New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

The poetry of Les Wicks

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The Walls About Samadhi


Freshly broken out from that shiny plane

I sink in a Delhi floral negligence.

Our cotton skins trap air like patient fishers

this place is on fire. We are calm, well-fed.


There are manners & lines,

bottled water passing spilt lives.

A terrible smile from beggary at the traffic lights,

we all look away as instructed. Avoid pain.


When we were both teenagers Robert started sitar lessons &

I thought I would fly. The rain fell instead on our dumb suburb.

A bulging passport now passes for knowledge

the stamps are proof I am not lost.


Take me away is my prayer for this day. 30 years ago a 16 year old

Jadav planted seeds on a 550 hectare desolate sandbar in Assam, he shames me

as elephants, tigers, rhinos now roam his daily tended forest sanctuary.

His people invented numbers & the light. I bend


with the inevitability of ants,

carry this small sack of thinking to the readings…

those hopeless carts of reputation.

Monkeys raid the city park rubbish,


they are the teachers, the excuse

on this mound of shopping. So polite –

we flee, embrace & falter

before the blinding glare of consequence.



Christmas & the Bicycle


An underrated tribe wishes you well.

The intricacies will curdle in the brain

so just scoop, this

record breaking summer but we’ve been there before.

On the intersection of Mi Mi St our bikes are immobilised

by a flowering gum. We wave to each other.

By Forest Rd the cars are howling like dogs

but it’s a kind of ritual, everyone

understands & ignores it…

less dire than other weapons

we elude mortality for today.


Global warmhearted, people have marked everything

but the courts won’t sit till February. Forgiveness

is beyond the budget so a pair of sweat absorbent socks

& a slip of mind is giftwrapped.


I have no problems with boats,

Jasmine does, after all, water ski.



Speculative Friction


Booking your holiday

3 dimensional online all included

puffer fish & chips… everything with alien egg.

We live in the future, science fictionalised.


You can speak into a microphone

& electricity will make you amplified in selfness.

We are rich in buttons & switches but

words are chucked in history.


Robots riot about democracy, all my friends

age against the machine. Tumble through wormholes

to worlds where birds rule (but have never been toilet trained).

Their pet humans scrape guano & prostrate.


Another planet has aquatic gas intelligence

but explorers only saw bubbles.

So much flatulence,

it’s almost like home.


Kepler-22 dresses like our lump, takes

to the sunshine, falls

within scientific parameters of life.

But does it have pools? Beaches? Bars?


The universe is a nail in the boffin –

so tiny, it sits on a finger

& spinning beyond the edge of our glass

spreads our heads like dynamite.


An atom will take us past galaxies.

We can travel in a blink. All around there’s the

teatowels of black holes, embroidered suns

& Cern is picking at the threads.


No doubt the future will arrive.

Gravity leaks into the 4th dimension,

our spaceships are already there,

hovering in the curl.


Back home in the dawn of now

I bend like the tiger lily

towards any slutty sunshine,

restless high on the sunlounge of promises.



How to cope with insomnia


  1. Find the place

They’ll tell you stories of washed up hands

And fingernails that smell of your grandmothers soup

Don’t waste time investing in such dark illusions

This is the hour of no man’s land

Where you need to realise the quantity of your space and breath

Is far more important than the quality

The way you can roam for hours on end

Like a gerbil in a wheel

You need to uncover your hidden motors

And learn how to feel

When the hours stretch down to tree roots

And your beating heart is the branches, the trunk,

And the reason you move, as if there were a reason at all


  1. Forget your reasons

You may have heard tales of sad men wandering

Down the same laneway, approaching the same gateway,

But it doesn’t matter if he opens the gate

And witnesses his soul gone off past midnight

It does not matter how you got here or where you’re going

All that matters is that you are here

Train contentment into your wilting branches

Feed your mind, not on clarity,

But on the food you need

Learn to be alone with the questions

Embrace them like old lovers

And contort their reaching hands to latch onto your vapour like frame


  1. Try your best not to go insane

Build a shrine around your sanity

And recall the person you were during the day

Repeat your name, out loud, to the mirror,

To the blank stare of your computer monitor

And feel the buzzing of your sleep hungry mind

The white noise that is both your time and place

Here is where you build your sanctuary

And allow the split to take place

Accept that your mind may no longer match your face

Accept that this is all part of the night time game

Where you run in circles until the moment of your rebirth

Calls you to the bed that belongs to a much younger you


  1. Allow yourself to be renewed

Forget everything but how you digest the hours

In the small gulps of your replayed memories and outdated fantasies

Recall the one who knows you best

And try to keep your heart steady, breath steady,

Make use of this lottery of time

Nothing counts here, nobody keeps score

Allow yourself to fall deep into your subconscious

Where the men run with scissors

And the children’s laughter becomes the rhythm to a song you know so well but cannot place

Don’t try to categorise or rationalise


  1. Be grateful you are alive

Even as the night spins rollercoasters

And you want to scream with frustration

This is the fate that has been gift wrapped to you

Untie the ribbon

This is the moment of your awakening

They will tell you you are a tragedy

And have you make lists of all the people who have died at sea

Remember you are that old oak tree

That has been here for longer than we can possibly know

You are not being beaten down

Your branches will continue to grow


  1. Let your story unfold

From the grip, from the barrier, from the control,

Dance the hours away with a smile

You are not shipwrecked at sea

You are not drowning or drowned


You are a survivor




Stagnant Night




I have the face of a tortured woman

One you wouldn’t want to meet

The face of a brute, tight skinned, red

lined savage unlikable and

Stripped of sincerity


I gained my reputation in how I failed to raise my children

Brought these stalks in and refused to tend to them

These weeds of mine hide out in dirty railroad lines

And I can’t stop shivering


What they take from me is my hate

I am left cold and at home in my cold

No one wishes to look long at me

All they see when they see me is:


A wisp of grey air

A cigarette smoke burning,

Burning I hide,

Burning I lie,

Burning I try to heal these children of mine

Who bear my haunted lips and haunted eyes and I feel ashamed

as I feel them die



Borne of a white tempered rage

That hovers in the air

Turning me insane:


Turning me to the dark,

turning me to the bottom of a bottle,

turning me bewildered until I find myself on my empty street with my empty self, with the dark light, and a ground littered with butts of cigarettes, that I smoke and smoke so feverishly, hoping and praying that they’ll work, that they’ll be the magic that will fix me,

cure me, burn red hot logic into my wiring, instead on this street

I sing my mad woman’s song as the night lingers on,

failing to move on, failing to carry what I need carried, leaving me open eyed and smoking and exhaling and and and…


Nobody looks at me


Not even the alleyway judges me


Nobody has a thing to say about me



The children play by the railway lines

Starving and homeless they leap from track to track avoiding

the shuttling trains

They don’t come to find me but I know they’re there


The moon shines down on my alleyway tonight

Brightening the tips of my untouched body

I have stopped shivering from the cold


My tortured woman face melts into the crevices of my skin

It is mine to own


To own alone.



Les Wicks has toured widely and seen publication in over 350 different magazines, anthologies & newspapers across 28 countries in 13 languages. His 13th book of poetry is Getting By    Not Fitting In (Island, 2016).


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