Repealing S.18(C) RDA
PURCHASE FROM AMAZON
Trevor Poulton lives in Melbourne. He was publisher
of the regional weekly newspaper, The Central
Victorian News & Review. He was admitted to the
Supreme Court of Victoria as a Barrister and Solicitor
in 2002 and
practices as a generalist.
A collection of poems written by Trevor Poulton
during the 1990s. Several were published in Redoubt,
Verandah, On the
Page, and the like. Several were
read on invitation to two Melbourne Writers Festivals.
Through The Window
Collection of poems from the 1990s
Other books by Trevor Poulton
Defining, Identifying and Protecting Old-Growth Forest
in Victoria (2006)
The Holocaust Denier (2012 Novel)
Brick Through The Window
Collection of poems from the 1990s
First published in 2018
This book is copyright and no part
of it may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a
retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any
means including electronic, photocopying
otherwise, without permission of
the copyright owner.
Cover painting by Sholto Turner (1990)
Copyright © 2018 Trevor Poulton
All rights reserved.
To my daughter Caitlin Poulton,
Linda Heyworth who shared some first poems,
to Coral Hull for turning me into some poems of her own,
and to Fenton (d.1993).
can’t write a book write a book
If you can’t write poetry write poems
If you can’t sing drop it
Bonus Aphorisms of Trevor Poulton
CORAL AND ME
Picture a white faced Celtic woman with a
scroll of black hair spilling onto shoulder
blades, a body stiff and eyes
that are round like
that of a quadruped. Imagine her standing
to the doorway of her lounge room. My
head, is placed on top of her shoulder, with her
back sticking to the red brick interior wall. She
swivels like a compass to her left, and then I
hold her against the door. ‘You prefer wood?’
‘Yes,’ she replies. I
then put my lips to her
unexplored ear hole, and chew on a banana;
likes the sound of blood rushing under the
roller of my tongue,
close to her tightening throat. We separate
and move downwards
to the centre of the room
where we exchange vision and connect again
touching feet and then fingers. ‘I want to show
you my bedroom,’ she says as she uses her legs
to elevate herself, and her poetry hands which
appear small and crooked, and are painted with
red varnish, elevate me to the level of one of her
I submit to the mysteriousness:
a black and tan cattle dog with its acute face,
parked on the most expansive couch in the dim
lit room, its eyes tracking her bare feet; and, a
scant sheep dog with manic eyes attracting
anything that has life in it. I am inside its pupils.
She opens the door to the bedroom. There are
several lit candles all the same height; painted
elders sidled along the skirting
board and a double sleeping bag spread out on
the floor. Picture me, placing my hands, on top
of her shoulders, applying a little gravity and
we are down on our knees, with the candles
flickering about us, and she is just pivoting on
her bottom, rocking backwards and forwards
whilst I am trying to
get her to straighten up,
or flatten out, and her body has lost all
and has become monosyllabic.
‘I think you should leave!’ she says.
So I walk out the front door out into the
Collingwood night where houses are just houses
and the streets don’t have much to say.
She is a breath behind me as I exit the
short square black wrought iron gate.
She says: ‘I’m just putting out the rubbish.’
I look back at her. Is she talking
The Yarra River bends my rolls royce and me
to Hawthorn. Picture me in my bed
penetrating white sheets, I am in love and
imagine her. Imagine now, a decade of love
and torment set to burst on the scene.
SCULPTURE OF IDEAL (Lynne)
A sculptress deciphers white from true white
in a rough-hewn limestone block.
With fall of fragments, a bulbous woman
disrobes. Gauguin hips.
Surfeited on lime and stone. A rock eater,
healthy and brimming with whiteness,
voluptuously between Blue Gums,
within hands reach of tools
to smooth her hair. Contrasts
with her maker -
This other side of art
has absorbed the
grief of stone, rises
under the weight of falling men.
Life is an accumulation of deaths.
Bodies enter and leave this untimely world.
The dog’s body is covered by sea,
he wiggles towards the bottom
hardened by salt.
My hands break the water
to retrieve his breath, and the sun
educates his skin, for him
to shake off his death
and chase his tail.
dog leaps through
the damaged window of home,
ring of broken glass
that comes with another whiff of after-life,
his concentrated dream
to a ring of green pellets
beneath the neighbourhood rose
and its carapaces of snails.
He eats the poison
and flings himself back through the glass,
into this last house
that protects him from stars, his face
flinching on one side,
a throat given to tiny vowels -
running out of living
northern walls telling Fenton to straighten up,
the body unleashing itself
until the snails and the garden
and the stars shut down on us.
EAST GIPPSLAND OLD-GROWTH
Time timbers down on
these philosophers of ranges.
Trunks lie stacked in sawmill yards
bark sheared from their backs.
Leaves download light in coupes
where money grows on trees.
In the canopy country
turn grey and forlorn.
These are no longer kingdoms
that renovate and furnish gullies
or reshape horizons.
This is the fallen country.
Land without heirloom
lies listless and god-lost,
void of real life,
drained of essence.
of conglomerate deceit, of
electronic new age lies, smiles
crashed Vishnu and falling seas,
spools of men and women dying
polished factory floors,
commission flats posted to the skies.
Those end-looks, harsh endings
of imagination, nerve touchy.
Least thoughts on an expanding concourse.
Life’s mixture dulled to spume.
Insuperable engineering of emptiness.
GETTING YOU INTO MY STAR SYSTEM
Blackberry hair branching out
across the lands,
she’s falling from a star
with only a compass of bones
to determine which way.
She lands at my feet.
‘I want to make physical contact with you,’ she
says, touching my forearm.
She documents her discovery
rising like water about my waist,
rocking gently at my sides
till darkness comes.
Black rings inexplicably withhold light.
I walk with her
through blocks of buildings and books
before the sun sets on Brunswick Street,
stalking her doorway to doorway
to clarify the dimensions of her world,
strange to me.
She is anointed princess of the poetry scene.
Her sycophantic new earthling friends
tell her to be wary of bastard men.
She looks at me with her eyes turned on.
She speaks of flower essences and of karma,
and the passage of birds whose names exist in
intergalactic books, and of pages of the day
turning over, and of her star dogs
diving at airborne Big Bang
Critics creep the atmosphere outside,
to jam her star, me, us.
She’s from a galaxy called STOP!
On the beach at Somers the sky light cracks
the waves. We run for cover as it starts to spit.
I confess. ‘I want to love you forever.’
She offers me affinity instead of infinity.
Sea-birds disembark the sea
leaving an impression of our absence
as she determines to take me on a voyage
into deep space
vacating Earth for the winter.
Great log of a rock,
bulging bloated football,
feet of stops,
of an animal,
damn the day
we became mates,
I can’t shut you
out of doors.
Tom bowler, party crasher
ramming my door.
Hold on, wombat, hold on,
I’m letting you in,
your dinner’s on its plate.
Friend for life.
Gum tree eyes that smile
like cracks of light,
I’m still repairing
the trellis you broke.
Good old wombat
with a distaste for the bush,
rock of a log,
I’m coming to your rescue.
PINK HEART OF STONE
The stone is pink,
its interior is crystal.
of matter different from our own.
I was introduced
to the pink heart-shaped stone
through my car door window,
gifted it by the other.
She asked me to touch
My face was reddened by her sight.
flat as a punctured tyre.
I was a non-believer,
but I relented and did as the woman said,
and felt the stone.
I returned to inside her house.
A little rectangle
in a black and tan coat.
Suddenly its sides unlock
to reveal speed.
The rectangle comes to a stop,
parks its muzzle on my shoulder,
it eyes knowing
the expense of emotion
that kennels human kind.
LETTER TO A COUNTERFEITER
(Long Bay Prison)
The light would be unbearable
forfeiting a generation of skin,
with peeled paint
steering your convoluted mind.
So far to the sea
that bangs the eardrums.
Eventually you’ll overtake the corridors,
to once again pedal the rocky seas
beyond the sandstone walls;
out into the years of light
manic over lost projections,
I remember you arched on the edge
a river mirror,
your wet hair chanting to Vishnu,
with the refracted sunlight
that higher powers are really bent,
that India is the cock of the world.
You returned home
rejoicing in theories of the Big Bang.
Such was your artifice,
to make psychic shifts:
stolen bicycles manifesting in hallways
of your several addresses.
The prison walls
tunneled with little squares of light
shape the air.
When you get out we’ll have a drink -
even if it’s no longer
to pedal along the edge of society
veering towards vast truths.
DEATH STORED IN A HANDKERCHIEF
He had made his choice.
trees are a dark blue.
The moon full of views,
sealed windows of flats.
I compare different walls,
knowing I must confront
a single window with
an unfriendly view.
Leaves glint metallically.
I am holding a hammer in my hand
to break the view.
The window has always been locked,
he never let in air;
now I must shatter it
I approach his bloated body
lying naked on a sheet of moonlight.
The body is restless;
it is riddled with maggots
kept warm by his electric blanket
foolishly left on.
I pull out my handkerchief
the stench of death is stored in it.
‘He tried to rape
she said to him, who said to her,
‘Fucks his children,’
he said to
her, who said to him,
who said to her,
talking in shafted
eyes photographing bedroom walls,
suck on strawberry nipples
while sipping champagne.
‘Did you hear that!
He’s into pornography, abuse
of women, misogyny,’
who said to him,
whispering in the gallery.
Phony new agers
to victims of abuse,
or twisted shadows
groping along walls,
spying and despising
the balance in others.
And then she said to him, who said to her,
who said to him.
suck on strawberry nipples,
Who’s that peeping through the windows?
It’s Johnny and Jess,
Susan, Louisa and Pam,
Lyn and Bill,
strike back with baseball bats,
ROYAL PARK (1993)
We enter Royal Park
with otherworldly dogs
Binda, Kindi, Fenton,
stalkers, misogynists, psychos
and (my) superficial truths.
Stars give birth to the night.
The giant park to ourselves,
we interweave our aloneness,
wrestle over a spread of grass.
Whenever too much space intervenes,
your brown eyes with rings of green
topple on me.
Out of the oil slicks
of Texas talk
a world policeman
his first steps.
Orphaned of imagination,
towering iron bones
that rust when the oil shuts down,
long head above
the curved millions who queue
of his marathon,
soporific beneath the moon.
Out of the swamp
he has come, with wife
carrying his cow-hide
satchel of American dreams.
He had studied Brave New World
essayed on it at school
with thirty other pupils.
He proclaims a New World Order.
His vision kills worlds.
My neck’s just shot out of my shirt
didn’t even wait
for my top button to undo
popped out for no reason.
no food for my mouth,
no shaving blades and cream.
My feet wriggle impatiently,
long nails set sail
out of my toes
and anchor in the harbour
of my shoes.
But my rebel neck holds court,
nodding my oily head
to the left and to the right;
the bulk of my body
My heart shrieks,
‘Shoot the assassin in the head!’
Sanctions begin to gnaw.
Thousands of black haired warriors
pour ferociously out of my neck.
The dome in my throat
my forehead sweats,
but my neck refuses to concede.
It likes being two metres tall.
a coalition of my body
is the only remedy.
My foot passes my hand
a long silver fish-shaped
takes it from my right
and raises it to my neck.
The blade travels
across the jugular vein.
A thousand ribbons of blood
rain enough to fill a bath.
Sails, streamers, men overboard,
ships passing and sinking,
clouds knocking together
like varieties of hats,
lanterns holding fire,
waves compressing together
shanties to fists of the crew
knuckling in small breaths,
fish eyes colliding and winking,
rolling on timber
splashed with jacks.
My eyes reside in their sockets.
I will not be distracted.
I will not alter course.
Birds flaunting their wings overhead,
balloons rafting the sky,
waves falling like sea-horses,
lips shuddering on a red horizon,
voices anchored amongst rocks.
My head thunders
in the opposite direction.
I resist all waves.
ears point east and west.
My nose faces north.
following the tense curve of my nose.
(Inspired by John Perceval’s painting –
‘Ships at Williamstown’)
THE MOTHER, A LITTLE GIRL AND
Hills bend the earth about her
in this garden of restraint, furrowing
to her National Trust protected
house, and behind
the four panel door
she keeps their little girl
She smokes through a black rose
smothering the trinket heart and days
twist through her garden beds, water draining
away into sky.
Canterbury Bells peal on their stems
as she runs beneath the arch of their child,
pulling the door shut;
bells ringing in her head.
Windows close like thickening glass
on a little girl’s vanishing
into a chest of drawers.
The house is
a fortress; hate
from its parental verticals.
The Father waits
for his daughter,
until police come.
A straight breeze blows down the country street;
blue and red domes sit on top of a divisional van
without the glow.
Its tyres half on the footpath, half on the road.
The Father is told to get out of the car/to show
ID/to give a reason for being in Castlemaine/to
get out of town/he gets booked for not notifying
change of address on his licence.
His girlfriend is sitting in her EH Holden
Station Wagon with SA number plates; Coral gives
a false address behind her dark sunglasses.
‘Maybe you should leave town,’ he tells the
be back when the sun sets.’
dinner time the Father cruises past the house.
It is sealed like a mausoleum.
The divy van is crawling up the hill,
coming at him from the opposite direction,
the sun on its tail.
OF THE SAND
Where the ladies roll
down by the pier
messed in arrayed displays
of wanton gear,
laughing at the tilt
of bearded skies,
becoming the breasts of waves -
Where the ladies climb
up on the coral of flesh
drip on the sand,
dreams into beds
of fishermen’s needs
around the stems of waves -
Where the ladies waste,
and age makes waves
lines weaken the anchors of men
and lessen the pitch of love
till the ladies leave
and newer ladies roll in.
THIS SIDE OF THE LAKE
The lake smoothes in
on the shore, the lip of water
polishing a man who now lies
beside me dead,
his crinkled black
the blood spot to his brain.
A rifle lies beside him
away from his corpse,
the edge of the lake kisses its butt.
There is death
on this side of the lake.
I see this man one more time,
his body being hosed down
on a trolley in the mortuary.
I have been asked to identify him.
Bullet shells of my eyes
at the vacancy before me.
SILENCING A HIT MAN
You are a factory of nerves
peering over your shoulder
between street lamps and the moon.
Hit from behind,
your head is a picket fence.
You stagger to your room.
Memories flush red on the pillow.
number is up.
Pain stops the clock.
The time has come
for you to stand in a lineup
before the murdered dead.
WORDWARD INTO NIGHT
Nearing his full stop,
Ezra Pound whimpers a truth -
"You’d have to be insane
to be a book
in a place like America."
BRICK THROUGH THE WINDOW
Well hello baby,
I didn’t expect that red brick
to arrive like it did
straight through the eye of my house
and as I blinked
I saw an aqua tail gate
speed off down the leafy street.
Darling, it couldn’t have been you,
you were at your place
and in about the time it would take
for you to return home
my telephone rings,
a reminder call to say
you love me passionately.
I tell you not to worry,
I’ll catch the prick.
“They’re all out to get me,
but don’t worry baby
that’s their world.
It could have been a past lover
or some vindictive policeman.”
The second time is different.
She is standing outside the window
in the upturned garden where we
had laid trails of arguments,
her black skull screaming of poison,
her small fists rattling the glass.
Behind the smudged square transparent pane
the speckle of red under her eye.
I am standing in the emotional landscape
of my own glass interior,
transparent and fallible.
Out of the darkness
I cannot avoid the shuddering of her spirit
blackening down on me
in the wetness of our chimney shape
I follow her outside
as I have so often done during our cycles
but she keeps coming at the window
with all her emotion.
SEA OF LOVE
I grapple with you
in the questioning sea,
your eyes an illumination
of love, loops of purity
pressing me to hold on.
The coastline of your body
shimmers that I should come
to rest between your thighs.
Questions rise and fall again
to toss you back into the sea.
A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE
How decisive of you
to move between sheets
your face like a photograph
by my body
in the dark.
Then up you get
and bounce across the room
to bring me more wine.
‘Recidivist destined to spoil!’
I know you’ll just fall
back into my broken arms
with more tendons than ever
and rub the sheets
on my toes.
‘Till they turn brilliant white!’
How silly of you
think that you could extract
yourself from my
that walks the stars.
I am your woman,
the reason you now stand
so erect and florid.
‘I like your nice smile!’
LACK OF CONFIDENCE
I stop thinking
and then start again;
this is a mistake.
I start thinking
and then stop again;
Thoughts line up
I change my mind.
worked on me
I had nothing
so I had
to work on.
You do and you don’t
you don’t and you do
walk between the trees,
part plates from greasy water,
stroke the lines on my face.
You will and you won’t
you won’t and you will
stay at my place,
walk with me on water
as we fall like plates.
Turning a blind eye to fate
truth hesitates to go,
we finger the dark
but we do and we don’t.
Before you departed
to scratch the sky
i lingered about you
a heartbeat to your heart
but i would and i wouldn’t.
And here you are again,
in my arms and out, and
cruelly i push you against
the wall, but you won’t.
We are full of will.
FEMALE CIRCUS TRAINER
It’s you (again)
ringing like a telephone
your voice hurtling along the tightrope.
How do you say it? ‘Hello.
How do you manage all those phone calls
0 in vegan wear?
denouncing other women as slags
your crooked fingers molesting
the rings of their cunts.
But not that unusual.
For your next feat you say,
you’re gonna ram
a broken beer bottle up my arse.
You’ve organised for your male tenant
to migrate to a big tent in the lounge room,
sleep with the obedience dogs for reduced rent,
and shift another sad male clown
into his bedroom to get more rent.
You are the circus trainer.
burning your sisters at the stakes
nipping off their nipples
their floppy flaps and their fat bums
or bony cheeks.
ringing like a doorbell
your black bra beating against my door
your own cunt ready to slide mammal-wise
right across my body.
It’s that voice (again)
spiritual and reflective of pain.
FLESH OFF THE BONE
I have learned
to live alone
of the bone.
to tend my affairs
no roof of ice
Feel a little rain
slither on a leaf.
bones step out.
There are no lovers
only the wind
between my ribs.
The way home
is long and tedious.
Hard for bones
on a sheet.
REGRETS OF A MISOGYNIST
When you said good-bye
you gave me your photograph.
Shot at, pushed down, punched up,
pointed, squeezed and slotted, brought
down, lifted up, locked down.
When you kissed me good-bye
your lips stopped trembling.
Beaten up, lassoed, breasts whipped,
face slapped, head washed, nose pinched,
spaded, buried like-a-bone.
The days now live without you
as I dig up my errors and mistakes.
Eyes withdrawn, stomach stuffed,
house shut, closed off, moved along,
criss-crossed, crossed out.
A COP’S DOUBLE LIFE
He manages to cross thresholds
as if people
are made of plasticine.
He thinks he’s clever.
It’s an art to be simultaneously
accurate and inaccurate.
On one side of the sliding door
a decadent darkness pervades:
a collection of haunted unkempt men,
& women who will dive for their drugs.
The dim light nourishes lyrical illusions.
Through the hotel’s sliding door
he enters Coppers Corner speeches,
censors his words.
Light illuminates from a whiteness overhead,
wiping reality with an intoxicating police
He boasts a double life at Stewarts Hotel.
The trick becomes impossible
after too much to drink;
a broken glass, smashing a hole in a door.
Another night off his head and again
two conflicting realities unite,
neither room welcoming him.
I am made up of many layers.
There are these four walls
about me that form a fortress
for my intelligence.
could be constructed of light.
If you move a little closer
you will notice my apparel,
hues of blue. Buried in uniform,
I am a walking sky
in which my body broods.
Undo some buttons.
You have arrived at a dead-end,
the wall of my flesh
where the sea, the sweat and the sky
I shall give you access.
Beneath the first layer
is a little bit of
ego, sadness and felicity
Let us go
straight to the core,
a whole lot of ideas
awaiting some violent resolution
that will enhance my powers.
I am the opposite
of my own self,
of unresolved attitudes.
fold the strips back,
tuck the sky
of my police shirt
back underneath my chin
so that I appear decent,
and let’s restart the interview.
State your full name, address and date of birth.
wheel was beyond the rigid grid of
police life/ bit psychic/ took you right into his
head where it’s hard to plan your escape/ but it
appeared he’d lost his nerve like cops do/
whose glory days are waning and find solace
in the gym/ with children peering on/ one day
they say he just pulled the pin/ some say he’s
locked up in hills Bairnsdale way/ and
everyone’s out of his mind/ watches native
flashing wings light up the bush around
him at dusk
their speeding is self-preservation nothing else/
and that the
spent shells of gum trees means
re-growth/ a crim reckoned once that wheels
sat on his double bed/ shared a joint/ tried to
talk him out of death but he also wanted
would say nothing/ but somehow he felt
touched/ wheels never painted the crim into
the wall but could have/ you could trust him if
there was something going on/ when you could
find him/ but he wasn’t like most cops/ writing
or out of the divy van
pissing on with licensees
at the back of hotels/
or screwing single mums/ and separated dads/
the housing commission flats/ we all knew
what was going on/ carlton cops could never
keep secrets/ there was a senior constable/
always drunk/ every week tell
you how he manslaughtered someone during
an interview/ but never got charged/ once
I read wheels name on the front page of the
sun/ asked what was the breakthrough/ just
said meticulously it was intuition/ probably
thought he was having a
joke/ sergeant john wheel the loner/ tracked
down/ the young constable with the broken
heart driving north non-stop/ across the border
chasin’ this poet coral when he
was supposed to be on watch-house/ wheels
brought him back for his own good/that one
amused us/ I used to drink with him a bit/ talk
in general terms/ at stewarts hotel/ across from
the cop shop/ where cops used to mix back
then/ seeking solace from criminals, disbarred
solicitors, junkies, civil libertarians and other
the cops had personally charged
you could catch
wheels in the slide lounge with
johnny autopsies/ hisinformers/ the points of
his eyes would tell you not to walk in/ one day
he said to me he was transferring/ said ‘it’s a
promotion & premonition’/ he said/ ‘you’ve got
to have more than one
reason for doing things
more than one motive
otherwise you go down’/
chewing his cigarette end/ wired up in stripes
and government supplied shoes/ ended up on
one of those/ victoria police protection schemes/
doing time/ he hadn’t turned crooked/ there
was a contract
out on him/ even the hat felt pity/ ‘one of the
few cops not frightened to overstep the mark’/
he said/ ‘but that put an end to
reckon it was the sunny dancer took him down/
talking about johnny wheel with an old crony
the other night/ he reminisced/ ‘you don’t call it
burning out/ you call it fuckin’ history’/ then he
told me/ with those words it was my fuckin’
shout/ you still appreciate/ colourful language
AN END (MURDERED)
you have a brother?
Do you have a brother Tim?’
didn’t want to give Tim up.
I asked the Homicide Squad, ‘Why?’
‘He’s dead. Dead. Killed last night.’
I felt the edges of my being
shot at and stabbed in the chest,
give way after so many years
of impotent observations and lies.
An illusion spanned through time,
from black haired follies in the yard
to the whip
of your Father’s suit and tie.
You could not resist
the soft caress of smack,
wheeling in money and lies.
A harness for your new suit and tie.
Money on the table,
powder on the floor,
the haughty laugh of success,
youth in a darkened recess.