Tag Archives: australian poetry

#summerinspiration #mop15 @sawriterscentre

Starting my 2015 by participating in SA Writer’s Centre ‘Summer Inspiration’ Program and Month of Poetry. Because I can. Because I promised myself more fun and more ‘me’ time this year.


Image Credit and source unknown. Found saved in an old folder on my computer…


This particular piece is tackling both Summer Inspiration and #mop15 at once – a poem inspired by the first Summer Inspiration prompt:


Remember the last time you refused to do something that somebody suggested. Imagine you didn’t refuse. Write the outcome.




I say no a lot.

It’s true.

It angries it’s way out of me

On sharp teeth and tongues

And inside, outside dreams.


We load that great hulking beast

Together. With fucks that burst from my fingerprints

Staining our day

Training you not to suggest things anymore

Training me not to trust you. To give in. To bend.


We arrive and I bounce. From foot to foot. Tense. Ready. Fight or flight. Such a ridiculous response for returning a broken item. There is no shame in asking to get what you paid for. This is why I wait at the door when you do things I’m not ready for. This is why I like to learn things and ask questions privately, one on one. So it doesn’t catch me in its claws. With its shiny metal teeth.


Embarrassment. Hot. Itchy. Temperamental.

I told you so.



Honey-less #writeme30

Kate Reilly has supplied this week’s #writeme30 photo. Kate and I went to school together in Burra (a really cute little town in the mid north of South Australia) and like many other friends through our family’s many moves we lost touch over time. Through the power of ye olde facebook we’ve since connected again in a loose sort of way and Kate has shared this photo from a safari in her backyard last winter.

The sour sobs in the photo very much reminded me of Burra – as kids we all used to eat them!

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been participating in the #futurepresent residency with Vitalstatistix and Urban Theatre Projects. During the residency which finished a few days ago, our team watched this short video from futurist Kristin Alford:

The loss of bees in the future really stood out to me and reminded me of Kate’s photo. Although I’ve heard about the risk to bee populations before, something about Kristin’s talk made it seem more real than it’s felt before. I love honey on toast. I’ll really miss honey in the future. What does that mean? I don’t know yet, but it’s something to think about.

So here’s the first #writeme30 post for June.

The Photo:

Bee Photo from Kate Reilly                              Photo supplied by Kate Reilly

The Response – Honey-less:

These days spin

Left waiting in wrappers

Soft with

Warm days

Warm thoughts


To reach into the future

To pluck out these weeds


Ease our days in walls left untended.

Eyes left un-mended, and now,



This winged, waiting breath. Just breathed.

With hands too small to capture

Eyelids pulling at the wind

Reigned in,

To beginnings,

Fresh with ice

Trailing longing

Weeping forgotten


To sit.

Gently perched,

On future dreams.


* I will be a few weeks short of photos so if you would like to submit a photo for me to respond to, you would be very welcome to. Email it to me at: pressurelandsATmeDOTcom

** #writeme30 posts are published ‘as is’ without any editing or curating as the project is about exploring my responses to the photographs supplied. Some posts may plant the seeds for future writing projects but they are not written with that in mind.



Sydney Silence #poetry



On skylights

On tall ships

On hair curled


Softened with longing

Pitch your voice to me

Raindance your inner song.

Late Night Poetry – #reallyshouldbesleeping

I don’t want to live in a world like this

A world with no sorry. No goodbye.

Just slipping and tripping and saying like this

A world with fences


Soft, smooth toys

I don’t want to live in a world like this

A world with boundaries

And risks too terrifying to face.

I want to live in a world

With breath



Smiling children



This thing we call responsibility

No one else is going to take it away from you

Rise for you

Be you

Just you



I want to slip




Out of


This aching, sweeping, needing hunger

I want to turn it off

And turn in

Tune myself to another station

And not see

What I see

What you put before me

I want to sweep all the joy in

The laughter

And leave behind






Made of Men

Made of sorrow




First Love and Love for a Life Time – Cafe Poet Update

So I’m now halfway through my residency as Café Poet at Sprouts Café in Berri. It’s been a jerky start with me flitting across the country for various other things but we’re slowly gaining momentum now. The Riverland is a funny community in that way, it takes a little time for people to get on board and come and play with you.

This month I’m writing on the themes of first love and love for a lifetime. My partner half jokingly asked me to write a poem about kissing. This isn’t my usual fare so it’s actually a lot more challenging than it sounds. I tried playing around with a couple of ideas but this is the one I think that turned out the best:

Lean in. Suck in the smell of you. The sigh of you. The curves of you. Linger there by your cheekbone. This waiting moment. Hangs. Across the sky. Across the distance between our curved mouths. A thousand stars are born and die in your eyes as we hang there. Suspended. Waiting. Aching. Longing for the courage. The deep bravery to lean in. Lean into the fear. The disappearing distance. The weight of a thousand and one old fears stands between our skin. And yet. And yet. Still. I lean in. Braver than I thought I’d be. A thousand stars are born and die in your eyes. The flash of knowing. Of living and breathing. And finally the distance parts. Our curved knowing mouths meet in the slim corner between fear and hope. Hungry. Needing. But slowly, gently. Loving you makes me brave enough. Thankyou.

Writing and thinking about love at both ends of the spectrum also raised the spectre of the loves that die. Or the loves that are brutally murdered by ourselves and others. The loves that never leave the ground. The loves that consume and ruin us:

Hot. Pouring. Sinking. Searing. Aching. Hungry.
All the things your skin says to you.
Your roiling, never still insides.
Your mistakes layered over your eyes.
Your sorrows lining and folding your face.
The forgotten, half believed moments.
Words. Words spilled out of the wound that is your mouth.
The things you did. Said.
Separating you,
from the life you wanted.
The life you had.

Today my page filled. And filled some more. Whatever you think of love. Everyone has a story. Some version. Some moment pinned in their mind that tells them what love means – come and share with me. I’m Cafe Poeting every Monday at Sprouts from 9.30am (usually till around 11.30am) however you can drop in any day of the week and leave me a note (a poem, a theme suggestion or just a casual hello) using the blue poetry box on the magazine counter. I’ll write a personalised poem in response to every note left in the poetry box too so leave your email or postal address or come back the following Monday to hear/see what I’ve written for you. See you soon!

More on Home and the Fragile Soup of Family – 26th March Cafe Poet Update

This month has become all about home and family. Every poem I’ve written and every poem that’s been written to me. I’ve had this preoccupation with trying to pin to paper my range of feelings about the Riverland, the complexity of my family. What home means to me. Reading through everything I’ve written there have been some obvious patterns emerging. Home needs a sense of connection to others, a sense of safety and inspiration from the landscape, home needs the people that you love and the people that you love are complicated and messy.

I’m lost in this place. The place between who you were and who you are. I’m trapped there with you. My fear traps me. My love. My hope. My baby brother. Because I see. What you could be. What you have been. What you are. My heart is breaking. Breaking. Broken. A broken soft footed thing. Reaching. Are you reaching? Falling. Just falling. No. Reaching. You reached and I reached. Now we’re waiting. To fall. To fly. For something. A tipping place. A new face. A way through. It’s worth it. It is. I believe absolutely that it is worth it. Actually truly worth it.

This is the last day of Café Poeting for March, the next time I’m here it’ll be a new month and I intend to make a concerted effort to explore a completely different theme and place – but for today it’s still March and I’m thinking of those people I love. Those people who make the fabric of my life. Complex, damaged, precious and unnameable.


Hear the catch.
The smash.
The something.
Voice on the other end breathing.
Is this it?
All there is?
I’m saying
All the wrong things
Reminding you
Of what you’ve
I hate that
Hate you
Hate me
Want to keep you safe
Want to wrap you in love
In hope
Instead change the subject
Ask a question
Tell a funny story
Pretend I don’t hear you
Losing control
Pretend I don’t know that you’re close
So close
I’m so small
So far away
I can do
I’m afraid



An awkward boy. A less awkward time. And something else slipping quietly past. Someone loved. Someone precious. Who are the people we’ve lost? The people we’ve left behind. Snapping shadows on your shins. Gulping windows in your eyes. Forgotten over and over and over and over and over.

A better brain – 19th March Cafe Poet Update

After a three week break I return to my little Café corner – pleased to find an envelope waiting for me in the poetry box (yay!). The residency has been slow to start. I’ve been busy and tired. Not giving the time I should to promoting and sharing what I’m doing. I know it. I feel guilty. I smile at the people that come through the door. Think I need a better sign. A better poetry box. A better brain.

The poem I find within that envelope is about home. This home. The Riverland. This place of opposites. This place of hope within the fear. I like this place. I think about this place as home. What is it to me? What will I write? How will I say it? How will I stretch what it means to me across this accusing blank page?

I’m forcing them. The words. Having to work three times as hard as I expected to. It’s an uncomfortable feeling. A heavy feeling. A something, something feeling.

I know there are so many people out there who tap a bit of poetry into their laptops or their phones or their diaries at night. Where are they all? Why can’t I hear them? Find them? Reach them? I’m trying…..really I am.


So home. I said to you. Sit down. Be quiet. Let me think.

My dreams dance around
Something precious found

Home, another place
A new lonely face

Teach myself to sing
Still a broken thing

I try to reach, past
The fear, still the last
To Love


Describe to me that tree. The man said with a sweetened voice.
I said. No. Maybe. I can’t.
Deep rich red. Scarlet in a rainbow. Only shades of scarlet on my plate.
He said try harder
I said. It’s big. It’s lost. I’m small.
Reaching, swaying, a woman’s curves, a smoothed over hill.
He said it’s not those things.
I said. It is. It must be. That’s what I say.
The river runs by. An eternal friend. I’m like to be swimming
He throws his hat at me. Dives deep.
My words are small. I sit.


Family Soup, a little overwhelming – 20th February Cafe Poet Update

No real update -just some of the poems I’ve been working on….

So hello said the little sleepy town
Waking gently.
Not quite on the road to ok just yet.
Who ever is.
Something and no one and everyone and everything
That’s what it’s all about isn’t it?


And my brother. Strong and silent.
And me. Loud and scared and something else.
It’s the moments between those places
The words beneath our eyelids.
A hand on a shoulder
A quiet word
Letters on a tiny screen
Trying to.
Missing you.


Red face
Angry eyes
I’m sorry
Not at all
I sipped in a breathe
Caught myself before I cried
Looked at your puffing cheeks
And felt
Only a remembered pain
Half lit
I’m big now
A woman
Or something


I want to wrap you in this feeling I feel
Tell you somehow everything will be wonderful
Or at least alright.

I want to kick those fears from your eyes
That’s what I’ll do, I’ll chase them away
Further than the furthest star

I want to ask you – who are you?
And hear your reply with both my ears and my heart
Walk forward
I’m just spilling out a spray of words. Half connected, barely formed thoughts. Searching, reaching, slipping. Finding my feet in this big wide aching world. I’ve covering the white with questions. Knowing it isn’t supposed to be this way. But not quite knowing what it is supposed to be…

A catch. A rip. A tear. A twinkle in your eye. Softly. Slowly now. We’re building a life.


A big wide street. Tansplanted palms. It’s not the tropics. It’s another sleepy somewhere town. Trying to pretend we have the water to last forever. Too much pride. Need a little more love. Not enough pride. To shout and stamp out feet and say ‘We are here’. We fold our thoughts behind our eyes. Sit with it. The fear. The knowing. The believing. Stopped reaching for each other. Now just waiting. For someone to tell us it’s all over. I want to be braver. Stronger. Harder. Faster. An aching. Aching. Aching. Aching. Something without a name. When did this happen to us? I remember your eyes under the fluro lights. Your cheeks were red and our hands were hot and sweaty and we thought this feeling would last forever. Now the hall is empty. The fluros dimmed. And my darling I don’t think you’re ever coming back to me and it actually. Breaks. My. Heart.


Family. It’s a soup. Spicy and hot and warm. A little pleasant. A little overwhelming.

Poetry Anyone? 6th February – Cafe Poet Update

6th February 2012

So…..poetry anyone?

Today is the second day of my residency as a Café Poet in partnership with Australian Poetry and Sprouts Café…….I arrived today (still with my misspelt sign!) to check the poetry box and get set up.

The box was empty – sad face! However, not unexpected being the first week and our media only just starting to jump on the bandwagon. I’m looking forward to reading and responding to all of your poems next week. Remember you can drop in any time during the week and pop a poem you’ve written into the poetry box and I’ll then write a poem in response to yours the following Monday. This isn’t a feedback service – it’s a creative conversation, so let’s talk!

But I’m pleased to report I’ve had a productive morning speaking to the local Youth Development Officer and Magic FM about the residency (and other creative things) and finally now sitting here getting stuck into some personal poetry writing.

I’ve spent the last half hour or so losing myself in the lovely paintings (by Heather Wasley), which adorn the walls of Sprouts Café as inspiration. My early efforts thus far have been fairly clumsy however there are a few glimmers of gold I think I’ll take the time to work on this week. See you soon!

Café Poet? In the Riverland?

Those of you who follow me on facebook or twitter may be aware that I’ve recently started a 6 month residency as a Café Poet with Australian Poetry’s Café Poet Program.

What’s a Café Poet you ask?

Australian Poetry is a not for profit organisation established to promote reading, writing and publishing activities associated with Australian poetry in all of its forms. The Café Poet Program places poets in cafes as ‘Poets in Residence’ for a 6-month period to enrich the cultural life of the café and community and provide the poet with space and inspiration to write. The program began at Australian Poetry in February 2009 and has been a huge success, placing more than fifty poets in cafes all over the country and receiving extensive media coverage. AP have also connected cafe poets with various opportunities including working with RMIT media students and being published in the 2009 edition of Blue Dog: Australian Poetry. More information about the Café Poet Program and Australian Poetry can be found at: http://www.australianpoetry.org/cafe-poet-program/

So for the next six months I’m the Riverland’s very own Café Poet! Yay! I’m partnering with Sprouts Café in Berri thanks to lovely manager, Teresa Howie. Sprouts is a lovely little cafe and one of my favourite places to meet friends for a light meal and a catch up so I’m really excited to be partnering with them.

Currently I’m in residence every Monday from 9.30am. You can drop in and say hi, join me for a cuppa, ask questions, offer ideas for themes or titles to inspire my writing or have a go at writing a poem yourself! Throughout the residency I’ll be putting up special challenges to help people have a go at poetry – check them out on the Sprouts Blackboard and on facebook (follow me or Sprouts or both!).

There’s also a Poetry Box so that you can drop in any day of the week and drop in either a theme/title suggestion for me or a poem you’ve written which I’ll write a poem in response to – drop in the following Monday to see what I’ve created!

I’m really excited to be part of this National Program and looking forward to working with my Café and my community to get creative! I’d really like my time as a Café Poet to inspire others to have a go and perhaps entice some of our other local writers out of the woodworks to share their work – please come and play with me!

Throughout the residency I’ll be posting regular updates here and on the Australian Poetry website – you can also stay in the loop by following Sprouts Café and myself on facebook (if you’re not already!)

Today was the very first day of my residency…..so of course I was nearly 20 minutes late….

It was only as I sat down and opened my laptop that I realised the little sign I’d printed to sit on the table with me and convince you to talk to me (because I am non scary and I like talking to people, promise) had my name spelt wrong. It’s a pretty bad sign (no pun intended) when you start the day by misspelling your own name!!! Oh dear…

Today didn’t see much action from others (being the first day and all) – I had a few polite inquiries about what I was doing and a lots of people smile at me, a good start but I bet we can do better than that.

I decided to get the ball rolling by reflecting on Australia Day and seeing if I could capture the day in poem form. For regular follower’s of my blog you’ll know I was invited to make a speech for Berri Barmera Council’s morning celebrations last week….and you’ll also know that Australia Day, or to be exact the date of Australia Day stirs some ambivalent feelings in me.

So I tapped away for an hour or so exploring those feelings and last week’s celebrations and what they meant to me through poetry. Unfortunately I can’t share any of the finished pieces with you – if I decide I want to enter any of the poems I write during the residency in writing competitions they have to be unpublished (which includes self publishing online) but here’s a little snapshot of some of the early drafting to give you an idea of what I got up to:

“My voice dips. Do you hear? There. Suck them in. Against the wind. Tears. On my cheeks. In my eyes. In my voice. Look out. Over faces. A Sea. A whole world. Some nodding. Frowning. Crossed arms. Open bodies. Different. One. I say – I’m proud. Proud to be a Riverlander. You look back at me. We sign this contract together. Cut the cake. Smile for the photos. Here we are. Ready. Finally. Ready.”

“One flag or many.
Something sinking. Something soft.
Somewhere slowly waking.
Something harsh. Something burning.
How then to move? To put one foot next.
Then another.

“Paper. Thin on skin.
Two steps, three.
Words now sinking in.
How is this me?
This fragile call
This echo that waits
To float, to fall”

“All the faces spread and stretched across one great grassy canvas
This is family. Community. The laughter of the Riverland.
I like it. This comfort. The smell of bacon. The taste of pancakes.
Wind whipping hair into my eyes. My mouth. My dry mouth.
I finger the papers. Leaf through the words. Words I’ve written.
Words I’ll say. Nerves. A tiny tremor of, what if.
How do I know? What they’ll say. What they’ll think.
Hear that name. My name. Two steps. Another. More.
Deep breath.”

So here’s the first challenge for all of you– What does Australia Day mean to you? How can you express Australia Day through poetry?

Pop in next Monday 6th February to share your Australia Day poems with me – if you can’t make it in on Monday, why not email me or pop your poem into the Poetry Box at Sprouts with a note? Hope to see or hear from you!