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 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 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

ahhh... 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.




The Signs to Santubong -08/07/2011


The last sweatless night behind you
left lying in a luggage locker
what you-doing in Borneo?

bunker windows eying out
your backseat taxi ride
making bumpy pidgin observations

Kuching wet to the taste
it's dug up and hot
you're thirsty
like misunderstood maps
like somewhere passed
this foliage you pass
you're going to get it all
growing photographs
out of your mouth gapes

air conditioners blister
every building side
jungles sprawls reclaim urban ones
vines and concrete competing
in an alternating tortoise and hair
racing crawl
a fight for life
stalemating on the edges

cops wear black
bonsai minaret roadblocks
everywhere has a gate in front of it

everything weathered and chipped
and still being built
covered woven then exposed
everywhere pipe works
and construction

faces made out of cracks on the pavement
south east age-ya
sunlight glare caked in the rubble
colours spilled stain
like off a post-banquet tablecloth

sunset casts a phonetic spell
over the skyline
in three languages worth
of roadsigns
treelines ahead
on motorbikes
in silk suits
that the cab ploughs through
mid-aerial roundabout ramshackle
passing roadside gardens of rust

but this place
is quieter with it's chaos
than some you've seen
the prepaid taxi driver
who speaks only when spoken to
making allowances for invaders
without bullshiting you
with friendly single serve chit chat
the dashboard air con hums
comfortable silence be cool with that

your insect repellent packed
you know to stick to the maps
smell out tourist traps
pay for it all in small notes
keep the photo-fire to a minimum

then relax

you're in Borneo now
the only place
you've been in years
where a poet
wearing a pith helmet

might finally make sense.




Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Globe Rotates Like Dice -01/08/2011


we have more than we need

and still want
more than that

so now more
of the world
lives with less
than they need
for the sake
of people
who then waste
what they have

we need
to realise
all this

could be taken away from us

need to wake up
need to share out
gift and give
what we have
to spare

and we need
to want
for less

if we want

to survive.


Inspired (well obviously by recent experiences of where I am), but linguistically by two lines of Denzel's in "The Book of Eli" that were elegantly simple and strikingly direct, as archetypal one-liner hero dialogue should indeed always be, and which I've paraphrased in the opening lines here.

Oh and the title?
It's half a line from a Sage Francis song~ "Agony in Her Body" (from the album A Healthy Distrust), Incidentally/ironically a very darkly introspective song on an otherwise extremely political album.



Fool's Gold -09/08/2011


I don't often laugh in people's faces
not with strangers anyway
and certainly not in Asia

But then George
from Ghana
in Kuala Lumpur
came up
sat down
and offered me gold

I hadn't even offered him a seat

Had to laugh, really George?
he was actually African
that enviable height
and much-better ability
to retain his handsome with a bald head
would be hard to fake
and I'd heard him speaking French
with his other mate
over in the corner

The thickness of his accent
the force of his smiling story
talked over the book I was reading
the novelty value
of an email scam come to life
something about his father
a war a bank account
a government a return
on an investment
and an end of a rainbow.


No never been to Ghana
but I'd like to
Yes Australia beautiful country
have you been? oh?
though I wasn't by then listening
mind started wondering
distractedly started wandering
into his real story

I'd like to know it George,
and your friend's too

I'd never get it of course
any more than this gold
he's so sold
on trying to sell me on

so as we talk
I in turn, turn out to be
a chef named Chris
from Bristol, via China
used to be a plumber in America
got a girlfriend back in Australia
where I picked up this accent
and got sent
over here to Malaysia
by my boss
to find a recipe

...for disaster.

George didn't get the joke.

This curtain up between us
now just shows the shadows
of a two-way projected puppet play
handing each other lies
in odd shapes
you couldn't put your finger on
mixed with just enough half-truths
to confuse one another.

He had a better shirt on than me
but still trying on a scam so old
I can't believe it could possibly fit
over the flab
of even this touristy strip

How did George get here
where did he think this scam was gonna take him
where had he first heard of it
how many times had he tried it today
and had it ever worked?

I really just wanted to ask him if it had ever worked.




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


A new edit of my poem "Warmer", performed live at the Donna Butcher Gallery in Singapore on Friday July 29th 2011, for local writers group Plato's Cave.

(if you're not seeing a playable video box above then click here for a direct YouTube link)

Thanks again to Nilofer Ashraff and the whole Plato's Cave gang for making this event happen, was a great night and everybody had fun, there's a few more videos clips worth seeing that I'll be posting up here soon.




it's time to ease yourself
out of that painted corner

without showing off
teeth marks
you made in the air
the wrench
found in your food bowl
or the many carpet stains
in your need to blame

don't look back
for anymore victims
to turn up amongst your cynicisms
quit putting forgiveness
on trial
as a hostile witness
take the gristle out those words
give up
on back pocket tears
hip pocket democracy
genitally exercised rights
promises tucked in your wallet
give it up drop it

come out
from hiding behind your time
you're not the only one
with low notes
held aggregate in their dial tone
not the only one
whose ego has been rubbed raw
with rough chunks ripped off your privacy
we all have those
same sweat-stains and scrub marks
badly hidden
and it's okay, here

ease yourself out of that painted corner

with ease
the paintbrush noose
let it go
give it up
put it down
slowly move
close closer
warm warmer
no sizing up for safety

have your hands out
where they can be held

no matter how dirty you think they are

keep your eyes where I can see 'em
each and every breath
like a helium balloons unstopped ascent
up through
your floating diaphragm chest
a guilt free gas cloud
clear now

give up that frown
come on,
and the other one

...that glare too

it's time for you
to hang up the hang ups
'cause there's a lot of healing
trying to get into your personal space
more than what you spent
on medicine
to cover the tread marks
made on your tired forehead

there's a healing here
to wipe away their footprints
from your mouth
there's a real smile forming there

so look up
and see that

any corner you paint yourself into
you can draw yourself out
from, and canvas
even with sketchy details
broad strokes

...and a few blank spots

walk out of there
leave the trap
no looking back
and please
don't worry about the mess

this time




Sunday, August 7, 2011

Head Room -08/08/2011


The walls of your room
haunt your thoughts thick
and sleepless

walls of your room
stare at you
dare you waking into long hours
reading them bare
-every stain felt
on every shapes every surface
each hidden hair of light
from off the floor
climbs up you
til you climb up the walls

learn the dirt the cracks
been built into these walls
trace them all backwards
in a loop in a loop in a loop
in a smell of yourself too bad
in the tattoo that scabbed
in a fan too loud
in a room too small
with a bed too big
in an idea bouncing off the walls
sonar echoed voices
in languages you never learnt

no one here
except demons brought back
with a tongue you chew
for soul food
and the sensation

of someone else here to hold you.

no way out
in fact there's no way out of tonight
at all
you try tunneling through to sleep
you're a head torch on fire
but these walls
have been built
on the wrong side
of your eyelids

walls you can't lose
growing thicker than the room itself

if you had a cigarette
you'd be a smoker right now
if you could bench press
the weight of this ceiling
you'd be asleep right now
if you
could stare back the abyss
into backing down
it would have flinched by now

or if you could describe
what this thing is
so lonely in the pit
of your witching hour's wander

frying old hate up
thick enough to make your new skin

if you could describe
this thing,
that throws you distant between intimate
and those walls that won't save you,

then you wouldn't have to keep trying
to write to it

in a letter like this





Thursday, August 4, 2011

Starve, Prey, Loathe -04/08/2011


She stopped reading "The Count Of Monte Cristo"
around the time she dumped me

and started reading "Eat, Pray, Love"

my favourite book
is The Count of Monte Cristo,
is why I gave it to her
an archetypal page-turner of a novel
swashbuckler story of adventure

and the limits of justice and,

it is
by now
a very old story
one you may have heard
or seen
elsewhere before.

I hear
"Eat, Pray, Love"
is a beautiful book

Oprah Winfrey said so

guess it's all just comes down to
personal preference
defining your reading taste

I remember reading
this girl's last letter to me
presumably written before
she started to read "Eat, Pray, Love"

explaining, Dear John, to me
the characteristics
of the next relationship
she wants to have

one much more stable
more supportive
more accepting
more genuine
a more less-contradictory
or something
sort of thing

and it is

by now






you may have


or seen