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Frantic chat on the world wide spider web


A question for Jane

'A mind lively and at ease, can do with seeing nothing, and can see nothing that does not answer.'
Austen, Emma

And in the raucosity of blogs
the avidity of trolls
the ubiquity of porn
the vidvidvidity of tubes
the facebookery of profiles
the aviary of twittervation —

can the mind still find
that space to stretch itself,
is ease possible amongst such sticky webs —

or are we all half-fly now,
wrapped in frantic, silken chat?

P. S. Cottier


My old typewriter

It sat upright, piano keyboard height,
Keys sparkled, tip-tap order,
I found, or someone did for me, I won't explain why,
It was a Qwerty Who invented the neighbourhood
Of letters, fidget, digit, gadget.
The Remington was always hot-to-trot, randy,
You could hit hard, tantrum strength, writer's block,
Desperation, until the bell rang,
End of line, end of story, nobody heard,
Not even the children in the schoolyard.

Now Gutenberg is sleeping, printing presses
Are next to a used-car lot, letters lying prone.

Peter Gebhardt



Stick out your tongue,
the right side of your mouth.
Find a mirror.
Don't bite down.
No photographs, believe me.
Breathing through the nose
send an email to a friend
who lives in her illness.

Help Douglass with his shopping.
Fall into No Noise.
Don't beg.
Collect a prize & be puzzled.

Les Wicks


This suburb

This suburb — beginning, middle and end —
was once entirely bushland.
One hundred percent banksia and marri woodland.
Or, that's what's claimed.
______________So let's just pretend:
No access roads, no shopping mall, no cinema.
Nowhere for coffee, nowhere at all to spend.
Just an unrelenting community of trees.
The scrambled Jackson Pollock calligraphy of undergrowth.
The cicadas' unceasing, seething unease.
_____Unviable, yet remarkably, it seems
some still have regrets.

Ross Jackson 

P. S. Cottier headshotP. S. Cottier is a poet and writer. She has worked as a lawyer, a university tutor, a union organiser and a tea lady. She wrote a PhD on animals in the works of Charles Dickens at the Australian National University. Her most recent book is a suite of poems called Selection Criteria for Death. 

Peter Gebhardt headshotPeter Gebhardt is a retired school principal and judge. His most recent book is Black and White Onyx: New and Selected Poems 1988–2011.


Les Wicks headshotOver 35 years Les Wicks has performed at festivals, schools, prison etc. He has been published in over 250 different magazines, anthologies and newspapers across 15 countries in nine languages. His tenth book of poetry is Barking Wings.

Ross Jackson headshotRoss Jackson is a retired schoolteacher from Perth. He has had poetry and short stories published locally and interstate. 

Topic tags: new australian poems, P. S. Cottier, Peter Gebhardt, Les Wicks, Ross Jackson



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Existing comments

For P S Cottier: "Emma" is my favourite Austen novel. What I like about Austen is perhaps best summed up in the dedication of "Emma" to "His Royal Highness The Prince Regent, this work is, by His Royal Highness's permission, most respectfully dedicated, by His Royal Highness's dutiful and obedient humble servant, the author." What a gal!

Pam | 29 April 2013  

I love Austen's elegant prose and intelligence, and I can't stand the tendency to remember her just through dress-ups and crude romance in films. Secretly, though, I much prefer Maryanne Evans. It's a bit like the difference between Mozart and Beethoven. (P.S. I'm responsible for the first poem.)

Penelope | 30 April 2013  

Our genration has the luxury of being able to free range and sample from all over. To retreat or go all out with technology. An older friend spoke to me recently about her search for time and space. Since childhood I have been absorbed by the mystery of time and space and as a teenager got to the depressing stage of doubting my own existence - an era when one did not talk about the expansiveness of the mind which in a way was a good thing.

Jenny Esots | 30 April 2013  

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