All copyright © 2003 remains with the authors.
All copyright © 2004 remains with the authors.



Snapshots
Andrew Burke






Each eye snaps shut. I pull each open
in separate acts of will. Awake. The first
cool day in a week. This afternoon I am
slumped in a theatrette
watching a video with students.
The first cool day in a week
waits outside like a young love
outside the Star Cafe where that
old man always put malt in your shake
as a matter of course. It was the fifties
of course. I smile in the semi-dark.
Halfshut. Each eye. Credits roll.
I pull myself up and hunt
for the video switches
on the black panel board.
Students yawn and stretch.
I suggest a break for coffee -
they break for home. Okay.
I can see the exhaustion in
the exhange students' eyes.
I remind them of their essay as
they squeeze past to get out into
the first cool day in a week.

This tail end of summer
has busted records, so
the American student asks,
Don't you have Fall here?
We smile as we say,
this is autumn here, mate.
But winter's cold, yeah,
winter can be cold. He tells us
of his winter. Nah, we say,
not that cold. That's unbearable,
one girl says. I'm looking forward
to the Eagles, she says brightly
& the boos and hoots
start and I know I'm in Australia
and it's the first cool day
in a week.

Andre Burke, Australia

***


the cat's tail hangs over the monitor
as she stares at the rat
who eats last night's leftovers.

it's a sign of
the interruption of
the natural order of

things. subject to
'subject' changing to
the will of Subject to

return to a definition of
the natural order of
(here we go again) things,

Jezebel the cat
must be watched
as her tail wags

in the straight talk
of instinct,
a tale thwarted,

poem
editing itself into
silence.

Andrew Burke, Perth, WA
***


I'm deaf to the world.

No poem gets writ
in the dog's bark.

Tonight only the unanswerable questions:
'what is poetry' and
'where did all the rhymes go'

Today to clear the house
for them to ask
'how long have you lived here'

Only now I'm caged
in the dog's bark

Andrew Burke, Perth, WA

***


C'n'W for jen

She said pooetry
(that's how she said it)
she said it was like -
are you ready for this? -

country'n'western.
I had to laugh, Huh!
No way! We're better
than that! And then

my car wouldn't start
my dog died, and
she left me. The point is
life is so

country'n'western some days.

Andrew Burke, Perth, WA

***


_Mellow Fruitfulness_

The first rains come
and stop in minutes.

Our grey kitten looks up, perplexed.
From the loungeroom window

in a middle-class street in
a middle-class suburb

comes the blues singer:
'The sky is crying ...

look at the tears
roll down the street.'

I laugh at its sickly syrup sound,
and go back to marking papers.

Change of season. Damn it,
I need a new car and this battery

won't last the cold mornings.
Too much work means

not enough writing;
too little and I walk.

Time rewrites the ledger
with shadows and eraser -

leaves falling, cars stalling -
another unreasonable season.

I'm damned if I'll wear
my trousers rolled ...

Andrew Burke
Perth, WA 21/4/04
***


I listened all day
to day's
surround sound

breakthru chatter
of a warbler in
a weeping tree

the magpie's
warble-orble-ardle-oodle
in the gum

- sudden holler of
the jujitsu gang!
rushing the lawn -

the tut-tutting of
lecturers at morning tea
silenced by

the whir of
the little man
on wheels who

pours his own
gingerly at
the hissing spout .

from the lecture hall
Bix and the Wolverines!
'I'm sorry, what

was that you asked? I,
I didn't quite
catch it ...'

sound sur-
rounds us
rounds us

up like
the warble
before the

6 o'clock
news theme
muzak newsreaders

smoothing down
torn corners
of the world

Andrew Burke
Perth, Australia

***


Walking off the Weight (title)

I'm walking
for dexterity
every limb
alive and free

His 21st
three thousand miles
from home,
same day as

her abortion,
their baby,
after her
car accident and all.

I walk the park
ducks at my feet
where an ibis
walks lake's edge:

in my poor sight
he seems
a dishtowel caught
on sticks ...

I walk away from
The Office of Student Woes.

I walk to think
I think to act
I act to free

the dishtowels
from their ways

Andrew Burke
Perth, Australia

***

Snapshot

Terror hours of dark
Shivering with
The cat as company
The kindly cat
Who whispers
In Sanskrit

Lying down
In the hall
Unable to
Make up my mind
Or pick up my limbs

The kindly cat
Lying on me
Keeping warm

I shiver for the rug
That lies on the bed

Shivering in the hall
Until I pass out

And wake to
Try to stand
And shiver too much
Crawl to the bed
Under the rug

Phone rings
Let it let it
Let it be

*

Coming out of fog
Hands butterflying
Phone for help
Awkwardly

Andrew Burke



***

Wednesday
and half the day
forgotten

editing amateur
'hardboiled crime' fiction
I break

to chat with
the Woolworths girls
striking a redline

through their
make-up ('But
we get staff discount!')

back to
Track Changes
looking

over my shoulder

Andrew Burke
Mt Hawthorn, WA, Australia

***

'You'll Come To Love Your Shadow' Snapshot

Now let us see:
a snapshot needs
focus - perhaps even
depth of perception.

A snapshot may have
an innocent informal air,
a casual perspective
on things momentary.

A snapshot is not
slingshot or snipper's
bullet, although in the hands
of a PI it can be lethal.

Mostly, a snapshot is
non-aggressive, by
definition. No tripod
or double entendre:

just aim and shoot,
amateur and free,
casual comment on
a causal interest.

Then, let it lie.
Time will play
its own tricks ...
shadows grow

long beyond
the frame, stories
spread like
Salvation Jane.

Steady now. Smile.
Say 'cheese'. Damn -
my shadow's in
the frame again.

Andrew Burke, Perth WA

***


Snapshot / instant

day battles on
with windblown rosepetals
under the door

night licking
the window panes

cold
my joints creak
around the room

computer to bookshelf
and return / (steps
drawn on old music)

released
from teacher to student
this week / in the end

is the beginning /
'and turn about again'

off / the music
of trains and traffic
computers and telephones:

diminuendo / crescendo
sex life of the 'burbs
the release and tension

of all great art

Andrew Burke
4.49pm Thursday
Mt Hawthorn, Western Australia

***


council trees trimmed back
to their brown knuckles
the public carpark
makes way for more cars

the panel beater warns
Beware of Vehicles ...
yes     they can own you
          take your money
drive your life

Andrew Burke
Mount Hawthorn
23 June 2004

***




Poetryetc is a listserv relating to poetry and poetics which provides a forum for poets to debate their critical and creative work. The list has over the years run a number of projects for its members, of which Snapshots has been the most enduring.

Every Wednesday, Poetryetc members were invited to post short poems on any subject or in any form they chose. The idea was to make a poetic collage of instamatic “snaps” of that day that reflected the international membership of the list. The project has generated an astounding number of poems.

The first two runs, of six weeks each, and the first ten weeks of the third run, are archived at Wild Honey Press www.wildhoneypress.com under Poetryetc Project. The rest - amounting in all to a run of a year - are archived here.

Poetryetc, like its affiliate Salt Publishing (http://www.saltpublishing.com), was founded by Australian poet John Kinsella. Salt is managed by Christopher Hamilton-Emery (cemery@saltpublishing.com), while Poetryetc is owned by Alison Croggon (ajcroggon@bigpond.com). Poetryetc is now archived at http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/poetryetc.html. and anyone interested can join from that url.

To contact the listowner: Alison Croggon


These pages are designed, maintained, and hosted by Rebecca Seiferle, the Editor of The Drunken Boat. To email.


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