Public announcement

If you have been affected
by the contents of this drama
well that’s the point of art
isn’t it? If, however, you are
unmoved, then a helpline is available
to discuss how you might develop
your ability to empathise with others.
Calls are charged at the local rate.

Andrew Turner (UK)



Performed at GLITTER, Spoken Word Perth, May 2016 @ Paper Mountain Gallery

friend’s message on facebook reveals her disguise
of sexual pureness, a fabrication of lies
that hides the pain of consent stripped away
the horror that resides in her everyday

and I feel it, the pain of a past you can’t speak
the shudders in shop fronts, the shuffling of feet
subtly avoiding any spaces of fear
silent shadows, sharp corners, the stench of cheap beer

on another’s mouth, or another’s skin
innocent intoxication turned sinister grin
that snarls through nightmares, alone in her bed
his hands always present, always there in her head

former frame of fluidity reduced to regret
hip bones, now haunted, the site of lament
rib cage protrudes from translucent skin
starvation an escape from the body she’s in

my body is a prison, my body is a crime scene
my body is a puzzle and I don’t know what it means
my body isn’t mine, my body isn’t home
my body is broken and the cure remains unknown

I’m messaging my friend, she’s too far away to hold
I want to tell her it gets better, not each season is this cold
but my strength still shivers and my palms are turning pale
haunted by the malice which the human race entails

patriarchy perpetuates the purpose of penetration
as proving your penis has power past procreation
but my body is no piñata and there is no prize
for whoever hits it hard enough, whoever parts my thighs

she was asking for it
asking for it
asking for

I was asking for it
asking for it
asking for


Maddie Godfrey (Western Australia / UK)
Facebook: maddiegodfreypoet

From Maddie's zine Warm

Amateur Pole Queen

Poem page from zine
From Maddie's zine Warm

do not think about failure,
remember that even stars fall sometimes
and when they do, people wish on them

Maddie Godfrey (Western Australia / UK)
Facebook: maddiegodfreypoet

From Maddie's zine Warm


the last groove

the plates drip dry
up-turned cups drain
as water runs in rivulets
into the sink

smoke escapes
from the chimney
of the house
across the garden
while black birds forage
pull up worms
from moist
new turned soil

music is playing somewhere
but for now
my revolution is over
on the sterile CD
the unscratched
version of the Pistols
has come to an end

how I miss the sound
of a stylus
playing the last groove

Jim Bennett (UK)


The catbeing

A sleeping catbeing,
black white ochre body curled,
furred cheek turned
     (Her free ear flicks
     as I shift on the wooden stool,
     as my sock scuffs the floor)
The catbeing, catmind, lithe catbody
has made her toilette
     (as Eliot said)
and now takes her repose

Pets are banned
But she is not my pet
Responsibility is claimed
by Unit 33
Kipper, their collar calls her
     (A motorbike dopplers past:
     her head lifts, then subsides)
She is the gentlest
of the three local catbeings,
the one most partial to humans
     (or, at least, to me)
She has come to my room for refuge,
for a pause in her difficult war
with the powerful catbeing from
beyond the fence
whom I stroked at lunchtime
but did not admit

The weary catbeing has come to rest
on the faded quilt I use
as a meditation seat
I unfold it to cat dimensions,
smooth its green 70s geometries
flat on the scarred sofa
     (catbeings enjoy a soft bed)
She kneads and stretches and washes,
clips her claws with her teeth,
clamping and yanking,
then works through a sequence of postures
until, eventually, she settles.
     (I unplug the phone)

Her spine is an opening parenthesis,
a yang matched by the yin of her tail
All along her rounded back
her filaments stand proud, separate,
like iron filings inscribing
the north and south of a magnetic field.
The purring catbeing, earthed, live,
is locus, nexus, nucleus —
a cluster of cells making waves
of Thursday afternoon peace.

Jackson (Western Australia)


Broken TV

‘My mind is a TV with no sound. And the teletext is broken. But the show goes on and I have to watch.

It gets really good around 2am. Sometimes beautiful women light up the screen.
Sometimes they teach you how to fuck.
Sometimes they fall in love with men with perfect shoulders.
Sometimes they just spend hours talking.

Sometimes there are men fighting. Sometimes they bite great chunks out of each other.
Sometimes they stab and shoot and burn.
Sometimes they hold each other.
Sometimes they cry and bleed and die.

Sometimes there's just a kid who looks sad. He's got no toys so he makes friends with the mice in his walls. He builds little houses for them out of boxes off the floor. He makes tiny mice sized toys for them.

Sometimes there are just people crying.

Sometimes there is a teenage girl lying curled up in a ball on the floor. She writes in a diary that she just wants to die.

Sometimes there are women with empty bellies and blood on their feet. They sit on the ends of beds for hours. Just crying and holding their stomachs while men watch.

Sometimes there is a man buying a rope. No one asks him why he only wants rope.

Sometimes everyone is happy.
Sometimes everyone is laughing.
Sometimes a cat falls asleep on a dog.

Sometimes lovers finish each other's thoughts.
Sometimes a kiss leads to sex.
Sometimes they fall asleep all tangled up like a plate of spaghetti.

Sometimes nothing happens.

Well actually, dark happens. Different shades of dark. Sometimes that happens for ages.

Sometimes when it's dark I wonder if I could stop watching.
But without any sound what would happen to the pictures?
Sometimes I wish I could fix it. Sometimes I wish I could turn it all the way up so someone else could listen while I shut my eyes.’

Megan Watson (Western Australia)

Holiday Town

We watch them come, from Cup Day on,
The caravans and tents.
They’ll all be here on Boxing Day.
The foreshore will be dense.

They’re here — street signs are mangled now,
To confuse our whereabouts.
We shrug and sigh, and say aloud,
‘It’s all those holiday louts.’

Picket fences, letterboxes,
Local structures all abused.
We pay the damage someone does
Just to be amused.

The shops are full of trolleys.
They jam up all the aisles,
And queues to all the things we want
Go back for miles and miles.

But wait! We see kids paddling
And playing on the sand,
The bike track’s used by families,
They’re all in Happy Land.

The holidays end, it’s ‘Back to School’,
They’ve packed up in a flash.
So come again you happy lot,
And don’t forget your cash!

Shirley Burgess (Victoria)
First published in Positive Words


cradle of extinction

a cradle and a darkened glass
the moss of our extinction
hoarded here

the brush of skin and ash and hair
their fall a cry of loss
made infinitely small and rare

the tree that holds a family
comes to this
a hand-made dress
of Limerick lace

the bones of heirs
laid down to fade, to rest

Marjorie Lewis-Jones (New South Wales)