Warning for developing minds: this site contains a few poems that use 'swear' words or relate to sex or other 'adult themes'.

Jackson poeming in Yorkshire 29 April

It isn’t a poetry tour! Nevertheless, thanks to Anthony Costello, I have a gig at Kava Cafe, Todmorden, Yorkshire, on the evening of Tuesday 29 April 2014.

Watch this space in case any more reading/performance opportunities come my way.

I’ll be in England, Scotland and nearby parts from 24 April to 23 May and may pop up at an open mike near you. On the other hand, I may be too busy looking at things, seeing friends and relatives, and writing.

This is not my gig

A 24-page zine containing 22 peculiar poems. (First published 2014 by the author; ISBN 978-0-9870809-3-6.)

Number of zines

Prices include postage. Zines are available more cheaply from me in person.

Please contact me for more info or to arrange another way to pay.

The right metaphor

‘The right metaphor’ cd cover ‘The right metaphor’ back cover

This is my first poetry album, recorded in 2013 on the analogue desk at Fat Shan Studios, Perth, Western Australia. We recorded 14 poems. I accompany three of them with my original music on guitar, piano, bass and keyboard.

$25 (Australian) including postage.

CDs are available more cheaply from me in person. Please contact me for more information or to arrange another way to pay.

Listen or download free at SoundCloud

In the dream, he tells me he doesn’t need a condom

In the dream, he tells me
he doesn’t need a condom

he has his book. In the dream, we’ve both
read it. Condoms are a manifestation
of Capitalism. A Bad Thing. Probably

made by Monsanto. We don’t
need them. We can use our minds
to divert the sperm. In the dream

I know it works, if done
correctly, wholeheartedly,
together. We have to trust.

I can’t.
I can’t.
I can’t. Yet

in the dream, we don’t
have a condom
to our name.

untitled (the hibiscus blossom)

the hibiscus blossom closed
wrapped around itself
pointing north

lemon oil

In this dream
I heal the cuts
his bareness
has left
all over me

with tart, sparse,
sweet, spreading
lemon oil,
the same soft stings

with which I nurture
your smooth

(From lemon oil. First published in Society of Women Writers WA Newsletter.)

Last week’s rose

Last week’s rose, aslant in a carafe,
is puffed and piled like a 60s hairdo,
curling at the edges into frills of delicate crescents
like sad little lipstick smiles.

Last week’s rose is dancing on the laminex,
scattering scarlet tatters,
oozing louche scent.

Last week’s rose is on
the pull.

I extend a finger, mothkiss
a petal. Its secret
is as soft as a skin’s wish.

I play the red membrane
between thumbprint and fingerprint, light,
careful. But last week’s rose

is tough! The flake clings
to the terminal bloom
with its yoke of sawtoothed leaves
and its thorned stalk.

Last week’s rose, all tilted head
and curled lip, says,
‘If y’ want a piece o’ me, darlin’,
you’re gonna have to be rough.’

(First published in Sotto)

The drug man

A cable strung across a room

Songs pegged out to dry / Men
practising music / Rockn
Jaunty / Intense / Guitars
Basses / Voices / I tried

to join in / I tried to peg
my voice to the line / But
it wouldn’t hang / The drug man
practised his drug music / Took

requests for the next bar / The men
followed him to the next bar
to hear him play with his band / I couldn’t
follow the drug man / I had

to take my sick child

(From lemon oil)

both syllables

If bliss is in
the small things

maybe I should stop trying to live
as an artist

and go work in the Post Shop
or at some friendly trade
like answering the phone
or doing the hair of old ladies
Nine to five from Monday to Friday
The boss would call me Jan

At six o’clock I’d give the cat his Dine
Grill some chops or fish
Microwave some vegies or make a salad
After tea I’d watch whatever’s on
while I do the ironing
and sew a seam or two
On Wednesday evenings
I’d do sewing class
The teacher would call me Jan

One nice sunny Saturday
I’d go down to Bunnings
for a plain-packaged husband
Dave, for example

Half the mortgage repayments
Quiet reliable sex
Tight new washers
in every tap
I’d buy him sixpacks
of Target jocks
He’d call me Jan

On Friday nights we’d go out
for pizza or Chinese
with Dave’s mate Matt
and his wife Sue
‘How are ya Jan?’

Once a year
we’d tow our campervans
to Esperance or Kalbarri
Sue and I
would talk and swim
and do crosswords
while Dave and Matt fished
I’d sit on my beach towel
and look at the boats

On Saturdays I’d meet up
with Di and Kath from class
at a Dome cafe
for lunch and a chat
‘How’s things Jan?’

On the other hand

if I keep trying to live as an artist

one day at a book launch
I’ll get talking
to a thin man with a beautiful face
a liberal arts degree
and a job with Amnesty International

Sex with David
would be frequent, creative and loud
he’d write poems about it
I’d buy him guyfront trunks
in organic cotton

On Saturday afternoons David and I
would see a French film
at Luna on Essex
then we’d go dancing at Kulcha

Half the rent paid
Half the meals cooked

On Friday nights
we’d sit out the back
eating noodles and tofu
drinking cheap wine
talking about the history
of gender politics
with David’s friend Rashid
his partner Matthew
and whoever else
happened to be around

Our house would be full
of books and old couches
The taps would drip
and the doors would stick
At night the couches would be occupied
by cats and poets and asylum seekers

all of whom
would pronounce my name
to rhyme with ‘pet’
and try to tell me
what it means

(From lemon oil)

two thin throws

I wake in the dusty light
to the deepcity cockcrow
of traffic and stair-thumping
My bag’s by the wall
My boots are on the floor
My clothes are rumpled all over me
I’m lying under a coat
I found up the road
and two thin throws that I wouldn’t
call blankets

There’s empties on the coffee-table —
cheap beer and unlabelled wine
The damaged guitar I played last night
is propped in a corner
Half-done paintings
hang dim on the walls
A stereo without speakers
sits singing nothing

On the other couch,
the smaller one,
a tall man is sleeping
A gentleman to the last drink,
he wouldn’t let me give him
the bigger couch
He’s squashed up, half-folded,
head on one armrest,
legs over the other
His bag’s by the wall
His shoes are on the floor
His clothes are rumpled all over him
He’s lying under a coat
someone gave him
and two thin throws that I wouldn’t
call blankets

There’s only
three feet of air and two arguing housemates
my hand
and his shoulder

I go upstairs to the toilet,
come back and lie back down
But the light comes in the window
and the cars rush by outside
and my eyes and bones and heart
just will not go to sleep

The man dreams on,
grunting and stirring
Eventually he wakes
Rummages for his phone
to check the time
Drinks water and smokes a cigarette
while I make tea
which he refuses
Takes a piss
in the outside toilet
He needs a shower
and so do I
but neither of us have one
I splash cold water on my face
and try to fix my hair
We put on our coats and walk
to a coffee shop through morning streets
in the bright winter wind

There’s only
three feet of air and the whole fuckin’ world
my eyes
and his

(From lemon oil)

The new thing

That man and I
were standing on the street
with a group of fellow artists
watching a performance.
I stood just in front of him.
He put his hands on my shoulders,
slid them down my arms,
stroked my hands.
I leaned back against him.
He leaned against me.
We didn’t say anything.
He was lightly clothed.
I was naked.
Many of our fellow artists were naked.
He stroked my belly
and began to stroke my breasts.
I leaned into his lust.
There was no choice,
no question,
and no question of choice or question.
The dream became an image
of our genitals,
not joined in the usual way, not fucking,
but making a new shape,
my labia and his penis
combined into one.
It was a new thing.
It was both ugly and beautiful.
We were standing on the street
with a group of fellow artists.

(From lemon oil)

Fortnightly Cafe Poetry Workshops start again Sat 1 Feb. Pay as you feel. Book now.

Contact me to book or to find out more.
Please book in advance, because the cafe need to know numbers.
Please bring writing materials, an open mind and a sense of adventure. Refreshments be may purchased from the cafe (cash only).

Leap or tiptoe out of your poetic comfort zone in a supportive group environment. Express yourself. Generate ideas. Learn more about what poetry can do. If you’re already writing poetry, try something new. If you’re not — time to start!

Pay as you feel

When? 10am-12:30 fortnightly on Saturdays from 1 February 2014. (Feb 1 & 15, Mar 1, 15 & 29, Apr 12)

Where? Hubbles Yard Cafe, cnr George & Hubble Streets, East Fremantle

Contact me to book or to find out more.

Cancellation policy

the fear of ricochet

I dreamed a gun
like Dirty Harry’s, a Magnum,
phallic silvercoloured barrel
I dreamed a gun and a lock
A lock on a blank room
where I had to hide the gun
A lock on a blank room
with an ancient drawer
full of other people’s junk
where I had to hide the gun

We found a spike
like Audrey Hepburn’s, a pointer,
phallic silvercoloured pistil
We found a spike and a fork
A fork for a blank dinnerparty
where we had to manage the tasters
engulfing an ancient poorhouse
of other creatures’ lunches
where we had to replace the brandname

We felt everyone raced us in the blank gloom
with some interloper or frogmarcher or junkie,
with the spike,
with the blank surfaces,
with the echoing craters,
with the disappointment of recoil,
with the two fat victims in their labelled accessories and paint
structuring as activists
lecturing as legislators to attract your scorn—
with (say it!)
with the two fat tarts in their labelled clothes and makeup
posing as feminists
posing as artists to get your attention—

I dreamed you left me in the blank room
with some follower or child or dependent,
with the gun,
with the blank walls,
with the echoing surfaces,
with the fear of ricochet,
with (say it!)

We knew we ranted
and your heckler interrupted us,
tracing the collarbone
We know not your heckler,
cannot know,
though both of us
wish to know
We realise damned well that we
are not prophets
not monks
not even advertisers
And neither shall we
And yet you can…
you all can…

I dreamed you left
and your follower followed you,
taking the key
I am not your follower,
cannot be
though part of me
wants to be
I know damned well that you
are not Jesus
not Buddha
not even Lao Tzu
And neither am I
And yet we are…
we all are…

(First published in my book lemon oil)

Ordinary love

I have to admit, U2
are not what they were.
They are slower, less able
to stretch and risk.
They have a routine.
They come out wrapped
in layers
of production.

But they will always
be my band. The love
is like the eye light
of a time-marked woman
at the grizzled man
with whom she danced
and danced — how long
ago? She
the dancer still spinning
inside him, the same soul
still closing its eyes,
singing its song.

At least, that’s how it is
for me,
my band,

and that’s how I suppose it is
for such a woman,
such a man.


Mattie Furphy House June 2012

On the path below the verandah
where I sit, discreet,

discrete occasional clusters,
twos, fives, pass.

A man exercising
an unpleasant dog.
A woman striding
fifteen feet behind him.
She projects her clauses
toward his shoulderblades:
‘As she said, y’can get away with buying cheap shoes,
but then Whammo! it all comes back to bite you in the bum!’

I sit, discreet

A father with a girl, two.
Behind them a mother
with a boy, four, the one person

who notices me. Just
as his eyes touch mine,

the mother lays her fingers
on his small
and says, ‘D’you like my cold hands?’

(First published in Jukebox (Out of the Asylum Writers, Fremantle, 2013))