Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Unwriting Your Resume -14/12/2011


you see the fearful

fuck themselves limp
for Friday night
for car starts and spaces to park
to get red light angry
go green light tyred
bottling up their last sunlight
draining it into repayments
of TV reruns

and you
don't want to be one
of them

eating away at a debt
to starve off that fear
seeking supermarket aisle asylum
to hide from opportunity lost
humping the road to keep
from careening off it
even faster

and faster chase happily ever after
fearful down the fairy trail
looking to put a ring on a finger
to hide from a monster under the bed

you see the fearful
and you don't to be one
of them

having your own name
advertised back to you and how

they really
fight off fear
smoking cigarettes outside the hospital
only reading from a television screen
staying in touch just a text
with the word 'contact'
now simply something numbered
and punched into phone pads

you see the fearful
stalked by time
making them
for a savior

and you...
you are scared too
you don't want them
to be you

with only stomach on your mind
or a wishlist of things
you don't need to buy
people you don't need to do
things not to say
and reminders to yourself
to forget about all this

this fear
stops here

so tomorrow,
wash all their filth away
by getting just a little dirtier
carve into your blunt fear
attack it berserker

don't phone a friend
just in case they have the answer
go without words most of the day
to see what it says

waste whatever big chunk of time
you got left
just so
you can let that fucking clock know

you're no longer afraid of it




Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sweetalkers December -THIS SUNDAY 11/12/2011


Four of the finest features to ever feature for us and an MC you'll have to see to believe, believe me we are this Sunday putting on the best spoken word in Melbourne that the best spoken word gig in Melbourne has ever put on, on a Sunday.

Here's what we're talking about:


21 year-old Poet/playwright Izzy Roberts-Orr originally hails from Footscray but has recently moved to the dangerous, botoxed depths of the inner east in order to attend Monash University, where she studies politics, philosophy and law. Izzy was a finalist in the Overload Poetry slam last year and a Muddy River Slam winner and is currently working on a collection of poems entitled "portraits of people on fire."
Earlier this year, her play 'NightMinds,' a fusion of poetry and performance text garnered excellent reviews at the Adelaide Fringe Festival. She is currently working on a new play called 'Twins' which is going on for further development as part of the MKA workshop season at MTC Theater.

Sweetalkers will be Izzy's first full poetry feature, and if that wasn't enough: She'll actually be turning 21 -the day- of this Sweetalkers event. We promise not to do something lame like get her a cake and make everyone in the crowd sing happy birthday.

The Secret Life of Inanimate Objects

The Secret Life of Inanimate Objects from Izzy Roberts-Orr on Vimeo.

(if you are not seeing a playable window above CLICK HERE for a direct link to vimeo)


"Down To Earth" is John McKelvie, Brian Walters and Jez P.A. Speelman joining forces to deliver a dynamic and beautiful set of spoken word, lyrical poetry and song expressing their individual connections and collective homage to our home; planet Earth.

Brian Walters is a barrister, co-founder of Wild magazine and the Greens in Victoria, and a keen supporter of spoken word.

Jez P.A. Speelman is a performance artist, poet, sound artist and multi-medium arts enthusiast. He has performed and exhibited all over Melbourne and other parts of Australia and has been described as a "hybrid
fun factory" and a "cartoon character with a microphone".

John McKelvie is a poet and singer songwriter originally from Scotland with a voice matured for forty years in a whiskey barrel. Poets think he’s a good singer and vice versa. Has disgraced the Melbourne poetry scene for a
number of years and would be one of poetry’s older statesmen if there was anything statesmanlike about him.


Lee Kofman is an Israeli-Australian author of three fiction books. Her poetry, alongside her essays and short stories, has appeared in Australia, USA and UK. She is the recipient of various awards and writing residencies. Lee performs poetry and spoken word widely, including taking a part in Saloni M and Liner Notes, Melbourne's Emerging Writers Festival and Wordplay.

DARKWING DUBS (aka Scott Sneddon)

Brisbane based artist Darkwing Dubs has been performing his experimental mix of hip-hop and poetry for almost a decade, with a diverse artistic history involves theater shows, hip-hop crews, poetry collectives, bands, beat-making and DJing.

Four-time state finalist in the Australian Poetry Slam, and twice competing in the national finals (coming runner up in 2010), and also finalist in the Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup two years in a row. Founding member of Brisbane’s most dynamic poetry collective, Broken Records, for the past two years which has seen them on stages at the Queensland Poetry Festival and the recent Canberra slam summit.

Darkwing Dubs covers an amazing sweep of spoken words styles and subject matter, the energy and crowd connectivity displayed when Darkwing Dubs steps behind the microphone, has to be seen to be believed.

If Jesus Was Born Again

Darkwing Dubs - If Jesus Was Born Again. from thomas on Vimeo.

(if you are not seeing a playable window above CLICK HERE for a direct link to vimeo)


Randall Stephens has had a short and lusterless I mean lustful I mean lustrous career in public speaking beginning humbly with singing in the shower to swearing at his cat and yelling at his (fucken) computer, before moving on to singing along to headphones while cycling in the CDB, scaring people with animal noises out of drainpipes and in more recent years has made a career for himself heckling actual poets at their gigs.

Randall now brings his many years of experience standing upright, dressing himself and opening his mouth to see what comes out, to battle against the English language as our new MC for Sweetalkers this month. Oh dear.

5 Extraordinary minutes with Randall

(if you are not seeing a playable window above CLICK HERE for a direct YouTube link)

It's all THIS SUNDAY, December 11th
at The Bendigo Hotel
125 Johnston Street

$10 entry


FIND US ON FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sweetalkers/




Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Glass Half Fool -08/12/2011


it's cold out there

the bar
between your fidgets

digiting out drums on a table top
that's all uncoastered line curves
caught glances
taut smile polite
and small talk

drowned in three drinks
while practicing the strokes
of your best sharking swim
washing up sure-line
in reflexive retreat
to the toilet stall mirror

hands aren't dry
facing your eyes
as they demand answers from you
what the hell are you gonna do

when you go back out there




Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blacklisted -21/11/2011



our fathers politics the teeth stuck
in our ears

Andrew bolt-action beliefs
poles piping up
barrels of a rifle
for pepper spraying
pensioner protesters
to de-occupy
and nullify
the vox populi

propping up a cyclone fence
that cannot be stretched
around enough coast line
to cover up the whole truth

melting with a patience
that can't be disproved
or swept under
the lowest common
of scientific investigation

polarise us
double negative
like how big business
continually wipes it's arse
with our money

an imaginary friend
pretending underdog
to rose tint
this soldier ant system
the black face white lies
caught red handed
in grey areas of
human rights
human wrongs
and assertions
that any question
could somehow be dangerous

if it needs you to fear
if it needs you to hate
if it needs you to find
foreigners to blame

then turn away
from each lie
case by case
because racism
and distortion of science
are in evidence

the truth puts us on trial
the future will be our judge

with history as our hostile witness.


Andrew Bolt is a piece of shit stuck to our collective shoe, and I'm wiping my feet tonight, taking a little solace in the realisation that, popular as he is now, ultimately history will catch up to him and all his bullshit.

The future will not look back on racism, xenophobia, homophobia, hypocrisy, and distortion of scientific data kindly. He's destined to be remembered as favourably as Senator Joseph McCarthy. Same goes for Alan Bond, Kenneth Lay, Mel Gibson, Pauline Hanson, Reverend Fred Phelps, Darryl Gates, David Duke and Bill O Reilly, to name a few.

And there is some comfort there my friends. Goodnight.



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Irony (the 'Revolution' redux) -10/11/2011


"the only license you need to speak is a readiness to listen"

-Daniel Ferri

Is it ironic...?

that Gil Scot Heron said
the revolution will not be televised
because by all accounts, it has been
and it was exactly
that kind of social media
actually helped recent revolutions
in what we're currently calling
the Arab spring

like stickers
sporting environmental slogans
stuck on the back of cars
ahh.. you might as well carry a gun
'give peace a chance'
written on the barrel

it is ironic
like it's ironic
that many consider the bicycle
more dangerous
to people on roads
than cars are

is it ironic...
how this country full of rich people
whose economy
is inextricably linked
to exploiting natural resources
whose geography
consists mainly
of sun scorched desert
have deemed solar power
too expensive to develop

is it ironical
that this country's people
not only do the most carbon polluting per capita
in the world
but also stand to suffer the worst of its effects
are then
also the least willing to do


this land
stolen from a sixty-something thousand year old culture
where invaders claiming no one owned it prior
try to justify keeping others out of it

because they want to preserve their way of life

is it ironic that this country's welfare system
won’t help you if you’re homeless
unless you can give them a mailing address

for the cheque to be sent to

and check the irony
in media storms whipped up
around a fourteen year old kid
arrested in Indonesia
for drugs
when childen from them places
just turning up
on our doorstep
is considered a crime


like the loneliness
you find
truest only in cities
when you're surrounded by millions

irony like showing people-
touching bodies
having sex on screens
labeled dirty and obscene
but movies showing people-
shooting inflicting violence
on other people's bodies
are considered acceptable, clean

in the quick crucifixed
censorship of violence bible bashing us
with pro-life death penalties
ignorant guardians of information
bigoted diatribe editorial scrawl
speaking out-rage in writing
over what someone else said

while in the meantime
the keep left signs point nowhere
so-called social outcasts moulding themselves
trying to deny that they're just a different stripe
of ideologue,
they keep hiding behind the Bush's
accusing Obama of being worse than his predecessor
principally because he's had to compromise

I guess the left handed-heavy
have not yet been able to
that if you really want
the type of benevolent dictator
wielding the kind of autocratic sweep
you've described that he should keep
you'll have to do more than elect one

the only conclusion you seem able to reach
oh, well, umm, y'know he should just make another speech

forgetting what he said
when he was announced president-elect:
"I promise to always listen to you
especially at times when we disagree the most"

no idle boast
taken to ask
while I ask
is there irony made out of
ideas we claim to embrace
and those we don't
in whom we point our fingers at
and at whom we won't

listening selectively to leaders
who tell us to disregard the science
because it's inconclusive
not understanding that the power science has
over religious dogma
is that it never purports
to have a conclusive answer

I don't have any answers either

just thoughts and ideas
(thank god)
and I can't help but thinking
that revolution also means 'spin'
a political revolution need plenty of spin
to cover for the fact
that they have rarely
have changed a fucking thing

irony defines more revolutions
than revolution have defined change

the revolution has been televised

and even if you haven't stayed home brother
you're still couching your concern
in a two-sided ideologue shit fight
so instead
of telling me
to choose a side
as if people taking sides
has ever helped anything
in human history
except their own sense of pride

think you need to take a closer look
I see no sides worth taking
on a planet spinning it's own revolutions
day for night

because this turning world truly has no sides.


This poem was retooled from a more left-leaning soap boxy affair I'd punched out back in April, revamped for a gig last week paying tribute to the late, great Gil Scot Heron.

It was a great line up of local poets, and most of the work was politically inclined so instinctively, rather than getting high on my own supply, I went for the chance to be a dissenter amongst dissenters to then night, I think it was successful for the most part, if nothing else this statement (or anti-statement) added another texture to the evening.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sweetalkers November -THIS SUNDAY 13/11/2011


This Sunday, Sweetalkers November sees the stage graced by the face of interstate poetry sage ROBIN ARCHBOLD, down from Queensland to show and tell us a thing or two about a thing or two, along with the amazing LINDA BEATTY and her unique blend of harp-paying cabaret stand up comedy, if that doesn't sound funny enough we're also unleashing the full force of BEN POBJIE's vitriol on you, complimenting the pathos and power of emerging poet BRONWYN LOVELL.


Author, comedian, poet, commentator, raconteur - is there no end to the words Ben knows how to spell? Perhaps not, but he also does other things too. With no journalistic qualifications whatsoever, he has a weekly column at Australian news commentary site newmatilda.com, and his writing has appeared in Crikey, The Age and The Punch, among others.

In between regularly harassing Australia's editors with his vaguely satirical ramblings, he blogs at benpobjie.blogspot.com, podcasts at gatheraround.me, and has published two books: Handy Latin Phrases and The Adventures of Guanacoman. A regular on ABC radio, Triple R and 2SER, he has been described as "puerile and bigoted" by Miranda Devine, and is currently engaged in a campaign to become Australia's first Poet Laureate.

Join him in his dangerously obsessive quest for fame, continuing at Sweetalkers

-Don't Give Up

if you are not seeing a playable window above click here for a direct YouTube link


Bronwyn Lovell is an emerging poet and spoken word performer in Melbourne, featuring at many events and festivals as well as on community radio and local television. She has a writing residency at Kinfolk Cafe as part of Australian Poetry Ltd’s Cafe Poets Program, and she is a workshop facilitator for the Centre for Poetics and Justice.

In 2011 she travelled to the US, where she was the first Australian to compete in the Women of the World Poetry Tournament. www.bronwynlovell.com

-Troubled Men

if you are not seeing a playable window above click here for a direct YouTube link


A classically trained singer and Celtic harpist, Linda offers an original twist to the cabaret and stand-up genres, with heavenly singing and twisted fairy tales she explores the lies adults tell themselves.

She won The Comics Lounge Best New Comic award in 2009, was the Green Faces Comedy finalist and St Kilda Laughs Festival finalist, and in 2010 was the Raw Comedy state finalist for Victoria, was awarded an Outside Eye Mentorship by The Melbourne Fringe Festival. This year her show The UnEnchanted Princess received rave reviews during The Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Those who love comedy, fairy tales, Disney and their cabaret sweetly dark will adore Linda Beatty, and we are honoured to have her perform for us at Sweetalkers.

-The UnEnchanted Princess

if you are not seeing a playable window above click here for a direct YouTube link


Our poster boy for this month, Robin Archbold is the co-founder of the Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup, winner of the Woodford folk festivals slam and many others, featured at Australian Poetry Slam Final, the Queensland Poetry Festival, Tasmanian Poetry Festival and just about everywhere else really.

Archy attacks the stage with a mixture of charm, humour, rhyme and a occasionally indulged his penchant for ripping of his clothes of during shws. A personal inspiration and friend of mine ever since I saw him close out the last Wordplay gig in 2009, I'm absolutely delighted to present him at Sweetalkers.

if you are not seeing a playable window above click here for a direct YouTube link

The line up is stellar, the bar is open, the burgers are $5, the entry is $10, the stage is set (or will be when y'get there), the start time 7.30, and the MC is OMAR MUSA

That's alotta wow for one gig, come along and soak it up Sunday November 13th.






Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Blame Smarty -3/11/2011


walking in two hours late
to find him tabling for two
evening's second jug sitting
with a spare seat thirsty
and conspicuously vacant second glass
with my name on it

while his name
and picture
grace the hoodie I'm wearing
and with all this BFF-BS
we must look cute between the hugs
if only anyone was watching us
but not gay
'cause us cats done tried out that routine once
to get cheap lap dances -didn't work

bromance doesn't apply to us either
we're already individually far too melodramatic
to have that shit stick
we've got sentiment on wholesale
piled up into smiles
but can't move the stock
off these docks
not with all the... strikes
we work through

chicks see us coming every time
mixed metaphors with in-jokes
last smokes and new hopes
handed enough rope
to hang ourselves, around 'til close
pros at prose
but everybody knows
we're just a mess
joined at the hip-pocket
just as broke as we've gone for
across this country
two-crumpled faces into bus tickets
trench coats and memorised poetry lines
that you forget
that you'll forget
when you get that drunk

and we always get that drunk
and we always stay that late
and we're always getting stuck
but never for something to say
with much between us we don't need to say

like I'm saying (hiccup)
that about the best luck
either of us
has ever had
is that once
we were lucky enough


to have met each other

...and a great hoodie it is too, check out Smarty's home shopping network here. Can't go spelling shameless without me.




Monday, October 31, 2011

Interview with the Goethe Institute, in Gould's Books, Sydney -29/09/2011


Here's a video interview I did recently with Jochen Gutsch for the Goethe Institute in Sydney, at the iconic Gould's books in Newtown. Enjoy

if you are not seeing a playable video window above (click here) for a direct link to the YouTube video

The Goethe Institute is a an organisation operating worldwide as cultural ambassadors for Germany, promoting an exchange of ideas, and Jochen has been interviewing lots of artists around Sydney to this end, and adding clips to their YouTube channel on a regular basis. To check out some of their other videos click here for their YouTube channel.

Or for more info on Goethe in Australia: Goethe Institute Australia

Thanks to Jochen for taking the time to come out on a rainy afternoon and help me kill some time in Newtown, and for editing out parts of the interview where I started awkwardly trying to mount a high horse on a soap box on a slippery slope on a whim. Quite a stunt if one can pull it off, but it turns out some of just aren't that well-balanced.




Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Randall performing Buddy Wakefield's 'Human the Death Dance' + Vipassana meditation -10/10/2011


Well no sooner than I got back home than I'm off again. However this new trip will be the first time in 2.5 years I'm leaving Melbourne without it expressly being to perform poetry. The next ten days will be spent in complete and utter silence undertaking Vipassana meditation, something I've long been curious about, but now after spending so much time plugged into everything and everyone over the last 3 months, I feel like I really need.

I'll be offline, off peak, off tap and off the grid for the next fortnight, trying to get comfortable in my own skin, without trying to get into anyone else' for a while.

Inevitably, it'll be an experience I'll end up writing about. Buddy Wakefield wrote his epic poem 'Human The Death Dance' in his head while doing the same course. I did a cover of this last night at Passionate Tongues in Brunswick, and figured it's a good way to leave off the blog for the next little while. Fittingly, the last thing you'll see is me telling cameraman Steve Smart that that's enough, and to shut the bloody thing off. Enjoy

(click here) if you're not seeing the playable YouTube window.

Also, if you'd like to know more about Vipassana and what it's all about, check out the link below.

Vipassana Meditation

To be honest I'm absolutely terrified by this challenge, but it's nice to be once again in that kind of place/space where one is undertaking something that seems beyond them. This is how I believe I can grow. Wish me luck.


Before I leave Melbourne again I was hoping to do a write up letter thanking every individual who helped me on the 99 day tour I've just completed, but it's only four and a bit hours (mark) before I have to get up and get my arse to the airport again, so that will have to wait now until November. Dang.



Thursday, October 6, 2011

Randall performing 'Something of Value' at TiNA Festival, Newcastle -29/09/2011


if you are not seeing a playable window above click here for a direct link to the YouTube video

Performed at the This is Not Art festival's anti-slam, on September 29th 2011. Camera by the redoubtable Alex Scott.


If you are going to be lonely

find the biggest sky you can
as far from home as possible
to do it under

lift the weight off old skylines
finding new light looking up
lose old aching gravity
overarching starful
as the pinpricks wink you
across this impossible distance

where a couch can't contain you
let that distance stretch you
so much further
than spread eagle across beds
throw yourself into it
scatter life down highways
like you're a string of wreckage
let hurt
spur you on
paving the lines on your face
with a road map's direction and

own your alone

if lonely hunts you
amongst people
in places already known
then run, sucker, run
hide inside a pocket of velocity
an envelope of anonymity
a blanket of trajectory
jumping the void
left by burnt bridges
across the still waters
running too deep for shallow swimmers
to have followed
that loneliness
will work for its prey

if you are going to be lonely
be strange
stubborn as leg cramps
let your skin
carpet your flaws
be so funny
that your punchlines
...can leave black eyes
be so far gone
that your trail
will itself be a tale
bread-crumbed to become
the stuff nourishing a legend

if all your photos of you
are taken arms length
then reach further
than you ever believed you could
and picture yourself


and in reaching around
to sunscreen your own back
develop another flexibility
plans remain in your hands
no splitting this difference
where decisions comes from within
that same sunscreen grease
will suddenly smell like freedom
and release

if caught in a conversational drought
then find your minds own inner dialogue
and talk yourself up a storm

get your years covered in mud
get them buckled and blistered
warped from water-log
snow stained with sand grains
stuck in them
'til you stink
of a long-story's old nostalgia

if you are going to be lonely
at all
do it all
out there
where not a single friendly-fire
word-exchange can steal your flame
torch glow
your life's light
far from home

pursue and imbue
illuminate the solitude
with something of value
a suffering brilliance
finding gains hidden in the pain
on nights alone
that need no account
lose count and let go

...of letting go

and hold on
to those nights' silence
feel it congeal around you
so thick and hard
you can actually grab hold of it
climb the silence
use it as a boost-up
to get over the walls
that followed behind you
into every situation

look out on an horizon
as it curves back too far
in either direction
for the straight
and lame
to ever catch you

under the biggest sky you can find
as far from home as possible
and up on that silent line
even if standing there
all alone
it remains


hell of a view.




Monday, October 3, 2011

Sweetalkers Returns: 9-10-11 (this Sunday)



So it's about sweet-time I did some talking about this month's talkers:


Tariro first got a taste of the theatre performing in 2008, already studying Politics and Anthropology and working as an artist with international and nationally established bands at festivals such as the World Music Festival in Adelaide, Big Day out and the World Music Expo (Arts centre).
Tariro has worked as an actor with the VCA Centre of Cultural Partnerships Horn of Africa program that toured a group devised piece to schools and community centres around Victoria in 2010.
Also a founding member and workshop facilitator of Poetics and Justice, as well as a founding member of Still Waters African Women’s Storytelling Collective, an artist for the African Voices of Carlton Project. At the Australian Poetry Slam she was a state finalist in 2009, and again in 2010, going onto be a national finalist (see YouTube below).

Tariro performing at the National Slam Finals last year:

If you're not seeing a playable video above then click here for a direct YouTube link


The son of Italian immigrants to Australia, he's emerged as one of Australia's most unique spoken word artists from past lives as a classical concert pianist and avant garde jazz musician to teach at an elite Melbourne private school. He performs in a range of styles, from fast rhythmical delivery to slow atmospheric meditation, often with a strong world music influence and critical ironic distance. A fixture on Melbourne's grass roots poetry scene, his has featured at a long list of reading, events and festivals around Australia.

He is a presenter of 3CR's Spoken Word radio programme and appears on Going Down Swinging and Voiceprints CDs as well as the Melbourne Poetry Map website and television programme Red Lobster on Channel 31. He is a winner of the Overload Shelton Lea Award for Best Solo Performance.

If you're not seeing a playable video above then click here for a direct YouTube link


Jessica Alice is a bitter and lusty poetess from old, grey Melbourne town. She performed her poetry for Voiceworks, as well as the Emerging Writers and Overload Poetry Festivals – making her debut at the Abottsford Convent in 2008 and winning The Spinning Room’s performers place in 2010. Jessica presents The Powder Room on Triple R’s Aural Text, and performs her confessional, tragic love poems wherever there is a bar and not necessarily a mic.

Jess performing at the Spinning Room, Melbourne (2009)

If you're not seeing a playable video above then click here for a direct YouTube link


Upon his arrival in Melbourne, Luka Lesson rapidly emerged as our ultimate slam champion. One of only two Australians to ever compete in the Individual World Slam Finals in the US. As co-director of the Centre of Poetics and Justice, Luka's passionate commitment to human rights and social justice in Australia has helped many marginalised young people find their own voice through the workshops he has conducted. Luka is both a powerful writer and performer who will have you in turns cheering and sighing with delight as his oratory.

Luka performing- May Your Pen Grace the Page (at the Nuyorican, New York)

If you're not seeing a playable video above then click here for a direct YouTube link


We're delighted to have back Omar bin Musa, recently seen telling it like it is on ABC's Q and A, as the night's MC


Okay, so now you know, why you must go to see this show. Sweetalkers is

Sunday October 9th
Bendigo Hotel
125 Johnston Street
Melbourne, Australia

$10 suggested donation entry

8pm (for an 8pm start).
Doors open 7.30

Find us on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sweetalkers/



Monday, September 26, 2011

Randall's Back from Borneo tour -is in Sydney, this Wednesday night! (28/09/2011)


If you're in Sydney this Wednesday (or knows anyone who knows anyone who is), I'm flying straight into Sydney and featuring for Live Poets at Don Bank this Wednesday night, to mark the end of my international touring for the year with a Back from Borneo gig.

I'll be unleashing a lot of this new material I've been blogging (and quite a few things that aren't up here yet either).

I'll be joined on the night by BILL TIBBEN -Sydney poet, former convener of Poetry, Imagery and Expression, Parramatta; performer at the Sydney Writers Festival – who'll take us on a journey back to Beat Poetry – the high times of Kerouac, Ginsburg, Burroughs, Corso etc when he RE-HEATS the BEATS: their connections and legacy.

Open Section readers are invited to bring along their favourite Beat poems or songs and perform.

Doors Open 7.30 pm $7 entry includes (hot) supper and drinks.

It should be a great night folks, Smarty and I did this reading last year together and we had a ball then, I hope you can make it down!



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Randall Stephens performing "Through" @ Global Poetics gig, Sydney -14/09/2011


Performing as support act for the Global Poetics tour in Sydney at Outspoken #10 on September 14th 2011. Camera work by Alex Scott.

If you are not seeing a playable video box below then click here for a direct YouTube link.

(the audio's a little shy so I've included a transcript below that more or less matches what I'm saying).

'Through' was my set-opener, with a new staging/performance approach I trialed in Singapore recently in an attempt to rattle people a little, (also I figured basically there was no way I was gonna try to out-slam the slammers)

Have gotten some great feedback from people on the night, and I was proud-as-punch to present local alongside giants Shane Koyczan, Ken Arkind and Jive Poetic. So inspiring to see them, and see them over here in Australia.

So thanks to my friends Jess Cook and Ray Nedziak of Outspoken Poetics, Word Travels and The Global Poetics tour for giving me this fantastic gig.


Lying here

hoping the next man who holds you
has sandpaper hands
eyes as dull as his words are dull
as his mind is dull
like a scuffed floor
sharp as a bowling ball
his tongue a toilet brush
waving windshield wiper wild
in a cactus kiss
with fingertips that prick
like his dick
as a bullbar embrace

lying here


bleeding edges over your last letter
loose-leaf crumpled-zone sheet linen
just hoping that
ghosts of the tenderness I showed
will haunt you unheld
through a hugged pile of pillows
your skin will remember its tingles still
and crawl lunatic
through desperately unsleepable
hours palpable alive
hearing whispered reminders that that whole
touched like you have never been touched before
will now
touch you again
cold in your comfort zone
forsaken warmth substituting safety
for my body

lying here
in the space

...the space

you said
you wanted
from me
I'm now lying here
inside of it
and at last
sharing nothing
with you
and lost now
trying to feel my way out
after searching around for something
from being inside you
to hold on to
something I could, from you, get
to get
a grip
on my own insides

lying here

trying to get through
this arched back
in my learning curve
as it graphed itself out
on this mattress
my back bent spiralling fetal
curling through an embryonic crescent
so I could be as infantile
as you say I am

am not
am not
am not I am

lying here

paper-weight on that letter
to hold down whole
everything you tried to take back
before you took off
with your lint brush pluck
at every point of light
found while eyeing
our shared-nights sky
I tried
straightening out
each of our turns
to the letter
every last phrase
I once floated you on
each word magic spelling out
I now sink into these curses
wanting you
to miss me
as much as

I hate
how much
I miss


the best parts of me
to be
not good enough
or much too much
the more
the tighter
I tried to hold you
the less you had
to give me
parts of my past off
held each up to light
before throwing them away
to show
you were safe
with me
to give you
more reasons to stay

yet another
in tears tearing at myself
I got so small
trying to fit in the hole
you made inside


I've been lying here

lying here
right where you left

lying, to myself
the whole time
piling up all of this scorn
to level out a wall
against having to feel remorse
for each time you tried to warn

you did try to warn me
and I wish
godless in regret
I had not gotten
so angry
when you said

I have a problem

with my anger




Saturday, September 17, 2011

The High Ground -17/09/2011


The flood arrived here first

and though we came here separately
it looks like we're stuck with each other
in the town of Sukhothai

So like Thai people here do
I just got the fuck on with it
found me a neat little bungalow on stilts
for a place to stay
an island surrounded by knee deep water
though I still have wi-fi
and only one wet shoe.

Now feet up halfway down a long neck
after wading over to reception for dinner
I porch a balmy night
with a licked-clean empty bowl
and watch tiny geckos spasmodically dance-off
with one another
around the walls's fluorescent light
while crickets sing to the long-grass
standing obstinate in brown water
while floating plastic bottles
try infiltrating their ranks

nearby the sloshing and splashing of locals
walking around the problem
while the guesthouse owners son
playing loudly with his ultraman toys
pretends he's not watching me
whenever I glance in his direction

I pretend I'm not smiling
stay remote via this mote
floods shouldn't be funny
as they happen always to someone else

but the light I'm writing by
can hide my grin
out over the face of the waters
where everything is reflected wavy
and upside down

on what used to be the ground




Friday, September 16, 2011

Like Applying for Grants or Festivals -17/09/2011


She admitted to using me just for conversation

three whiskies in Kings Cross too late
into a night
both sets of our friends
had hours ago escaped from

we were at the caught-end
of a suddenly mumbled phone conversation
clearly I was not supposed to hear
too quickly back to the table
bladder evacuated after near five hours
flirtatious blather

her flushed face deflation
sunk me into an eyeless smile
because only then
were her eyes anywhere but mine
and my words
pushed question ahead of the answer

that your boyfriend?


(the giant neon flash of coca cola red shifting directly behind me)

only in myself

because my doubt
only ever seems to benefit
people like her

because I should have sussed it before
when she said her place
was five minutes that way
but we couldn't go back there

because maybe
it is in fact innocent
to hang out all night
with some guy you just met
who was chatting up lonely on a stage
in front of hundreds
buying drinks telling him you're drawn to him
in conversation flowing like physical chemistry
would come
just another ankle-depth length's upstream
where this barge of mine loads expectation-heavy
with hope

because when she joked
that she'd just been using me for conversation
I wanted to reply back
that I felt just as cheapened
but didn't say this
because I wouldn't really be kidding

because irony was bleeding thick
out the look on my face
as if she had now answered her own question
asked earlier
about why don't I apply for an arts grants

because I hate wasting time
on things that don't go anywhere
because when people
live up to my lowest expectations
I end up feeling stupid

and maybe I should have been the more naive
or innocent or understanding
that we were just drinking friendly
because I'd like to think that I don't think like that
the way women think men think
but both of us clearly expected too much
from the opposite sex tonight
perhaps from ourselves too

and I'd like us to meet in a place
where people give and take and share
without needing or expecting more
or less
from their hormones and self-esteem
a place where men are big enough not to assume
physical interest is in them
after hours spent out on a school-night
but that place
is not the Cross at three AM

this is a place
where one of us
had someone at home waiting for them
while the other
has only ahead of them
a long walk's cold night old adage
that goes

remember man
the type of girl who comes up
to start talking to you after a show
is only after one thing~



eh, I'm not unaware I could be getting into some rather dubious sexual politics here, with the potential to set a nasty precedent and alienate fans, with a poem title won't help matters along either, oh well. I'll take it on the chin for the sake of seeing what the reaction is.



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shane Koyczan and Jive Poetic are kind of a big deal -13/09/2011


I have quietly slipped back into the country to do this gig in Sydney, slipped in a little too quietly actually, and I really should have made more noise about this.

So here I am to BRING THE NOISE.

Yeah tonight I'm performing alongside poetry giants Shane Koyczan and Jive Poetic. Me. The guy whose been turned down by more festivals than you've had hot dinners, whose emails and phone calls are easier to ignore than climate change is in Algeria.

let me show you who these guys are and why I'm so name-droppingly excited about them. Enjoy


or click here is you can't see the YouTube window on your screen

JIVE POETIC: clone wars

or click here is you can't see the YouTube window on your screen

Also performing on the night are the amazing Ken Arkind (also from the US), Melbourne's Alia Gabres (see my note on Sweetalkers 22/06/11), Sydney's own Alana Hicks.

Alia Gabres

I am very humbled and excited to be a part of this gig, and I intend to do nothing less than my best performance. Ever.

So if you're in Sydney this Wednesday night... (finish this sentence)




Friday, September 9, 2011

Makes a Hard Man Mumble -10/09/2011


my one night in Bangkok

was literally just a night in Bangkok
I already had the proverbial one,
back in India

had my road to Damascas
in Vietnam
my last tango in Paris
in Kuala Lumpur
my train to Jordan
ended up leaving me in Spain

met the whore of Babylon
when I was in Hong Kong
done the Indian summer thing
in Borneo,
and found the Hotel California
in Kathmandu

it has nice curtains

this town and I
too jaded already
to enjoy
one another's company

all that was left to do
by the time
I got to Thailand

was talk Turkey




Thursday, September 1, 2011

BREASTS (live at Donna Butcher Gallery, Singapore) -29/07/2011


Another video from the gig at the Donna Butcher Gallery in Singapore on Friday July 29th 2011, for local writers group Plato's Cave.

(if you are not seeing a playable window above then click here for a direct link to the YouTube page

Long time readers will know I've blogged video performance of this poem before, and while my performance here is probably on par with that previous effort, I'm much happier with the camera work and sound on this one, (credit there goes to my friend Nilofer Ashraff).

Besides: it's breasts you know... no one ever gets tired of breasts. The poem I mean, hang on no I don't, I mean yes I do, I mean no, I mean watching videos of breasts, I mean the poem, I think I mean: enjoy, uh... the poem.

Once again, thanks to the Plato's Cave crew for taking an interest, and being an interesting bunch in turn.


You may have noticed things have been quiet on Tales Told in the last week or two, compared to the massive ejaculatory spate of material I was blogging earlier in August. What's up?

Two major projects of mine from back in Melbourne both caught up with me, tag-team style and have pounded the writer out of me temporarily.

One is the re-launch of my spoken word night in Melbourne, Sweetalkers, which will be back on stage in October when I arrive home, and will be running monthly. My aim is nothing less than to make this Melbourne's premiere poetry gig, and I am very excited about the lineups I've been putting together (check it out, I made a logo I did!)

The second project is a monstrosity. A big loud messy, heavy lunging skulking angry mess of an album called "Monstrosity". And yes, after three-going-on-four years of slumming it as a performance poet, I'm preparing to throw my hat into the ring with producer/musician Kim Lajoie and singer Jayne Brailey as the vocalist for PUNCH CARD POET

Both of these are big, collaborative efforts on a scale I've never dealt with before, and I'll be making a lot of noise about these two (ongoing) projects soon. Meanwhile however there are plenty more original poems on the way too, so keep tuning in, reading up and we'll be resuming normal broadcasting services shortly.



Sunday, August 28, 2011

and me and you and everyone else we don't know -29/08/2011


suffering the same symptoms
log onto facebook
read everybody else' status

then bum out
your life is on ice
with no traction

say tired not tyred
to be clever
say something
that doesn't say anything
in order to have
something to say
to be clever
to the someones who may
or may not
read it
who are also
looking for something

...to say
in the blink
of the cursor

stop believing
in clever
in looking for your shape
in outline and underline
in the red on blue little cues
that flag that we are still

by the faces you know
the length of the lists
ain't living

this is addiction

we are connected
in our alienated state
connected by the faces
I know

what it is "like"
waiting for a like

and I am



-LIKE- the recipe for awesome sauce
that's part eating lemons
part sucking eggs

with a pinch of salt

added to taste
eating your own words
over and over again
waiting for yourself
to somehow write out enough reason
for us

to not have to come back here.




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Passed -24/08/2011


you have not found anyone yet willing to un-break you
and never will

nor will anyone find you
using that map you've made
the one
where you marked the spot

with an X

tonight, your past
presents us an impasse
we can't seem to get passed
on this our first
(soon to be last)

because my
romantic advances are lanced off
with an expansive romantic tale to tell
filled with this kinda-well...
and it's messy and it's recent
and it's confusing
and it





listening to this

listless limp wrist audio parade
of the amorous corpses
you still haven't gotten around
to cleaning out of your closet

oh and I got it

you wanted me
to jump
my hand up stuck
to role-play janitor
trying to clean your closet free
for you
in a brand new
but same-lame brain-drained blame-game
...for shame

especially on a first date
'cause if you got to know me
see, I'd be all up for cosplay
and names
and weird games
ones like with stuff that's actually fun
and then some
and intimate feelings
with maybe a touch of healing
and redeeming
and believing in brighter days
but to get there...

you'd have to meet me half way
here across our candle lit table
on the near side of yourself

not in the middle of that minefield
handing me a shovel

nor with the map marked
initially eye-heart
and marking that star-spot
with an X

and yes
stupid as I am, ma'am
I'm still not the one
dumb enough
to go digging
in there
for treasure
waiting for sparks
to fly out of your broken parts

because I'm old enough now
to see this for what it is
and can't be fucked

with a wild goose chase
when all I'd catch

is just a lame duck.


"and X never-ever marks the spot"

-Indiana Jones



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Washing My Mouth Out (1 of 2) The Plexiglas Lexicon -14/08/2011


"Well maybe you can keep me
from ever being happy
but you're not gonna stop me
from having fun"

-Ani DiFranco,'Gravel'


my right to swear publicly
died of suffocation
inside a Plexiglas lexicon
scarred from billboard de-face-ment
caught in trafficking accidents
with motorised billboards
on underpasses
beneath gambling establishments

didn't watch
which way it was walking
looking out for clocks
a window
or a way out

my right to swear died quietly
behind the walls
they don't even bother
to white wash anymore
just slapping dark-gray paint over
offering you
plainly painted concrete
instead of hedges of living canvas
for the inner city kids
trying to add a little colour
to our lives
along these suburban-trained-lines

my rights were lost to a policy
of privatisation
on late-cancelled-running trains
roamed by goons
picking on the foreign
the disabled the poor
then apologising
for any inconvenience caused

my right to swear died
with a shrug off
of an apathetic electorate
interested more by rates
than human rights

it died starving
trying to win back
community approbation
while all of the rest of you
just looked at me funny
for singing in public, too

not that this
has stopped me
from ever singing in public
either way

so my right to swear in public
may well have died
not least for reasons stated above
my will
to keep doing so

is still very much alive.


"Washing My Mouth Out" was conceived as a response to a challenge from my Father~ write a poem about swearing without swearing. It then became a horribly self-righteous diatribe of a thing, yet another monster from the drafts-folder that gestated way too long, before becoming timely again in the midst of Victoria's ridiculous new anti-swearing legislation, (though I well and truly missed the punch there too, with this already months in effect at the time of this blogging).

It was then dragged up from the dearth once more for an event I featured at in Kuala Lumpur (which I stole the poem title from, in the end), though ultimately I didn't end up using it on the night then either. Regular readers may also detect that I've poached certain parts of this poem for the recent 'Carrying a Tune' poem as well... ah what a fucken mess.

So... gosh, bother and darn it, here it is, blogged finally. I've split it in two to make it more palatable/readable, due to a distinct gear-change that happens half way through. Stay tuned for part two soon.



Cold Turkey -17/08/2011


get in another fix
of day dream

heavy petting
hot shower sweating
in hand holds
of a hard time

til static noise
fades with shakes
to white out

but beaten bad
with skin-crawl
all over this withdrawl
because still

you got
that can take the edge

off her curves


(yeah well ...you know, this is all poetry is anyway right?)



Monday, August 15, 2011

Carrying a Tune -15/08/2011


I'm starting a resistance cell
gonna go
jam head phones in my ears
walk down busy streets
singing badly

to myself

off key and not caring who listens
and who doesn't
and see who joins me

we'll march through the city
having tickle fights
we'll make paper planes
out of self help guides

we'll tear up fashion and fitness
and diet books
and drink fully-full fat milk
and eat big sugar
and carbs and cholesterol
and we'll saturate in fats
like we're in a jaccuzi
and won't let anyone stop us

I'm starting a resistance cell
gonna go
set fire to a burning question
talking madly

by myself

til I've smoldered out an answer
loud and not caring who listens
and who doesn't
and see who else is

because we won't wait to speak
until we're spoken too
we'll go looking at our reflections
if we see them in windows
and not stop when other people notice
pick our noses
and pop pimples in public

we'll be just as comfortably uncomfortable
in our skin
as we want to be
we're gonna stop saying sorry
when someone bumps into us
we're going to burp mid sentence
instead of getting hiccups
fart loud and often
not going to tuck in shirts
trim back our nails
or shave where and when we don't want to

we'll tell our boss they're fired
make doctors wait for us
pull over the police for speeding
ask ticket inspectors
if they have anyone they can call
to verify their identity
kick bouncers out of bars
fine advertisers for public defacement
and tell our counselors

that they're crazy

we'll ride bikes without helmets
or fears
twist bubble wrap
break glass for giggles
without admitting it's fun to smash stuff
stay on the train way past our stop
and won't care what's coming down the line

we'll take the last piece of pizza
and the first slice of cake
spit on a fish
swing on a swing
sit on a roof
climb trees like we used to
roll down green hills
then spin around circles at the bottom
if we're still not dizzy enough
laughing like the idiots
we are

lie around naked in our backyards
and in our hearts
sing the bits of stupid songs
we like
even when we don't know
the words

we'll make something up

and we'll let it out
bouncing in heart springs
and we're going to do it

before they make all that illegal too.




Thursday, August 11, 2011

Something of Value -12/08/2011


If you are going to be lonely

find the biggest sky you can
as far from home as possible
to do it under

lift the weight off old skylines
finding new light looking up
lose old aching gravity
overarching starful
as the pinpricks wink
across this impossible distance

where couches can’t contain you
let that distance stretch you
so much further
than spread eagle across beds
throw yourself into it
scatter life down highways
like a string of wreckage
let the hurt
spur you on
to line your paved face
with a road map's direction

and own your alone

If lonely hunts you
amongst people
in places already known
then run, sucker, run
hide inside pockets of velocity
an envelope of trajectory
blanketed in anonymity
jump burnt bridges
across the still waters
too deep for shallow swimmers
to follow
and insist
that loneliness
work for its prey

if you are going to be lonely
be strange
stubborn as leg cramps
let your skin
carpet your flaws
be so funny
that your punchlines
...can leave black eyes
be so far gone
that your trail
itself becomes a tale
bread-crumbed to become
the stuff nourishing legends

Get your years stuck in mud
get them buckled and blistered
warped from water-log
snow stained with sand grains
stuck in them
'til you stink
of a long-story's old nostalgia

if all your photos are taken arms length
then reach further
than you ever believed you could
and picture yourself


and in reaching around
to sunscreen your own back
develop another flexibility
plans remain in your hands
no splitting this difference
where decisions comes from within
that same sunscreen grease
will suddenly smell like freedom
and release

if conversation starved
then find your own minds
inner dialogue

and talk yourself up a storm

if you are going to be lonely
at all
do it all
out there
walk into every situation
like the wall behind you is following
where not a single friendly-fire
word-exchange can steal your flame
let lack of explanation torch glow
you, so far from a home

pursue and imbue
your life's light
with something of value
find these gains hidden in the pain
a suffering brilliance
and the shine of that light
shall more than sustain you

on nights that need no account
lose count and let go

then let go of letting go

and hold on

feeling the silence
of nights alone
congeal around you
so thick and hard
you can actually grab hold of it
climb the silence
and use it as a boost-up
to get over those walls

under the biggest sky you can find
look out on horizon lines
curving-back too far in either direction
for straight and lame
to ever catch you

and even if standing all alone
up on that silent line
it remains

such a magnificent view


This piece has been a long time in the making, at least since April, and has been rewritten and worked over, torn up and made to sit in the corner many times. So much so that I'm actually quite pensive about releasing it out into the wild, most poems with a gestation period of more than a few weeks rarely make the light of day ~ things get turgid there in my draft folder pretty quickly. In this case the statement was too much of myself and my life to not fulfill it.

Anyway, hope you enjoy it, and as always any feedback is greatly appreciated. Cheers



Knuckle Loved -11/08/2011


I have bled into pages
for strangers

scared the shit out of them
had to hand it back
in a stinking-stupid
balancing act

I've had to apologise
to the emotionally comatose
living on life-support
and a bland diet

of early nights

swallowed conquered words
world-view smiled back belief
and fulcrumed my foolhardy
into muscle
and more muscle

done push-ups on the sun up
sweated the lead out
cracked ribs while laughing
and made midnight wince
at seeing me again

I fucked the holes in my story

eaten her out with knuckle loved hunger
glared obnoxious at every
curved part that bodily
separated us from our true stories

I've wanted her so bad
that it was... bad
punched that pain into myself
then tried using the bruise
to feel like maybe somehow
we'd connected

died of embarrassment
just to see if suicide is painless
or just another of life's creative processes
believed in no pain no gain
no matter how often
I was subsequently short-changed

I have paid my dues into black
then demanded some bloody payback
and when it was my shout
took my voice in stereo to eleven
screaming god-fucken-dammit
right up into heaven

read every religious book
back to itself
like a lullaby

I have believed
that I shed myself
of every belief

had spirited arguments
with alcoholic ghosts
got gas in the think tank
a broken light bulb for brains
and beaten my head
against every wall I could find
out there to blame

and girl,
I made it hard on myself
kept it up to die trying
I've tolled the bell
taken the cake
told it straight
screwed the pooch
in a glass house
snapped judgement
rocked the boat
given a toss
and slept it off
fucked it up
blew my chance
cut the crap
shit where I've eaten
to then eat shit
but I have never
done anything

that could stop me thinking

about you




Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mister Adventure Hammock Man -11/08/2011


Leave it there just one second longer

I ask her
as she moves
on the empty glass

-just one second longer-

clutching at it like a kids toy
while flashing her a half-embarrassed smile
same one I've often used
to get out of awkward spots

an apologetic explanation
holds biting-point in my half open mouth
but all that comes out is

I know better
than to get into sentimental matters
with bar-staff,
especially bar staff at airports

I couldn't really rationalise it
because not everyone
looks at everything in front of them
as photographically as I do
my mind framing this glass
like the last photo
I didn't get
with the man
who has just drunk this glass
and left.

because I didn't say half
of what I wanted to say to him
because I have lots of words
that don't fit the right way
and would look awkward on us both

because sometimes there are spaces so big
that come with my words
that you could lose whole friends
in the gaps I stick
between them

because sometimes you leave places
you won't get to go back to
you lose people
because I spent most of our last day
bitching about the last girl
I fell in love with
because he introduced us
because I now feel stupid
realising I should have instead
been talking to him about
how much I love

because a good feeling about someone
needs to feel the comfort
of a voice carrying it home

because I shared a home with him this past year
and it won't quite feel like one without him
because that time
when I was walking up to the front door
to find it open, light on inside
and his clarinet music wafting down incense
on the summer time breeze,
that share house became a home.

because he once hugged me that time
coming in from the night-hours worked
that didn't have a hope
and he did it,
because he just knew I needed it.

because beyond a man-hug
we've squeezed so much
shared-joke and photo-face
into our time and thoughts exchanged
and now he's leaving this country
continuing his way round the world
started years before we met
with no plans to return
and I respect that

because when I grow up,
I want to be Christopher Harper

walking like there's never a hurry
because there really won't be one
not worrying about my next or last lay
because there'll always be another on the way
cooking gourmet for myself and house-mates
because it's a joy not a chore

like he tried to teach me
because he was so stone-cold-sick
of seeing me can-eat baked beans
and raw noodles

though I'll never really learn
because unlike him
I'm slow on the uptake
a quarry made hard-cased square peg
tin man built knuckle-loved
mashing key pads
too small for my fat fingers

who runs-backwards to his friends
for help,
friends like Chris
who, not to over-gloss this lot
sometimes would push my buttons too
with complaining his way around the world
or with some of those girls
he brought home
before giggling at the garbage
me and my friends would watch
his snobbery verses our slovenly tastes
scoffing, actually scoffing,
then and there,

but he was there

when demons were summoned-substantial
from the worst of my dreams
to threaten me, he fended them off
playing exorcist cum spirit guide
and we flinched our way through that bat country
he kept me safe

because that's what friends are for
that's what Chris is for
because he has been one of the best
I'll ever have
trusted, respected
and I've suspected
that life back in Melbourne
won't be the same without him

because inspite the belly ache
elliptical monologue revision
I kept spitting out our last day
he actually did, still listen
when I spent all that day
about that (damn) girl


...so I ask her
as she moves
on the empty glass,

-just one second longer-

to leave it there
on the mat
at the bar
at the terminal
at the airport
in the city
where we said goodbye
very likely for the last time

while being exactly the same height
Chris and I
didn't always see eye to eye
not suffering in sentiment
he takes things easy, as they come
then lets them go
I spend most my time desperately sweaty
trying to get a grip

only a few minutes gone
it was easy to imagine
him still there
seeing me grope for that glass
fool sitting there half-empty

he would have laugh-smiled
patted me on the back
saying something like

man, in the end~

You gotta just let some things go.