Contemporary Australian Poetry.

Deadly by Ronald Barton

Jazz Club by Meg Caddy


by Vanessa Page


Midday beats on Brewarrina. Everywhere, the dead art

of sign writing marks a portal to another misplaced place.


Drifters are crouched outside the roadhouse, face-deep

in itinerant shadow – the slow slap of rubber thongs on tar


measuring time’s movement. In the Gamba grass, decades

of wasteland spoil are buried with the message sticks.


There’s something dangerous about the middle distance,

in the quiet menace of scarecrow men – kerosene eyes


that swim beyond social convention. Out here, heat is not

the only mirror that exposes the dark heart pumping away


inside all of us. Grey nomads pass through town, pressing

the auto-locks – fumbling with maps. This is our existential


blind spot – without words but not unspoken; a shared

endlessness, still littered with the same dingo fences.

Vanessa Page is a Cashmere-based poet who hails from Toowoomba in Queensland. She has published two collections of poetry: Feeding Paper Tigers (ALS Press, 2012) and Confessional Box (Walleah Press, 2013). Confessional Box was the winner of the 2013 Anne Elder Award.