Justin Lowe ~ Four Poems


I believe I have moved
beyond the shouting now.

the lines are nicely blurred,
the corners rubbed smooth.

cohesion, let’s be frank, was
never my guiding principle,

the better to watch
and count where others name.

the shouting was a gasp of air,
not of a man held under,

but like someone passing a mirror
in a cobwebbed hall.


gazing out at the rain
only seemed to make it angrier.

he is still to learn
how tempers fray in the tropics,

how tin pleads
like a parrot in a cage,

and night crawls
under a rock with the lizards.

you cannot live here
with your nose in a book

now matter how hard he tries
something is always tugging at his sleeve.

this is his one revelation.

he knows eventually the rain will stop
because they built a city here.

The text that never comes

it is the blanket draped
over an old piano,

the dead bird
still clutching its perch.

it is the stone rolling
down a deserted hillside,

the cat purring
as the needle goes in.

it is the sound
of dust gathering on a book,

the funereal hunch of the uninvited,
the arrow quivering above a sleeping head.

it is the picnickers trying to beat the storm,
like waders suddenly drowning.

it is the question put to a dying man,
the lone comma on a bathroom mirror.


having exhausted all topics of conversation,
the group decided to take turns
reading from an old book.
a candle flickered, of course,
guttered while the leaves chattered at a dark window.
the shadows were long, the alternations comic
between the high-pitched and the sonorous,
the joker of the group casting the only spell of the evening,
rendering a passage of Victorian nonsense sublime.
his pink tongue never once touched his yellow teeth
as the girls cupped their faces and the men sighed and arched their backs,
scratched themselves like dark windows in a storm.
rings began to form around glasses
smoke curled like treason, like the mis-timed joke
the joker paused to let fall
and bury under the wry leaves of his telling.

The Last Resort

bless the tongue-tied child
reaching for my hat,
the beads of chlorine water
little rhinestones of consternation,

bless the bee-keeper in every mother,
the husband of smoke
churling the swarm
of that young girl’s thighs,

bless the armies of untested
the doleful gait the drooping lip,
the steely gaze of privilege and neglect,
bless the one

conspicuous with his secret
who huddles in a corner
with his wine and his muse
and his heart in his throat like someone falling

© Justin Lowe

Justin Lowe was born in Sydney but spent large portions of his early childhood on the Spanish island of Minorca with his younger sister and artist mother. Completing his schooling back in Sydney, Justin gained a BA in the Central West of NSW and then spent several years in Europe working odd jobs and honing his skills as a writer. On returning again to Sydney, Justin settled down with his partner in what was then a fairly crusty Newtown teeming with disparate souls where through the course of the 1990’s he published more and more of his poetry and collaborated with some of Sydney’s finest songwriters such as Tim Freedman of The Whitlams and Bow Campbell of Front End Loader and The Impossibles, as well as editing seminal poetry mag Homebrew and releasing two collections, From Church to Alice (1996) and Try Laughter (2000). In 2001 Justin moved to the Blue Mountains west of Sydney and has since published one more poetry collection (Glass Poems, 2006) and two verse novels (The Great Big Show, 2007 and Magellenica, 2008). His most recent release is Mistaken for Strangers, 2008).