Spotlight on QLD Poets #2: Helen Brake

Sunday afternoon is a heady mix of storm clouds and sunshine here in Brisbane… and of course, words. And today I have some that are diamond hard in their vision to share with you. The words of another super-talented Brisbane writer, Helen Brake. If you enjoy this, then why not spread the word… Helen is a voice you are going to be hearing a lot more of!

Helen Brake: If she were a derby player, her name would be Hell-dawg; a Sicilian baker, Elena; a sister, Eggroll; and if she were a daughter, it would be Emily. Regardless, her favourite smell is amarena cherries soaking in cooking sherry. Her words have been published in Eureka Street, Voiceworks and The State Library of Queensland’s website.



Tilt your head as a cat ordering a caress;
the streetlight turns raindrops into the hologram
of a pyramid. Inevitable as a fogging mirror
it disappears
at chest height—ventured too far from its source of light
and your range of vision.

Swing your legs and kick the cold. Hands clap twelve
and the 380 appears like a creature from a younger world. It’s
elongated Jurassic body follows a
blinkered gaze, and
spears light in
narrow tunnel vision.
Sax player
in the spotlight. Isn’t she lovely?
Isn’t she wonderful? Isn’t she precious?

Time chases breath in a deep exhale. Reveals
night musician’s canvas face, dancing brows, ankle cloak—
a backlit silhouette
advertising neon joy. C major taps
bus stop blues. Tipsy teenagers
and misplaced Motown spin circles
over a wasteland cityscape.

Downstage centre
Stevie’s brass voice dances
Adelaide quickstep
with the cigarette scent of wet bitumen.


Sweat is born shouting

on a cheese square
and accuses the bewildered
vegemite audience
of stealing
its personal space.

Shadecloths adjudicate—
grow bored,
bend their knees, drop
shadows on concrete.

The rope claps a chant
and partners
each girl
claps a chant, partners’


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Filed under poetry & publishing

3 responses to “Spotlight on QLD Poets #2: Helen Brake

  1. Luke Best

    Pleasure to read Helen. Really creative imagery!

  2. If my memory’s not playing tricks on me, I was delighted by the “Stage Notes” piece at SpeedPoets. Looking forward to hearing more!

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