“Evolution” was first published in Divan, and subsequently appeared in the collection Torn published by Plateau Press. “Conscience” and “Innocence” also are from Torn by Plateau Press. “Dreaming with a Head Full of Cicadas” is from JFK's new book Ophelia's Codpiece


Both Torn and Ophelia's Codpiece can be brought through publisher links on JFK's www.poetinresidence.com.


For more poetry from Australia

Jayne Fenton Keane Jayne Fenton Keane


You are the split in my umbilical core.
An ancient mitosis that breeds in my magma.

You make a shameful cruel law out of me
call me science and pray for a god.

I hear you, hear your prayers
but it's the same technology of immersion

and when I curl in the formalism of your genes
I feel an abyss of looted barren proofs.

You are the blister of fishy mud in my skin
a kerosene note in my stumbling

a flake of coral on my panicked tongue
a stormy equilateral in this fleshy womb-hammock.

I am androgynous and slippery with proof of you
decorative and hesitant in the face of you

I am buried in your ochre and sitar-flesh
a skinned blue rhythm stretched out on your scars.

There is a matrix of catacombs in its beat,
as timeless and devout as sorrow.

You are my lungs, my dam, my tissue of public
my teat and its mandala of emergency.

There is a comma stretching from mouth to eye
that punctuates our breath between each coupling.

In the script of these four quoted eyes
in the legacy of their transcription

I study the altitude and taste our galaxy
as the question of extinction burns on my lips.


When I trussed those chords around your throat
yanked and yanked them
there was no sound

your head already a broken bell.

I hear you echo around that bronze chamber
so still
so solid

so silently


they visit you as fraudulent conservators
blueprints and integrity at the ready
as they scrub your pubic hair down to the bone
and sketch a white frame around your sex

they hang your image between synthetic palms
lather you with sepia and civilization
but you have already washed your disciples

have fractured their angels
in your stainless steel sink

Flying High

The object was the storyboard.
How to snap thigh and breast
plausibly into the plot.
How to miss and yet not miss
the subtle inflections of her eyes
as she invites you to come
and yet not come, into a scene
of pouting stewardesses,
when you already know
the plane is going down any minute.
Your jaffa smile
tastier than their waxy lips,
smudges into a fixed clown-grin
as you press the chocolate
and erotic chocolate dreams
into the damp patches of your arm
and its desolate hyper real
jaffa tasting bachelorhood.
The sound turns dissonant without
warning. The plane, the plane is
going to crash, and yet not crash,
its cargo of stunning women
pleading for you and rescue,
but mainly for you and to die for you.
To prove it they rip off their clothes
as the plane plummets towards the ground.
But you can tell by their lips
and perky strawberry nipples
that a miracle is at hand
and soon you will be up there
cutting through terrorists
and planting orange flavoured kisses
all over their bodies.

Dreaming With a Head Full of Cicadas

spring enters.. mouth full of blossom.. tongue painted with desire.. her language is a garden budding with welcome hidden in her eyes are nests full of desire. . . her hair is a lush fragrant waterfall of garden.. drink drink says the soft shiny fall that curls around her cheek.. do not cover your mouth.. open it as wide as you can.. do not cover your mouth.. catch the rain that flows from her neck.. do not cover your mouth.. there are a thousand leagues of lightning buried in the sea where lovers call.. but the world does not hear them..

what they say                           when they say goodbye
is more sorrow                         than oceans can contain.
Their separation                        rage
destroys villages                        plunders
primitive skulls                           in burial grounds.

she streams                               he meanders
too much                                  glistening in the memory
all beauty                                  vain without her
all desire                                    frozen without him

she tortures                               he tortures
children                                    are not born
simplicity             how              cloud-animals
starve                                      in paradox
and virgins                              are sacrificed in praise of light

you are a tough nocturnal root... dense in your dark twisted signature of song... an aboriginal digs you up... carves into you… to free you… to liberate your song he says abandon yourself to my lips... i give you freedom through the stories i will compose in your body... i paint this lizard onto your sternum… a totem of ancient wisdom and equilibrium... where you are ……………………….poikilothermic

still in cold
frantic in heat
as you should be
he says
i could make honey ants sing
in honour of your sorrow

teach you how to dream in love
your tears will become my sweat
your doubts will tone my serenading lips

and rejoice in my heart
and croon in my blood

my skin will weep with joy
transpiration and transformation

the bond of musician to instrument
that cannot be broken.

and in the sensuous broody rise in your crazy
i will lament until your heart is free to love again.

i can see your shape in the wood

and i will play all day and night until i see you again

Skin the finest
until you are born inside this ache
and i will be home again

Home again?

in your spirit and flesh, and we will dance
until our spines holler and our mouths shriek

to the faith we lost
as lots of bones tumble in our skin

and we crash to the ground as union
as scattered remnants of flag

dropping in the footsteps of lovers before us.

but still she cannot speak your name. without hope or desire or regret. beneath her hello is, come to me. beneath her goodbye is, stay with me. beneath your shadow of absence she will carry your flame. like a silent burning wound that will not heal. your silence its tinder. broody. sensory.

She is a traveller
trapped in a harbour

broken on departures
waiting for you to come home