Monday, January 27, 2014

Tuesday Poem - oh yes by Jennifer Compton

oh yes

alexandra has a lot on her plate oh yes
she is scoffing up & chewing hard on
& the unexpected but very welcome baby oh yes
i mopped her kitchen floor while nicholas slept
she tinkered with a story
using one finger & one side of her brain
i scrubbed the stove top oh yes
she tapped
i scoured
we spoke
like guys at a work bench bent to it not seeking eye contact
at 6 am we had checked out the news nicholas on her tit
& the news was very hideous
but not quite critical mass yet oh yes not meltdown yet
no one would invite a child into this big raw mess
but if they insist
if they take their chance & muscle in it's on their heads good luck
so on to the chiropractor in berwick for our bad backs
i needed x-rays so alexandra ran me round to radiology
nicholas threw a jaunty arm across his nana's knee
& stood on his own feet which is his new trick
just look at me
oh yes
elderly girl fans on the far side of the waiting room exulted
their palms clasped together with an oh oh yes
then a polish woman with a fuckyou face said to my nakedness
hold still plis

I am giving this poem an airing as a page poem because it was recently aired as
an audio file as part of the latest issue of Going Down Swinging. I think you can
access it on the link below if you want to hear what it sounds like.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tuesday Poem - Provenance by Jennifer Compton


There will be no card in the post come October with a $20 note tucked inside
           a card with a horse's head or a bouquet tied with ribbon
                     a looping scribblewritten propped up in bed
                               recommending cake or a box of chocs.


As I predicted no card arrived from the woman who had given me my birthday.
It would have been remarkable if it had. But I checked the letterbox. No card.
I don’t much like cake and chocolate. Once I had caved in to my own tastes
I always bought smokes. I checked the letterbox again. Still nothing. How odd.
I feel as light as the fruit of a dandelion, or a puff of smoke, I light a cigarette.
I look at the sky, I pull a weedbarefoot my birthday, and still no card yet.


I know the glass dog with one leg missing, which could stand if propped
against the side mirror of her dressing table
his nose like a blueberry, his raspberry eyes—

was sent by her brother, during the war, from Belgium, and broken en route.
           But now I will never know the provenance of the plate that
                    was always used for pavlova—topped with passionfruit,

or chinese gooseberries, or tree tomatoes. I have it in my dresser, propped,
           did people gift cake plates, or was it for the glory box?
                     If I never asked now I will never know.

There is no way of knowing. Everyone who knew the provenance of things
is dead. The old women, who tended these things
a flick of the dust rag, and every once in a while

a dip in soapsuds and a roll and a pat in a towel—all the old women are gone.
Does anyone know that my toast rack shaped like a swan
                       was a wedding present from great-aunt Nell back in 1971?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Tuesday Poem - Snowflake by Anthony Lawrence


My mother kept a snowflake
in the freezer all winter.
Each time she opened the door
of the refrigerator
she would make a sound
like a Burmese kitten
being surprised by itself.
When I asked how she could tell
her snowflake from so many
crystals of ice, her smile
revealed the sapphires she'd had set
into her front teeth, and she said
'Mine has worn an intricate
indentation as though
hot lace had passed
between the peas and ice cream.'
I settled for that, as I knew how hard
she had to work to keep level.
At dinner I would pretend
to be a good son, and her smile
enameled the table
with points of dark blue light.

I was passing through Sydney last year and happened to be staying around
the corner from the Friend In Hand in Glebe where Puncher & Wattman were
launching a couple of books. One of them was Signal Flare by Anthony Lawrence.
Now this is a book that is stuffed full of wonderful poetry and the difficulty for me
was which one to choose. Anthony Lawrence just keeps on getting better and
 better. After much dithering I went with Snowflake (and not The Linesman, Owl,
Appellations,The Decision, Domestic Emergencies or Winging It) because I heard 
Anthony read Snowflake at the launch and it got under my skin.