High Wire Step

High Wire Step
by Magdalena Ball
Flying Island Books
Australian Pocket Poets Series
ISBN: 978-99965-57-35-4

There are limited hard copies available directly from Flying Island Press

High Wire Step is a collection of poems that engages deeply with political issues, from the impact of violence, oppression, and human arrogance to the power of empathy, collective consciousness, and humility. The varied voices in these poems are often playful and post-modern while keeping a fiercely scientific perspective, encompassing collective grief and responsibility, and drawing together the macro perspective of the universe with the micro perspective of heartbreak. These are poems about the impact of greed, bigotry, social change, genetic inheritance, homelessness, disability, and loss, but they are also poems with a slightly mystical slant, exploring transcendence and alternative forms of power and transformation  From the technological singularity to crypto-currency, edible crickets to Trump Tower, High Wire Step moves organically between time and space, between an urban and a wild landscape and between despair and hopefulness.

“From the opening poem Ball weaves timeframes, precarity, vulnerability and the indifference of contemporary life, its subtle menace.” Brianna Bullen for Plumwood Mountain. Full review here: https://plumwoodmountain.com/brianna-bullen-reviews-high-wire-step-by-magdalena-ball/

“there are so many intersections and cross-references in these rich and magical poems as they explore personal grief and personal histories, and vast consuming grief at what capitalism has done and is doing to this beautiful planet …and its inhabitant–all its inhabitants, human and critter, plant and bacteria — down to every inter-connecting intersecting level. In a sense this is a book about living in the Anthropocene, bringing together an experience of both sides of the planet — from New York to Newcastle — like a big circling hug that wants to embrace all of it, the pain and the beauty, the fragility and the extraordinary strength – every atom.” Beth Spencer for Rochford Street Review. Full review here:  https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2019/11/29/beyond-the-culturally-scripted-response-beth-spencer-reviews-high-wire-step-by-magdalena-ball/

“Magdalena Ball’s…poetry collection is what anyone would call acutely political, both boldly and at different times subtly. And such a collection, these days, has become a ‘sort of necessity’” ~ Jayant Kashyap, Humane

Precarious Inscruitable

When the sea rises to eye level
tears become redundant

every day a baker’s dozen
or more

the red list has 20,000 names
20,000 is a random number
unbounded, like e or Pi
though more finite

0 is usually taken for granted
like the sound of nomatic flocks
passenger pigeons aggregating
flapping, filling the sky in thickened clouds
warbling, dropping, disappearing
leaving a silence so profound
it hurt the ears
until we got used to it

our ear drums morphed
attuned to the sound of the engine
the clack of a keypad

we filled the gap with
gun shot, cash registers
the slide of plastic, the squeal of
pigs heading for slaughter
lathes, hammerings
efficient death is noisy business

a noise we cling to
in order to hide the increasing
silence of
billions of missing
the cardinality             of the empty set