Rory Harris


Rory Harris is a poet and teacher. His poetry collections include Over the outrow, From the residence, Snapshots from a moving train, 16 poems, Uncle Jack and other poems, Waterline and breeze.

His radio dramas have been translated into Solomon Islands Pijin and broadcast on National Radio Solomon Islands.

With Peter McFarlane he co-wrote and edited a series of poetry textbooks on teaching poetry for the Australian Association for the Teaching of English. In 1998 they completed a fifth text:Doing bombers of the jetty (Macmillan Education Australia).

He is Curriculum Coordinator of English and the Arts at St Paul’s College in Adelaide, South Australia.

& when

& when
my girl child

Molly Carlisle
was born

her head
was turned

to one side
as if to view

the world
discreetly, & she

almost forgave
us, those

hours, before
she flew

from her mother
as fish

fly from nets
to the wet

slicked, glistening
hands of fishermen

& from that empty
space to land

& be settled
on her mother’s

empty belly
& stare

as a new star
stares, down towards

the earth

From Friendly Street No. 12 and Tuesday Night Live

the phone rings

for Charles Bukowski, Karl Marx & Dr Goldsworthy

the phone rings
& i’ve got
one hand spreading
the cheeks of my arse
& the middle finger
of the other hand
inserting a suppository
& i think
that its all come to this
& in that moment
of panic, pants down cliché
to release the phone
from its cradle
or the suppository
from my arse
i choose the first
& hope it’s
the Nobel, the Booker
the Senior Fellowship
or lottery
return ticket for two
& the Cherry Blossom Tour
of Japan
the coupon plucked
in Goldsworthy’s Surgery
while waiting
Medicare card & fourteen-year-old haemorrhoids
& i remember Bukowski’s
All the Assholes in the World and Mine
& Karl Marx
whose arsehole chafed against the wooden chairs
of the British Museum
while he wrote Kapital
& there is something
almost childlike
in holding the phone
between tilted head
& raised shoulder
freeing the hands
to spread, push
insert anally
while taking small breaths
as the caller talks
it’s not Stockholm, London
or Sydney, or The New Idea
an English teacher
from Walford Anglican School for Girls
wants me to read, instruct
& teach
as poet
to two hundred students
on the gentle art of writing verse
i accept
wash my hands
cut my fingernails
rewash my hands
things are looking up

From Friendly Street No. 21: Flourescent voices

the slip

the slip
of arms

around us
these waves

of fingers
sand speckled

yolk of sun
on our shoulders

a smile curled
up like a wave

lips spread
to the very

lids of your eyes
a flutter of moths’

wings in our hearts
the postcards wait for stamps

From Friendly Street No. 24