Posts tagged ‘2012’

Monday, 22 January 2018

Terra Australis Incognita* by Nicola Easthope

The bay opens with inland promise. We haul our wind
and stand in for it. Smoke ascends from the shore –
I think this a favourable opportunity.

Two canoes coming in from the sea: one under sail
and the other worked with paddles. The ocean
is like a millpond – trust me, you will come to no hurt.

Beneath these cliffs of such looming –
first to be touched by light –
work your paddles alongside us.

I order a musket to be fired over your head.
You do not deserve a bullet through the heart.
You do not deserve to be unhappily

killed but you trust your paddles rather
than our promises. The cliffs are crumbling, the Indian lies
dead upon the ground. Terra australis incognita –

the subject of much eager conversation.
At Young Nick’s Head
there is no access without permission.

The Marines march carrying
a Jack before them.
I want you in my possession.

*Poet’s Note: This “found” poem was inspired by an exhibition, Possession, by Jean Loomis, a New Zealand printmaker (Pataka Gallery, Porirua, 15 December 2011 – 26 January 2012). Possession visually comments on events that have taken place since Captain James Cook’s visit in 1769 to Turanganui a Kiwa – renamed “Poverty Bay” by Cook.

Most of the excerpts for the poem come from two of the prints, entitled “The Marines marched carrying a Jack before them” and “Is this Terra australis incognita?”, which in turn originated in Cook’s diaries of 1769. Two of the phrases come from the artist herself. I have changed the tense from past to present.


Date: 2012

By: Nicola Easthope (19??- )

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Wild Flowers by Ali Cobby Eckermann

Mallets pound fence posts
in tune with the rifles
to mask massacre sites
Cattle will graze
sheep hooves will scatter
children’s bones
Wildflowers will not grow
where the bone powder


Date: 2012

By: Ali Cobby Eckermann (1963- )

Monday, 30 October 2017

Black Pepper Poem by Harris Khalique

Black pepper was my guide
into the world of spice.
Siyah mirch’, you would call it.

Irresistible when my sunny side up,
half fried egg is peppered black.
The dark thin membrane is layered off
by the first dash of hot toast,
exposing deep yellow.
I pepper the egg once again.
Making it rich, viscous, spiky.
You wouldn’t sprinkle but carpet
your dish with black pepper.

You liked your sandwich toasted,
slices to be almost charred.
Baqar khanisnan khatais, rusks over-baked.
Deep fried cumin seeds sowed in salty biscuits
from a small oven near Pakistan Quarters,
chicken patties from Pereira’s in Saddar.
We savoured the crispness, the aroma, the taste,
the cumin, the salt, the zing in our childhood.
Black pepper everywhere.

This intense full-bodied South African red today,
Mixed aromas of currant, plum and spice,
Hints of mocha and cedar.
To you,
To black pepper.

At ‘Relish’ in Cape Town,
just by the hotel where I stay,
the hotel – a wacky set from ‘Clockwork Orange’,
more edges than rounds, more metal than cloth,
‘Relish’ is a respite – delicate and warm.

When I was small
you said,
“You eat too fast my son,
relish your food.”

“Father, I relish the seared Moroccan salmon today
topped with chermoula stuffed prawns,
with lots of black pepper.
My eyes are wet, my nose running.”


Date: 2012

By: Harris Khalique (1966- )

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Grief, Not Guilt by Jeanann Verlee

I wish you a tongue scalded by tea.
A hangover. Burnt toast. Stubbed toes. A lost job.
I wish you weeping in the shower. Salt in the sugar bowl.
A wishlist of sorrows. Grief, not guilt.
Hole in your favorite coat. Stain on the good suit.
Arthritis for your joints. A broken guitar string at every show.
I wish each breath a little harder. Each workday
an hour longer. I wish your heart a thousand breaks.
All your sports teams, bottom rank. I wish your friends
go quiet. The leaves brown above your head.
A thunderstorm every morning. Nothing but pearls
when you shop for her diamond. I wish you bad knees,
a sore back. Empty sheets. A ghost to haunt your house.
A tub brimming with mud. Closet stuffed with too-small shoes.
Flat beer. Sour milk. Weak coffee. I wish you
flat tires, soggy pasta, a tax audit to fail.
Bent forks, dull knives. A hangnail for every finger.
I wish you a room wallpapered with my photographs.
A chamber filled with empty bassinets.


Date: 2012

By: Jeanann Verlee (19??- )

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Hardship in a Nice Place by Jack Ridl

The roof on our house slants out
over the garden and if it rains
the water falls on what blossoms

still arc in late August. My wife
is sleeping through her day. There
is a breeze here on the porch. There

is a certain slant of light collapsing
through the beech trees on the hill. One
tree fell this afternoon. I could hear it

cracking into the quiet, saw an angle
of trunk begin to lean and then rustle
its branches across the limbs along

the stagger of woods. At night, sounds
come I can never identify. It’s often
like that, our long days lacking much

of anything that can be named. My
wife will sleep. I will walk back from
the mailbox with our dog and wait.


Date: 2012

By: Jack Ridl (1944- )

Monday, 17 July 2017

Who Eats, Drinks, and Makes Merry by Debayudh Chatterjee

Forever with the light and darkness and melancholy and love
Whatever it needs, I shall sumptuously be fed on
Before death or after, from behind or in front
In slumber or in awakening, whatever life gifts
I shall eat them and gulp down like a faithful mutt

I really cherish living
In my past, present , future or in doomed days
Whenever you burn me
I shall be ablaze in magnificent flames
And devour and gulp down and eat whatever that comes

Like putting my tongue inside your lips at foreplay
My corpse shall delve into
A sea of fire rippling with love-
The furnace that ends everything.


Date: 2012

By: Debayudh Chatterjee (1991- )

Monday, 10 July 2017

Dog Bite by April Lindner

The worst for him was his friend turned wolf,
and the blood that splattered as he ran. The worst
for us: the hospital, his upper lip tugged back
to show the gash—the flesh halved deeply,
cleanly—while I hold him for the needle
that rubs pain out. He submits
to the quick stitch, the thread black
against pink skin, calm now he sees
the doctor can be trusted, his voice
soothing, his face clean shaven,
the clues that signal kindness to a child.
He’s worried, though, about his pet
who didn’t mean it, Mom. His voice is flat.
He knows the months he’s tried to woo this dog
were over when it leapt for his throat
and caught his mouth. The scars, at least,
will be invisible. At home, he’ll sleep,
big boy between his parents, till he’s sure
no beast will tear into his dreams. And we
will want him there, our bodies makeshift walls.
We who led the stranger to our home,
fixed him a bowl, taught him to sleep
under our blankets, we who taught our son
to rub the muzzle that sheathes the teeth.


Date: 2012

By: April Lindner (1962- )

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Against Chaos by Sandeep Parmar

after Jagjit Singh

Love could not have sent you, in this shroud of song,
To wield against death your hollow flute, tuned to chaos.

Whatever the Ancients said, matter holds the world
to its bargain of hard frost. But life soon forgets chaos.

He who has not strode the full length of age, has counted
then lost count of days that swallow, like fever, dark chaos.

And you, strange company in the backseat of childhood,
propped on the raft of memory like some god of chaos,

You threaten to drown me: wind through palmed streets.
Oracle of grief. The vagrant dance of figures in chaos

carting trash over tarmac. Stench of Popeye’s Chicken,
the Capitol Records building, injecting light and chaos

into the LA sky. That paper boat in rainwater, rushing, dives
out of my reach and old women give no order here to chaos,

nor calm with their familiar tales. Your voice follows me
into and out of the wrong houses, riding my heels in chaos

as if to say that every half-remembered element I’ve forged
in glass is only the replicate, dying shadow of love’s chaos

that once spoken, is like a poison dropped in the mouth
of song, turning it dolorous and black. I’ve eaten this chaos,

its paroxysm of birth, and seen it uncoil from the faces
of loved ones, into sickness and distance and loss. Chaos

that hounds—that drums its fingers on the window like rain—
who will not forget me and permit me to reach across

thirty years for the child peering out over the very same
landscape, day after day. Yellowing day, that day of chaos

where you are still sounding your warning (though I was too
young). To be left with the bitter heaviness of song, its chaos.


Date: 2012

By: Sandeep Parmar (1979- )

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Plantain by Chin’gak Kuksa Hyesim

A plantain is an unlit
green candle of beeswax

the spread leaves, a vernal coat’s sleeves
desiring to dance.

I see this image in my intoxicated eyes
though the plantain itself

is better
than my comparisons.


Date: c1210 (original in Korean); 2012 (translation in English)

By: Chin’gak Kuksa Hyesim (1178-1234)

Translated by: Ian Haight (19??- ) and T’ae-Yong Ho (19??- )

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Releasing the Sherpas by Campbell McGrath

The last two sherpas were the strongest,
faithful companions, their faces wind-peeled,
streaked with soot and glacier-light on the snowfield
below the summit where we stopped to rest.

The first was my body, snug in its cap of lynx-
fur, smelling of yak butter and fine mineral dirt,
agile, impetuous, broad-shouldered,
alive to the frozen bite of oxygen in the larynx.

The second was my intellect, dour and thirsty,
furrowing its fox-like brow, my calculating brain
searching for some cairn or chasm to explain
my decision to send them back without me.

Looking down from the next, ax-cleft serac
I saw them turn and dwindle and felt unafraid.
Blind as a diamond, sun-pure and rarefied,
whatever I was then, there was no turning back.


Date: 2012

By: Campbell McGrath (1962- )