s n a p s h o t s   1 1 9

August 3, 2005

A Paper White Moon

In the long, dark night, on the threshold
of blossom time, the fragrant atmosphere
becomes heavy with lament
In one thought, your eyes outshine a galaxy,
I realize such brilliance has made me blind . . .
My competitive edge is this; the blade of my pen
and a paper white moon full of unwashed dreams
I plunge into the purple depths to find
the phantom lines between life and merciful release
I drift into the realm of rhyme and sleepless dreams
that numb my eyes to human passion and deceit
In the first hour, I rouse myself from a worthless coma,
throw off the night's kimono and ease myself
in the onsen and embryonic steam . . .
The soft sounds of babbling jets, soothe the ear
like well read sonnets, caresses the soul and skin
afresh, like the sounds of summer rain
The steam drapes the curves of my shoulders
with a warm cradle, like a mother's arms...
I am weightless and content - behind my eyes
I compose murmuring lines with the ancient rhythms
of water drums.

Spring flowers -
the buds burst
elegant and content,
a moss covered path
softens my steps,
the gown of dawn
is sober, smooth
and gracefully pink

Deborah Russell, © 2001

(Combined forms; Poetry Bridge)


I Walk Slowly

I walk slowly along the paths of history.
I stumble in the debris of ants and shells,
of broken lore.
It is the animal of time
that hinders me in my path
Yet it beckons as it howls or whispers
and I follow timid and afraid,
accepting the wayward road.
It is simple this walk.
It has no allure.
It weakens the animus.
It relaxes the muscles.
It is slow, disheartening,
a mimicry of spirit, of lust.
I walk. I stumble. I rest.
Soon it will be over.

Harriet Zinnes


Ian Holm as Richard III, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1963

He is in a forest, this little man.
Legs: Dukes, Earls, a King, brothers
who tower above him,
he must strain his neck
look up at them, at everyone,
a quizzical child, imp at a party

Crookback: weight
of the world, weight of cóntained evil,
weight of twisted genes, you call it
as you need to see it.

Lost in a forest, little man
darting through tall men's legs,
world a fairytale dark wood
if he cannot be good
he will be the Witch
he will eat the good
eat the bad

the taste of all flesh
is precisely alike.

So have no brother
be like no brother
feel neither pity, love,
nor fear

harvest the forest
cut down the legs
cut down envy
one pair at a time

bloody the earth
grow power from the earth
that grows from blood

power is the harvest
of this little man who stares up
at everyone, better, equal,
inferior, no one can know
who he is in the little man's presence
who sees all alike


Kenneth Wolman


The Unnameable

At one point he wanted to be complex.

Years later he succeeded. He made a

complete fool of himself

one evening, with accents of viciousness they

couldn’t decide were deliberate, and others of

distraction, which

never appeared mad enough

to be pitied. On the way home

in a passenger seat, he sang.

Vast darkling systems, standards, swirled

metaphysically around him. He sang these.

He thought of how the beauty of his song

was unlikely, and, if achieved, unwelcome.

He thought the branches clutching at the car,

the famished moon between them, imbecile

causality. He

thought, Since man is only marginally

a social animal, all the appropriate

terms, exploitation, abuse, are

relative. Thought how peace and even

miracles are often neither

recalled when needed, or forthcoming.

Would all the birthday parties ever

arranged for him be retroactively canceled?

Then he was twelve and then he was sixty

and then it was night and then it was morning.

Frederick Pollack


the slope the grain

thunder lightning monsoon rain

the slope the grain

thunder lightning monsoon rain

the slope the grain

thunder lightning monsoon rain

Frank Parker
Paco Pistolas
Tucson, Arizona


Do structures bring things together
in high lights or dark
an overlap of foreign affairs and trade
in failure to manage?
The mesh covering the car park entrance
catches the brown leaves and lets
cars go forward, untouched.

What do we expect, a political voice?
When the glass is half full
who's tripping on the level playing field
keeping a little shine on the ball
less spin or a medium pace
anticipation of the gaps, the stamps
a big boot, no support.

How to co-ordinate agency
the limits of voice.
Who's to minister the repetition of logos
trying to conserve the act or its history
in the glide of afternoon?

Into the revolve goes an alignment
stars and priorities, the highest commissions.
'Reality is somewhere else'.
The act as it stands is inconsistent with the models.
But would you pick up the stakes, the degree of grain?
Have you or have you not delivered?
What of this failure to identify the measure?

The pale green bricks glow at midday
the handiwork of winter is foiled within the machine.
What stands alone, as if 'no' means 'no'
but not never
as if time causes money
yellow internal walls, bedrock data
a glint on the window.

There's a key, silvery, sharp.
Where's the good news?
Where the work is?
Timetables for the end of the world
as we know it, are continuous.

So long as it's written down
like disaster recovery
near the bottom line, the broken one.
Interests driven by gear, internal or mixed up confusion
framing of loss and dividends
there's too much of almost nothing
a centrifuge is humming
the risk is the outcome.

Jill Jones
Sydney, 1.30pm


My Ministry

In my dream, the Premier wanted me
as State Minister of Poetry ­
Victoria¹s very first.
I was alone standing on the street
near where Spring and Bourke meet,
gazing at my ministerial vehicle ­
the size of a caravan, white
without windows or visible
wheels, its metal skirt
hovered just above the asphalt.

It lacked door-handle, door or window;
a cool monument neatly iced over.
I kept my hands in my pockets,
trying to conceal my puzzlement,
pondering an agenda.

Waking now, I smiled in the dark,
thinking: Opossibilities...¹
letting them form and develop.

Maternity wards would hear from me first:
for every newborn a large book of verse:
in front, Mother Goose and lullabies;
behind, the archives of the Opies.
Next: folktales, Joseph Jacobs¹ versions,
Edward Lear and annotated Carroll.

My team of helpers would soon
be visiting each home.
Are the adults and older children
singing and reciting well?
Dandling and chortling, chanting
the English-language canon,
how¹s it all coming on?

Are the state¹s kindergarten
teachers chiming in unison?
TV and radio fulfilling their quotas?
Big Poem Brothers, Big Poem Sisters
hover among the new generation
making sure memorization
is joyful and on schedule...

Returned to the corner of Bourke and Spring,
I found no sign of my ministerial vehicle -
like ice dissolved, evaporated, gone.
The experiment was off.

On the big screen at Federation Square
no epic events in striding hexameters,
nor oedipal anagnorisis and
catharsis, no sublime rhetoric,
no richly comic vernacular,
nor tender intricacies of love,
but - Osee the big men fly!¹,
and Oclash of titans!¹,
and Opoetry in motion!¹.
Football still held all eyes.

Max Richards
at Cooee, North Balwyn, Melbourne



he got
a bit concerned
when she
insisted on him
having a barcode
tattooed on
his male member
and worse
when she insisted
on scanning him
each time
before they
made love.




With some dreams there’s no returning, others
I find myself driven back to again and again.

Not willingly,
Not gladly.

Another sleeptime lost in a strange town:
Been there all too often.

In dreams returns reality –
Rising late, against all my desires, I leave
Unwilling even that town of ghosts
I find myself lost in.

I met a dream once – I think
It was Monday. By Wednesday …

Don’t step into the same dream twice.

11.45 am L'bro

Robin Hamilton


Snaps from an old newspaper

Arms akimbo, one hand near its gun,
a masked policeman with ears covered.
Kinky-looking. Undesirable.

Sound goes to it in wires. It obeys,
narrowed eyes no wider than its mouth
(a little open and well-ready -

an unspoken official line in front;
and, as with borders, it is double
in its purpose; and is defended


A photograph of a meeting room.
There are straight lines; but none are central
and level, some tilted forty-five degrees.
Are these superficial aspects?

The bottom half of the picture curves
in various ways; a hemisphere
of darkness in the middle of what
may be a large, empty round table.

Each chair visible is quite vacant,
a nonce member pricking peoples' names.
That's all that happens here, where money
and the underlying property
are finessed, as one tips a sun blind
to cut down the light, and kindly world

Lawrence Upton


I am waiting for
the kettle to boil
while I wait for
the computer to
download while
I wait for lunch
time to arrive
while I wait for
my future to be
-gin while I wait
for the doctor to
tell me when the
undertaker can
measure me up.
Waiting. I don't
do it well, I'm not
good at this game.
Can we deal from
another deck?

Andrew Burke


bad hair snap:

how tell what's hidden
from the sun

'a paradoxical combination'

the carefully pruned
mustache & small beard
& white good
vs evil
signs of

or bristling white above
tough mouth
ing off
'to come and push'
but who pushes back at

'shaggy haired'

a bypass op
or ration
as the oil
down the drain

Douglas Barbour



[via Kira Muratova]

About the
the last stop
himself in the third person: he was a kind man.

Barry Alpert / Silver Spring, MD US / 8-4-05 (7:39 AM)

Written during the forty minute opening black & white, film-within-a-film segment of Kira Muratova's triumphal cinematic return to the Odessa Studio in the late eighties. Despite the more relaxed atmosphere which allowed for the rediscovery of her films banned twenty years earlier, "The Asthenic Syndrome" was immediately controversial and became known as "the only film banned under Gorbachev". I'm not certain whether the disjointed relationship amongst the episodes which followed the opening segment ended my writing or whether I had been spoiled by the immediate availability of the voice of a recent widow agitated by her husband's death amidst a larger social dissolution. Although I often misremember the film's title as "The Aesthetic Syndrome", it apparently refers to a condition of "weakness" which can take the shape of either aggressiveness or passivity.


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