Rob Schackne #8 – Insomnia


They walk at night
in this old cottage
above in the rafters
a ceiling of riches
below the floorboards
where it wasn’t buried
they whisper in the wall
it was taken from
some call them ghost
or possums strolling
the length of the house
north to south and back
ask if they’re friendly
the hurt feelings
all in a dream
what do they say
I listen to them chatter
of poison and regrets
it was a gold town

Rob Schackne #7 – Love Close

Love Close

I used to believe my body
was a traitor, it had betrayed
my orders to live forever

pieces have gone missing
in a temple full of dirty coins
and now the smell is old

was there sanctity in decay
might I yet turn it, to serve
energies that still remain

ah I didn’t recognise it before
body, my body thought differently
and where it went I followed

Rob Schackne #6 – Home Before Daylight

Home Before Daylight

Fallen, whether failure or loss
the centre never held, now
that your name is invisible
the numbers are many—

dirty jackets, unscrubbed faces
getting home before daylight
sunflowers without any sun
screaming at what isn’t there

watching the short ride
fast approach the ground—
good that you have company
good the dark one’s not interested

Rob Schackne #5 – The Work

The Work

           for Tie Wu

Let me hold this brush
and I will remember
the drops of water

upon the white paper
watch the water strokes
disappear like Spring

let me hold my breath
a cloud begins to form
I remember emptiness

how it looked before
the way it later was
let me do this again

Rob Schackne #4 – Sappho


Sappho   my exception
the first   female voice
just enough   the fragments
loud   all you left us
structure   of skeleton
lines you wrote   the missing
reversed   reflected   undimmed
this forever   on the outside
this sleeve   all these hearts
after sunset   the wedding
how much   you taught us
pantelos mikra   melaina

Rob Schackne #3 – The River

The River

Today he wrote a river
its eddies wore strange marks
on a flowing page, boulders
semi-submerged like hymns
the banks were huge, the plains
went on for miles of words
oddly discernible, then not—
balanced an enormous sphere
that was empty of meaning
overseeing the asemic, but
not nothing, not nothing there
a peace, a better silence
we wrote it together.

Drawing “Oggi ho scritto un fiume” by Enzo Patti (2021)

Rob Schackne #3 – Winter Birds

Might we believe

there is darkness

in the swallows

the sound of purple

bigger & smaller

but only birds

one two three

were they shallow

that flew away

give piano player

a bottle of beer

bring me down

does the music

ever come back

where do I stand

where’s the mic

long long night

where did you go

bring me another

owl and flower

Rob Schackne #1 – The Condition of Things

The Condition of Things

You could wonder

dogs are said to 

listen to music


though a bit blankly

to a shuffle of jazz

rock and blues and country





eyes closed

asleep at your feet

something captured

before it rains

perhaps dreaming 

of wild things

of poetry

many aspirations

another walk

something to eat