He is –
Murky breaths and midnight toenails
Perfect Tai Chi in between the walls
Headlight free and Sunday solid
He bends I told you sos into spoons
…………made in his mother’s image.
Silent in a father’s absence.
Light feet on cold floors
Old dreams starting new wars
Nothing in a name –
He’d like to ask. He doesn’t.
-but shame. Woven into brickwork clusters.
Filling in cardboard carpets and red flags.
A dented screen, a captured queen.
A ticking secret on the other end of an Instagram like.
I. Churches, Boots and Trains
The ritual is complete
as with gloved hands pushed together
she receives wafer and wine
allowing the sweet God of her supplications
to flow through her veins.
He ribboned her soul with His eternal breath.
She collects mended boots tied with string
from the jigsaw of a shop.
Her nose sniffs the elixir of hides, polish, sweat.
A swarthy skinned mute watches her quietness – black eyes looking
as he controls the whirring straps flapping against metal constraints.
Once, invited, she ventured behind the counter.
He silently held her hand to the quivering belt.
Her body swings with the train’s rhythmic chant
as she follows him to the engine
jumping her fear when the earth raced backwards between carriage gaps.
He let her sound the whistle as the dark tunnel bent the smoke
stole the daylight.
II. Cicada Season
The cicada’s song resonated the summer she left.
After six months of tunnelling through the soil of familial expectations
and shedding multiple shells of held views
she finally split the carapace of family –
the effort and agony of separation over
and pulling herself out of herself
she was able to dry those wings and prepare for flight.
She thrummed a discordant, eschew view
and tested the circumferences of her oscillating sphere.
III. Captured Images
There is quietness now.
The whispering of her ghosts is welcomed in the dappled light of dreams.
When she had been cut too deep her raw heart stained everyone.
When she had been cut too deep, their sorrow seeped into her, reopening her wound.
She thought it would always be that way.
But a smile pushes a tight mouth’s edges as she watches the fern pushing its way,
disturbing the levelled pavers, like a wafer uplifted a girl’s soul.
Her body becomes as skittish as a cat’s when the wind
tangles her hair and whips her skirt.
She grins like a child invited behind the counter.
Thermal currents, stirring a coastal storm, remind her of smoke
sucked into a tunnel’s depth
as her mind spirals with images of a girl gone.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Find a centre, hold peace.
. waiting at the stop.
. our breath exchange is paused. lingering. at a stop.
. a breeze of cars circulates like a smooth pulse. exhale.
.exhaust. concrete. my thoughts circle your waist, wrist,
.fingers. find the ticket. inhale. a rumble-wave of trams
. dips in from above.
. dips in from
. I left you
. asleep between the silky sheets of this morning.
. remind me why.
. pause. inhale. remind me why.
Alysha Herrmann is a proud parent, regional artist and advocate working across disciplines in the arts, education, community development, social justice and social enterprise. She is a writer, theatre-maker, cultural organiser, and the current Creative Producer of Carclew’s ExpressWay Arts. Alysha has won numerous awards for her work using the arts to interrogate and explore community concerns and aspirations including, the 2015 Australia Council Kirk Robson Award and the 2014 Channel 9 Young Achiever Arts Award. Alysha was named as one of SA’s fastest rising stars under 30 by SA Life in 2014. Alysha tweets tiny poems as @lylyee and blogs about living a creative life at http://alyshaherrmann.wordpress.com Alysha was the Australian Poetry Café Poet in residence at Sprouts Café, Berri, South Australia in 2012.
Janette Dadd has had two books of poetry published with Ginninderra Press. The first Eve’s Tears was published in 2000 and the second Early Frosts in 2013. Janette also reviews verse novels and poetry collections. Her reviews have been published in Spineless Wonder, Global Poetry and Mascara Literary Review. Janette is the convener of the poetry slam, held annually as part of the Eurobodalla River of Art Festival. Janette was the Café Poet in residence at the Air Raid Tavern, Moruya, NSW from 2011- 2013 through the Australian Poetry program.
Indigo Eli is a multi-form poetic artist based in South Australia. Her work weaves between writing, spoken word, performance, visual art, installation and everyday encounters. She is a three-time Australian Poetry Slam national finalist and was an Australian Poetry Café Poet at two venues: Conniption Café in Paper String Plastic Gallery in 2011 and The Croydon Store in 2013. At her first, as part of ‘the nameless project’, she dropped poetry bombs during an exhibition opening. At her second, she delivered hundreds of poetic fortunes under coffee cups. Find out more about Indigo Eli here.
Featured Writers Part 2: Past Australian Café Poets- Curated by Zalehah Turner
Read about the Australian Poetry Café Poet Program (2009-2014)
Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review: https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor