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



Snapshots
4/14/04






Skinny-Dipping Recalled

Humid autumn afternoons like this,
I used to slope off on my own

through urgent prickly heat
to the great good river place,

where I¹d strip, breathe sharply in,
wade out steadily chest-deep,

contemplating the banks upstream,
and down, checking the solitude.

Rocks, weedy stretches, over-
hanging trees, perhaps the glint

of some cast-off drink container
drifting my way from the remote

picnic ground; my pleasure to angle
for it, bring it ashore; river-servant.

Reward: the long slow complete
embrace of the whole extended scene;

sink backwards, cool my head, all
but my face in the current, tilt

two big toes upward, point them
to the sea, sensing the gradual traverse

of an unfolding panorama
of bush, water, sky. Slowly

the summer-depleted current
curves with me over depths

of stillness, between backwaters
of leaf-litter towards a shimmer

of translucence, a glitter
of broken water, rock-littered

rapids. Water rustle amplifies
to rattle, drift becomes bustle,

curves shape into angles, rocks marked
with canoe-paint flash past.

Soon passed. Steadiness resumes,
a prospect shapes of much-visited

swimming hole. Time to slip out,
press back up and along the bank path

panting and shy, bare feet vulnerable,
flanks slapped by wattle fronds,

to the cache of clothing,
a farewell already nostalgic

to the westering sun lengthening
river-gum shadows from bank to bank.

4.00 pm Wednesday April 14, 2004

Max Richards
North Balwyn, Melbourne

***


SNAPSHOT

snapping shut
long shots
last shots
oh shit
oh shat
last calls
last gasps
keep focus
hand steady
closing time
shutting down
cameras could
gather dust
garner rust
films mildew
fall apart
but maybe
on an inspired
sunny morning
the odd potshot
would be ok!!

pmcmanus 08-17
raynes park london uk

***


this shiver is an agreement
self in weather
let me at least understand still
how to walk quietly

maybe you remember that too
how to raise a hand through
that shifty window between seasons
somehow cool under the soft tongue

as in weeks to come winter begins
its layers, holding them
as dark pads in earlier and earlier
licking our lids and curling up leaves

ah, to stretch out inside
subtle blankets of space
maybe you remember that too
instead of this shiver of panic

how to move this creature along
this load, this other big bird
that will pull us out of here
it will be relief hanging on clouds

out on the world

but how to walk softly
here in this now

Jill Jones, Wed 14 April 5.50pm, Surry Hills

***


'obdurate'
is one word
only

for a face
pretending strength
behind a lectern
turn

ing away from
what hand
held fact

a then and now
so similar

as the temperature here
falls from spring

as if

as if that 'Fog'
turned hard
into snow

the ground covered again

whitely here
'the [fall] of
war' blinding sight

over and over
again

Douglas Barbour
Edmonton 09:30 Wednesday April 14 2004

***


SUITCASE WITH SANDSTONE

I've come home to a terraced house, and I've brought
a pink marzipan castle with me. It fits
inside my head, but won't fit into the space
between these walls. I look out of the window
straight onto the back of the opposite house;
and I'm pushing cliffs, trees, caves, a sheer
drop to the river valley, into the lane between.

They won't go in. In spite of the deep gorge
scoring it, the memory won't fold up,
the trees bristle and get in the way. And there's no
room for the birds, that I watched from above
on the springs of thermals, with the sun on their backs.
Here I've only the little birds at ground level,
jackdaws and gulls on ridgepole and phonewire

and a castle in the air inside my head.

Joanna Boulter
Darlington UK
6.50 pm 14 April

***


The Tree Surgeon

has pruned most of the branches,
safety rope slung over
one remaining limb.
He is up there now, fifty feet
above the village. He pulls
his chainsaw to him, starts it,
begins cutting himself down.

Peter Howard 2004/04/14 13:15

***


the wheelie-bin sits on the pavement
waiting all day for the bin-men who do not come

i carry the phone around in my shirt pocket
waiting all day for my calls to be returned

the postman does not come till nearly one

like an umbrella
the willow tree hangs low
over wilting daffodils

grey day turns to grey evening

Gerald England
Hyde, UK
8pm Wednesday 14th April 2004

***


Maxine

the wind blows down the plant on the balcony
branches are hurt arms heavily folded on the floor
a friend knocks down lofty walls - walls climb higher
a Russian thimble on the desk with an elephant engraved
some stones, iron, tiger eye - calcite, lighters, pens,
selenite, papers, four agendas,
                                Maxine is four days old
sun outside

and the winds blow and trees dance,
it is dark it's almost night

a silent night

Anny Ballardini, Italy, 9.32 pm

***


OBSTRUCT JORGEN [LETH]
via Lars von Trier's
THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS
Occupied. Manually.
Be shot in Cuba.
Said it, "No set!"
The first one, then,
ruining it from the start.
Understand in a few days --
can't see how you can.
That was vicious of me.

Jacket
old Leth--film
really on the ropes.
Give therapist the cards.
Ethics to the test.
Not describing something not there.

Barry Alpert / Silver Spring, MD US / 4-14-04 (4:52 PM)

***


unfamiliar wind
catching us cold
a street we dont know
your hand in my pocket
for the warmth of red velvet

Liz Kirby
Glasgow
14th April 2004
22.20

***


one
creamy daffodil
scent of clematis

goldfish
spawning ~ rippling
reflections on stone

dozens
of photos
hoping for one

perfect
snapshot of
this perfect day

Sharon Brogan

***


Salt-filled memories

For Edith and John Sydenham

Grandfather got sick of hiring Bullions’ boats. From a photograph gone to rust, he says, "all summer, the crowd took them at dawn"’ I can picture him standing around bailing his own, that fine piece of hardwood he rowed and baited in, exploding estuary and bay with a waist logic of anchor and chain. My grandmother stashed Sunday leftovers on the best plank, away from the sun and mop of wave. I reflect on her life, know nothing of his, only they grew closer in '32, fishing for hours until the moon paled over Saratoga, or the whiting skittered past the lighthouse to Box Head. He died there in the boat as the light twirled silver, as the rip deepened, as the bream paced his line, as the briny sea opened its mouth. I remember the lawn hanky at my Grandmother's nose, wondering how she faced the agony of oars. In khaki shorts, Wellington boots dressed for bagging worms, the snapper run, the point's salt-filled memory, she unravels the lines of her mouth. I turned with the food, with a hot cup of tea, I saw him slumped, asleep.’ In the burning bay, slightly sweating hair, my grandmother placed a consideration of sunstroke in her hands, moistened his curling lip, as if he was not yet gone.

Helen Hagemann, Perth Wednesday, 14/4/04

***


JIFFYLUBE

Ogle the pretty girls
faces fixed in blank stares
or the not so pretty or young cashier
but with a smile
that could melt the concrete
that is your heart and stomach
when you hear the damage
the $29.95 oil change has become
something ridiculous.

Hunting World magazine filled with
ads for overpriced outdoor gear
articles on survival rifles
because you might be out camping
and have to shoot a drug dealer
or take down a charging grizzly bear
and you won't get a choice.

Another day without choices
you cannot afford to have
the transmission fail
the engine seize
the car is hateful it is
the means to your livelihood
a weapon of survival

outside nothing but a downpour
Route 1 night and fog at noon
steer the weapon back into traffic

Kenneth Wolman/Princeton & Sea Bright, NJ/4-14-04

***


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

***


SNAPSHOT 51

it's
next morning
already i'm
saying to myself
you're feeling
you're behind again
thinking
i'd better make it snappy
writing a brief text
that'll assume the guise
of a poem
like this day
which seen from a window
looks so like summer
so bright
so clear
forever is visible
but the wind
betrays the disguise
and i know
a biting northerly
is snapping at the buds
and come afternoon
the sun will be dimmed
by dust
loose soil
brought to us
by windy airmail
from the interior
but sitting down to write
my trouser button snaps
and i must sow it on again
making the waist wider
before anything else
can happen

árni ibsen
first light april 15 2004
hafnarfjördur iceland

***


A reaction to Deborah's poem...not a snap but written like a snap, fast enough so I could not think too hard about it. We are "condemned" to return to the same material over and over, or so I've heard. This is another take on something I described years ago.

The Look

For years I cannot say this
because I also live with it
the Fear
my mother's eyes
Passaic General Hospital
in the Emergency Room
to which I have been summoned
the night of my 48th birthday
looking into those eyes
there is articulacy beyond
the speech she has lost
the acid tongue is gone
sarcasm vanished removed
finally stripped
the eyes say everything
knowledge that this is the end
Fear burning outward
into me who grew up afraid
Fear of what is beyond
the great Nullity of her belief
but mercy that denies Nully
even Fear removed
coma for the last two days
now the eyes shut
only the ears open
heeding me who tells her
it is time for her to go.

Ken Wolman/4-15-04

***


Early this morning
my daughter
phoned to ask,
"When did your hair
begin to turn grey?"
I lied.
After all, she is only
thirty three.

Deborah Russell, 04-15-04
Baltimore, Maryland USA 10 pm

***


"Surf's up, dude"

"What's that island called?"
"Lundy plain, sign of rain."
"So, just like it is everyday, then."
Convex combe rippled hillside,
long line of yellow gorse, sheep.
Swallows dive and rise over tents.
Franz Ferdinand was an Archduke,
assassinated by a Serb at Sarajevo.
That's right. It's where you go to ski.
Waves reach ankle height
a long curl of white stunted surf.
Witches' tits, the life sucked out of them,
infertile, male doctors scorning competition.
Red gold stripes the grey sea. A fire.
"Pressure treated wood doesn't burn well"
A barbecue bench was, huh, barbecued.
Cold nights, foot-pumps heaving testosterone
into the glowing wood, oil drum glowing orange.
A spliff is passed between mute singers.
Krazy golf is mulled over, cheerleaders urge songs.
Erskine Childers warns of a German invasion
a gun-running protestant shot
coming back from the pub one night.
Rounders endlessly suggested.
"He's given up farming, going to work as a rep for my father."
Long walks along the sand, a blue kite
diving and rising in the chill grey air.
You bought me an ice-cream.
"Lundy high, sign of dry."
A spliff is passed amongst the mute whisperers.
An AS400 forms the centrepiece
of a European-wide network
of XP-embedded thin clients.
Todays mergers are engineering problems.
Redolent wrecks and wounded eagles
grace bars, lounge on bean bags.
Loiter patterns of a bustard. Dr Zog's Sex Wax
slipping somewhere between Widdecombe and Bell's Bay
via Baja California. "Oh, you'll go a-waltzing
Matilda with me."

"Whatever."

Roger Day

***



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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