the man wakes from a (one eye open) sleep

with the sore back on a hard bench

stretch and groan, early, to steer clear

of the passers-by sneer and eye-roll

with quick turn of the head,


and they move along …


at home

way back when

the boy woke from a (one eye open) sleep

with the hard and fast pounding hand of panic

pressing his heart, and iced-up breath in his chest,

as he waited for grave footsteps

and a stale beer breath fog,


and he couldn’t move,


and he can’t move on.


Note: this poem is not based on any one individual.

If you live in Australia and need someone to talk to – you can contact Lifeline (Crisis support and suicide prevention).



The kid next door

The kid next door

The kid next door

Tommy’s been playing here for ages today,
he’s hanging round
longer than usual,
on his tinny scooter,
he’s wearing a smile
doesn’t look right,
it shakes at the corners
when we can see it,
his eyes are on the wheels
most times,
as he twists and turns on the cement
round and round,
the sun beating down on his skinny shoulders,
what’s with the long sleeves,
he just wants to play on his scooter
with some kids,
he just doesn’t want to go home

Tommy’s house is empty today
they’ve gone for good, in the night
there was a lot of swearing
and carrying on,
their dog was barking
the baby was crying
waking me up
in a sweat,
they took their pot plants,
they left his scooter on the rubbish heap.