Friday, June 24, 2005

Poem commencing with a line from a Mambo commercial (2003)

A short taxi ride from the truth
we receive a phone call...

lottery! numbers!
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 Breaking (2002)

That night:
the shatter & melt

glass filled with ice
slipped from my hand.

I mean, I was
just flaking in a booth, dimlit bar,
3 friends,
drugs between us making mistakes

didn't want to know
your whereabouts
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.

Purpose (2005)

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 clich

(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

the great singing voices of the dead (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

don't be alarmed (2005)

you played straight into our hands

toylike in your confused flesh & blood

a testament

to willingness

head down eyes switched off


who were you to think you were

born to

to die close to happiness?

you weren’t the first

so ready to succumb


flywing fragile

family to feed

we let you

flashed the money

bled the life from you

was it troubling not
at all

clear conscience

you came and went without a sound

to zero

what’s the problem don’t be

what you wanted

what do you know?

Portrait D'Une Femme (1998)

("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 /
----------------------in pixels
with colours (dabs of red, pinks, fleshes), contours,
profile moulded on like papier
é, 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 /
-----------------------------fix her
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.

Invisible Fire (1998)

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

the now (2005)

quando l'amor divino mosse di prima quelle cose belle *

(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

Nightsight (2003)

Nah, see, I need the extra...
(craving excess to

blot memory)
... 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)

24 Hours on Poetry (2002)


Poetry: why?

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
are abused.

Envy. Of foreparents fighting wars on behalf
of someone, anyone.

No city views from here.
Foresight; undersight, oversight;
wondersight, loversight. Oversite,
undersite; coversight,


Une raison de vivre; une liason de vivre.

Mes fr
ères, mes soeurs; mes pères, mes mères!

Mon fr
ère, 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
èd fustics.

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

Disjointed chemicals.


I think we're busy. We don't sleep

What is poetry made out of?

A Billboard Said 'Yes' (1998)

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).

Tug of War (1996)

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.

Untitled (1995)

I trample over your bodies
I cast you in daydreams without remorse
I change your forms to suit my wishes
Then I laugh at how strange you've become

As published in Farrago, Volume 74, Edition 6, Tuesday 6th June 1995.

Bed of Memories (1995)

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.