Bio: Owen Bullock’s most recent publications are Impression (Beir Bua Press, 2022), and Uma rocha enorme que anda à roda (A big rock that turns around), translations of his tanka into Portuguese by Francisco Carvalho (Temas Originais, 2021). His other titles include, Summer Haiku (Recent Work Press, 2019), Work & Play (Recent Work Press, 2017), and Semi (Puncher & Wattmann, 2017). He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Canberra. His other interests include juggling, music and chess. https://poetry-in-process.com/ @OwenTrail @ProcessPoetry
drink a tankard of sweet Williams
spin-passing a rolled-up blanket
a common bird
skim dark water –
he’s caught a tree
will sending flowers to myself boost my serotonin?
no more crossing the suburbs
except for old pebbles
and lines the birds brought
cloud on cloud
I dream I’m dreaming
you might not have any eyes
a bouquet of orange
You hold out your hands & take it. It collapses, spreads, your feet soaked with the colour, you start running, running over day, you lose weight, you feel great, you’re young again. Some of it splashes off on your friend Serafim & she’s climbing, climbing the ladder to put the finishing touches to her sculpture, a thousand pom-poms made of wool, one bounces down & bobbles to the feet of a child, who picks it up & gazes, suddenly her hand is sore with hope, her eyes gleam seablue, seablue rides a sleek canoe in no time over rapids, lands at the base of the mountain, meets a boy in a barrel, gives him a bouquet of pink.
dressed to the teeth
the consequences are not immediate
it’s a work on
the hardest step is over the threshold
squeezing the stone
online psychic’s side-kicks
the orthopaedic surgeons are more like carpenters
on the power box
open your 3rd eye
the architect thought of the building as a sculpture
the sculpture thought of the architect as a building
the building thought of the sculpture as an architect
the thought of architect as a building, the sculpture
of the thought as the architect building a sculpture,
the sculpture building a thought as of the architect
of the building, as a sculpture the architect thought,
the thought building as a sculpture of the architect,
the sculpture of, as building the architect a thought
a conversation with the garden
what do they do when they’re a fuckwit?
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
(Fornication Under Consent of the King)
or Old High German: to strike
(tips, golf and posh also aren’t acronyms)
I’ll just give you the wave tops
skype call unanswered –
not one of Philip Glass’
somebody came into my house and used my deodorant
For a word. For eye contact. For the assurance I’m not crazy. For the knowledge that you had something like this with your mother, with your father. Mother comes first, always. Mother. I linger in the hope you’ll need a hug of comfort. I linger so you know I’m here, listening, even to the trailing off sentence. I linger because you were kind to me once.
Sweating in the sun of summer.
Noticing the age of autumn.
Accepting long nights of winter.
Walking in the meadow of spring.
Poems are easier than small talk.
KING – MAN + WOMAN = QUEEN
did you ring the hospital?
did you phone the dentist?
did you book for Monday night?
I dare do all that may become a man
you could pull the curtains . . .
Feelings of power deactivate parts of the brain responsible for ‘mirroring’, which underscores empathy.
I like to autumn through my schedule
my other life as a teacher
kiss the grim reaper
a new comprehension
poorly equipped poem
on a bus with nine other poems
making unreasonable demands on the commuter
collected in lever arch files
linger long after day
you gotta go through us
to get a patch
at the Buddhist Training Centre
everything is offensive to someone
Australians all let us rejoice
For we are old and . . .
de-emphasising the ego
preparing for death
I’m the one who goes around
turning the lights off
take the frustration out
make notes for the anthropologist
I let my music take me
where my heart wants to go
They say losing love
is like a window in your heart
for the Alpaca a cappella group
To save a day
the deejay said Karm I say ‘deejay’, it was the graffiti artist MC of the street The phone rang. It was a diptych. I eyed it with both eyes. The phone rang again. A triptych. I got confused (though dramatically satisfied by the hint of three-act structure). I went to the window, one scene: trees, mountains, grass. I took several paces back, a run up, crashed through the glass. Out. I get in step with the water dragon . . . twitch my tail like it . . . tilt my head . . . scamper forward a few centimetres . . . I am old I watch the water I turn my head I watch the water skittle forward & when the crow comes I run a while and hey a cormorant pops up and I watch and scoot on the red gravel people talk in the park, the cormorant dives ripples spread till you can’t see anything except the ripples that were already there a pukeko struts, coots bob the water dragon comes back I’ll have to go soon the water dragon edges close waddle-walking green bobbles its jagged crown I fantasise telling them the only way to make amends for this latest round of time-draining admin cock-ups is for the boss himself to come over with a handmade fruit cake. When I come back from lunch there’s a cake sitting in the kitchen. I missed the boss, it’s a bought cake and it’s not fruit, but . . . it helps to know that in some parallel world, some memory or Youtube clip Roger Daltry is still running on the spot Pete Townsend swinging that arm for the power chords and the crowd taking up the chant of teenage wasteland be careful crossing the road, she says forgetting I usually pole-vault over so much to be anxious about the floodlights reflect in the lake like magic wands