Jul/Aug 2014 Poetry Special Feature

Two Word Poems

by Barbara De Franceschi

Image credit: Photo Researchers, Digital Media Database, www.genome.gov

Image credit: Photo Researchers, Digital Media Database, www.genome.gov

Mutawintji National Park

I walk a timeline,
an intruder beyond my weave.
Campsite encroaches on ripened bush,
conversation drowns on vertical air
as though my idiom is unbefitting.

Deep gorges dissect the Bynguano range,
mythology and spiritual lore age the soul by 8,000 years.
I dissolve in the beauty of this red land—taken then given back.

I am clan not tribe.
I play life in urban hustles,
eat with fast urges,
envy the velvet hug of desert peace,
sleep anxious about tomorrow.

Gullies are tracked with yellow-footed wallaby trails,
steep ledges overhang caves filled with telling/
Aboriginal rock art: a direct link to custom and place.
Imprints of ochre hands lift thinking away from now
into another space where time chants backwards.

Summer heat settles.
Zebra finches and apostle birds jabber with noisy intent,
even with these intrusions
the silence is so profound it shifts the body
out of compass reach.

Sunset drapes like a shield.
Waterholes heed every shade of dusk, tap-sticks
haunt the undertow,
along creek beds ghost-gums guard the antiquity.

Flint-stone and shale consider my presence,
a sudden gust tugs at tent pegs—
this sharing will be conditional.

Understanding is a brief click:
self is sediment washed by millenniums,
a constant breath—neither owned nor free,
the steady summons of in and out/ paced and themed
between sky and earth.



Etruscans saw omens in entrails,
gypsies turned to tea leaves.

That's my kind of anticipation,
measuring future dimensions
in cups turned upside down,
secrets revealed in Earl Grey.

China rims are circled in gold,
hand painted roses trellis a delicate handle,
hope is linked to pink petals
and a crimson lipstick trail.

I read the inevitable,
trust drowns in soggy residue,
fury turns into a Sibylline feud.
Tears cannot disperse a sprite intruder,
predicament casts an evil eye.

I dissolve into keening.
A different medium is pursued.

I toss the sticks,
solid shapes pitch uneven,
triangles intersect, one parallel,
the other is revelations apart.

Tambourines bewail,
envy sits on the cusp of decaffeination,
tea sours like tannic wine.

Fifty yarrow sticks in flight find no balance,
jagged patterns catch the flash of a forbidden tryst.
I shield my eyes; summon a block of words to scream
as nuptials crack like a cup thrown against stone.


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