Monday, April 1, 2013

Volume 1, No. 2, Autumn 2013

Leaves Literary Journal

Volume 1, No. 2, Autumn 2013


Anna Fern
Stu Hatton
Stuart Barnes
Iain Britton
Phillip A. Ellis
Paul Fearne
Alice Melike Ulgezer
Les Wicks

Anna Fern

Anna Fern

in my chest
a grass tick buried deep

cheap motel room
smoke alarm chirps
halfway there

dawn chorus
kookaburras chuckle and laugh
my insomnia

driving home from hospital visit
his health improving
an L-plater bunny hops


urgent proofreading job
across the pages he sprawls

my velvet tin roof drummer
bounces to his own tune
purrs to the moon

spring shower
baby blackbirds hop on the lawn
cat sleeps inside

cleaning out the freezer
my dead cat’s kangaroo mince
rissoles and tears

Stu Hatton


Sweat behind the knees; craving the shade that never finds us. When the only way out of a desert is to sit with it awhile. Thought we saw the bird flying but in fact it was grounded, lifeless. Drinking perspiration from a shirt. Deep in the desert, a bridge over sand … for what purpose? Scarves failing to filter dust from our lungs. Rubbing eyes with sand-fingers. We travel at night where possible.

after reverdy

for Paul

these are false portals
            through which nothing leaves

& what is the endless wall?
            what is the heavy house that sleeps?

a seedsman’s garden

            overcrowding of seeds, rose dust

if hope has no object, what are seedlings?

            the garden birds’ wings too short for the task


Knowing there would be some way to continue. So many forms of breathing (breath-forms), the many stations of the breath. Breath spiral.

Bonding in the spiraling. Breathing changes what happens. Confidence in uniqueness. Trying to find out what the words want. The breathwork.

And then you know you’re in the detail; glints of the not-yet settle. Let the breath itself do the breathing. A house of breath is not a building. Countless forms of yes; yes-forms.

Time may enter or be entered … as flows. Tending toward multiplicity, multiple vectors, multiple persons. Two people will breathe this differently. A close reading of breath … a close dissolving.

Unbounded breath; no beginning, no endpoint of. No bounded system. Mind is part of the air. A home in yes, of flows … flows flow through flows.

Stuart Barnes

Stuart Barnes lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he writes & edits PASH capsule, a journal of contemporary love poetry. Poems are forthcoming in Southerly, blackmail press, sacred / profane, Mascara Literary Review, &Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry.

The Secret History,

your prized
soon became mine
(no other could’ve prised my twenty-first

fist). In a leather bar
that Frenchman’s
spiteful telling,
then the laughter—

The Bacchic shout awoke
A shoot entwined your throat

I grasped some antiquity’s

                      †… I have chosen Thebes as the first place
To raise my Bacchic shout, and clothe all who respond
In fawnskin habits, and put my thyrsus in their hands –
The weapon wreathed with ivy-shoots –

—Euripides, The Bacchae, translated by Philip Vellacott, Penguin Books, 1973

Iain Britton

paper-orange philosophy   

first in queue

       you open the door

to the girl with the greenstone



    where one’s beliefs change every day

                       where prayers become power points

                       items of possession

                       healers of hurt

your conversation with her

is predictably about tomorrow

the colour of the fountain

the sunset’s haemorrhaging

couples tucked into whispering

         you approach her softly / by the lake /

                      at the water’s edge

you enter

the prizegiving ceremonies
of her survival - her reliance on walking
through gates / the opening and shutting / each different
each for a particular reason - a walk on the wild side
through panoramas paddocks cities through invisible people

            your friendship with her

                   stops at the lake

        her journey is one of many phases

       here today /       then gone


                  in the next breath

and orange kites

              criss-cross valleys in the sky

she leaves your house every day

follows the path past motels cottages volcanic stones
boats fishermen rivers the living and the dead confessing

she’s there for you for the morning
                               for the evening
                               for meals /           she’s there

because the newspapers say so
because she’s become the main feature /      because

her survival is fixed

on the rose bush
the palm tree
the rows of perennials
your shirts
pegged on the clothes-line                                                                       

she lives on the wild side

          in a town

                which lives on sulphur

                    the tribal directions of a family

               which eats with ghosts

         beds down with ghosts

                        she starts each day

as if things

were pushing her towards the lake

          the galileen waters
          wash her feet
          rainbows beget rainbows
          orange kites grin
          loose pumice
          nudges albino hedge-
          hogs onto the beach

she can’t be ignored

            until all that’s ephemeral

                    is suddenly locked up

       for the night

Phillip A. Ellis

Phillip A. Ellis is a freelance critic, poet and scholar. His chapbooks, The Flayed Man and Symptoms Positive and Negative, are available. He is working on a collection for Diminuendo Press. Another has been accepted by Hippocampus Press. He is the editor of Melaleuca. His website is at

The Battle Continues

The war is not over. We continue to fight,
find ourselves wearied, worn down.
The piano plays in a bar, where we find ourselves
as we listen to the sob and clubbing of gunfire,
and we wonder, wrapping thoughts around truth,
like the hands we wrap around our glasses,
whether it was worth it, this endless fight,
whether it was worth brutal force.

We ask who will win the war, and do not say
what we imagine to be the truth,
for it does not take the brave to stay alive
when we would rather be the cowards that we are,
finding a haven in a place
made of 1s and 0s, where we can no longer be weary.

Paul Fearne

Paul Fearne

A thousand

I never thought
that sunlight
would be so thick
as to drown the evening
in its own restless clawing

there are chances
and bright stars
that the daylight cannot hide
there are songs
that take the breathing of dreams
to let wander over sea shells

a corner
in a room
that a thousand children have been taught in
in that corner
a thousand tears have been shed
and each tear
upon hitting the floor
has given birth to a thousand dreams
a thousand new cities
a thousand works of art
untold marriages
and untold books

and when the tears have dried
and the cities have turned to dust
the art picked by wingless time
the marriages gone to a thousand generations
and the books to mere ideas
I will sing a new song
and it will be more lovely
than our hopes could bare
and it will be for you
and our children
and the wishing of the sun

The beauty of love

love and all it brings
hope and all that it lets us wish

when we find that special someone
we open our hearts
and our souls
and everything we thought was hidden
but when it comes to that missing heart beat
there is nothing like love
to bind the gap back together

we never know
what it truly means to love
until we have been there
and then
when the sand of the hourglass
no longer falls
here we find ourselves
through the mist
and into the arms of the other

but when we can no  longer feel life’s pulse
here love is
and bending us
to that deeper part of ourselves
that is not for touching
but for yearning
and all that comes to pass

when we look into the eyes of the beloved
here we find that something special
that we cannot describe
only hint at
when the dawn is at its most precious height
and the sparrow is at its nest
and feeding its young

but we must not be surprised at this
for when all the poets have had their say
and all the bards have sung their songs
there is something more that sweeps us away
and that is the strength we find
in the arms of the beloved
and dance which is love

I can only say one thing more
and that is
when we are through with everything about life
we return once again
to that centre
which is where love is
it holds us
breaks us
and transports us
to where we want to go
(and that is everywhere
and everything
and all that cannot be touched
by any hand of winter
or any lap of any wave
        on the hearth
              which is the beauty of love)

What we have always wanted

a sense
that we all have
that the daylight is a thief
as the time between moments
is what the scorching of the sun will take

and when we are through
I will have it all
and then
when the dance is done
and nothing can escape us
there will be a foraging
in the oldest places
we will find ancient manuscripts
and know them to be new
and then
when the darkness has left us without sight
I will forge a new path to the sea
            and we will come to know
                   what we have always wanted

Alice Melike Ulgezer

Alice Melike Ulgezer is an author, poet and sometimes musician. Her first novel, The Memory of Salt is published with Giramondo.
She is inspired by her love of mysticism and the desert and is based in Melbourne where she's working on her second novel.

Tree Climb

Boasting dexterity of limbs
I climbed higher
through overgrown green shadows
reaching for apples
 - displaced in some mossy Oak Eden –

Feeling your keen eye
Sluice through the light
I turned to face you.

White cotton,
The shade of a panama,
And the conversations of well travelled hands.

Then the assiduous descent;
limb by limb -
without the fruit.

And all this just to reach you
Your chest a cage full of birds,
Your breath on my ear,
As you utter;
Tel Aviv.

Down From The Mountain

You came before dawn
And sat across from me in the kitchen,
Your hand a distraction of desire.
You told me that we all create our essence,
Then asked me about the man who had fallen in love.

But all I could tell you was, in my end is my beginning.

I didn’t tell you that I have been trying to decipher old stones,
To count the alphabets of hands,
To mix wind with wanting,
Blood with bread, grief with rain
                            Or that seven is green and eleven is most certainly yellow.

I didn’t tell you of the chance semiotics of an unbound silence,
The sugar trace of owls in the heat and dust of the desert,
About the trees of my grandmother's street, or the milk
That dripped from the breast of a spirit woman, to suckle you baby.

I didn’t tell you that nothing compares to the mad laughter of nines,
About making love in the grace of chance crossings,
Of endless, uncreated text.

I didn’t tell you that sometimes
It takes all day to understand what color I am,
That I know you drink wine secretly in the Mosques
And, that I know who you are, an exile in the garden of spirits you don’t believe in, playing dice with the stars.

Or that ever since you told me you would meet me,
I have been here, at this station,
Sitting on my suitcase for the first time,
No longer carrying it around on my head.

And that in waiting some thousand years or so,
I have learnt to sleep here too
And have finally remembered the words of my father,
A revolutionary who could never bring himself to pull the trigger,

He said; “Come down from the mountain,
Leave a hundred seeds for the peacocks
Say your salams to all the prophets
And plant a rose bush over my grave.”

Baby Bird

Baby Bird
Hidden in the skirts of the mountain
Outside time counts to ten.

"Why is it that no matter the promises, you still haven't met me,
Here where I have been waiting
Hidden like a ruby in the mountain outside time?

Can you imagine the years it takes, setting out early one endless morning,
To go beyond the birds who didn’t make it
- scattered up the beach all torn ink and feather -
Beyond the gauze of land and beyond the years it takes,
Setting out early one endless morning to reach you?"

The soul of the rock hums the first sex of the earth;
Fistfuls of apparitions, the rapture of resistance,
The bond of salt,
Water remembers light.

Iron hums its favorite old story;

The first sex of minerals, the lust of magnets,
The desperate energy in their clamped coupling,
Cobalt contractions and heat,
Light remembers wings.

Ion hums a tightly bound knuckle of secrets;
The turning hymns of salt and light,
The centre of the soul of the rock,
The first time.

Baby Bird, thirsty for the text of water,
Sharpens her beak on the page of the rock, clears her throat and sings,
"Read the rock for me Ion! Read the rock!"

Ion, in the soul of the rock, humming the secret sex of the earth,
Says that iron remembers the first time,
The years it takes to reach beyond the edge of the blue.
And the hymns of the myth of water,

Her being subject to gravity, her intoxication in the fall,
Her surrender to space as she passes over,
Her endless transmigrations.

The memory of her, says Ion, is Heat
And Heat, says Ion, is the big remembering.

The rock takes nothing, the water passes over.
Water remembers Ion humming in the soul of the rock,
Iron humming in the soul of Baby Bird.
Rock doesn’t have any reason.
Doesn’t want for anything,
Doesn't search for anything.

Baby Bird thirsty for the page of water,
Lowers her beak to the rock and sings,
"Read the rock for me Ion! Read the rock!"

Listen! Can you hear iron humming the secret sex of the earth, of magnets and mercury, copper tin and the keen steel kiss of the memory of heat - of looking up, of moving from tree to tree?

And can you imagine the years it takes, setting out early one endless morning
To go beyond the gauze of land, beyond the birds who didn’t make it-
The rape of an alphabet scattered up the beach all torn ink and feather-
And beyond the years it takes, setting out early one endless morning to reach you?”

"Yes, yes! But read the rock for me Ion! Read the rock!"

Listen! The rock remembers heat in fistfuls of minerals,
Iron cleaves to mud, mud to the intricate clay of the soul,
To the years it takes to reach you or sand to desire, glass to mirrors, mirrors to stones.
Baby Bird, I was all the time alone, travelling in that big remembering.
Humming in the iron of the soul of Baby Bird,
Ion remembers water bound tightly as a knuckle of secrets,
Turning in the centre of salt and light.

Baby Bird asks the rock,
"Did you ever write my name on a slip of paper
And slide it under your pillow at night?"

Memory of water in the soul of the rock speaks,
You forgot, that I have been waiting for you,
A hidden-turning in the iron-salt-light of this water,
Of her endless incarnations, listening as she passes over.

Baby Bird lowers her head to the rock,
"To touch you is to remember that language.
To remember is to grind seeds to make color,
Sand to make a mirror, mirror to make a stone.
Ion! Rock of my heart! Listen to the humming of iron in the soul of this water
As it tells itself its favorite old story! As it tells me its favorite old story!"

The sex of the still earth - a hymn in the soul of Ion -
Doesn’t want for anything, doesn’t search for anything.
The rock takes nothing, the water passes over
And listen, Baby Bird, hidden like a ruby
In the mountain outside time
Counts to ten