Cockatoos

Yes, we’ve heard their sad repetitions,
the ‘pieces of eight’, the rote ‘Pretty boys’,
dropped from tired beaks like peanut shells;
birds bored far beyond the thinning bone.
Compulsive as a handwasher who never
satisfies herself against germy armies
(save her hands are gloved in blood,
and cleansed into gauntlets of agony)
the caged bird will repeat this or that,
sigh, then hear that weird word clever,
thrown at his misery like a charity coin,
a beggar at our table of meaning.

But to see them treed, hanging upside-down,
greeting wet wind like a blown umbrella,
yellow winking at sun like a wicked punch-line,
raucous joy a cascade of brassy cunning sax;
this is the true sound of this bossy bright thing.
Why quibble about what they know, or don’t?
A screech floats to ground like a metal bird,
cut with tin-shears by a half-blind drunk,
so gratingly loud that ears are near-shorn.
Cockatoos mar the sky with jagged freedom,
as far from a nightingale’s sweet treacle
as a sudden mouthful of shattered glass.

PS Cottier

grandville-cockatoo

An old poem this, but there are so many cockatoos in Canberra at the moment that I thought I would post it again.  I think of dinosaurs every time I hear one screech.  Whether that is unkind to dinosaurs is something we can’t know.

Hunt

She stalks them, device in hand, in a modern bloodless hunt. They hide near buildings, the cute light beings, and she captures them with her e-net. The one she desired most appeared; half hedgehog and half platypus.

‘Great!’ she said. She had been searching just for him. He was king of all the cute light creatures. She lined up the e-net with the furry ball, with his fringe of pink spikes.

The hedgepus pounced, all claws and teeth. He skinned and ate her, with the efficiency that only practice brings. They stalk humans, the light things, and no nets are necessary. Their hunt is not bloodless.

His cuteness returned, with only a few stains on the fur near his mouth. People would assume that he had eaten too many berries. The hedgepus is said to relish the raspberry.

A kidney marked the spot, flung out like confetti.

PS Cottier

splanchnography

This micro story  was highly commended in the Microfiction category of the Fellowship of Australian Writers National Awards for 2016, just announced.  (I’ve edited it a little since then.)  I also won another category, called the ‘How-Tweet-It-Is Poetry Award’.  I won’t post that one, though, as I have submitted it for publication Elsewhere.  That second award allowed me to try out a poem short enough for Twitter, without joining that foul and parasitic ‘conversation’.

I also enjoy writing the occasional wee story, like the one above, safe from the constraints of character.  And often plot… Prose poetry morphs into story quicker than seagulls wolf chips.

Very happy to be highly commended for a tiny horror story, too.

Next week, I promise fewer internal organs, and even a different image.

Anatomical heart

You beat metronomically, ventricles
brassy as tacks, and there is no swish
swish, no frou-frou to disrupt
your carefully boxed geometry.
You have been abstracted, so
as to embody accuracy, but you are the
piece of paper, placed on the chest
of he who faces the guns. Accurate,
to the point of pornography,
no weak slush of blood
no missed, syncopated beat
punctuates your perfection.
Anatomical heart is only a step to the side
of atomic: atta boy! Go fetch energy!
Anatomical love knows nothing of doubt.
Lke a web from that anatomical heart —
anatomy of certainty clutches,
squashing ambiguity. Neurotypical heart,
stomping diverse beats. (Red is red is red.)
O for an autistic heart,
stimming each second,
bloody minded flicker of thought.
Sweet opener of Aladdins of knowledge,
within the chest and also without,
questioning whyer of refusal —
of the one way arteries of thought.

PS Cottier

splanchnography

After a short break, the blog with a big heart is back…

Seriously though, I like this poem more than many others I have written recently, hence my popping it up here rather than hoarding it for a journal.

I don’t agree with a certain trend in some poetry to eschew ideas.  Hence this poem is stuffed with them, even clogged with and attacked by them.

Next week; livers and bright lights.

A limited number of autumns
mulched, or tumbled in a barrel,
spread thin, or just allowed to fall.
The angry man with the blower.
The desperate, toothy rake,
plied like a weapon to hold back
swarming leaves of dragon red.
Carpeting drive and inscribing soil —
the pointed, scarlet letters
of a limited number of autumns.

PS Cottier

leaves and cicada

I belong to the ‘let it fall where it will’ school of gardening, which must frustrate those with gardens that look like they were bought from Ikea and assembled with an Allen key.  There are many introduced species of trees in Canberra, which provide people with the ideal way of expressing their personalities as they battle the leaves.  Or not.

Feral

Feral is the weed that walks hops or swims
that we seeded here first of all.
Like weapons in Afghanistan to fight Russians,
they shoot back against the giver, given time.
The irony in the soil, the punch-line
that keeps moving.
They are the spoonful of toad that never
helped the sugar.

The feral is the new devil;
we burn them, use their live bodies for cricket,
run them over.
They are our scapegoats, scapetoads, scapecarp,
whipping boys for our royal, stupid selves.

Varmint, pest, pets gone wild, rejigged —
dancing to their own tune.

PS Cottier

shriek-timidity

Continuing thoughts about what is a weed from my last post, this week I touch on feral pests, with which Australia is now teeming, after 200 years of colonisation/invasion.

Cane toads are probably amongst the most famous, although even cats multiply like mice (ew!) here, and feed on parrots and lizards and all the tiny marsupials that most Australians in cities have never seen.

I am working on a sequence based on this; though trying to organise my thoughts is like teaching cane toads manners.  (And that’s not a cane toad above, but it is a cool illustration, courtesy of the wonderful resource Old Book Illustrations.)  The guy peeping at the main figure is 100% Gandalf, and I’m sure he has Powers over toads.

Either that or he uses them for their interesting secretions.