2 poems by Alexandra Fraser

Alexandra Fraser is winner of the 2017 New Zealand Poetry Society International competition. She has published two collections of poetry, Star Trails (2019) and Conversations by Owl-light (2014) (Steele Roberts Aotearoa). Her work is also published in magazines and anthologies.

ENTANGLED

Are you no longer interested

in quantum physics you asked

scrambling for a point of conversation

after three days in hospital       frail

and running out of time

no Mother     not so much    I said

turning the telescope the other way

Neanderthals are more my thing now

There is a type of macular degeneration

where a fine membrane grows across the retina

and some things become obscure     distant

using a local anaesthetic they could

peel it away

but with no guaranteed improvement

It doesn’t hinder the sharpness of your view

or your judging eye

The hospice volunteer helps you write your memoir

there’s enough for three books here she raves

I’ve had the stories of your life all my life

and have tried to let them slide away

but they are heavy

You were always instructing me on the necessity

to enjoy nature      fresh air     walking

to have discussions about quantum physics

Your hearing aid batteries are flat

I don’t feel like shouting about entangled particles

or spooky action at a distance

The hospital doc cleared your blocked oesophagus

my attitude must have stuck in your throat

I was the wrong daughter     as I lay around

reading novels     poetry      daydreaming

It’s the big birthday next year

I will be in the shadow of your hundred tiny flames

TULIPS FOR MY BOYS

Hey Charles Bukowski

about your friendly advice to young men

if I may – some comments on your famous words

Sleep all day and climb trees at night sounds

typically teenage

they probably don’t need telling

Do a belly dance before pink candles

could be a laugh        could be a problem

Carve your name on her arm 

Honestly    what were you thinking?

But you did have one perfect line

Plant tulips in the rain

a metaphor for adolescence

The rain    the necessary rain 

tears    discomfort     nurture

that planting of potential    in hope

of the upright strength

the flamboyance of the grown man

(alas for those poor buried bulbs that lie

hidden in sodden ground a whole lifetime)

My boys        be the one who can

travel to Tibet but      chooses not to

Wear blue suede shoes    in irony

Camels are okay to ride but

it’s typical tourist stuff      instead

ride a horse     saddle or bareback

groom her

walk her in clover

pick out her hooves

jump gates for the flying exhilaration

of life

Don’t kill your dog

Be the one who writes poetry

with your every muscular action

your moving grace

your smile

your every soft word

Note: Written in response to Charles Bukowski’s ‘Friendly advice to a lot of young men’.

Now that you're here

The Blue Nib believes in the power of the written word, the well-structured sentence and the crafted poetic phrase. Since 2016 we have published, supported and promoted the work of both established and emerging voices in poetry, fiction, essay and journalism. Times are difficult for publishers, and The Blue Nib is no exception. It survives on subscription income only. If you also believe in the power of the written word, then please consider supporting The Blue Nib and our contributors by subscribing to either our print or digital issue.

On Astráil

An Astráil editor, Denise O’Hagan

An Astráil editor, Denise O'Hagan
An Astráil editor, Denise O'Hagan on the poets she selected for this issue.

Poetry by Moya Pacey

poetry by Moya Pacey
Moya Pacey co-edits the on-line journal, 'Not Very Quiet'

2 poems by Amanda McLeod

Amanda McLeod, Animal Behaviour
Amanda McLeod is a Canberra-based writer and artist. Her debut flash fiction, Animal Behaviour (Chaffinch Press, 2020), came out on July 3 2020.

Poetry by Eugen Bacon

Eugen Bacon’s work has won, been shortlisted, longlisted or commended in national and international awards, including the Bridport Prize, Copyright Agency Prize, Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, Australian Shadows Awards and Nommo Award for Speculative Fiction by Africans.
Eugen Bacon’s work has won, been shortlisted, longlisted or commended in national and international awards, including the Bridport Prize, Copyright Agency Prize, Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, Australian Shadows Awards and Nommo Award for Speculative Fiction by Africans.

2 poems by emerging poet Georgina Ashworth

2 poems by emerging poet Georgina Ashworth
Emerging poet Georgina Ashworth was winner of the ECU’s Talus Prize in the poetry category (2017), she was also the judging panel’s favourite for the Yarra Libraries Receipt Poetry Competition, as part of the Digital Writers Festival (2019).

Editor of An Astraíl, Denise O’Hagan selects poetry from new and established voices in Austrailia and New Zealand and is constantly searching for fresh and innovative voices in poetry from Ireland or The United Kingdom: Submit to An Astraíl.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Great riposte to Bukowski’s toxic masculinity – boys and men can be gentle, curious, loving and creative 💚

    ‘Entangled’ has a heavy quality to it – a sense of tired waiting. Echoes of the weighted stories and the demands of both being nurtured and being the nurturer.

  2. Someone said ‘everywhere I go a poet has been there before me’. So it is with you Sandra. Been there but only looked. With these beautiful words I can now see clearly beyond the outlines. Have both your books beside my bed and often dip into them for clarity and calm and wonder in my life.

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