TEXT poetry


Marcelle Freiman

2 poems




Greek olives taste
intense as salt crust around a dry lake,

edge-of-the-tongue words
want nothing but to carve

the face on which not even love
nor the losing of love

nor the bite of a sensual afternoon 
will salve the bitter line, the sting on the tongue:

rather than wrestling for words, were I
to paint this table with brush in this hand,

I wonder, would your absence fold over
and move a more tangible language

for a throat hard-wired,
a bow-string wanting

mouthfuls of clear water
in dry cicada strip of afternoon?




Like spaces between poems,
cracked concrete yards between buildings,
where weeds grow, are pitching for sunlight:

words creep
like rats, they scuttle the bins
and bottles of the night –

the back-lanes, if you go there
are sometimes soft as closed eyelids, blind faced
houses turned to the street: in the unlit night

the screeching of anarchic cats, a child crying,
a voice from somewhere could be of pleasure
or anguish. At dawn, exhausted fences lean inwards,

over palings where fruit-tree branches hang, dry
thick-skinned lemons, sun-hardened, bird-picked.
Wind gusts drift papers and grit into corners.

On a back step, a pot of scarlet
bougainvillea – the pavement gives way
to soft purple flowers of clover

their intimacy
of a naked inner wrist exposed
by a dressing-gown sleeve pushed

back from wet soapsuds in a sink:
back in alleys there’s a thrumming, like heartbeats –
it thuds and blossoms and roars.



Marcelle Freiman is Associate Professor in English and Creative Writing at Macquarie University and, as past Chair of AAWP, a member of the AAWP Advisory Board. Her current research interests include: creative writing and cognition, ekphrasis, poetry and post-colonial literatures. She has published articles in TEXT and New Writing: The International Journal of Creative Writing, and contributed chapters to Creative Writing: Theory Beyond Practice (eds Brady & Krauth) and The Cambridge Companion to the Sonnet (eds Cousins & Howarth). Her poetry book publications are Monkey’s Wedding (1995) and White Lines (Vertical) (2010) and she has published numerous poems in literary journals including Antipodes, Southerly, Westerly, Mascara Literary Journal, Cordite and Meniscus.


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Vol 21 No 1 April 2017
General Editor: Nigel Krauth. Editors: Kevin Brophy, Enza Gandolfo & Julienne van Loon
Creative Works Editor: Anthony Lawrence