Friday, February 28, 2014

Vale Matthew John Davies (1985-2014)

It was with great sadness that Bluepepper recently learnt of the untimely death of Matthew John Davies, a frequent contributor to this site and an extremely gifted poet. Below are a few words penned by the poet Robbie Coburn in Matthew's honour.

Matthew John Davies sadly passed away this month.
Born in 1985, Matthew was a Brisbane poet who was published in many journals including Rabbit, Page Seventeen, Regime Magazine, Bluepepper. He was educated at the University of Queensland. His favorite poets included William Blake and Francis Webb and he adored Leonard Cohen. He also had a keen interest and knowledge of cinema. 
I first became aware of Matthew's work when we shared the pages of the first issue of West Australian magazine, Regime in 2011.
Revisiting his work now is difficult, as so many signs present themselves. His poetry has a raw and haunting quality, filled with longing, yet he would often remove himself from the text as if writing about someone else. 
On the night I heard of his death last week, I read through all of his poetry I could find, and felt the devastation of it all. There was a prevailing feeling of emptiness within me that uprooted any notion of understanding and amplified the shock and Grief. 
His poem 'Shortcuts' is one that encapsulates the trial of a life clouded by an unrelenting darkness, discussing attempts at positive change, culminating with the character's death in order to 'find a heaven'.

I was aware Matthew was struggling and depression was a battle he was fighting uphill, but was shocked when the news came through of his passing. It's not something any of us wanted to predict. Most of the poetry community, the connections of which exist largely online, only knew parts of Matthew, and it is harder to accept when we only see a poet who is with us one day and gone the next. We feel we know the poet, but in fact only know parts of the man. 
Matthew's parents have stated since his death that "his poetry and the friendships of his fellow poets  sustained him" and it is clear his short life was one of significance to many people all over Australia.
He lived for poetry as so many of us do, and his life was rich with his art and love for those who influenced and loved him.
The widespread outpours of love for Matt are astounding, with so Many of us moved and effected. So many poets and writers have expressed their sadness and condolences and we come to realize matt was never alone in life and certainly isn't alone now that he has left. Many poets have written poems in Matthew's memory.
We still have Matthew, who exists through his work and the memories his loved ones hold of him.
Bob Adamson told me something regarding the situation, as we shared our grief, that has stayed with me and helped to heal immensely. I told him how pointless everything felt and he Said that " It's not pointless, it's up to us to keep alive his lovely spirit and his work, that's his legacy and his love.  As long as we have him in our minds and hearts he will live on."
Bob is absolutely right and I think these words apply to everyone looking for answers and closure during this difficult time and beyond.

It serves no good to remember only the hell that claimed him; we instead can rejoice as Matthew John Davies has found his heaven and is now eternally breathing poetry in paradise.

- Robbie Coburn

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Poetry by Robbie Coburn

Young In the Old City

flood of winter morning. the bleak city skinned by daylight.
transfusions of colour and shade
thrown from an absolved sun against embodied streets.
at the edge of the footpath 
you release the day into delusions.
breath protrudes the breeze.
coerced into a position to hear, to listen. you walk through streets of pattern-work designed by years
lost in the parade of bodies
with a throat of toxins, your eyes bottled by sobered hands. the outskirts are a transition, a distant solitude.the lightless city strangles them with smoke and time. crowds revolve, there is no fixed life form. nothing here is staying. you see yourself statistically.
parks and gardens are imagined sites. sit down and then walk again through the repeating clutter. an ocean of cloned shadow.
these people do not recognize you. cannot name your face but know all about where you're going. expect nothing articulate from your mouth. to discover  the generation you're a part of is lost obliterates you.

- Robbie Coburn 2014

Paddocks of Rain  - for Matthew John Davies

I walk alone in dark rains. thick wires empty
from a greying sky
traced though the air onto the grasses
striking open paddocks

every voice ringing from the rain is imprinted,
seeping into the hollowed fence posts beneath
the smoking clouds
within the night yards
dogs snarling at a faceless prey

this far from town, waters set a barrier-
a distance between bodies, separated flesh.
a single pair of
footsteps immediately covered by
the dampening ground

transparent threads filling trodden soil
like breath in a cold paddock,

silent in the rain, a car
persists down the road.

- Robbie Cobuen 2014

Robbie Coburn was born in June 1994 and lives in the rural district of Woodstock, Victoria, Australia. His poetry and critical work has appeared in many publications including Going Down Swinging, Cordite, Voiceworks and Rochford Street Reviw. His first full collection of poetry Rain Season (Picaro Press) was published in 2013. He is well into a second collection, titled The Other Flesh.

Friday, February 21, 2014

New Poetry by Michele Seminara

Everything's so full of lasts,
quivering, on the brink.
Time thrusts forward.
The body vehicle will not cease
decaying, children growing 
ever distant, the umbilicus unraveling 
to unbearable lengths
 as we circumvent this world. 

Pause pause pause!

People pass by in a slurry 
of incessant transformation.

Surely there must be a limit?
(There is not.)

Death, inbuilt in those I've born
is yet half grown in me; 
close to flowering powerfully out 
of my grandmother's powdery furrows.

Routine lends the illusion of solace:
tranquilised to truth we sleep
fitfully, swaddled against horror.
- Michele Seminara 2014

Michele Seminara lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and three children. She has been practising and teaching yoga, Buddhism and meditation for fifteen years. Her writing has been published in many online and print journals, and she was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her passions are emptiness (the Buddhist kind) and poetry. She blogs at and is on twitter @SeminaraMichele

Monday, February 03, 2014

New Poetry by Donal Mahoney

Surprise, Surprise

The mother's dead. 
Thirty years later 
you meet the daughter 
and realize the daughter 
is the mother again, 
poking her finger 
in your chest half an hour
after her plane lands. 
The same laugh knocks
folks in the elevator 
back a bit.

Every time the daughter 
grabs your arm 
to emphasize a point
the way the mother did,
you want a ticket
to the Maldives
or maybe Bulgaria.
Sofia in the summer
might be nice.

This time, however,
you stay put.
She found you
on the Internet.
You must admit
the freckles 
across her nose 
scream she's right: 
You are her father. 
Surprise, Surprise.
Her mother never said.

- Donal Mahoney 2014

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.