Keri Glastonbury

Keri Glastonbury is a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle. She completed a Doctorate in Creative Arts at University of Technology, Sydney, in 2005. Her thesis, titled ‘Shut up nobody wants to hear your poems!’, staged a friendly title bout between painter Adam Cullen and poet Ted Nielsen, two male grunge auteurs of her generation. She has published two books of poetry, Hygienic Lily (Five Islands Press, 1999) and super-regional (Vagabond, 2001) and has an unpublished manuscript ‘Grit Salute’ (2004). She is an editor of the small publishing company, Local Consumption Publications (www.localconsumption.com) who are this year releasing the title Strawberry Hills Forever by Vanessa Berry.



                   hygenic italy

‘but are you social nexus or cultural interstice?
that’s the type of question the tour guides
won’t answer’
Ted Nielsen, ‘Pax Romana’.                    ( effusive:

you’d like to be differently enculturated, though in the end
there’s a charm in being in relation to yourself, irrespective
like age, that won’t excuse anyone—& yet, tonight
you fell in love with her impeccable rendition of rebellion
so braced, like a sleek carriage with a hybrid accent
acquired abroad. you, all the while, way too verbal
is it really freeform? even the american was grounded, smoothly
modulated, listening to your mental garbage cleansing—as the
roman sky turned cobalt blue against the mustard church
you’re surrounded by new exteriors & too many saints
as suddenly all your tropes seem so maligned—being gentle with
yourself to coax the high down
what a lot of english you can sprout
                                                           ( hygienic italy:

pigeons and satellite dishes occupy the event horizon
across vast condominium rooftops
perhaps fluttering anti-angels leave the basilica
for the smashed terracotta hill of testaccio
or form emergent, from the grunge and gravitas
but are they, even ala
laurie anderson, luce iragary, jorie graham
your ideal intermediatries?
at a point where art & money cleave together
or apart, a plaque on the wall tries to unite
in new ideas and faith in talent
heralding all our smug alterities (eg: poems)
a situated intelligence
which leaves you to gesticulate on the streets
the mastery of repeating language acquisition
something else you always yawned at, until now
a sonorous cipher, you wish—along with a fiat cinque cento
          for hooting around

                                                ( bella figura:

the driver in pigtails and furs tries ardently
to elicit more than physiognomy’s silent science
the movement of the car naturalising the city streets
to a point of cathexis that never arrives
trouncing your fledgling accretion process
your fringe mown in an attempt at suburban sharp
& more like, a member of hush. you sense
you’re surrounded by voracious readers & translators
not afraid to overshoot the mark.. so, it’s preferable
to internal monologues, or the self-deprecations
of the ‘performative’ you’re used to
or cowering in the face of the high femme
once summer breaks out the mini-skirts
followed by a joke about trains full
of perfumed boys playing pocket billiards
                                                                ( 3rd rate hotel:

a sandy rain, born devotional
roughs a sirocco sky like stone wash
while you’re breaking the settee
of arts council fantasy you believe it
when she says rome’s been spoilt
post the 60s but let’s not get glib
there’s always memory studies
and expatriate experts even angels
have right wings as if a counter-reformation
on traffic infringements might start
a spate of double-parking in perth
her sister-in-law as howler monkey
so it bothers us, like passive smoking
the botticelli’s so blanchett
& woo, i’m feeling so bohemian like you
                                            ( justified & ancient:

a slumped angel
           headstone and gramsci’s grave
find you among the conifers
           & a posthumous library
weighted by voluminous spines
     & a short shelf-life
           a shift to the affective level
getting your attention
           like heavy handed art house
reading old books
           has you surprised to learn
the dog ‘shat’ in the tucker box
though for the most part
           you remain disengaged as a cabby
on imperial administrative interests
           driving home the episteme
                                                     ( carravagio:

a rapid summer downpour, street’s full of motorini
horns and sirens, while you’re buffeted along
plateau upon plateau—jargon relative
as rabbiting on, whatever else concomitant with that
one day molar, next molecular—illuminated manuscript
or subcontracted signwriter, THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT
in 500 point georgia bold—a question of flow
god is a vector monster, remaining beneath, above
& within the product—or just shot through
your spiritual highs make you reach for the love addiction guide
as you will the lines closer together, into a thrumming scaffolding
no grumpy bastard could use to translate or reproduce
later, rain sprinkling in through the roof’s natural shower rose
wandering home from the family palazzo, the etonian accent
of the prince roller-skating round the ballroom
the squeamish pope in red ‘too real’—& st john the baptist
in nomenclature only, a wry tuft of adolescent pubic hair
soft, as upholstered walls in genovese velvets
                                                               ( brava:

infused by gradients of atmosphere, as the city’s spring
makes the laundromat cheery and deferred purchasing
limns the shopfronts, a threshold away from murano glass
and your exquisite ambivalence. the street’s pock marks
the pique arousals. poor pride, as well as prada
street vendors assuming you’re nordic, demure, pure
& full of forgetting in the self-image quiz show
things just playing out, remnants of the
feminine, adjusting your antenna—to appreciate
bras and leather goods in the windows
wondrously—& no magazines have colonised
the space you are in. you won’t enter the stores
and cultural discretion will thrive on these glimpses
the body there, but you’re not in the driver’s seat
perhaps you thought it was the passenger side