Junice Direen

Junice Direen’s first poetry collection, The Right Side of My Face, was published in New Poets Four (Friendly Street Poets/Wakefield Press 1998) and can be purchased from the Wakefield Press website.

From 3 to a 7

Arthur’s flat is feral
the walls are blistered skin
of painted-over wallpaper
and the carpet curls.
Stains appear overnight
as if a resident beast has peed.
The largest room is like
an airport departure lounge.
Arthur dresses in scrappy layers
they seem blown on by accident
he’s like someone in a sepia photograph.
Arthur’s life arrives in rations:
a bit of food, a scrap of talk
and crumbs of culture.

At first Arthur remains invisible
in the class ‘Assertion, the New You’.
By week four he’s hooked
with a haircut and blow wave
he settles into corduroys and polo necks
gives up fish fingers
and trades up his car.
Languid lunches discover Arthur
incredibly, Arthur is fuckable.

From Friendly Street No. 19


A sluttish Sagittarian
he despises men trapped
with middle-aged women;
glories in his own energetic
youth-filled bed
his students, who submit their
splendid assorted bodies
like free membership
in a first-class library;
then, he slips a disc in mid-fuck

now, his flat has the air
of an abandoned casino
once a great lover
he becomes a greater drunk;
weekends are endless
he tries to sleep till noon
trudges the local park
ignores people in knots
as wind blows grit and litter
creaks abandoned swings.

From Friendly Street No. 20


(for Trent)

The Murrumbidgee has the right to run
churn midstream
glide to billabong lull.

Briefly we explored the shallows
talked of rivers and oceans
of those we would die for.

A twenty year sepia blink
catapults boy to warrior
leaves me stranded, cobwebby.

Alone at daybreak
I wade near the bank
feel the silk of mud.

You have the right to bear arms
battle when bugle calls
swirl away.

I have the right to watch you go
relinquish the rope.
Keep safe as you enter the current.

From Friendly Street No. 22