Sunday, September 26, 2010


Alan Britt

What’s this?

Concrete particulars without waists,
without hope of contracting STD’s,
without possibility of guilt?


Touch not,
see not,
hear not,
taste not,
but smell the exhaust of abstractions!

Such is the plight of the literati
forever shivering in a sea
of nothingness, as if tubercular verbs
& anemic adjectives
could pour the bristling wine of intelligence
from an albino flask,
as if desire alone
could rattle the angels of reason
from hibernation,
as if, only, as if words,
naked, or half-dressed
in tailored Italian suits,
words in Victorian nightgowns,
words stitched together
as bombs, IED’s, switchblades,
words pulled from color-coordinated cardboard boxes
popping like popcorn or newly improved tissues
guaranteed to soothe
the cumbersome souls
of humans vaguely hot on the trail
of something hitherto unknown,
or at least lethargic
like the government drugs of choice.

I say inhale the feathers
of lightning-streaked, ochre-winged
words the size of an index finger
flocking the imagination’s branches,
chattering, otherwise preoccupied,
words dying, staining the psyche
with the purple berries of the crowberry bush
bleeding the sidewalks of…ahh… whatever,
you know, words, words, words,
that shiver their archetypal hindquarters
whenever they spot the aberrant hyenas of truth
loitering nearby.

Music by Suchoon Mo


For music, please click on the post title.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Three Poems by Anna Donovan


Sometimes her hands rest
pale and poised
as deep desert doves
on age polished sand,
every gesture soft
as grass under a moonlit night.

With mournful countenance
she tells of eleven windmills lined
as soldiers on a hill
to guard an ancient pine forest
where Moors still harvest
sacred saffron crocuses
and olive groves behold
orange and lavender clouds.

And I wonder,
as my grandmother turns
the frail pages
of a most precious book,
if she took the old world
with her when she went
beyond the hills.

She looks up
from the rolling vines
of a watermelon patch,
all round bearers of sweet joy
in her mind's eye.

"It is fragile things
that continue."

She says, as she folds
her hands in the shape
of a tall steeple
before morning prayers.

No Mountain Climbers

They pose before a glacial valley
with the mountain rising in the distance,
their complacent smiles tell
of amenities, cheap female companions
and a steady flow of whiskey sours.

They're no mountain climbers
my father and his best friend,
but mountain climbers
celebrate with them.

Perhaps team players
secretly admire
the few who go about
unencumbered by bonds
and filial attachments,
or the simple matter
of the wealthy
carelessly spending
on vacation.

They all know,
even soccer players
down in the city's heart
will share the spoils
of this mundial.

A crimson pink sunset lingers
in the distance,
and my father looks like a man
shrinking in his own clothes,
trying to be who he was
and exhausted by the effort.

And his best friend
stands a few feet away,
already removing himself
from my father,
lest Death also chooses him
by mere proximity.


Even as we cross
every line ever drawn
on the sand,
with a want flailing
our bodies
into the eye of the storm,
the two-eyed violet
golden and nubbed,
I see the end
from the beginning.

The bleary eye
of a spent storm
will pause ripened
with second thoughts.

Troubled you'll linger
in an absent touch
and stand still
while the day blurs
furtive oranges
a rustle away from fire.

Cloistered and conjoined
in accumulated ambivalence
we will move manacled
by manic passions,
secretly longing for
the piercing scream,
the flaying flares,
shrapnel and flesh wounds
round the seething monster,
the bare light bulb,
pendulum in the crime scene.

Two Poems by Donal Mahoney

Sounds of Summer

If you can hear
as I can now
the rose of noun
the bee of verb
the hive of mind
then you can hear
as I can now
the zither
of the siphonings
of day
the last
letter of
the alphabet.

Meeting Dad Again

Thirty years later, Dad came back
and we met for Ham and Yams at Toffenetti’s.
Pouring his tea, he told me he had
to restore power once
at a newspaper warehouse
and the storm broke again
and the lightning cracked his ladder.
He spent the whole day, he said,
sitting in that dark warehouse,
waiting for the lightning to stop
and for the truck to bring a new ladder.
He had a great time, he said,
sitting next to a flickering lantern
and reading for hours the Sunday comics
printed and stacked
six months in advance.

Three Poems by Gordon Mason

Lot 208
A Russian lacquer novelty box in the form of an armchair, painted with a woman and a cat, 12cm high

cat and barinya

share golden gloss,
glazed diamond eyes,
and dreams of a chair carved

by a moon-chipped sickle,
where a secret compartment
will take them on another path

to spot the first star
in Russia’s icy sapphire sky
and she will become

Pushkin’s Tatiana
and the cat will return
to the Siberian forest

Lot 312
A 1920's child’s chain driven Alfa Romeo P2 pedal car, with spring suspension and rubber wheels, 150cm long

Ascari’s ghost weaves
through a dusty sunrise.
Fingers grip the shifting skin

of his silver coffin.
Uncertain yellows skim
fields of ripe grain.

His burning ears are heckled
by the rush of wind.
Red crystal tears

blur wounded eyes.
Gulps of black rubber stun
his heartbeat at thirty-six.

Lot 596
Kathleen Haldane SSWA Sentinels Watercolour, signed verso, 34cm high x 24cm wide

intrusive silhouettes
on peeling carcasses
of mountains

that fold to a horizon
by another language
stiff fingered

to split the sky
at its seams
in January’s
sullen light

frozen dumb
in chiaroscuro silence
for crows
to hang their music