Poems by Stuart Cooke

stratosphere song
sip vegas mocha do me
              in the slot parks star
my bucks white w/ saccharine gimme
              give me chorus / flying
              like ambulance
and cheap gifts / women verging
on pretty what we lose
              focus: what we lose thrives
on waste capital piles
              up / hotels spanking roads
              the old cancer aching
for credit capital p
pot & poets jiving
              on the freeways like comets
gobbling similes like sluts
              ugly heads & mutts
              glittering cancer / everyone’s hotter
lonely old tumours / couches
watching carpets
              pouring your elvis down slots
eating a canyon a skinny
              beach / crystal
ground to wave two
              bucks an hour / popcorn piss
type poems or a paunch
              an ugly old paunch say
limbs going yellow
              singing like an engine / shitting on desert
flashing red flabby
              cocks going goth going gimme
some quarters australia’s hottest
              men pasted on the sky i
bet i can get it back phone
the atm i bet i can get it back



Red Rock Syntax
petroglyphs talk
with a mineral’s
              salty polish, bulge
              of vanilla heart
pumping blood crust
while vulture scratches
              sentiment                                    the spurting line
              of reptile, darting
into summer’s stun (                                )
or late autumn gaze
or a cold night’s caress                  tracks
              of cavernous                                             crumbling fetid
              with a prickly pear’s wet
conclusions erode
the human
              the rest
              in dimensions of wind
a thoughtless throat each
burns late               exuberant lozenge
              electric sky
              slops and floods
geometry of spine
sun carved                       
into a skeletal renegade                       
              a chalky bat                   brittle
              limbs laced with an old spring’s
green sweat
then love            yelps                        hides
in sandbanks’ heaped nougat cries
              coyote, crisp as
              crying could be dingo’s                 blurred moon
(shade, foliage, then)
how w’s fragile stamen
              between the two black mandibles
of myth’s curious wings


Bold Lines Pushing Up
We were talking about magma pushing boldly out of the earth,
it was bursting through the trees, it bloomed for a while,
cooled to a clear line of mountain descending
like a cinnamon brush-stroke.
I was thinking: my life could be a drowning seed
and you are the waters of the ocean,
or you’re a spun cotton twister on the surface of the ocean,
an elemental song, ephemeral as dance.
Then: that particular kind of sadness,
a forest’s edge
struggling against a canyon’s stomach,
struggling into a conversation
loaded with consonants, slim wakes
of rocky smoke, hot wind’s creek
flooding daylight.
I was thinking of an open, or a sadness
becoming itself, still growing, still
without a body
(an expectation crying from the gulf)
(‘           ’ drowning in a void)
(now: headlights burn into my thoughts and I lose them).
I was thinking of how little I say, and of how much we say to one another:
the pace of an escarpment against a river;
a river threading between the forest and the night.
We say ‘forest’
but what we mean to say,
of the trees and their swaying black hole, is swept up in the wind.
What we say is windy as vowels.
As if this gets us anywhere.
I was searching for a beginning without you.
I’d wandered back to the canyon’s tawny yawning,
the waterfalls tumbling down silently
between its teeth.
You turned those waterfalls into icicles,
curtains of water frozen into spears
and thrown across the vast lungs of the ocean.
Then: chocolate rock. Then: late sky, glowing.
The breathing, the translucent, volcanic sap
which overwhelmed me like a surging wave, like an accord,
those intimate contours.
An icy crystal spinning quickly. A word.
An edge of light.
We always wrote of ‘late sky’
and ‘late summer’
as if, at their ends, the days and the seasons revealed themselves
or made clear their intentions,
as if we, like the terrible stretch of that great valley,
were frozen in search of silence.
I remember thinking: our saying its name protects us from it.
We spoke in order to begin,
rivets of wood and wind in the rock.
I pulled light’s soft blanket over us,
its leafy-wet membrane stained
by the booming capital of a continent.
Towers burst from the pampas and forests swarmed
while a mouth’s shallow soil
crumbled into murderous drops.
Our roots reached blindly,
wrenching into sharp crucifixes. They caught the ‘we,’
let it dangle fantastically
over the velocity of a dark-skinned trench.