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

My Obscurity Not Willful -20/09/2011


it stands to reason

but where has reason ever stood

with us




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.