Henry Briffa – The Odd Job

Henry Briffa LEP&W Sept-Oct V1 2022

Download PDF Here Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume One Sept-October 2022. 

The Odd Job, poems by Henry Briffa


the odd job

which story should I give
as I introduce myself

to this man asking
what’ you do?

if I say
“I’m a consultant”

he’ll leave it alone —
suitably impressed

I announce my title then hear
scuse me must get a beer

my words hang
like spring lamb

truth is I sell
love to strangers

liberate people
from sense-less jargon

assist them develop
their stories

help re-form their
neural sentences


Freud’s Porcupine in the Anthropocene*

it’s not an inability It’s not listed in the DSM
but a capacity we have that chills

I’m shamed by you blocking my number
towards erasure

in the manner of wound up forces
I’m propelled to act so I email
congratulating you on your new job in Justice
leaving home & relocation to Canberra

knowing that failing to reach out would be negligent but when I do I’m a pain

then not knowing where hope might hide
I eye the impersonal solace of Google

where an authoritative page claims Coddiwomple is the tonic for Parental Estrangement social plague of the Anthropocene 13.4 % afflicted
many suffering comorbid issues
our type amongst the more common
separated father adult daughter
& I’m advised to take on board your views
paternal and tricky

like that porcupine on Freud’s desk
indisputably prickly this winter

with quills in snow

* Freud had a fascination with Porcupines; cold-climate creatures who huddle together to keep warm but suffer from a tendency to needle each other with their quills when they attempt this. He felt this repeated pattern reflected something of the human condition.


© Henry Briffa

Henry Briffa was born in Malta and practises Psychology in Melbourne, Australia. His poetry was highly commended in the Queensland Poetry Festival Emerging Older Poets Mentorship (2018) and the Christos Poetry Prize (2001). Walking Home, his chapbook, was published by the Melbourne Poets Union (2019). Over 40 of his poems have appeared in local and overseas journals including Rabbit Poetry Journal, N-Scribe, Unusual Work, Golfo, Teesta, Poems on Posters (University of Western Australia) and Receipt poetry (City of Yarra). They can be found online at Mediterranean Poetry and in the Disappearing. He has been anthologised in the Australian Poetry Journal 2020, Stay a While, Writer’s Egg Magazine and 9000 Miles. He has written reviews for Plumwood Mountain and Rochford St Review. https://www.henrybriffa.com.au/

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