Category Archives: paperweight



we live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us
says Austen

the dead are useful as paperweights

practical like a piece of soap
in a stocking
tied to a tap over a bucket
in a front garden

three pots of tea I sit here
while the cafe is selling cool and the look of the staff

the body must be heard
says Cixous

the moon is full
the pain in my uterus

she keeps pulling
her blue tailored shirt down
over her lower-back tattoo

my mother on the phone shocked she has spoken
to my dead father out  loud
suppose, for instance, that men were only
represented in literature as the lovers of woman
says Woolf

her orange-singlet breasts
rest on the laminex
she leans forward as he leans back

the glass holds water
the rotating blades of the ceiling fan
and light

A Very Easy Death, de Beauvoir says
The sight of my mother’s nakedness
had jarred me. No body existed less for me:
no one existed more.

their graves are shallow because the soil is rocky

a child of sand
the wind remembers
and blows away

a world of comfort and family
that disappears when the match goes out

part of her dress
hangs out the car door
as she drives past oblivious

cool defines itself by what it rejects, it has no substance
and the workers are pissed-off by what is required of them

Woolf would say it’s not good to work from anger or defence
so long as you write what you wish to write
she says
for another six pages while my vegetables get hot in the car

functional like a piece of soap in a stocking
tied to a tap over a bucket

my heart a paperweight
on a fiction of self-possession



From Claire Gaskin’s collection, Paperweight.



there is no story
just letters the cormorants form
in the sky
when flying
in changing

their feathers are not water-proof
you bought him an umbrella
these birds are well adapted though
to life in and around water
he wasn’t dressed for Melbourne weather

like eggs
hope and belief are self-contained

the brown warbler’s song
goes up in scale like a question
keeping finality at bay

the yellow-throated honey-eater
takes wool
from clothing and floor rugs
it is not distressed
by snow

death is an umbrella that doesn’t keep off the rain
tears came to his eyes
when you leant across the café table
took a thread from his top

for their nest lining
goldfinches have been seen taking
cobwebs from clotheslines

the nest is neat, cup shaped
made of grasses, cobwebs, strong fibres,
with a lining of down or soft material
this bird witnessed
the crucifixion
it tried to pull the thorns
from the crown
was left
with blood
on its
this is why
these birds are so often found
in and around thorn bushes
this is why
after you asked him
if he was attached to that bar stool
three hours later you saw him
in a romantic embrace
with the stool

on the dance floor
he is like Christ
in that he has lived hard and will die young

the egrets
walk with wings drooping
hunched as if they are sick
eyes downcast
James Dean scuffing feet

full of importance
the Indian Myna’s nest is crude and
untidy, made of grass and often the
paper of torn poems

the palm-cockatoo blushes
the red patches on its cheeks
turn redder when . . .
what happens when we lose the story
we mimic ourselves like drongos
‘I’m not a single-mother, never seen a double mother’

moves you a sun dial
relaxing in the downpour

his flattery and promises
only making you realise
the depths of your aloneness

there is a story
of a small boy
who ran
and around
a perched owl
that the bird’s head
was following him
in unbroken
when really his
reverse head turns
between acceptance and enemy
rejection and friend
lover or self
partner and other
were too quick to observe them



From Claire Gaskin’s collection, Paperweight.

walking away down the bluestone lane


walking away down the bluestone lane
I saw him wipe my mouth from his kiss
windows watched from Rodin’s I
the keeper wolf said to the

I saw him wipe my kiss from his mouth
when I the first colour I heard thought I’d get up
the keeper said to the wolf
you don’t need to hunt now you are now being fed

I thought I’d get up when I heard the first colour
reflux like my childhood
you  need a mate now you are being fed
her weapon is safety to scare me with her

my childhood like reflux
exist, addict I I
her weapon is to scare me with her safety
I dreamt I was the wolf keeper and the wolf

I exist, I addict
the wolf had eaten its mate’s legs
I dreamt I was the wolf keeper and the wolf
I was the wolf and the wolf’s mate

the wolf had eaten its mate’s legs
the wolf couple had an offspring
I was the wolf and the wolf’s offspring
the wolf couple had a human offspring

the wolf couple had an offspring
I watched from Rodin’s windows
the wolf couple had a human offspring
walking away down the bluestone lane



From Claire Gaskin’s collection, Paperweight.


after Sacks’ The man who Mistook his wife for a Hat


she made a mosaic out of all the cups she threw at the wall
I saw an opening
at a party in her garden
it was yellow and soft petalled
there is always an element of surprise in delight
I had never watched one open before

the brain has no pain receptors
with the skull open like a cup
the patient awake and answering questions

(the neuronal memory effectively regulates the implicit reduction)

the rain is awake
down your back from the tip of your plait
down between the cheeks of your buttocks
awake to the earth of you

—–man does not consist of memory alone

(the molecular ability intracellularly records the cellular reflexes)

—–Sacks said Nietzsche said:
—–Only great pain is the ultimate liberator of the spirit

(motor synthesis allows electrochemical habituation)

—–it animates the prosthesis

I am rent free
I have been living in the house of my body
all the windows and doors open
curtains wet with rain billow and whip
I sit
to remember is to put back together the dismembered
I close your hand around the open eye of the torch

—-Sacks said Freud said:
—-neurosis is reminiscence

(central interneurons close short-term amnesiac connections)

—–a phantom limb is essential if an artificial limb is to be used

the sky is so blue it has forgotten
every window is a ghost

—–disease as seduction
—–the vagueness before vision
—–a wellness can be genuine even if caused by an illness

and don’t let affirmation be an excuse to hold on
extinction blue
the cloudless sky
is opinionless

(lasting phosphorylates regulate behavioral transmitters)

extinction is not the same as forgetting
you replace one habit that holds up a beam
with another

—–you can only spot a deviation if you can identify a norm.



From Claire Gaskin’s collection, Paperweight.


If I hadn’t


If I hadn’t texted him I would not be caught up in the thingness of being rejected and of should not be doing. I would be dwelling in the infinite possibilities of the openness of this night alone and my cows and sheep would have a large paddock. The aboutness of my Friday night is now waiting and reaction to rejection instead of the spaciousness of reading Zen and Heidegger. My thinking and writing appears as the phenomenon of diversion instead of the thing in itself. My present is should not haveness. The jug is this house and it is a vacuum that pulls in longing to spill. It wants to be filled, held and poured. Being is containmentless. Being is relationshipless. A jug filled with water immersed in water. Break the house. This is being. Things are manifestations of two opposing parts, like self and other. Meditation destroys thingness. My little suicides are manifestations of the duality of killer and killed. The silence is being with the presence of the absence of the phone ring. He not ringing and inviting me over and after hours of intersubjectivity me going to leave and him not pulling me down on the orange couch beside him. Him not saying we should not do this, it only ends in tears, there is no aboutness about this and entering me. He not dwelling in me with the intentionality of itself in itself sometimes not even moving. Only a receptacle  however can empty itself. I shape the void into the thingness of his penis. Holding needs the void as that which tightens. The climax gathers what belongs to extinction of division. The two parts the receiving, the receptacle, the void and the outpouring as giving. We don’t come apart and the room doesn’t fill with leaving and receding. It empties



From Claire Gaskin’s collection, Paperweight.