Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday Poem: Big

This is the Big country
crammed into a small island

Big trucks on Big roads
drawing tight bands
across the belly of the land,
land that shudders
at the memory
of natives driven to destruction
trees this year
not people
not this election year.

Big heaters and Big power bills
to keep those home fires burning
Big people in Big houses
staring at the empty sea,
minds constricted
by all this space.

Tuesday crept up on me so apologies for posting a 'raw' poem which still needs a little baking. I've been working on the northern coast of Tasmania recently, and this poem explains a little of what I've been hearing and feeling - it's a lovely coastal spot, but marred by history and the fact that the big multinationals still have so much power here. They're pulping the native forests and mining in the National Park and the majority of the local population seem more interested in talking about their new cars and houses. I suppose NZ's not much better...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tuesday poem: Body

I've just joined a new online poetry group, Tuesday poem . It's a wonderful way to get a fresh injection of poetic energy going into midweek (though I can't remember the last time I worked a "normal" 40-hour week). And for those of us with lazy poetic bones, it's a great stimulus for a stretch!

So: here's my inaugural 'Tuesday poem': actually a set of six sonnets, written as part of a larger project studying the archaeology of the person.


you swim
between islands
dive for words
sunken treasure

read the pulsation
of jellyfish
forget you can’t
breathe underwater

what you call memories
others call dreams

you reach out
too far
and wake.

she once learnt
to tell the direction
of the wind
by wetting her finger

holding it up
to the sky
trying to understand
what cold was

now she’s been
to Antarctica

but still
she finds
most navigation

she learnt
the valves
are tethered
like parachutes

that heart attacks
called infarctions
sound like
rude noises

that blood must balance
on both sides

and that
a healthy heart
tilts face upwards
like a question.

inside the liver
there are many suns
an inland river
ships and towns

factories and abattoirs
smelters and
storage towers
for sugar

a small girl standing
at a frosted window

her finger
a smiley face
on glass.

that first day
she stood alone
in the playground
wet the wood chips

the following week
some big boys
pushed her
she lost her first tooth

after that she learnt
to keep her mouth shut

her words whole
later spat them out
in silence.

the principle of
exchange is like
two lovers kissing

in tongues
limbs looped
in anticipation

the old Toyota
a warm uterus

to grow
new fruit
new dreams
new life.

Visit Tuesday Poem for more poetic lusciousness...