David Cookson

With liberal use of metaphor and simile, David Cookson writes about the Australian landscape, both rural and urban and the characters who live there. Living by the surf beach of Moana, it is inevitable that the sea should also figure prominently in his work, often combined with an undertow of love.

He likes red wine, Asian food and Thelonius Monk.

He is represented in 4W, Westerly, SideWaLK, Famous Reporter, Tuesday Night Live, Quadrant and other literary magazines in Australia and overseas.

David’s collection, Scarves of Sand was published by Wakefield Press/Friendly Street in New Poets two.

New Poets Two can be purchased on-line from the Wakefield Press website.


It’s life in the fast line
make a statement
wear with flair
razzle dazzle rainbows
harlequins at a carnival
frantic frenetic
catapult from tree to next
clamour for the nectar
bums up with a body twist
beaks hook at blossom
nibble bite
taste the best
drop the rest
no concept of tomorrow
just now now now

From Friendly Street No. 17


from a sheened horizon
clouds wispy as old men’s hair
sidle up like pickpockets
assess the beach

stillness looms
over sunoiled sea croutoned
with burn red bodies lolling
by splash of children tadpole brown
ignoring summons of testy parents
eyeing the browed stormfront roiling
like grey smoke unexpected
the first gust shivers
upsets umbrellas bowls
frisbees plastic balls
swathes the shore with scarves of sand

from the whitecapped chasing sea
swimmers scurry like soldier crabs
shake out salty towels
brief garlands for the wind
plod through ankle stinging sand

From Friendly Street No. 15 and Tuesday Night Live

Intimations of Domesticity

She’s scraped my toast crumbs from the butter
& made my bed with the nurse’s pleats I can’t do.
Shy as a night bird waking,
her scent is still between the sheets.
In the fridge there’s yoghurt and light milk,
last night’s leftovers too, in a real bowl,
not a marge tub, sealed and labelled “Hot Curry”.
Its fragrance lingers in the wok.
She took my dirty washing home last week,
put it in with hers; to save soap & water, she said.
It’s back. My Y fronts have been ironed.

Yesterday we made smart-arsed comments
at a wedding car, a froth of white in the back,
but fell quiet, our last sarcasms hanging
as if awaiting the splash of a stone down a well.

Over coffee, after wine, in bed we’ve talked
about her space, my space, our space, honesty,
the imperative of communication,
the baggage & the scars from life,
scoffed at the other, four letter word.

For comfort, we can quote statistics;
single people households – thirty eight per cent
& divorce for second timers – sixty plus,
reassure ourselves about strings and choices, but
I still hear Kristofferson’s “…the freedom of my chains”,
even though the stereo’s off;
& I can’t find my garlic press.

From Flow: Friendly Street No. 25