Series Editor - Jim Bennett


Welcome to the next in the series of CITN featured poets.  We will be looking at the work of a different poet in each edition and I hope it will help our readers to discover some new and exciting writing.  This series is open to all to submit and I am now keen to read new work for this series.


You can join the CITN mailing list at - http://www.poetrykit.org/pkl/index.htm and following the links for Caught in the Net.




I learned from you the secret
to perfect cannelloni (the best
beef mince, the neatest way
to stuff the tubes). Took notes,
perched on the kitchen bench,
your necessary audience.


                 from;  For a man who loved brute force 

by Tricia Dearborn





The changes
For a man who loved brute force

Love was a slow-burning fuse
Eat my secrets
Making pipettes
Come in, lie down
Second skin
Everything we’re made of





I’m an Australian poet, and my first collection, Frankenstein’s Bathtub, came out in 2001. I’ve been published in Australia’s top literary journals, including Meanjin, HEAT and Southerly, and was joint winner of the 2008 Poets Union Poetry Prize. My work has been featured in the Best Australian Poetry and Best Australian Poems yearly anthologies, and is represented in Australian Poetry since 1788, a landmark anthology edited by Geoffrey Lehmann and Robert Gray, forthcoming in 2011. I’ve received two New Work grants from the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, the most recent of which allowed me to complete the manuscript for my second collection, The Ringing World.






a mango rests curved
in the palm
as if born to it
flaunts itself to nose and tongue
as though entering your flesh
were its one original desire
spreads its tenacious stickiness
across your cheeks
drips down your forearms
anchors itself between your teeth
like it just
can’t bear to leave


The changes

Kissing Louise was a bell. Unlike
the chimes of the genteel drawing-room clock
it gave no warning before it struck.
It was more like the shock of the extra-early
morning alarm
on the day of the journey.             

Or the sudden shrilling of a schoolroom bell,
calling me in
to a strange new lesson.
It rang sweet as a tardy dinner gong
summoning me to a meal
of scent and heat.
Resonated like a great church bell
calling the villagers over fields
to christenings, to benedictions.                                     
My throat sang my body  
swung my skin shone
and my old life shivered and fell from me
and lay like the sweat of the ringers in the tower.



I think, therefore I am,
said Descartes, but
while he thrice denied
the body, his neurones
pulsed with electric
solutions, his blood
pumped iron and the
bellows of his chest
dragged from
the protesting air
molecules to feed
his ravening lungs.
On his slow days
(when perhaps he found
the proof of his existence
less convincing)
I imagine him
looking for reassurance
to his face in the glass
oblivious to
the fingerprints
and mist of breath
that proved him
as surely as his reflection
or what his mind
made of it.


For a man who loved brute force

you had
a delicate way with food.
I watched you cook baked apples,
your blunt nail-bitten fingers
pressing brown sugar and spices
into the centre of each
cored green apple, large hands
gently lifting the ladle
to coat them in honey-butter sauce.
I learned from you the secret
to perfect cannelloni (the best
beef mince, the neatest way
to stuff the tubes). Took notes,
perched on the kitchen bench,
your necessary audience.
Poured your whisky, privileged
to have you to myself.
Like the time when I was five,
and Mum was away (perhaps having
one of the babies that did not live).
You brought home rump steak.
Showed it to me first: pure red
muscle on a plate.
Grilled it — you told me —
to perfection. I see
on a bread-and-butter plate
my own small portion. Tender.



oh I
remember us
parked in your ute
out the front of
the night-lit service station,
ten metres away
the highway, silent
we kissed
some slow time later   
your fingertips
described two arcs
of muffled touch
charting a periphery
defined by
an untouched centre
puckered, pink
behind the training bra
and the beige rib knit


Love was a slow-burning fuse

with you, it didn’t
catch me in the heart
like a punch
and leave me spreadeagled
like last time
it snuck
it crept
it stole
like a gentle rain
like a fine dust settling
or a creeper growing
until I saw it
glinting from
lying smug as dust
in the crevices
of my days
twined tight
as ivy roots
round my foundations


Eat my secrets

Once we have carried out
our parts of the bargain
my secrets will be
safe, in the dark
vault of your body.
You alone understand
how I’ve ached
for the slow caress
of digestion, craved
to be held within
another’s cells.
You will pack me away
in plastic bags, against
the coming months,
against your own
peculiar hunger.
You will relish me.
What could be sweeter?
I want to be known.
This way
you can taste me
all the way to the bone.

In 2001, Armin Meiwes placed an ad on the Internet for a willing
person ‘to be slaughtered and then consumed’. Bernd Jürgen Brandes
responded, and Meiwes killed and ate him as agreed, meantime
storing the body parts in his freezer.


Making pipettes

Rolling the hollow rod above the bunsen,
blue flame glowing orange where fire embraces glass,
turning it in the fingertips watching for something
almost ineffable, the particular shine that denotes
a particular malleability.
Then taking the rod from the flame
and in one swift motion stretching it,
six inches for a pipette (if making
capillary tubes, the full arms’ length
as if to say This far! to a sceptical crowd).
If attempted prematurely, it will force a sluggish length
that cramps up again too soon;
left too late and the rod’s slack belly
will droop into the fire, irreparably deviate.
Once the tube is cooled, take a file
and make a nick
at mid-point where you will snap it, rendering
two tiny mouths wide-open; fitting to the other end
a rubber bulb, a lung, to draw up some solution
that mustn’t touch the skin.
Patience, narrow observation and precision are required
to forge this least precise of measures.
A certain dramatic flair merely adds to the pleasure.


Come in, lie down

I’m new to you and your let’s-get-to-it.
Flat on my back that first time
not five minutes after the front door
snicked behind you. New to this
excoriating tenderness, passion
that leaves me stubble-scraped and scabbed.
The shock of those minuscule nipples!
The lean hairy thigh that met my palm
and made me laugh out loud. Later you asked
was it OK, for sex with an alien?
Women are sea-creatures, you said,
one hand curved at the soft swell of my thigh.   
Like seals. And men are goats. I like you
inside me, when I want it. I like how you held my hair back
that first time we stood there kissing. You come
so close to sating me with touch, stroke into me
relaxation I rarely know.
Round up and banish ancient threats
whose names I’m beginning not to recognise. Still —
I miss that brine-lapped cleft, the way that sealskin
glides on sealskin. One day I must
go down to the seas again.  


Second skin

the black that billowed through here
from next-door
settles still on the kitchen cupboards
splashed by the washing up
the paintwork drips in sooted runnels
the fuel he tossed onto your body
ran in rivulets that spread to sheets of fire
shearing off all sensation, stripping you
of the surface that meets the world
when I saw you curled at the bottom of the stairs
you were not charred but shiny and mottled
by now you’ll be sheathed in
a pressure-bandage chrysalis
which some day will be peeled back
to reveal you
patterned with the scars of multiple grafts
in my house, the aftermath still settles
washing up, rubber-gloved against the heat,
I think of you, pressing against the world
your fire-new surface,
feeling nothing


Everything we’re made of

comes from earth; we cry, returning
borrowed salt; we give our bone and muscle
back to the earth to suck, as ash,
as rotting flesh: that calcium atom in your skull —
star-fired, congealed to rock, dissolved
by rain, passed on to you, breathing blood
in your mother’s womb —
will settle in another’s bone some day
when your atoms range over mountains, rock
in the currents of distant oceans
no matter how steadfast, stock-still this life,
one day you will travel the world


3 - Publication details

‘Flirt’ first appeared in Meanjin Vol. 69 No. 3 (2010)
‘Come in, lie down’ appeared in Southerly Vol. 67 No. 3 (2007), and in The Best Australian Poetry 2008 (ed. David Brooks, UQP, 2008)
‘The changes’ will appear in Australian Poetry since 1788 (eds Geoffrey Lehmann & Robert Gray, UNSW Press, 2011)
‘Eat my secrets’ first appeared in Cordite Poetry Review No. 32 (2010)
‘Proof’, ‘For a man who loved brute force’, ‘Making pipettes’, ‘Second skin’ and ‘Everything we’re made of’ are from my first collection, Frankenstein’s Bathtub (Interactive Press, Emerging Poets Series, 2001); ‘Proof’ also appeared in Gender and Justice (ed. Ngaire Naffine, Ashgate, 2002)
‘Fuel’ and ‘Love was a slow-burning fuse’ are unpublished.


4 - Afterword

Email Poetry Kit - info@poetrykit.org    - if you would like to tell us what you think.  We are looking for other poets to feature in this series, and are open to submissions.  Please send one poem and a short bio to - info@poetrykit.org

Thank you for taking the time to read Caught in the Net.  Our other magazine s are Transparent Words ands Poetry Kit Magazine, which are webzines on the Poetry Kit site and this can be found at -