A Pale Blanket

a pale blanket

and a rusted blanket:

the harbour

and the clouds

in the time from Milsons Point

to Wynyard

the rust turns to lead

it was light out when I left

and in the last bit of brightness

I flew out into the yellow sky

my thoughts

missed their stop

Way Down in the Marrow

Way down in the marrow

way down in my deep

down sleep

she takes me in

Way up on the bridge

way up in the cold

bright morning

she takes me in

Way over the skyscrapers

way over the numb

monochrome faces

she takes me in

into the warm

into the distant

into her voice

into myself


I am casting my mind

Out over the water,

But the words they hide

Under the pier's shadows.

Sometimes I see them

Dart out into light —

A silver gleam,

Speared by the morning sun,

The gum trees an olive haze

Behind the winter blue harbour.

The Sun Slipped Away

The sun slipped away

Before its cue,

And the starts blinked,


Pulling another

All-nighter watching

The tired city rolling

Over in its long

Winter sleep.

Bright and Empty

Bright & empty


the hollow air

eddies & pools & carries

my breath

in streams

from my nose to

who knows where —

where it's spring

Exercise: Voice/ Point of View

First Person

Out on the island the wind was always blowing to the west. Standing at the edge of Calumny's Cliff, overlooking the tiny pebble beach a hundred feet down, the gulls would float and bounce on an updraft and look you in the eye. At sunset the pelicans arched their massive ancient wings and glided to their nests on the Western Rock. You could look at your long shadow as the wind whiped your face, listening to the barks of the sea lions report across the rocks below. The waves would hiss at the cliff face, and the dying sun left a trail of orange gold on the sea.

Someday I imagined I would step off the cliff and walk lightly on that golden path to the eastern horizon.

I was thinking about what I'd find there, at that faint blue line, when I walked home a summer's evening. The last threads of twilight fell through the grey leaves of the olive grove, making purple patterns in the dust. My bare feet looked nearly black in the dim light. I shook my head and chided myself for thinking there was a place at the end of a horizon and skipped my feet to trot home.

Third Person

Out on the island the wind is always blowing west. The gulls will catch the updraft off of Calumny's Cliff, dancing and bobbing above the pebbles a hundred foot drop below. At sunset the pelicans catch gold and red on their white heads and ancient, arching wings as they glide toward their nesting ground on the Western Rock. The waning light casts long shadows across the breadth of the island and out to see as the olive trees and coreopsis whip and shiver to the beat of the wind.

Pouding up along the cliff face, the swells crash and retreat with a hiss. Huddled out of their reach on the meagre pebble beach, the sea lions bark out their evening chants, oblivious to the glittering path of gold laid out across distant water by the lowering sun.

A girl sands at the cliff with her back to the cloudless sunset, watching that bright reflection like a trail of gold coins scattered toward the eastern horizon. The wind whips back her hair and the gulls eye her as they float above the chorus of the sea lions and sea.

The summer sun slips below the lip of the island and she turns to follow a path through a grey-leaved olive grove, shaking her head to herself.

Not sure which version I like best, but I think I might be leaning toward the third person narrative.

I Don't Want to Write

I don't want to write but I want to write. I want the words to be written without expending any effort, without taking a moment to listen and pass on what I catch from the back of my mind. I want to be a writer but I don't want to write.

I don't want to write because I have too many ideas. Which one do I pick? What if none of them turn into anything good? How come I can never work out an ending to a story?

I want to write because I have so many ideas. I want to visit those places in my head I catch glimpses of. I want to sink into them, each one, be absorbed, see what I can learn from them.

I don't want to write because I don't have time. I would just be stealing scraps of moments on the train, in the evening. If I'm going to be a writer I should be able to devote as much time as I need to it. Otherwise I'm just dabbling.

I want to write because I need a stolen moment on the train that shields me, makes me step inward and outward at the same time, I need the balance, I need the refuge, I need quiet moments of... sanity? insanity? Something, anything imaginative.

I will write about the grey autumn sky and the grey cold train, hissing and screeching its way north through suburbia. I will write about the quick glimpses of the harbour and a sailboat heading out to sea, its jib billowing with the morning wind. I will write about the funny, strange, sad, and boring people on the train, their stiff expressions, waiting for their stations.

I will write.

The Only Love Poem I Can Write

O Sea,

Our summer fling was much to brief

And spring is months away, O Sea,

O Pacific, O Mother of Fishes

The morning sun

Paints gold on your leg

O Sea

At night the city

Lights are your jewels

On the train

I pass by you

Lean my head against

The window, close my eyes

Hold my breath, O Sea

In my mind

I'm a mermaid in your cold embrace

(O Pacific, O Mother of Fishes)

Free and sleek I swim

Further into your deep,