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Rob Harle

Rob Harle

Photo by Lucan Husac.

The Dust of Desire

I play Freudian games in the underground
peering into dark tunnels
traversing the dusty rails in my mind
ever ready to jump aside
to hide flattened in the tunnel wall niche
like a statue in a dirty concrete cathedral,
sepia stains drip down the walls
then the steely bullet snake screams past.

Impatiently I pace the platform
the fragrance of musty metallic dust
seduces me again and again,
the warmth of the musty underground
rises like an hypnotic drug
my mind drifts away to dark alleys.

The alleyways and back streets
a half-light of dark,
a half-life of desire
rises always in these forbidden haunts.
Walking slowly and cautiously
the shadows fall softly
massaging old brick walls.
My silent footsteps
measure the half-life in seconds.

The darkness of the sleeping city
fuels my underground desire.
I search for the door she drew
"Come to the door with a Red Serpent carving!"
Sharp shards of pale moonlight
stab the night air between terraces.
A silent melancholy surrounds my steps
I glide gracefully over the moonlight splinters
as I search for the sacred door.

I feel eyes watching my eyes,
upstairs windows are voyeurs of darkness
the pale yellow light cascades down
impossible for the naked figures to hide
the watched becomes the watcher.
Warm city scent seduces the silhouettes
I linger in the sensuous dark
then to my left I see the Serpent Door.

My knocking explodes the lamplight silence
ghostly forms pulsate in the half-dark
as the door clicks shut behind.
I float downwards
down, down
I'm drawn into a Dionysian dream
Helplessly seduced by the warm metallic chanting
And the rhythm of the swaying shadows.

Healing Canvas

The paintings mesmerise,
mirage like
emotional time bombs
waiting for detonation by careless viewers,
voyeurs with blank stares
mouths agape,
fighting their mind's incredulity.

These writhing canvases brutal in their truth
expose the artist's naked psyche,
stripped raw
blood dripping out of the scratches
as if vinegar had anointed her wounds.
irresistible and enigmatic,
eerily powerful and profound
they have cut me deeply.

Remnants of Freudian ghosts linger
haunting these abstractions,
latent energy screams
as black bounces off ochre and white,
jagged lines fly menacingly
red agitates the balance
angst resolved with squares of grey
the composition is whole,
a tortured healing is complete.

The Lawn Mower Man and His Wife

A measured life
regular, metronomic
andante - no - adagio,
their heads move in unison
left to right - right to left
following each speeding car
travelling east - travelling west.

A friend painted this couple
retired, front patio dwellers
trapped them in the weave of canvas
like they are trapped in the folds of a life.

We speed along to destinations
appointments, meetings, building dreams,
I wonder about this couple's dreams
waiting for the grass to grow
watching and waiting - adagio.

He tinkers in his spare time
all his time is spare
but the clock ticks mercilessly,
motors and broken mowers
aiding and abetting a great Australian Dream,
to own: a pull-start;
petrol belching;
green and gold;

To stake a claim against mortality
to sustain some standing in society,
the quest for the perfect lawn
one to one-point-eight centimetres,
the suburban Holy Grail,
short back and sides for the quarter acre.
On a fading headstone the words ….
"I thought therefore I mowed."

(NB: andante means moderately slowly.
means very slowly, at ease.
means like a metronome click, click, click, click.
quarter acre
means a standard home block of land in the Australian suburbs
means a lawn mower one pushes to cut grass)

The Guillotine

Our global village waits
numb with disbelief
as the invisible decision rises
hovering high above humanity;
the particles of death honed
sharper than any rapier or razor.
The Rainbow sails as David,
across a dancing darting ocean
at peace with dawn and dolphin
to meet Goliath's genocidal guillotine.
Nurses, scientists, farmers chant
Chernobyl: Chernobyl: Chernobyl:
Vacant homes on abandoned farms
stare back at empty hospitals;
records, medical notes, paper bits
stained by blood red rain
lie in the strange ashen dust.
And our global village cries.
They speak in constructions of liberty
but the syntax is one of dire deception
their empty sentences
sentence every living organism
and echo across the sinking vortex
of an earlier Rainbow vision.
And we are silenced by superiority,
by the rhetoric of arrogance
and impenetrable imperialism.
And our global village screams,
Stop! Stop! The guillotine has shuddered down
a hundred times or more,
down, down, down,
each descent disgorging
the inner hearth of Hades.
Evolution's history writhes
and the mutations wonder why,
at first the monstrous babies
with three hearts, no arms or eyes
are gently euthanased,
but the frequency of mutation grows and our global village dies.

NB: The Rainbow means the peace ship called Rainbow Warrior, the first one was deliberately sunk.
Rainbow sails as David
, a metaphor for The Rainbow's insignificance compared to gigantic multi-national corporations. Reference to the myth David & Goliath.



Jayanta Mahapatra: In Conversation with Sachidananda Mohanty
Sarojini Sahoo: In Discussion with Kavita Arya

Deepali Yadav: Divakaruni’s Oleander Girl
Disha Khanna: Mahesh Dattani’s On a Muggy Night in Mumbai
Hampi Chakrabarti: Punctured Conscience
Koushiki Dasgupta: The Poetry of Mallika Sengupta

Book Reviews
Atreya Sarma: ‘Mystic Warrior’
GSP Rao: ‘Tapestry Poetry’
Jaydeep Sarangi: ‘Exchanges with the Thinker’
Priyanka Kakoti: ‘On a Wing and a Prayer’

Ambika Ananth: Editorial Note
Abin Chakraborty
Amreen B Shaikh
Ankush Banerjee
Charles Thielman
Jhuma Sen
Lora Tomas
Neelam Dadhwal
Rafiul Rahman
Rittvika Singh
Rob Harle
Rohan Dominic Mathews
Shanta Acharya
Simon Perchik
Sunita Raina Pandit

Shernaz Wadia: Editorial Comment
Anirudh Kala: ‘Mr Haq’
KL Chowdhury: ‘Tenderer than a Petal…’
Madhuliika Ghose: ‘Inspiration’
Prashila Naik: ‘The B.A. Pass Groom’
Sunil Sharma: ‘Dream’
Vempalle Shariff: ‘A Point of Nails’

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