Australia

26 06 2010

Mimi

Their bodies so thin, a high wind might break them,
the spindly spirits of West Arnhem rest in crevices.
Best to warn them if you’re near. Tread on one
or harm a baby wallaby, expect an aggressive attack.
But if you are kind, you will recoup kindness.
Dance, sing and hunt. The Mimi love chasing emus
their narrow voices, stretching over the plains,
the melody of a zebra finch. Our ancient teachers
live in a plain between dimensions. Bring fire.
Stick figures etched in the red rock too high to reach
are modern mysteries. But for us, just portraits of fairies.

Aiko Harman





Greece

26 06 2010

I found him on the beach, half-starved on his driftwood
raft, barely able to form the sound of his own name.
Once he could, I heard his story, broke bread for him,
hardly gave him credence, led him to the palace
nonetheless. Nausicaa came later. But the day
I recovered overnamed Odysseus, naked
but for a leafy loincloth and flotsammed beard,
became the night I met you. Everyone we knew
crammed in a sandy cove, the bonfire’s drowsy light,
the big man’s susurrent tone, lulled me to agony.
I was ready to grab a bottle and vamoose

when I caught your steady, uninterested gaze
and the universal two-finger sign for ‘smoke?’
You asked who he thought he was, whether his story
were fiction or recollection, his or someone else’s,
what difference it made? Any answer were overlong,
but mine was studied, earnest, and as far beyond
my recall as your pine-green shawl, your eyes pine-green,
even his raven-ish beard and his hands tucked behind
himself like a raven, weren’t. These fragments coalesced
one night in dream as a sensuous whole. As for all
that happened next, you remember as well as I.

Dave Coates





Switzerland

25 06 2010

Long consideration
and the meditation
of an age, time
spent on brow furrowing
frenzy
and raised-wrinkled
exclamation
leads one to roll
on the cerebral
tongue of statehood
the eternal:

It is imperative
at all times
to consider
all things
not in terms
of their
moral dimensions
or obligations
but to retain
the distance
of greyness.

Al Innes





Slovenia

25 06 2010

Today We are Slovenia, 7 July 1991 and Afterwards

The heart we talk about is so much more
than a muscle.
Bloated when
our song pumped, wept
in dark theatres, stood
calm as a diver
before her first spring.
We talked our heart
into crowded battle
with the colours
of our other great loves on our wings.

I still see stocky peasants on pitches and gravel,
in the bottoms of beer bottles,
in rivers that run, graves
getting repaired, coffee
that still goes cold.
Our hearts beat
for skeletons of city halls.
The wind carries
fields of names. The sun burns,
sometimes cold burns. The war
is sweater and chill, skin we wear every day, fold up at night.


Ryan Van Winkle





Paraguay

24 06 2010

Seriema

Dad let us pick the Seriema out ourselves,
legs like cotton-stalks, and eyes like coal;
our living-fossil bird. He looked most
ancient when he called out, head so far
back as to touch his neck, when strangers came.
We put him in among the newborn chicks
who shyed from their prehistoric babysitter.
We fashioned him a toilet-paper crown.
It slipped and hung around his neck
damp and stuck with yellow paint and tape.
‘King of the Chickens,’ we called him.

Sasha de Buyl-Pisco





Slovakia

24 06 2010

I followed the echoing voices and found the place
four teenagers, three boys and a girl, were skateboarding
in the august courtyard outside a bank, or an office-
block, the glass was too dark to tell. One skater fell
on his ass. Adam had taken our cash to look for food,
he’d return minutes later with salami and bread, cheese-
flavoured crisps, a cold fizzing bottle; I’d found a spot to sit.
I’m good at that. My cards didn’t work on the continent,
he doled out absurd IOUs, actual pocket-money.
The kids hunkered in a bunch as one by one
they rumbled toward a staircase and by magic kicked

into silence, briefly, before the board skited off
on its lonely trajectory. Before recovering it
from the decorative bushes, hung low as if ready to ripen,
he shared a solemn high-five that cracked round the square,
holding on for a moment after the strike. I couldn’t read
his eyes. I couldn’t focus on the map I was pretending
to read. Then Adam returned with salami and bread
and I stung his hand with my own, he asked what for,
I almost said I loved him. We sat and ate,
a boy pushed off across the marble slates and launched
himself beyond what was under his control.

Dave Coates





Ghana

23 06 2010

Manatee

‘How it happened that bird woman became
fish woman is unknown yet. Among the
hypotheses a Latin transcription mistake,
from pennis (feathers) into pinnis (fins).’

Bird-woman didn’t know water,
had never tasted sea. Landlocked,
sky bound – no man would ever spy her in the
noonday wink of hunger and sun and think
mermaid. She came from air, from tree.

Her wings were freedom, her sky everything.
When she was struck down, she thought the sky
had rejected her, a lover grown bored and
her left forced to move on feet unused
to gait or step. Picking a direction,
she walked until she found shore.

Here, the blue fell downwards, and mirrored
up in confusion. Bird-woman saw two suns,
two sets of sky reflecting. The second seemed
colder and more solid; grounded.
When she was held up to her waist
cradled by this heavy sky, she found
she had no need for wings.

Sasha de Buyl-Pisco








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.