I dreamed I was starting
in a running race
There were four 400-metre laps
Everyone else limbered up
When the gun went they took off
sending up divots from their spiked shoes
I stretched myself a bit and looked around
The finish line was only 50 metres from the starting blocks
Just there
Practically in front of me
so I walked forward until my belly touched the tape and said, Well?
But the man with the flag said
You're disqualified
You didn't run the four laps
What the hell were you thinking? Get out of here!

First published in Creatrix


But then I dreamed the same back
all covered in skin tags
and that was pretty challenging

but I think it was my body
and him sleeping on it
fronting the world

maybe just wanting to
I don’t know
the dream is the image

in an upstairs rank of some helpline
was it my happiness?
I don’t knit

but I think it was my bed
and him sitting on it
facing the wall

all that stupidity
I relinquish to mindlessness
simplicity and shallowness and smooth geology

and me behind his naked back
I don’t know
maybe touching

I did the song of his body
the beautiful silken song
standing up on a platform

all that skin
I resort to metaphor
sun and shade and smooth grass

and me behind his naked breath
I don’t knit
maybe testing

in an upstairs room of some house
was it my house?
I don’t know

maybe just wondering
I don’t knit
the delicacy is the issue

I dreamed the skin of his back
the beautiful silken skin
sitting up on a bed

but then I descended the same breath
all covered in density
and that was pretty convincing

First published in Australian Poetry Journal 5(2), November 2015

Dream 47

Let me tell you this.
You don’t know him.

You imagine him
in a place of dreams,
a place with not walls but a broad plain
on all sides of him,
a spread of sand,
thin grass,
dry shed skins
to warn off all who approach the line
he’s drawn around his balls.

You imagine him with balls,
a player.

Your voice is an etch,
your veins itch,
your song is the shriek of a wound,

but you don’t know him.

He’s not the place
of dreams,
the archway face,
the doorway body.
He’s not the dreamed hands
holding the dreamed map.
He’s not

the figure.

He’s the kinetic energy
of your pelvis, the mass
of your femur, the velocity
of your toes, the moment
of your sole printing
each next section

of ground.

and there
and there
and there.
He’s the dark walk,
the turning,
the going.

The not knowing.

First published in Creatrix

East Street

From the roof of the flats on East Street I can see the ships in the harbour and on the sea lined up, coming and going and waiting.

All night from my futon lying on the nylon carpet in the ground floor flat on East Street I can hear the cranes unloading the stuff from Asia and I wonder if the ships go back empty because the ore is loaded at other ports like Hedland and Dampier.

Opposite the flats on East Street is a red pillarbox from which we can send a letter to anywhere.

In through the western windows and across the flat on East Street sweeps the sea-scented wind, past my bin and bookcase and over my desk and out.

When a sheep ship comes in, the air on East Street smells like a sewer in a third-world country such as England in the time of Dickens.

The sewers under the ground around East Street don’t have much of a history as far as I know.

When a sheep ship is tied to the wharf the air on East Street brings me the sweat and shit of thousands of captive bodies whose flesh will be sold for profit.

The red pillarbox on East Street somehow still belongs to the government, or perhaps it belongs to the Queen whose initials are probably not on it, or perhaps like the wind on East Street it belongs to no-one.

When the air on East Street smells of captive bodies it’s hard to work without closing the windows and lighting a candle scented with rose or vanilla.

The candles in the flat on East Street were bought from Dusk, a candle retailing corporation.

The candles in the flat on East Street are made from wax taken and modified maybe from the hives of bees, maybe from some black-slicked well in the earth, maybe from somewhere else: I’ve never thought to ask, and I don’t suppose the assistant in Dusk would know.

When my daughter was in the flat on East Street writing, on the paper she’d bought from a stationery retailing corporation with money she got by selling her time and labour to a fast food marketing and retailing corporation, her first paper letter to a friend in Brisbane, she lit her own candle also bought from Dusk but made with soy wax.

No bees were harmed that day in the flat on East Street or so she said.

As she wrote I cleaned the windows and oven and the visible parts of the fridge of the flat on East Street to maintain my good relationship with the property manager from the accommodation and lifestyle marketing corporation, who is coming on Thursday to inspect and report to the owner, a chef named Michael who feeds the workers of the mining corporations, and I saw how the candle grew smaller and the letter grew longer and the gases from the candle and our bodies put smells in the air.

The report on the flat on East Street will say ‘Clean and tidy throughout’ and ‘Tenant presents a lovely home — thank you.’