Author: Claire

Caged light


caged sunlight

I was desperate

for another start

to bleed through

and renew

my contract with life

lizards flick

at the corners

of my vision

not quite snakes

but shedding something

a tail, a skin, a bad memory

an addiction, and

the crows call my name

when I pass

beneath the trees

another day forced awake

to meet desires

shucked off

like shoes

like socks

like trauma

like the stumps of his fingers

which set off a gleam of


wanting to remove

one digit

trim the top-third

of my ring finger

maybe I was crazier


than I ever knew

bleed out


don’t forget


move through

weird-warm pockets of air

on the headland

is it

enlightenment, also?


industrial abandon

missing my trips to the city

and how

the abandoned cokeworks

rotting away

by the train tracks

sent my thoughts

to that place

where things were so different

a secret world

I want to write about


in an industrial


how can I capture this imagined


I don’t have those skills

or patience

scrolling in my bed

past my headache

reading about runner’s face

and Nick Cave

and grief

and grace


Photo by Darla Hueske on Unsplash 

living memory

he remembers

when my hair was long

a decades-old flirtation

not personal

if it ever was

with him

I remember

that pale, waxy skin

like marble

the feel

of boy-men muscles

along limbs

as I struggle

to catch slurred words

in a noisy pub

even though I’m sober now

he’s invading my space

after 25 years

of long-forgotten…


confronted with

being seen

in a way I haven’t been

for ages

is it good or ill

to bathe

in that male gaze


I am, am I?

a person now

or then

how to define


hard-up against that


living-memory thing


Photo: Claire Doble

the tongue is more sensitive than fingers

teeth shift and move

into more conventional spaces

do teeth have a morality

or is it just vanity?

on a perfect yellow morning

kookaburras outside my window

laugh at me for leaving

and I ache not to go


feels like family

sunwarm and delightful

sense of

remembered yearning

from living overseas

all those years

crammed into my niche

missing Switzerland

where I could be anyone


a stranger reassured me

I’m better now

content here

in another heartplace

fitting almost perfectly


with a kink

do teeth have a morality

or is it just vanity



tide / goodbye

you couldn’t invent the tide

or the blood in my eye

imagine creating

a land

where waves

rushed in

once a day

then left


like the bare spot on your chin

I see from one side

and wonder if anyone

else has spied

do you feel that


between us,

the sea and the sky?

or are the pebbles in my mind

worn too smooth by


endless thoughts

washing nigh

turning over and over and

the way they

swell and subside

not even a hangnail

to catch certainty

just a shallow



her first album

I was back from


calling Melbourne

quite often



the train

on up the coast

on Fridays



I fell

in a moment


but so vintage-sweet


my cardigan

under the bed


your handcuffs

held my grief

that weekend

(he died)


and now there’s

a new album

it repeats on

and on and on

her voice

a yearning

for another



do I welcome

love now?

summer’s here

again, again, again



Soundcloud recording of this poem:


Photo: Claire Doble

the same things

In another amusing

twist of fate

or destiny

or conditioning

I’ve bought the same

kitchen table

as my parents

to go with

matching knifes

and our bread tin

a set of sheets

so many things

it’s dirty on

the underside

with old wine

when I

thought I was

so clean

dust in

the bathroom

like mum’s

I guess it is



Photo by Paco S on Unsplash

Boz the dog

sometimes think

I am the person

who doesn’t notice

other people

don’t get along

because they see me

lollop up

to their


like an enthusiastic


so they smile


because they

don’t want

to hurt my

feelings or


a loyal naivety

of course

might just be




after all

would anyone

change their behaviour

for me?


Photo by Marliese Streefland on Unsplash

rain like february


it came in the night

driving and thick

a vertical virtual

wall of precipi…


wind rumples

through the eves

crunkling the cardboard

taped to my ceiling


from the last time

my spiders watch

from the opposite corner

of the room

their spindly legs

like stripped

upside down


dehumidifier hums

on 80%


still feel damp

the rains are here again




Photo by Anna Atkins on Unsplash

kim gordon

he asked

what supplements I was taking

don’t believe in them

I said


omega, magnesium, muti-B, C, zinc

we talked about

kim gordon, the prodigy,

nine inch nails, I

didn’t admit

I’d deliberately listened

to phil collins

that day

although it

arguably says

more about my health

-or otherwise

than a handful of

encapsulated vitamins

and whether

I’m a nose breather

at night