Thursday, December 23, 2010


I kept a psychic distance;
now my feet ache from
walking over headlands where
your frustrations and boredom were
threatening from time to time.

Needs I have no
desire to fill.
You walk me to the gate,
I shake
your hand.

It began as a chance encounter
in waves
at dusk.

So you tracked me down,
you rushed to me,
a poor advertisement for
social networking and
impulsiveness verging on desperation,
reaching for a lifebuoy.

You sped towards an immovable object,
already past the saturation point of sadness,
so I averted my eyes
but still, you couldn't see.

What is it these freaks need from me?
What is it I need from them?

Don't pressure me:
leave me in peace.
Go in peace,
I implore you,
in the name of my
peace of mind
and my safety.

Your heavily loaded statements
called to me for answers.
I have no answers
so you get my silence.

Justine Reilly © 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stranded in Ballina

I follow the
footprints of a dog.

A rust-coloured butterfly surveys
tyre tracks made in wet clay.

My heart lifted
by the tone of red rocks
emerging from earth.

The dog pisses on a boulder;
its owner,
dressed in a black skirt swimsuit,
looks sheepish and proud.

A man in the foreground
appears to run faster than
a sailboat gliding in the distance.

He stops to behold the vessel,
turns, walks in the opposite direction
and becomes a smaller version
of the man I first knew.

Cool, salty air fills my chest cavity
with a deep disregard for the sweat
formerly formed between
bikini cups.

My mind thanks the world
for the respite of occasional clarity.

By Justine Reilly © 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

View through kitchen window

Red glow
white heat
housed in black power cable
before this
slice of suburbia.

Mango glow
and a magnesium flash:
reaction to sun setting
on a sultry subtropical day.

A scene
melting away
into twilight darkness;
I close my eyes and see stars.

Red glow
white heat
black cable
bodes bleak
for this
slice of suburbia.

Justine Reilly © 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Sweet scent
thick and pretty
fills head
triggers memory
that this here now is happening.

Air of a season
creamy, sad and elegant
fills soul
reminds me
that this here now is happening.

My breath can't escape you;
you don't let me forget.

By Justine Reilly © 2010 

Remembering Uncle Ho in Spring

From the Museum of Ethnography, Hanoi

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


For five minutes
we are alone together
at the table
where your arthritic fingers
carefully inscribe details
into the page to a day diary
so the days don’t blur into one.

Moments alone together are precious, stolen, fleeting;
wise words
while balancing the pool pH,
soothing counsel
while driving this
destitute daughter to the station.

But one moment alone together
remains a trophy in our heart.
It is a shared heart, an inheritance
too giant, gentle and soft,
a troubled survivor
of a world beyond comprehension.

I pose the question:
Do you remember the night we got the Christmas tree?
His eyes regard me
with their dark stormy blue of the North Sea,
a hue once reflected in the eyes of ancestors
who brought us here via the desert.

The moon shone through the clouds,
he says, and the treasure was unlocked.

I wasn’t scared, I say
as we silently reflect
on a dirt road in a quiet forest.
We would have been home by sundown, he says,
if all had gone to plan.

But the wheels motioned
our vehicle deeper into sand
And a gammy elbow
couldn’t support expert hands
to lift it, laden as it was with an orphan sapling.

So we walked
toward the moon.
There was nothing to
be scared of, he says.

Steadily we paced along,
suspended in the freedom
of clear air, towering pines
and the single sound of
feet crunching country byways
in our own little black forest realm.

Your feeling for direction
delivered us to the nearest outpost
of rural civilisation
and alone together
our heart rolled home again.

By Justine Reilly © 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I walk with you

I walk with you
from alibi to alibi.
And sometimes I buy them too.

And sometimes I spy
holes in your case,
so you slide out of it,
sagely declaring an error of perception.

And I provide shelter
and we are hidden and warm.

So which of us
the damaged beggar,
chasing streams of
comfort and pleasure to
some place over the rainbow -
Arguing justification
upon justification;
executing trigger-quick excuses;
telling stories, fables, traveller's tales;
pleading lust, apology, 
or any contradiction;
all the while begging:
pick me, pick me.

With half-lies
or half-truths,
you stretch
my tolerance,
my heart
my hearth
my patience,
till all at once they snap
then collapse.

And now you lie
in filth of your making
and now you are transparent
and now the verdict is clear.

By Justine Reilly © 2010

Audience envy - a limerick

Under the radar I fly
but if you don't see me, I cry.
Undetected, I yearn
for a spotlight that burns
like your confident flames, dizzy high.

Down here is a dank solitude
that may breed a malodorous mood.
But up there on stage
your fiery quips rage
with a satisfied, ripe attitude.

So away in the night I take flight
to the shelter of pure, lone respite.
And compare me no more
with your largesse so sure
in a place unalarmed by stage fright.

By Justine Reilly, © 2010

As read to a famous poet while she ate a donor kebab

He calls it opportunity
She calls it limitation

He calls it: "Just the way I am right now"
She calls it a fear of his past

He calls it simple
She calls it complicated

He says, things happen organically
She says, people make decisions

He says, "I don't want to own you"
She says, "Be proud this woman loves you"

He says freedom
She says you're kidding yourself

He sleeps
She longs for his presence, scent, sweat, warmth, imperfection, humanity

By Justine Reilly © 2010