from issue #1: Poetry by Chris Oakey

Photo by mdaines @ Flickr (CC)




Know that I am made of you
though it is cold, and
here with me an absent
snow sheets my bed in

queer smoothness. I need you
near. Last winter we made a dash to the
lake and in the darkest ember of the
year the bed was always warm. Now I

shake. My bed shivers, and I
mistake your absence for the
sweep, the
flake, the

deep calm of your returning home to
keep me warm with your sweet, never mind.
Sleep betrays me.
Sleep opens to the cold.



Hands upon a hot rock thrust up slow. The volcanism of tender
lands and easy marshes, roughly handled by this and other ploughmen,
stands unmourned, blasted in the sweat of the sun. He

crawls, soft country heaves beneath him. Throws up
walls of unrepugnant need. I alone, and I, infertile soil. The sunlight
falls on the subtle fuzz, and drags the heat, it drags the heat away.


Tangled amongst the bare white sheets and
smooth warm hours. Let our thoughts crash, here,
she said, on this pillow, let our dreams rise
together and fall, in forgetful foam.

There is a smooth song now of hours yet to come
that arrives at the point of bliss, a
sad song then of pure separation, a siren song, blue
notes among strange rocks. I can never quite be you,

she said, in that happy moment, crying. And the warm
sun sets a tenor on the sea, pulls them apart, a harmony
of waves, lifted crushed joyfully in the petty shells, now tangled
like happy corpses on the tide, and pulls them back again.

The beauty

Ochre and red
pink (the light)
on black

rusting air
over charred
and crinkling surface

The beauty
hangs over

our heads.
The fire (of)

perfectly civilised.


A fourth poem by Chris Oakey, The Lonely Games, is presented in PDF to preserve its unique formatting.



CHRIS OAKEY studied communication at UTS, taking honours in Modernist fragment poetry. He is now a postgraduate researcher in poetics at the University of New South Wales, and is about to submit a Masters thesis on William Carlos Williams, Hilda Doolittle, and their poetic epistemologies. He has published poetry in some few small journals in Australia and overseas, most recently in the online journal Cordite. His poetic obsessions are American modernists, Russian Futurists, and Australian poets of many stripes. He spends a lot of time at the beach, on the rocks. To him the rhythm comes in waves.

© 2012 Chris Oakey; from Contrappasso Magazine #1, August 2012

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