Friday, February 26, 2010

David S. Pointer

South of the Mason-Dixon Line

American writer David S. Pointer
based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Born in Kansas City and reared in Clinton, Missouri. In Clinton he grew up in the housing projects - the one named ‘Camelot’, also known as the South Project, and in those days was whites only – black American's lived in the North Project. After graduating from high school he joined the Marine Corp. On discharge from the Marines he went on to earn a Master's Degree in Sociology from Central Missouri State University. Presently David Pointer is an unemployed single parent raising two girls.

. . . I remember moving into the Camelot federal housing project in 1973. On my first or second day in the project I was attacked in the back yard while taking out the trash. One of the boys advanced with a two by four lump of timber with nails protruding. I picked up a trash can lid and blocked the oncoming blow. I punched the first attacker and he turned and ran away with the other boys. The day after that they all wanted to be my buddy.

To live in Camelot was to live in isolation. I had previously resided in Kansas City, Missouri in a house with my grandmother and mother. Mom had suffered from major depression since the death of my father in 1965, so I spent a lot of time with my grandma, pets, playing sports, Judo and boxing. My father had been a bank robber, gambler, piano player, bowler, ice skater and many other things. Once I remember my mom talking about my father’s death.
She said "When he died I felt a sudden relief that he wouldn't be able to hurt us or embarrass us anymore."

When I moved to Camelot - nobody knew any of these things, and I don't recall ever telling any of the kids about it either. One of the most shocking early events in Camelot was meeting the Elephant woman Mrs. Foster. I was horrified at first meeting. These feelings would pass and I would come to accept her as most people in the project did. Her son Kevin was the kid with the nailed lump of wood when I was new to the housing project.

At the local Punt, Pass and Kick competition the project kids from our project and the one in northern Clinton were turned away. This allowed the socially upper-class boys to compete without the real competition. After the second year of being turned away I held my own competition. We measured our own events. Later when the national competition was held and shown on TV, I had scores good enough to win all three events. The most interesting thing about this was that when I went into the Marine Corps years later I would meet other guys from impoverished backgrounds who experienced the same kind of "turn away" at a "Punt, Pass and Kick" competition. I think this stuff is still little known today. What's better known is the passing over of better players for bigger players in junior high or high school football especially at the quarterback position. [ Kerouac -a small quarterback - got this treatment in college football from the coach at Columbia University].

Camelot was pretty well maintained and had crews of people working on things. In the summer they would hire teenage black kids from the North project to help cut the grass and do various jobs in both projects. At that time we only had one elderly black lady living in Camelot south. White people were giving the option sometimes of living in either project. Most blacks wouldn't have had that option at the time. Also, I never knew any white kids in the south project to get any of those summer job opportunities either.

The town of Clinton, Missouri was population 7,504 at the time. The surrounding area was a farming community. Later Truman Dam was put in and has become somewhat of a tourist area. Later, I also became depressed and didn't always attend school every day. At high school graduation time, I searched for jobs in the local community but could locate nothing that payed decent. I had worked my way through high school. The best and last job was two and a half years at the local Dairy Queen. I didn't have connections to get on in the mines or at the phone company. From where I was at, during that time, those were the good jobs and only went to employee’s family members and so forth. So, the only option seemed to be the armed services.

The project was a very controlled area too. There was always someone stepping forward who knew what was best for a poor kid. They had no shortage of people who wanted to serve as proctologist for the poor. For example, if you rode your bicycle around Wetzel Circle there was often a report to management. Wetzel Circle was named after a family of doctors and surgeons in Clinton. At other times, a kid would be threatened with Booneville Boys Home. Wetzel Circle would be a logical choice for a kid wanting to avoid traffic on his/her bike. A number of elderly residents didn't want kids anywhere near their location so the bike riding around sacred Wetzel Circle was a major offence where a single mom would often get threatened with eviction.

Recently I found an old friend Steve from the Camelot days who now lives in Australia. His mother had been married to an American service man that abandoned his family to take up a 15 year military residence in Okinawa. Most of the other kids-are scattered to the winds. I don't know what became of them. The ‘Camelot’ sign was later taken down. The project is no longer called Camelot.




Hemingway’s shotgun
is still out there

like a sniper’s rifle
like a forward-positioned gun

you weren’t expecting
casualties on your computer

emotionally stumbling
through the solitude
of cyberspace

needing another drink
to neutralize the threat
of a dry throat

realizing a future writing
reputation has been delivered
on a bipod of raw talent

on a temporary billet
of writer’s block

as the petrochemical
fumes further complicate

the walk over
open carpet

out of position
at the cocktail cabinet

with enough velocity
to lift the elevation turrets
of autopilot

learning center black
is leading you on

your first
internal ambush.


Behind every tense bank teller
glides an image of my father
delicate features through Indian
pink perennials, Ironweed and
late-blooming lantana arriving
early at the bank as Carolina
flowers greet account holders,
Christmas fund financiers, and
Mr. James Earl Pointer-custom
pearloid pistol grips reserved
for someone else's Outlaw poem
as life explodes like a dye-
packed sack of diamonds and
somewhere a ghost of a sad
lady sheriff who confronted
John Dillinger and not my dad
watches me escort myself
with emotional amnesty out of
this maximum security mindlessness.

The Lineup Loved
Dedicated to Mrs. Virginia Foster in Memoriam.

Look, I didn't bring you here to remember the
fine glow on my grandmother's Mason jars,
nor do I have any pardon-me dwarf day lilies
to pass out like bottled water after the poem.
The amputated extremities of my well wishers
are wrapped and refrigerated in the mind's
morgue of memory, and so it is with Mrs.
Foster's unexamined crash file, unautopsied
in images so bleak I can't measure the
neurotoxicity in each dreaming night since:

I met the widowed Elephant woman, Mrs.
Foster at 12-B Bradshaw Drive in 1973,
she had swollen purple lollipop fingers
soothing her children's daily lives, had
happy clacker-style clapping hands
when kid's played housing project baseball
with house fire hot singles and homeruns,
with crowdlessness overcome by her
generous encouragement. In 1991, I
learned she had previously adorned
perfect high school attendance (1948-1952).

And that a silver-plated plaque (retroactive)
commemorated this iconic school event.
What had those hallway years been for her?
Perhaps, like a horror movie's hospitality
committee her classmates cometh and down
gauntlets of goodwill she went-four years
club-foot steppingly faster until her diploma
bloomed with delivery. Had she learned to
circumnavigate the nonviolence of smiles
better than the blue heron at Stones River,
lifting, low still over the gladiator waterlillies,
better than the struggling bank robber's son
who would one day shoot for this poem-
who could come down hills from his own
school faster than a Lakota kid riding winter
on a buffalo-rib sled slicing past the first
fists of social class exclusion, lifting
low still over the rocket red larkspur
her luminous smile rouge-cheek-red
honoring the children rowdy over bases, or
royal with the romp-n-chomp summer recess:

Look, Mrs. Foster's inner-spirit was as the
Moon's glow on my mother's favorite music box.

Untreated in Line

If I treated
Amercan Dream darkness
like a sick patient snaking
flexible endoscope and elevated
anal canal with a lighted
lensed end clarifying
shadowed crevices of
the economic vampire, I
could write this health
care poem to you.


mythic meth residue
surfs a neighbor's wind

unabated to your daughter's
open window ledge lungs

metric vagaries matter
as hydrous ammonia men

converge to cold medicine
mounds cooking ingestible

12" Navaho Code Talker

Maybe this generation’s
Kaw-liga is a Native
American G.I. Joe
displayed in non-smoking
designer coffee sector
overseeing, deciphering
near nightly premium
poetry readings: Grandma's
persimmons, the hometown
healer's front porch, the
Tahiti sunrise dahlias, the
oppressive summer
reading series....

David Pointer's maternal great-grandparents wedding photo 1904


David Pointer is widely published in the American small press and is the author of a number of chapbooks some of which include Wheelchair Dancer (Time Barn Books) and Sign Language (Indian Heritage Publishing). His work has appeared in Blue Collar Review a quarterly journal of poetry and prose published by Partisan Press [ ]
and Labour of Love, and The Beatlick News [ ]

David is editing an anthology on domestic violence. This book will be a fund raiser for local shelters in middle Tennessee and published by Westview, Inc. in Nashville, TN. Submissions can be emailed to David at:

Pointer has work forthcoming in the annual chapbook The Lineup: Poems on Crime #3.

and in Criminal Class Review #4.


Propellant was previously published on

Breakout – (poem about author’s bank robber father) previously published in Pointer’s chapbook Camelot Kid's Triggertopia available at Alternating Current

David Pointer is also published on

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

ellison, shepherd, yule, hemensley, trimble, gruenz

current & ex Melbourne Writers

Dave Ellison

These words
Dead leaves
These lines
Dream boughs
Through time

The Way Of Bop

Wears a badge on his saffron robes
It says, ‘Kung Creole’
His message is spreading fast
Through Balinese rock’n’roll
Now he’s opened up a coffee den
Where his Temple hang out
Snitches fall for the Trapdoor’s swing
When the regulars shout
Who-who can stop
The Way of Bop

In the darkness before his shades
Drifts a junk from the border
Gotta meeting with Desperate Joe
From an outlaw order
Turns to Koolie who digs the den
Rode the sky with honour
Gives the promise of a getaway
In a rickshaw bomber
Who-who can stop
The Way of Bop

Now the Warlord’s G-men pounce
Down on teenage losers
Tells the band, keep the entertained
Chanting Blue Suede Sutras
Gets the Joe to the Temple roof
Wait for pedals in motion
Taken off by Koolie’s wings
Clear over the ocean
Who-who can stop
The Way of Bop

No Hideaway

Next day
Darling turned away
Gone since
He lost the fight
By those upper-cuts
No more
Mothering lies

So loud
Now they run the town
He’s just
Something to buy
No deals
When their wolves appear
Won’t cop denials

Too soft
For a witness box
No speak
Gets pushed around
Pale girl
In a darker world
Stayed clean
All the way down



David Shepherd

The Holy Tree

Once noble
still venerable tree
your innocent arms are dark and dead
giant and brittle
with no sap muscle
in the middle
only your abdomen
bears life
your open slit trunk
bleeds through
the menstrual blue of sky
your tortured limbs threaten
the firmament with twisted fists
but only manage
to scratch and claw
grey arthritic fingers
at empty air
tired tips
of twisted twigs
grate and crack open sores
your hollow trunk
grinds out a baleful warning
of impending doom
creaking and moaning
like the ancient mast
of the Hesperus
you will fall
but leaves still grow
on your shiny side
down low
industrial insects
and hotel-lobby wattle birds
wallow in your green spindly hairs
and still
the mercenary wind
tests your strength
for a time.

(Blackall Ranges.2004)

The Indigo Swift: Song for Shelton Lea

I watched you,
In the Brunswick Street neon night
Dancing across El Fresco tables
Singing Be-Bop
Balancing in the dark
Like a poetic fool
Then falling onto the pavement
Walking stick and legs akimbo
You damaged your foot
That night
It’s a wonder you didn’t kill yourself!
But fortunately you had
A bird on the hand
And two in the bush

Next morning
We meandered
Down to the licensed grocer
For a hair of the dog
Feeling dirty and seedy
With ashtray mouths
You waltzed along
Walking stick and legs akimbo
“What a beautiful day!
Look at that fucking sky!
You wouldn’t be dead for quids, would ya!”
You proclaimed
Smiling at the weak
Early Melbourne sun
I just sneered at you
“What’s wrong with ya,
David, me old China?
The sun is shining,
The birds are singing,
And we’re both alive and free!
What else could you ask for?”
And we both remembered
For a second
What is was like
Not to be free
And we assumed
We were both still alive
So I gave you ten points
For undying optimism
Persistent positivity
And a cast iron constitution
With a bird on the hand
And two in the bush

If Sonny was Nebuchadnezzar
King of Babylon
You were Belteshazzar
The Revealer of Mysteries
Deciphering the writing on the wall
The Interpreter of Dreams
Standing alone
In the company of lions
Shelton Lea
The Larrikin Picaresque Poet
Voice of the lumpen proletariat
The Cant Chronicler of Fitzroy
Grafton, Redfern and beyond
You ripped the writing off the wall
And read it in pubs, clubs, schools and gaols
You are beyond words and time
Your Indigo swift
Transformed into the Phoenix
Soars above
The smouldering ashes of Babylon
No need
For that walking stick and legs akimbo
No need now
For the bird on the hand
Or the two in the bush
Farewell, me ole China

(May 2005)


Fran Yule


Clouds Over Meherabad, Photo by Geoff Whitlock, 2009

The Speech

most of my life i dwelt
in a parallel universe
on a lonely planet coloured blue
completely alone

I had thoughts
not mathematically correct
brimming over
with shapes and forms and colours and voices
born of my imagination
all as solid and existent
as if they were real
and good company

i knew what i meant
even with my fractured
day dream speak

scattered with
sibilant sighs
i understood everything
that came out of me
all my life alone on planet blue

until you came along
formed perfectly
and i found myself struggling
with words and feelings
spoken and written
formal and informal
involving complex gestures
using a rough voice alien to me

two of us on planet blue

romance blossomed
into common relationship routines
you demanded
i finish my sentences
tell the truth
in facts and figures
and i didn't know how
but i'm learning
practicing daily
to precisely utter
with my dying breath

‘most of my life i dwelt
in a parallel universe
on a lonely planet
coloured blue
completely alone
until i learnt
far too late
to love you’

Tell The Truth

with impugnity
is how we live our lives
an interesting view
through a moral eye
just stance
fair word
mental acrobatics

with impugnity
is how we imagine
we account for our lives


spare change on the desk
won't buy a packet of cigarettes
or soft drink

seven library books
piled on top of the printer
only two were interesting
need returning

forms to fill out
for free public transport
and cheap state housing

Avatar's prayers
printed out
and left in a neat pile
rarely read

he's in bed
avoiding the heat
or avoiding

i'm dodging bullets
aimed at my brain
from a .38
held in my own hands

and the telephone bill
for two thousand dollars plus
sits on my bed
disputable but unchallenged
and way overdue



Kris Hemensley

On The Road Again (for Karl Gallagher)

on the road again (whose rep I am) Melbourne to
Shep -- that's over the road again -- Economy
Car B seat 34 window overlooking
long clean highway -- never a driver always the
passenger navigator sidekick affecting
pillion (Easy Rider) -- on the road again
with Kerouac's wry caveat from Big Sur : who'd
believe not hitchhiking but comfortable with
wine in 3rd Class Sleeper coast to coast? -- what happened
to dharma bum? he imagined fans demanding --
Hit the Road Jack dial-tone on two back-packer
German girls' mobile-phone -- as close as I get to

universe poking me in the chest -- "and don't you
come back..." -- Wallan Wandong Kilmore East -- blond shorn stumps
on bleached shaved acres -- unless misled by fancy
a heart could break for less -- abandoned carriages
rust rotting in siding at Seymour for decades --
last home for birds rats & their human counterparts --
broken window in shape of a dark cloud over
the station -- cloud-like shadow across face of
derelict which would spell 'doomed' were a reader of
clouds or shadows on hand to translate -- idiot
joins the train -- requires conductor explain why whole
journey is cheaper than the aggregate of short

trips -- "purchase your ticket or..." -- "are you dismissing
me sir?" -- "let's just say : you'll be walking to the next
town!" -- bails up two adjacent boys -- same questions --
"if it's $8-80 Concession from Melbourne to
Shepperton and it's $6-60 from Broadmeadows --
what is it from Broadmeadows to Melbourne?" -- "dont know"
they say -- dont know either if there's motor-racing
in Burma & Botswana -- but yes their joggers are laced not velchro --
he's head in hands crying "no one wants to talk to
me" -- from out of what stew & heading where? -- on the
road again -- mind hauling the world's inventory
through consciousness's endless contexts -- forever --
train be my confessor -- blue sky grant my pardon

(January 3-8, 2010)


Ken Trimble

Carlton Nights

And we would sit under the Lebanese night
and discuss politics and literature in the darkness.
Shrouded figures sat at tables talking
but not seeing.

Because of him I read Burmese Days and heard of Trotsky
and the perpetual revolution that remained
still born.
Later we would amble over to the Albion and drink our beers
and talk with gangsters, philosophers, pimps and junkies.

In that night when chaos reigned
a girl jumped on stage
inviting all the thieves to a party
somewhere deep in Carlton.

The night was empty of stars
save for the neon popping lights of streets
that left our minds smouldering in the incendiary haze.

We smoked hash
and the night
blurred like a carousel.

Inside the old house we sat around with young men and women,
uniformed police smoked from a hookah,
immersed in
Cairo nights
and apocalyptic visions still to come.

And my heart pounded
and my head exploded
with the colours of a million covenants
lost somewhere in Carlton.


Anna Gruenz

The Massage Parlours (circa 1981)

Brunswick Street blisters in the heat.
Newspapers and dust devils
blow through a Fitzroy afternoon.
The pub doors burst open
with a gust of hot fiery wind
exposing detached boozers
in the dark green glow of VB signs.

The click clack of stiletto heels
rings loudly in the afternoon heat
as she makes the impossible journey
to an improbable storefront brothel.

A steamy brown Asian face
presses against the security grille
pricing carnal pleasures.
he screeches to the accompaniment
of excited giggles from his sidekicks.

Distaste rises in her throat.
But the Simian devil on her shoulder
seductively suggests sexual services
while the TV blares from the backroom
where Diana and Charles
are making the blunder of their lives.


The Indigo Swift: Song for Shelton Lea
previously published in All Travellers We: Poems for Shelton Lea
Eaglemont Press. 2008

The Speech and Bullets previously published on Fran's site

Carlton Nights previously published on Ken's site