The Cloud Parade


they are so buff

the light the shadow

the definition of them

crowding to bulges skin cannot know

tempting the magician in all of us

to say – I know, ididthatonce.

but it would be a lie

because the way they gain weight

and sturdy their tendons

is octopus swivel territory

through a loop in the wind they are

parading until they need to cry



down on the isthmus of your neck

there’s a flecked pattern only i know how to read:

the seams and tracings

are where we will meet

and know another one day

we will be so changed and become so stiff

we can no longer nod

our necks and heads one cracking joint

where thoughts are ants that have lost their way

one thing might join another

scarred up where the surgeon

pressed his scalpel in and down

long ago and with such grace

that the sweep of it is the one same line

it says our bodies protrude like arms of land

out into the sea of air

scoping space from other elements

insisting on salt and iron to make up blood

and then calcifying with so many

tiny crystal infusions that draw their edges

exactly as the sun shade speckle

that fell on your skin

immaculately out of view so

no matter how you crane

you cannot see

Kiss Sleep Goodnight


the plunge was taken

wet lips to forehead

remember waking by yourself?

when light tongued the wall

lick marked the window

yellow saliva on the foot of your bed?

no matter how many times

you changed the sheets still that smell

of kissing goodbye to sleep

rock a bye dreaming

because it doesn’t matter if it’s yours

mine, the way the earth breathes out

at 3 am and saunters towards morning

the 2 way breath hissing spindrift

all the ways we travel will lead us here in the end

together, apart then together again

dark, light and dark again

the inside outside of my mother’s body

Dog For Caitlin


Dog For Caitlin

That summer we loved a small black dog

Whose eyes always seemed to

see beyond the immediate –

moving her neck from our stroking

To examine the future-hazed distance.

She lay by the door, always found the shaded places,

the tunnel through the honeysuckle, the trough

under the verandah where coolness pooled

musty, in the old dairy dark.

She would come when we called,

out into the light, her eyes half-closed

her muzzled dusted

and she would let us stroke

– with our sticky child’s hands –

her earth-cooled fur.

Sacred Magpie


Imagine the traffic skirting your tree
hunter of the underground
your liquid voice – it brings up the sun while you carry shadows on you back – the past’s setting only knows noir
there was only ever right or wrong –
notes so perfect and flute clean
to make the crisp morning tremble
all you worshippers surrender themselves
imagining their own pied skins under the furs
setting candles at your alter and carving your totem into their footprints
hushing the children to listen
listen to the song of the surviving bird.
Planes change course to avoid disturbing your nestlings;
fledglings are guarded by boys who have learnt to cup their hands so gently
that they are known as magpie monks
and are given special privileges
like staying up with the elders to listen
for the September cracking of the blue eggs.
all this for the bare tremulous note.
The true song.
The bird law.



As the sky leaks

so will you

a minute apocalypse

of fluid

once seemed to be yours then falls

and you find yourself outside yourself

exacting callous flow

from time to time.

He cannot change this

small wonder

that leached your bones’ own filaments

the fine lines of marrow


from the sun or some explosion

in the sky

where all this seems to start

and end.

You see yourself

as structured from surroundings

like birds

who weather

wear the sky from claw to beak

themselves a drop of yolk

sunset pinched to yellow

the salt blue of that fellow

how the clotted bloodstream

twisted up with iron and elements

whose very names – nitrogen oxygen hydrogen –

are foreign outsiders marching

on time’s own order

not soldiers of the self

that pulled me from you and then on again

file after file

in a library of clouds.

Some days you are the sky’s

immense sadness

that speaks up and is surrendered to

blood cord taught

that ends all ends

and will conclude…

Friday Poem 3: Map of the Uneaten


The kitchen has all the evidence

of breakfast balanced in exact disorder;

the egg shells spills of milk

fresh grains of crumpled weetbix

finely ground by hand

and honey strands arranged from

jar to lip and back to jar.


I am armed with a cloth

about to wipe it clean and delete the morning’s ritual

divide the crusts among the chickens

water down the dust and spray

sand away the places you carved your names

the indelible crayon that travels

beyond the paper and onto the wood.


But there, in the slant of the morning

my will, my wishbone shatters.

It is now mixed with the milky map of the uneaten,

I watch it congeal next to the toast

which is exactly as you left it

and travels from past to present and back again.


There will not be another morning

with clamour and mixing of this honey and this time;

the children have left

there is no returning

even from lip to lip

no more milky traces to follow home.


Friday Poem 2 – Stains


the smooth sky is rapid with wind
air that smacks heat and belts the trees with it
until they bend into sulky mouths

the slap-down heat of the iron hot hands
melts bitumen with the constant light
all along the famished grass

flicking and bloodless clouds
mock shadow under the eye
the covered stains beneath skin

scales as it heals and dries
to stormcloud edging as hidden
as pollution and as rife.

Friday Poem 1 – Currawong


The villain currawong owns the whole garden;
on cusp of morning the swoop of his voice
corrugates the quiet
the flute and twist
of the future
nest and swoop
mimic his yellow speckled eye.

His black intention
intuits the sun
pricks the light from shadow
flies into the house
and collects up the morsels
leftover laughter
cut-offs of thought
that tremble under the table.

His scimitar beak will load them all
his throat tickled by that last thread of your dream
that pendant of your longing
and he flies it home
to the white manifora
after he feeds some to his young
swallows the rest whole.