Strong as Roofs

I imagine breathing the air

breathing the air without you in it.

I imagine silence on my phone,

just the time.

I imagine you dead

as these roads are when the sun is.

And I imagine

there not being a niggly you.


Sometimes we have to lie

I know that I do.

Sometimes I say things

that I don’t even belong to.

Sometimes we gotta sound

strong as roofs.

And try not to feel things

as they slide right from us.


Honey Song

I can’t know

everything a woman must know

to be safe.

But I still try,

like honey sucker birds dig their beaks in,

to see what’s inside.

I dig at you

the way no woman

is supposed to.

I was done

even before the bees

gave birth.

My Heart is a Skeleton

I wish I was bony for you.

You’d have nothing to contend with.

I wish I was bony for you,

so you could find my heart just the way it is.


I wish your touch could find me.

And I wouldn’t wonder how it does.

I wish your touch could find me,

and I could be right there as it does.


And sometimes,

you learn most about you,

when you’re talking to someone about them,

blind as a bat.

And sometimes,

you learn most about you,

when you’re talking to someone

and not really listening.


I wish I was just a skeleton.

So I could be myself around you.

I wish I was just a skeleton

so you could learn about me from scratch.

Myrtle Serpent

Looking at the horizon was like having nan’s specs on. The air had dust in it, it put a grey gauze over the blue of the sky. Looking up I could only think of Januarys in Brizzie, where you could see the heat and you sweat out the backs of your knees. Spring had only just begun but the sun already stung like Peter Garrett’s whispers out of speakers. Made me think of what a bastard summer was going to be but I don’t really mind, I’ve never felt quite me with a jumper on.

Days like this I feel like I’m a horse, I dunno, South Australia somewhere, black fella country. Tepid temperament on her own, roamy thing. I can’t picture myself penned now, what would I be? Mare that arcs up on her hinds, mare that can’t get broken in? But I was picking flowers, my skin tanned, breezy day, and I kinda didn’t mind.

I wandered over to the myrtle, and I won’t lie, my mind wandered a while. The one with the topaz blues was a mite under the bark. I almost didn’t see the brown snake there, grooved into the grass. He had his head up, pale under his neck, and scales on the rest of him were bronze and glittering. The beady eyes did not plead, they sat graceful biding the moment and said, ‘it’s you or me.’ I backed away gently.


Lonely lonesome man’s got a marching band inside his scone. And I leave his van to escape my own. Travelling, I crush the dew on the grass like the holocaust under my cuban heels. He’s left there, sleeping I guess.  A concave mattress within his moving shell.

Pumpkin vines and weeds are to my left, they scamper over something which was once a garden bed. And I think of the present and how it dishevels the past, leaves it unrecognisable sometimes. But the weeds and them vines of pumpkins were once just a seed buried for ron. To be presence of past’s song. They are wild as I pass by, smirk at me in morning light. But I am good with the lord.

Chickens peck, in a bunch, like a flock of fluffy grapes. How long had they been up for? Because light has only just gathered us in its hands. The house sits flat on the land. Roof dotted in red red rust. Her corrugated iron hat keeps an arm’s length over the veranda’s edge. No railings, just boards that come to a stop a leap from the land. And clumps of pale grass feel young again. Stiff, each blade’s got a hard-on from the cool. I’m not sure where to go. Inside the house she’s cold as an old man’s vertebrae, and outside I will be seen and I’m not sure I want to be.  I chose a warm perch. The kangaroos watch as I settle, arse to the earth. They’ve stopped chewin, five or six of them up straight. I keep still as I can so they don’t leave me.

A bee hangs around, hovers above my pointed knee. There are flowers around me. For spring’s clover it is too early, they are tiny lilac blossoms. But the bee has no interest in them, instead he finds a plain stiff blade in between my knees, a hard-on perch of perfect symmetry. And he looks up, wings down, eyes like the goggles of a pilot. ‘What the fuck do you want?’ I go. My ciggie goes out and the lighter is back at the van.

The door is open and there is he flicking through his phone. Hop in he says and so I do. Wrongness and rightness dance like capulet and montague and inside is a blue hue. An Australian flag blocks out the back window, and I count the stars as I lay by his nook. He comments on how uncomfortable I look and I tell him I’m pretty  comfy. ‘Not like that, you know what I mean.’ And I’m not sure I do cos to be fair he doesn’t seem to care. ‘You would have taken off by now, if your ute was here,’ he says. And would I have? I think about that.

Boxy Sting Girl

My mind was eating me up she said in her defense. The weekend was long, and anxiety ate at her like red foxes into calves’ wet umbilical cords.  The thing is with foxes and calves’ umbilical cords is the foxes don’t know when to stop, they’ll just keep chewin until barely a calf is left. Something had to be done, it didn’t feel good anymore.

What is it about time that can change something from being so meringue gooey and light as a prawn cracker sat on the side of your chinese stirfry, crunchy yum tingly on your tongue? He flew her up like a kite. Every day was a series of pirouettes. And then she woke up one day and she only had the desire to run. She wanted to be the evil one. Because she knew the initial sheen of her had rubbed away, time did it, time did it like it does, in the wave of everything,  of him and her, it had exploded and rested again and she could feel the salt creating a crust over her where her sheen once was. There is a period after the wave, where lust has time to settle before love begins. Where there is no sheen. Where the goblins are out and the erection problems, the weird fetishes, the penchant for jealous remarks when one is feeling uneasy, the demand to be phoned when one needs reassurance. And this is a time of no control. To have control during this part you aren’t in it, you are playing a game. This is the time you are as raw as a burn. Naked from an unflattering angle.

She almost hated him. She almost hated him for doing this to her, planting her right here. She had no choice she wanted to be evil, evil in the way she had learnt. Like that time life had taught an old dog (her) new tricks (disconnected sex with multiple men in the one week in the same bed sheets and having a giggle at it, at their expense). She felt powerful then. Impenetrable. Untouchable. She started fantasising about that kind of thing. She started playing a game with him and had no desire for anything else. Every bit of her was electrified and she was ready to sting sting sting like a teeny little deadly jellyfish with a head like a box. This was no way to begin love, she knew that. But what could she do? She had spent enough time around poppy seeds, men with drumsticks and surfboards for noggins and poppy seeds for nuts. And transference took hold. He was just like everyone else. He was not fucking special.

What is a man? A man can only be called a man when he has the ability to stand up when he sees something he likes. A man can only be called a man when he doesn’t drag any poor sod along for his own personal gain. A man can only be called a man when he doesn’t make a sod wait through his um and ar while he digs around for his own scrotum. Men fear far more than women. Women rebirth, we bounce back. I suppose that is why we can begin love easier. We find that camphor laurel root – the pest – when flogging a dead horse becomes too much, and we dig it out. And we may cause a spectacle in doing so, tears and chardonnay and diggin ciggie filters out from between the boards of the deck to keep feeding our wretched over-talking mouths which have gone through the same details for the 64th time. But it all fades  with momentum once we have exorcised ourselves, vomited and purged and shat people to tears. Men sit in their own shit, they sit soiled, it squelching around while they drink and do what they need to and chat up birds in bars, get that remedial warm meaningless wetness on their tip “yeah i’m fine,”  they’ll say. And then a few months in they’ll realise they are still thinkin of her. She ain’t gone. She ain’t in oblivion where they tried to fuck her to. She is still in his head.

She kept busy over the weekend, she did funny things like exercise heaps. Why was she so nervous? Was she worthless, did she really feel that way about herself, or did she truly just know, when the time came, he would back away. While skulking around, and exercising her way through the fight to be a boxy sting girl, would you believe, a past lover called her from the desert. It had been 6 months! God had she wanted him. She had spent the initial weeks in agony. Staying up all night looking at the moon, reaching out to him, telling him she could not sleep. And he was so mean. She’d got done after a bit with floggin the dead horsie. She cut him like brie and sent him sliding on a cracker. But there he was, after so long, his voice on the other line, reaching out. She had chicken stew on the stove and while he was talking, she just kept wondering about the chicken stew. “I gotta go,” she said eventually, “I have chicken stew on the stove.”

Monday came and she couldn’t wait any longer. Half of her was already on that hypothetical motorbike, the one Neil Young talks about, the one his muse rides with her long blonde hair flyin in the wind and only thing gonna stop her was him being Mel Gibson. She got him to call her. He seemed reluctant. Did he know what was impending, she knew him well enough to know he probably did. He called and she told him she wanted to run and he asked her why and she told him. She told him that she’d started comparing everyone else to him. “How do you feel about me?” She asked. And what a thing to ask, could you be anymore nude, and hairy, with bat wings running down your legs for pubes before him. He sighed, and he breathed deep. “I’m not serious about you,” he said.

On Smokey Big 

The day I realised the big smoke was going to kill me was the third time around a certain time I approached it from being elsewhere. It, lit up like black hairs coming out of a mole. I was filled with such trepidation, consuming trepidation. Overwhelming trepidation that made me so sad suddenly my mind flicked to suicide. Not the act of doing it, but the feeling of what was the point of living, living with this god damned trepidation which followed me all the way back home and weeks and weeks after, the hum of sadness like an air conditioner that drips water inside and outside. And my mind numbed to survive.  I couldn’t breathe for a bit and I’m not even kidding and then I got used to not being able to be able to breathe and I thought about how many people that must happen to and they just get on with it until they are laying there dying and thinkin they could’ve done things a bit better. Because that’s what big cities ensue. I never belonged. I was just three marvelling at the cows out the window on holiday.

Mum used to tell me there’s not a pill for everything. She used to tell me that alot. “Chloe,” she’d say, “there’s not a pill for everything.” Mum was right but still surely there was more to life than suffering. I don’t wanna speak bad about me Ma but she likes suffering. Maybe it’s her way to feel strong, I don’t know. Staunch stiff upper lip stuff, she likes it. I see the same in my gran, get on with it, don’t be too fanciful. See I see strength in breaking the mould, being selfish for a bit to work it all out and then being able to give. Give so fully the ones around you are so filled, and you are filled, just by giving and it’s not ever a leverage thing – you are able to give because you know who you are and are truly happy. I’m red blooded with spirit, too much perhaps. Maybe I am still a child but I just can’t hack the thought that we should just have to put up with things. Things that leak inside and outside. I wasn’t looking for a pill, I wasn’t even looking for an anti venom for lacking existence. I just wanted to sit somewhere nice. And for me it’s where the birds sing loud. And the sides of the road are lined with grass so tall it looks down on Claudia Schiffer.