Rosanna Licari is a poet, and founding editor of Stylus Poetry Journal.
She has been published in various Australian and international journals.
Her writing interests include performance and page poetry. In 2004, she
performed at the Singapore Arts Festival, the Brisbane Writers Festival
and the Queensland Poetry Festival. She has been awarded a grant from
Arts Queensland to write a collection of poems entitled an afternoon with
. She lives in Brisbane and teaches English to migrants and refugees.

Death in Summer

It's an obstacle course here in the high season,
tourists have turned the beach into a cricket pitch
& a soccer field, I dodge these
only to come across a jelly fish
as large as a side of lamb,
it's roasted here all afternoon,
& on the rocks some guys are sunbathing,
gay no doubt, I'm not even worth a look.

Then death catches up to me holding a ball
just a young lad at heart
he wants a game & I'm in no mood,
we're acquainted
we're old war buddies,
it's not as if I don't know his ways by now
arriving like the least favourite relative
unannounced and uninvited
the only bonus being he comes alone.

He tells me he's on holiday
(I guess death needs time out too)
he's wearing his usual black cloak
because he doesn't like to tan,
I try to blow him off
but he sticks like chewing gum to a sole.

He tells me he's misunderstood
& offers me a cigarette
but I hesitate because I know smoking kills,
then in the spa he gets deep on me
& melting into bubbles he says:
I need life to live.

Maybe he'll catch me on the beach tomorrow?

Over on the track kids sneak a pee,
& zipping past, a big guy in running shorts
cuts through the heat,
it's an obstacle course here in the high season.

aurelia, botany bay

their fleshy bodies, a hint of pink, beneath their plump hoods,
gelatinous congregations that bumped against the sandstone steps,
there at the park, the old Sir Joseph Banks hotel, and under my skin,
the fear of being stung. the bay is smaller now, and only memories
map the path down to a jetty to the yellow tail and flathead.
we threw the small ones back and at the shore i went in too.
the light bright. toes dipping into sand and the slime
that the refinery oozed. i always went home sunburnt.

The Poetic Code

There's no trusting me.
I stand in the market of conceptions
I'll write you into the page,
you'll be oversized and crying.

I'll add stories I promise,
you'll read and recognise and
not recognise yourself:
this is real enough for right now.

Ideas I don't buy, I steal them
I'll drag you in as you squirm
you'll be in the avant-garde
belief will be reshaped
reality brokered.

If you sleep, I'll pull your eyelids open
this blooming is cruel and kind
that's its beauty
and it will say:

this is what you are,
this is what you could be,

trust me, I will.

Indian & Eurasian plates slipping,
December 2004

The dreaming bones of birds lie under this shore
among the chants of dead sailors,

from the corner of my hotel room
the air-con sounds like moving water

and across the bay,
blinking lights beat to a musical score.

The neighing horses haven't stopped all night
I, too, have felt the pulsing vibrations

through the pylons,

the walls,

floors and concrete,

creeping up to the table, impregnating my hands
until they find my tongue --
I catch my breath.

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