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Robbie Verdon

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Two impertinent letters from Anna Ganci (Registered Nurse), Duty Officer, Older Persons Mental Health Service, Lewisham Building, Calvary Public Hospital, Bruce, ACT, 2617, Australia, phone (612) 6205 1957:
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I heard voices in my dream

el pueblo unido jamas sera vencido
equal quality or equal lack of quality?
votes alone do not bring butter or guns
jackboots and kittens do not mix
thoughts whirl like windscreen glass
tomorrow they may be snowflakes

my later dreams were Leonard Cohen poems
and raindrops on plexiglass
then I was a dust mote
dancing on a banjo head …
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this subterfuge will end as summer drags
and autumn curls its leaves around your legs
a distant branch will creak upon a hill
a wind shall part the forest like a shriek
the years of progress shrivel to a spark
the rapier of hatred seeks its path
as bloodless calculation stops the breath
and all shall turn upon a single will
so sundry millions everyday will thank
the one who carried through this monstrous task …
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long clock-hands of shadow *** reach across the sea and into the barred forest
night spreads over a deep wet sponge *** under rare stamps of stars
the sea is gouged out of ebony for us *** foaming like a horse’s flank
steaming blood disfigures the sand dunes *** the killer escapes for good
we never say a word to this day *** beyond the usual hagiographic claptrap
yet another drone sent by a saintly leader *** about to be replaced by a lunatic
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cycling by a
familiar oval
an afternoon on the edge of history
(similar words seen in a gallery
when you are new to sophisticattiness)
suddenly not knowing
where I was
senior’s moment at twenty-seven
(every year is new)
afternoon of gyroscopes
and grey flotsam, jetsam, and relativism
licking up the smiles of
babies boiled in their own tears
the sea going out out out
to the bloodied horizon
soon became clear
mental map awry
wrought such fear
I still recall
in plangent placidity
(reading about Stevie Smith
life made comfortable by the
option of suicide)
like an abacus you can count on
whirling through hyperspace
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fine sand seems wet
moulding footprints
at the beach or on the moon
soft hands seem hard
leaving red marks
on the first sad day of school
each happy day
life trickles away
sitting in another room
carved words last longer
dead is the singer
wooden sails and a wind flute

endless the tombstone
pallid the rainbow
dense as the night
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eight unlovely pirates
(or rather privateers)
prowl the glistering waters
as they’ve done for years

while we sit here wrangling
counting heads and votes
eight men hold the purse-strings
wrapped around our throats

only the great red human tide
will lift our sinking boats
Robert Verdon, #421, pieces of eight
Robert Verdon, #421, pieces of eight
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Rust and rubbish hidden beneath the magnolia
that was apparently sown by birds just before I moved here,
a decade in which I escaped death for a while
as we all do, and busied myself tapping at keyboards or wrestling pot-plants,
I’m not sure why.
I’m also uncertain 
as an ill-balanced vintage analogue computer
whether I should plan three more (or so),
or a slap-up funeral.
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dark green hall
to the metalwork room

now the stuff of dreams you always forget

behind the hallowed, hollowed stairs
with the portrait of the Strathnaver
on the first landing
which seemed old then
my parents’ brown generation

now my own
seems more decayed

dark green
government green
railway station green
green as a cemetery fence

we were heading for the stars
not slugged into submission by the unconscious sea

refined stone on a green grave
all the trees hold hands from Taiga to Amazon
fanciful as green metalwork

compulsory subject
I never liked
save for the anodised copper bowl
bright flaring blue against the green
and the strange sweet smell of cleaning rags
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