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Content From Issue: Volume 6 Number 2 (August 2019)

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From: Vol.06 N.02 – Intersecting Energies

Horseshoe Bay

by Rachael Mead

I love this place the way a dog loves its human,

wordlessly and to the bone. The shark-spotter

unzips the long, high blue and the sea is so clear

I float in green light over the dark weight of empty.


I walk the blue slate path to Knights Beach,

three feet taller and not needing anyone’s hand,

past the Norfolk pines for the white war dead

and my old new house that I’ll never own.


I’ve known this place since my skin was fresh

as the sand after a wave. Now I’m creased

and coarse as the granites. I feel its moods,

the pilot-light glimmer of hope for dolphins,


how everything tastes better when you’re coated

in its salt. I started this poem with Whizz Fizz

and a Historic Port Elliot pennant. It closes

with chilli squid and a cold glass of white.


I was dumped here, tumbled breathless,

first by waves and later, a man – heart

and faith battered, learning the sea and love

are fickle and the brutal shock of metaphor.


My days here are bright and free as January strains

to turn sand into glass. Sweet shade and granite,

grass and ants, prams and dogs, the sky and sea

so blue from the vast blackness behind them.


Long ago, this bay was forest, these granites spat

from volcanoes. The spirits of so many hover, mine

just one ghost world in the throng. This is how it happens.

Everything will be different, everything will be the same.

Published: July 2019
Rachael Mead

is a poet, short story writer and arts critic living in South Australia. Her poetry collections include The Flaw in the Pattern (UWAP 2018) and The Sixth Creek (Picaro Press 2013). She has a collection of short fiction forthcoming in 2020.

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From: Vol.06 N.02 – Intersecting Energies

Excerpt from PLAN B AUDIO

by Jane Joritz-Nakagawa

i wonder what exactly was attached to what you took from me

except for grief

give me a lullaby to stay awake

to never leave

things alone

a place to invest

with ordinary stillness


up sash the merry whoopsy blinds















scatological outburst

of inner work

the nightly crisis


i point out the obvious

pay you to listen to me


i drink the air

everything resembles whiskey

what i’ve left behind

call my name

‘pale sorrow’

what was it I was longing for

for whom was I looking

the alarm goes off I move

what did the sky do yesterday

(where did the ominous clouds go)


kitsch operation

its delicate orbit

a blurry frontier

for wishbone outlaws

bamboo panic

peeling offspring

faithless postcard

for faceless boredom

dipthong revival

a grungy planet

tender cannibal

holds nameless grudge

serious feather

for populous trapeze

poignant membrane

vertical frisk

canary lava

and strident hope

wistful gauze

worn by wanton gallop

hysteric stairways

metaphoric cellulite

kinetic menu

echo chamber

in rows of perfect stars

the dissolution of wandering

elongated torso

please become my somewhere

tired cottage

field notes

voice in the space next to mine

MRI hurts my ear

outside the day is disappearing

trapped in the ribcage

geometric month


always climbing the mountain

which isn’t there

Published: July 2019
Jane Joritz-Nakagawa

Jane Joritz-Nakagawa’s new poetry books are <<terrain grammar>> (theenk Books, 2018) and Poems: New and Selected (Isobar, 2018).

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From: Vol.06 N.02 – Intersecting Energies

Darkinjung Burning

by Luke Patterson

begin with a circle facing a fire aunty

lit under the blinking pink and kindle

dawn moon nevertheless still splashing

in the breeze rest handfuls of striplet

sprigs moiety-up arc an interspecies

intimacy until a dozen landscapes egress

with a eucalyptus lungful and the supernatural

appear commonsense in tempered embers

this is not a mourning poem you see

places are totemic uncle dips bottlebrush

dew admits life begins with yellowbelly




untroubled chuckle in gestures

the way the land-owner cites edible plants

surveys the shape the colour of eyes

a course of native spices peppers cosmopolitan

phenotypes he smokes a pipe with a timber

pulse and jokes how he plundered through

Dark Emu in a week thanks god for the

seasons urging to get on with business

eat biscuits wait for the wind to calm

sheepish hawks circle thermal pockets

birdsong warms the valley lips




didn’t fall from our mother’s clacker

with a pair of clapsticks in our hands aunty

calls a tenure of love a labor of warmth for light

for ceremony for hardening the point spearhead

the facts face the leviathan that chokes

the undergrowth and wraps its brambled body

around the roots untouched scales a forsaken

gallery this toothache country uncle growls years

of gub-abo leaf litter over his old shoulders

letting in a little peace of sky clearing

the air which left untended is prone to ignition




auntie yawns two-stepping with a willywagtail

driptorch in her hand tilts yolk from an egg

little min-min ooze out dance fiddle-footed

nothing cataclysmic no holocenic genocide

no pyretic extinction just a fizz seeds pop tickle

lick with a pitch and chimerical taste of species

in cahoots no war but a wash of living soot no

breakneck rush but simply slips down the slope

flush like a droplet down the wrist a murmuration

of carapaces and critters scurrying up trunks

a breath before a din no woodwind lakestorm

no brouhaha only the heartstrings the burning

dipthong unbuttoning years of flora and flesh

lost on the logophile we walk and talk on a hotbed

of rolling bio-semiosis side-by-side a wandering

phantonym in mnemonic attires cool to the touch

and calm as wallabies watching in the distance

Published: July 2019
Luke Patterson

is a Gamilaraay poet, musician, wood carver, and folklorist living on Gadigal lands. He is currently writing a suite of anticolonial folk-ballads for mandolin and voice.

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From: Vol.06 N.02 – Intersecting Energies

Collage poem #55 (you’re what it’s all about)

by Nick Chłopicki

Published: July 2019
Nick Chłopicki

is currently completing his Honours in Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong. Nick has publications in Porridge, Lite Lit One, Marrickville Pause, Subbed In, Australian Poetry’s digital chapbook ‘Tell me Like You Mean It’, and has written a short-play called ‘Luvstuff’, staged as part of DIY. He currently resides in North Wollongong.

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From: Vol.06 N.02 – Intersecting Energies

Bolbol, captive

by Hessom Razavi

Home is a crowded cage, summer’s Iran strung

with iron bars, cheap copper bells and trinkets.


Drawn to your whistles and trills, tiny virtuoso

and a rebel’s tasnif, captive on a Shiraz side street.


You dart and nip at the bars, seek crumbs or, perhaps,

the foreign feel of skin, starved for gentler keeping.


Nearby, a wizened man in an old Yankees cap sits

on faded marble, chews an illicit polony wrap.


A girl child delivers water, pauses to collect tips

and practice bare English, her eyes young, still lit.


She threads tables, al fresco among exhaust fumes

and drifts of orange trees, the city’s mixed harvest.


The sun approaches zenith; a forty-year spell warms

up still.  Enduring, the crowd and bolbol hush.


Released to fly, bolbol, would you lift to unrule

the roost, or moult to wilt, unused to being free?


Retrained in flits, bolbol, aviary to sanctuary,

would your hatchlings grow to sovereign chicks?


The girl child loosens her hijab, takes shallow sips,

waits to outlast the worst of the Jumhoori’s heat.

bolbol: singing thrush nightingale; motif for devotion, longing and loss in Persian poetry.

tasnif: metric song of classical poetry; lyrics are often from Hafez and Rumi.

Jumhoori: Republic; denotes ‘Islamic Republic of Iran’, established 40 years ago in 1979.

Published: July 2019
Hessom Razavi

is a doctor and writer, born in Iran in 1976. He was raised in Tehran and Karachi, speaking Farsi and Urdu, before migrating to the UK and then Australia. He wrote his first poem in 2006, after a night of hospital shift work. His poetry has since garnered prizes in Australia and overseas.

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From: Vol.06 N.02 – Intersecting Energies

Bin nights

by Lian Low

Mum lives in a house overrun by paper miscellany – bills, newspapers, junk mail spill

cantankerous on the couch, dining table, floor, kitchen bench, notes scribbled on the edges of

open envelopes which she’ll forget and ask me over the phone.


Most Tuesday nights I have dinner with Mum; wash-up, wheel out the rubbish and recycling

We chat about her 90 year old tai chi teacher who eats eggshells everyday as a health booster

We chat about Dad in the aged care facility, if he sat on his electric wheelchair for activities

or not

We chat about Mystery Diners & sneaky employees on hidden surveillance cheating their


We chat about the news, her birthplace in Terengganu where two women were caned in

public for consensual sexual relations

…………..(I scour google and read that it’s never happened in Malaysia before September 2018.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister denounces the caning, but maintains that LGBTQ+ rights are

Western values (here in Australia, we celebrate one year of marriage equality).  In August

2018 the portraits of two LGBTQ+ activists were removed from an exhibition.  Later in the

year the former Malaysian deputy prime minister claims that Palu, Indonesia’s earthquake

and tsunami was the result of God’s punishment for LGBTQ+ activities.  Sodom and

Gomorrah on repeat, the fire and brimstone magic show)


Just before the mercury rose over 40 degrees in January

I replaced Mum’s noisy wobbly fan, circulating more hot air, with a borrowed portable air

conditioning unit ignoring her repeated refusal, ‘Don’t worry, I’m fine.  Don’t you need it?’

Her home spared from the 200,000 homes in Victoria hit by power failure

With coal and thermal generators failing in the heatwave

It was wind power that filled the gap

Summer 2018-2019 beating 2013’s hottest summer record

Sea levels projected to rise to over two metres by 2100

The earth slowly sucking Jakarta’s foundations into its bowels, ‘the fastest sinking city in the



Mum and I are home from hospital ‘cos Dad is sick again

We chat about the news; ScoMo wins, the Adani coalmine on Wangan and Jagalingou

Country will go ahead, a few days later a climate emergency rally disrupts parts of the

Melbourne CBD

I wheel the yellow recycling bin over the tuft of grass in the driveway,

Ponder how Australian recycling has now landed in Malaysia’s ports full of maggots

A trash outpost for rich nations

A Western value system of individualism and selfishness?

We turn off the news,

Make space to breathe, practice tai chi in the lounge room.

Published: July 2019
Lian Low

is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. From 2009-2016, Lian was an editor and a board member of Peril – Asian Australian arts and culture magazine. Lian is a recipient of The Wheeler Centre’s inaugural Next Chapter scheme and currently working on a young adult speculative fiction novel.

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From: Vol.06 N.02 – Intersecting Energies

Because the River Freezes

by Madeleine Dale

Because the river freezes over in winter, we have done what we must –

untagged specimens of an archival regime, girls in plaits not meant

to survive past their purpose. Our whetstone hands, our illuminated

soft tissues – blue dye and trace, a stomach of petrochemical ache. Who

could fault the gannet for eating its own weight in discarded spoons and

closed zip-ties, for leaving a perfect plastic self on the tide line? Tell me

again how my circulatory system is in freefall, the choke points of ankle

and elbow, the notch above my hip made without purpose; a planned

obsolescence, a replaceable body, head of nylon hair. Who could blame

the kestrel for killing its keeper, for starving in the hood and jesses?

Sparrow-hunters, we have done what we must to live past our passage-

prime; too old to be taught, too female for study. Because the river freezes

in winter, I am walking bank to bank, my hair in bands down my back. I

am notching an axe into the carotid, and where you can’t see me, I drink.

Published: July 2019
Madeleine Dale

is a Brisbane poet. She holds a First Class Honours degree and University Medal in Creative Writing, and is currently completing an MPhil focusing on ecopoetics at the University of Queensland. Her work can be found in Wildness, Cordite, Voiceworks, and Meanjin, among others.

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From: Vol.06 N.02 – Intersecting Energies

At Sea

by Anne Casey

Brine rises, whetted as memories in my sandbagged lungs—

plastic-scrap semi-sunk in a spring tide, ragged and limp, as hard to inflate


I came from the sea, a distant shore pummelled even then—

beaches these days reshaped by each season, squalls outside living recollection


Seawater pillowed my children before they were born—

blood-warm as the currents swarming to nurture the Crown of Thorns, they thrived into life


Wave-surges swell on the storm-ravaged islands of my consciousness—

Welling like water-winged infants, as vulnerable to submersion; I still worry they’ll drown


My body grows nodules virulent as invaders engulfing virile organs—

once plump and vigorous as coral polyps, my cells too, pulse with petrochemicals


My temperature rises with each falling number—

Two thousand species, two thousand metres deep, two thousand kilometres wide


My heart sinks—

Faster than the five hundred billion plastic bags we use each year


My vision clouds—

Murky as forty per cent of the world’s ocean surface obscured in manmade debris


But, small and bright as spawn-clouds blooming—

White, gold, coral, the young surfacing, shine through seeking truth


Our budding hope

Published: July 2019
Anne Casey

Originally from Ireland, Anne Casey is an award-winning Sydney-based poet/writer, and author of two collections published by Salmon Poetry. Her work is widely published internationally and ranks in The Irish Times ‘Most-Read’. A former environment journalist, she is Senior Poetry Editor of Other Terrain and Backstory journals (Swinburne University, Melbourne).

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From: Vol.06 N.02 – Intersecting Energies

antinatalism in the anthropocene

by Dženana Vucic

you can’t say much good about climate change and don’t get me wrong it’s not like i think it’s a good thing but have you noticed how it just makes conversations about not wanting children go that little bit smoother? which is to say not go at all. derail, is the word for it, i think. because you know, the thing with before was, once you [twenty something, white, female, bi but really straight because bisexuals are just women looking for attention] said oh i don’t want children it became all a matter of changing your mind & growing up & hitting thirty & finding the right person & biological clocks. and then why was thrown out like some accusation of supreme cruelty, all squinting and suspicion, and you couldn’t very well say well i don’t really like kids, you see [because it’s different when they’re yours, you know] or well i want to focus on my career [because a woman can have it all now, didn’t you realise] or look honestly i just want to spend my time and money on me-stuff? [what the fuck is wrong with you, you selfish bitch?] but then along came climate change in a way that meant we really couldn’t ignore it anymore. i mean, the eu banned single use plastics and david attenborough started doing docos where it was a thing throughout and not just, like, in the last episode? not to mention all the school kids going on marches and getting shitty with us for destroying their planet and disrupting traffic with their walking and their chanting. anyway, what i’m saying is that it’s really hit home now and everybody knows about it and look, i don’t want to sound didactic [actually i was specifically told not to be didactic] so let me go for dogmatic instead: climate change is real & recycling won’t fix it. and see, the great thing is that everybody knows it but is doing this thing of pretending like they don’t because double consciousness is really in right now and also if we had to face the reality of the humungous changes we’d need to engender to meaningfully impact anything, we’d probably just throw in the towel on humanity altogether. i mean, who wants to live in a world where you can only buy avocados when they’re in season?? we didn’t exploit our way through the age of imperialism and the industrial revolution to put up with that shit. [though at least we’d be able to afford houses with all that saved avo-money]. which brings me back to not having children and the bright side of the whole doomed-earth thing which is to say: it really takes a lot of pressure off the whole kids situation, y’know? why becomes such an easy question and also the perfect opportunity to virtue-signal and otherwise peacock your incredible selflessness, which, you’ll note, is the exact opposite of what people thought of the choice before. i can’t do much, you can tell your nosey aunt, but this is something i can do. cast your eyes around her well-furnished, air-conned loungeroom. let your eyes linger on the two sets of car keys sitting on the table. shrug [sadly] and say: we need to make sacrifices for the good of our planet. maybe look down at your hands but don’t overdo it because she might do something radical like install solar panels or sell a car to offset the impact of your unborn. interestingly, there’s only two degrees of separation between selfish and selfless which is also the maximum degree of difference allowable between temperatures now and temperatures in the future coz anything above that will render the whole question of self kinda irrelevant. but anyway. i can’t do much but this is something i can do.

Published: July 2019
Dženana Vucic

is a Bosnian-Australian writer and editor. Her work has been published in Going Down Swinging, Australian Poetry Journal, Scum, the Australian Multilingual Writing Project, Rabbit, Lip Magazine and

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From: Vol.06 N.02 – Intersecting Energies

All the Trees

by Susan Wardell

All the trees are pointing

away from earth. Promise

or ultimatum?


I should

eat dirt and plant myself.

That’s what they call ‘centred’.

I should

hold the hard truth of it

heavy in my belly.


I saw you before

you opened your eyes.

I didn’t want to apologise

then, but since

I sometimes wonder if

I should.


Till today when you climb

the old cherry behind the house, breathe

pink and infinite solutions,

however small. You invite me up.

I look skyward through its old, old arms

as you promise me

I won’t fall.

Published: July 2019
Susan Wardell

is from Dunedin, New Zealand, where she lectures in Social Anthropology at the University of Otago while raising two small humans and a few potted plants. She has been published in Landfall, Takahē, and Not Very Quiet. She placed second in the 2018 Landfall Essay Competition.

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From: Vol.06 N.02 – Intersecting Energies

The Last Safe Habitat

by Craig Santos Perez


Through this lens, it is clear that much more than is often appreciated is at stake in the disappearance of birds. And so we are able to understand in new ways the diverse significances of extinction: What is lost when a species, an evolutionary lineage, a way of life, passes from the world? What does this loss mean within the particular multispecies community in which it occurs: a community of humans and nonhumans, of the living and the dead?

         – Thom Van Dooren, Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction (2014)


I don’t want our daughter to know

that Hawai’i is the bird extinction capital

of the world. I don’t want her to walk

around the island feeling haunted

by tree roots buried under concrete.

I don’t want her to fear the invasive

predators who slither, pounce,

bite, swallow, disease, and multiply.

I don’t want her to see the paintings

and photographs of birds she’ll never

witness in the wild. I don’t want her to

imagine their bones in dark museum

drawers. I don’t want her to hear

birdsong recordings on the internet.

I don’t want her to memorize and recite

the names of 77 lost species and subspecies.

I don’t want her to draw a timeline

with the years each was ‘first collected’

and ‘last sighted’. I don’t want her to learn

about the ʻŌʻō, who was observed atop

a flowering ‘Ōhiʻa tree, calling for a mate,

day after day, season after season.

He didn’t know he was the last of his kind,

or maybe he did, and that’s why, one day,

he disappeared, forever, into a nest

of avian silence. I don’t want our daughter

to calculate how many miles of fencing

is needed to protect the endangered birds

that remain. I don’t want her to realize

the most serious causes of extinction

can’t be fenced out. I want to convince

her that extinction is not the end. I want

to convince her that extinction is just

a migration to the last safe habitat

on earth. I want to convince her

that our winged relatives have arrived

safely to their destination: a wondrous

island with a climate we can never

change, and a rainforest fertile

with seeds and song.

Published: July 2019
Craig Santos Perez

is an indigenous Chamorro poet from the Pacific Island of Guam. He is the author of four collections of poetry and the co-editor of five anthologies. He is an associate professor in the English department at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa.

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From: Vol.06 N.02 – Intersecting Energies

A Sonnet at The Edge of the Reef

by Craig Santos Perez

at the Waikīkī Aquarium


Our daughter dips her hands into the reef

exhibit—touches a sea cucumber and red urchin

as butterflyfish swim by. A docent explains: one night

a year, after the full moon, after the tide rises

to a certain height, after saltwater reaches the right

temperature, only then the ocean will cue swollen

polyps to spawn, in synchrony, a galaxy

of gametes, which will surface, open, fertilize,

form larvae, root to seafloor, and grow generation

upon generation. At home, we read a children’s

book, The Great Barrier Reef, to our daughter

snuggling between us in bed. There’s no mention

of corals bleaching, reared in labs, or frozen

in vaults. And isn’t that, too, a kind of shelter?

Published: July 2019
Craig Santos Perez

is an indigenous Chamorro poet from the Pacific Island of Guam. He is the author of four collections of poetry and the co-editor of five anthologies. He is an associate professor in the English department at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa.

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.