blackmail press 33
Nathanael O'Reilly

Tui Taonga 1-5 Penny Howard
Nathanael O’Reilly was born in Warrnambool and raised in Ballarat, Brisbane and Shepparton. He now resides in Texas. He is the author of two chapbooks, Suburban Exile: American Poems (2011) and Symptoms of Homesickness (2010), both published by Picaro Press, and a recipient of an Emerging Writers Grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. His poetry has been published in journals around the world, including Antipodes, Cordite Poetry Review, LiNQ, Blackmail Press, Harvest, Transnational Literature, Mascara Literary Review, Windmills, Postcolonial Text, Page Seventeen, Southern Ocean Review, White Leaf Review, Red River Review, and Correspondances Oceaniennes.
Kare Kare

Rubbing noses
on the beach
at Kare Kare
bare feet sink
into black sand
Looking west
across the Tasman
the misty rain
and salt spray
beads our faces
We listen
to waves breaking
wind singing
black sand drifting
towards home

Lost Home

A homeless child asleep in a doorway
looks as lonely as an expatriate
returning after twenty years
to find a bulldozed childhood home
where love once took root


For Greg Conlon (1974-2004)

Sitting on the docks
by the Moyne, we tie
fishing line around chunks
of beef and lower them
down through the water
between the rocks
beside the pylons,
tempting crabs into traps.

Fishing boats moored
nearby rock gently.
We try to pronounce
Russian and Norwegian names,
baffled by the distance
they have travelled
from the top to the bottom
of the earth just to fish.

On the northern shore
of the Southern Ocean
we look south towards
Antarctica, unable to grasp
the vastness of space
where the fishermen trawl
suspended far above their prey.

Tugs on our lines tell us
the crabs have given
in to temptation. We gently
draw them up through
the surface into the air,
deposit them into buckets,
impressed by our ability
to take them out of their world.