Illusions work better than untruthitudes
   Stalactitic images of hopessence cave-in
      Dripping listless ennui spiking justifiction
         Chillaxed frosty icicles boregasmic thaw
         Uprooted nightmares soiled straggly transplants
      Purple heart pitted juicy plums
   Withered prunes wrathful sun-dried raisins
Early hoarfrost twisted clinging vines
Dreamy fertile oasis windswept mirage
   Shifting quicksand burial mound dunes
      Nacreous pearly shells forced open
         Exposing sextraordinary unpolished Einstone gems
         Pristine illusions original pure silica
      Uncorrupted by abrasive spinning wheels
   Multi-faceted quartziferous splinters forefinger implants
Broken halfhearted promises tweezers pinched
Stained glass inherent mixed pigments
   Baking transparency onto ultraviolent surface
      Brittle fragtagments pieced back together
         Patchwork mosaic jagged edges smoothed
         White light containing all colors
      Apparently only prism can divide
   Unity seeking traces of perfection
Overblown minute flaws unbelievabubbles burst

                Charles Frederickson





I have yet to see
the Tigris River  up close.
It lies just beyond
the concrete barriers
to the east.
Once beautiful,
it was a trade route
where spices were bartered for,
fruit was freely given
in exchange for a smile
or a fresh hello.
During my evening stroll
when I'm feeling restless
and thinking of home,
the mystery of its past
gently pulls me in,
just as you do,
drowning me in questions;
the answers buried in mudbanks.




The moon above Baghdad
floats lazily atop a veil
of smoky-grey clouds. Pigeons
sitting on the streetlamps
blend in effortlessly,
shaking another day
of black dust
from their feathers.
They have no desire to fly
in any direction
or converse with a stoic moon.
Natives to the dirty sand,  
both have seen the color of death,
both wish they were colorblind.


Another night of interrupted
sleep.  Helicopters hover above
my dreams like giant dragonflies
searching for their prey. 
A collision of olive green
on sand colored skin.
The intrusive rumble of their
buzzing echoes throughout my body,
sending shockwaves of fear
that bounce against the walls
and intrude the private spaces
of my mind.  Each room transformed
into a pile of rubble.

The heat of worry
burns my skin at times.
Walking along the palace road,
the monotony of perspiration
overcomes me.   
On my desk,
ylang ylang, in a plastic bottle,
is a reprieve from the threat
loitering outside,
waiting to molest me
with breath of the reaper. 
Scent of a tropical flower
may camouflage my worries
for a brief time,
but the underlying odor of death
follows me like a shadow. 


 Sandy Hiss






                After Wallace Stevens

My house has been haunted
by elephants
of any color,
stripe, or any size
or pumpkins
of any face
or carriage,
but my feet have groaned
under the ponderousness of an attic mind
depressed by skyscraper apes and shells to shark
the cabin boy in an aging sailing ship
too terrified to listen
to  the waves
upon the shore.



  After Tom Stoppard

A coin flipped

between heads

and tails

between us

is a rough augur:

one of us loses

while one of us wins

for keeps

when we flip it

even as we flip it again

with the opposite result –

every time


the world we paint so black

and white cuts –

as if luck

has nothing to do with us,

But spin it

like a top,

a magic lantern

projecting one side only

upon our persistence

of vision,

and we know

no defeat

or victory

one over another

for we too

shall have one

side only.

  James Penha






Whole beings encased in skin,
all organs either pumping, digesting
excreting, cleansing
working genetic magic
allowing us to sleep without
the fear of failure.
We make and move about
our daily business
time limitless and infinite,
immortal bodies full of toil.

But in the shadows of our tissue, grow
clumps of cells, hopped up
hyper, pushing at the limits
of the space inside these sacks
we call ourselves,
strange amorphous shades
on diagnostic plates
backlit for specialists
to determine, yes,
that blockage is a tumor,
we’ll cut it out, radiate, chemo.
yes, we think, we got it all,
we think.

Previously published in Running Down the Wind,

a collection of poetry, 2007.





This peace we seek,
a psychic ebb and flow
pumping fluids through
this captured space
is all we have,
a calm of chemicals
in tune or out of tune
so on the knife-edge
of despair, so on the threshold
of elation, a moment’s trigger
a rush of wind
the pale perfection of the moon
cold, distant, pulling
at the blood, drawing
water to its call.
This peace, this state
at birth or death
lies within us
not without
all action, things we see
mere reflections of ourselves
ripples not really there
made up in their importance
their force to bend
our will to mood.

"Close to the Road" previously published in collection,

Going to the Well, 2004 ISBN 0-9736568-0-8

                       David Fraser








Noiseless wrinkles
on our forehead,
the frontiers of history,
shed oblique glances
at Homer’s verses.
full of guilt
wounded whispers
that become echoes
in lighted caves
of the fools and the innocent.


The night
that strangled
the endless moments
I had wished
to live,
passed by
without my lighting up
the candle
I had longed
to warm up
all the “don’ts”
and “zeros”.

              Dimitris P. Kraniotis







Great-grandma Cecelia was told
the New World would be all roses
and streets of gold.
Alone with six children,
one a babe in arms,
all dressed in new clothes
bought with pennies scraped together,
she followed her husband till Amerika,
54 dollars from Gothenburg to St. Paul.

In the long heat of the sea passage,
Cecelia gave her baby
something she had never tasted.
And when, in the hell of Castle Garden,
the baby died, for the rest of her life
she blamed the ship’s ice water.

Here, in the Promised Land, she learned
her Andrew toiled to pave the streets
with brick. And, days after her arrival, scrubbing
other people’s floors, dragging
Molly and little Ida with her, gone from all
she loved at home and speaking no English,
she let her tears fall like heart’s blood
into the scrub pail.
Later, there was the boarding house
and water to haul and heat in the boilers.
Quarrymen’s heavy crusted clothes
to scrub by hand. Room and board,
a day for a dollar.
Of three more children borne,
two were buried, Anna Helen the only
child of the New World to survive.

In widowhood, hair pulled tight,
stolid in her long black dress,
in old age with no money,
Cecelia earned her keep by doing
all the baking in Ida’s comfortable house.
There ladies from the Swedish church
brought birthday flowers,
left dollar bills on a little plate
to keep her in peppermints.
There at last, she had roses,
filling all the parlor
where they laid her.




Newborn, our first instinct is to grab
and hold on. Afraid of falling,
we arch and stiffen, guard
the precious half-formed spine.
All our lives we clench fists in primal self
protection, hunch to ward off dissolution
inside the body armor, a nautilus
constructing an elaborate shell.
All our lives in vestigial survival instinct           
we cling to the mother’s belly hair,
the lover’s breath on the hot throat: 
Oh, do not abandon me or I dissolve.
But we are mostly water, every organ,
every cell, even the intractable
brain, its convoluted echoing
dreams of the sea, 
and we must let ourselves be
water and fall like sleep
into the stillness.

                  Nancy Paddock









In the still of the night
When the stars sleep
In their orbs
And the moon has run her course
Camels cough
At the desert
And the suppliant
At the seas of time
Bowed under shame
To press
Forehead to the ground
And the camels growl further




If it be the Will of God
It will happen
If not
Then not
But to submit
In prostration
Forehead to the dust
And wash nose, eyes and ears
Seven times in sand
Should the desert yield no water
For purification
Praise God
For what will be
Will be
So always praise
The way of submission
The seven sands of purification
The swaying caravan routes
God willing
We will complete our journey
Praise God
We have.

Geoffrey Jackson







“The trees are speaking on the far shore
we’ll never get there in time…”
– Robert Adamson, Black Water
“Like the swan which drinks milk only from milk-water
so should the substance of the world be drunk.”
– Kanhupada, Raga Indratala
go-round swings he hangs the orange
sky collides with shadows / people
haunt the thinning trees the punctured
eye & hair like lightning dust or bubbles /
years (abandoned houses stars she gives
her beaming light & tongue & vital airs
eclipse his head a light or vapour finds
her powdered breasts her lotus sword &
studied skull a southern-fire (delight or
wishing cow) & rubbed by sages in the
night his faces unclean peel a blackened
may: white-flock carpet heart & rain –
‘the fine grey nature’ of earth in mouth a
moonbeam’s grubby thread she sinks in
rags & callow youngsters folded back his
arms (the gallows bird the upward moving
other self he steals & rides a mouse through
time his face a rusty frying-pan or pearly tusk
& hatched the waters gold / the peacock sky

                          Paul Hardacre









                                 Avoided by many passing eyes.
                                Is as if people are saying, “There
                                 Is no one in the space I occupy.
                                  What appears as a human being
                        Is a mirage in this desert,
                     An illusion of an al fresco café
                                                There are no human beings.”
Sometimes, like Descartes, I doubt if I exist,
Sometimes I doubt if I am actually here in this al  fresco café,
    What restores my belief, my faith, that
I am here occupying a black iron chair
                Is that some eyes, a few eyes, blue eyes,
Brown eyes, eyes of various colors,
Do look at me, look hard
At me,
Even stare.
                These people stare at me with an accusatory look,
As if accusing me of some desperate act,
Some despicable crime,
                                Not having a credit card,
                                Parking in a handicap space,
                                Not saying “Have a good day.”
                                                These accusatory looks

Make me feel I exist.

Duane Locke







The clouds are always there
ringing three peaks
busy with lightning &
thunder grumbling—
the place clouds are born
to water the fields
and forests of Vietnam.
You must be light as air
to receive a tree frog’s blessing
then take the path to the cloud pagoda
at the summit of Ba Vi
where a nun lives to tend the shrine
light incense sticks
and burn the ceremonial money
arrange flowers left by pilgrims
in offering to the clouds.
Quiet time, the forest watches over her
she meditates clouds until night—
sleeps on a cane mat before the sweet altar—
the clouds round Ba Vi swirl through the pagoda
wrap her in glowing vapour
make images of her cloud dreams
and if the clouds dream
they dream of her.
Sunrise, she gathers the flowers
left by day-tripping pilgrims
and throws them to the clouds.


Kambah Pool


A bend in the river, water’s clouded by green mud
Deep, really deep, good for proper swimming.
These days only children see spirit life
Work and play, see a world invisible to adults
Clear and just, a solar system glows every grain
Of sand and kids crush evil in one hand,
Until growing up evil comes again.
The light dappling the water surface
Reveals some native spirits’ power
Derives from fireflies.  Gumnut babies
Fuss and fight give a lesson how funny
Is the futility of conflict.  Children see
That crazy old spirit Pan left his shadow
Hanging from a tree and reflection
Drinking at the river, the old goat’s galloped
Way up mountain, leaps cliff to cliff
Grazes on blackberries growing in the scrub
Gazes over his Murrumbidgee domain.
All glands and rankness, his shaggy coat
Putrid with the smell of ewes, wallabies,
Kangaroos, still a monster, he’ll take
A bird bath later.  Dirty musk fills the air
Like a native allergy, tea trees blossom
As he passes, kangaroos lift their heads
Breathe deep his scent and there are dogs, too.
When the kids see Pan they go gulp
If dads could see him they’d beat him to pulp.
You might not see but the musk stench
Wafts on the breeze. Currawongs squawk
The inside-out salute, warble a tone of pity
For the brute. The immigrant god moves inland—
Raucous the cockatoo never shuts up.

                        S.K. Kelen







Now I lay bare, beneath your glassy gaze
Trapped between nudity and hypnotizing stare,
I looked back on memorable days
when I walked this earth with fear.
Away from your binding shackles I fly,
Key in hand I flee the crush of stamping feet.
Seeds of subjugation sown in me,
uproot and cast away, poisoned manure.
Replace now, seeds of liberty,
Rejoice with dance the cure.
Revelations too dark in blinding light,
Then, closing chapter and the brooding night.
I read the glyphics on surrounding walls,
The hero dies, the nation falls.
Fierce rage, apportion blame,
The sweet and sour sugarcane,
Put to sword who puts to shame.
As I lay clothed beneath your glassy gaze,
You look as if I am not here.
I look toward better coming days
When I will tread this earth without fear.






Looking out to a city
ravaged by industrial fires,
set ablaze with waste from far-flung
dumps, booking their urban flights
by chance of wind to all
destinations where life exists.
The river seems clear tonight.
I can see panting fish of fine
discoloration declaring
that beyond the clarity
lies something murky, deeper
than the fisherman’s will,
wider than the trawler’s net.
Perhaps there is still time to call
time on this war and retreat
from the white flag now sailing
at half-mast. Then we might
not mistake the children’s coughing
for laughter. And strong men might
temper the tightness of their
lungs, young women the measure
of the breathing and elders
the volume of their tears.


Oladipo Agboluaje






Borrowed Landscape

(Paddy Maguire’s Pub, near Chinatown, Sydney)

The trees, that do not belong to me, on the hill,
that does not belong to me. This is my premise.
The people in a house that grew like a mushroom.
But with shattering noise! Oh yes! Look across
at us as if we have always existed – just like this.
But indeed we have not. And will not. No.
When I call on my airy familiars, they come to me, more
insubstantial than they used to be, but still. They come.
With – lightsome tread. Through landscape. Sometimes
in the guise  of an animal or bird. Sometimes… Sometimes…
…exactly what is it about this city that I cannot
quite – quite – quite – dislike?
They are looking at me! The people! As they
pass! I can’t grasp, even with exhaustive intuition, Asian
postures, ways of being. I can read the Australians,
some with an Asian cast of feature. Some not.
A grandmother – I can tell that much – a grandmother
trots past flat-footed, the baby jogging on her back.
stealing the look of me. All saved to file, on her hard drive
The woman in the beer garden in the black hat … scribbling …
… scribbling. As she steals me, so I steal her.
The man (with the broken mouth) has gone. Up!
And left! Taken his chance, picked his time.
So I would not notice him going. Although
I notice him gone. He is gone out as far as I
can imagine to the place where he lives his life.
The place that intersects with this. I am bold today.
I am imagining lives. Lives! Three whiskeys down!
Writing a poem – as if it were allowed! – thrumming with
the courage to impose – and claim – what is always mine!




I coveted the pretty ornament. Like a child
I wanted the sweet colours, the crimps, the curls,
I wanted it for no reason, for no good reason.
I was walking among the detritus when the market closed.
The coathangers were driftwood, the defeated, lonely shoe
stranded by the tide, billowing newspapers yards of airy kelp
as if the sea had taken the city  and retreated,
my esoteric and lonely game. And there it is,
the enchanted shell, the pretty thing. Mine.

                      Jennifer Compton 

                         (New Zealand)









when i cry, we laugh,
tears simmer like drops of
sparkling dew;
everybody asks:
who are you? are you?
then you reply –
“i am the permanent
friend of thine”
in happy sorrow
always saying ha… he… hi.
i am the vapor
of melting emotion
bursting sentiment,
liquefied steam
experiencing condensation
which evokes relaxation;
testing the extremes
in cold and hot,
black and white,
but i am always
a shareholder
in green and red
within range of vision eyesight.
i am immortal like truth,
observed in babies, young and old,
omnipresent like air
in hell, hill, mountain fold
till the graveyard
when hearts become
filled with anguish;
a nobody flowing upstream
joyous with grief,
sprinkling water from shower
baptising an orphan, abandoned,
as sympathetic as revival oxygen,
an eternal river seeking mental escape.
          Kumuda Ranjan Panda






Sunlight prowls through city soot
in crooked yellow-and-black
lines: a mirage of tigers slinking
between the steel and the sky and the shadows,
but less savage, more humble
 – even suicidal: sun swan-
dives from the upper floor, defiling itself in
the garbage and rotting fruit and the whores
like an eternal cat with more than nine lives,
and creeping into rooms, where cold tea kettles
are picked up by trembling old hands; sunshine
stretches, yawns and flexes its paws, warming
up this prey for the real hunter yet to come.
The sky is the sweetest invitation,
a graceful white palace that crumbles
to clouds at the black kick of human hopes.
Our yearning spirit indeed rolls on like
a mighty army of marching bones,
crunching illusions, and stirring up
sand from which we build new fortresses
to  hide our trembling dreams in.

             Thomas White








   /I lit a thin green candle/
   -- Leonard Cohen

I lit a thin green candle
and it grew alive in my hands

The candle became a cool
green flame between my hands

And in it appeared black letters
I knew I'd have to decipher

All that was waxen
dripped off my hands

Until only the cool green flame
was left between my hands

Johannes Beilharz



This toneless ode
might be imagined

And might take on contour

Like a blue being
stepping out of the mists

And as the mists

you might glimpse
some waves of the ocean

Blue came from.
You might hear a brash surf,

might feel yourself
drawn to Blue,

drawn to the ocean

Johannes Beilharz







I whistle in lively tune on a spring morning.
In the whistle my small dream is contained lightly.
The dream expands more and more as I am whistling.
My heart, charmed with my own tune, becomes so merry.

A net's ready for trapping fish swimming swiftly.
Fish themselves with too great strength leap into the net.
Foolish! They themselves perish, entering the net.
In the spring river one sees such a tragedy.

An enchanting, columbine is now blossoming.
Men love this purple flower which beautifies spring.
Its stalk, vertical, is long unbecomingly;
So, feeling shy, it has dropt its head bashfully.

The autumn wind plays music of the world's sadness,
With the tender twigs of trees as instrument.
Dancing to the wind's music of great mournfulness,
The trees' leaves fall grievously on the ground ambient.

A new life secretly grows out of a dead tree.
I am a dead-tree mushroom, born in cool autumn.
Hopeful, pleasant future lies brightly before me.
I'll bravely live, enduring the wind of autumn.

I am a Japanese larch, kindred to pine trees.
Late in autumn my leaves turn yellow helplessly.
Grieving for my fallen leaves, I envy pine trees:
As they're evergreen, I shed regretfully.

                    Kazuyosi Ikeda