Three poems



I can’t wish on stars in unseasonal cold.

They’re older than they look.

And they keep shtum in shivery night

even when I sneak up on them.

Still they spread a stern and spiky glow

on my uneven thinking about

how things turned out, horizon

to horizon, birth to dust.


All that dust is real, it floats eternally

and there you are or will be, or perhaps

you were, flickering from atmosphere

to atmosphere.


You don’t have to say a word

and, of course, you can’t.

I pretend the birds do that for you.

I pretend the stars effervesce

or mean something like a portent

when all I look at is the past while

trees are still busy, and the late traffic.

You’re going somewhere too.


Fate is a Virus


how my hair has fallen

over the world of my feet, over

splatter, my pallor, my loves, my cheek


I hunger for undergrowth, unsaved junk

mudflats, alarmed confessions, rain as a ghost feast

it doesn’t hate you     necessarily


the streets in the suburb are everlooping

funkish form fumbles on a twirl, a shame shag


even dogs speak in bitcoin whack

modern ecstasies sling round the supermarket

from cha-cha palace to bitch slap


online dalliance slopes over conspiracies

wish bent leaning into forever wherever

the stars went



The Ruins


Poems are separated by wind

planets   tally   matter   a thin coat

the ruins   the door you go through


The loads    on a long walk    accumulate

kerbs full of produce   and refuse

no modesty about what was once inside


A poem marshals silence on   vacant lots   

a rusty chair   burnt records    corpses    stones


trading or saving    what can be brought

to our speaking    faces 

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on December 5, 2020 as "Three poems".

For almost a decade, The Saturday Paper has published Australia’s leading writers and thinkers. We have pursued stories that are ignored elsewhere, covering them with sensitivity and depth. We have done this on refugee policy, on government integrity, on robo-debt, on aged care, on climate change, on the pandemic.

All our journalism is fiercely independent. It relies on the support of readers. By subscribing to The Saturday Paper, you are ensuring that we can continue to produce essential, issue-defining coverage, to dig out stories that take time, to doggedly hold to account politicians and the political class.

There are very few titles that have the freedom and the space to produce journalism like this. In a country with a concentration of media ownership unlike anything else in the world, it is vitally important. Your subscription helps make it possible.

Select your digital subscription

Month selector

Use your Google account to create your subscription