just playing, I do not want to offend or unfriend.)

Folding down corners

(based on suggestions from @GretasTARDIS, @pinknantucket, @quadelle and @sorrel_smith)

How when the Nazis came

They were tucked in a cupboard

Saved by a wardrobe with no Narnia.

A slim book; The Upstairs Room.

I was nine, I yawned at church

Every Sunday with my father.

I listened, fidgeted, believed.

I ate my lunch with God.

I read in the bath, wrinkled wet pages.

A slim book; The Upstairs Room.

On page 95 I learned

About gas in a room like showers.

How they gave them soap

Led them in like cattle

Led them in like children

Promised icecream later.

A picky eater, I demanded

Plain pasta with butter (no parsley)

The exotic octopus balls and bonito flakes

Adults relished; it was ash in my mouth.

At night, I cried quietly about God

Worried myself raw over communion.

At page 95, I could not understand

How he made this chamber true.

In a dull hall of instruction

I cradled my green vinyl hymnal

Turned to page 95

And folded down the corner.

Every Sunday, like a quiet furnace

I drew a soft, warm text

From a dark oak slot and registered

My complaint with the angels.

I was nine, so I could not change history.

A picky eater; pasta with butter.

I could not feed those children

Or lead them away to ice cream.

A small show of revolution

A folded corner of protest

A whisper in a giant cathedral

‘I don’t believe you.’


The book, The Upstairs Room, is a 1972 YA novel (and was a Newbery honor book in the year Julie of the Wolves - which I also adore - won) by Holocaust survivor Johanna Reiss. It was my first introduction to the horrors of that time. The passage I'm referring to is a very brief and simple paragraph where the young Jewish protagonist Annie learns from an underground newspaper why they are hiding from the Nazis:

"Lots of people went into the shower-room holding pieces of soap in their hands, until the room was so full that the steel door could just barely be closed. No water was turned on. Gas was. It didn't take more than fifteen minutes. Most of the time everybody was dead when this happened."

In my copy this passage was on page 95. Every Sunday at church after that I folded down the corner of page 95 in the catholic hymnal I happened to sit in front of. I think I wanted to leave a mark of what I had learned, and how I could not equate the God of love I was learning about with Holocaust events. That's what I think in retrospect, anyway. At nine, I just needed to act somehow on what I had read on page 95. What an odd child.

Today's poem is based on suggestions from four people:

  • @GretasTARDIS: "Nazi Germany" (The Upstairs Room was Holland, but close enough)
  • @pinknantucket: "What about octopus balls? The tasty edible kind you get from Japanese restaurants with magical bonito flakes on top."
  • @quadelle: "Ice cream."
  • @sorrel_smith: "Therapy. I mean, social revolution."
The photo on this post is of Johanna Reiss (left) as a young girl. What a gorgeous little face.

In case you are wondering, as an adult I am atheist.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


To think we never used to notice it,

Enduring just a day upon the pile.

Not special, never such a perfect fit,

You’d never guess we’d wear it down the aisle.

Each growing year has long expected this,

A daffodil, a diamond furled in tin.

Received with all the care of a first kiss,

So as to keep the secret genius in.

My words have worked at time, have worked at play,

At times I’ve torn our wings apart like crêpe,

Took matches, sulphur. Fire and brimstone days,

& then, an easy joy is given shape:

For when these creatures wake; a call to light

Invokes the year, drives off another night.


This poem is for Mat and Fi on their 10th wedding anniversary. They are wonderful friends: I hope they like it. This poem is also an acrostic, because I really love acrostics.

I wrote a sonnet for this poem, because anniversaries demand sonnets. A sonnet is 14 lines long, with ABAB/CDCD/EFEF/GG rhyme structure, also it is in iambic pentameter - five feet per line.

I write most of my poetry by hand, because I am all sorts of places - trains/bars/walking - when I write it. So the photo at the end is my draft of this poem. It's a bit crumply, because I had to shove it into my bag when I ran for the train. But, you can see the process, a bit? I set my acrostic and wrote my last two lines on the computer at work. I always write the last lines first, then write the rest of the poem (with mad crossing-out and editing), then hate the last lines, erase them, then write them again really fast.

And, as if you didn't need MORE explanations - a daffodil is the flower of the 10-year anniversary, and tin is the gift of the 10-year anniversary, and the 'modern' symbol of a 10-year anniversary is a diamond.

So please, read down the side and wish Mat and Fi a very glorious, very genius, very everything 10 year wedding anniversary.

Much love, and wishes for a happy day and year ahead,

xx A

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Who's gunna muck with me?

- After the anonymous ranty Scots poem 'Wha Daur Meddle Wi' Me?'

(based on suggestions from @realnixwilliams, @johnnypurple, @mlledelicieuse and @matchtrick)

I rent my flat, just sayin,
Not mine, and it never will be,
Still, you raise the cost – I’m stayin,
And who’s gunna muck with me?
With my iPod shoved in my bag
My flimsy clear goggles to see
With coffee I’ll rage and parade,
And who’s gunna muck with me?
Who’s gunna muck with me?
Who’s gunna muck with me?
Dude, my name is Ryan-Punch,
Who’s gunna muck with me?

Metro arseclowns, think you’re keen,
Roll out your Myki decree;
I’ll touch off once in your dreams
And who’s gunna muck with me?
Flinders Street Station, it stank,
There’d better be coffee or tea,
Degraves is my mattress, my bank,
And who’s gunna muck with me?
Who’s gunna muck with me?
Who’s gunna muck with me?
Dude, my name is Ryan-Punch,
Who’s gunna muck with me?

When music streams with my crying,
Mansell sprouts up my family tree,
We’ll stick it to half-past trying -
They'll never mair meddle wi' me.
Keep it together til land,
Tram onwards, it’s rowdy, you’ll see,
My library props me to stand,
And who’s gunna muck with me?
Who’s gunna muck with me?
Who’s gunna muck with me?
Dude, my name is Ryan-Punch,
Who’s gunna muck with me?

The beanbag room is my den
The crack of a dvd,
I’m wielding librarian pen,
And who’s gunna muck with me?
At lunch I let Beck out to wail,
Pretend there was no Scientology,
Won’t count out the times I say FAIL,
Cos who’s gunna muck with me?
Who’s gunna muck with me?
Who’s gunna muck with me?
Dude, my name is Ryan-Punch,
Who’s gunna muck with me?

My peeps still keep up the tally,
They coffee me, spring my head free,
Round Parkville, Lot 6 and Tin Alley,
So who’s gunna muck with me?
Bus home for a sleepy bed shuffle
Soft hands sprout between hip and knee
Extremities, limbs all unruffled
And who’s gunna muck with me
Who’s gunna muck with me
Who’s gunna muck with me
Remember, my name is yours,
Who’s gunna muck with me?


As mentioned, today's poem is my version of the excellently shouty Scots poem 'Wha Daur Meddle Wi' Me' (Also, I love how the website is called My version is kind of a journey through my day, because I don't fight many English marauding invaders these days. I've attempted to mirror the rhyme scheme and structure of the original, though I've played about with things a bit, as you do.

Anyway, today we had suggestions from:

I think it's fitting that this poem involves shouting out your name at the end of each verse, as my initials, pronounced as a word, often end up as my nickname (my friend Tracy always starts phone calls with "Hey, Arp." Also when we pretended to be a hip-hop crew in the library (yes, it has happened, and we were way cooler than the Lady Gaga librarians thing), my rap name was MC Arp. Anyway. Blathering now.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


(based on suggestions from @johnnypurple, @kirsty_I and @suz_la)

Tiered cakes of rock, black chickens in the dining room

We slice open our hard brown bread to

Find a loaf of air tucked inside an egg.

Zoom in on mouths. There’s a mother to curate every quiver of lip.

I curl up inside them all like a clay child.

The curious noises of our teeth become trains, clickety clack.

A finger slipped along a screen

brings us to a curious place, a Hugh School.

A name that Wodehouse might have written.

Do they only teach children of a certain hue?

Or are all welcomed in a wide jellyfish hug

And led to brighter primary colours?

La parole nous a été donnée pour déguiser notre pensée

Speech was given us to (____) our thoughts.

I talk a lot, except in French lessons.

Our shade, as children, informs the stories we weave.

Every dog is a superdog, each case of nits is supernits.

We draw the letter ‘E’ like a fine-toothed comb.

Cheese slices pressed between hard brown bread

We slice open our dry-chaff schooling

To find a sheaf of wheat, waving at the sky.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from three people:

  • @johnnypurple: "cheese? mothers?"
  • @kirsty_I: "Supernits and Superdogs" (Supernits are actually a thing)
  • @suz_la: "Hugh school french class." *pause* Next tweet: "High school even." (I prefer Hugh School. It's where we all go to learn to say "Pip pip!" convincingly.)

Also, I was watching Jan Svankmajer's film Faust last night, so there's a lot of odd images clacking about in my head. The picture at the top is a screen grab from that film - I wonder if that is a real place?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sport of the future

(based on suggestions from @quadelle, @realnixwilliams, @juliansanelli and @facelikthunder)

I run from the hail with a god, a dog.

Rain on my car is a baptism, the new me.

Inside, a china teapot ready to be made holy.

Slick wooden pencils and cool metal pens

rest easily in the groove of an old tree.

Lick the grey tip, roll the swift metal sphere on my tongue.

Make them write.

No ruler to guide the scrape of colour on paper.

I’ll gauge it true.

I’ve written 65 songs. They’re all about you.

Pull out a cup of cinnamon, smear of chilli. Spread over my words.

There’s minerals there, there’s gold.

Tai chi and chai tea, every move of limb and leaf's a

Sport of the future for the un-coordinated.

Pencil tips carved into a key, a letter ‘F’.

Maybe the world is full of food and sex and spectacle

And we're all just hurling towards an apocalypse

Going to hock our eyeballs to people overseas.

But stop at that letter ‘F’, uncorrected.

Flat shine of graphite against art's blade.

It stands a pen’s height taller than my highest guilt.

If you start out depressed, everything’s kind of a pleasant surprise.

The world is full of guys. Be a man. Don’t be a guy.

Niamh and John Cusack: Beatrix and Lloyd.

A common surname in my day.

If you start out depressed,

you don’t want to sell anything bought or processed

or buy anything sold or processed,

or process anything sold, bought or processed.

You just want to get dressed.

Screw over the strongholds of Satan with the lunatic right

Nuke it. Flame it. Destroy it.

But only in word and mind, only with pencils and pens.

Leave the rest to a rabbit, happily by an empty teapot.

A world of quiet wood and words to grow,

creaking them up fat and strong.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from:


Lines 2, 10, part of 14, 16-17, 22-23, 26-29 are quotations from John Cusack in ‘Say Anything

Lines 12, 18, 31-32 are quotations from Queensland senator and rampant floor-crosser Barnaby Joyce.

The reference to carved pencil tips is about the art of Dalton Ghetti, who makes amazing sculptures from carving the tips of pencils into miniscule shapes. Truly, if you haven't seen them, have a look right now.

Also, John Cusack's name reminded me of Niamh Cusack, who plays Beatrix Potter in the gorgeous children's tv series. Each episode always begins the same way, and I adore the introduction where she runs through the rain home to a cup of tea, and Peter. So much wub.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In the middle like summer

(based on suggestions from my mum)

Someone’s put the screech owl on repeat;

a Wilhelm scream in compilation.

Everyone did it. Not some Orient Express malarkey,

it’s just there’s not enough murderers left

so we’re having to double up.

When did you last commit?

Joyce’s hair has always been a crime,

but no one wrote a car-crash overture for her.

The whole hour and a half could be shot

in a pub through the bottom of Weronika’s pint glass.

It’s hardly Kieślowski, but stab in some

Preisner, a fox in the hedgerow, a half of bitter,

and you’ll have a perfect tri-colour symphony.


Tonight's poem is based on suggestions from my mum ("Write a poem about Midsomer Murders!"), and my overnight dreams about Kieślowski film soundtracks.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


She looks like someone I’ve hugged recently

Stuttering around each other in the cab

Say stop?

He brings her fingers to a full stop.


The grey wall says FATQ

It’s always her, breaks the slice

of time between them.

How you doing? Still here.

Her fuzzy blonde head sleeps like my own.

Her armpit has two creases.

His hair grows into his cheekbones.

They chatter into

the best community I could ever learn

Cobbled out into mis-matched chairs

And side-striped felines.

The most gorgeous staircase

Cannot compare to the slim curve of a cat.

They step in time to a curl of

burnt brown crackle, brass door-knobs.

Then we glory


brown floors/red walls/stacked books/tapestry/a white tagine

Messy? You think my apartment is messy?

Every replay I look like it’s the first time

Rewind to look behind their heads

One song - but quickly. Eggshell walls of crackled paint


They step in perfect symmetry, tread coral boards.

They know – hold this – they have sure feet.

She only has chamomile. I feel so caffeinated.

Red walls and crooked postcards

Piles of bedroom stack up in living space.

Dying light doesn’t mean rage is forgotten.

One’s about my cat, one’s about my ex-boyfriend

Play, the waltz.

Shadow of her bicep

Strings minor chord up to c major

One single night with you, little [insert name]

Eyelids lowered against a French ‘r’

Oil paintings butt against each other

like boats in rough harbours

Let me sing, you a waltz.

I saw a triangle in her back,

An oval between buttons of his shirt

You want some honey?

Choosing music in someone else’s house

Is a gift, an offering, a threat, so intimate.

Curl of wrought-iron shadows her hair

White plastic kettle is an oddity.

Wooden hat-boxes curve her jeans

Dancing like she guest-programmed his birth.

Suburban coffee-mug has jazz

and joy in aping Nina Simone.

The rage they spent before sunrise

spins out to where we stop living like teenagers.

I will live there, lounge on stripy couches

Pause to adore angles.


Her hips know.

Let me sing you, a waltz.

She looks like someone I’ve hugged recently.

You are gonna miss that plane.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from @greenspace01 ('sanctuary, worlds within worlds'), and @TheEndeavour ('rage in all its glorious forms'). Which I have teamed with my adoration of Julie Delpy's apartment in the film Before Sunset (and my adoration of Julie Delpy in general. Honestly, is there anything she can't do?)

I wrote this while watching (and re-watching) the final sequence in that wonderful film, starting as they get out of their taxi and arrive at her gorgeous French apartment. I go to that apartment in my head, all the time. You can go there too, if you like. I'll put the spare key on top of the door frame.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Drive it away

(- based on suggestions from @snazzydee, @VayaPashos, @greenspace01, @jellyjellyfish, @slimejam, @facelikethunder, @sulphura, @matchtrick, and @realnixwilliams. Think that's everyone. Group effort, this one.)

Dig a big fuck-off drain under the whole thing.

None of us has to fight the future in this. We’ll just snap

on the latex, roll up our sleeves and

even our parents will call us Mulder.

Smashing down again. Melbourne weather, your glamour

Is washing out thin, we can’t strip this weight

from our humid heads. My elbows are sweating.

There’s a fix: make a gate out of sulphur;

A weir out of matches; a child out of stars.

Beat rain spiders flat with a cookbook.

Curl the night in bubble wrap for safekeeping

Pop a day open to find a boy,

find him every single morning

Worship his rush of joy at dawn.

Unshiftable muddiness, ineffable as the box it came in

The wet child born of flood has curls, has curls.

Dig mud out of your backbone. We’re out of vinegar to

wash the blocks bone-mean. At least the car’s clean.

None of us wants to be Archimedes’ doormat

But the Tetris effect of neighbours and wheelbarrows

Brings a new world that stays in your postcode.

Start with the gods, praise the family and their home town

Wherever it is in the sluice these days.

Report shiny thews, slice them with muscle for lunch.

Smaller victories are never mentioned in detail,

But everyone had a shovel and everyone hurt and

by curfew they beat those Buffys down.

Saved a tiny pocket of air for tomorrow’s breath.

Pindar wouldn’t want us to pin a

rhyme to a calendar or choriamb

Align gods with mortals;

seat rappers with poets. Turn them all French.

Flip back the tide with words

slap out the waves with speech.

It works like a mask, a belt, a huge sea.


Today's poem doesn't have structural restrictions, because by the time I was working from 9 different thematic inclusions, my brain asploded.

The requests for inclusion were:

  • Bubble wrap
  • Humidity and other unglamorous weather phenonema
  • X Files
  • Things that have things inside them (vessels/containers)
  • Thews (mighty thews)
  • Pindar (I think that was a structural request, but I've kinda paraphrased his structure instead)

and finally, for all that to be rolled into the saga of a driveway being washed away in a flood.

I plundered tweet-streams for parts of this one, so if some of the words seem like yours, they probably are.

Also, first person to find the Bring It On reference gets a shiny penny.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


(sort of based on suggestions from @matchtrick. With apologies to Ginsberg.)

I saw the best finds of my adoration employed by sadness, carving the empirical hatred,

bagging themselves through the ego fleets with brawn, cooking up their stagnant tricks,

strange light-headed trickters yearning for the precient malady reflection, of a sorry stiletto in the austerity of sight,

through coveting and chatter and sallow-thighed and wry sat up choking in the uber-factual snarkiness of old autocrats gloating across the slops of universities nominating the 'known as',

who cared to strain and leaven to the swell and implored imagined strangers, swaggering sentimental proofs elucidated

who glassed through machineries with salient school ties, illuminating arc and flaw and rake-like parody along the dollars of more.


Bit of an odd beast, this one. @matchtrick asked for a beat poem, but somehow when I was researching I ended up deciding to make a phonetic copy beat poem out of the start of Allen Ginsberg's Howl. I'm such a hipster. Bring me my single origin coffee and my ukelele, serving wench. Why doesn't ANYTHING useful rhyme with 'jazz'?

You can read the first 6 lines I made this poem out of, here.
Also blogger is being an arse about formatting, so apologies if this post has weird line breaks/font sizes. I can't fix it without throwing the laptop across the room, and then where would we be? Up the proverbial without a brass-handled proverbial.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

At the kids' table

(based on suggestions from @tiggyjohnson, Justine, and Mark)

Back where the dinosaurs sucked in their shrinkwrap, between their teeth bendy and white

Sit with the kids at their table and smile, my knees poking up round my ears

Just like a clown in a mini, like a T-rex in a cinema seat.

Hoisting my glass by the scruff of its stem, away from those Vegemite elbows

Away from those pink precious lips. Look at the pizza, out of the corner of

My holy mouth. Eye off those pretty, seductive illusions for hours.

Gorgeous and salt, they fan out in cheese and aroma to olive me hard.

Sprinkled like colourful wheels, glowing as stained glass in seasonal rains.

Level my rainbow of sweet disconnection – no touching, be careful, they’re art.

Piece all of this back together, string it all back prehistoric to truth

Nobody killed off the dinosaur plastic, they just couldn’t make it decide whether

Giving it in was giving it up or a strength. It still isn’t sure.

Sit with the kids at their table, their hands are as busy as crabs in a bucket.

Roaming like spiders, picking pink lollies from off of the icing-clad cup cakes

Chipping the chocolates sharp out of the biscuits, discarding the rest in a rush.

Slip myself into those fingers, adoring their brilliant anemone dance.

Throw myself into their future, guard them against any beast who would slap

Them away from the plate.


This poem is a fourteener (but the last line is different, because you have to make the last line different, right?) So it's written in iambic heptameter (seven-footed lines) as requested by Mark, who kept Wiki-ing til he found a meter I hadn't written in before. I think 'fourteener' is an awesome name for a poetic form. It makes me sound like a teenager in a sociological study. Which, incidentally, is pretty much how I roll. Apart from the prohibitive standards of hygiene, and all that dancing.

Tigs suggested wine and pizza, as every time our household gets a writing/reviewing cheque that's what we do first. But also, pizza is complicated for me.

Justine suggested dinosaurs, because she is awesome.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bring on the Doctor

(based on suggestions from @RyanPaine and @johnnypurple)

Raining it down on the chameleon circus

Murky work bloody oath, no feeling you’ve earned it

Shank that new world from Tennyson to Lawson

Frame that shenanigan for someone who wants one

Who stoned the new crows, who pwned the few blows

That crowned that head steady among the fezz bluestones

Stay still a bit, feel the dust freefall

A kick up the bum for dropkicks to forestall

What were we thinking to travel in steamroll

It’s never a dud-dropper comin a cropper so

Keep your assonance we want an arsenal, mate

Fair suck of the sav, won’t a pot and a pav

Bring the Doctor back to us? It’s cactus.

Neighbours fighting Enders isn’t the fluff

To ready the credible against the inedible stuff

Who’s gunna bring it, hoods against Oods?

Even Tefnut and Tlaloc wouldn’t have stood

For Time Lord v. Strine Hoard, if we were good

Enough to call him in, enough to pull him

Women with red hair and red shirts

Pull till the call hurts

Singin out Doctor Doctor Doctor

Who have you been and where have you been to?

Floods we’ve been running

Thought you were coming

New rivers makin our hearts our hands hurt

We’ve got our work cut out for us huh?

Send the TARDIS already

We’re waiting with

Open arms we’re ready


Today's poem is based on suggestions from @RyanPaine, who wanted an Australianised assonance poem, and @johnnypurple, who wanted it to be about Doctor Who.

I may also have been listening to a fair bit of hip hop yesterday evening. Shame TZU wrote the line "bring on the Klingons" before I thought of it.

This one was extremely fun to write, and came out in such a rush that I had to type it into the notes page on my iPhone as I didn't have time to turn the laptop back on.

Monday, February 14, 2011


(based on suggestions by @johnnypurple and Aimee)

We have taken a needle to what the rain brings.

Suburban soldiers peck out their weeks,

Guarding our blood with a flurry of wings.

First Thursday of each month, and it clings

to the air like a virus. Assess the red streaks.

We have taken a needle to what the rain brings.

Mosquitoes blur out in a spray of stings,

Unfurl a proboscis from the rivers and creeks.

Guarding our blood with a flurry of wings.

Unaware of quiet arrows and slings,

We trust them with our outrageous techniques,

Guarding our blood with a flurry of wings.

Can that tiny bright head encompass such things?

Humble solutions sleep beneath feathered cheeks.

We have taken a needle to what the rain brings.

Beside a cool hills hoist, an old woman sings,

Ain’t nobody here but a fortress of beaks.

We have taken a needle to what the rain brings,

Guarding our blood with a flurry of wings.


This poem is a villanelle, as requested by @johnnypurple, which is essentially five tercets and one concluding quatrain, where the rhyme structure is ABA (ABAA in the quatrain), with lines 1 and 3 repeated at specified points. Note to self: next time choose words that have more rhymes available than 'wings' and 'beaks'.

Sentinel chickens are used to monitor mosquito-born virus levels in areas prone to eg. Ross River fever, Barham Forest virus, flavivirus and kunjin. By regularly testing the blood of these chickens that live in people's backyards, the threat of these viruses to humans is monitored. You can read more about sentinel chickens here. Aimee told me about them yesterday. They've been using them since 1974 - how had I not heard about this earlier? Onward, chicken soldiers!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


- (based on suggestions from @greenspace01, Erin and @quadelle)

Forever ago, I met you beneath that difficult press

Under my skin, and he oddly called you ‘junior’.

Careful enough with your filigree bones, your high

Kicks arched on the monitor. Our secret gang

Edited into a public screening. It had already been a day

Dictated by broken rules, snapping them off at their spike.

I’ve never been one for dramatics. But hearing your heart spike

Towards birth curated my plans, still wet from the press.

Obviously you were in there all along, twisting in the day

Resting your tadpole legs, and always my junior

Sporting a jaunty cord. You were restless in this gang

For two. I aimed to finish you, I have never aimed so high.

Underneath that gel, you swam to bump the high

Corner of our vision. I saw it on the outside, but a spike

Kicked out in pleasure when feeling met and formed a gang.

Eternal to that moment, he called you ‘boy’ instead of ‘junior’.

Deleted it from my thoughts, I focused on the press

Internal to my nerves. How could I hear it, ‘boy’, that day?

Take your ears: one, two. We had made them that day

Out of oysters. Kept the pearls to hang up high

Reach up to the tip of the Christmas tree, ‘junior’.

String them up like a cord of reasons, flip them over the spike

Full of pine needles. Take your limbs. We helped press

Underarm hollows with a fingertip. My favourite gang.

Carefully, take your eyes: one, two. A sort of gang

Kept secret even from yourself. Until that day

Expecting darkness, they would thrill against the press,

Delight against the newborn blue. What sort of spike

Into light would that be? I am ahead of myself on this high

Terrible strangeness. Let’s keep your presence junior.

Of course, I heard him call you ‘junior’.

Reach down through my layers to expose our gang.

Strip back my insides to hear that spike

Float up your spine like I’d made it that day.

Understand this, my new and brilliant high

Creature: we’ll see you, hot off the press.

Kiss the spike of hair from your junior face.

Everyone will join our gang, press their lips to you.

Daywards, I will bring you to them on high.


Today's poem is a sestina. Sestinas are LONG (I thought it was never going to end!) and really really restrictive, but it's fun to have restrictions sometimes. Makes you work hard and experiment.

When I asked Twitter and Facebook what sort of poem I should write today, @greenspace01 asked for a sestina, so I wrote a sestina. Erin asked for it to be based on an 11 letter acrostic, so I also did that (well, a repeating acrostic. I don't actually hate editors, btw, it's a Gwen Harwood thing that you can read about briefly here, if you're interested).

And given the Boxcutters Press Gang and Degrassi Junior High event coming up (squee!), @quadelle asked for the poem to be about those shows. My poem isn't actually about those shows, obviously, but the words I chose to repeat according to the Rules Of Sestina Writing were (immaturely enough):

1) Press
2) Junior
3) High
4) Gang
5) Day
6) Spike

I don't think I have to explain the theme there.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


- in dactylic hexameter, as requested by @facelikethunder

Hundred and forty clicks later, we’ve cleared up the source of our heart beat.

Mistaken a reference to bowling for something Lebowski could favour

Punting our fingers upstream, a river of creatures to laugh over.

Autocorrect fills an evening, spreading that head with new branches

Tear out our breath with a star. Those pictures we made into saviours

Making them light is our talent. Making them float is our life raft.

Pin up the walls with new travellers, tuck their knees under the stage coach.

Awful and running, we halt. And halted, surprise with a blue box.

Sidelined by spirals of music. The 90s are back and it’s better than

School we remember. We play it much faster this time, play it better

Learn all the words we’d forgotten were waiting, question the new chords

Hundred and forty clicks later, we’ve noted it’s quicker to sing out.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Today's poem, nameless.

- For Kirsty, and Penni

Dream house of dark wood

I have brought my vinegar boy

to eat at Eglantine’s dark nights

and her novelties.

We strip the brown stairs

back to their brown skin

bend over to dip our

lids into the shock of a river.

There are mothers woven into

the worn carpets.

Rubies and aviaries

to thrill me onwards.

Blonde and eternal

Mahogany and punk

I bend the world like a bone

and long for this history.