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


On A Snap of Christmas Whispers Past

Twenty-plus Decembers back, I took my toddler
to sit on Santa's lap, whisper in his ear
her wish, smile for the camera,
toddle off home to dress the Christmas tree.

As she smiled and whispered, Santa
whispered: Hi, Max, recognize me?
Alan! I whispered back. It was the poet Wearne,
our Browning of contemporary Melbourne.

Young still for the task of Santa,
but nodding and ho-ho-ing worthily.
What he earned in our sweltering December
funded more monologues next year.

Decembers come and go,
I'm shopping still where
that snap was snapped in the hot mall air.
Santas of the warm south still show

toddlers how to whisper Christmas wishes.
The truest art is still the most feigning.
Alan and I —our time shortens,
our art —especially his —lengthens.

8.30am Wednesday 17 December 2003
Max Richards, Melbourne



will the dark
     will it not

almost eleven
at that


     and the dark
           the dark will not
will not let go

     i decide
           to keep all
                the lights on
     if only

for today ...

      and it's there ...

           all there ...

Árni Ibsen
11.50 pm


Dear DW

This is just to say
that the potted
you bought
                are tall
           and strong

and that I see
                in them
the secret unborn
which will sting
and shock the universe
as every flower does
one day
     and to say
thank you
      for this singular
     and most alarming

Chris Mansell


Before Our Eyes

Before our eyes
and nothing and meaning
and pragmatism
and the roots of trees
the leaves of the flowers
the demeanor of the insolent child
the worshiper in tears in the pew
Before our eyes
and pragmatism
and ening
and the nothing of clouds
the rain the snow the leaves

Now the door opens
the church bells a ringing
and the roots of the trees
not before our eyes.

-----Harriet Zinnes



sneezing and coughing
snapshot this morning
you must be joking
sniffings and splutterings
snivellings grisellings
hankies dank piling
head hot pulsing
bones all aching
temperature soaring
night shakey shaking
day coming threatening
frost cutting freezing
systems collapsing
sneeze and cough
snapshot this morning

pmcmanus 8am
raynespark uk


sip lemon honey tea

doctor nodding: flu

so boring: flu

tea sip lemon sip honey

tea honey sip lemon sip

honey lemon tea

(so boring!)

lemon tea honey

sip sip sip

so boring oh

so flu

the doctor says tea is good


the memory-granny adds wrap

a fire-warm

brick in flour-sack kitchen towels

stow in foot of bed wrap

your feet to form oh

kisses around

your tea & honey

& lemon then add

the rest


get well


Christine Murray Dec. 17, 2003


The hard-to-believe sea
rolls into tideline
so blue so the breeze
after journeys and epic
the sun lies down
amongst our catch
all this venture
for just our eyes again
harbour home
and our private season
among crowds

Jill Jones
Wed 17 Dec. 10.08pm



[of Bruce Nauman]

Space is felt with your ears.

To force you to an awareness of your body.

A very strict kind of environment.

Being an amateur and being able to do anything.

Barry Alpert / Silver Spring, MD USA / 7-7-74, 7-3-75, 12-17-03 (8:52 AM)


"any feedback you choose to leave after it arrives will be returned the very same day"

                          Daddy, what's your ebay name? Password?
                              What max bid should I put in?
                          Daddy, bite your credit-card.

Robin Hamilton
Loughborough. 1.57 pm.

i. m. Sarah M. (Mulcahy) Schwartz,
born this day --17 December 1897


seems as though

     you have left

so long ago

                     and as all here

I miss you,

still acknowledging

                     lineages of my life,

still true

Gerald Schwarz


Waiting for the sun
I remember half
a world away half
a year later

waiting for the sun
to shine on hot sand
not reflect off
cold white snow

the sound the same
a gritty squeak
from heavy boots
or bare feet

at this moment
late in the evening
in Melbourne
the sun I don't see shines

Douglas Barbour
Edmonton 09:10 Wednesday December 17/03


Tangerines It's a philosophical thing.
He likes George Wasouff,
apricots and quatrains.
I like tangerines.
I could see where
he was coming from
but even he
doesn't remember recipes.
We wrote volumes with
a raised brow - a sideways glance.
Intense communication
that opened doors; some
stripped by weather,
webbed - musty like
a grandmother's cellar.
We laughed on the edge
of lightning, the languages
of fire and ice, writing lines
forged with interpretations
that desired more than probabilities,
less than conceived.

Deborah Russell, 12/17/03
Baltimore, Maryland USA


The Structure of Imperial Whoids in a Cartoon Universe

Whot is a whog?
An orthographic reminder
of Empire proceeding
from a heat-oppressed brain:
wog is a word, inspirational,
WOG an acronym,
almost forgotten,
fallen into ill-repute,
reminder so it's said
the Victorian Brits,
defined "Wog" as starting
across the English Channel
not just in Bangalore or Kashmir.
Change a letter, advance to WCOG:
Wiley Coyote Oriental Gentleman.
A cartoon Wog,
clever, ill-intentioned,
ultimately doomed to repeat
his weekly doom,
So the bird he pursues
becomes the face of Empire,
grinning stupidity charging
forward, thoughtless,
in this version invulnerable.

Ken (oh well, it's been a long day)


Sonnet: A Guy Was Talking

A guy was talking to his cellphone about a girl
who once had made a call to him about a guy
who, listening to his cellphone on his way to
work, had heard a story about a girl who'd
heard that I had heard a story on the way to
work about a guy who was wishing they had
all been more forthcoming about the whole
affair, feeling that even in public there were
things that they wanted to keep private and that
had they been any less forthcoming there might
have been nothing to say after all, after all was
said and done. Hello? You're breaking up on
me, you're breaking . . . Hello? Can you hear me?
Can you hear me NOW? Hello? Shit! Hello?

New York City, 12.17.03 7:46 pm EST Hal


CARNIVAL Strutting past the vendors of lottery tickets

'the boys' can only guess at what is kept,

at what is lost


mothers with crumbled stucco faces.

If a door is left carelessly

ajar, they are

anonymous when they enter.

When they check out

they check out the beach: that gap between

the legs of the red bikini

resembling a hypen -

it connects yet separates

say, the words 'hermit ' and 'crab' ;

'shell ' still presents this difficulty,

it does not encompass the world.

David Howard Carols, 2003, Melbourne


[with season's greetings to both Poetryetc &PoetryEspresso]

In the name of community
and Christmas festivity
we've been letter-
boxed by our local Inter-
Church Council. Carols,
Candlelight and Nativity.

In the warm south this means
al fresco, en-plein-air, in the park.
At the summer solstice
it's bedtime before dark.

Come early, six-thirty
for food and good fun.
While sausages sizzle
Boroondara Brass
will serenade the grass
where the little boys tussle.

Hocking Stuart fireworks
are promised. Hockings!
Estate agents extraordinaire!
I see a set-piece manger
glowing: position! position!

A coup for the inter-church council —
draw-card feature supreme —
is —Stunt Rider Dave Russell.
Dave! On your gleaming machine!

Since children are 'encouraged to dress
as a nativity character',
Dave has a choice, I guess,
of highflying Star of Wonder,
or camel-mounted magus.

I fancy myself as a grass-fed ass,
while the massed might
of the Boroondara Brass
pound out 'Silent Night'

We poets in our youth
begin in gladness,
but thereof come in the end
despondency and Christmas.

But night will fall,
there may be stars,
and children will hold candles
'for peace - for peace'.

Max Richards
North Balwyn, Melbourne 19 December 2003
My Backyard 12— Co-ordinates


My ducks are uncoordinated.

They are, I suppose, more suited to swimming than they are to walking.

Their legs are at the back of them.

Their necks carry their heads too far from their bodies.

They are, it seems to me, in a perpetual state of falling forward.

When I am bored,

or more often than not, annoyed,

I walk behind them

with an inhuman intent.

They waddle away from me.

They waddle slowly at first

but the faster I stalk them

the faster they waddle.

I've worked out, over a few months, that if I raise me knees with each step

the ducks will see this as an increase in pace

even if I maintain my original speed

they will waddle faster than their natural structure allows.

There is something I find rewarding

about increasing the pace of an animal' gait —

my ducks are armless,

they struggle with balance,

I hate to see them suffer

but when they reach their ultimate speed—

when they fall over and quack

I like it.

I like it—

that I can cause that to happen is affirming.

Most things are beyond me —

there are things I have no control over

but when the ducks reach their maximum speed,

when they fall over and quack as if their lives were over

I like it.

I like it.

I do.

Clint Greagan


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 under Poetryetc Project. The rest - amounting in all to a run of a year - are archived here.

Poetryetc, like its affiliate Salt Publishing (, was founded by Australian poet John Kinsella. Salt is managed by Christopher Hamilton-Emery (, while Poetryetc is owned by Alison Croggon ( Poetryetc is now archived at 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.