bruises you can touch, tears you can taste

I have always written poetry, but in the last few months it has become my prime focus for a couple of reasons. Back in November, I was asked to do a reading as part of ‘Spoken’ – a monthly event at the State Library of Queensland. I threw myself at the opportunity to read with three other mega talented poets – Alicia Bennett, Sarah Langston and Brendan Lindsay. Esteemed company indeed.

Around the same time, I applied for a position through Australian Poetry through their Cafe Poet program and my application was a success *cue mass excitement and hysteria* From January, I’ll be poet in residence at Blackstar Coffee for six glorious months. I have a tonne of ideas with how I’m going to share poetry (both mine and others) and engage with my community. So, if you’re around West End, please drop in and we can talk about all things poetic and solve the problems of the world while drinking the best coffee in Brisbane.

Here’s the link from the night of poetry that was the first ‘Spoken’ event –

And here is a snippet of what I wrote on the first day of December while throwing back a luscious long macchiato at Blackstar. I hope you have a blast with me on this journey for the next six months and beyond.

drifting customers

Swag on his back

in that camo print no one wears much anymore.

I had shorts – blue and green – when I was a bag of bones.

They were long and I’d roll them down at the waist

so it looked like I still had hips.

Ropes fall down his spine and brush his rucksack

like the over hanging branches of the poinsettia across the road.

A big juice bottle hangs from some part of him –

it flops around as though wanting to be unclipped from its anchor.

Cigarette mouth,

flint in his hand –

a warm reminder for him –

probably hungry as a lamb.


Skater boy – ink on his arm, cap on his head with

sweet, long tendrils poking out like pampas grass.

He’s in a hurry – the wheels on his deck scrape the bitumen

as though trying to scar the warp and weft of the road.

Thomas Street is:

respite care

halfway houses with lingering men

a concrete square of a locksmith

a coffee house and it’s orange snooker ball on my table.


Unwelcome smoke snakes through the slipway and into my hair.

I chew on the fetid taste, wishing I could spit it out

onto the footpath like tobacco.

People suck in poison, then release.

It is an ugly habit and a waste of air that burns my lungs,

like I’ve been stuck in a motel room for three days with Hank

who I would’ve held the line for and breathed in every mouthful of.

If he’d slapped my wet thighs, I’d clutch at him as if

heaven were descending on hell –

my flesh burning his tongue.


I don’t feel so lost since I tied a string around my wrist this morning,

anchoring it with a double knot, my mouth pulling on one end.

As I sat on my bed having trouble with my coordination,

M sat next to me.

‘Here, let me do it,’ she said in her gentle way

and before I could pull the knot in my mouth again, it was on.

Peace washed over me, knowing she was there to help.

But now I sit at the back of the cafe, eyes all blurred,

nose aching and wanting to cry.

4 thoughts on “bruises you can touch, tears you can taste

  1. Beautiful, poignant words Carly, I loved it, especially the part about Hank. He sounded hot. Good luck with this amazing venture xxoo


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