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Politics when I was seventeen, 1981


James Callaghan was toppled off his perch

And into history’s chasmic annals with a full-stop.

It was the night that Margaret Thatcher

Succeeded to the English throne,

The unadorned throne

Of Downing Street.

We anarchists shivered in anticipation of snot and blood. Although I still

Thought politics was like in school history books.


Even my uber conservative

Sloane Ranger boss

Knew Thatcher would prove to be a crazy queen.


I was thrilled that night Margaret Thatcher

Succeeded to the English underthrone.

Riding a bus down Islington High Street,

I actually saw with my very own X ray eyes

a personage more relevant than Tony Benn.

I saw Johnny Rotten crossing Islington High Street.


Cuttlewoman, 2018



I stand on the beach,

My bare feet in cold water,

In touch with

The big cold world out there.

My foot touches your foot

In the warmth of our bed,

In touch with

Some small inside place.


Cuttlewoman, all rights reserved, 2018


Our life together

lurks in my life,

coming up for air

in my dreams:

Thus, we make love—

with some poetic licence as to age and condition,

and your wife’s permission.

She is still hypothesising

we need closure.


I meet your in-laws, who,


say little and stare.

Your wife is distressed when

I drop little Lukey’s meds

under the Christmas tree.


I am left behind,

scrabbling around for teeny pills

in fallen needles and scraps of wrapping-up paper.

I cry in the spare room

when you and the family go out to the Fair.


I love you

beyond your deserving.

I love you

beyond reason or motive

or reality.


Cuttlewoman, copyright 2018

Studying Elizabethan erotic narrative poems at university in Liverpool, a long time ago, at a point where I was more interested in the poetry of John Cooper Clarke and Jayne County of the Electric Chairs… then encountering Anais Nin and Henry Miller… I dunno, I just enjoy writing a little erotica. This one came to me the other night (pun intended). Apologies to any friends for whom this simply too much info.


Ecstatic is

My small damp space

Cavorting on

Your baronial ediface.



Cuttlewoman, 2017

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



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



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
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

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.



what was the creature that cried in the roof.



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




Cuttlewoman, December 2015