to never wake

a voice inside
shouts I’m a girl
watching shadows
that won’t stop
risking my life;

I can feel them now
burning in my stomach,
my eyes, daring me
to never wake

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just like a princess

I went out
last night a girl
a stranger
―I came back a woman

a prince tasted my lips
beneath the balcony
— made for each other

I should have realised sooner
I needed to calm down,
whatever happened
to my resolutions?
I shouldn’t have called him
so soon after last night
― just like a princess

Late night political debates

late night
political debates
burn my eyes,
I watch them
circle each other,
inching further
from the truth,
voices strained,
lips pressed;
I see it in their eyes,
the madness that urges
men to wage wars
shivers up my spine
when the clock
strikes midnight
and tragedy breaks

dreaming was easy

dreaming was easy,
loving her was hard;
she left me feeling faded,
like a pair of skinny jeans,
even when body
was close to mine
she kept on with her rebellion
against the whole world,
mistaking it for love,
keeping it far from simple,
we went round in circles
playing her games
that messed with my head,
back and forth,
touching the nerves across my ribs
so warm and soft,
before she kissed me
and everything was right again.

This I understand

eyes open ― dressing in silence,
stray hair falling across my face;
black jeans ― tight ― crop top;
these are the clothes I wear now,
but what kind of person am I?

part of me is still angry,
remembering the heat in my cheeks,
the warning in my head ― her words,
I ―am a dangerous thing,
this I understand.

Wild west mythology (aka the gun lobby)

a desert landscape – dry – hot –
not even a breath of air to stir the dust.
the plain stretches to the horizon
where it meets a jagged line of eroded hills.
this landscape is old, barren – unfertile.
there is no sign of life, but a worn trail
hints that these plains have been crossed before.

a steam train rattles around the edge of the desert.
click clack on iron rails until a lonely outpost appears
in the distance a rustic timber building
a small outback siding where the train never stops,
never, even though it slows for the slight grade
the train never stops, except for the man in the cape
and black hat. the train stops because the man
in the black hat wants to get off.

the bar is filled with the usual characters –
a tired barman wiping glasses – ranch hands
washing trail dust down their throats – a card game
quietly underway at a table in the corner –
a barely dressed woman is draped over the back
of the tall one, the one with the pile of chips.
a honky tonk piano fills the air, mingling
with tobacco smoke and sweat.

all heads turn and stare
at the the man in black.
the woman covers herself up,
moves quietly back to the shadows.
the man with the poker chips drops
his eyes to the table – better not being noticed.
the barman nervously places a bottle of whisky
on the bar, he wipes a tumbler clean with the rag
hanging from his shoulder, places it on the bar
next to the bottle. the man in the black hat
uncorks the bottle and takes a swig.
everyone breathes a sigh when the man
takes the bottle and sits at a table.
he is prepared to wait, for such a man
brings only one thing – death.

The more things change

Gossip mongers fear
the fairy rath,
where December slows,
women sing at the bail,
warm palms against skin,
cheeks against bovine flanks,
milk sparse in the churn;

gibbous moon rings
fire lit faces,
bare feet scuff cobbles;
superstitious silence
drives poor women
from their homes,
for aren’t they to blame?

Today’s world

where Monday is a long time ago
economic powers military might
worries persist leaders
global disorder runs across borders
nothing like a war for votes

at its heart oppression
shadowy threats overt
the complex truth

child breathes poison air
women, children, religion
oppressed

Bush ballad

Silent hills of droving days
Along the bridle track
Hidden by September rain
He went to hell and back

Out where the west begins
Beyond the watershed
Under blue Australian skies
They found he’d lost his head

Along the track his spirit rose
An old mate by his side
Just another Australian myth
About red desert skies.

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