K*m Mann – Guest Poet

This month I am very pleased to introduce K*m Mann – a good friend and wonderful writer.

K*m grew up in Alice Springs. She has traveled around the world and lived in America and England. Her poetry has won several prizes and been published in journals, newspapers, online and in books. She has performed, and taught workshops, at schools and festivals around Australia. In 2002 K*m completed a Master of Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide and began to get her short stories published.

Next she co-wrote opera lyrics for a concert with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the script for a new play. 2004 saw her create and direct Skin of the Text; a live installation with text and body. During 2005 she worked with Tutti Ensemble on a project called MOUTH MUSIC. She lives at Henley Beach with a beautiful green-eyed black cat. In addition to working as a counsellor, she is currently writing her first novel.

My live-in mistake

Rain stuttering down
your pencil rattles on the outside table
as the wind picks up again

In the microfiche of my mind,
I’ve located a memory; a watercolour version
of a time we were together; a Sydney of bright colours and champagne

I am not sitting in a garden, not in a park, not by a river
not with you on the Harbour Bridge
I am standing on a balcony with plants in pots, a weather beaten table
a few bottles for recycling and one ashtray
attempting to think out our tangled hair and minds; untangle us.
All the times I tried to ask you what you thought, wanted
When, you didn’t want to say a thing
Words, too much of a commitment to meaning
I had to guess at what you might want
We lived, silently side-by-side, bodies close but our minds’ distance holy

3 months ago I saw you driving on Grange road
– your face looked bleached in the morning sun

On the balcony, the wind picks up corners of paper
an old shopping list, pen on scrap of envelope
from all those months ago, memento of our dailiness
Held down by one small stone from the sea

If you lived, now, by all the rules we broke – I’d not be surprised.
Rain and wind het up off the sea.
My tiny white memory flies up into the air like a helium balloon.

all the pretty colours

she used to love
all the pretty colours
all the maddest shapes
but now
when she looks up
feels strange about the sky

anyway hauls the basket of smelly clothes towards the laundry
loads it up, pushes buttons… sighs
pads back along the hall

turns the toaster upside down
bangs and scrapes, then pushes the crumbs
down the plug hole with her sore fingers
scratches her chin
brings the washing in
all his socks, the red checked swimming shorts…

blinking into the cupboards
can’t find any teabags
won’t look in the afternoon mirror
stares out the window

she doesn’t know whether
he is due back at 6
or if he left a year ago

…she used to love all the pretty colours
all the maddest shapes
and the T shirts and socks
and red and white and blue
but he left
and America bastardised the star
and now

she can’t hang out the washing
and she can’t
look up

previously published Social Alternatives, October 2003


in my dreams
I have no freckles
& my neck is elegantly long

I have written & published & sold
my first book
& my parents are 30 again

I can whistle too
and quirky girls and boys the world over
find me attractive

I visit concentration camps and suffer on boats
I see history

in my dreams I can kiss for 3 or 4 years
with the same person
not needing other sustenance
nor eyes, nor hands, nor head

I dive into the town pool and swim deep under
When I swim to the surface
and there is a thick glass wall
I discover that I can breathe under water

I never fly – I don’t need to
eat sandwiches and chocolate towards morning
float to the surface
& find that I can breathe too, above water


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