Archive for January, 2020

Friday, 31 January 2020

Summer of Bad Decisions by Alyssa Yankwitt

Begins with a boy
ends in a bedroom.

Begins with a different boy
ends in a different bedroom.

Begins at midnight
ends no later than noon.

Begins at Webster Hall
ends in Brooklyn.

Begins alone
ends alone.


Date: 2017

By: Alyssa Yankwitt (19??- )

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Lines from Letter VI. in “Olinda’s Adventures: or the Amours of a Young Lady” by Catharine Trotter Cockburn

Not one kind Word, not one relenting Look?
The harsh, the cruel Doom to mitigate?
Your Native Sweetness, ev’n your Eyes forsook;
They shin’d, but in the fiercest form of Hate.

Is’t Honour does these Rigid Laws impose;
That will no sign of gentleness allow;
That tells you ’tis a Crime to pity Foes,
And bids you all the utmost Rigour show?

All Praise the Judge, unwilling to Condemn,
Where Clemency with Justice long Debates:
But he who Rig’rously insults, we blame,
And think the Man more than his Sin, he hates.

Dare I my Judge accuse of Cruelty?
When at her Feet she saw her Slave implore,
With hasty Joy she gave the sad Decree:
I hate you, and will never see you more.

Ay! ’tis too plain, the false Olinda’s pleas’d
To see the Captive’s Death her Eyes had made:
As what she wish’d, she the Occasion seiz’d;
No Sigh a kind Reluctancy betray’d.

If you intend to try your Power or Skill,
A Nobler way pursue the great Design:
The meanest Wretch on Earth knows how to kill;
But to preserve from Death’s an Act Divine.

Like Heav’n, you with a Breath can Recreate
Your Creature, that without you does not Live:
Say that you Love, and you r’voke my Fate;
And I’m Immortal if you can forgive.

My fiercest Wishes you shall then restrain,
And Love that tramples o’er my Heart subdue:
What doubt can of your mighty Pow’r remain,
When ever that submits and yields to you?

From: Cockburn, Catharine Trotter and Day, Robert Adams (ed.), Olinda’s Adventures: or the Amours of a Young Lady (1718), 1969, The Augustan Reprint Society Publication Number 138: University of California, Los Angeles, pp. 178-180.

Date: 1718

By: Catharine Trotter Cockburn (1679-1749)

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Question for António Damásio* by John Mateer

Doesn’t all European thought
disappear into the Void
between Spinoza and Pessoa,
that cornucopia
of nerves and that Tibetan

*António Damásio is a Portugese-American neuroscientist who explores the relationship between the brain and consciounsess.


Date: 2020

By: John Mateer (1971- )

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Dunes by Jennifer Harrison

Dunes reach inwards
into powder rooms
where voices muffled and trapped
slowly seduce the earth.

Dunes, pearl-pipes
sound out the voices of men and women
separated, their steps obliterated
by drifts of longing.

For fraces unchanged beneath graves
the wind digs.
For faces reflected
the moon polishes the dune’s silver.

Across the slipping face, rain weeps
sinks, but is not lost.
In the dune’s dryness there is
a nomadic snow.

In the dune’s shape
a dusty child settles
to sleep, dreaming
of breasts weaning the sea.


Date: 1996

By: Jennifer Harrison (1955- )

Monday, 27 January 2020

A Captive by Frederick John Blight

This toil-free moment moves me to dissent—
There are no hours offreedom, since the mind
Is no more able, ofits natural bent,
To speak with accents carefree, unconfined
By craven thoughts; but it must choose
Those syllables which meaning often lose
Through their propinquity to common sense.
Prosaic patter of the people, whence
Poetry muSt free the patient word
Whose long captivity breaks, as a bird
Engaging song, with soft sweet sibilants;
Bewitching as the song-bird chants;
One moment seeming free, but next a word,
Studied, encaged for life, a captured bird.

From: Blight, F. John, The Old Pianist: Poems, 1945, Dymock’s Book Arcade: Sydney, p. 29.

Date: 1945

By: Frederick John Blight (1913-1995)

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Australia Day by Bronwyn Lea

On the blackboard
(which in truth is green)
Mr Lyndon writes:

When Europeans first
(the chalk is white
and so are the children)

black people lived here
(but some were the yellows
of sand, the pinks of shell,

the variegated browns
of rough hewn bark).
There were lots of fights,

but the white people
used guns (they are
learning their colours)

to beat the Aborigines
(the blood reds of history,
how bone is hidden

white on a page). For
homework, the children
must draw pictures

to match nulla nulla,
woomera, boomerang

(they already know

what gun is). And
remember, Mr Lyndon says,
to colour inside the lines.

From: Lea, Bronwyn, Flight Animals, 2001, University of Queensland Press: St Lucia, Queensland, p. 34.

Date: 2001

By: Brownyn Lea (1969- )

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Transnational by Josephine Clarke

airport sweet airport
how far can Ariadne stretch this optic fibre?

we no longer have use for hearth
it’s screen that draws us close

your dinner on Instagram hash tag family
Lear wandering the globe ranting on WhatsApp

your bisnonna had a handful of blue aerogrammes
in twelve silent winters

I have their fontanelle in my hand-held device
And what of the word home?

what if I take ill? who will come back /
come home / come through

and hold my hand     my real hand
where the creases run labyrinthine across my palm

—my palm where your newborn head once rested
and was safe.

From: Clarke, Josephine, “Transnational” in Southerly, Vol. 78, No. 3, December 2018, p. 100.

Date: 2018

By: Josephine Clarke (19??- )

Friday, 24 January 2020

Argo by Roland Leach

The Argo is rotting on Corinth Beach,
the timbers lifting like waves, rising like asps,
the heroes have departed,
the women abandoned.

It is time to take stock
of shifting loyalties and betrayals,
admit we have been fleeced.

The great have declared themselves deities,
dividing up the loot in daylight on the streets,
as if it is the will of the gods
and we may have once agreed,
acquiesced to the logic of the world,

but it is time to reassess,
find our own boat-builders perhaps
or dare to imagine
that we no longer need
great men on the prows.

The rotting plank is about to fall

From: Leach, Roland, “Argo” in Westerly, Volume 55:2, November 2010, p. 33.

Date: 2010

By: Roland Leach (1957- )

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Love is a Lonely Territory by Pitambar Naik

It’s tensed with a hyphen; the stardust of mahua plateau
home to your laughter; have you ever noted it?

Down your poliomyelitis, in the civil war era, my peace is a refugee
it strands desperately just as a few wingless waves.

Love is a lonely territory fenced by dots and garnished in brackets
the endocrine bliss of the holy hymns clot in your appendix.

The semi razzmatazz of a gloomy evening peeps as an enigma
frankly speaking that’s a coffin of the bronze age
the creamy hymn on your lips
at bedtime the familiar rhapsodies ooze from Radha’s Vrindavan.

Does peace wear the new costumes to sit across the table warmly?
Letting the kisses touch the tears of love and barbed fear
at last we ask each other to water our righteousness to blossom
around 300 kilometers now to go further the borders.


Date: 2019

By: Pitambar Naik (19??- )

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

The Dark Between the Stars by Leslie Philibert

stones under sand
streets around your eyes,
when the moon stops

the tide fails, a cold bell
drops out of the ringing sky
and you hide in shadow.


Date: 2019

By: Leslie Philibert (19??- )