Les Wicks’ 13th book of poetry is Getting By Not Fitting In (Island, 2016). For 40 years Les has been a figure of substance in the Australian literary community. He has been a guest at a substantial list of international festivals. Publication has been seen in over 350 different newspapers, anthologies and magazines across 24 countries in 12 languages. Stylistically, the poet sits between camps. Seen as both a “stage” and “page” poet, his work is a mix of accessibility and dense use of language. He is a master of capturing the vernacular. Poems are both humorous and fierce, often in the same poem. http://leswicks.tripod.com/lw.htm
The League of Lovely Women
Don’t think their shields are mirrors.
I love their fierce white teeth,
my women roar. Face paint shatters on a belly laugh,
they plot with a potted glare then
march on down the stair without wobble, wand or weave.
Cloaked in the black cloth of fire & desks; won pride. Strange,
strange partners they adopt their wounds.
No wife, maid, no nun or mum is tamed; their neck sometimes submits
while brain punches back. We strutting sons stomp blithely on perilous parquet.
There’s more you say, you’d be right. Hold them to your ear
then hear the gibber of the waves. Crazy as men,
contentment is suborned intent. They are everywhere,
like headlights randomly illuminate as they move
& sometimes choose to shine on you.
Aeolus at the Mulga
The desert wind wears a blunt dust
cantankerous yap lifts sheetmetal
from the deaths
of the snub-nosed Silverton buses all
cut like raw opal
pressed into a humiliating servitude
windbreaks for camels. Punctuation of crows
affixed on air. The land is your lungs
but flies have retired as the gale wails.
Ants flummox by vertebrae of quartz
red veined. Beneath this lee my eyes are lost. This wind is a tide
only bones bask on gasping sand – that kangaroo spine
sits prissy, 90° against the perimeters of stone.
Go deep, don’t assume.
A huff of emus disperse like seeds as I approach.
This is a vacated day
feet crash on pepper. We have built much
the skipsy genes that jitter past our hands. Falter – this adamance
shuts the mouth comes over, spits
that coming shine we smelt from rocks. Death by a purpose
still destiny to bend the nuisance of new sense.
Only dry scat is left on the 100km mat.
Concession is prayer
we make brushes. God could be a wind
& heaven is a spot…
safely away from its hands.
Ho Ho Heil
On the station the aging Nazi skinhead
is just another baldy now, he’s
finished his last minute Xmas shopping.
Poking out from his festive T-shirt
those swastika tattoos on his neck
have paled to a gunmetal grey.
Torn cotton shorts on a multicoloured rail station,
it seems like all his arguments have been fought to exhaustion.
A smiling Moslem woman & her decorated pram pass, Excuse me.
He carries a fist like some limp Kris Kringle
but there’s no party left, his
festive ham sweats on the seat beside him.
Rejoice – like all the other energies, hate fades.
Let it rain, let it sour. Mistletoe & other plastic celebrations are
relentlessly bright. He didn’t say a thing.
But this is valued knowledge. Children’s feuds, the
struggles in the queues. History clutters up summer.
This season of giving hasn’t given up. His phone rings,
a loving family reels him in.