Sunday, January 31, 2010

Player Hater -01/02/2010


I'm so angry at you
for not being attracted to me.

It's not fair,
there was body language
there was eye contact
there was intelligent conversation
I listened to your half of it.
I showed some genuine interest,
in you.

And I bought drinks too.

Had just the right balance,
acting like I was myself
but not too much myself,
my fashion sense was sensitive enough,
I was projecting laid back
without looking disinterested,
wasn't too talkative
or too quiet,
didn't say anything stupid
was careful not to sound too intellectual either,
wasn't too showy
without being boring,
too keen
not too nice
too polite
too opinionated
too familiar
too rude
too girly
too gruff
too reserved
too needy
too weird
too normal
too tall
too short
too white
too loud
too quiet
I wasn't too geeky
or too cool
reckon I was a little bit geeky in that cool kinda way,
wasn't sleazy
short of sounding like a prude,
I was completely casual
I was totally natural
and that was...

really hard to do.

Do you know how much I agonized
over that text I sent you?
To achieve
just the right mix of wit with pathos
I was tasteful in the use of emoticons
I was clear without being too suggestive
I was eager not to sound too eager
I was waiting all day,
and trying not to expect anything.

...I was expecting one date, at least.

I didn't invent this game,
just doing my best to stay in it,
I did everything I was supposed to,
so why don't you like me?
What did I do wrong?
What is wrong with me?
And why won't you tell me?

I can be sleazy
I can be cocky
I can NOT offer to buy a drink
I can sound smarter
I can act dumber
I can be melancholy
I can be depressing
I can be lively
I can be with it
I can be in control
I can be laid back
I can be serious
I can be funny.

really fucking funny.

I can be
you know
more confident.
If you like.
If you're okay with that.
If that's what you're after.

If that's what you want me to be.




Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Caffe Sospeso presents: Randall $tephens' bio -19/01/2010

originally from: Sospeso Readings
(photo courtesy of Michael Reynolds)

My name is Randall $tephens, I was advised by the powers that be to put up my bio for my upcoming show on February 5th. I am doing this of my own free will and without being manipulated in anyway or coerced. Or threatened. Repeatedly threatened. With violence. I have not been repeatedly threatened with violence in order to put this online to support the democratic poets republic of Sospeso. I wish to state this for the record.
To my family please be assured that I am being treated kindly and fairly and I look forward to my eventual reunification with you upon my release.

Thank you.

About Randall $tephens:

13.7 billion years ago a singularity of infinite density existing without time or space exploded for unknown reasons, creating the universe. For a while not much happened. In 1980 “The Empire Strikes Back” came out, and Randall $tephens was born. He is a poet. His many and varied pursuits include writing poetry, performing spoken word poetry, writing spoken word and occasionally typing it too.
After travelling around the world, Randall returned home and is currently living in Denial, while visiting other emotional states in Australia. Find out even more about Randall $tephens, or make a large non-tax deductible donation to him:

or email him at:


See you on February 5th, I'll be back here before then to give you some details of what I'll be doing at the feature. Looking forward to seeing you all there. It's going to be a great show folks, don't miss it.

Randall $tephens.



Monday, January 18, 2010

When In Melbourne-18/01/2010

Rode past the Tote.

People were packed in
had been all weekend
saw their intention
spilling out
onto the street.

went home
took a shit,

Staring at the Astor calender.




Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fast -17/01/2010


I was listening to Blood on the Motorway
Every swerve
Was a dance on the peddles
in glass slippers.

A pumpkin
in my own playground.

And you wouldn't believe the speed I was doing.




Friday, January 15, 2010

The Retreat, Leone Style -16/01/2010


I belong to Sergio Leone's world.

Parched skin
landscapes on faces
hard stares
tense buildup and quick action
heroes and horizon
whores and madonnas
witty dialogue
not much of it.

Beautiful music.

I'm standing around
buying drinks
talking too much
trying to sell
whatever I have to sell.

They call this place
"The Retreat"

I wouldn't.


"Never seen so many men wasted so badly"

-The Good, The Bad, The Ugly



Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fly by Night (You Fuckin' Poet part II) -15/01/2010

We met in the dark
I had just arrived
she told me I was just another fly-by-nighter
insincere and looking for loopholes
just waiting to sell out...

if anyone would buy this.

At the time
I took it for the insult it was meant to be
wanting to fit in in this place
long on pity
short on hope
like you gotta be down
broken egg shells walked-all-over
choking on your last chance
before pissing it up the wall.

Waiting here expecting apotheosis
losing ground guarding against bad ends
that gain
on you.

Our vices our poisons our poses
our private publicity
felicity with your demons come calling

I found myself there, appalling
'cause the contradictions
are only supposed to be fun
when you're winning
can't point to any tattoos of my own
but I know they're there
autopsy myself each day
laughing sincerely
at one's misfortune
feeling so full of good stuff,

that I know the tears will come back.

We met in the dark but I'll be damned
if that is where I truly belong
I'll leave scars for the fashion victims
show and tell and so scared
that smooth skin would make them less real.

I have now stayed my time
though she still says I'm a fly-by-nighter
still looking for loopholes
still waiting to sell out...
soon as anyone starts buying this.

No one bothers to tell darkness anything,
she doesn't already know.

So I guess she hasn't heard that hurt
is a bad means to any end
suture your wounds
in so many words
whatever dose you're doing
that medicine must at least feel
like it's designed to heal.

I've written darkness down until it filled me up
and the overflow has now begun
scars fade
maybe now decorate thin skin
with a broad smile
call me a sell out
anyone's buying
but you're damn right that's for sale
I've set up my stall here beyond the pale
that exchange made in talking to someone
trying to strike out a bargain.
we can work out the details on paper.

Call me a fly by night?
here for a good time not a long time
if you find
darkness beckons
I reckon
you should have your eyes examined!

Because believe me I gotten down down here
angrier than a missed-out mass of the big bang
I know now
my shadows are just relief thrown out of light
and enlightenment
down to the man
still has to be part of the master plan.

So go on another blind date with darkness
knowing for sure she's a sure thing
but fellas, fellow dwellers
she ain't the one for you
all you should really be doing down here
with her
is asking yourself where else you want to be

Because down there in the dark
(...guess it's hard for you to see)
if you're not at least trying to get somewhere

You are already far more lost than you'll ever realise.


I blogged this yesterday as a live poem (IE written straight into the text editor here without any prior plan or structure ), relief for a chest congest-er. However I was particularly embarrassed at it when I read it back this morning. I've now done a significant rewrite... so I'll only suffer a mild embarrassment reading it back tomorrow... and it goes on like this.

Also, after that twenty four hour reflection, I've decided to go ahead and name it as a sequel to "You Fuckin' Poet" (here) , which thematically it is, because while I think it holds as a general statement about not being in love with your scars/traumas (which is relevant to everyone), the angle of this is specifically aimed at poets.

While I'm up about naming the perfectly obvious:
the whole "you're a sell-out" thing from this has really been said to me. After two years, I'm still baffled, and yeah, quite disgusted at how poets in our little poetic community in Melbourne try and tear you down and put you in 'your' place when you try and promote your craft, rather than leave advertising in the trust of that massive publicity machine that we have to get people to our shows... because we do want people to come to our shows, of course.

Thi$ i$ Randall $tephen$ $igning off.



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Bald and the Beautiful -07/01/2010

My shiny sinewed stubble skull,
Stumbled across the crooked line,
Between sexy shaved head,
And scary shaved head,
Holding affectedly gruff pauses,
In semi-effeminate poises,
Wished I wasn't conscious of compensating,
For this when I whistle.

Any singing or smiling I do is now suspect.

This admittedly-last angry man,
Is not actually angry at you,
Somehow no hair means I'm mean,
A hairstyle can make me a hostile,
Like my gender generically engenders,
Your feeling genuinely endangered.

Now I'm no gentleman,
But I am generally gentle in my agenda.

As much as I revel in the idea,
That the whole room will clear,
Soon as I yell "boo!",
I still flinch cowardly from loud noises too.

You wanna talk fear and intimidation,
From something like shaving,
Explain then why this fuzzy cranium,
Should seem any tougher than smooth legs,

'cause that is a concept that goes way over my head.


Some alternative titles were:
-"Favour the Bald"
-"Hair of the Dog"
-"Ahead of Myself"
-"Head Scratcher"
-"Baldly Go"
-"Frankenstein Needs Friends Too"
All of which I also unsuccessfully tried to intergrate as additional puns.

(Oh, and I am so-gonna perform this one folks, maybe I'll even shave my legs for it too)



Knee Jerk Reaction -06/01/2010

Roaring ache right behind my left patella,
Kickin' in,
Every time the bike hits twenty-eight KPH.

X-ray that the doc says,
Is a knee in the best condition he's ever seen,
For a haemophiliac,


He admits,

...doesn't really mean much.

It's a race,
To see who could smirk at that first,

Which I don't win.


"What daring god torments my body thus..."