Strolling for dummies



Selected poems


In aged care

yes, it does

take time to dispose

of personal history

but sheet by sheet

it may be

stripped away


and taking on the shapeless


and tone

of other compost waste

be used to grow

something digestible


listen to the grizzling

of the unattended

hear pigeons on zincalume

through gauze of bedroom curtains

cars in parking spaces

same slice of sky


food as an activity

activity, an end in itself

but only the eyes

of a certain visitor

will make the last of the

sunset blaze




Recalcitrant paperbark

roosting ibis unknot her leafy brows

unpick her twigs

long shadow off her shoulders

entices mosquitoes into reeds


planted in mud

her one big leg bared

solid stance of a peasant woman


skirts hoicked above the surface

lace petticoats damp

at the hem


like fists at the sky her thickset

limbs defy

any storms that would see


her curly crown






seagulls wash their feet in pools of water

where wheel chairs and drip tubes stand

outside the cloud shrouded hospital

smokers' spent cartridges spill across


a rubber mat near the automatic doors

when the horizon swallows its daily pill

those seagulls still waiting for their order

of pale worms of chip potatoes to be filled


visitors, made ill just being in the car park

droop by bedsides like wilted flowers

after being together in maternity

a couple take home a bag of clothes


there are steel drawers, there are toe tags

there is rising smoke

if you feel miserable, though quite well

remember hospitals




Strolling for dummies 

late afternoon, long awaited first sleeveless

day of the year, shadows still to quench last flares

of burning sun on angled window panes

piano notes and butterflies flying at head height


am I the only stroller out on the roads

where houses fan themselves with

hundred dollar smiles?

as if it owns the penthouse, a laughing cat


rolls and rolls across a driveway

a woman in wet bare feet goes tippy toes

along scorched cement, are those foot

prints a blessing left behind to dry?


I am so pressed by memories

poached in warm air, that I step

a good way around circling

pavement ants and though experts


say nothing positive about the world

despite the encroaching dark

I might just pin badges of purple

hibiscus flowers on anyone to hand



Ross Jackson headshotRoss Jackson lives in Perth. He has had work in many Australian literary journals and some of his poems have appeared in New Zealand, Ireland, England and Canada. He writes about the experience of aloneness in the suburbs, about aging, visual art and other topics.


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Topic tags: Ross Jackson, poetry


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Existing comments

Thank you Ross Jackson. I will remember hospitals and be grateful.
Patricia Taylor | 13 February 2018

Beautiful poems, Ross, thank you. Perth - Australian! - poetry would be a less well-lit place without you. I deeply admire the manner in which you catch so much in just a few words. A wonderfully imaginative grip of our dear Ibis: 'roosting ibis unknot her leafy brows'.
Allan Padgett | 15 February 2018

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