Sling

The baby, softly breathing on my chest
offers me his fuzzy scalp to kiss.
His warmth is on my belly
his lips against my breast.
He’s ready to embrace.

Strapped on firmly as I work and walk and rest
my baby, softly sleeping, fills my abyss.
He’s heavy on my body
but easy on my heart.
He’s ready to embrace.
He’s my emblem of peace.

(First published in An Endless Afternoon)

Herd

‘Standing with Light’ by Michael Iwanoff.
1987, oil on canvas.
New Norcia Art Gallery, Western Australia.

Bent black trees.
A huddled settlement:
herd and children.
Black birth houses,
blood bridges,
death-blue water, drips of ancient snow.
Sheer cliffs — hundreds of feet.

Then light, dusting, manna-ing down
offering fake salvation
McDonald’s redemption —
and the shivering villagers, unguided, follow.

untitled (‘Take a stick to the truth’)

Take a stick to the truth, a
stirring stick, a mixing stick
and stick
your truth all over me like jewels,
like geegaws, fabulous flashes, black
flak jackets, cigarette packets, like
nothing on earth, like birth, like, like,
California, I’ve never been there…

Where are you?
In America. Anywhere
in America.
And the wind
howls and the walls creak
and the trees
shiver and the animals wail
and the weapons take over
the warriors.
There are no more warriors, only operators.

Stick to the truth. I loathe
your lies, those grey lying
ways. Don’t you be like that.
Stay with us, now! Stay real, y’hear me?
I want no plastic doll. Reality,
I want reality and make no
mistake — make all the mistakes you can.
I want no fake, no sharp mask. Your
own flawed skin, uneven jawline, off-white teeth.
Stick to the truth.

(First published in the forum on atu2.com)

Unavoidable

Swan.
Unthinkable beauty in that black neck.
That tight body, ski feet,
small-brained head.

Cat.
Unstretchable beauty in those essential eyes,
ancient silent walk, springloaded pause,
silken hackles.

Moth.
Untouchable beauty in those dusted wings.
That startling width, torpedo abdomen,
phototropic rush.

Man.
Unavoidable beauty in that aggressive skull,
self-referential ego, deaf buttocks,
ever-watchful penis.

(First published in Malleable Jangle)