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   n z e p c
Martin Harrison 

All Together Now: A Digital Bridge for Auckland and Sydney             


Two for Michael Farrell

1. Sex Act

I look up at the yellow-white
the boy watched them, interested
despite himself my darling black-haired
little maple leaf Get off and I'll help you
do the lines Have a party and raze
the lot of it She crossed herself
I'm sick of old has-beens and the iron
would barely move/ puts a forkful
to his mouth She coloured, hearing again
how Mandy took his hand flicked back
and forth I stand in a ficus We could have jumped
outside white arum lily which Fairsex
it to you, four-eyes...he let them go unto
the sturdy corn with a look which somehow
manages Come in now you're here

John Clanchy,Lie of the Land; Martin James, Night Train; David Francis, Agapanthus Tango


2. Writer

Very happy with them
when I was a beautiful young girl
like what
unless you really object, I think
a large jug of cordial is always harder
in country areas a stone's throw away
from where An excellent day
that might not matter after all
as if that could ease the strain
a great place to meet young women
small enough to be set up tight
with me taking away my allowances
simultaneously, a restraint another cup
leans her head in her hand Then she took
pen and notebook from her bag

Andrea Goldsmith, Modern Interiors;Cathy Cole, Skindeep;Kathy Acker, Blood and Guts in High School


You Do All These Things For Me  

Lemon intensity in each muscle same as frail winter light in half-leaved trees
glow which is neither coming nor going      glow in the world beyond the world
the one where all this breath is going all these ah's and oh's
breath held there at the limit of breath being the same limit as the moment
when a translucent blue green wave starts to topple
tiny grey fish floating in its upright wall
the top of it bristling with foam and wind-driven sprays of flowers
no more no more more no more
Paris November sunset turning to butter
unsalted pale light seeming to be me to be you
there's no turning back where the gravel path curves through the trees
the gleaming wave flickers through the laurels which can't be excerpted
all the other meanings topple with the sliding uprearing surface
gritty wind in my ears sweaty hair how much faster we must drive
the children's cries left in a playground's far corner
further and further away than anything you've ever invented
dark leaf-strewn copper shadow
who knows what to do
the sudden shift is the light is the time commenced
in the moment which is not language which
cannot be said following the body's hot river
which flows between us your shoulder more rounded than hillsides
and you infolding the world like it's a shape more familiar than air
your body's pressure more firm than earth A frail light is a


First published in Southerly (2009)



...some memories from somewhere those scattered trees
that straggle of white tree limbs like bleached bones

perhaps a line from someone else or myself
memory of the flattest waters I've ever seen
emerging dreamlike from the low brown skyline
bouquets of white cockatoos bursting from the leaves

out-of-time movement over the dead stubble
what've they been doing? they've been hiding

they've been hiding in the mind, in the body
and then some images of suddenly meeting

that low brown water's thin mirror
as if the crowd of trees signalled to it, or had been

signalling all their lives, building riverine clusters,
building their wandering cicatrice seen from far off -

but when you get there it's the necessary damage
of banks and flooded logs, dried up pools, Toyota paths

nestled spots to fish from the ones safe to swim
flickering shadows hands of them sweeping over the sand

that sense too of clayed ground of earth dust grit pebbles
shards of bark crumbling the crumble and dust of leaves

earth hard with veins of muddy tree roots showing there
wooden dark veins jutting through aged flesh

everywhere the scatter of light from the ground upwards
brilliance of dry dead things shining back in your face

great uplifted spaces glistening with blueness warm air
scent of honeyed fragrant pollens and of less sweet wax

heat smell like some soft linen's invisible cushion
the light threads of native bees, chases of flies

cicadas clicking and humming their electric shavers
a sound system hiddenly installed inside the halfway
bare dancefloor over there between the bottlebrushes
their sawing rhythm nearly as toneless as wooden clacks

but it picks up like an outboard then dies to comes back
saw-toothed that side not noticed now this side here

the great long wave of cicadas breaking like fire
night's burnt firemarks streaked down tree-boles' white flesh:

afternoon's white flesh is the memory of this
the thing which is hidden like a name is hidden

an island which is islanded because it is so far away
because it floats between skylines where distant grey trees

hover above the ground where things appear as if
in appearance they've acted on you they live they breathe

nothing is dead here the spaces between them are
inhabited leaves twigs debris fallen white-anted trunks

slopes rocks grass parrots galahs floating down
in pink streamers again the grey lack of edge
around sprays cream waterfalls of turpentines flowering
in high irrigated air-blue reaches she-oaks aspirant

with their million fingers and amber seed-flowers
spotted gums mottled as grandmothers but with contrasts

of grey brown white and silver as if dressed for a ball
the reds of the king parrot slashing the foliage

with its opening and closing flower as it flies up
vertically to land yes a blinding red and blue male

these flashes of thought these memories now planted
these hard-cased seeds needing fire to sprout these nets

of dirt leaf and twig where ants fossick mason bees sandmine
these laceworks of bark litter and dropped branches

are inland floodwater you wade through to get to land
they're the fuel for the long sweep of the mind's eye

a blanket building up over the worst sterility and death
radiance offers sore bruises earth turns to clay and bakes

an imaginary tide holds blood and featherdown in flight
in place on the edge in the middle in the heart's moment

in the absent space between regions rapidly turned blue
as the ridges stretching west the gulleys sharp as razors

echo after echo after echo of a sound tracking in peaks
till it scratches small shimmers on rocks smoothed by wind
then it lays its long body out there called the west
it's the land scarcely touching the earth swarms of them

it's the land dotted with saltbrush and bush tomato
that twenty mile shadow across the claypan's a fence

which as dusk comes is a lightning-quick snake
momentarily distracting the way they appear

as if from nowhere like sentinels weathered stone
camping in that stubble sunset-toned no like mushrooms

wallabies two of them and then three over there then more
pale half-red underfur letting them melt into late light

alert as the slanting hour's alert to earth cool as wine
then the shriek as they scatter having nursed the air

having known everything as the waking dreamer
knows everything for a scattered instant instantly gone

 time's far-sighted body felt beloved and lost in time
the memory of it like the memory of a lover

as familiar as a body curled around yours each day
just like when evaporating inland daybreak starts you wake


First published in Poetry: Best Poems of 2009



©Martin Harrison