December 22, 2011
I’ve posted this poem before on this blog, but here it is again as I wanted to have something for Christmas. I would now describe myself as an agnostic, rather than an atheist, as I was when I wrote this poem. I sometimes picture Jesus as a ninja, waiting to leap out on unsuspecting rationalists. (That’s not him above, that’s Jacob with an angel, by Louis Bonnat.)
We’ll see where I am by next Christmas!
First published in ‘The Mozzie’, Queensland.
The atheist at Christmas
Yes, I wish for more, more than these tottering temples,
these building blocks of presents under this most
European plastic tree, dropping leaves unseasonably.
If only it were possible, to unwrap belief, to kiss it quick
like an unexpected guest under mistletoe’s sharply
convenient hangover marriage.
But God is an idea too far, too gaudy, too stuffed,
fills a void of longing with crumbs unreasonably.
The brain must talk turkey, (or mouth gobble on).
Faith desire shines each new born December,
but frail batteries barely make month’s end.
By then it will have broken down.
And then be gone.
December 19, 2011
Thirteen reasons for burning her
One irrevocable stutter from left-handed mouth,
forever failing to birth ovate words.
Seven skin tags, crooked nipples of flesh,
sprouting from her sordid shoulders.
(For the Devil to suck from behind
for his greater convenience. Many teated sow.)
Three companions inside her cottage:
wrinkly goat, grey cat (black in smoked disguise), inexplicable toad.
Fluency with rare herbs, no flustered stutter there.
And a bovate of best land, just beside the river.
Other (hopefully more bewitching and seasonally appropriate) poems can be found at the Tuesday poem hub.
December 15, 2011
Tim Jones, New Zealand poet and author, who seemingly never sleeps, just interviewed me on his blog. In the interview we talk about chess boxing, The Cancellation of Clouds, our ignorance of Australian poetry (Tim), our ignorance of New Zealand poetry (Penelope), depression, life choices, poetry, prose, my name and lots of other good stuff.
But not cricket. Not after what New Zealand just did to Australia in Tasmania. Not cricket at all.
December 12, 2011
When I turned twenty
I thought the world could be changed
like a pair of jeans, a little dirty
at the knees, fraying at simple seams.
Emergent detergent left
the great unwashed.
Thirty, I decided to be a lawyer
who’d unmask justice,
let her see into dark corners
with right vision goggles.
I stand convicted
of blank stupidity.
At forty, I realised
I’d better decide what I’d be
when I grew up.
Too late for Wimbledon,
I made a poetic racket,
served and volleyed
just inside the lines.
I’m still following through.
This poem appeared in my first collection of poetry called The Glass Violin, launched in February 2009. I will be posting a poem on this blog every Tuesday from now on, either my own or someone else’s, as part of a group of poets who try to do the same thing. Most of the poets are from New Zealand, with a sprinkling of Americans, a seasoning of Italians, and a shake of Australians. If you would like to check out the other poems, click on the quill above, or here. That will take you to the Tuesday Poet hub.
Update: I brilliantly managed to post this on Monday, not Tuesday, but hopefully, by next week I’ll get that right.
December 3, 2011
Sorry if the word ‘booby’ misdirected you here.
This is another poem about Tony Abbott, leader of the Liberal Party in Australia, which is similar to the Conservative Party in England, in many ways. (Here’s the first one published on this blog, relating to climate change.) I recently had a poem about Australia’s attitude to refugees who arrive uninvited published on Eureka Street, remembering the dozens of people who died last year, smashed on the rocks of Christmas Island, an Australian island that is no longer part of Australia for immigration purposes. That poem featured the Christmas Island crab. This one draws links between another native of Christmas Island, Abbott’s booby, and the Leader of the Opposition.
This poem regurgitated itself into my mouth —
a sardine of ill repute, silver little slug.
Abbott’s booby is a native of Christmas Island,
flying around and around.
Its cry is unmelodious,
unfit for any proper idyll.
It picks up stray ideas
and smashes them onto rocks.
(It is in league with the crabs.)
It is a member of the Gannett family.
And there, the useful metaphors run out,
like a big country’s generosity.
For this is a large, graceful bird,
once it has struggled into flight,
and it only troubles the wind.
It is unrelated to the budgie.
It is endangered.
Others, though, are entering their prime.
Oh silver, stinking poem,
shoved down a gagging throat.