Jo Dey

Red Herring

Now we are kind to whales
Even in tempest we turn out
To comfort those which strayed
From their own place.
See within their watching eye
Reflections of our hopes.
Solidarity they have
For their own kind.
They seem
The chariot of our soul’s lost dream,
Voyaging in vast blue
Along the edge of night.

But are they
More wondrous than our children
Our abandoned dreams
Who helpless and uncomprehending,
Daily beach themselves
Upon our streets?

From Fluorescent Voices: Friendly Street Poets No. 21


There was none
but I don’t know
I set out
into the river night
prepared to trade
the exchanges
of the day
still flashing their highlights
around the theatre
of my head.
Not enough
for this thirst.

Somewhere a zen rustle
like paper leaves
hardly anything really
but a cat tongue
roughing crumpled thoughts
delicately, delicately.

The dry companionship
of leaves
and you
not to know me
like a brolga
on the dust.

From Beating Time in a Gothic Space: Friendly Street No. 23

Sacred Cranes

These cranes are sacred,
dancers, scarlet capped.
A stately mutuality
of leg and wing,
they bow towards extinction.

Prescription: To cure an illness
fold one thousand paper cranes.

Now pirouetting
iron cranes
displace the living.
Quiet places are made loud
and the sky seems far off.
Our chests are tight
from the loss of that
for which we find no name.
The parchment of our hearts
wears thin,
the scarlet leaches from us,
and breath is no more comfort.
We become paper cyphers.

From Flow: Friendly Street No. 25