H  O  M  E    &    A   W   A   Y      2  0  1  0
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Bernadette Hall  

All Together Now: A Digital Bridge for Auckland and Sydney             




We’re standing in the tropics
in Grafton St. We’re waiting
for the ibises. We’re the only ones
not running. Here they come,
rising up behind the Palace Theatre
which is now a backpackers,
over the palm trees, the mango trees,
breakfast at Mango Jam and mango
smoothies. They look like Apache
helicopters or a martian squadron.
More and more fly in, hundreds,
a thousand maybe, the excess
of a big country. We love it
and we love the ibises,
the way their black beaks flick
open, the way their long legs click
down and drag, the genius
of their automatic braking system
as they land in the tops of the cycads.
Their dingy wings look like fringed
Victorian lampshades, they make
a roof over the roof of the leaves.
The locals curse and pop up
their umbrellas. Ibis shit hardens
on the footpath and on the parked cars.
coca cola and Bundaberg rum      
the spaceship beeper at Rattle’n’Hum
hiya, Kiwi, your pizza is ready


First Remove the Foreign Object from Your Eye


The Bodice


It’s a thin slab of meat
bright pink and shining clean.

The white marks look like lace,
where the ribs have been.

Or like writing.


The Dividing Spoon


Tip the big spoon
from the north to the south
to remove the gristle.

Tip the big spoon
from the south to the north
to remove the fat.

The broth of the fatted calf
tastes so much better after that.


The Sugar Helmet


Athena herself could not have had a better.
Wear it with pride, honey. Keep up that smile.
Tote that load. Walk that mile.


The Language Nest


‘Coraigh! Coraigh!

Ten crows on the road
at the back of your throat.

‘Cork! Cork!’
Another way to make it work.


A Pair of Sifters, 17th century


Maybe they
            just mean
you and me,
            dear Maggie.


                                          Rathcoola, Co. Cork



Kampang Bedoc


the angsarang tree:
            in a drought
                        it’s covered with yellow flowers

the cannonball tree:
            I kick one of the balls
                        and hundreds of army ants swarm out

Suchen screams
            ‘you must never kick things in Singapore
                        you don’t know who lives there’


the language sings:
            jurong jurong
                        the vibrato on the ultimate syllable

like the wobble
            of a drop of water
                        on the white tiling in the bathroom


Tiong Bahru
            the metallic ting of it
                        as we head off to the birdpark:
the scarlet ibis
            the mad woman bird that screams
                        the barn owl, its face like a stopped clock

the hornbill wearing
            its yellow plastic casque with scarlet streaks
                        it looks like a frilled tulip

the macaw
            with its striped zebra cheeks
                        the huge span of its blue and scarlet cape

the sulphur-crested cockatoo
            the disappointed crows that have to learn
                        a new language


                                                see you

‘wolf whistle’
                        bye bye     



©Bernadette Hall