Contemporary Australian Poetry.

confiding eyes by Geraldine Burrowes

Havan† by Stuart Barnes

destined for mud

by Ashley Capes



there is a pulse

beneath this state of mind:


like a giant squid biding time

gills very patient

beneath water awfully black

and having melted softly


the car rolls to a halt.

through the trees no more than

a minute of light and then

headlights are clicked off


deep coffee sipped

from the dashboard

a spot of rain


as rats cross leaves

and an owl falls in white,

soundless as the samurai’s blade

or the kiss for a sleeping

child’s forehead.


the hammer jumps from the boot

and shoes go unpolished

that morning,

destined for mud in any case.



now the engine

with its Tom Waits voice

heading back, flinging

dead animals

into collection-plate-ditches

beside the road


their funerals microscopic


and the speed-dial clock

glowing nuclear,

somewhere in the AM.


later, the raincoat is hosed down

behind a petrol station

with bright lights and sliding doors


in the glove box there is no such




the wheels hardly blaze

and the handle

to wind the window down

bears a film of sweat


something interferes

with the dusty, country-death song

on the radio


and red sirens echo beneath clouds

that gobble constellations

like ugly worms


from the back seat

something stirs beneath a towel,

gurgles with love

or curiosity

and it makes no difference

to his rattlesnake eyes

Ashley is a poet, novelist and teacher living in Australia. He is the author of five poetry collections and two novels and was poetry editor for Page Seventeen from issues 8-10. Aside from reading and writing, Ashley loves volleyball, Studio Ghibli films and Magnum PI – easily one of the greatest television shows ever made.