You never used to be like this. Honey,
you've been hacked into. You got the grey in spades but
where is the incandescence ?
Used to be unstable nucleus of uranium 235
& now look
artificial sweetener in your eye.
Don’t play green, jellybean. (I’ve seen every frame of footage.)
And this party food is small. Place is dead. This isn’t like you.
These aren’t the lips I used to know -
chapped and unresponsive. They are so lonely.
I dream inertia, dreams where I’m submerged in the office as usual, casting bubbles with my mouth, but you no longer take your place at my workstation, treading water over my out tray; can’t even offer me dreamt lassitude.
“Let’s be logical.” That’s cute, but we don’t even start being logical. The bedroom remains impassive. It is a clearance sale. It is a shingle beach. And other tributes to this malfunctioning frost-engine.
Look at us now, waiting in the data for a research methodology.
How long did it take before you started using again? I’m not about to point my finger at the drugs, I know the problems pre-dated. Believe me, I know. Like a mother.
Don’t straighten your make-up, re-calibrate your clothes. Won’t make one iota. The trajectory of my questioning is keyed. Headed for your swerves, skids, fishtails… i.e. your brain’s most lizardly sanctuaries, most manipulative little hatchlings.
I don’t mean to talk down to you. Just don’t ask me for change. Or if you do, make it like that Meek stencil (“Keep your coins, I want CHANGE”), with full-blown political statement backlighting your plight.
Guess you wanted to control, nudge my faders, split my cables. Got ransacked by you. Control is never harmlessly itself, but it’s always impeccably presented. You were always dressed up like a Superpower.
That's where you score – on the street?
The subtext of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is that bright rainbows of designer drugs could invade our schools, and look what’s happened. Not that I blame you.
Looking for a challenge? Sure you are.
You’re forever high, scratching away
lost so much time freezeframed
Sometimes I go digging through dusty old record crates,
the vinyl warped by sixteen summers.
Within the raw & wildest cuts,
trace your sexual genealogy.
I argue with old songs.
[lot of your opinions I don’t think are just.]
But can still catch the beery bittersweet.
A rare connectivity when we first. As if we could face the sun, head the moon.
When we forked, I didn’t mince; said, “I can dream without you.”
And then later in my dream you are Kirstie Alley. You go public about the length of time you've gone without sexual relations: 4.5 years, because, you say, you didn’t want “fat sex.”
You never reached 'no', never refused anything. Although you never could abide inflatables; didn’t do prosthetics. Would've shared tapas and boutique piss with the Menem government in Buenos Aires. If you could.
Your credo: stereoscopy, South Yarra style;
more credible than scientology at least (the Kirstie Alley dream is a haunter).
Each year, a blood-direct original, a surprise movie comes to light us. Flash back to you in '02. Scooped awards, bagged the white lies, banked them. Economy of one-liners: one line never satisfies. Now you’ve still got a little pollen dust above your lip, hanging like a plaque, saying, “This was my success”. This was your secret.
But this is (or was) our home, and this is your captain speaking. Kirstie Alley has written a book called How to Lose Your Ass and Regain Your Life. I’m not recommending it. But it promises to be an opus in the metamorphic tradition. It would make Kafka cough, Ovid ovulate. It might make you sing again.
The bridge was not designed to carry large pedestrian crowds. And we are like this.
* Uranium-235 is an isotope of uranium that differs from the element's other common isotope, uranium-238, by its ability to cause a rapidly expanding fission chain reaction. (wikipedia entry)
* Carlos Menem was president of Argentina from 1989 to 1999. (wikipedia entry)
* Kirstie Alley really has written a book entitled How to Lose Your Ass and Regain Your Life. She is a scientologist, and is probably best known for her performances in the TV series Cheers and the Look Who's Talking series of films. Alley has become an anti-obesity campaigner, and is a spokesperson for the Jenny Craig weight-loss program. Recently she admitted to not having had sex for four and a half years, because she didn't want to have "fat sex".
* A photograph of the stencil artwork by 'Meek' is shown below. More of Meek's work can be seen on the streets and alleys of Melbourne, or else go here:
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Friday, September 16, 2005
am so dropdead
am so advertised
am so wealthy nation
am so irretrievable
am so credit card
am so hotly contested
want my perfect scent
want my perfect artificial
want my perfect distance
want my perfect orgasmic
want my perfect photoshopped
I drive a Mercedes Benzodiazepene
I vac mounds of snow
I give deepthroat finger
I believe every airbrushed
I assume form of the new blackmail
wanna be on top of your lust
wanna be a work of ass
wanna be the Vague cover girl
wanna be a superstarvation
wanna be your mantis
see me advanced
see me undress rehearsal
see me make you stutterflutter
see me as you choke & divulge
see me fly
see me wasp
Note: in Greek, the word 'pharmakon' can mean both 'poison' and 'remedy'.
Friday, June 24, 2005
A short taxi ride from the truth
we receive a phone call...
We. Are. The. Money.
Mouths lock open,
we die maybe three times,
hot tears of confusion
sprint over our cheeks -
but then you and I had always known
we were destined to be loaded,
and we know what is required of us,
transient us -
poised to become
frontpage drug abusers,
the paparazzi blinding us white
whenever we hatch from the hotel room -
we're kissing ourselves relentless,
tongues lashing -
now we're rising idols,
lit up large above the easy city,
the shatter & melt
glass filled with ice
slipped from my hand.
I mean, I was
just flaking in a booth, dimlit bar,
drugs between us making mistakes
didn't want to know
how you were captured
what painkillers stomached
what beds caught you
when you fell.
I fell till 10am,
riding cabs, throwing money;
crashed some dirty recovery...
glued to a girl,
dosed up & vodka'd,
flapping mothlike at the lights,
Played dumb, played
& in her eyes,
death that pretty young thing,
saw a way in.
An earlier version of this poem was published in Page Seventeen, issue #3, April 2006.
I (can) try to tell you why
I’m (out) on the street
in the intense (flashing) inane
under a (scathing) weather
darting forked tongues (which)
can’t integrate (into) my mood
thinking do I (really) want to be
confined to a place (that) collects
itself (only) as suburbs of
(decorative) leafy-dream fallacy
thinking (do) I really want
to carve (out) and protect a space
to freefall into familiar clichés(?)
(But) the question then becomes
whether to leave everything (behind)
(i.e.) become ascetic wandering
among mysteries of (love and) chaos
or (go) backwards into the body
(to) drug and kidnap senses
disordered (until) they push
the size and speed of the (signal)
(towards) de-iced present
the present I have (to)
(show or pass) you in a word
but nobody can say exactly (where)
(can) guess exactly which
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Down in the
blood corridors and
down in my flesh
I’ve been writing you...
Morning eyes remind me
how much of you remains untouched—
how many discoveries remain.
As the day spins, songs climb out
of hibernation suddenly,
from wherever they'd been waiting—
and you sing your way inside them,
inhabit them wildly
like bodies that belong to you.
Our mouths wide, flooding the chorus,
as they thread and intersect with us—
the great singers of the dead,
soul-singers and blues-singers
sharing this weakness for living—
how these bodies feel good together,
how we are glad to be weak.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
you played straight into our hands
toylike in your confused flesh & blood
head down eyes switched off
who were you to think you were
to die close to happiness?
you weren’t the first
so ready to succumb
family to feed
we let you
flashed the money
bled the life from you
was it troubling not
you came and went without a sound
what’s the problem don’t be
what you wanted
what do you know?
("You preferred it to the usual thing:
One dull man, dulling and uxorious,
One average mind - with one thought less, each year." - Ezra Pound)
starting with ski-jump nose
she lined herself out /
with colours (dabs of red, pinks, fleshes), contours,
profile moulded on like papier
maché, makeshift mountain range. map of she. Ezra
keys in the variables and they are
fulsome, somehow stiff, a breathtaking
sphinx of presence, feigned orgasm /
-------------------------------------picturesque illusion. scopophilia, she is taking part /
-----------------------------------------taking her apart,
-------------------------------------turning her over.
masculine camera train'd, where to
trace the borders of beauty /
eyes to subway tunnel surveillance, figures
of 'lifestyle', 'hysteria', 'tragic' dance
in on her. does she blush. Ezra the troubador
peddling from a market stall on a rainy day.
Ezra touching her up. she's fragile, who knows.
her mixtures her default setting, sat
solemn in pagoda with haiku epiphanies
passing her by. express freight-train batters past platform,
mannequins dive for cover, petals on a
wet black bowery boy. she peels petals from her
countenance, makes all portraits imperfect
while Ezra spins in grave. she dodges
and weaves the headings, the subheadings,
her info can't be passed on, she's pierced
and pinned, persona non grata /
----------------butterfly, lovely, a convenient exit lit up green /
------------------------------------------------------------------projects photomural of forest.
For Dan, who found it...
We're screaming over top of the freeway in his tired car, and he's making it swerve out and shake. It's 7 in the morning and no sleep, and the freeway's so crazily big under the sun... Winds forcing in through the gap he's left in his window.
I'm prying myself awake to keep him awake alert, his mouth's still rushing on about night that spun into day, where it disappeared, where the night really hit! The rave was the planet we visited before this one, planet of pixel colours and sugartalk.
The sugar's still rushing out of him, mouth expanding bright... and the pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse is still there fast with us. Hear it in the wind distorting. Hear it in the lane-markers shooting under the wheels. Hear it in the sun-glow.
"It's all made out of invisible fire!" he shouts out, all revelatory and caught-up, and it's all about light rippling and patterns forced through on us, and the illusion of houses, and mutli-colour shopping centres, and rippling greengrass standing up roadside.
Breaking through under bridges that stretch all the way, cross-horizon. Head blurred but all is sharp - all is sharp and dangerous today; sleep cries out hours away.
He's looking to tell me all he's got, all he's collected in flight - can't keep his eyes nailed to the road on this morning, and he says to imagine what it's like in the US, with all those spaghetti junctions and fat immense highways. And in his shooting-star car, I can imagine; in the scorching daylight, I can imagine.
We go fast, go where we want to be. Our faces dry and red-spotted but we're too beautiful to look, and I'm not sure he knows his hands have the wheel... We are guided by invisible fire.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
(Dante, Inferno, Canto I, XLII)
[in a club with writhing lampshades]
a first for you: being opened to see, be
[all light and movement tilted, stretched in order to reach closer]
a first for you and I, of many: allowing words to pass naked between
[once naked, our resemblances observed]
we mirror in quietude, fragility, peaceseeking, truthmaking
[quietude: the lake so tranquil that even a fallen feather would shatter]
[emergence: these hours when the seed somehow begins to explore, beyond itself]
to surrender and be guided, without design or hand
[fire lit -uncontained- continues to this moment, then beyond]
altitude is attained: no dropping from this point, never coming down
[the drugs don't work, they just make you work]
I know I'll see your face again, star-encrusted dreamface of thee
[ascension: all is dream]
our other sleeping selves: rugged-up rulebound / drugged-up doublecrossed
[see us carefree like never]
before we could turn any further, we are met by the future
[waved on by the seraphim, pilots of otherworldly lamplighting above]
sure signals, uninterrupted messages, no mixed signs
["You know Monica, this is very intense."]
[my fingers unpuppetstrung comb through cascading hair: your hair]
disbelief, that of a spectator to oneself in dream
[our ease of touching]
as if we were paired before, in other translucent waters
[it's now and we kiss. we kiss now. here, we, kissing the now.]
* Translation: "... when divine love first moved these things of beauty..."
'The Drugs Don't Work' by The Verve, lyrics by Richard Ashcroft, (c) 1997 Hut Recordings
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Nah, see, I need the extra...
(craving excess to
... my friend, my so-called friend,
took the money, the knife's still
in me -
(ran skywards with the
I want to find a home for tonight,
to crashland -
what's your smile look like
from a pillow, bobbing over me?
(the amateur crackwhore plays,
temptation, the ride, enlargement,
camera-flash, catwalk behind the
Deep down, baby, we're all sin,
guilt & ugly, & I want to show you
that, shower you, spend my loose change,
smoke another baseball
bat, turn you over, & over
I'm seeing things, ghosts patrol
this room, our eyes are
under fire, under power, scales
loaded, cash-fucking you, we
deprave, we slave down)
A methodology of complaint.
Dirge for smashed flowers?
Rain droplet tilting a mirror up to all these
pushing colours of life?
Your lounge room window... or maybe no windows in
the future you wake in?
A why or a wherefore? I mean, this task
of shadowcatching is underappreciated &
abused, like only the dead & the deaf
Envy. Of foreparents fighting wars on behalf
of someone, anyone.
No city views from here.
Foresight; undersight, oversight;
wondersight, loversight. Oversite,
Une raison de vivre; une liason de vivre.
Mes frères, mes soeurs; mes pères, mes mères!
Mon frère, ma soeur; mon père, ma mère!
Choissez va famille!
Play. I will watch.
Poetry: what is?
Magnum of pinpricks for the sleep-deprived.
Help me to tell you a pretty nothing.
If I lose you, take this string, tie it
around your scarred ankle, tread the wet
floating leaves to the exit.
Quit looking for the Minotaur. He left.
I tell my girlfriend she reminds me of my
sister. I don't have a sister.
Sit-down comedy for populism-challenged
I don't care. But I do.
Are you drinking wine? I like wine,
the evening dreams like a baby, the hangover
is fossicking bag for torch, the fog.
Dark jewel, the surface understands no
I think we're busy. We don't sleep
What is poetry made out of?
A billboard said 'Yes'
but I was seeing 'No'.
An ambulance sirens its way through anxious
traffic. Spread of paralysis.
Looking to the objects on the ground,
I linger over a blister pack, emptied of capsules:
a monthly course of medication disappeared,
placed on tongue, down throat.
All out of.
Sitting streetside on steps, she says to him,
'What about that other money you were getting?'
Him shrugging shoulders, head swivels away, breathes.
His beanie, jeans ripped, scratches back of neck;
she cigarette between lipstick, tracksuit and boyvoice.
A billboard said 'Yes';
I walk past them, picturing the timestamp on my train ticket.
Man stands on concrete stage, sprays words of God out at moving targets;
I cover half my face to be sure I take nothing in.
Streetcorner: town's renowned drunk sat, dancing-eyes,
with baby-bloated Koori woman.
They talk about Princess Di. Flinders St station opposite,
smells of trains.
A girl I know up ahead. Here she is, far gone and out-of-it,
searching for anyone anything.
Her liquefied body: cling, latch on to. Then here I am: solid,
catchable, acquiesce. She breaks in. My meagre space. Her head
sprouting many arms.
A billboard said 'Yes',
and I wanted to jump up into it,
freeze smiling up there with a message.
Versions of this poem was published in Voiceworks Issue 32 ('Distance'), 1998, and in The Words We Found (an anthology celebrating 21 years of Voiceworks).
Your eyes fried eggs
Dripping with fat
And the bruised red plum of your head
With bulging cheeks, balloons being blown
And from your crisp bacon lips:
'You hit me, you bastard!
How could you hit a woman?'
But I would never hit you
Your eyes glazed over
With the glimmer of supermarket shelves,
The watermelon of your gut
'He started it!'
You wept carbonated tears, pointed me out
And the onlookers in their plastic wrappers
Caught sight of my guilty trousers
And you pushed me against the glass
Of the chemist which sells tampons
And condoms and babywear
So I held up my pistol-ended arms in defeat
And broke free of your insistent grip (an immense vine of sticky tape)
Then walked off, shaking my head
My pulse the flashing red man
Only when I reach the outdoors
With its evenly spaced, soothing rubbish bins
Does the red man turn green
And I realise I am walking home
To where an ashtray languishes
Waiting to be emptied
An earlier version of this poem was published in Farrago, Volume 75, Edition 5, June 5 1996.
Even though you 'had to' let me fall,
I think I still take a place in your mind.
On spring days you come home and then you find
That there is no one else there at all.
The angels in your head curve your sweet lies;
You can't wait to make them do things to you -
Motions you dream up through a haze of blue.
I force my way through, your image dies,
You have no choice but to dream of me.
So we dance together atop your bed,
I'm the bright star in the back of your head.
As you close your eyes at night you see.
During the day you will be in doubt,
But on your ceiling, seek me out.
As published in Farrago, Volume 74, Edition 6, Tuesday 6th June 1995.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Failure of me
to see in
with you enough
I get caught
on the sharp of words,
get caught out
by loaded definitions -
just you try defining me!
It's so, so
The phone hates me,
my lover loves me,
she drives me
to the beach
to believe me
Feel the sand,
let the wind
land on me -
it's night, the headlights
Crash the water
I'll catch the water
between my hands,
I think you are when
your hand is in me, I am
your pocket, don't drop these
words I am delicate,
these words my package now,
drop them because you need
your ears clean now
with all the water, and like
an ocean wave I tilt,
hit the floor pane of glass, why
didn't you tell me you were
slowing, turning into a picture
cherished from childhood, the eyes
match, but see from different
shelters, & all of those easy
you could lie.
We have drunk the soma; we have become immortals, we have gone to the light; we have found the gods. - The Rig Veda
In this room we get darkened & allow the drugs to move us. Here we touch into another region. There, we will meet, but everything will have shifted. Even our names. I am waiting for the shift, the beat is my entrance. I am waiting.
I am waiting. I am waiting for the drugs to move me. I am waiting for them to obscure and purify. I find a friend: we wait together. Waiting can be long. We talk about waiting. We talk about nothing. This, this is nothing.
This, this is nothing. We have swallowed angels. Waiting for them to glide to our brain. Play the harp. The melody. Don't let me down now. My friend has joined the dance. The dance: our disappearing. We are re-shaped in air. Folding the darkness.
Folding the darkness. Drugs running now, all ways as entrances. Find the music's central firing. Faces leap in the glow. I take the rhythm. This is not holy. (This is fury of futures.) Mistake myself for no one. No one dreaming on. I have entered now. Am moving towards. All moving towards. Flow is here. We are the outer reaches. Extension of the flow.
Extension of the flow. Spectre-dance of futures, dream with us. We dream you, you dream us. Beneath us is a beat. Our foundation. We are founders. Here, with the city hidden, we are founders. Everything will happen.
Everything will happen. Bring the rhythm closer, so we can see one another. We see one another now. Bring the rhythm closer.
Bring the rhythm closer. The fragile one has entered the building. Love has entered. Here we protect each other. I see friends everywhere inside the dance. They see back at me. We release. We arrive finally. Bullshit burnt away.
Bullshit burnt away. We travel. This is us perhaps, maybe this is what we are. See the scene around us.
See the scene around us.
Friday, March 25, 2005
She (exotic, an original) was probably out & about
rock-climbing or playing flute in her band;
I was home with cheese toast reading Wittgenstein.
I couldn't remember what her job was
or which college she was at -
I'd put too many braincells to the flame
like a Nazi bonfiring History.
Whether vital stats were that important remained unclear
like the night I smoked that green opportunity
last week, & just didn't matter.
Because in another corner
of the city schoolboys chatted, waited outside the
sliding doors for their executive powerdressing
girlfriends, & skaters chewed chewy.
Still, I was fucked if I
could remember her phonenumber.
I chose you to be my lover by pulling
a name out of a hat - but the folded square
of paper was blank.
Another twist: I was the one
who called the end to our so-called
relationship. I put the words in your
mouth like dropping a cassette in its slot
and you just sat back silent and
listened to yourself playing back.
I am a cut-and-paste artiste:
I assembled the words from
our past conversations.
I cremated every gift you gave me -
now they're all disguised in my ashtray,
rising on the water level
in the rain.
So we'll pole-vault over all the oncoming traffic? But it chases
us away and still the eyes walk the wire, the faces drop off in
the midst of conversation, revealing a gap. And nothing's happened
yet, though these eyes are full of water waiting for the peak
of a drought to become the bursted heads of hoses. Still these lovers
tearing the apples, juicy teeth, choking on seeds and cores.
And all we need is for someone to throw the lifesaving hoop
and watch its red and white stripes spinning, roulette wheel on
waves, spinning to fast pink and if we could place our bets
please when the silver ball lands in its groove and we have
found this love. Then we might be pouring ourselves into bed,
everything has been circled in red ink and we've mislaid the
obvious questions, spent the appearances, we're losing our touch, or
is it just the time of the night, the wine and the slowing, the slowness
of my taking a nonplussed arm out from beneath your head?
The radio sniffling some song out, and
its candy glare seduces us, drawing
conversation to the fringes, as cigarette
ash rains from the wound-down windows,
the car idling like a lover's sleeping face.
Queuing up in the drive-thru we feel itchy,
as if we're watching lottery balls land
while chewing our tickets; like a mobile
chirping at the back of the theatre, we're
crying out to be muted, forgotten, satisfied.
We bin the cups & wraps, waste more cigarettes,
then drive... through a streak of green lights
that flick to late amber, past sullen drivers
tapping fingers on steering wheels,
windscreens snatching warped ghosts.
And the zebra crossings stripe under us,
as the radio station goes off the air, and
we are handed over to the silence, as a
speed camera gets another dumb picture,
its diamond flash dribbles off the car.
A previous version of this poem was published in Mascara #1, April 2007.
My unloved arm snoozes under your head
Dreaming of pins and needles
Then awake with a start
Squinting like a newborn
It sits up and surveys itself
And in your pearl-frame mirror
I kiss you on my arm
Tasting through its field of static
As you sleep
An earlier version of this poem was published in Farrago, Volume 75, Edition 5, June 5 1996.
I am unwashed clothes,
stubble, heap of pizza boxes,
I am clinical depression,
I am Aropax, paroxetine,
30mg per day, to be taken
in the morning preferably
I am binge drinking,
overeating, middle finger
wedged in throat, toilet
bowl, 1pm wakeup,
evasion & chicanery.
I am duckling ugly,
book of changes,
Jude the Obscure,
rebel without cause,
"know it's over / still I cling"
I am wasting my life, killing
(This was found scribbled on a piece of paper with other notes about job interviews that never happened on June 11, 2003)
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Getting down to the real method,
feeling the engine like purring amphetamine,
vibration coursing through the driver's seat,
senses dissolving the world inside/outside of
a red Porsche, where the dream hides me.
At a traffic light,
in the rear-view the deserted drugface reflected,
ate the green light & left the secure world -
turned flaming butterfly, hysterical,
an allergy, all scorching red & wheels.
Left the road & climbed across
the spine of a hill, horizon beckoning like a hand -
& one thunderstorm, one siren
all the signs I need to believe
world's end lies up ahead.
In the back my two brethren, fading hitchhikers,
bathing in sweat, being stripped of the foliage of memory -
& again shaking off the urge to slow,
I tell them, "Either we're dancers or we're salad;
if we die, we die hot... we'll be lightning stinging the dawn."
Stepping towards the horizon,
we are made of delicate stone -
(cracking, trailing rubble,
see how it fuses with the sand...)
see how the cliffs above us
are somehow mammoth,
like this life we invent.
These shadows stray behind us,
flicker with our step;
(did I ever tell you about the holes
that run through my body -
the wind speaks through them)
and later when sand grows dark
with the day collapsing,
the tide no longer paints its contrasts
upon this beach, this vast intersection.
We meet here, where we are furthest
from home, while the gulls
return to earth for the first time
in who knows how long;
(how long since we saw the earth?
that is, an earth free to roam
without these tight, chafing clothes
which cut off circulation...)
so many meetings to be witnessed,
as each moment brushes memory.
These meetings somehow brief,
there is a blindness in walking where
there are no buildings, no roads,
like crossing this deserted beach -
this too, in its own way, is a building,
forging up towards the limits
of the day and of night -
(see how the cloudless vault
still keeps the outside out,
and we forget that we live here.)
We walk the public garden,
A cold, dim Saturday;
a cornerstone of winter.
Wind deranges the plants;
rain is preparing.
We choose a bench coated with moisture;
an unspoken decision leaves us seated apart.
You've brought me here
to release a secret.
You draw your coat tighter around you;
I rub the iceflesh of my hands.
You take a breath of silence, then
begin your endsong: ruptured, unrehearsed.
Your hands unbutton history;
your face is a paraphrase.
Like a wounded child's ball you fling
the name that was caught in your eyes.
Once, next to me, la belle dame sans merci;
now a nameless impostor in the garden.
One evening I played chess against a man who later became my enemy. Or perhaps it would be better to say that he later came to see me as his enemy, since I do not like to keep enemies.
Whoever he was, we played chess: a tense and closely fought game that we did not get to finish that evening.
For several weeks I left the pieces on the board as they were, anticipating that we might meet again to conclude the game.
As it happened there was a falling out between us, and I began to believe that the game would never be finished. Nevertheless the pieces stayed in their positions and looked at each other.
The chess pieces were motionless for several weeks, until one evening when I came home and saw that a painting had jumped from the wall. The painting had not damaged itself; its glass frame had remained intact when it fell to the floor. This was perhaps some kind of miracle.
Evidently the painting had fallen on to the chess board before finding its way to the floor. Chess pieces were strewn across the room; some on the floor, some on the table, and some remained on the board, overturned and out of place.
Finally the game had been finished. I wondered whether other games had ever been put to death by a falling painting; or whether, in fact, I had been the first player to lose in this manner.
I didn't start,
I just supposed
that I was writing;
When to leave and
what to leave behind?
a gift to
drive light into.
But how and
why the words?
The role I choose
to play in this
poem is a
How to put the
poem to sleep?
Once all the secrets
are dry, words
Faith and fear
Now I believe
as much as
Where is my sense
Behold my head
I cannot hear,
that's for sure.
Can you hear me
filling with water?
I am sheer receptacle,
a holder from
out of which
drinks are poured.
I mouth words,
as I speak,
How to swallow
I have chosen
to wash it
I split your cigarette, my arm unruly in
transit but there were faster things, faster
than us - while this was slow, like a mountain.
You showed me your drawings of this city,
buildings in brokenspace. We sat under the lights'
distributions, our dream eyes submerged in
the cavern once again, with the storms.
I don't doubt you'll know me, infinitely:
with our feelings in coma, out of coma and
in again, we wake without sleeping.
You showed me to ennervate brave feeling
brave image. Here flow sounds that send us
each and all around fire; these friends we
call out to across continents of quagmire.
We in our element, and a glimpse -
I and You in motion, glad in dark.
pour yourself into
with the flow.
those who awaken
in the future,
from the past,
One fallen piece
these pulsing colours
nor the exits,
those who left.
a cold key
unlock the game
pour yourself into
with the flow.
Bukowski was a good sort,
if you saw him in a bad light
you'd say he was
but then again he
got plenty of life under his belt,
quit worrying about
took that wretched dog, cynicism,
for a walk.
When I saw his photograph
in second-hand biography,
next to the bottles
I saw rings
like piled medallions
around his pupils:
you bet, he wrote about the everyday
hiding places of fear.
And with each inspired
I imagined him
more lonely with
a battered guitar
twanging out the tunes,
his words careering into life
out of his gut.
His typing hands
like a guideless kite,
after whetting his
appetite with wine
then conversing again
with the old saddened voices -
I could feel his battling
pulse, smell sweat
netted in his shirt.
cursed and cursed
and lurched and
he was telling me,
"Son, you gotta walk out,
take a stand, go look for
your home, your heart."
"Where are you?" I asked him,
and he just groaned.
Now when people
say to me, "That
he was such a gem,
glowing through, glowing
through all that haze,"
I agree til I'm blue in the
face; then we push him aside,
talk about steadier writers,
like 'old' Dylan Thomas.
1. How to unscrew desire from a scene.
let things fall
refuse of convenience food.
2. How to read the writing of the body.
(a) Eyes make magpies caw:
the glint of metal,
upon the ground.
of merciless eyes,
scanning & sizing,
3. How to milk opportunities from a scene.
(a) Eyes can push
to the waiting limo.
(b) Eyes slide
like abacus beads,
When his mother calls. He strains to sound the voice of love and care, to locate it amongst his repertoire of songs. Wants to recall the questions he should be asking her. Perhaps she's returned from a holiday, expects his curiosity? He can't remember the last occasion when they spoke. If he could reconcile the resemblances. Between himself, her voice in his ear...
When his father died, an opportunity for both of them to forget (the cloud-wrapped summit of forgivess). All the fractures of the past, time's discolouration of the page. He remembers his father's funeral, the black flock of mourners filing out through the cemetery gates, how powerless the sun was that day. How words, never planted, will perish with the body...
His mother, she knows her way around him. Like a kitchen, compartments. She knows what she will need to take out. He can imagine the clock in her kitchen ticking above her now. Her eyes of concentration. Holding the telephone tight to her ear, the bones of her hand. When her voice divides him with sadness. In return, he gives her silence.
I have a fidgeting
in my ear,
it lets me
of the sea -
upon the rocks,
I've got the glimpse
into my ear,
as it rushes
upon my tongue.
I just saw old Ginsberg
walking on suburban footpath,
humdrummed in trucker's cap & red
check shirt, the profuse beard flying
like grey ringlets of spliff smoke,
& he was walking in slow
motion, walking & puffing &
puffing & walking, stooped like a
snail carrying his house of karmic
poetry on his back—
Oh downtrodden Ginsberg,
can you no longer stop
to meditate, old old age leaving you
so few energies
to splice wild jumpcuts
of Blakean visionary breath?—
You are dead and gone Ginsberg,
all your prophecies fulfilled, that
rotting nothing Ginsberg in the
You the Father Death for all
of us, with endless reserves of
metta, dreaming cosmic dreams
of compassion in your death-state,
& this apparition of you dealt like an
ace of hearts, walking sodden
suburban footpath through rainrivers
midday Saturday east of the city—
Or maybe this old old Ginsberg,
beard-dangler & smokechoker,
sense-charmer & semen-spreader,
maybe this man is my own
Although you yourself proved
it possible— via most thoughtful
thought— to reel in the spirit of
Walt Whitman in that fruity
somewhere in California—
And so I bring you here.
An earlier version of this poem was published in Verandah #20, 2005
(silver, amber, white)
all caught in dream,
windows show nothing,
the tunnel void,
by sheets of news,
she reads the time
She, a passenger -
In 10 minutes
she will find him
waiting in a laneway
with no smile for her -
just a hand
for the fat cash,
the deal & the getaway
vacuumed into the night
burnout & fadeout
A sadness is nearing
completion when the light
descends nightward, and
this body stills, these
set free in a dream,
my gaze goes touching
into you, studies your map:
far and near
I see you,
all the weapons you chose,
deep-aimed words greeted
by blood silence;
maintaining your eyes
upon tiny fluctuations
of the distance,
clasping at the centre
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
The Oracle stands quiescent in the display window, the plastic contours of his face bleached with light. He is always the best-dressed dummy in the plaza. Though he is mute, the Oracle speaks to my shapeless life. He is the reason why I shop here.
Today he tells me that I am lost without you. He says there are as many roads back to you as there are roads away from you. How do I interpret this? His arms remain spread, palms open in offering. I wait, for some glint of explanation.
Beside him is a graphic of a light bulb, yellow on black. There are little dashes around the top of the bulb, representing its glow. This is the Oracle's emblem of authenticity - a hieroglyph that embodies his essence. He is the man of ideas. In his ideal world, all things would be switched on, powered by truth; all of us would remain luminous, covered in nets of light.
Once the shopping crowds die down, and the sleepwalking window-gazers have shifted elsewhere, he continues his message for today. He repeats that I am lost without you. I am lost without you, you to whom I transmit my love. It's you, you are too much you. I am too much me. A double-bind. This is what I am offered.
"Can I help you, sir?" That's my signal to leave. I evade the advances of the shop assistant; the escalator hauls me away. I walk out into the release of blue sky, its fragments of cloud. The car park has no spaces. Behind me looms the sun-clad, glassy plaza. As I head for home, I begin to recite the Oracle's message aloud. I leave gaps of silence, which will later be filled by your questions.
Just as the Oracle does not need to speak in order to counsel me, you do not need to speak to question me: to ask me where I've loitered, how I've wittled away my time. The 6pm news is full of your silence; I have tapes and tapes of it. I love you as I love all silent creatures.
Monday, March 21, 2005
so many prisoners
so many prisoners,
no hand to
except the ghost hand
tapping your shoulder
to say error
except the ghosthand
tapping your shoulder
to say turn around
face the error
excuse me sir
you are not
this area of
is reserved for
don’t be long
here you could
the big if
(after E.E. Cummings)
where else did i go sometimes back then
when i was flying lighter (like
an origami bird ?
and you do know that a bird not born
but imagined from paper (greenblue
turquoise can fly if you only give it air
to fly in ?
what else was there back when i
swallowed all the noises i could get
my hands on, and voices, and rolled
around (in all the colours ?
whats that mummydaddy (thats a blue,
banana, badger, bignose, bank
teller man, balloon, budgerigar, a
i was always bathing in the sounds
and (their words ,
there was so much else to do but i dont
think the litter of halfcrossed leftover lists i
think crystal days (with the sea set up for
days of swimming !
when it was a skill of simplicity to submerge
without trace into secret rooms (in the
greendeep garden of home !
flight of origami bird through cool chambers
of bushes (amber with autumn brushed by
the hand that carries the bird tween thumb
forefinger lightly rising and dipping ,
when so loud was every mystery and
clear (because id shout and sing them to
anyone or myself and shiny answers rising
would appear ).
Sunday, February 27, 2005
seeding out of earth
I find you:
you were born
in darkness, a long
& struggling birth.
I who watched
you grow, holding your
colour through grey...
as I lay you down across
my hand I consider
your momentary freedom -
I who can consider
You will become
dust yet again,
scattered and lost -
the wind will rise
to dance with you,
for the last time.
For now I milk your scent,
memorise your form,
guard you from the wind.
Friday, February 25, 2005
In the dream of the blood-sea,
slowly, slowly, Poseidon
pulling the strands within the ocean night,
Webbing all together
in a dance of lunar light
through the streaks of stars reflected.
Then at dawn Poseidon emerges, ravaged by the oceans,
his hair striated with sticking sands,
the once-proud trident warped and rusted.
His night-blind charioteering through the depths,
their onslaught of saline wet,
has left Poseidon shrivelled, shell-brittle, bloody.
Aye, tis true: he bleeds...
Not even the oceans could whittle such stagnant gore away,
and letting lifeblood was misery for a once unscratchable god;
now glimpsing mortality, crying blood from the eyes...
These eyes had been a miniature for the dance
of his domain across the earth, and the water
through which Olympia was dreamt;
Now even these spectres of memory had deserted -
and only the haul of death remained,
to clutch Poseidon to his final bed.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Phoned me up,
said he was back on the smack,
"a release from the pressure"
& he'd headed straight for the door,
wanted to leave it open a crack.
Said he was dispossessed unwanted,
& this was getting louder,
but what'll make the difference
when you're freezing isolated -
said he was back on the smack,
but every other relevant thing was going even;
not calm, but even -
even-matched on every side.
Said he'd been dropping himself in the full-speed,
the crushing, taking it hard from all corners.
Slight wavering of hand in the desolate night; stuck fast,
nothing-doing night & suddenly the needle
is the one directing traffic,
& you're an inflatable, just pump the air in, squeeze it in -
to breathe shining air, clear the traffic, close the road.
Phoned me up,
said he was all shortcoming and stress,
said he was back on the smack;
every other thing, occurred to him, was fine.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
The textbook said that vision was
a serial set of light, phase-shifting
pond of colours volleyed by the retina
and funnelled into a silent-running black
box; in my definition though, I take account
that our inner technology's a slow matter
of choice and fate like rain choosing where
to land. Under creationist magician-theory,
however, you pick up a handicraft from
a market located somewhere in the Old
Put simply, when I watch a
movie I want to see it, let it ask me all
the questions it wants to, just like I want
to see this flower up close and that face
of yours as the cutting-edge of cute.
It's only when I rinse my mouth with too many
bottles of cheap gin, that my head spins
stories about vision as a load of turbulence
and cloaking devices. Stand wide so as not
to blow out the picture, but then you can't
make out a fucking thing from that kind of
What it comes down to is this: if I want to
see myself as a manta ray swooping the water
skywards, then I will see it just fine,
thankyou. No more eyes / lenses / frames of
reference for this flux-fish.
Begin to suspect that all this transient is just warm-up, is someone with a blunt needle, haphazard stitch-up. And sometimes when we're jagged we could slice through to the new floor, the next roof. As Ginsberg Mad Yak himself said, "The call of Time rent out of foot and wing an instant in the universe."
The kind of kiss I have in mind is unadulterated, will not check itself, will not be forced to withdraw. A deep-graved Greek said Time and Space were kept hungry glued by love. Here shuffles the idea with unsteady beat behind it, but definite beat.
Figure that we have been flung dumped pinned in Truth, and this, I kiss, is our only tangible word. I stoop so low, kiss the Earth, but not like John-Paul's cold and dry for the crowds, I go in with tongue, exchange saliva and dust.
From the watchpoint up there
you can see the dawn ignite
in copper and garnet,
lifting up the mountains
for all eyes, with arthritic hand;
and branches, tunnels of sun rotate,
widereach, feeding fire over
coldstone, over dampgrass.
And now, this unblackened land.
That woman looks deadset like she'll
attack the next person who gets in her
way with a bunch of geraniums she's
got swaddled in crumpled pink tissue
paper or else she'll drop them unwind
her lipstick and smear sensual pink all
over someone's forehead, someone who is
nodding as she does so as if to say yes
I know you're having a bad day but so am
I so am I and what you're giving me here
is a confirmation, a final godcharged sign
that if you nudge the stylus to break out
of a stuck record then when it falls back
between the grooves the music becomes
alien momentarily and your ears need time
to adjust like eyes to the room when the
lights are flicked off and I will have to
leave my wife because she'll think I've
been kissed by an epilepctic, thankyou.