The Outsider

Though I don’t usually put out two posts so close together, I wanted to post my poem “The Outsider”, which won second prize in the 2008 Bravado International Poetry Competition, as soon as Bravado 14 had appeared.

In Bravado 14, you can also find the other poems placed in the competition, “In a Field of Snow” by Michael Harlow (1st) and “Shoe” by Sue Wootton (3rd), plus the ten Highly Commended poems, plus other excellent poems and stories. Among those with work in this issue are Helen Lowe, Helen Lehndorf, Mary Cresswell and Michael Botur.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, check out the Bravado website for info on how to get a copy, subscribe, and submit.

The Outsider

He was Little Johnny Howard’s biggest fan
a man made from scriptwriters’ dead ends
and something like biltong, transplanted.

Glints from a narrowed eye bent the red dust backwards.
The cattle, hypnotised, crushed snakes
as dingoes ran panting for cover.

But even he could not defeat the sky.
Cracked and pitted, turned three-fifths to sand,
he rode into Toowoomba near closing time.

The streets devoured his bones. A green light
fires a hundred Holdens down his spine. A red light
floods the land with spinifex, like rain.

5 thoughts on “The Outsider

  1. Congratulations on the second place finish. This one is great. It flows so smoothly, and the language is beautifully disturbing.

  2. Thanks, Johanna and Lee! I was pretty pleased with this one. The story behind it is that I wrote the first two stanzas several years ago, but couldn\’t come up with a way to finish the poem. Then, prior to the competition, I read a comment from the competition judge, Tim Upperton, about his poetic likes and dislikes, in which he said that one thing he didn\’t like was poems about an old stockman taking his last ride. Hey, I thought to myself, I have the beginnings of one of those – so I finished it and sent it in. Cheeky, but effective!

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