I remember the lost skirt of Carlton

Nimble and nineteen, perhaps twenty, I saw you;
velvet A-line, satin belt, and my heart dropped open
knowing how you would swathe me in excellence
hang just right, soft as a crop of Labrador’s dark ears.
Student poor, with a world to change, I stood outside,
longing, mental tongue lapping, dressed in thin dream.

Today, girt in husband’s semi-silken wage,
(and the splendid coin of Poesie)
I could command your like be snipped
to the pattern of sweet memory.
But my waist has grown
along with his pay,
so perfect skirt, in time or space,
will always always
slip
away.

PS Cottier

fancy-dress-3

Based on a True Incident, this is a very old, but (I think) unpublished poem. It describes a true first world problem, but both Canberra and Melbourne (of which Carlton is a university infested suburb, or just about) are in the first world, so that’s hardly surprising.

Fashion is interesting in that usually only young people look the best in retro or vintage gear; people assume that middle-aged people have been wearing 50s gear since it was new, and just forgot to change over the intervening decades.

Speaking of change, this seems to mark a difference from the usual socio-political cleverness for which this blog is known by some! And hello to you, dear Some.

I am very happy to have my first publication in India.

The poem ‘Canberra’ appears in the book Capitals, edited by Abhay K.  The anthology contains poems about nearly all of the world’s capital cities, and is published by Bloomsbury, India.  I came across this YouTube film of the book being launched recently at the Jaipur Literature Festival, by Ruth Padel:

Canberra is represented by two poems; the other one is by Michelle Cahill, which I am hanging out to read.  So we’re really writing above our weight division in terms of population, particularly as Oceania is merged with Asia in the book.

I am very much looking forward to receiving my contributor’s copy.  Here is the cover, which is stompingly cool:

cover-image-of-capitals-3

I responded to a call-out for poems for the anthology on the Australian Poetry website, and feel honoured to be included with my mild little poem about Canberra.  Poets in the anthology include Ms Padel, the late Mahmoud Darwish, Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva and Derek Walcott.  Just shows that you should always submit a poem if the project interests you. You have nothing to lose but your quatrains, as Marx didn’t say.

Most of all though, I’m delighted to be published in India, which is home to the world’s second largest number of speakers of English.  It makes a welcome change from Oz or the USA.  My poems are becoming much more well-travelled than I am!  (I’m usually beyond rapt when I do a reading in Melbourne or Sydney.)

The book can be ordered through Amazon India, from late April, according to that site, or from Bloomsbury, also in April.  No doubt it will be available elsewhere as well.

UPDATE: I just I just found out that the Jaipur Literature Festival is coming to Melbourne!  Exciting stuff.

Moderately threatening bird

Between budgie and hawk
you flutter your mild wings,
which still cause wee jumps
in heart rate or blood pressure -
more wallaby than pole vault.
You don’t pick eyes out
like ravens of ill repute
(though I’ve always been partial
to those most Victorian birds).
You don’t trade messages with the dead,
or lead the undead back to tossed bed
of sea doona, or semen sheet.
Yet you are somewhat disquieting,
with your cleverness beyond our control.
So we clip your wings, and ignore
the unclipped birds flocking in our heads.
Ideas swarm like sparrows
and each one is falling into dread.

PS Cottier

starling

Something weird is happening with that poem’s formatting, in that it won’t let me insert a proper em dash, just a hyphen.  Moderately threatening glitches/your less successful witches/wedged in the keyboard like sandwich ham.  (Said witches also make you experiment with Instant Poetry, which is A Truly Dangerous Thing.)

For those in Canberra, I’ll be doing a reading at University House next week, Wednesday 8th of February.  This is the series that used to be at The Gods, and the other readers are Chloe Wilson and Keith Harrison.  You can eat there before, should you wish, from 6pm, and the readings start at 7.30pm, in the Drawing Room.  It costs $5 for the unwaged and $10 for those with gainful employment.  (Otherwise called Not Full-time Poets.)

I’ll be reading my usual mix of poems about elves, and poems with a serious political slant.  Often both exist in the same poems.  I sometimes think I should do a collection called Fairies of Social Realism Playing Football on Mars.  Or perhaps I already did.

The new year is finally picking up, and I have had news of a couple of forthcoming publications, which I shall post about soon, witches permitting.

 

 

Backyard farms

Corrugations echo with cluck,
the occasional illicit crow,
ear-pecked neighbours pick fights;
shrill voices make 6 a.m. alarms.

Frosted into internal mush,
harder shell of fallen white,
strawberries mimic the avid snails
munching them like Frenchmen.

Orange peel, meat and coffee
strewn on sacred stewing mounds
create decomposition. Disbelief
that she knows so little, cares less.

PS Cottier

bigstock_Snail_And_Keyboard_2145192

Must find accent key…

An old poem this one, and I don’t think it’s been published anywhere before.

In Canberra the bigger backyards tend to be in the innermost suburbs, although many old houses on big blocks are being demolished for units.  So many a chicken scratches within a few kilometres of Parliament House.  (Insert manure joke at will.)

Happy new year, by the way.

Christmas Poem: Forecast

December 21, 2016

Forecast

It’s 12 degrees in Bethlehem
right now, a satellite says.
Cold, but not cold enough
to freeze a woman, kill a man,
or icicle a donkey.
But babies are mere hope,
hope wrapped in folds of flesh,
and that needs relief from wind.
Even 12 degrees will bite
a baby with teeth of blue,
suck out crimson hope
faster than any ghoul.
So came a shed, some hay,
the pleasant fug of cattle.
And god, mewling in the grain,
seeding time, forever.
It’s 12 degrees in Bethlehem,
a satellite says, just now.

PS Cottier

Onthemorningthomas1

The funny thing is that when I searched for the weather in Bethlehem, I was first directed to the United States where there’s another place by that name.

Have a wonderful Christmas and see you next year (through my special reverse-blog glasses).