Peripheral vision flicker
(A poem found at Conflux)

That subterranean process
alien or not alien
everyone is pretending
peripheral vision flicker
she can smell if you’re sad
more oxygen than carbon
prone to sooting
the aroma of porcelain
observe the strange world!
I was actually swooning
wouldn’t send a trunk story
we churn through them
faffing around before
a source of buoyancy
sketchy with world building
arrogant rockstar scientist
no socks in fantasy land
bounce off the person you are
every village is a city
chunky unspeakable matter
just people in an environment
herbivore men
arcane and hideous process
when we have wings
tend not to rhyme
a paisley black hole

P.S. Cottier

I love not listening properly, or even listening improperly…that is, just hearing little sound-nuggets (or sense nuggets) and recording them. Here we find some little phrases from a science fiction convention held in Canberra a week ago, joined together and called a poem. It’s more a peripheral sound flicker, to adapt the title to my nefarious ways.

Have I no decorum?

If you want proper poetry that may even make sense, may I suggest that you press this feather, and be beamed sideways to New Zealand and in other directions to other parts:

Tuesday Poem

I was thinking about the different ways of being in groups as I went to Conflux today; how some people plunge into things like, say, the Australian swimming team at the Olympics, whereas some of us are always at the side, looking on.  Are we just frightened of being hurt? Of drowning? Or of attempting the social butterfly, and performing the dog-paddle?

I like a chat, but choke on gossip;
threads of conversation become barbed wire
glutted inside fairy floss.

Sometimes I despise my comparative lack of conviviality, despite my ability to make excellent small talk:

Small talk so fine 
that the Higgs Bosun
can’t find a trace

And yet, you can look on things and still feel engaged; exchange truly well-meant pleasantries. Sometimes reticence is no bad thing, but another way of saying that the other person matters.  I’m having a great time, but more in my own head than anywhere else.

So, just a quieter time than some. Here’s that picture of the hat again; I think the Victorian expression should be noted. All I need is my embroidery, or its modern equivalent, the smartphone.

Off with her head!

Off with her head!

Fun at Conflux

April 26, 2013

I’m letting the emails pile up and ignoring everything to attend Conflux, the science fiction convention here in Canberra. There was a steampunk high tea yesterday afternoon, which allowed me to don a hat that has graced my wardrobe for some time:

Off with her head!

Off with her head!

Today I have attended two panels; one on publishing and one on horror and the body. Tonight I’m doing a poetry reading, so I’ve escaped for lunch and to get my thoughts together. Then back into the fray.

I really admire those who attend everything possible at conventions; I just lack the stamina.

So far it has been a terrific convention. And it gave me an excuse to wear that hat…

UPDATE: We were a small but enthusiastic group of poetry lovers at the reading, so I turned the chairs around and we had a more casual event. Enjoyed it immensely, and assembling all my speculative poetry made me realise that I have enough for a small collection of my poetry in hat field. Sorry. That field.


Heard Sean Williams talk about TM, which existed long before Scotty beamed up Kirk.

Heard Nalo Hopkinson talk about her early writing career.

Attended an interesting panel on appropriating the sacred.

Caught up with various people, including Gillian Polack.

I’m stuffed, to put it in a most non-poetic way. (Although I am not the sort of poet who tends toward the flowery. Unless that flower be a pavement daisy. Yes, you may sneer at that, in a sneery way.)

Shopping list poem

April 18, 2013

Horror novelist Kaaron Warren, who is not at all horrible, has just posted a short poem of mine on her blog, with a Very Snappy Title:
‘A Short Poem Inspired by Two Shopping Lists Found Hidden Inside a Cookbook Purchased at the Lifeline Bookfair by Kaaron Warren, Novelist, March 2013’.

That word snappy is a very bad joke, which you will not understand unless you look at the poem. Here’s the link:

Kaaron’s novel Slights is really truly scary, and I recommend you chase it up. It is horror in a true sense.

The woman herself is the Special Guest at the Conflux SF convention next week in Canberra, and I hope to hear her read and perform on panels there. Here is the Conflux link: This is the Australian national science fiction convention this year.

I hear there is a poet reading too, but that may just be a rumour…