Budgerigar

Ten million green commas punctuate blue sky,
quick breaths of swooping wonder, multiplied.
Water-hole is your target; liquid rope pulls you down
and the whole emerald sky is falling, diving,
as miniature bodies scoop into pool.
Your individual markings have taken you
further than native flight; outside the Louvre
I saw you, cold, trying to break in, as pointillist
as Pissarro but acrylic in your finish.
A proud but damp escapee from French balcony,
regretting the lost seed and the found liberty.
So plump and fresh, I have heard you were good eating,
a winging fast food charred to a turn;
as far from stringy battery chook as fingers in the fire.
Most know you singly; whistling in cages,
bowing and bobbing, rattling plastic mirrors.
Driven mad you ring and ring chink-chinky bells
or make love to that hard, hard-to-get reflection.
What joy to see you
just once, as you swoop,
one stitch amongst the tapestry,
a blade of grass in feathered turf carpet, magically landing,
transforming dreary waterside with that fallen sward of Eire.
Swift dragon of twenty million wings,
fluorescing with your simple, beak-filled joys.

P.S.Cottier

artist at work

After boasting in various places that I post a new poem every week, here’s a repeat one for you! (Which is a damn subtle humblebrag…) That’s Chomp in the picture above, and I have to be careful, or I’ll join the endless stream of people blogging about pets.

All hail the tip turkey

Tip turkey works through the plastic — a TROJAN
Tip turkey has no time for posing — he’s no STATUE
Tip Turkey is adorned with smears — a saucy TOMATO
Tip Turkey cries to the sky — frogs smoking CIGARETTES
Tip turkey smells unpleasant — but not more than homely TIP
Tip turkey fell from perfect grace — some may even call him SACRED
Tip turkey is no pink flamingo — no smiling lawn adorning TIP
Tip turkey is flung at the margins — discarded CIGARETTES
Tip turkey is letting himself go — bald seedy as TOMATO
Tip turkey follows reckless trash — a tributary STATUE
Tip turkey has no hidden surprise — he’s no TROJAN

Poet’s note: Tip turkey is a common name for Threskiornis moluccus, the Australian white ibis.

PS Cottier

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The tip turkey came second in a recent poll of Australia’s favourite bird, beaten by a beak by the magpie. I voted for the budgie or the cockatoo; I can’t really remember. The idea of a ‘favourite bird’ is a bit silly, after all! This poem has been rummaging in the bins of my writing folder for ages, so I thought I’d share it.

The poem was originally called ‘But in the air they make such lovely arrows’ which explains the shape, but I thought it was a tad confusing. The tip turkey above was walking down a Canberra street like a particularly smelly ballet dancer.

UPDATE: The poem’s shape is lost on phone display. Sorry.

The backcomber

Her hair is coiffured once a month.
Though she goes to bed unkempt,
glamour descends like a dream.
A scissored were-poodle inflicts revenge
for ridiculous, hedgy trims,
those uncouth bubbles of fur he wore,
imposed without his will.
She awakes to a memory of spray
and a beehive, tall as any tower.
Next month’s moon may well mean quiff.
Next month’s moon may just mean mullet.

PS Cottier

headpiece-scene-3-1

If I didn’t think that my next dog must be a rescue dog, I’d be buying a poodle. One of the large ones. But I don’t think I’d clip it into weird shapes like a hedge. One of the more intelligent dogs has to put up with a lot; do they envy the border collie?

One another note, I have a kind of short story, of a vaguely horrible sort, published at AntipodeanSF, called The Blood Parrot. Enjoy!

blood elephant

Blood elephant
bathes in human river
tusk intact

PS Cottier

Now, next time someone is saying what a beautiful sport surfing is, bear this photo in mind. The person who injured his head (and inadvertently caused the painting of the blood elephant to drain itself onto his shirt) drove two hours home from the coast, with a head injury that required six stitches. Past at least two hospitals.

I think that goes beyond the merely gnarly.

***

In other, less gruesome news, my poem ‘The ineffable boredom of Polonius’ is one of many making up a performance anthology of Canberra poetry, being produced very soon.  The play is called Under Sedation: Canberra Verse Remixed, and it will be at the Street Theatre, from September 29 (preview) to October 14. The director (and the person who compiled the anthology) is Adele Chynoweth, and the actors are Ruth Pieloor and Ben Drysdale.

Here is a list of the poets whose work will appear (apologies for any typos):

A.D.Hope (whose work provided the title of the production), Andi and George Band, Greg Appel, Dorothy Auchterloine, Burrows, Michael Byrne, Adrian Caesar, David Campbell, Coda Conduct (Sally Coleman & Erica Mallet), Malcolm Coller, P.S.Cottier, Vesna Cvjeticanin, Michael Dransfield, Chris Endrey & Bec Taylor, Niloofar Fanaiyan, Bela Farkas, Fun Machine, Kevin Gilbert, Paul Hetherington, Suzie Higgie, J.C.Inman, Subhash Jaireth, Aaron Kirby, Victoria McGrath, Mark O’Connor, Lizz Murphy, Omar Musa, Geoff Page, Anita Patel, Sandra Renew, Sarah Rice, Fred Smith Melinda Smith, John Karl Stokes and Monique Suna.

I can’t wait to see the production.  Here is the director, Adele Chynoweth, who recently (last night, in fact) launched a book by Sandra Renew at Smiths Alternative.   I hope this is the image you remember from this post!

AC

 

 

Tuesday poem: On editing

September 11, 2017

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Irma Gold has written a thoughtful piece about writing her story ‘The Line’ that appears in this year’s Award Winning Australian Writing.

My poem in this book, which covers both prose and poetry, is three lines in length, although I did not write it as a ‘real’ haiku. It won a contest for a poem in 50 characters or less, which means that the emphasis was on what was not spoken as much as the words that appeared. Editing and writing become virtually inseparable when the poem is so short.

I took the ‘How Tweet It Is’ title of the Fellowship of Australian Writers’ contest literally and wrote a poem called ‘The Cat’s New Beard’ which is not in the least bird-friendly. It’s about a cat eating a bird. I won’t post it here, as the book just came out, and I can’t really post an extract of a tiny poem. But here’s another short poem about the process of editing a wee poem about a bird.

Plucking words
too many feathers —
bantam or robin?

Now a bantam is bigger than a robin, just as Batman is bigger than the Boy Wonder, so robin is probably the better option.

I am enjoying reading the book, which contains everything from evocative stories (Irma) to dead canaries (me). Why not purchase one? The editor is Pia Gaardboe.