The poetry that appeared in Meanjin in 2017 included poems by newcomers to our pages—Shastra Deo, Jodie Hollander, and Ross Gillett—alongside poems by veterans such as Anthony Lawrence, Andrew Sant, and John Kinsella.
After my mother passed away, freed from her suffering, the house
felt empty, and the sea, churning waves, glanced up to hill’s crest.
My brother tried to strangle me but a neighbour saw it happen.
winding tendrils of vibrant green. leaves checked & the dead pinched daily. yellow flowers worried & shaken with electric toothbrush. we water wait. lorikeets shriek keenly from shadowed gum trees. swallows click & circle, their whips twitching her leaves. but despite our efforts she won’t fruit for months. we wait for when winter breaks with light- show storms. the gift of springtime ruckus: humid air & rain bathing down to her roots.
A blue sky canvas frames a couple of vases,
a couple of bowls, and the fifth wheel:
a small plate crossed diagonally …
After the photograph ‘Feral Spirits’ by Sam Hobson horseshoe clouds close in over the solid formation of headstones adding night to the stone cold immobility of the past a flock of rose-ringed parakeets wings over the faint glow of streetlights luminous, warm-blooded consumed by motion red-beaked immigrants their brilliance defies the cool earth olive green and yellow-feathered thousands seek roosting trees to saturate with sound a cherub huddles at the base of a stone ground-dweller, oblivious to a parakeet sky the birds’ ghostly trails forging a new and vibrant history
i missed you so i held myself between morning walls and moaned alone. filled house with your hair, drew blinds. hid in shadow patches, evaded light for relief. i ate advil, wrestled bed sheets. played a song that rang out too long, did not call you. i watched the candle burn, stayed the course. i tried on your t-shirt, stood in the mirror, shivered hands along my sloping chest, it was not the same. i missed you. so walked the other way to the park. hated a girl, her thickish animal hair and rosebud arse, walking with a man who […]
The bees settle on the lawn, four, five swarms, and Mandy down the road stops watering the side of her house to call, says ‘I wouldn’t come outside’. Man and dog are allergic. Stuck in the thin fibro, no-AC, while the day heats and the light off the ocean is glass sharp. A particular kind of inside exile to daytime TV and furtive smoke breaks in the toilet, while the lawn crawls like the shoulder of a tiger stretching. You can’t drink the bore water and what’s fresh is a car ride away. The filtered water lessens and then the […]
Nightlights strobe through the window’s condensation, signals from anywhere, a stratosphere, at 3 or 4 am—sometime to find oneself suddenly awake, making haste across a country that will forever contain others’ breadth of residential moonshadow. Or an owl’s. The train’s motion is all; sleep the only known border when travelling through such space. Then slowing to a halt, somewhere as gripping as grease, wheels seizing the rails, as if a reason to continue on into the long night is duly being mustered, a wearisome matter. Sleep, then. The resumed rhythm of the train under the stars […]
years go by then minutes
a bag stands in the corner
full and empty
Art Gallery of New South Wales, May 2017 A man undressed, lying on his back, propped on pillows. His legs are open. His pencilled lines curve: stroked pubic curls, weighted scrotum— The penis: asleep, hooded. Careless thighs exit the page. More. I have never fastened a ticking watch around a cock and balls, or tied a neat bow around a man’s girth as a present. The soles of these feet: a wrinkled cave of skin, akin to a woman’s soft receiving.
The feijoa flowers as if to itself. All of this (it seems to say). All of this. Out in the garden the lorikeets are reverent in a chatty way. The light says we are beside the sea a glimpse of water and fuschia. There’s kangaroo paw. In everyone’s gardens the horizon. We read the possibility of summer in the sound of insects the wind chilling, showers possible and changeable. The trees wave their raggedy hands in the sky. Every year pink blossom. Pollen drift in the air.
Brainscan blue of the horizon’s edge before dawn. That is the blue of indecision. Five blue lights blinking the plane through metaldust sky while the Pacific lilts like aquarium-plastic around some humid or hypothermic blue latitude. Look closer. Here’s Stradbroke Island in shades of blue-ringed octopus, blackblue crabs on rocks like moving bruises. Drowsy blue of my teetotal grandfather’s tattoo and the blue book of his brain that remembers all birds by their Latin names. Blue guts of swimming pools, blue-tongues scrummed in one shady corner. First and last: the sky’s huge blue hand pressed against the windows.