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.


  1. As the subtitle suggests, this is the first poem in a 3-poem sequence based on the art and life of Brett Whiteley.

  2. Whitely rocks it. Excellent poem, free lunch, final wisdom, total coverage.. God knows why I'm reading your shit at 3am man, it's becoming habitual.


  3. ^ This is the finest comment 'A Collection of Thoughs' has seen.

    "free lunch, final wisdom, total coverage" - Dude, that's going on the back of my book (eventually)! ;)

    I've shifted the poem a little tonight; parts weren't quite... etc.

    PS: 3am is encouraged.

  4. It's H.S.T., so unfortunately I can't really take credit for it ;)


  5. Aha, I was thinking it sounded kind of familiar... ;)

  6. Mental note: make up - or steal - a comment good enough for the back of Stu's book (eventually!)