Monthly Archives: January 2016

           stumble stair switch three hour of the wolf howl ache
nights lost clock trick found night tick face face tick in in
between eclectic light lights online LED on up working make
list list baker’s kneading arms blades machines mist of flour
sticky yeast change gears nodozing ward-tread clang clatter
nightfeed draw down soften hard breast past wonders old
life rhythms two shifts of sleep evidence 3am up doing it yelling
over neighbours’ fence she decanting poems sings them throws
back booze kicks up a dance writes the letter a cockatoo stroll
outside about snuff candle pulling on a pipe but this this shifting
night now it’s lonely around 3am screen sit familiar as a cliché
right as night is lonely this hour this hour of the possum travels
ways not sought by me

You wake up and she is beside you.
She is looking at you.
You look back at her
and search your dreams
for a clue to her peculiar smile
and the look in her eyes.
In your dream you were running
beside water
in the night
singing in harmony with a child,
a girl who was somewhere else on the path.
It was very dark but you were making progress.
Sometimes you leaped over puddles
as if you wished
to be back at home
in bed
as the sun came up
waking beside someone
whose birthday it might be
and you could smile slowly
and lean over to the bedside table
and take up a card
that everyone had written in
for her.

I learnt to drive
in an aqua VW bug
but the first VW I owned
was a blue Kombi
that we fitted out
to travel with
but it was a bomb
the second VW
a white bug
caught fire
outside the garage
when the garage
caught fire

and molten wax
ran down the gutter
the third VW was a
Carmen Ghia
fabulous maroon and white body
but a bomb
the fourth VW was
a sky blue station wagon
it actually worked
but was boring
and lived on
into my partner’s afterlife
after relationship
then I inherited
my Dad’s blue VW bug
relatively new
fifth and last VW
drove it so much
over 18 years
drove everywhere
with everyone
good for groups
it appeared in poems
chopped out
chunks of rust
Dad spray painted
the rusty roof white
with aerosol cans
we sold it but
still saw it
for years
beetling around the
inner west
couldn’t miss it


but I am sick of fairy tales
the child dead in the womb
all life pointless
as a stray bird
the fairy tale is familiar
once upon a time
on a far telegraph pole
a dirty pigeon alighted
and no one noticed
in the beginning was a waterfall
a Fra Angelico dove caught like a sunbeam
in its spindrift
down by the brutalist hypermart
under brown clouds which moulted snow
bent like hens in a meadow
a-flutter like fish shedding scales
the wordless wind ringing like a cash register:
halcyon day, halcyon child
grey as a grave-wall
the golden idea
escaped death
in choking leaves that pile
round a child’s
casket destined
to echo
like a burnt-out city
led by a sparrow,
soaring over grave-walls and dead oceans on cyborg wings
led by the preserved brain of the weakest creature
per ardua ad astra
who said:
when I grow up, I will build a city,
unknown to tapestries and Hephaestan shields,
and thread my magnetic needle with a waterfall
of shimmering quicksilver
its simmering time will not be measured by the clock
or clepsydra or the age of ancient parents,
or the multitude of spider-webs in the noon-day sun,
on plates lubricated by magma
its lilac roads will run forever
it will be lifted
with the gold dove
on the blast of history
out of all flood
and fire and decay
the halcyon child,
never born,
never dies
but I am sick of fairy tales
the child, not, in the womb
all life without dimensions
like the stray bird
once upon a time
on a far telegraph pole
a dirty pigeon alights
and no one notices

This morning we disturbed the moths
from their dream of a woolly world.
I let a cockroach back out
into the garden when it came in
on my T shirt.
The cat went out on the balcony
to watch a possum.
Three parrots talked
among themselves in the fig tree
for half an hour.
David made us a cup of tea
and talked about his vision.
Wendy arrived with a box
of magic wands.
Nadia and Ameel talked
of getting a dog one day
if they can find a way to live
at ground level.
Then Sophie arrived in the evening
to discuss the mouse in her house.


Don’t give me another one of your

theories whether tactical or

rhetorical today I don’t want to play

It’ s a good day for

being serious

through real practice

from sexual to textual you wipe

the issues with a tissue there is no pride

while you erase historical and political for an ideological space then

call it a refusal of submission

but don’t expect me to yield

except for these lines

a semantic plus

a visual expression where lies my sincere truth enacting

language and world above

and beyond thinking yet

the tothink thing is on itstrain

umhm   umhm

do you hear the thought’s rattle of chains

repeat repeat repeat replay rerun re-


don’t give me another wedding

don’t think marrying soon with

noon will give birth to

moon honey

repeat repeat please

nonetheless any naive child will open her mouth

the full spoon can feed her



this is the diet

repeat repeat repeat replay rerun


don’t explain






Ne me bassine pas avec une autre de tes

théories qu’elles soient tactiques

ou rhétoriques aujourd’hui je ne veux pas jouer

c’est un bon jour pour

être réellement sérieux

en pratiquant

de sexuel à textuel tu essuies

les issues avec un tissu il n’y a pas de fierté

pendant que tu effaces historique et politique au profit d’un espace idéologique alors

appelle cela un refus de soumission

mais n’attends de moi que je succombe

sauf me rendre à ces lignes

un supplément sémantique

une expression visuelle où réside ma vérité sincère elle édicte

langage et monde au-dessus

et au-delà de la pensée déjà

le truc cogiter est sur sesrails

hum hum

entends-tu le raclement des chaînes

répète répète répète rejoue relance re-


ne me sers pas une autre noce

n’imagine pas que de marier fortune avec lune

donnera naissance à miel


répète répète s’il te plait

malgré tout n’importe quelle enfant ouvrira sa bouche

la cuillère pleine pourra nourrir son rire



c’est le régime

répète répète répète rejoue relance re-


n’explique pas

When these words were translated
into the language of clouds
using the alphabet of rain,
they became the birds that
have just discovered what
a feathery place the air is
and what beaks can do to fruit.
They are out there now
in the garden
amazed at themselves
and begging the reader
not to turn the page.

Life is a concept album


As summer breezes dust off

the holding yards,

North stays steady in a storm.


We rarely complete our plans.


It’s a game of millimetres,

of a bee’s tit. Where

you came from


takes you to where

you go: from dust

to dust.



to us with confidence,

is the undertaker’s slogan.

When they dropped Father’s coffin

Father would have liked that.

He was good at pointing out

mankind’s failings.


The undertaker’s man

had a corked thigh

from footy. But

the show must go on,

etcetera. Let us

speak in the present tense.
(Now is a loaded word.)

night has put up with me dreaming again

off comes the mask
and night has to deal
with my nudity
with my animal sex
night tolerates my dream travels
my flights, my free talk
night, in your arms
(and in my swaddling)
I sleep like a baby
a mouthful of clear water
good stuff!
waking, and it’s the same every time
bed sour with rotten luck


(translated by Kit Kelen  [客遠文])




With thanks to Michael Crane

I chewed pencils until I was told I would get lead poisoning except when I had a rotten tooth and the chewing relieved the ache then I didn’t care carbon pencils left purple stains on my lips my father brought them home from work until one day he didn’t come home at all When I see a shoe mender’s last I think of him the last time I saw him he was a closed coffin If you call me by the name I was as a child I likely won’t answer you People think I dye my hair I show them the grey underneath to prove I don’t even though I really don’t care and for a very short while I did Henna is quite a nice word it is soft I’ve never chained myself to a gate I could’ve joined in a protest about funding the arts at Parliament House but I was on an art project there at the time and I needed the money

Inspired by The Red-Haired Woman Buying a Cigarette Lighter at the Brunswick Street 7-11 published in The Best Australian Poems 2015 (ed. Geoff Page, Black Inc. 2015).

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