Sunday, April 20, 2008


"The Merri Creek
A wise wince in the landscape
A complex cavalcade and gallery folded into the
Melbourne plain"
[John Anderson, the forest set out like the night, Black Pepper Press, 1995]

"The braille of the poet's words brushes my fingers and moves through them into my different calligraphy. The calligraphy tells less than the fingers feel; 'sumptuous despair' loses its dark glamour as the hand falters after it. But the hand loves the contour, tracing obscure lineaments, translating them into language. Is the language signed? Only namelessly by its century & its country of origin, influencing invisibly the contour it felt. The hand is anonymous, mine and not mine, even if my name signs what it has written."
[Helen Vendler, from the introduction to Soul Says, Harvard University Press, 1995]

"In the wintertime the Rat slept a great deal, resting early and rising late. During his short day he sometimes scribbled poetry or did other small domestic jobs about the house; and, of course, there were always animals dropping in for a chat, and consequently there was a good deal of story-telling and comparing notes on the past summer and all its doings."
[from The Wild Wood, chapter 3 of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, 1908]




Quest for the morning
In dingy establishments
Yearning, crying, missing
Watch the gold woman
So sad to be left out


Stapled to the lapel
Were found the only words
She'd ever written
In a fit of rage
A pilgrim's song


Seething with anger
He mowed more furiously
Revisiting the sordid
Collection of clappers
Transparent as glass




getting wrapped up into a mermaid's tail of newspaper
in Ettalong Scout Hall, in the shadow of Blackwall Mountain
a place before known to me only from the outside, waiting
for my brother, carried in for a needle and carried out wailing
when he was of that age,
but when I am there, I am chosen for my smallness,
to be turned into a half-fish, half-girl
poured into broadsheet newsprint, exultant
to be swaddled in paper, with my feet inching forward
half a floor board at a time, so happy it is me
from all the supplicants to be the winning Brownie mermaid,
and then so perfectly, when it is done
someone comes in a car and takes me home.


All those brave blue mornings that I was,
all those hopelessly soft sunsets
you fell through, the blaze of lastness
with the lake bleeding into twilight's black and white
while the highway sped past all sharp corners,
speed and mesmerism, as something waltzed languid
and wondering through our blood,
burning the idea of ecstasy into a slow reverberatory neural
loop bridging two hemispheres of cells
that was me, the language that we are.




At the small

Figure perched

On the cave's ledge


Her hair

A bundle

Strapped with

Cord and

Saffron robed

Marking a life

Over seventy years

Facing Ganesha

[Batu Caves, Malaysia, 2006]




It's a Lewisham mid-afternoon,
clear-skied mid-winter. In the park,
reading poetry and a British non
photographer's history
of American photography.
There are children
running noisily between the trees,
bored with the see-saw,
the roundabout, the sandpit.
Page nineteen of Pam's Selected Poems 1971-
is now a palimpsest.
At the start of the poem,
Pam quotes Ginsberg, and,
pencilled-in below, -- poet.
They have circled Pam's benzedrine /tequila,
and scrawled beneath, also circled, drug
and alcohol. The children's father
is naming the eucalypts to his wife,
and she calls to the kids : Jaiden! Brianna!
Back to the table!
Their shadows lengthen.
Pam proclaims, and our reader,
the book's first owner,
has inscribed : Pop star (cult heroes -- drugs, etc).



Laurie Ferdinands, lives in Melbourne. Contact,
Carol Jenkins, lives in Sydney. Her work is published in Island, Heat, Southerly, Cordite, Antipodes, & various online journals. First book f'coming in '09 with Puncher & Wattmann (Sydney), Fishing in the Devonian. She is the publisher of the River Road Press audio-CD series of contemporary Australian poets (including P. Boyle, V. Smith, J. Beveridge, S. Hampton amongst others).
Anne Kirker, lives in Queensland. Mostly writes haiku-like verse, collaborates on artists' books with digital printmaker Normana Wight; sometimes they produce 'stand-alone' text/prints. Their books are held in special collections in Australian state & university libraries. Website,
Greg McLaren, grew up in the Coalfields of NSW's Hunter Valley and has since escaped to Sydney. Publications are Everything Falls In (Vagabond,2000); Darkness Disguised (Sidewalk, '02); The Kurri Kurri Book of the Dead (Puncher & Wattmann, '07).



Anonymous said...

Kris - love being bracketed between the interesting Anne Kirker and Laurie Ferdinands – these are new names to me (and vice versa I am sure) but love their elegant openness, and then I wondered off to check out Catherine O'Brien's brilliant letter, the letter seems nearly to pulse with Steinbeck's ghost.

You are inspiring ­ - I have seen you go from a man who didn't know a hyper from a cuff link to this Super Blogger.

The Steinbeck- I think everyone must have a reading Steinbeck moment – mine was being totally enthralled in the Grapes of Wrath, stopping by this lake for picnic in the Adelaide Hills, milk blue water, a wooded slope, a fence ( easily scaled), so engrossed in the novel, have to leave suddenly, as a Ranger comes to say its Sacred Water Source for all of Town, shoo-ed off, and then I realise… the book is left behind, of course it rains in the night and the Grapes seep into the Adelaide water supply.

Carol Jenkins

collectedworks said...

Thanks for your encouragement! Wasnt it your good self originally suggested I include an e/zine in the Poetry & Ideas blog? Mike Ivory actually set the whole Blogger thing up for me, he said that Blogger was idiot proof --revised his opinion after I got stuck, but I seem to going along quite well now! Happy you find the other poems in sync with yours. And that you've explored earlier postings and found Cathy O'Brien's Steinbeck musings, sent from Vientiane, Laos if you dont mind! Dug your reminiscence! No wonder there's a problem with the Adelaide water! Best wishes, Kris