Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday Poem - Damp little Oedipus by Helen Lehndorf

Damp little Oedipus

The bed is a boat, filling with, filling with—
we are trying to launch into sleep
limp, limp, lull and skull
hot, close night—95% humidity,
5% humility,
0% humanity

His naked six year old body in the lamp-
light taking up the bed. Breathing the air
holding my cheeks in his hands, using
my breast for a pillow, grinding grinding his knee
into my thigh. We tried so many times
to put him back to bed but he was so hot
he sprang back, he would spring up
and we keep finding him here,
right in the middle of us.

He is clam,
all clammy and cling-cling.
You peel him off the bed:

'Damp little Oedipus', you fold him in a sheet
and mail him back to bed, you wedge his door
shut with James Joyce's 'Ulysses'. He goes
cry,cry,cry but we select deafness.

We are finally drifting off and then I wake us up to say
'What are you thinking about?' and you say
'Computer hardware' and make a small
mock-orgasmic sound.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tuesday Poem - James Dean by James Norcliffe

James Dean

When the workmen had finally finished cutting the heavy black rubber tubing from the machine, they retired to a bench for a smoke.

One sat apart from the others with a faraway smile on his face. He was shirtless and his upper body was bronzed and shiny.

When he leaned into the circle of his hand, a match flickering there, I saw at once that this was James Dean.

He sat alone then, smiling, his cigarette like a tiny white exhaust pipe, dangling from his lower lip.

I wanted to speak to him, but I was too shy. He was already famous. I wanted to warn him of the flickering flame, the drifts of smoke.

But it was not possible I knew. I was too shy to attempt more than a small nod and a half smile, which he did acknowledge with a tip of his finger.

Besides, he would have thought I was referring to his Lucky Strike. Besides he was writing his own story, and it was his alone, not mine.

Here's another lovely poem I found in the latest edition of Poetry NZ. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tuesday Poem - how long until the accident? by Helen Lehndorf

how long until the accident?

When I move to the new house will I be a better person?
We are leaving behind the placenta under the kowhai tree,
and the kowhai tree. I hate myself for caring what happens
to that tree. Hullo, hullo, I have to go. People don't write
letters any more, they send pixellated kisses. In today's news,
Finn broke his ankle again, says he has weak ankles.
More likely it is the stairs he falls down when he's drunk.
Scandal, scandal birthday candle.
He suggests a movie where 'there is no hugging and nobody
learns anything.' I will see if I can bend the hinge of family
enough to be let out. Smothered. Sfathered.

Starting to finally leave, to stare out windows to the south
of the city. Words/deeds. There are real birds and cd birds.
There is real rain and radio rain. When I move to the new house
what if I end up in flames? Not arson. Spontaneous.
It'll do, in the Manawatu. In the new house, I learn the weight
of the key, the contours of the lock. Mind that step,
it wobbles. I take my first drink of water from the tap, baptism.
His cupboard sticks. Place things on shelves gingerly,
like the house might shake them off. Watch your step.

I came upon two of Helen's poems in the new Poetry NZ. I really like them,
so intimate and playful. I will post the second poem soon.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Tuesday Poem - Ceilings by Joyce Lee


In the sleepout,
the pattern in one corner
of the pressed metal ceiling
did not match, offended me.

Parents watched pennies;
the handyman patches
instead of using another sheet.

Joyce Lee 1913-2007 was for a short time the oldest poet in Australia. I have just read her book
'Bountiful Years' and found it wise and calm and loving.

Anne Carson, her literary executor tells me - “I still have copies to sell/give. Happy to give any away to a good cause or post out for a small charge.”

Her email is am.carson@optusnet.com.au