Archive for January, 2023

Tuesday, 31 January 2023

When the Hill’s Hoist Became the Wishing-Tree by Angela Costi

With a peg in her mouth,
Maroulla walks the circumference of the ‘clothes tree’
looks at each pillow case, sheet, table cloth, Taki’s singlet,
reminders of the white handkerchiefs
tied to the wishing-tree at Vasa.

When she was eight, she tried to reach the branch
with her hanky,
there was no-one there to hold her up,
she didn’t whisper her secret dream to the tree that day
and the next morning she left
stuffing her flag of surrender
into her suitcase.

Taki’s out for the day,
she’s alone
with her waving, white promises
she touches them one by one,
the pillow case, sheet, table cloth – his singlet.

She reaches and holds onto the bar
swings herself into the wind
at peace with spent wishes and dreams.
She is a flying stream of coral, rose and black
she is laughter spilling itself into the sun
she is the fragile wires of affection
she has come to know
as home.


Date: 2020

By: Angela Costi (1947- )

Monday, 30 January 2023

The Sprig by Tiffany Tsao

The man in the photo is a green shoot of a man
a slim-waisted sprig
a pocket-watch spring
with ears like the wings of a jumbo jet.
He’ll take off and you better catch on.

The shades of white and grey can’t hide
his technicolour visions.
Through the creased paper protrudes
a jaunty ambition swelling by the second.

I think his rakish moustache just sprouted another hair.

I know how he’ll unfurl.
He will build empires.
He will populate the earth.
He will feed multitudes.
He will shower the land with dollar bills.
Then: a modest monument, a humble knighthood,
a self-commissioned portrait hanging in the hallway.

But let’s keep this a secret
or he’ll never get over himself.


Date: 2012

By: Tiffany Tsao (19??- )

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Erratum by Norman Erikson Pasaribu

What was he thinking here, picking this body
and this family, where being match-made
with your mother’s niece was possible,
where first-born sons always meant everything,
and here, falling in love with the boy
who sat beside him at school,
when all that lingered of first love was that first kiss
they shared when cutting PE,
and here, not long after his first book came out,
as his family sat cross-legged together and ate,
he told them it wouldn’t end with any girl,
much less the Toba or Karo kind,
and here as he stood by the side of the road
that night, all alone, cars passing him,
his father’s words hounding him,
Don’t ever come back, Banci,
and he wept under a streetlight, frightened
at the first drops of rain misting his hair,
and here when he realised something odd about
the text that was his life and hoped sometime soon
the Publisher would print an erratum
to restore the lost lines, wherein
he’d know he was everything and also nothing
was wrong with him, and he’d know
what lingered of first love
was that very first kiss, bestowed
back when his family sat cross-legged together
and ate, grateful because he had picked
this body and this family?


Date: 2015 (original in Indonesian); 2019 (translation in English)

By: Norman Erikson Pasaribu (1990- )

Translated by: Tiffany Tsao (19??- )

Saturday, 28 January 2023

After Rain by Louise Boscacci

When it rains
the smell is not
petrichor but

a musty sickness stuck
to brittle

Underfoot and patient
after that long trace
calling up the blood
moon, mobile

networked ahead of all hotspot maps
and embers of rage, your damp ghost,
Fire, candles our shaky


I heard the cuckoo-shrike
afternoon cloud
the scarp
flat, black-faced
at birth, no silent
evacuee smudged
by carbon’s
terror plume.

Good Luck Bird,
Molly Aura, Fortune-sifter,
Greyscale Glider,
Canopy Seer. Good
luck, bird.

Behind the over-cooked
pot, umber water jar
rent by heat
in those early
hours you slept unbroken
with kiln free to run,
leaf shards
huddle where
they dropped the night
we ran once,
twice, three times
from fire’s arc.

Country of the faeries
no more, flammagenitus*
bears dry dead
thunder. Pyro-crickets
underground queue after
rain to resurface.

—January 7, 2020.

*A flammagenitus, from Cumulus flammagenitus, is a fire cloud commonly known as a pyrocumulus. The most intense version is a pyrocumulonimbus, capable of generating its own thunderstorm of lightning and black hail, and casting embers kilometres ahead to spark new blazes. (WMO, International Cloud Atlas,

From: Boscacci, Louise, “After Rain” in Landscapes: the Journal of the International Centre for Landscape and Language, 10 (1), 2020, p. 8.

Date: 2020

By: Louise Boscacci (19??- )

Friday, 27 January 2023

Summer Taper by Svetlana Sterlin

those were the best days.
pelting rain illuminating
the overcast pool. clouds
as bleak as that Christmas.
what to get Dad on the eve
of his redundancy? or my
mother, burdened with a
promotion in a job that drains
her? or you, who i might
never speak to again? this
is the scattering: like bolts
of lightning through clouds.
no silver lined shapes up
there today. but the air hums
with warmth. and our laughter
beats out the thunder. and

something we did well was
talk. about nothing, like
the constant patter of rain
on the pool. the drains
slurping the dregs of our
meaningless conversations.
all those familiar sounds.
now the thunder booms
like an echo of those days.
this is the scattering: rain
flung to the four corners
of the earth to find a
landing ground on our skins,
the pool covers, the hoods
of our cars. sometimes
it thunders. today, a whisper.


Date: 2022

By: Svetlana Sterlin (19??- )

Thursday, 26 January 2023

(26th January) – Mend That! by Paul Collis

I’m too black to be Blue…
too black I am, to be true Blue Aussie, like you.
I’m not like Johnno and Crew,
too black I am, to be that Blue.
so no happy birthday, Australia,
Oi, Oi, Oi,
for You!


Date: 2021

By: Paul Collis (19??- )

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Old Man Floating by Helen Budge

Summer after summer
I would see him
In the blue ocean, floating,
looking up
to the endless sky,
paddling his thin arms,
moving his legs up and down
without a splash,
an unhurried style, a
floppy white hat
tied under his chin,
eyes covered by goggles
ghost-like face plastered
with zinc cream,
a long-sleeved shirt,
black shorts.
I never spoke to him.
This year he was not there and
part of my summer
has gone.


Date: 2022

By: Helen Budge (19??- )

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Still Life with Approaching Death by Anthony Lawrence

Harnessed by the fretwork of her temper,
by the stress-distorted muscles in her face,
she needleworks her grief with skill and grace
in framed, miasmic light from seamless water.
The millwheel of her heart has lost momentum.
A bell-shaped sun has stalled above the sea.
She sees her faith in life myopically.
She breathes my body has known delirium,
now shock cells are my rapturous embrace.
Ten bottle brush heads and four silver pears
number the days she has waiting. She stares
into herself, through cerements of lace.

From: Lawrence, Anthony, “Still Life with Approaching Death” in Westerly, Volume 42, Number 4, Summer 1997, p. 41.

Date: 1997

By: Anthony Lawrence (1957- )

Monday, 23 January 2023

Dust by Barbara Brandt (Barbara Temperton)

for Minga

Dust, residue of ancient bones
red as rusty old blood and pulsing
with life, paints my skin.
The heart of my home country
pumps Banjima dust around the feet
of Kurruma and Innawonga dancers,
tints the old people’s hair
and dyes my white shirt red.
Dust pulses to the beat of the dancing sticks,
enriches my mouth, the songs I sing.

From: Brandt, Barbara, “Dust” in Westerly, Volume 41, No. 1, Autumn 1996, p. 81.

Date: 1996

By: Barbara Brandt (Barbara Temperton) (1955- )

Sunday, 22 January 2023

Barbara Brandt Said by Elaine DeLott Baker

Barbara Brandt said:
I want to write
the truth
that’s why I can’t
write every day.


Date: 1965

By: Elaine DeLott Baker (1942- )