death

Nightbird

 

a nightbird calls outside my window

I am sick, so sick in the dark

it’s 4.24 on the morning of your funeral

life makes no sense, there is only love

 

you talk to everyone at the party

buy them gifts, exchange views

share laughs, drinks, stories

my only conversation is with you

 

grab my phone to check messages

that remain forever unread

missed your call, I miss you: indelible

a nightbird’s sick joke you’re dead

 

Photo: Sierra Narvaeth on Unsplash

 

 

Felled

 

Someone ripped out all the trees

between my house and next door

and

although we never did gardening together

or talked horticulture

it must be for you

because

the uprooted mess

of destroyed earth and leaves

is like how my heart feels

it makes no sense

why

won’t we ever talk again?

or laugh about

unsolicited plant-vandalism

there was so much more

I wanted to say

I need your input

on this thing

and what about a new tattoo

of a dead tree with roots akimbo

just won’t be the same

it’s all broken

there’s a hole

in my ground

without you

 

Photo: Claire Doble

 

it’s happening now

sometimes think I’m going to die

I mean, of course

I am going to die

but that’s nebulous and

post-menopause

post-cancer, post-covid, post-relapse, post-deathofparents, post-divorce

post-pleasenothingawfulwiththekids

post-life

I’ll die

and

it’s ok

because

I will have done it all by then

right?

But sometimes

there’s a fizz in my chest

and I think

what if I’m dying now

I mean, of course

I am

 

 

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Grave Yard

Bushfire moon

an eye prickly with tired

in the night

things expire

by day

the sand’s a ribcage and

there’s always dead things on the beach

is it unusual?

Embarrassed, shy by my

disconnect

I do not know

I’ve been away

it takes a year but

didn’t ask

in case

no one has noticed and

I’m afraid

what that might mean

 

I didn’t set out to write a series of ‘bushfire’ poems but I guess I did and it seems appropriate for this time of year in NSW, Australia as we’re suffering some bad fires at present. Where I am is OK, we are safe, but there’s smoke in the air most days. 

 

Photo: Claire Doble

Swagman

The Swagman’s Rest by Pro Hart

Touch my hand

bones splinter in the dirt

think of the wind over the sea

and places bandicoots skitter in the eve

I was once a good man

with shining rope, glinting gun and a plan

although the map’s not one you can see

and my words came smooth, debonair, like lies

 

My final shouts rang true though

if anyone cared to hear them

and I washed myself in the sound

‘Oh Nell, my love, I wronged her.’

the drink has taken stronger men

and left better women stranded

but I broke her heart and stole her wine

the child we’d made, abandoned

 

When it came time for him to die

alone he was, in bracken

the river was so loud that night

she felt the baby quicken

perhaps he called aloud those words

Nell, she didn’t hear him

upon his head she put a curse

and found him in the morning

 

To free his twist in memory’s embrace

we left a blank and humble cross in place

lost now to all but she:

Sandy Dan the Swagman, we

tied ropes across his grave

of bleached bloodwood, as dead as he

and while mountains rise against the sun

no more a-roving will he see

 

Day 18. I enjoyed this prompt: First, find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem. It might not be a finished draft, but hopefully it at least contains the seeds of one.

I used “The Swagman’s Rest” by Banjo Patterson. It ended up with an odd, off-kilter rhyme sequence but I like it

Notes on a suspected suicide

Photo: Greg Ortega @https://unsplash.com/@antisocia1

I am an arrogant twit

But I know that woman was in a bad place

I knew

and I stepped back

Because I didn’t want to be drawn into… something

Self-preservation

Or cruelty

I guess we’ll never know

But she’s gone now and I could have-

oh

I am an arrogant twit.

 

(*I since found out she had a heart condition but that doesn’t make it any better or worse)