Three Poems

Poetry by Elaine Equi
Bicyclist, Williamsburg, N.Y., 1986, by Noel McKenna. Copyright the artist. Courtesy the artist.

for Robert Zandvliet

The road is public;
the path, private.

One follows
like a genie
a smoke ladder.

A row of trees
staggers uphill.

A pinball moon
bounces silver


between thin


This cookie has
no personality --

no signature
crunch or

It's really just
a holder for
chocolate chips.


Cold polishes
sky’s black mirror –

making footsteps,
breath, even thoughts

Edged with snow,
darkness shines
bouncing off cars.

On nearly empty streets,
the angular poses
of mannequins glow.

One shop stands out
from the rest,

containing nothing --
a glass shell
of empty shelves.

The black diamond
must have been stolen
from here.

Dissolved in night,
it will never be found,

now that we are walking
inside it.

Elaine Equi

Elaine Equi is the author of many books including Voice-Over, which won the San Francisco State Poetry Award; Ripple Effect: New and Selected Poems; and most recently, The Intangibles. A new collection, Out of the Blank, is forthcoming from Coffee House Press. In 2023, she was the guest editor of the annual anthology, Best American Poetry.

Noel McKenna

Noel McKenna works in a variety of media, including oil, enamel and watercolour, lithography and etching, ceramic and metal. He produces offbeat depictions of everyday scenes, often including displaced objects, people and animals. His spare canvases hint at narratives beyond the picture plane, often movingly depicting the relationship between humans and animals.

Noel McKenna is a finalist in the 2021 Dobell Drawing Prize, as well as in 2019. In the same year his work was shown at Art Basel, Switzerland; Sydney Contemporary; Bayside Gallery, Brighton; and Niagara Galleries, Melbourne, and he released the publication End Street through Perimeter Editions. He was a finalist in the 2021, 2020, 2019, 2016, 2015 & 2014 Sir John Sulman Prizes, as well as a finalist in the 2018, 2017 & 2014 Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 2016 McKenna’s work featured in the Dobell Drawing Biennial at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

In addition to being a finalist in a host of prizes, he has been the recipient of numerous prizes including the Trustees Wynne Watercolour Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney five times, Mosman Prize, Mosman Art Gallery, Sydney and The Sir John Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

Born in Brisbane, Queensland in 1956, Noel McKenna has exhibited extensively, holding solo exhibitions in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Hobart, as well as in Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Ireland and New Zealand. Recent exhibitions include Noel McKenna: Landscape – Mapped at Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2017) and Cats that I Have Known at The Watermill Center, New York (2016). South of No North (with Laurence Aberhart and William Eggleston) Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2013). 

His work is held in all major state and regional galleries, and important public and corporate collections throughout Australia and overseas. McKenna currently lives and works in Sydney.

(bio from Niagara Gallery)