Thursday, September 28, 2006

Self Portrait After Three Bottles of Wine (2006)

(the second of 3 Brett Whiteleys)

____-Gulf between nothing doing & doing
nothing (about 3 bottles wide).
___________________No quicker learner(!);
this pissed hound of instinct. One of those nights
spent pushing back the urge to score.
You may never be Brett Whiteley,
but he’s with you on the toilet wall,
unframed, torn, trying
to roll himself into something
to be swung at heads.
______________Hello, it’s your glazed self,
calling collect: “Quit moping, losing & go get in
the graph, get in the graph! Suit up... wear specs,
even!” It’s said Melbourne’s more subterranean
than Sydney. And so the coach carps on:
“Learn the ropes; learn to shimmy,
to swim the crawlspace…
But all you've
learnt are these road closure styles,
these rainy days.
_________--How the body lingers
through days & won’t listen to sleep,
like a 5 y.o., his parents parked in front
of late TV, & how, from a secluded step
on the stairs, he bears witness as
familyroom walls, overridden,
operate as light-traps.

_________________[Remember the first
time you stayed up to watch Star Wars?
Daddy, what’s a tractor beam? Otherwise
everything made perfect sense: Force,
darkside, straws of power
flapped at the night. “Luke,
you’ve switched off your targeting computer!”
Finding the vein, slimeball cowboy whooping
it home, the hottest car in the galaxy &
his wookie tough who didn’t like
the early stench of youth –
that overkeen stench.
________________Still makes sense
30 years & 3 bottles later. Vader was always
your favourite figurine, the red retractable
light-sabre in his arm, like an overwound
lipstick. You liked to remove this,
leave a tunnel leading through his hand –
the kind of black passage
where a father's kindness might nest.]

A bottle smashed upon the kitchen, its
neck still intact: a kindred spirit; a poet!
You know that something goes here,
something goes. And maybe all the worlds
are real, just that this one got badly stung
by beauty (a wasp trying to tough its way
out of your t-shirt).
__________Even this pissed, you can
dial, spit “I'm keen,
can I get involved?”
at the receiver. Affirmative. You pass out safe
in the knowledge.

Self portrait after three bottles of wine at

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Jesu, joy of man's desiring (2006)

Out in the milk, the gala…

deep in the infield, strut
painted girls in rubber, one
swings swaddled florist flowers like a
_- sword.

Where is this now ?
You’d think it was the 50s

SweetJesus come save us / challenge
We’re blooding & dumb, lack
_-leadership, the towels we once clung to.
Need your thirsty reform, holy
_urgency, occasional group aerobatics /
___-fishschool o’magic /
___-help w/ bread division.

_____-& while we’ve got you on the line,
__________How long since you quit
_________________the Mary Chain ?
As one of the founder-members,
one would assume coke differences
____________&/or musical habit.

Comeback / farewell tour ?
___One more for the $$$ ?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

drowse (2006)

Dirt & dust cling
abandoned adhesive
(a sticker once spoke here)

Ancient gig posters,
sundrained colours ripped
like scabbed layers of skin

Schoolkids escape to the city,
get into all kinds of circuitry

The sushi bar radio sings,
“Let’s unrest
our babyloooooooove”
(or something)

Everyone coughing up
these little pips of
that crunch underfoot

While you, the stay-at-home,
sleep through the heat…

bubbles of spittle
pop on your teeth

As published in Bambikino 9, November 2008.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Art, Life and The Other Thing (2006)

(the first of 3 Brett Whiteleys)

Rage, rage, against the dying of the light – Dylan Thomas

They don’t know you. Any of you.
Your death, perhaps, but they never
know your brush. Hardly blame them.
(Re-check the time. Art is late.)
your balcony still stands, like a debt:
sunlit, public. I would drink coffee there, & write,
& later let something summer tunnel me: liquid
lime or lemon, glass jug reefed with ice.
I might smoke, though I quit
years ago.
______Sydney Harbour lies back
getting sucked off by a tall,
professional sun. Glitter harbour,
waves winking like flecks of mica in asphalt;
& consider other flaky metaphors where the
'natural' vies with the manufactured (swarmed
metaphors clip wings, tailspin). Everything is
poised at a silent point in conversation. That word:
poise... propeller it in your fingers like a biro.
The other thing would be sweet. It's
days ablaze like these that the whole ritual of
dessert makes sense, & you think, "Who needs it?",
drown it in double cream. Art & life are fine:
you're happy to camp out in the rubble,
only senile gods for company,
and sure, the sky makes a fine tent,
but... you know. You know it.
__________________Nails lined up,
tapped with the care of a close shave,
driven!, in!, flush!
________Clawed out warped, is art.

Art, Life and The Other Thing at

This poem was commended in judging for the 2007 Overland Judith Wright Prize for New and Emerging Poets.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Inferno (2006)

& when you finally touch down
in hell
____________(no red carpet)
_________the coffee’s gonna need to be strong.
Hungover-horny & (shit!) your sunglasses
_______-left at home in a jacket pocket.
Of all the things to be without...
Sterling Morrison, Joey Ramone & Ray Charles
smarter men than you (on this score)
____-look godlike standing round in shades

The future’s so bright, etc.
It's funny, Lucifer’s looking a lot
like Danny Tenaglia these days.
Guess he’s always hoarded the killer tunes.
______________________-Had them all
back at the tree, in snaketime. Brokered ever since.
So here’s the rub:
there’s drugs everywhere
but no painkillers
or sleepers.
_____-Figure pretty quick that you won’t
be sleeping ‘til… who knows…
____-But by then your bender will’ve
gathered such momentum that
ve forgotten everything
important – even what they say
about the wicked. Anyway, it’s true. And
_____________-they're out of ice.

A version of this poem was published in mad swirl, October 2009.

Notes: Sterling Morrison played guitar in The Velvet Underground.

Danny Tenaglia is a New York-based DJ known for his marathon stints behind the decks (20 hour sets are not unusual for him). Check out this
YouTube clip if you'd like to see what he looks like.

Below: In the Inferno by Mehmet Urgut (from deviantart)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

let it all (2006)

can this? will it? no?

stop asking. feel good. top up your body.

too long! you look great! yahaha!

Monday, September 04, 2006

I will not carry (2006)

I will not carry
bad blood
because it corrodes,
spreads, leaves us exposed
with too many entrances
and exits.

I will not carry
awkward, bulky items
like red carpets
(for off-chance dignitaries)
or restless dogs
or heavy corpses.

In fact
I have decided
to carry nothing at all.

I'll find water on my way,
and the words left to say

(I have no pocket
for a script).

As published in The Cartier Street Review, February 2009.