Carole Nelson Phillips
country : New Zealand

Carole Nelson Phillips poetry is going from strength to strength. Carole returns with  stirring & powerful new works, as we have come to expect. There is a new voice emerging in her works, new influences, read on ; compare... - editors bmp


I've lain for days upon
my high bed - no inclination,
watching gravel trucks
passing over a dead hawk
run paper flat, ready to float
should some boot nudge it

I'm beginning to accept
that you & I are fractured
beyond reconcilliation
no words
just blank sheets of paper
a silver rattle wrapped in tissue
the rose planted for your child

today I climbed down
from my high bed, walked
the back way to the market
for cigarettes, milk & coffee,
paid the girl who told me
she'd seen you, him
that the child weighs 8 pounds
I smiled, face like clay
as if it might crumble
to be swept away with 
the days dust

on the road home
I stopped by the hawk
nudged it with my boot

she keeps one mirror out of necessity, to adjust her hat

that boy leaning
against shiny tiles
outside the buy
sell or swap shop

he was the kid
with the blue guitar
moved as a braid of water
around the sounds

promise filled he
spark exploded
clamped teeth over
rubber, pain ran
from his eyes,
now standing there
shorn head
beautiful face,
cracked china
behind glass

If she wasn't so afraid
of meeting his gaze
she'd take his hand
lead him behind glass
uncurl his fingers
place them on

choices of a depressive

she could:

uncork that bottle
piss coloured
sharp to the nose
drink till she puddles
at her feet

take the man
who wants her
between her thighs
to forget the one
who doesn't

draw thin metal
across flesh
till she drips
from fingertips

uncap a vial
whisper prayers
twist silver
on her finger
till sleep came

dial a number
on a white card

later, I remembered what I'd forgotten about you

A coat from the back
of a wardrobe cut into
a more acceptable shape,
a needle, pushed, pulled
through cured skin,
blood spotting silk

under the fur
of a dead thing,
dreaming of  plaster masks
hollow eyed, no mouths,
rigid tongues wet
protruding from
deaf ears

you  walked out
of my past with a bottle
of whiskey & I drank
till I couldn't see,
lay on my bed
felt the wet worm squirming,
blind seed spilling on fur

after you left I stood
on wet grass
lit the drum, watched
grey smoke curl
heard fur burn
heard my scream



when you knocked
I was dreaming
of a hollow egg
found beneath
a buddleia tree
there was no nest

you said your brother arrived
as you  sliced chicken
he wanted money
there was none
so you fed him
while he told you
he'd looked
through his window
seen I'd torn down
the mud faced icons
from his walls
& all that was left
was an empty space


She'd write on blue paper wouldn't phone
(for zola)

a plane, train
time & place
there would be
a common corner
no, she wouldn't
wear a carnation
what coat or
no coat would depend
on the weather

they would falter
briefly, she would
know his face not
the sound of his voice
he would speak first

some café would
be busy, maybe
a sunday, coffee
would taste the same
she'd pass sugar
he might refuse
he'd offer cigarettes
she'd accept, her hand
might tremble near the flame

he'd say there should be
an avenue of kowhai here
but maybe they would
die in the city
& capsicums
don't grow well
in window boxes

she'd write on blue
maybe yellow paper
enclose photos
of cathedrals
flour mills

send it airmail


Well if I'd said I was a vegetarian they would've made me stay longer

to sleep quietly
was all I wanted,
the warm drift
into black
free of guilt

I was okay
heading down alone
till you sent a lifeguard
I refused his rope
but he multiplied
& they bundled me
into a steel boat
headed to a cold port
the sterility of white

where they turned me
inside out, put me with
corpses trying to breathe,
frowned with fingers & tongues,
fed me limp slices of pork,
sweet bowls
of sperm coloured junket

I wiped the corners
of my mouth for
their approval
raised the graph
of their prognosis
till they let me go
with an extra
ten pounds of guilt
a suitcase
& 2 coins for the phone