the window

I would make a mirror
from whatever I
have, so that you can see
that you are not
that there is nothing
to fix,
that you are not a machine,
to be utilised
or left to rust —
that, as I have told you before,
you are a living tree.

Today it seems to me
that you are a bonsai,
trunk trammelled by wires into tight
stunted twists,
roots trimmed, contained, compressed
in a box,
over-reaching branches

What is the secret
of the bonsai?

Perhaps it longs
to be a giant tree in a public park,
sheltering all kinds of creatures
from the flensing wind and blast-furnace sun,
spreading a generous mulch of leaves,
throwing up seedlings,
having initials carved in its skin
by random lovers and idlers.

Perhaps it likes
its current situation
on a sunny sill
in a small house,
the nibbles and nips
of its particular custodian,
the measured irrigation,
the admiring apprehension
of visiting connoisseurs.

Or perhaps it yearns
for nothing more
than a way
to open the window,
so it may have
the peppermint mist,
the chilli sun,
and the jasmine midnight moonlight
on its leaves.

(First published in Creatrix)

Shut up

Words don’t come, just image: that
skin. A long piece of silk. When
I touched him, the voice
shut up. His
jasmine sheath
quieted it.

Confucius pronounces
that I should never
have done it. I am not
what is needed: a wife, a womb.

Confucius has no name for what I am.

Wanting only to play,
abandoned by scripture,
at creation’s end,

I cry hard.
Curled in a fetal fist
around black-mud sobs
and howls, an animal
in pain, a baby

I let out the noises I shut up
when I was tiny.

‘Do not cry. You
must speak nicely. Gentle
persons do not wail and keen.’

The family of Confucius,
ranked in their millions,
insist that there are hundreds
of men. ‘Why not accept
one in cotton: ample
and kind?’

I want a lover
whose Tao skin
empties my mind.

(First published in Poetry D’Amour (WA Poets Inc 2013))

Please be reassured

Please be reassured
that devices of your class
are highly valued.
Self-maintenance is unnecessary
as servicing and consumables
are provided frequently.

Efficient operation is all
that is required,
along with appropriate noises
produced within projected timeframes.
Devices of your class are numbered
among our assets.

In the event of malfunction
repair may be feasible. If not,
repositioning may
be available. For example
a refrigerator
may become a cupboard.

In this eventuality
please be reassured
that no noises
are necessary.

Alternatively you may be placed
on the roadside. In accordance
with our safety and privacy policies,
hazardous components will be removed,
together with any components
that may be attractive to scavengers.

In this eventuality
please be reassured
that no action
is necessary.

(First published on Uneven Floor)