These are drafts from the book I take to meetings.
Two Writing Exercises:
1. A Photo at Harvest Writers Session
They're a miracle, trees.
See that one at the front
creased as an elephant's hide
a memory for what's beneath
this fertile ground. Cities
of busy denizens among
the roots and tendrils, storing,
feeding, building, raising
the new generations.
Minerals rise inspired through
cellulite and lignin; the trunk
swells, branches sway as
dancers do, tips seeking
sustenance in the mist, the cloud
wrapping this entire forest
in humid generosity. Above
and beyond, the calls
of carrion-seeking birds.
2. A Postcard, Bookmark and Drawing:
The Empty Bird Cage. At Harvest
Writers Meeting, June
All my feelings have flown away.
The door blew open with the force
of the gusts they created.
I'm an empty shell.
A lone canary sings within me of
emptiness and the joy of resting
wings that have worked so hard.
All my friends have flown away
some say to a better place.
I read the lists, the obits, and worry.
Are they really safe now, released
as smoke, or captive, deep in earth?
All my thoughts flutter and cry
round and round in the cage
ignorant of the fact the space between
bars is meant to enable thin thoughts
to escape. They are blinded by fear.
All my words have left. Even those
too overworked or dirty and once
collapsed on the floor finally
dragging themselves over the edge
whistling, carried away by fresh breezes.
Two Train Travel incidents:
1. Waiting on Bacchus Marsh Station, Two Days Before
Corellas Are Declared a Public Nuisance by the
Shire Council and One Councillor Requests No
Shooting Or Poison
Those corellas are an hysteria.
Back! squawks one on a roof.
Back! Back! Back! Looking
straight down at me.
The shrieking and acrobatics
on the looping electrical wires
annoy some. Me, I laugh
and talk back. I want
to understand why they choose
wire, treetop, industrial roof
or the small platform atop
halogen lights to congregate
here as dusk flaps in and commuters
fly and tumble out of the trains.
And why they peer at us,
screaming. What do they see?
Above, now, two push and shove
each other on a light to claim
space. Like schoolboys or peak-hour
travellers, they get so personal
they repeatedly tangle claws.
I would screech Back! Back!
but my train drowns me out
with its own shrieking brakes.
2. Catching the Train To A Regional Arts
Victoria Funding Meeting In Melbourne
Fog in Ballan, he says
- cheerful about it - matching
my steps - I hear there's fog
in Melbourne too - that's me
joining in - polite about it -
A Very Nice Day he says
I keep a record of them, these
VNDs. We only get about
a dozen every year - still
cheerful - pink cheeks - white
hair - and now I get a life story
- Retired now he says, the Missus
and I fight like cat and dog, I get out,
she's happy having coffee
in Main Street, better than
hanging around in Ballan - it's
colder there, more fog ...
And now I can't understand
the rush of words, I'm trying
to find my way into his world
but the words run together
and I nod and smile hoping
to get away
with not getting what he
so urgently needs me to know.
We reach the front carriage.
Goodbye, I say, and hope
I sound cheerful, Have a Very
Nice Day. He continues to
the very front door, no doubt
intending to be the first
to pronounce Fog in Melbourne
to another fellow-traveller.
Meanwhile, the fog
where I am