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Loosely based on the work processes of Northcliffe artist, Howard Taylor, this poem is inspired by wondering if the abstract artist is actually an extract artist, peddling the mining and refining of visual perceptions. Also, I had the thought that that kind of artist might share something “diabolical” with those who would remove hedges and other permeable boundaries in favour of colourbond fences. Colourbond fences, favoured by many Western Australians in both suburbs and country towns, are typically impregnable sheets of metal 8 or 9 feet high with little or no gap at the ground or anywhere. To my way of thinking, they destroy connection between spaces and between the living things (people, plants, animals) that would ordinarily interact across boundaries. For humans, that might just be obliterating the possibility of a quick squizzy at the neighbour’s yard, or a housewives’ chat over the wall. My well-meaning neighbours in Northcliffe  put such a barrier up between our properties. This meant I could no longer check the skatepark for kids from my kitchen window. I was a bit sad about that at the time. Meanwhile, our trees have grown and obscured the skatepark anyway.

 The three contexts of ground, space and wall, are Howard Taylor’s, by the way, not mine—he must have been very intelligent, intellectual and perceptive, I reckon. The rest is a very cynical take on what another artist starting from that theoretical stance might think.

 Without more ado, the poem:

Diabolical Artist

On the ground, In space, On the wall.

See the cunning sleight of the artist’s eye and hand.

“If I give you no context, there can be no recognition—Only disconnection and disorientation.

You must orientate to the extracted object alone.

In the process of deconstruction, I first examine, then Demonstrate the geometrical simplicity To which the living can be reduced as required.

Note the difference between this planned, sawn, Planed and sanded surface and Bark. Bark, of course, being the varied surface of the Tree that inspired me.

See how line and shade and the alchemy between them can be removed From the chaos of plant matter and made ready for the gallery’s clean white walls.

What you might see with the blurry vision of the drunk, and Stumble over and around, mistaking your perception for the object with Potentially disastrous consequences, I see with precision and purity in the eye of the mind.

What confused you in your dreary state is now shown to be Possible in the trinity of contexts:

On the ground, In space, On the wall.”

The exemplary orderliness of the artist’s studio—The tools, the maquettes, the artist’s pressed shirt—When visitors arrive with their notebooks and pencils, Stems the flow of both irrelevance and excreta.

 

Cuttlewoman, rights reserved, please, 2017

Tidying up

Wilma wanted you to have this.

It’s not old, but it’s beautiful.

It doesn’t shine, but it’s mesmerising.

It’s not valuable, but it smells nice.

I asked her if we should bury it with her.

Nope. She was horrified.

She said it belongs

To you, her dear darling friend.

It has to remain with someone

Who will not sully it or sleep with it,

Will not bite it or listen to its faux-cough.

She said you will know what it knows.

You can cradle it in the folding-back of a knee,

Or roll it across your roof-top.

Wilma was certain it would be happy

With you, now she has passed.

Wilma had it from her Great-Aunt Maeve.

The one that visited Aleppo long ago,

Before the place was rubble,

And flirted with the Titanic crew before it sunk.

I wanted to keep it, I really did.

I had a big box ready for it, but I guess

I have my memories, and Wilma wished it

On you.  It will not leave you alone.

Cuttlewoman, copyright 2017

Nannup

 

The winding road

and the sinuous trees growing in dust

remind me of the day we rescued

the little yellow snake.

Your friends put down their beers and shrieked,

“Kill it! Chop its head off with the spade!”

You said, “No, we’ll catchim,

and we’ll findim somewhere safe to go.”

You, my hero, caught him up in a pillow case,

and we raced to find a place out of town,

in the bush, near water.

That’s what people ought to

do when they find a little

yellow

snake.

Let him grow.

 

Cuttlewoman, 2017

 

Day breaking over Cottesloe

 

Terse light

taut in stretchmarks

cursing the sky;

Such fine homes and gardens—

huddled, mis-shapen,

malformed in the gloom—

mangy beasts, lumpen breasts;

Corrupted crust of cliff and

oozing sea;

Sour taste of last night’s

argument, reprisals

in deranged murmur of spray.

Rise up, ye faithful!

Greet the new day!

 

 

Cuttlewoman, 2015

Could be I am nearly nearly growing out of the love gripes stuff? Who knows? Maybe not when there’s that magic between the legs… and there’s the seeing of the object of one’s desires, and one’s desire itself in its true nature… a way of getting a squeamish person over and into another person’s body space… with enthusiasm, zest, and juices…

I’ve got it bad.
Like a schoolgirl.
I think about you.
Nearly all the time.
I’m hungry for
scrutching for
grubbing for
any teeny squeeny tiny toenail of news.
I long for symptoms of
the merest hint
an omen of
some sign of this infection
in your affection.
Some weakening
surrendering
waivering of that
icy rime melting
in mouse time
a little rill of
meandering gently down
that grubby little alley
tossing the dirt
up into little heaps and seeking
the dark and the moist
and the rhythmic.
Going down
that mutual incline
with no sense and no time
that down and out and under
under the intoxicating
dementia of
the brassy awakening of
the sly paradox of
It.

Cuttlewoman, 2015

The moon dangles

 

The moon dangles over the garden like

a great glowing ear.

 

I lie in the grass in my blanket

and think of you, my dear.

 

I’m thinking of things I may never know.

 

Like,

what was the creature that cried in the roof.

 

And,

what happened to Patti the Passionfruit,

losted before she ripened.

 

And what do you think about me and,

if I knew, could I submit

to whatever it is you truly thought

as the whole and frigid truth,

damning unhinged hanging

dropping flopping

truth.

 

 

Cuttlewoman, December 2015

I’m

 

I’m

Dogs dinner

And cat thief

I’ve been

dragged through

more than one glass hedge

backwards, downwards,

with my insights out

with my wiring shorn

I’ve been hung drawn and quartered

I’ve seen the hearts and pants

of boys and men

I’ve been groped bored and overwatered.

But I think I could

maybe this time

perhaps

could be

might be

may be

 

 

Look, I’ve been loved to pieces

and I’ve come back good again.

D’ya fancy a drink?

 

 

Cuttlewoman

2015

I am so angry, I find, about not understanding the necessity of perpetual economic growth, about why there is no alternative, about the things not said (my sympathy to the family and friends of the perpetrator–how do they fare?)… just angry.

All of it

give me feet like diamond teeth
and thighs of tyrannasaurus rex
and i will grind every street
every concrete slab of it
all of it
and leave it
to the mercy
to the ruthless heartlessness
of plants
all of it

Cuttlewoman

Clynicism

Oh so sad, how nasty the fad
For sportswear in yoga…

Is downward dog less profound
In pinstripes and cufflinks?

Does a sequin skirt scupper
The flow of a flowing cat?

Need your tadasana
Topple in a polka dot smock?

Ha! Me, I am limber in lace.
Personally, I think my Damned
T-shirt brightens up the place.

Cuttlewoman

I am pagan. This poem has been coming on for a while, this summary of my spiritual-social insights. A first draft.

 

Polytreism

 

Each and every tree is sacred.

There is no one Tree.

 

Taking the life of a tree

Must only be done

When you are sure its replacement

Is thriving.

 

At present we owe the planet many more trees.

Humans are in tree debt.

 

Clearing environments where

Baby trees grow without human

Intervention is blasphemous.

If we do this, we will be left only with weed trees.

 

Weed trees are better than no trees.

 

This is a planet of plants,

Not humans.

 

The needs of plants, especially trees,

Are to be privileged above those of humans.

 

The work of combining water, minerals and sunshine

Into life is sacred.

Humans cannot do this

And should not stop it.

 

Trees do not make mess.

Humans unwilling to tolerate the sacred work

Of making humuus

Should retreat to rocky places.

 

Humans need to remember

That trees live in quiet contemplation,

Whereas

Human conflict (internal and amongst ourselves).

 

As far as can be determined,

Neither trees nor humans understand

The consequences of their actions.

On our present tranjectory,

It is unfortunate for both groups that humans are able to choose

Their actions over and above

The compulsion of trees to grow.

 

It is entirely possible

That leafy no-brains

Are smarter than

The wrinkly brains.

 

Religions which model themselves

On one leader are mistaken.

The spiritual work of the planet

Is evidently collective and

 

Cuttlewoman