Carolyn Smale

5 Online Poems


In your tattoo,
rose-dust clouds
pulverised stars & bones;
nothing left except skin & squealing.

The big dipper up and down over the years
creates its own electricity ,
losing all its colour.

Your voice vibrates like steel at 40 storeys,
your leached face
voodoo mask
glued to your skull.

Hymn singing riots
street entertainers
this humdrum road.

There’s a gypsy waving at me
monsoon swimming
moon dimming
looking out to sea.


Clearly majesty,
something you’re not meant to see,

woven between bindings
and plastic sheets.

The rosebuds have swollen,
left behind clump blood.

Crouching, hair up ears flat
your lobster claw seizing at the steam.

The scratching is cockroaches in the kitchen
ascending with the predawn sweat.

The dimmed priestess moon
framed by lamps
hides her blackhandled knife like a sigh.

Morning mops and soapy cloths.

The night’s scrubbed.
The grubs drop.


Sugar dripped like autumn sludge.

Shivering within this syrupy cavern,
she weathered seven winters,
famine molesting every belief.

At last they came;
two shapeless creatures.
She, stone-blind.

The web contracted
and took them in.


Genesis was consulted
and found to be missing
a letter here, a letter there.

The execution is so simple for so many.
Adjacent bones and hairless fingertips,
clockwork models of the milky way.

I’ve been seeing an exorcist on Mondays
and a psychiatrist on Thursdays.
They’re uniform, cartilage and ligaments and skin.

A partial chromosome and you’re crying like a cat.
How about that,
crying like a cat.

You have my eyes, prowling and sweeping.
I’ve seen strangers pat you on the head,
and whisper doubtfully.

They flame.

The grand experiment.


Plants, vicious as wasps, spawn in your backyard,
poisoned and whittled by the lead paint running off the house.
A legion of rainy days.

Your modified goats,
further foul progeny of this quarter acre,
eating withered corncobs and hard, cutting plants.

Your misbegotten pots sink in heaps,
their shelly eyes picked off by magpies several years ago.

The harbour’s cold and faraway today,
like a neutral assassin.

We sit dumbly on green steps
sipping tea and planting little red felt poppies in the plumby ground.


All 5 poems are published in „apples and oranges“, hansel and gretel and out to sea are published in „a writer’s choice literary journal“, out to sea and anzac day carey’s bay are published in „downunder“.

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