East Avenue Books

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Joan and Peter would like to congratulate the four winners of the 2017 East Avenue Books Poetry Competition and thank the 44 poets who entered the competition.

The judging panel had a difficult task but awarded the prizes as follows:
1st – Louise Nicholas for ‘General MacArthur makes a call’
2nd – Jill Gloyne for ‘Shame’
3rd – Russ Talbot for ‘Last Love’
4th – Jules Leigh Koch for ‘Bay of Islands – Evening’


General MacArthur makes a call

When my mother rang to tell me she was tired
because she’d been on a train all night returning from
a shopping trip in Melbourne, and I knew she hadn’t gone
farther than the communal dining room, I told her she’d feel
better after a good night’s sleep; asked if she’d had a nice time.

When she rang to ask after her children, aged eight and five
that existed only in the movie back block of her mind,
I assured her they were fine, hoped they wouldn’t make a liar
of me by choosing that particular moment to run up and down
the hallway screaming the hollow scream of the non-existent.

When she rang a third time because an army general and all
his soldiers had arrived and expected her to put them up
for the night, I told her she was imagining things;
the war was over and there was no army, no soldiers,
no general, sitting on the couch waiting for his supper.

Didn’t have the presence of mind to do my patriotic duty;
suggest she issue orders; send them all to my house.

© Louise Nicholas


Shame

He’s never liked viewing open coffins,
but in this rural town it’s
de rigueur,
so he files slowly past like everyone else.
He looks at the waxen face, silver hair,
and senses, hidden beneath those eyelids,
the secret she’s kept all these years.
And he remembers, because
he’s never been able to forget,
how she looked when she was fourteen
that day in the shearing shed when
she came with untarnished innocence
to give him a message from her father:
how he threw her roughly to the floor,
pressed his lips to hers to stop her screams,
how he fumbled awkwardly with her clothes
as her body thrashed about in protest,
how he raped her, like an animal.
And he remembers the wetness of tears
on her face, the look of horror that
never completely washed away,
even after sixty five years.
And the silence that followed,
a silence he could never completely erase,
that deafening silence that accuses him still
as he looks upon her for the very last time.

© Jill Gloyne


Last Love

So many songs
have been written about
First Love.
And why not?
First love is exhilarating, intoxicating.

But give me
Last Love anytime.

If first love is the sweetest
last love is the kindest.

Last love
respects the monumental journey you made,
all the hazards you've braved and overcome,
to get here;

accepts all that you were,
and all
that you are.

With last love
you've grown up;
you forgive each other for being human;
finally you can relax
be who you are
and know that
it's enough.

No, keep all your first flutterings
and gossamer constructions.
Give me Last Love
Give me
you.

© Russ Talbot


Bay of Islands – Evening

1

a lip smear
of burnt orange
above the horizon line

with a scoop of egg yolk
moments
before setting

here
at the edge of our sight
the day is closing

2

the scramble of shadows
as they join up with
one another

the slow release of gull wings
across the sky

waves are filing down their teeth
against rocks

the tide is arm-wrestling
the shore

the jetty throws out a limb

3

the last surfer
rides in
pressing against the bladder of a wave

almost overstaying
his welcome

he quick-draws onto
the pebbled beach
with his reputation enhanced

4

the branches
of the Norfolk pines
are fluttering
their false eye-lashes
all the way along the coastal road

from a row of holiday cabins
a cigar puff
of smoke
from a chimney

the first log of night

© Jules Leigh Koch