Monday, November 25, 2013

Tuesday Poem - Country Chinese Restaurants by Mandy Sayer

Country Chinese Restaurants

There's always one in every town
Coonabarabran: Golden Sea Dragon
Dubbo: Fu Lee Way. Maybe your car
Broke down, or you're on the road
With someone who doesn't love
You anymore. Manjimup: Fu Hua
Kangy Angy: New Shanghai. Always
A fish tank in one corner, walls
Panelled with imitation teak, plastic
Scrolls of misted mountains, water
Falls, a lone man fishing. Toowoomba:
Ni Hao; Wangaratta: Koon Way. Vinyl
Booths, nylon lanterns, laminated
Menus flecked with soy, old prices
Rubbed out and handwritten in pen
A teenage girl at the back, hunched
Over homework, harangued
By her mother into waiting on you
Numurkah: Jung Sung Harbour
Gilgandra: Dragon & Phoenix
The chef has fled and the father
Is frying. They're usually empty now
There's take-away. Four-dollar
Cocktails & paper parasols. Maybe
You're on the run – an unpaid hotel bill
Or worse, looking for something you
Never had. Mudgee: Kai Sun; Wagga:
Lum Inn. The wok-steamed weather
& Confucius in a cookie.

Mandy Sayer

I know of Mandy Sayer as an award-winning novelist and memoir writer,
anthologist and journalist, and had no idea she wrote poetry as well, so was
surprised and tickled to come upon this rip-snorting tour of the culinary
delights of the outback in The Best Australian Poems 2013.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tuesday Poem - Strange, unremarkably so by Anna Fern

Strange, unremarkably so

They just want to keep talking when I read a normal poem,
but an experimental sound poem
brings a whole bar of drunks to silence.

Loading up the car, I admire the enhanced reflections of scudded
clouds on the back window, the sun a bright disc.
Hey, you could watch a solar eclipse on this thing!

The bathroom mirror says I can leave the house looking pretty good,
but when I see my reflection in shop windows I want to go home.

Completing an unremarkable transaction on the phone, the customer
says 'love you' and hangs up.

On the freeway, it's best not to think about the possibility of dying.
Try to marvel at how cooperative we can be.

Peak hour, I notice a puff of white fluff from the car in front. Then
another. Then a burst of white feathers. A perfect white dove falls
plop! onto the road in front of my car, sits up, flies away. I think, the
driver of that car is a magician, or maybe an escape artist.

Tonight, I was greeted by the neighbour's cat on the back verandah.
Proof that when a cat dies, all the other cats redistribute themselves
to fill the empty space.

Anna Fern lives in Melbourne and writes wonderful poems, both 'normal'
and 'sound' poems, and is a consummate performer. This poem was in 
The Best Australian Poems 2013.

If you want to read more Tuesday Poems click on the quill icon at the top of the page.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tuesday Poem - moment by Jane Williams


two girls get on a bus wearing matching mini skirts
and fake fur collared jackets when the bus driver asks
what fare? they whisper child like it's a great shame
that won't have to bear for much longer
one or two more years maybe already their heels lift them
one whole inch over the legal age they sit crossing and
uncrossing legs locking and unlocking mobile phones
like they're expecting important calls they speak to each other
in the coded half sentences of the cool beginning each one
with the word like as if reality is relative they raise
the volume every now and then to emphasise brand
names or bemoan such injustices as a forfeited allowance
or being grounded when the bus slows to a stop
in the middle of the road and the driver mumbles
c'mon boys move it along the girls look out the window and
catch a flurry of orange strange birds in slow motion
about to take flight but in no hurry and before they can
check themselves all pretence at sophistication crumbles
as they cry out in unison
oh look! monks! monks!

I haven't heard Jane Williams read her work before so I nipped along to the
launch of her New and Selected - Days Like These - (Interactive Press) at
Collected Works and was well pleased to put a voice to the work. I invested
in a copy - very readable work.