Monthly Archives: April 2016

Corpse Paint

Goldau_1841

I love the void
of a Turner
Lagoon of Venice
Eternal nothingness

I love paintings that show the divide
between heaven and earth in a clean unbroken line
Water from the waters

Master of emptiness
he sculpts with light      where all is cosmic
crepuscular

I  love the simplicity
of an egg in a stark space

The way Freud placed something
womb-like, perfect and unexpected
next to flawed skin on a broken couch

Colour in a vacuum makes me
want to know what I come from

Where will I go?
Redness can be wetness and death

When colour behaves
it sucks you into a vortex
a mirroredness, transformation
Rothko style
Hand and eye collide
to make a deep picture plain

There is beauty in death
Hirst knows it
Vincent saw so much poetry

in stars he became one
Even Rembrandt painted
a moody carcass
Sacrifice in a tender cluster
of virgins

How we work the queer chapters
of our lives
Warm-blood Caravaggios
Cold-blood Picassos
that we are

 

First appeared in The Journal, UK, 2015

Image ‘Goldau’ JMW Turner

 

Footy and Art Collide

I do love our Ian Potter Gallery (NGV) in Federation Square. It’s just the right scale and is light and bright (unlike the gloomy mausoleum down the road which is grey, vaulty, clattery and unfriendly). I like to see the way the art is moved around every few months and invariably go in on spec and am always blown away by the new exhibitions.

AFL-Pots

On a recent trip to the desert we came upon Hermannsburg and the old mission. The town was depressing with banners across the supermarket warning against domestic violence, broken vehicles abandoned in gardens and an air of neglect in the mission where Namatjira’s art lies dusty and unloved. To then stumble across Our Land is Alive by the Hermannsburg Potters in our Ian Potter was more thrilling than I can express.

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Not only had they made marvellous pots but by decorating them with footy scenes and the finest indigenous players, these pots leapt off their plinths. My photos don’t do justice to the colours and the positive energy in the gallery but I have to say the place was buzzing with all ages.

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I’m not the slightest bit interested in footy but I love this exhibition for all that it represents. Some may feel it panders to Western values, but I view it as a meeting place of cultures, a healthy confluence of youth and experience and a dynamic way to promote healing and working together.   http://hermannsburgpotters.com.au/about/the-hermannsburg-potters/

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Robbie Coburn



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Robbie must be the youngest published poet in Australia, the southern hemisphere, the world. He is also firmly in the public eye as fiction writer, editor, essayist, playwright and critic. His immersion in the literary world is deep and as writer he is prolific. Robbie’s poetry is visceral and lyrical at the same time and oozes emotional honesty. Raised in country Victoria, his relationship with the land infuses much of his work.

I first became aware of Robbie when I was beginning to be published around five years ago when I discovered his blog of Australian poets. I was impressed by the initiative and maturity in one so young. He already seemed like an old hand. He has two new books on a busy horizon, poetry and fiction. Check out his website here http://www.robbiecoburn.com.au.

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selkirk: one

no clean break of sky, a musty air
transcends the paddocks in sheets of cloud,
lengths of sand all the eye can see.

no spec of blue, but sun beats out
from behind the grey overhang to burn
the skin- hands finger the lead,
threading it through to wrap
around the wrist.

they move on their haunches gently
inside expanding fur: there has been
waiting all day, all processed-
a thumb prods the button of a stopwatch,
the dogs lash out together on

an open track
with the rabbit lured swiftly in
a mechanized circle, rounding the pen-
greyhounds caught and walked back
through the winds, sent back out
into the endless track
of this inexhaustible life.

 

You

day begins slowly. been unsleeping  poisoned by alcohol
morning’s dissolve beneath a grey sky
a fear spanning the length of my room

outside my love walks through dawn
a new order  a changed season emerging in her wake

her flesh pierced  gives shape to a pressure in my lungs
radiating into all atmosphere
a weightlessness  mirrored by her eyes sets in
better to be nothing than to starve without her body

walk out my breath concealed inside her palm
skin meets collision of dreaming nights
where its still early  regret a sound escaping my mouth

dark will come make its nest in the vacant space
recollection only dust  a swift vanishing like vapour in wind

all longing given to glass visions
cannot stay in this place
its savage terrain   its mouthfuls of hostile wind

an eclipse of light flooding our bed  where i dwell
the other flesh     her body i must live in..

 

morning

morning.daybroken light
shoulders the rain at the window.
she has deserted me, forgotten her breath
at the foot of my bed
descending on my sleeping face.
each thought doubles. reignites the electric
spark that forms the wall of glass that is her eyes
as they watch me move. not quite moving other than
the tranquil voyage when  i am still, she is not returning.
i drift into the belly of another silence stirred by memory.
we kiss and she vanishes from the doorway. repeat.
today she grows taller as my chest is splintered by
her mouth of moments:
a scar leaving path we walked,
a mark in my arm

remembering her for all that she was
anchored in an act i have yet to perfect.

 

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Bio

Robbie Coburn was born in June 1994 in Melbourne and grew up in the rural district of Woodstock, Victoria.
He has published a collection, Rain Season (Picaro Press, 2013), as well as several chapbooks and pamphlets. His latest chapbook is Mad Songs (Blank Rune Press, 2015).
A new collection of poetry The Other Flesh and a novel Conversation with Skin, are forthcoming.
He currently resides in Melbourne.  http://www.robbiecoburn.com.au