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



Snapshots
Janet Jackson






On TV, they're repeating Billy Connolly,
with his Britain, Ireland, Scotland travelogue.
His comedy, art, respect.

And I have a book from the library.
British, Irish, Scottish poetry since 1945.

Cold moors and stones and canals.
Old wars, prisons, suicides.
Women both hopeless and whimsical.
The democratic voice.

The Irish poets resonate like a bell in my head.
The British poets explode like a shell in my bed.
The Scottish poets? They just leave me for dead.

And here I am in hot sticky Australia
and this isn't my thing at all.

Janet Jackson

***


Tomorrow. Evenings,
I wearily prepare for it
or recklessly ignore it.
Tonight, both.

Tomorrow, my writers group. My turn
for morning tea. The leader woman
is a retired schoolmarm, and if I forget,
I'll shrink under her cultured voice.
So I have biscuits, rum truffles and milk.
And poems I want to read, but am afraid
will also be eaten, or
wasted.

Janet Jackson
Wed Mar 3 22:14:08 WST 2004

***


11/03/04 Lip-prints / Before

Lip-prints on your
artefacts, your
fossils, fostered in my secret
places, found in private
books and drawers,
clean, beautiful and old,
vessels from Before -
before everything dissolved in the millennial acid.
Accidents, artefacts,
individual and cold.

My lips are still warm - hey,
I'm warmer than Before, I'm burning with it -
and I would do now what I didn't then,
would fly on my jets and light your sky with my eyes -
but all I can give you are lip-prints
on the glass,
on the cold old glass.

Janet Jackson, somewhere in Australia

***


As usual: propping
open my eyes with windows, holding
up my body with my mind, bearing
my particular cross.

Saw "Passion of the Christ" today.
All red slashed flesh and drippy stuff,
and Mary crying, crying.
But it won't give me nightmares -
I've dealt with it. And besides, he should've been naked.
In a documentary he'd have been naked, I reckon.

'Cos you can't bear your cross with your loincloth on.

Janet Jackson
Wed Mar 17 23:51:58 WST 2004
Perth, Western Australia

***


Written yesterday, edited a little today.

When it's over
I will be silent.
You will try to celebrate,
to go out with a bang,
but I will be silent.
There is no joy in death.

I will cry my tears silently.
There will be no-one to hold me -
no-one that matters, when you are gone.
There will be arms around me, flesh arms,
and I'll take some comfort from that
but there will be no-one to hold me.

I'm crying now, thinking of it,
and Bob Marley is singing "No Woman No Cry",
making it worse.
Because look what happened to him.
What happened to his special ones?
Who holds them now?
His spirit?

Will your spirit come to hold me
when it's over?
Will I still be able to sing?

If it is not time to cry - not yet -
then why these tears?
What is your spirit saying?

The telephone rings and blasts us all to bits.

Janey Jackson
10am
Parkerville, Western Australia

***


Entropy and order sing ----------------------

Conference weekend, New Norcia,
a strange and Catholic place.
I'm not Catholic -
not even Christian -
but a spirit is there.
Entropy and order sing
in the walled spaces and endless view,
old buildings and new birds,
disused rooms, souvenir shop,
graveyard, church and bell.
So I sent a question.

And yesterday, the answer arrived.
There is no good, no evil.
Only harmony and disharmony.
And we know which is which.

Janet Jackson, WA

***

What was I gonna say?
Oh yeah, that how can I pray
to Art? how can I feel that way
when
all around me things are crud.
Mobile phones full of African blood
and maybe guns in my diamond stud
and
hurt children becoming adults who hurt,
surviving in cultures driven by hurt,
by
"no pain no gain",
ruled by gain
and going insane
and
everyone says it's getting worse.
Everyone wants to engage reverse,
but there is no reverse.
Yet
some things are better.
Maybe we'll get there
so
I have to try, have to work.
Behind the numbing list of hurts
hide joy, and love, and original thoughts
worth
telling, and blessings worth giving
and dreams worth receiving
and songs worth saving.
So
I'll draw a chart
and aim a dart
and
with every start
of every part
of my staring, gulping, blubbering heart
I'll pray to Art.

Janet Jackson

***


Exercise on the outskirts

I went for a walk in the rain today
for the first time in years.
Buttoned my coat,
raised my umbrella,
stepped out
past the construction site and into the dripping forest,
along the firebreak full of dead leaves for winter,
behind the undogged, unpeopled, wet-chickened yards,
around the empty playground,
through the gap in the worthless fence,
near the overgrown exotic bushes, some pioneer's garden,
by Tree Glen, not a glen, and losing trees with each new house,
and down my street of gurgling stormdrains,
following the powerlines home.

Janet Jackson
Thu Jun 17 13:14:14 WST 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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