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Content From Issue: Volume 3 Number 2 (August 2016)

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From: Vol.03 N.02 – Decolonisation and Geopoethics

Cactus Spoke

by Hannah Clinton

When the cactus spoke hums

the ivory cloak of yesterday’s mist

sunk into the crook of your elbow

 

—the burnished paradox bird

will make its nest   in the

breath of hell, the doberman watching in

the      shop window will

cradle an orphaned waterbuck,

 

the cicada’s strum leaking from the

ink stain on your twilled

cotton shirt

—a bicycle wheel will

trip over a discarded guitar

pick    an entire terracotta

village will fade     into paper light

 

when the cactus spoke whines

seven acres of sugarcane will be

set alight, before the venom of the snakebite

pools in the farmer’s bloodstream      after the

turnip moth hides its young in

dripping roots     a monkey’s tail will

trace a romance in the canopy,

your wide green eyes      blink tourmaline

 

when the cactus spoke purrs

the nodding saltbush will lose its bloom,

on the jetty a bird’s disguise will throw

distant buffalo, a cracked urn

will spill wine on a dry mouthed desert

Published: July 2016
Hannah Clinton

is a Melbourne based writer and recent Graduate of Monash University. Her poems take the Australian landscape, as both a real and imagined place, as a primary point of inspiration. Her poetry has previously been published in Verge 2013: Becoming.

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From: Vol.03 N.02 – Decolonisation and Geopoethics

bury night

by Dusk Dundler

rock as a god

yr anchor of gravity

centime drop

 

spine branch back

to well leant porous

trunks -peering darkest life

 

fluid mass

clock eye spiritus

clandestine white

 

it is pale

trace line inherent

holding own weight

 

wave crashes a funnel

cutting sleeping solitudal yoke

from land sight

 

races cannon sway

now purity of blinding white

longing vestal / naked birth

 

god does not think

in reason / time is at bay

and you are not a bird

Published: July 2016
Dusk Dundler

Dusk Dundler’s poetry is previously published in Plumwood Mountain, and also in Overland and The Prague Revue. He has produced documentaries for Radio National, and been published in the Griffith Review. He was short-listed for the 2012 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize.

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From: Vol.03 N.02 – Decolonisation and Geopoethics

Lord Howe Island Phasmid, Land Lobster

by B. R. Dionysius
Dryococelus australis

 

We fled from terror. Black rats migrated onto

Lord Howe from shipwrecks & we fed their

ravaging colonial instincts. Without contradiction

there can be no life, so a thicket of us hitched

a ride on driftwood & by the mercy of the moon

we managed to find landfall; refugees who had

turned themselves into sticks. This sheer peak

was almost barren, but for a scraggly melaleuca

shrub which had like us, held the gate against

the fittest surviving. We were rescued again;

years later, still a small outpost on the edge of

civilisation, our shit led you to us. Surely our

near miss is a cautionary tale? Don’t you see?

There’s no captive breeding program for you.

Published: July 2016
B. R. Dionysius

was founding Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival. He has published over 500 poems in literary journals, anthologies, newspapers and online. His eighth poetry collection, Weranga was released in 2013. He teaches English at Ipswich Grammar School and lives in Chapel Hill, Brisbane.

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From: Vol.03 N.02 – Decolonisation and Geopoethics

Brown Booby

by B. R. Dionysius

For the Brown Booby, wind is solid as ground.

Fast air molecules hold them in place; an invisible

plinth rewards the seabirds with an advantageous

vista of high tide. They are juvenile delinquents

testing gravity’s authority. They want to steal.

These hunters are sailors’ souls cruising Urangan’s

wooden pier, coveting the bream that bend light

like lipstick mirrors of a morning. The shorebirds

wear a yellow gloss around their bills. Undersides

are mottled cream & brown like a light fixture

where moths have died & form a shadowy base.

One folds its wings back like an umbrella closing

& punctures the sea in a neat dive. They conquer

the ocean too; scaling this liquid mountain.

Published: July 2016
B. R. Dionysius

was founding Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival. He has published over 500 poems in literary journals, anthologies, newspapers and online. His eighth poetry collection, Weranga was released in 2013. He teaches English at Ipswich Grammar School and lives in Chapel Hill, Brisbane.

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From: Vol.03 N.02 – Decolonisation and Geopoethics

Blood on the Water

by Yvonne Deering

The sun is rising over the bridge, lifting itself up slowly into an early autumn sky. But the morning is already ugly. The ugliness started before the sunrise, almost before any sign of daybreak. On other days I wake at first light to the sound of tentative bird calls. I lie with my dreams and listen to birdsong building till light and the birds seem to join in a glorious irrepressible matins. But not this morning.

It was dark when I woke: a low, dull drone had been boring into my dream. Disturbed, it took me some time to know this menacing sound as motors. The motors of shallow boats. Sliding with stealth through the darkness. I drifted back into troubled sleep, the sound of the motors unremitting. Haunting.

Then gunfire woke me. I lay in my bed, unnerved, compelled to listen. First light but no birdsong. Only gunshots. Piercing the morning. I got up and dressed and came to the bridge to witness, and now I see the sun rising. But the morning not beautiful. There are boats on the water, khaki green, the same colour as the river. Their rego numbers hard to decipher. The figures I see in the boats are khaki clad, stock still, gun barrels erect. I hear the crying of ducks and see some are winging away in search of safer waters. Watching them go, I whisper a wish or a prayer.

I know the onslaught will ebb as the day goes on. Birds not downed will be frightened away. But tomorrow it starts up again. And when I go walking, later, beside the water, I could well find wings – wings severed, discarded – the purple and teal of their feathers still catching the sunlight while never again to catch air. I might even find a creature unmutilated, wounded but fled from its hunters, escaped to die a slow death, alone. An almost weightless lifeless body bumping against the shore with each wash of the water which was, till today, its closest relation. Blood on the water. Blood on our hands. I’ll walk home without consolation. And anger and shame will surely follow me.

Published: July 2016
Yvonne Deering

lives in Central Victoria. She enjoys exploring and documenting and has had a smattering of work published. She has worked as a visual artist, both practising and teaching, but is now focussing on writing. Her poetry draws in particular on Nature and Place.

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From: Vol.03 N.02 – Decolonisation and Geopoethics

It takes time for clouds to cross the sky

by Renee Pettitt-Schipp

but I can forget, read them static, when I am always moving. On this early evening I am reminded, watching vaporous shapes morph between karris. Neither swift nor slow, their cumulus forms move like great ships from here to there.

Earlier, when we arrived, we took a walk down to the dam. It sat like a cup of light beneath high trees. My eyes were filled with leaves, their million green and unrepeated selves. As we followed the track I saw the jarrahs were drying, some dying, letting go in small surrenders of brown. The wind dropped their loss around us, the highest lives above rendered past tense, grey and shocking monuments.

Walking back, beneath the pines, the sudden flash of a Golden Whistler, a yellow flag on dark forest floor. She let us watch her, her find amongst the leaf litter too precious to surrender, her painted face tap, tapping her prize with the side of her beak. Then she let loose her ringing song and I gasped at its notes – flash of my child self, seeing her glowing form in rain and sunlight on a branch above the pond my father made. I did not know you were watching me. You turned me to you, drew me in, the light around us deep as honey.

In the morning you made love to me, and after my own shudder of pleasure, I could feel every cell in your body was born to this, your attention tuned as a hawk, honing in on movement, sound and muscle, the rush of life, a flow of yeses toward a sun. Later, walking through the forest, it was like a storm had passed between us, the playing out of its electricity, moving through new calm.

Walking beneath the canopy I took your hand, tried to memorise

                            the softness of your skin.

Published: July 2016
Renee Pettitt-Schipp

is an emerging writer who has been widely published throughout Australia. Renee is currently enjoying a cross-discipline approach, taking poetry into unexpected places. Renee has been recognised through many awards, including her recent shortlisting for both the ACU poetry prize and the inaugural Dorothy Hewett manuscript prize.  http://www.reneepettittschipp.com.au/

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From: Vol.03 N.02 – Decolonisation and Geopoethics

Beyond the immediacy of things

by Renee Pettitt-Schipp

landscapes of sound unravel, reveal a depth of field beyond traffic; magpies and crows, larks and wrens, and a bird I’ve never heard before, its new notes.

One, two, three, four … a great bird of prey bats its rufous wings against breeze – glides, looks – one, two, three, four … moves smoothly over steel lake. The sun has sunk itself into the dark waters and is un-rounded, fragmented by shift and surge of surface.

This morning – so many spoonbills, busy with their huge utensils in shallows behind the gums. Their mornings own a purpose I could use. The black-winged stilt honks, returning to sand, a swallow makes a neat incision in sky above my head. When the stilt flies she is small, but her long, red appendages stretch out like banners, like a celebration behind her.

The bulrushes are moving. Together, they shake off the night and with the slightest sigh, gossip about the wind. The crows are sorting out their business high in distant limbs, while here by the water, wrens scatter their rush of notes amongst the undergrowth.

When I sit here, I no longer have any questions, only thoughts that move in circles suspended in their own internal logic, held in a story about immensity. And within that, the specific; brown-red head of the welcome swallow on a branch that pushes out of silver, the swamp-hen’s painted face, rising comically from high grass.  These things make sense to themselves, and to me, when I am here with the slowness to know them.

A bee spins prostrate on his wings in water, I want to write about his dance of death, the waves of blue light behind him. But I can’t bear it. I take a branch, reach out to him, wait in bee-time for him to find the twig tiny feet can climb. And he does. And I take him onto the deck to dry.

Now he repays my act by letting me watch his ablutions in the sun. First he walks, then he takes his black front limbs, rubs them over her proboscis, drawing his legs out long like arms. Then his middle legs dry his front legs, then almost human-like, he rubs his limbs over his large, dark eyes, walks in a circle, arches up as middle legs run down back legs. Then he is gone, down between the decking, and I am alone, looking at planks and leaves.

Published: July 2016
Renee Pettitt-Schipp

is an emerging writer who has been widely published throughout Australia. Renee is currently enjoying a cross-discipline approach, taking poetry into unexpected places. Renee has been recognised through many awards, including her recent shortlisting for both the ACU poetry prize and the inaugural Dorothy Hewett manuscript prize. http://www.reneepettittschipp.com.au/

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From: Vol.03 N.02 – Decolonisation and Geopoethics

and the rivers run with antibodies

by Julie Maclean

in blood-blue arteries of artless flight and gather

egrets meet and feed

in shallow

shadow           peace

and blue

on sand bars ochre red

beaks and birds feed as cells

cancer breeds like birds

birds in shallows         deep

eat and eat

feed in blood

in blood-blue river     river of blood

and bird

they       nod

and      nod

honed scythes innate

slash the cancer down

eat the fish

the cancer fish

fish and cancer feed

blue arteries collapse

and fold as egrets feed

on drought

rare treat

and cancer tides

Published: July 2016
Julie Maclean

Julie Maclean’s second poetry collection Kiss of the Viking (Poetry Salzburg) was published in 2014. A collaborative pamphlet, To Have To Follow, is due in 2016. Her work appears in Poetry (Chicago), The Best Australian Poetry and elsewhere. Blogging at www.juliemacleanwriter.com

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.

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