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


  1. I am very much into this piece. Somehow, it seems really familiar. Daddy, what's a tractor beam? Yes, everything else did make sense. The force - but of course! Nice one.

  2. Thank you, kind blanket! ;)

    I think most of us have been 'there'... I wonder what would happen if we attempted self-portraits under those circumstances? Could be a useful distraction from the urge for 'something extra'?