Two coffee poems


These two “coffee” poems were originally published in Friends with Drinks, a project curated by my good friend Kathryn Hummel in 2016, described as “a worldwide creative collaboration mapping drinking and place”.

Long Black, Flat White

evenings we piece together : over coffee : the end-of-evening café : late : before closing : close to closing : as we spill out onto a street : where the chairs are stacked : the streetside tables packed away : a loose critique : a film we enjoyed : or didn’t : the silt of a long black : & flat white : crumbs : & rasping teaspoons : significances between words : that elude definition : or neatness : things we speak of : that need to be opened : from time to time : to change their dressings : to bring them out into the air & light : knowing they have changed : subsided : like a lung collapsing : or a heart : or a filament of thought : that needs unwinding : our habitual locales : this café, say : at the end of an evening : of how many evenings : as we spill out onto the street : still talking : the suburbs in abeyance : late walkers : passing taxis : & the whole entanglement: a world of light & shadow :


sunlight that’s panelled in : extravagant : to the saturday morning café : late morning : with its coffee cups : & newspapers : grilled sandwiches : & poems : that make no inroads into the clamour : shouting from the streetside : from a cyclist : who anticipates a tort : as a driver turns left across his path : a wrong that’s averted : conversations that are diverted : then run on : poems dissected : their innards out : on the table-top : the mind’s scalpel : & the eye’s scalpel : the stereo throwing its insignia over everything : orange décor : retro : by which i mean contemporary : an up-to-the-moment version : of a ’70s platitude : wedges of a citrus tang : & dark wood : & antique tiles : that are du jour : on trend, as they say : as is our morning : flat white : & long black : on the sunset side of prospect road : everything but the poems : a strain of allusions : cocteau : derrida : mallarme : etcetera : & the vastness of the weekend morning : quiet suburban streets : tree-lined : that stretch away from the arterial : toward a vanishing point : of parked cars : & jacarandas : faux federation homes : that have stood a decade at most : po-faced : aspiring to a grandeur : of stylised sunsets : a moment we’re cosied in : this morning : in its version : of choleric cyclists : & pop-songs : poems packaged up : & the poem, writ large, unchanged : the dregs congeal : & coins keep changing hands :

New poems in ‘InDaily’

Thom Sullivan Poet Poetry Wistow Bugle Ranges

I’m delighted to have three short poems appear together in the Poet’s Corner section of Adelaide’s InDaily. Back in 2007, my first published poems appeared in Poet’s Corner, when InDaily was still the weekly print newspaper The Independent Weekly. Thankfully, more than a decade on, InDaily continues to publish a weekly selection of poems under the curatorial hand of John Miles.

Poetry reading: NO WAVE / Holy Rollers

No Wave Poetry ReadingOn Thursday, 12 September 2019, I’ll be appearing at the NO WAVE poetry reading at Holy Rollers Studios, 69 Prospect Road, Prospect, from 7.30pm. The reading accompanies Holy Rollers’ exhibition, The Scene is the Seen, which is part of the South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival. The event will feature readings by Em Konig, Alison Flett, Edith Lyre, Jill Jones, Thomas McCammon, and me. Further details on Facebook.

Local history: Jubilee Chapel

In 2009, I uploaded this photo of the Jubilee Chapel, Wistow, to a Flickr page I was using at the time. Many of the images I uploaded were of ruined buildings and farmhouses from Wistow, Bugle Ranges, Red Creek, Highland Valley, Hartley, Salem and Callington  parts of the southern Mount Lofty Ranges, also known as the Adelaide Hills, where I grew up. It’s an area I’ve often written about in my poetry.

Jubilee Chapel l Wistow

35°08’18.3″S 138°56’11.7″E

I uploaded the photo with this note: ‘This photo was taken through the rain on a grey autumn morning in 2009. The chapel is located on a back road in farming country 7 or 8 kilometres from the Hartley Methodist Church [the subject of the previous Flickr upload, which I’ve included below]. ‘The chapel was built in 1865 by a Methodist community that settled in South Australia from Cornwall, UK. It was built following a diphtheria outbreak and was named the ‘Jubilee Chapel’ because it was built in the jubilee (fiftieth) year of Methodism in Australia. By 1886 services ceased due to poor attendances, with many members of the community moving on in search of better prospects. My understanding is that many moved on to marginal areas of the wheat country in the state’s Mid North and fell on difficult times there too (as later arrivals many re-settled north of Goyder’s Line, where rainfall is low). ‘The chapel subsequently fell into a state of ruin. It was rebuilt in the 1980s and was used at one time as a bed-and-breakfast.’

IMGP0845b (2)

35°11’01.3″S 139°00’11.6″E

A few years ago, an Adelaide historian tracked me down via Flickr to ask if the image could be published in a forthcoming local history book. Last year, the image – along with one of my poems – was published in Wistow and Bugle Ranges: A Community History, by Beryl Belford, Christeen Schoepf, Skye Krichauff, and the Wistow History Group. It’s a timely account of the area’s history. Trove offers this précis of the book, which I was so pleased to have some small part in: ‘Changes in lifestyle due to the rapid loss of farming land through the government’s rezoning of land inspired members of the Wistow History Group to research the history of European settlement in their district. Drawing on oral histories and archival material including privately held photographs and documents, newspaper articles, maps and government records, this book provides a social and cultural history of the Wistow and Bugles Ranges districts of South Australia from 1830 to the present. ‘Topics covered include: Explorers’ records and early settlers’ reports of Aboriginal occupation; the early settlement process with the Davenport and Mt Barker Special Survey system and the allocation of land to new immigrants; short biographies of early settler families, the descendants of whom remain connected to the Wistow/ Bugle Ranges district; changes in land use and the shift away from subsistence farms due to developments in technology, market trends and climatic concerns; transport and postal services, beginning with the surveying of Chauncey’s Line in response to the gold rush; education and the formation of schools, childhood memories of growing up in the district; social events, fundraising and the building of the Wistow Community Hall; public houses and the social and political activities held in them; sport including ploughing matches, pigeon shooting, hunting, cricket and tennis; churches, in particular those established by the Primitive Methodists; burial grounds and cemeteries.’