A timely monster

And if I could drink youth in
through my eyes — a vampire
of glance, lapping it from
perfect blush of skin —
would it be possible not to
drink and rise, leaving years
like a phone lost in cushions?
And yet, and yet…
before my eyes suck, remember
the self-consciousness,
the rash redness of life
before it wrapped itself in time?
To take, and lose a burden,
is to lift another,
cutting into hands or mind,
like an overloaded bag.
So let them pass, and let me yearn
and learn to stop, just here.
I’ll sit, and plait kind memory
through this smoked nostalgia of hair.

P.S. Cottier


Very traditional matter there, about the passing of time, given a sprinkle of Polidori. I like ‘my eyes suck’. Certainly not over-poetic! Monday was a public holiday in Canberra, so I did a little revision of this poem, and decided to post it.

More and more I find myself unable to wait the months that some journals take to say yes or no to a piece. I pity the editors, but I value my own work more! This blog now has many readers (hello to you all, from France to India to the Americas to Binalong) so why not self-publish?

Of course, I am foregoing the huge piles of pelf that poetry usually attracts, and there are some journals and anthologies that I really want to be part of, but I do like the immediacy of this medium. Particularly when I can find such cool pictures for free at Old Book Illustrations!

Other poets enjoy that too, whether they are posting their own poems, or those of others. Read the works of the other Tuesday Poets. They are definitely worth the clicks.

Tuesday poem: The lock

February 5, 2013

The lock

‘…a lock of Jane Austen’s hair has just sold at auction for £5,640 (on today’s exchange, that’s AU$11,640.73)….’ 
The Australian Writers’ Marketplace blog, June 24th, 2008. A photo of the hair appears in The Guardian, June 2nd. It has been shaped into the crude representation of a tree.

Do they stroke it with avid fingers, this palm tree lock
that once grew from the full head of quietest genius?
Scalping would be too much, headhunting too tropical
but buying the hair of a dead woman you can’t know
is quite the thing. Your age, Jane, would craft sad crap
like this weeping whale-spout from bits of loved ones,
so willowy wrists were always kissed by absent lips,
dead, or gone to Australia. Perhaps the buyer loves
your wit and grace, balanced like a cat walking over
a bark of craning dogs; the way your corseted matter
could expand beyond tight binding without showing
the pumping. Or perhaps your dead snips are stalked
by modern zombies of celebrity, shameless and bloody.
A bit like Bath, but bigger. Personally, I blame the BBC.

P.S. Cottier

only more old-school

only more old-school

Two hundred years since Pride and Prejudice this year, and I thought it was appropriate to post this little poem (first published in Eureka Street and then in The Cancellation of Clouds) about the author. I hate those BBC dramas where the clothes seem to be the main feature. Austen’s strength was her prose style, not her embroidery.

Tap this quill and be taken to a site where many poems appear:

Tuesday Poem

Rapunzel’s lesson

And after they have stopped swarming up
massing like armoured lice, itching, pulling…
What then?

Nothing in this world in free, she said, dear
mother, before she died, like all mothers
in this castellated world.

And she was right. After the long climb
they ask for my hand. Hair, rope-pulled,
then hand, for life.

I’ve learnt. I flick my golden ladder
and watch them free-fall, moat-wards,
screaming, motes of shiny dandruff.

And then I comb my hair.

P.S. Cottier

‘Rapunzel’s lesson’ was highly commended in The Bridge Foundation poetry competition, October 2009.

In an exciting development (well exciting for me, anyway) Tim Jones and I will soon begin editing a book of Australian speculative poetry. As you all know, that’s science fiction, fantasy, horror and magic realism. It will be published by Interactive Publications of Queensland. The book will contain new poems as well as previously published works, so watch out for the call for submissions and further details, dear fellow Australians of a poetic bent.

I am looking forward to working with Tim, who I have only met electronically. Amazing what a little Tuesday Poem can bring about. As he has previously edited Voyagers with Mark Pirie, he has the runs on the board, speculatively speaking.

So the little fantasy poem above is a tribute to Books Yet to Come.

Tim Jones

I spent most of the weekend at the Conflux science fiction convention in Canberra, where I met some poets who I will spank with Rapunzel’s hairbrush if they do not submit to the anthology.

They have been warned…

For further poetry, press this raven’s feather. Never say nevermore, chickies.
Tuesday Poem