Accompanying the Double Dialogues conference, Art and Pain, there was an exhibition of paintings, sculptures, photographs and multi-media presentations. Tim Potter was chosen to write poems in the spirit of the conference in response the theme and the art-work, Art & Pain. Tim Potter wrote his poems on parchment and attached them to the walls of the gallery.


Skeletal PastureTeach a tongue to speak a language
massacre for human foliage
to decorate a fungal mind
paintings torn
their mustard sky, hangs
above the royal base
a figure trapped in history’s race
man in death
and the broken son, burn
a face for everyone
to crawl and choke and hesitate
a flaking mould, transparent
fate feeds a lie
a blackened smile
tantric teeth
skin and bile
but when the feet
walk the earth
a pulse is sparked
a faint rebirth
to resurrect and recreate
bodies strong, regenerate
paternal warmth from cratered holes
of landscapes scarred
by hooded moles
who pat the soil with a spade
cocoons of blankets, the masquerade
can fade to dark and
remain on paper
colour heralds the new creator
with brailed words
for a tongue
a kiss so soft
let it run, a
way to sleep in a palm
satin lined in cradled arms.
Stain-Glass Polaroid

My tears and blood swim
pastel pink
I’m pregnant
a thought
a feotal imprint stuck, in
sand and wind and wet and
salty froth, of
fractured hands
I paint
strangle-paint with concrete hair
a cramp in breath,
fill with melt, hot
like wax, thick
between legs of fashion
to be vacant, in
a warehouse
sex flashes, pours
sun on eyes
grins with bubbled spit, dissolve
thrown, shattered
mirrors against metallic, black
holes to swim, taste
the cold, screams
in winter
Cradled Arms

A worm like thread to cross a Nile
place a tick within its aisle
a pew in someone’s altered sleep
a reading faint amongst the heap, of
tired mouths
chapped and burnt
blistered gums to fill a word, of
mute confessions in a box, that
rotten oak
betrays the locks
so battered
bruised and
empty handed
the singing dead
marked and branded.A Tribal Drum

Deaf, of needles that thrust
nectar bursts alive with a splash
that feeds like starving mouths
on bloodied limbs, that
pile high, a fire
to burn of splintered wood, leaves
red like clay, dry, cracked
to build a house of opera
a nocturnal beat
a herd of punctured minds, that
scream with air
a storm, of thumping
fists against walls
of a muse, head
forced under water
ice cold
in a borrowed sea.

Little Soldier

Sit on rocks
cold like ice
tears skin
baby flesh
cut flesh to count the rings
school shorts
suck at thighs
hide bruises like plums
poisoned black
face powder white
beaten to silence
by fists of hate,
socks pulled up
shoes dangle
leather hard.

Rusted eyes
count the birds they used to count, when
salty wet of tongue
that laps at feet
of giggles
running away
with shells in buckets
for warmth and jumpers and
hands through hair
curled in a lap
a nest
of a giant
with shoulders high to see the world.


My arms a prune, moist
that feeds worms, slither
in and out with claws that scratch
teeth bite tendons
they’re dormant
I lie on the bed and wait
I’m naked
clothes ripped off
high heels, red
in the corner
hurry up!
His wallets full to feed the teeth
I’m Linda with a smile and
a prolonged breath
he’s an officer,
im a secretary, waitress
nurse with a hat
the room stinks of piss
he slides on
they start to wake
inside me he has a stupid grin
a glazed look, staring
transfixed on breasts
I close my eyes
let him proceed
they’re turning
I’m a secretary
the worms are licking
he’s pounding
beads of sweat
are trickling down
his balding head
onto the pillow
I’m a mermaid
I can hear two girls
in the hallway
hands clapping
voices rhyming
“girly, girly, comb you hair
for the new boy waiting there”
it reminds me of school
my sister, friends teasing me
about my fringe in grade four
he’s touching my face

They’re scratching
they’re hungry,
“he’s so sweet with golden locks
shirt and tie and school-boy socks”
I’m thinking of summers
sticky lemonade
He’s groaning, breath
smells like beer
they’re writhing
tearing veins
they’re feeding, growing fat
There are more children
in the hallway
laughing, clapping
I remember my first netball games
my old rocking horse
they’re stretching
tearing tendons
gorging, fighting for scraps
my arm’s pounding, thick hot
the claps are getting quicker
“but what she wants in his pants
a golden ring a new romance”
I never touched the horse, scared
it might break, but then I rode it
all the time when I grew older
my arm’s raging
they’re mating, multiplying
there’s thousands
churning, they’re molten lava
teeth ripping flesh
shredding skin
There’s no clapping

there’s a grunt
he’s done
they slow, relax
let go of flesh
he nudges me to the side
black body hair scratches
my skin, there’s puss
he gets comfortable
sweaty mass, fat, pale
he sleeps
my pocket’s full
they can rest.