Stronger than coffee,
the memory of the mandarin
segments the air with tang.
Smell is better than taste
(no pips to spit and
punctuate the saucer…)
Orange air flips a finger
as I sip staid warm brown.

P.S. Cottier


Perhaps I should write a book of poems entirely set in a café, called First World Beverages or somesuch. I just wrote a prose piece, soon to be published, about how annoyed I get with poetry that seems to reject all the world except for the poet and his or her feelings, as if feelings have no connection to the society in which they are felt. Mmm, I must order another coffee and have a think about that…That is my world, I suppose, but there is the occasional idea as well, floating around like the smell of mandarins. (They are healthier than madeleines, too.)

I do quite like the pips as ellipses though, and the hint of concrete poetry as the brackets form a saucer. Poésie porcèlaine sounds so much nicer than concrète, don’t you agree?

I must contact the Trademarks Office.

And just in case you haven’t yet had a coffee:

Read the works of the other Tuesday Poets around the world by pressing here.


Lastly, my pocket book Paths Into Inner Canberra (Ginninderra Press) is now being stocked by Book Lore in Wattle Street, Lyneham (that’s in Canberra). It is on the front counter, so go in and buy one for $4. Keep this deserving woman in coffee!

Book Lore is a fantastic second-hand bookstore, located between two cafés. In one of these establishments, a poem about mandarins and coffee was written, just today. The photo in the helmet was taken outside the second of these places, by a Mr G. Dunn, after wine was had, and is one of several in the wee pamphlet. The pocket book can also be ordered on the publisher’s site using Paypal. (I am number 3, she said, mysteriously.)

For one doesn’t live on coffee alone, and even mandarins may fade.

paths cover

Here is the cover of the Pocket Book that has just been published by Ginninderra Press of South Australia. God, I am sure that the woman on the cover can ride that bike fast. (I am lying.) The photo was by Geoffrey Dunn, as is the one of the cockatoo below.

The essay inside in bejewelled with poems, and discusses the bikepaths of Canberra, cockatoos, what we mean when we speak of nature, turtles, and has more than a little memoir throughout.

It can be purchased from the woman on the bicycle, or from Ginninderra Press, for $4, plus postage, which will be modest too.

I am having an essay published. Yes, in prose, with two bonus poems. This is happening in a wee pocketbook to be called Paths Into Inner Canberra. The publisher is Ginninderra Press, based in South Australia. It is part of a new series they are publishing, called Pocket Places.

In the book, I describe riding a bike through Canberra along the bikepaths, and the wildlife that one can see, such as cockatoos and turtles. It is part memoir, part philosophical reflection (that’s a very little part) and part evocation of aspects of this city that I love.

The lovely photos have been taken by the very clever and cool Geoffrey Dunn. Here is one that the publisher chose not to use, which I quite like.

How do I obtain this wonderful book, I hear you cry? And is it true that it costs only $4?

In answer to your first question, I will post a link when it is available. Or if you see me in Canberra, enquire direct, buy me a coffee (or a beer or wine, if your accountancy skills are delightfully bad) and one will be your own to keep. To quote Willy Loman ‘That is a one million dollar idea.’

In answer to the second: Yes. Plus postage.

I am very happy that this essay is being published, although I should probably call it creative non-fiction, or extended haibun, or something clever. Does anyone write essays anymore?

Tuesday poem: (haiku)

July 16, 2014

sick at the beach
lungs sandblasted
holidays towelled

Continuing the slightly whingey tone that my usually vibrant and witty blog has exhibited lately, I had a week at the beach and I was too sick to swim! I am still sick and on actual medicine! I have not been able to go to the gym for ages! You can’t keep good Aussie germs down, it seems. They are positively marsupial in their popping up when least expected.

I dragged my benighted carcass into town on Sunday, and ran into photographer and person about town Geoffrey Dunn, who asked me to open an exhibition he is having at The Front Gallery here in Canberra. Intriguingly entitled ‘Two Tens and a Tomato’, it includes work by Geoffrey and visual artist and poet Marina Talevski. They have mixed poetry, photography, sculpture and installation into works exploring the written word and visualisations of poetic elements.

I am popping down to the Gallery tonight to check it out, so that I can hopefully say something coherent tomorrow at 7pm.

Hanging out in town with a sign saying ‘Will launch for drink’ has finally paid off…

Here is a photograph of me taken by Mr Dunn. Unfortunately my magic parasol did not keep the germs at bay. Must ask for a refund. From the makers of parasols, not from the photographer.


For comparatively germ free reading, click this feather:

Tuesday Poem


Usually when I have a photo taken, I freeze up into an iceberg of Titanic proportions. It is to the credit of Geoffrey Dunn that he managed to take quite a few photographs where I look thawed. In this one I look literate, for example. He has posted more on his site, at:

The one he has chosen of me with a parasol on the street is my favourite. The purpose of the session was to get a better photo for The Stars Like Sand, and we did, but I do like the more adventurous photos.


I have a busy few weeks ahead of me. On Saturday 15th, I am reading at Word Coop, at the ANU Food Coop, in Kingsley Street Acton, at 7.30 to 9.30pm. No, I will not be reading all that time. Other poets are Rochelle Fong, Good Ghost Bill and Ma Ya Ga Ng Re Ne. I may be wrong, but I suspect that some of these persons may be slam artists…Hosted and curated by the indefatigable Andrew Galan (who looked fairly fatigued last time I saw him) and by Amelia Filmer-Sankey.

Speaking of performance, on 22nd March, at 4pm, I am appearing at Smiths Alternative, with CJ Bowerbird, who has been crowned the National Poetry Slam champion. We will be reading some poems and discussing poetry, and responding to one of each other’s works. Andrew Galan will be in charge of that one too, fatiguing himself yet further.

These two events are part of the YOU ARE HERE Festival, which runs in Canberra between the 13th and 23rd. Many many events, so if you are lucky enough to live in the area, do check it out.

In between those two, I will be going out to Yass, as one of my poems has been short-listed in the open section of the Yass Show Poetry Competition. Should be fun. It was last year.
Lizz and me at Yass

That is Lizz Murphy, on the left of this definitely not professional snap taken at the Yass Show last year. Lizz will be reading tonight at The Gods, with John Stokes. Omar Musa was to be the third poet, but he will now read later in the year, and a super-sub will be taken from the bench.

No poem today, I’m afraid, as I have been caught up in egregiously demanding Things. If you feel like poems, click this link, and see what other Tuesday Poets have been doing:

Tuesday Poem

UPDATE: 10.22pm

Unfortunately, Lizz Murphy was unable to read for serious personal reasons. Very best wishes to you and yours, Lizz.

Harry Laing was the third reader, and Charlotte Clutterbuck stepped in at the last moment to take Lizz’s spot.

A successful evening, but I did miss Ms Murphy.