I had an incredible time in WA recently at Spring Poetry Festival and now I want to share with you the words pouring out from that side of the country. First up, here’s a poem from Amber Fresh and Janet Jackson.
by Amber Fresh
so i’ll write about brisbane
to avoid a confession
to avoid the confession i’m
queen of unkindness
i went to the city
city of water
city of lights
city of refuge
state of confession
state of excitement
i walked right around
walked right over
over the streets
over the grease
over the grass
over the water
over and over and over the water
i walked all the way
hands in my pockets
hands up to no good
i sat all alone
all alone in a crowd of self-consciousness and longing and i
pinned you up a little note on the
noticeboard closest to your house
between househunters and prayer groups and
everything new farm and it said
i am the queen of unkindness
though not in those holy words
brisbane is to sydney what adelaide is to perth
northam is to brisbane what mt barker is to canberra
brisbane is to perth what you are to me and
of course i imagined you were there
when the music travels in
it travels in through your ears and straight to your heart
that’s the moment you know what i mean
when you told me you were married
well we all know what that means but it’s
not what you think
the haiku started, MR, IN A STATE OF EXCITEMENT,
and finished, HOLDING OUT HIS HAND
this self reference helps to
create a fantastic disguise in which
each girl is in the correct bed
each girl begins to read in the desert,
holding out her hand
holding her hand out to the faraway tree
the faraway tree of mother
(hesitate the word nature)
(hesitate the word mother)
(hesitate the word Christian)
there was a man in the desert
a man from a book
with a stick
and a tome
in a state of excitement holding out his hand
today i told you the truth
today i told you a secret
but i didn’t confess one bit
Amber Fresh is a writer from Perth (via Albany and Paris). Her poems have been published in Westerly, Navigations, Cottonmouth Zine, MoTHER [has words…], The Ponies Zine, and Metior. This year she released her first book of poetry, “Between You and Me”, with funding from the Department of Culture and the Arts. She writes on a typewriter and makes music in a band called Rabbit Island.
by Janet Jackson
Just text me, will you?
I don’t know where you are
but I’m in the park
with my phone, crying
So life is really
friends & their babies
and not these obsessions and loves?
Life is that? All the
A man does tai chi, or something.
Does it help?
He does it fast, jerky.
I thought tai chi was slow.
I wanted to be with you all day
Just hanging out, not saying much,
A black-booted woman texts somebody
Let’s all text each other Let’s
hug hello, hug goodbye We’re
one big village
This is why people get spiritual.
I tried that and found
that spirit needs to be shared
to be sustained.
In that moment, as I underlined communion,
you texted me.
In that moment
Since 1986 Janet Jackson has sculpted in English, seeking poems that work whether declaimed loudly or whispered in the mind.
Janet featured at the inaugural Missing Link Festival (Perth 2008), the 2006, 2007 and 2008 WA Spring Poetry Festivals and 2007 and 2008 Melbourne Overload Poetry Festivals. She has featured at many readings, performances and slams and can be heard at all the places in Perth where poets gather.
Her poems have been published in many print and online magazines and anthologies, and she has self-published three chapbooks and her own website, Proximity.
Her first collection, Coracle, was published in March 2009.