since you left I have had to reshape my idea of what love is


love used to be coupled in your hands
between your arms
chest to crumpled cheek
bone to rib cage bone


love used to be chocol­ate smeared bod­ies
showers together
two lives that didn’t quite fit
but we made it any­way


soon I’ll be with someone new
someone I can’t dream up now
soon their hands will be my love
their eyes on mine
over a crowded room
hands to hip bone bend
will mean




but the trick is
chan­ging what love means
without for­get­ting what it once meant


I don’t want to for­get
that love once meant


and that to you
love once meant


closed gate
lost sea­farer
ocean rises
lost sea­farer
returns home
a child runs


are boxes
hol­low with air
and other things
that blink but
it’s the box of air
that’s mainly there cos
com­puters are boxes of magic
mak­ing the intan­gible
into our every day
and every­one knows
that magic
comes from thin air
or from a box


I am a mobile hot­spot
Of hap­pi­ness. I want to share
My wire­less joy
With every­one in this
Big cruel city.

Our Future

so I said, we go together now

in this clapped out car

with the hand break off

drink­ing gin from a jar

down down round round


I met him in West­ern Aus­tralia and the sun­set over the ocean didn’t mat­ter because he was look­ing at me with a pair of fluor­es­cent ideas, before I knew it we jumped the fest­ival fence where we danced with bare feet, where we danced with a cigar­ette in one hand, and our time for each other in the other


we go together now

in this clapped out car

with the seat­belt off

drink­ing time from a

down down round round


in the morn­ing the sun shone onto our dream stained mat­tress  and he told me that he flies out the next day to one of the min­ing towns out Kar­ratha way where death smells like watered down dust and loneli­ness is the only home you’ve got


he drives the trucks there

and he drives them in circles

down down, round round


and I told him it was a choice but he asked me what sort of choice it is when you’re nine­teen and alone, hated school, Mum’s on the pokies, and they’re pay­ing $120 grand a year. You’ve never seen that kind of money in your life.


but four weeks on and one week off isn’t enough time for a love story, not when you run out of things to talk about because the rocks don’t change, the circles don’t change, the times don’t change, but some­how the love does


before he knew it he was thirty

he real­ised he never had time to love anyone

because he spent eleven years

driv­ing rocks around in circles

round round down down

ori­gin­ally pub­lished in Bur­ley Issue 3 2012


this is the story of a bird­watcher
stuck in the city
because he’s too damn frail and old and broken to leave
the sky­scrapers are built around him
cage him
all he could see are snip­pets of sky in this unfa­mil­iar place
where even the stars seem rearranged


so now he sits atop high-rise bal­cony
wait­ing for a breath­tak­ing bird to appear
gaz­ing out over the con­crete can­opy
and he’s been wait­ing for years
yeh, he’s been wait­ing for years


stay with me now, because his moment is com­ing
he’s feel­ing it now, because his temples are drum­ming
his ear drums are hum­ming
the rising sound is quickly becom­ing
a sur­ging, emer­ging, con­ver­ging beat
urging up from the soul of the earth to his feet
from his feet to his heart to his eyes complete


and he sees
the bird of his dreams
fly across the sky­line
on blue shim­mer­ing wings
with a call that will chill you
like the dawn wind


and he knows that her feath­ers
are hold­ing his heart together
and in this moment
he will watch her forever


but even as she rises she is fall­ing
even as she sings she is cry­ing
deep in her heart she is call­ing / out
to those dream­ing and lying


and its not so much that he hears it in his ears
but feels the mean­ing in his mind
and her cry sets him free
from his cage inside


she says
don’t be afraid
when the stars rearrange
in this world we will change, be remade
so don’t be afraid when the stars rearrange
you don’t need to be saved
you will be remade
don’t be afraid,
yeh, don’t be afraid


and with that final call

he sees her shim­mer­ing wings collapse

her slender neck does crack

and she falls

leav­ing empty air again


he runs to her


he finds her caught a storm­wa­ter drain

oil slick in her wings fuels his dismay

cigar­ette butts stain her shim­mer­ing feathers

and her wing­tips rise and fall with the waves


he holds her broken body in his hands

while he holds her echo in his mind

don’t be afraid

when the stars rearrange

yeh, don’t be afraid

I Have Been Learning About People

I have been learn­ing
About people. She
Flicks a flicker of cigar­ette
Into the golden air like
She doesn’t mind that she might
Set the sky alight.


I have been learn­ing
That people are like row­boats
Pressed together at low tide
Rub­bing salty flanks with each
Rolling wave, find­ing where
The joints are weak­est,
Where they can let
The sea into the soul.


I have been learn­ing
That people are not fra­gile
Like glass; they are fra­gile
Like lan­guage
And mean as many things
As there are syn­onyms
In the stars
And are as dis­tant
And close
And require as much patience
And time
As the stars.


I have been learn­ing
That I will never stop learn­ing
About people
But per­haps I will under­stand people
Like the sea under­stands
The belly of the row­boat
And the night under­stands
The shout­ing stars
And the glass under­stands
The end­less desire of gravity.


Here are my joints. Here:
I am salt and read­i­ness,
Let the sea into my soul.

This Blue Earth Planet

The things we play with on the sur­face of this blue earth planet
Are crys­tal rocks for look­ing through
Are melted sand-glass jars for hold­ing liquids in
Are fer­ment­ing fruits and clocks for count­ing cogs
and each oth­ers’ rhythms and tunes.
Some times we can catch hold of these knots of exist­ence,
see them sewn into a line of a song
a glance of an eye, a smile or stare.


Hold them to your chest and let them beat there against you
pump their tune, through your blood and through your body,
let them move the single cells inside you who organ­ise them­selves
into organs and thoughts for the ringing of bells.
Hold these tunes to your ear, press the glass jar and thin tin lid
close enough to listen to this whirl­ing, sus­pen­ded
in this moment, that we all are alive enough to hear.


The things we play with on the sur­face of this blue earth planet
Are threaded thoughts for weav­ing together words and worlds
about being creatures sub­ject to believ­ing and sleep­ing,
find­ing and need­ing, des­troy­ing and keep­ing.
The things we play with on the sur­face of this blue earth planet
Are molecules for breath­ing in and eat­ing.
We take up, recre­ate, dis­cover, alter, change and make space
on the sur­face of this sphere
all the time won­der­ing about the cogs of ourselves,
and the keys of the oth­ers who inhabit this blue earth planet.

boston marathon bombing

In the year
(Every year)


In the spring
When the trees
Mist green


Or late sum­mer
When the trucks
Leave red dust
On the rails
Of footpaths


We learn words
That go together
Hold­ing hands
Like chil­dren do:


nine eleven
fukushima explo­sion
tube bomb­ing
box­ing day tsunami
bali bomb­ing
can­berra bushfires


My child­hood is
Carved with them
The memory
Of first hearing


Those words
Together like
A child being born


boston mara­thon bombing


Is another to add
To my memory


The dates fade
And faces and the
Places you sat
When you found out
How your legs
Were fol­ded and
Who you were
In love with but


The words
In the man­ner
Of words
Carved into us


Like nurs­ery rhymes
And fairy tales
Like an eight year old’s
Life spread across a street;


When we are altzheimers
And bones
We will remem­ber
And sing
Under our breaths


boston mara­thon bomb­ing
can­berra bush­fires
bali bomb­ing
box­ing day tsunami
tube bomb­ing
fukushima explo­sion
nine eleven.

Woden, after work

I like to run through
Woden Bus inter­change
after work
tired legs fly­ing past com­muters and high­school kids
freed from a librarian’s sub­dued decorum
leap­ing strides down the hill
to the city-bound 300
that is just about to leave
or run­ning just for this
wait­ing bus or not
passing the tangled shop­ping trol­leys
and cigar­ette stained cement
people made inert by timetables
still­ness their tithe
for mov­ing other places
blood pump­ing to my thump­ing feet
I’ve made my pact with grav­ity
Woden Bus Inter­change is best taken at a run