You ask me what is it

this brittle I’m speaking of:

what is this short temper?

And I am cracking the colours

having broken the blue

I say brittle is like this

and the shortness in my own breath

shows me how long I have been wanting

that exact blue of your eyes.

The red is no better

run like the Rio Dulce into murk

nothing can save us now

the sweet scratch of your nail

through the hardening colour

makes red redder and the

small smile you give me

is as clear as the sky.

Then, yellow will not shatter.

Yellow will not yield

my thumbs are worn, nail bed

lifting from my scratching at the

yellow you say brittle in my ear

and I know myself that I shatter

in the the yellow centre.

We have found the colours,

collected them and grouped them

we made them run and spilt them

we have seen that they each will do

the thing they themselves dictate

being made waxy and soft

until they cool. Then they are

as crisp as the day

and as likely to crack into shapes

spelling brittle across the board.

You sisters take the round ones

and make marks big and small

over huge sheets of paper.

The spangled colours are

as mixed and sweet

as the lines on the maps that show the way.

The Brood


Diamonds puppies fury lunch
Tripping lipping sipping punch
Siblings eyeing words they munch

Ouching oozing silency yum
Wriggling woozing in my tum
Crunching shoulders turning numb

Move on droove on how bout that
Try it fly it give her a pat
Joking hoking – I think not.

By Penny Foster.

Penny understands the poplar fluff myth having spent a year at ANU and
appreciates Canberra for what it is having lived too many years in Sydney.
She randomly writes poetry at odd hours of the night, enjoys a bit of
pottery and loves listening to loud music.


Penny is the first of my guests in december. Enjoy!

245 days


The air is tangled

all around her

filaments in and out

of these breaths I count

the snug of her

against my side

warm that’s mine

but now her’s.

How can I know her

and not – ?

those days she spent

gathering herself from me

in and out with the


up and down of the two hearts

rubbing rubbing

chaffing life up.

As if this face has always

been with me

and is more my own

than the mirror or window’s

bright fleck of person.

But only this short time

the sleep of her

so enormous.




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 4: luminous familiar


The sky-eyed face that buries itself
In my chest is luminous familiar
All the breath
all those ins those outs

The pupil’s yawn
that orchid mouth
Span of forehead my own
To claim and paste with kisses

Even if we were not suckled together
This embrace
Repeated and repeated
A dance of hunger and relief

The ‘o’ of your needs
To the full stop of my nipple
The curlicue of your body
To the asterisk of my hand

At the break of night
Or fall of day
One eating the tail of the other
No beginning or exact end.

a light dark thing


It is stark night

naked angles, planes of light

flipping reflections of day

like silent film



These sounds exist:

all paddy pawed the cat

paces somewhere;

the crickets crinkle the air

the breath breath breath of sleeping.


Still – except for the tumbling,

dark – except for the light

silent – except for all these pinprick sounds

that exit and enter

theatrical.  The wind applauds in the trees.


You turn and turn

a bird in my stomach

a clasp of wing and stretch

tumbled against the inner body’s wall

feather light, a light dark thing

pitching into the unknown

as fearless as flight.



She uses her sing song voice

to love me

in all my frailty

even when I am menace

and shout to the veiny sky

furious and dangerous.


Even when I crumple

so faced with my own wishes-gone-askew

smeared with the mud of desire

even when I have to stay and she has to go,

she can love me.


She is the fire queen

ice maidens will fall to her torch

and she dreams she has a million

fabric squares to smooth her nose

as she sleeps guarded by

the curled cat.


In all this egg shell world

where the very gravity

wants broken ovals on the stone

where pieces fall fractured triangles of

that curve that’s in her smile

I tell her: she has broken me and

made me whole.



The paragraph where I fall in love

is written, published, distributed

has sat all papery and lush on the shelves

for some years now – but has been read a loud

and sounded out so the words are

round like the moon and just as full

but reflected, now, like so much light.


It is the tang and spring of the garlic in our food

the surprising sweetness in the nip of it

papery and cloven the hooves of it across our floor

like so many feet in the night

searching out the warmth we make

for heat that shatters across the tastebuds

is grown on the good stuff

filled the mattress with its outer layers

falling off and falling.


I will write you poems on fault lines of

this fruiting body

I will drink your breath ’til dawn when you turn in your sleep

and face away from me

I will inscribe all the tiny events

into the curve of the skin

and peel it peel it

the paragraph when I fell in love

in minute letters all over again.

Like Air


From here you can feel the cold breast of the sky

if nursing here the runnels of rain

have been sucked dry and any warm frames of light

succulent like honey barred beams

dried into powder themselves;

a day bees hate, with grey dissatisfaction

they fluff their buzzing bodies and frown down the wind.


But you, having nursed and found the fire’s warmth

in your bones you have no word for afraid

or refrain no other state than barefoot

even in the mud that licks you as you would lick the rain

and stick wet coldness

will fall off you

like air.



You Make me into A Tree


You make me into a tree.

With your sunrise eyes

and your cloudy breath 

that blew you to me

and folds these leaves over, one by one.

I am bone-branches.  I am these jointed twigs.

I am thickets lichened up and berried.

I have sat still so long for you

 with roots tendrilling

 the earthy ground.

All these places for you to climb.

All these hollows in my body for living in.

I hold myself to the sun

with my leaves in the gusty wind.