Liam Ferney is a former poetry editor of Australian online magazine, Cordite. His first collection Popular Mechanics was published by Interactive Press in 2005. He lives in Brisbane, Queensland.
Apparently Singapore is an island.
At the expat bakery
desperate for a macchiato.
It has been years since mangoes
& I wonder if too much rice
leads to forsaken cereal
while Obama wins a primary & Rudd says sorry.
The days between dispatches
have grown long & I can’t
gurney the dust from my knees.
& the noise from next door,
as unlikely as it seems,
a muezzin’s call to morning prayers.
Portraits of Famous People
“Even when the subject is different,
people paint the same painting.”
It was supposed to have been a gift. When she asked for it back he had turned to stand in the doorway, as elegant as an apartment block. As rugged as William Holden he held secrets like trump cards. There was a right time for martinis but that had passed. “You were always going to leave,” she said. As wistfully as an unbeliever’s incantation. And he looked beyond the Bugatti appliances, out towards the balcony. This city was no grid. The characters: just imagined. And when the hour passed it disappeared. A click, indistinct from the 3600 that had proceeded it.
Houses of Neglect
A door ajar, the louvered window
through to a retreating brown roof,
the tips of the gums fingerpoking
into the oil paint perfect blue sky.
To win at this game you’ve got to lose;
every jazz man propping up a bar
scatting along with Trane about the one
that got away attests to this.
The problem is familiarity,
slipping in and out
of it’s private school uniform
forgetting that every star
is for someone a setting sun.
To avoid didacticism and melodrama
you play like a politician and keep it obtuse
not letting on, you still don’t understand
what it was you did
to leave everything as busted as a Nissan Pulsar
the colour of curdled milk, weeds pushing
through the floor in late summer humidity
like oil in a Texas dirtbowl.
The neighborhood cottoning on
and the parts start to disappear,
first the radio, then the battery, the alternator
some hoon strips the tyres before
the last cheeky monkey flogs the engine.