Contemporary Australian Poetry.
Havan† by Stuart Barnes
Mr Harwood by Karen Murphy
I thought for a moment that I might love you
better if you walked past with a cigarette dangling
from your lower lip; licked there, balanced
on gravity and the last words you spoke. Although
it was a Catholic wedding, we didn't bother with the Mass,
so I've never seen you drink. That is the condition:
Communion wine. Do you fancy watching me eat steak?
I'd have to submit to carnivorism in the apocalypse. That's my
condition: Armageddon. Oh, you'd love that, wouldn't you?
And you'd weave an eloquent critique. "Binary", you'd remind me.
"You're all ones and zeros." You reckon you'd do anything to turn me
on; it'd take the end of the world to talk me round. Or, perhaps, if
you walked in with a live owl on your head, or a telegram from
Billie Holiday, or a signed first edition of Mother Courage
And Her Children. Maybe if you returned to the kitchen,
exited again looking like the landscape gardener my neighbours
hired when I was eight years old. At the time, he was probably
younger than I am now. Maybe if you smelled of newly
cleaned things despite a three-day beard. Maybe if you spoke
with a Russian accent, or in Basque, or with cranium-cracking
knowledge of the cosmos. Maybe if I had a time machine…
I used to love the precision of you, as if your simplicity
maintained your freshness. If mine is a binary personality, then yours
is like packaged tofu. Now, all I want is to meet you for the first time.
This version's in a Uni bar, our hopeful introductions swallowed by
the ramblings of an inexperienced Ska band. I could fall in love with your
greedy face scooping me into the beer-garden. We'd share a cigarette,
and you'd recite the names of every animal sent to space.
Grace Heyer is an emerging poet from rural New South Wales. She juggles her passion for writing with the care of her 16 month old daughter. She was a winner of 'Heywire' in 2007.
In 2013, she was short-listed for the Radio National/Australian Poetry Slam Wildcard Competition, and this year, she was a finalist in the ABC's Pocketdocs competition.