Saturday, December 7, 2013



Lucas North: 1973 - 2013 - writer, poet, novelist, editor, car restorer, skater.

To my dear Lucas, my partner for 12 years.
I will miss you terribly, but will remember all the good times we had together, our literary talks, our readership of our work, back and forth. I will always remember your sense of humour and how you always tried to make me laugh. I will always remember the days when you called me to lift a jack or milk-crate when you tinkered on your V-dubs and I will hold dear all the holidays we had together. Your novels and poetry are now in my safe-keeping, but they will be aired to the world, this I promise you. Love, your very own Helen xxx



Emu Walking   by Lucas North

I
Toward the end of Ramadan
when the October humidity squats close and withholds
the prospect of rain,
the Iranian boys argue, voices as dull and blunt
as their machete blades while they work through
this final acre of cauliflower.

I am the outsider in this land
as they carve whispered slashings
through thick atmosphere, not bothering
to translate for me their nil by mouth fatigue,
while back in the lunchroom
the Unbelievers eat and drink as ever.

II
Stalking behind the tractor,
The boys toss up cauli, quarter it
with deft impatience in its tumble back to earth.
My ears grow prickly for what is implied in their tone,
testing my instinctive feel for Persian syntax.
I listen to syllables cracked and curling at the edges
like paper making its slow incendiary turn
from one state to another.

III
I have stopped. They march on.
When one of the fellows turns back
to see the tension around my eyes dissolving
and my gaze easing to a middle distance,
he sees what I see:
at the acre’s scrub end
the stiltwalking steps of an emu,
its curious Henri Mancini shuffle, neck craning
toward its young doppelganger,
wearing thin plumage and spindly-legged as any child.
One man points a blade at the birds. His countrymen stare
and turn their questions upon me,
starting with ‘What it is?’
as if I am a native, and it is me who is responsible
for this apparition, this dreaming,
this sudden laughter
releasing a barometric pressure
held like breath.



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Helen Hagemann's first literary collection, Evangelyne & other poems, was published by the Australian Poetry Centre in their New Poets Series 2009. She has two e-books, The Joyous Lake & Par écrit: poetry of the feminine @ http://issuu.com/evangelyne/​​docs/joyous_lake/

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