Thursday, December 13, 2012

Randy talking Bike Poetry on 3CR -this Monday 17/12/2012


Be listening to 3CR (that's 855AM on your dial) next Monday (17/12/12) at 10am, for urban cycling show YarraBUG Radio, as I talk to host Val Nagle about my bicycle poetry, sharing some work on air and discussing the urban commuter experience in Melbourne.

YarraBUG Radio encourages people to ride for the sheer fun of it and also to raise awareness in sustainable transport issues, promoting urban cycling as a viable means of transport, highlighting Yarra’s cycling conditions, demystify cycling technology, and helping reveal the diversity of cyclists around from children, to commuters, to lobbyists... and the odd performance poet.

more info:




Friday, November 23, 2012

Lickety Split Episode 5: a podcast with Little Raven


Hello readers and sorry for my absence the last few weeks, but to make up with it we have something different today, 40-odd minutes talking with Little Raven on podcast talking about how and why we write erotic, labelling poets, travelling, performance, not-being-able-to walk away from the poetry scene, and of course: sexual frustration. Enjoy

 There's a minute of silence after the intro between 1:30 and 2:38.

Two poems read here

- "My Keys Don't Fit" at 16:52

- "Your Boyfriend" at 40:54

(if you're not seeing a playable Soundcloud-control bar above click (here)


Tonight we're launching Little Raven's first anthology of erotic fiction with a great lineup of writers and performers. A cheeky night of stories, poems, burlesque and prizes.

Hares and Hyenas
63 Johnston Street

Free entry.




Sunday, November 4, 2012

Inventing Hysteria -5/11/2012


She is crazy
she'll call it being rational
but she's crazy
and you know better
because you're rational, see.


-- Randall Stephens (@RandyPoet)



Monday, October 29, 2012

but always welcome just the same -30/10/2012

Love is just a visitor in my life

a doctor continually paying housecall
trying to cure the ailments
(hypochondrial or otherwise)
of a bedridden boy who cried 


-- Randall Stephens (@RandyPoet)



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Disposed Towards -26/10/2012


Seeing smokers smoking outside a hospital always makes me feel... ungenerous


I'm on Twitter.  (@RandyPoet)

Follow me... I know the way!



Passwords -25/10/2012


live those shrugged shoulders
and held calls
stay friends til the next exit
or favour paid
and godless til the expiry date

finish what y'start
then start over
skim their titles
speak often
speak hard
speak up
speak highly
talk shit
in secret
speak yourself empty
and exactly

confide to the screen
because y'know
it will not tell anyone





Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Procedure -25/10/2012


night before you hospitalise

the sky holds its breath
the clock bites its lip
the packed bag with hands
fumbling awkward

in its pockets




Saturday, October 20, 2012

Grace -21/10/2012


having friends
with whom you can laugh at yourself

just as good as forgiving yourself
for being a cunt.

maybe better, by the way it feels




Saturday, October 6, 2012

At The Barn -7/10/2012


rooftop bathtub
podcast hip hop
graffiti and pot plants
rollies over old stories

reconstructing last evening
longneck for a hangover
chopped veggies for the soup
vapours from stove-top chai

and someone tagged the bread loaf

upstairs kitchen opens
on to old pallets gangplanks
and four states worth
of friends you haven't seen for years

      y'dropped your pocket

                  this is what we do

                          mate, get off the gear

                                    bench a hard one

injokes hang in the air
like bike parts over
racks of old costumes
and these scattered mattress'

while wet shoes
dry slow in the sun
and camera-nerds
are making plans

for an illegal evening.


More photos (here)



Friday, October 5, 2012

My Keys Don't Fit -5/10/2012


I am at my best itinerant
sexually frustrated
chip on shoulder hidden
with bag on back

at my clearest
not knowing
what's going on
what I'm walking into
or why
long coat over a stride
jingling a ring full of keys
that never fit

at my humblest
stubbled threadbare
night before's performance
having hosed out my head
fresh sweat now collecting
morning sun
under my hat

at my most gracious
having domesticated distance itself
made home in the misplaced
shaded in unfamiliar ceiling
against surrogate skyline

quiet enough
by far
for alone to take hold
magic misspells
and unspoken volumes

I am ideally a short answer
shot back at
some long winded question

I'm fine, this way


The 'ring full of keys that never fit' is a riff on a Henry Rollins line from "Get in The Van", which I figured could just as soon be the title for this, um, so now it is.  True story.



Monday, September 24, 2012

Your Boyfriend -24/09/2012

(re-edited August 2015)


your boyfriend's boring
like getting the bins in
boring like changing batteries
on bathroom scales
or doing laundry
with no stains to hide

a bore like well stocked sock draws
he's about as big a thrill as cleaning the grill
exciting as an oil change on a new car
flesh-coloured bras
and a beige coloured everything else

he's that guy at the party, uh...
no one can remember the name of
that guy at the party who turns up early
that guy at the party who leaves early
he's dinner on the table at 6.30
and he’s unworthy of your home cooking

he’s stupid looking
your boyfriend is too tall
his chiselled chin service
doesn't even deserve this
mention in my poem
he's got all the interest
of a dial tone

imaginative as those sweaters he wears
he looks like a tucked in T shirt
couldn't hold a conversation
with two hands
if you told him to

I don't know what he's talking about
he doesn't know what he's talking about
I know everyone's entitled to their opinion
but his opinion is just wrong
and your opinion of him is WRONG

he's like that sequel to a film
no one wanted to see in the first place
David and Margaret give him
no stars
and for once they'd agree
and agree with me

ah look he's just a dork
good for a spoon but not a fork
he fucks politely
he fucks like an amateur
trying not to damage-ya
he fucking fucks like its fucken fucked
he fucking fucks like he fucking SUCKS
inasmuch as he doesn't
and he doesn't know what to do
know how to lick an orgasm
out of you

oh he's a nice guy
nice guys are supposed to finish last
but from what I hear...he uh,
always finishes first
ah that's the worst

you need someone dangerous
to undress in front of
someone who'll be trying
for a grope when you're driving
who gives unsolicited cunnilingus
when you're on the phone to your mum

he's one better than another night
with a hot water bottle
he's what you got
when you settled
for what you can get
your boyfriend was the safe bet

that man has all the charisma of a cold pizza
he makes for story less interesting
than a well planned holiday
a reserved table
a reserved manner
a balanced bank balance
a balanced argument
or a bicycle built for two

he rides a girl’s bike
in fact he is a girl’s bike
like one with streamers an' a basket
and all that girly girl’s bike stuff
all prissy and silly
skinny wheels that go flat
fucks sake, on top a’that...

your parents even like him
that ain’t right
oh yes he's sensible
and yeah he's reasonable
and sure he’s stable
he is uh, clean, well adjusted
a pretty good dresser
also kind and polite

but y’know seriously,


                                                   he’s a fucken girl's bike


(...yeah well it's about time I had a word to you about him, better you hear this from me.)

Blueprint for a performance piece. A work in progress to be sure, but one that has long needed a nudge out the nest. 



Saturday, September 15, 2012

Assumptions -15/09/2012


her boyfriend
who disappeared
into the lounge room

who'd rather try figure people out
by their bookshelves

than by talking to them




Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Earthed -12/09/2012


and each time I return to Earth my thoughts are filled with you

looking down orbital
on where our divide went continental

we once touched at the gloves
the pressure of whole atmospheres
inside us
breathing background radiation
pressing the faceplates together
feet floating
without helmets over our hearts

sunrise in space is so shocking
a line splitting hundreds of degrees
stark night and day
life and the void

we met so far apart
the two of us so tiny
 inhospitable in hard vacuum
so solid-scared of falling out here
where there was nowhere
to land
nowhere to hide
yet so hard to find

nothing lives in space between worlds
a vacuum except for memory
and junk on trajectory

this is so much more
than the space we’re suited for
so I retrace an escape velocity
rocketing off again
to try catch you

 my lonely planet guide to the stars


Originally written for an astronomy-inspired gig we did on Earth hour back in May (but heavily drafted this evening) for Stephen Luntz. 

The phrase 'solid-scared' some Buddy Wakefield fans may recognise from his poem Pretend (hey, it's a homage, right)

Meanwhile, the opening line is also pretty lifted from a Star Trek episode ~but before you make that face I should tell you that alotta-allota other poems feature similar riffs on trek dialogue, this one's just a little more overt about it. The name of that episode?  "We'll Always Have Paris" (case in point ~ the title I used for one of the finest poems I've written)

Anyway, some gigs are coming up, things are being published and it looks like, yes, I've made it out of this Melbourne winter alive. Happy days.



Friday, September 7, 2012

Hardcore Like Pilates -08/09/2012


she was writing about men like you
before you were born and isn't fooled
by your under construction sad story

y'want her to believe
you can be one of the club~
that your personality
runs on diesel
burning tyres
and butchered dolphins

y'inner child
is that fucken devil kid
from The Omen

y'feminine side
is Grendel's mother

that y'sensitive side
is an Echidna's arse
and your only vulnerability
a box of porn
y'don't bother to hide
all that well
in your room

that you've seen some shit
that you've been through shit
an' that y'hate women
'cause they're shit

y'want her to believe that
so that you can believe
y'look more like a cage fighter
than a poet

someone said this to you once
and you've held onto it
like a security blanket statement

but just being sad and bitter
missing sex an'
getting upset when people
don't reply to your texts
doesn't make you a hard cunt

she knows you are not a hard cunt

can see the un-hugged mass
y'try cleaving back
when shaving your scalp
sees the softness tense
in the way you sit and says:
you're just a visitor here
one who will not stay long
you will go back
to the good soul
will re-find your smile
and save the children
or whatever it is y'do for a livin'

y'wanna argue back
show and tell
y'scars and fuck'n teethmarks

but you also
wanna believe her
so hard
when she says

you will be alright 

flicks her cigarette
like punctuation
to clear the air
after that pronouncement

yeah you'd love
to flick one away one
but can't

don't have one

y'don't smoke

never have

I mean, why would ya


that shit's bad for you




Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sick Day -04/09/2012


bike on the wall
ice-pack on the knee
a drowsy comic book on my chest
and a clump of dead bamboo
standing guard

tarp breathing in and out
for a snoring porch
street full of parked cars
in my head

a collection of stray thoughts
dancing across the warmth
of a late afternoon
that flirts with
a gutter full of leaves
and all my mistakes

they fade slow
like bits of plastic wrap
stuck under the gate

but they do fade

must have
breathed myself back human
seven billion times over
by now

nursing injuries
reading skies
spending time
where the air
hasn't tasted
as good as this

for far, far too long




Saturday, September 1, 2012

Other Pocket -02/09/2012


    can't find my keys

      where are my keys

           who took my keys

                   give me back my keys

                            no really where’s my keys

                                   well someone took my keys

                                        I can't believe someone took my keys

                                             mate if I find the fucking fucker who took my fucken keys

                                        please can y'just give me back my keys

                                 not leaving til we find my keys

                         don’t deny you took my keys

                   I know you took my keys

             really need my keys

         those are my keys

    people keep


    with me
        and my keys

                   hate my life

                                            and my keys




Thursday, August 30, 2012

Impersonation -30/08/2012


funny how seriously
we take ourselves

wearing my conviction
like a rental suit
I couldn't afford
to get any more shit on

it never fit, right
must've looked ridiculous
like a misspelled number
thumbs up opposable
with nobody even noticing

it’s me
fit in tailor made

trying to look
trying to look
trying to look
like I don't care
what I look like

trying to look like
I don't need you
trying to look like
I don't need you
to save me

so that you will
save me
if you can’t
can you at least
stop me

stop me
from trying
to stop you
from noticing

I feel so stupid all the time

...and it is stupid
I know you can't save me
I don't know if I need saving
I don't even know
what it is
I need saving from

maybe I just need to strip off 
unsuitable convictions
and roll around naked in the shit
laugh at how funny 
everyone else looks
for bothering to watch me

I don't know
where I'm going with this
or where that leaves us
and sorry for taking you
to such a strange space
you're itching to leave I know
but look seriously lost

well I know
the way out
and can
take you with me
just as long
as you can

not to take me seriously




Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Share -28/08/2012


standing in the kitchen
with time to think...

take away.




Monday, August 27, 2012

Because -27/08/2012

she’s a woman not a girl
a call not a text
she is coffee not tea
definite yes not a maybe

brown sugar not white
she’s films not actors
books not authors
she's bikes not cars
a cyclist not a fix-ster
and a cyclist
not a lycra-ist

late not early
she's boots not heels
jacket not a trench coat
a hat not hairspray
a comb not a brush
gig not a footy game
cynic but not a snob

cute not ditzy
clear not uh, vague
she’s window not aisle
fearless not fragile
suggestion not gesture
speaking not just talking
listening not pausing
nodding not yawning
smiling not smirking
laughing not offended

and she’s touchy not... touchy

staying not running
she is staying, not running
present in the present
kneading not biting
rubbing not scratching
she’s fingers not nails
heads not tails

she's stockings not tights
sensual not eventual
tease then a taste
neck not the waist
on attack not flat-back
into you
being into her
and she's vocal about it
clitoral taken literal
but she's not yours
for the taking

'cause she is real, not a play thing

open but not invulnerable
trusting not gullible
strong not indestructible
sympathetic not doormat-able

she's nurturing but not y'mother
there for you not y'saviour
has needs not needy, like you
she takes effort, not easy

contradictory not crazy
intuitive not rational
has limits not militant
feminist not femi-nazi
alive if not life-of-the-party

she's mostly, but not always
and awkward, a little, under praise
demanding not demure
and sometimes she's insecure

she knows her shit
enough not to take it
she's pimples and sweat
not hairless
without history
not a victim
or submissive
not passively gonna wait for you

to grow up
if y'take too long

because she's verses
not just the chorus
of this song
in so many words
that you, boy
need to learn

she is a woman, not a girl.




Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Accelerant -15/08/2012


no matter how late
or how far
this road goes

no matter how cold
lost or fast
the car seat gets you

no matter the mileage
barb wire you wrap
around the memories
or weapons-grade words
now stockpiled

to stay safe from her

you will never outrun
your rear view mirror

screaming open window
lyrics like accusations
but no matter how much
you get the music
to try eating the speakers

you can't starve out lonely

with angry




Monday, August 6, 2012

Randall's Wedding Poem -15/05/2012


No I didn't get married.  Yes I know the title's worded ambiguously.  This poem's actual title is "I Glove You" from an in-joke between my sister Carolyn and her partner Chris who, yes, did get married back in May.

Since I just got my hands on some of the photos from the wedding I thought it might be nice (yes, nice. Randall can be nice y'know... fuck you), to put up the poem I read at their reception.

I wore a kilt, and wore it well, if I do say so myself. Anyway, here's what-else I said on the day:

you don’t need anyone to tell you about love

there’s no trick to it
though with a wedding’s onset you might think
that having a poet in the family
is suddenly useful 
like when moving house then remembering 
that mate of yours ...who has a van
but as it stands

there’s really not much more I can tell you
about love

still some may say there’s a need for fancy words
you’ve heard poets dress up love
with pretty flowers puffy clouds running rivers
waxing about glass half fool moons

and ...stuff 
but love?

look folks I’m just a visitor here myself
one who comes in forgetting to wipe his feet
muddy on the nice rug lugging his baggage
mumbling love? bah-humbug

so you don’t need me to tell you about love

not if you’ve ever once been there
stealing a shy look across a crowded room
scribbled someone’s initials
into the margins of your notebook
ever daydreamed up excuses to talk to them
then shy st-st-tuttered
felt your heart flutter

if you’ve eaten a can of soup for one
more than once
if you ever missed someone
missed them like they were the last train
and it’s a long work home, alone

if you’ve ever wanted 
a 'you' to change to an 'us'
found someone that you want to stick to
like an alibi
if you’ve wanted to hold onto them
like they’re a last fistful of coins
needed for the ticket
then you got it right
there’s nothing I can say in change...

if you’ve ever argued
to the far side of a closed door
yelled down your phone
drove angry and slept in your car
you’ve had enough break-make-shake ups
to be able to face up to this...

if you insist on marrying
this sister of mine
you’re gonna need to find
a bulletproof patience
a set of ears hard enough
to grind down diamonds
occasionally like ET
you’ll need to phone home
because women can seem sometimes
 like they come from a different planet

 if you’re going to marry Chris... 
go easy on him, he’s a guy
it takes us a little while
to figure stuff out
ok sometimes it’s even slower that that
more like watching slow-motion replays
of paint drying
but we’re trying to get there
meet him half way

there are nights
you will want to tear the house in half
from each other but there’s room for that
this is a riff on happily ever after
you’ll have some goods days
others will be harder
and at those times  if you need a marker
just look back to your mother and father

because they made it
you will to

you have someone to grow old with
someone to go with
grow bold with

all I know about is love is
how little I know
to keep it simple
for love to work no fancy words~
merely a smile
in good working condition
y'just need to have a pulse
pumping a heart big enough
that it has space for a table for two
with no reservation
oh you can still quibble
over split bills
share the thrills of hearing
your future-children shrill
over spilt milk

Chris and Carolyn
youz aren’t children anymore
now you know the score~
"be excellent to each other"

it’s everything already known
you didn’t need me
to write this poem,
you got a whole room full of people
who love and we love
that you guys love each other

okay now I’ve just taken time to tell you
that you didn’t need anyone to tell you
about love but..

that is
just as long as you two remember
what you already know about love
and you keep telling that

to one another


Yes, not my usual thing. At least there's one poem now I can show to the girls at work without looking like a complete psychopath, misogynist or manic-depressive.



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Escapist Playlist -1/08/2012


she hides inside headphones
that say everything she wants
to the outside world

head down swaying slow
silent eyes seeing no need
for conversation

the remix of my nameless generation
she's an unshared anthem
gigabytes away from shit-scared
in a playlist escape attempt
from our noise
tapping-out her pulse in screen fingers

I just watched the way wires
waved gently amongst her hair
wanting to tell her
that she would have looked pretty

had she actually been here




Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Her Take -28/06/2012


she told him

'take it like a man'

she had a better grasp of the concept than he did




Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hours Remaining -29/07/2012


the hours lost

making sure we keep everything




Friday, July 27, 2012

Saturday Morning Screen Door -28/07/2012


Good morning!

two cheerful women
door knocking as you rub your eyes
and tie up your robe
they're already well into a spiel
about all the violence in the world recently
(the world is Denver)

and without even a hint
of religiosity
they ask if you're concerned
about all this violence
will there ever be an end to it?

your uncovered yawn 
covers not telling them
that truthfully 
you're thinking
about some violence
of your very own

...right now


Ok, so the elephant in the blog is, yeah I'm back. Just spent the morning re-working 'Currently' from a few days ago. 

It was always the plan to go back through my facebook status updates and harvest them for writing material (as I have been doing for years ~ I tend to use facebook as a live scratch-pad, for better or worse). However with so much stuff happening the task grew and grew and got way out of hand ~ which is of course what 'Currently' is all about, for me.

Also, 2012 has been a very rough year so far, in terms of finances and relationships, and while this should have fueled the fires, I found myself too often hiding in a pile of DVDs and very little else outside of work. With my financial situation now stabilised again, and some major stuff out of the way, most notably shooting a tv pilot/short film with Smarty and some filmmaker friends (with a stunt-retirement announcement thrown in for good measure), I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things.

Anyway, I feel we're off to a good start with this new batch since 'Currently', and I hope to continue and push into some new areas.  I've been working on a book of poems about my experiences working with Asylum Seekers (oo I know, topical Randall?) that I hope to have finished by the end of August, so stay tuned there.

As always, knowing there's folks out there reading this in 7 or 8 countries helps (thanks analytics), keep emailing and commenting here, please believe me, I read it all, even if I don't reply for lack of time, sorry. Thank you or taking the time to do so.

While it's all personal, I write to be read of course, and the gift of your time taken here in reading, truly humbles me. Thank you.  Sincerely, 

Randall Stephens
July 28th 2012


Missive to the her-shaped hole -27/07/2012


miss her in the curve of some other girl's smile

in the half-awake intrusions
she makes across from memory
into my solitary sleep shifts

miss her in spaces I arrange neatly
around the absence
making her-shaped holes

still look like a mess

in a thousand laughing photographs
I can no longer look at

and on the outsider's edge
of all the in-jokes

I can no longer share




Thursday, July 26, 2012

Currently -28/07/2012 (redux)

I can't give you any reason that holds water
for the time it took
getting back to you

didn't want to come back shallow
leaking out lies
to get myself in this any deeper

I diverted the days
flowed them into weeks
they poured out months
now awkward unspoken volumes
sit vast and tepid between us
none of my excuses waterproof

things is I was gonna get back to you
still floating the idea
you'd been the one to go-to
with drowned out hands

reaching for you to flush me out
sunken in self pity
to tell it all-good again
save me from this flood

soggy now wearing out frowns
wet stain they call my face
the arms drip off of me
I'm all puddles by the footprint
cold through to my toes
and right out my eyes

look there
if y'wanna believe
how much tide I swam at
all I waded through
to keep fighting against


'cause it might look to everyone
I've been same-spot treading water
but rivers below know
I've been thrashing mad at it
been kicking undertoe
wrestling invisible waves
just to not
get swept away

I said in another poem
"I can tread water like there is even a grace to it"
I can't

I ate fuck
swallowed salt water by the lung
holding out against a swim upstream
that turned torrent
wanting to take a life

just not drowning
is as close to flying
as I get
right now

I was gonna get back to you
sooner than later
wanted to swim this

stronger than another sad story
before that fucking flood

washed me away, excuses and all


(ed: 28th July 2012)
So this is me, crawling back to the blog I've so long neglected, trying to get my groove back. This piece came out of nowhere, I just opened up the browser and started typing.  I was very much influenced by the closing line of Buddy Wakefield's Horsehead poem (about a flood) and I just ran with that for a while.

I don't think it's quite there yet, will keep hacking away at this til I'm happy. Thanks for reading.



Saturday, July 21, 2012

Degraves Lane -22/07/2012


stands as if all Melbourne does
under his favourite piece of graffiti 
"by definition a crush must hurt"

there breathing in an indifferent stink
from cardboard boxes bruised soggy
out of bloated dumpsters
leering over the puddles of run off
they cannot completely swallow
in their shadow
pools amber-reflecting his dead of night

came to make sure it's still here
take it all personally
and he feels welcomed
by stacks of milk crates
that tumbled into silence

keeping guard
on the words overhead
on a night

where they still stand




Friday, June 8, 2012

Sounds Like -08/06/2012


she's made out of songs
I can't stop humming

that can't be suppressed
they become laughter

she's so much more fun
than I can fit
these words for

but I'll keep trying
adding noise to this

wanting her
to cover my mouth
with hers

when she does
I'll shut up then

I swear




Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ex Post Facto -6/5/12

when she starts to talk about her ex
you clench

because talking about what her ex'
used to do
is what your ex

used to do.




Monday, April 30, 2012

Will Type For Food: Facts about Randall Stephens

Click below and have a read of this, you might learn a thing or two about me. I certainly did. 

Will Type For Food: Facts about Randall Stephens:

Written by poetry stalwart Timothy Train a strange man, doing his best in strange times. Actually he's more than a stalwart of poetry: the man's made out of poetry, quite literally.

Our researchers at Tales Told by an Idiot have recently done a little checking into Timothy's background, uncovering several secret documents (previously thought destroyed) bringing new validity to accusation that Timothy Train is no longer a flesh and blood human, but a ghastly creature composed only of poetics and facial hair.

New evidence handed in at our offices indicate Timothy Train once went by the name Timothy Train, and back in 2006 traveled to Uruguay to have performed a highly illegal, extremely dangerous and unnecessarily complicated series of operations, where most of his original body was replaced by cloned poetry tissue. 

The documentation indicates that Senor Train had most of his endocrine and lymphatic systems replaced with stanzas, rhymes and alliterations. Even the vast mass of what appears to be facial hair is now believed to be in fact a series of assonant couplet semaphores. Shocking. 

So far Timothy Train (or should we call him Timothy Train) has denied all allegations, replying only that we should by his quirky and hilarious zine Badgers Dozen, and continue reading his Will type For Food blog.  

More on this story as it deteriorates...right now I'm off to drink a glass of testosterone and eat a Care Bear.


Friday, April 6, 2012

VOICES OF AOTEAROA: a Sweetalkers special event - Easter Sunday 2PM


Tomorrow’s Sweetalkers will be a unique experience for us all, never before has there been such a large roster of featured performers in one gig, each and all New Zealand-bred visitors to the Melbourne poetry scene.

Now even though they come as a group, I promise you the combination of these eight individuals will remain every bit as diverse and complimentary a-line up as you’ve come to expect from my programming at Sweetalkers. So let's specific about what came over the Pacific, or uh, Tasman:


Michael Rudd is Ngati Pakeha New Zealander of Aotearoa, described as an 'oralist' and performance poet, he is also developing his enjoyment of sound poetry, voice and words as an instrument and all that. Also enjoys creating/performing improv poetry
Like fatherhood he was a late starter in poetry, and for both he is thankful.

His hobbies include producing poetry/spoken word gigs, which he done so for many years both sides of the Tasman, most recent been the 1st NZ Poetry Slam in late 2011
Michael has performed and promoted poetry on television, radio, on the street, in bars, trains, buses, prison and a lot of places in between.


Zane is a NZ Maori (Ngapuhi) raised in Auckland City, father and husband, a youth-worker of sorts, and a member of the South Auckland Poets Collective, a strong collective of poets that brings to voice the urban Pacific and Maori experience, using the power of poetry and spoken word. Zane placed 3rd at the 1st New Zealand Poetry Slam held in Wellington, October 2011.

(If you are not seeing a playable window click here for a direct YouTube link)


After performing her poetry live one fateful night at a bar in Saskatoon, Canada, Ali caught the spoken word bug. Her poetry is inspired by people, landscapes and cultures encountered on the road, exploring themes of politics, sexuality, social and environmental justice and the madness of these crazy times.
Having travelled extensively across Canada and Europe, before moving back home to NZ where she runs the monthly poetry series Poetry in Motion in Wellington. Ali scored 2nd place in both the Going West Writer’s Festival Poetry Slam in Auckland, and in New Zealand’s inaugural National Poetry Slam.

(If you are not seeing a playable window click here for a direct YouTube link)

Ali has just completed her first chapbook, which will be on sale at Sweetalkers for $12.


Brad started performance poetry at a competition called ‘Poetry Idol’ in 2009. After two years overseas writing absolutely no poetry at all, in 2011 he began again managing to take the top prizes at both the Going West Poetry Slam in Auckland and the New Zealand Poetry Slam in Wellington. Brad ekes out a living as an actor and internet copywriter and lives in Auckland with his lovely fiancée, Nancy Kniveton.

(If you are not seeing a playable window click here for a direct YouTube link)


A lover of the arts, based in Otara, she refers to her poetry as mental notes learning how to speak. she writes of imagination, her life in south Auckland and her family. A member of the South Auckland Poets Collective, Clara recently moved to Melbourne...
(so hopefully we'll see more of her after this, if you guys are nice and stuff)

(If you are not seeing a playable window click here for a direct YouTube link)


has been a youth development worker for Youthline for 7 years. He is passionate about hearing people's stories and experiences which lead to him to South Auckland Poets Collective, of which he is an active member. His poetry is written with the intent to provoke thoughts and reactions in audience. Dietrich has written pieces about Faith, finding love and the want to 'Sky Dive' through life (see YouTube below for more on that)

(If you are not seeing a playable window click here for a direct YouTube link)


This Canadian born Spanish-American considers New Zealand home, as a ‘kiwi-bred’ universal citizen. Michelle has spent her life all over the world, scribbling about her experiences since she was able to hold a pen.
Michelle is a fledgling performance poet, who has been published in “Blackmail Press issue 14” and the “NZ Poetry.Org -Winter Edition”. In 2005, she published her first book of poetry entitled “Wheel of the World”. When she’s not hosting spoken word events like LIVE the “Library Bar”, Michelle spends her time raising her 3 kids and trying to complete a second collection of poetry.

(If you are not seeing a playable window click here for a direct YouTube link)

...with special guest: TOURETTES

Hi I’m Tourettes, I like rapping, poetry and playing the drums. I write about politics, love and diseases. I’m in a crew called Breakin wreckwordz. We’re pretty good.
Here’s a list of things I’ve done that make my Mum proud:
• Won the national emcee battle title and came second in Australasia
• Released two albums- “the misadventures of Johnny Favourite” and “Gimme Five Dollars and I'll Show You My Dick!”
• Toured New Zealand, Australia, Europe, England and Japan
• Won heaps of poetry slams
• Supported international bands like Dizzie Rascal, Atmosphere and Sage Francis
• Had writing published in various publications including Landfall
• Got heaps of ugly tattoos
At the moment I’m trying to find the best medium to get the voices out of my head and into yours. That’s all. Peace

(If you are not seeing a playable window click here for a direct YouTube link)

...and your host MC: RANDALL STEPHENS

For me personally, this Sweetalkers brings my poetry life full circle, being able to host so many fine artists from my homeland, and completing a circuit begun when I toured New Zealand for two months early last year. Some of these folks, I met and heard perform back then, others I’m excitedly waiting to hear for the first time live tomorrow, and as MC I’ll be peppering the afternoon with a few of my own poems from that tour. Speaking of that tour:

(If you are not seeing a playable window click here for a direct YouTube link)

...and yeah, as some of you may also know, this will be the last regular Sweetalkers gig for a little while, so it's kinda fitting to be back at the ol' Bendigo Hotel one last time. Please note it's 2pm in the afternoon.

So come along, buy me a beer and help me pack up some chairs afterwards. Cheers

Sunday April 8th 2PM
The Bendigo Hotel
125 Johnston Street, Collingwood

$10 entry




Thursday, April 5, 2012

Religious Saviour -06/04/2012


Save me

please save me
from chosen people
on a flat Earth
on a self-righteous path
blood-red carpeted
by the many books re-written
all singularly purporting
to have the right answer

save me
from hiding behind the veil
of civil liberty's shiny shield
springing attacks
on women's rights
on homo sexuality
and human progress

save me from myself

save me
from submitting myself
from calls to bow down
not to think
to question
about imaginary friends in our head
or monsters under my bed

save me
from taking human messages of hope
and book-binding them
shackled with fear

you've been with us
from the beginning
closing doors
in righteous cause
haven't you taken enough time

and hell is what you made of it
bloated and overfed
while heaven's a dream
of a world without gods
all their saviours long dead

save me from them
the only ones who comdemn
sin me up a scoreboard
preying upon my soul

save me
the obstinate obsession
with tolling up transgression
save your breath
for the life-after-death
your ideas, at least, might get

their time will be through
when people finally realise
all we have ever
needed saving from

is hypocrites like you.


...happy Easter y'all.



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sweetalkers THIS THURSDAY at Bar Open -22nd March 2012



Sweetalkers March is storming the stage at Bar Open this Thursday night with an amazing line-up of international spoken word and local poetry all stars to light up your Thursday night.


Back from Glasgow we have Skye Loneragan, the Edinburgh fringe fest-award winning writer/performer, bringing her passion for poetry into the third dimension and down from Sydney to tell us a thing or two.

Her first solo show, Cracked has been adapted for ABC Radio National. She’s made four other solo shows, worked on artist residencies, done poetry gigs with many wonderful people and her last play, Mish Gorecki Goes Missing, was shortlisted for three UK awards.
(more info:

Skye Loneragan: Poetry from Skye Loneragan on Vimeo.

This will be Skye’s first ever poetry performance in Melbourne. I first saw Skye perform in Sydney, as a sacrificial poet in a National Slam heat up there, fresh back from a decade over in Scotland, and then again at her own gig ‘Turning the Page’ in Sydney and I knew then I had to get her down to Melbourne. She’ll also doing features at the Dan O Connell on Saturday and Passionate Tongues next Monday to complete her Melbourne tour. Yes you should come to all three. Randall says so.


Sage storyteller Sista Zai blends humour, intellect and grace in talking about the experience of African-descended women living in Australia, she’s coming to the stage to plant some seeds in your mind, to see what grows.

Zai writes stories that speak authentically about her personal experience of life. In 2011, Zai founded Stillwaters! an African-Descended Women's Storytelling Collective. Through artistic collaboration and workshops, Stillwaters! facilitates the mutual and respectful co-existence of all experiences and stories.

(if you are not seeing a playable video-window above click here for a link)

Sista Zai is helping Sweetalkers continue our policy of featuring new and emerging talent, who have yet to be given a full feature of their own. I’ve given Zai a couple of requests, and I really can’t wait to see what she’s going to do for us.

Twitter: @sistazai
YouTube: SistaZai
Blog: (under construction)


Over from the USA on their Asia/Australia tour, a pair of Poetry slam mega-champions: Phil Kaye and Sarah Kay, giants in the US poetry scene for years, having performed for thousands of audience members in venues from sold out theatres to maximum security prisons. Together they run Project V.O.I.C.E. ~started in 2004 and has since taught Spoken Word Poetry in classrooms and workshops all over the world to students of all ages.

Project VOICE

(if you are not seeing a playable video-window above click here for a link)

Sarah was a featured speaker at the 2011 TED conference (Technology, Entertainment, Design) on "The Rediscovery of Wonder" in Long Beach, California.

(if you are not seeing a playable video-window above click here for a link)

They’re kind of a big deal. Like a huge big deal. Like: the poetry nerds have been going ape since I announced it, a few even thought I was flat-out lying that we could get them in.
I offer as proof a plugging our sister gig SLAMADINGDONG, the night before (today, Wednesday as you're reading this), featuring Sarah and Phil, along with a supporting host of Melbourne's finest battling out in a slam, a line up including yours truly:

...and also your host and Sweetalkin' MC for the evening: one STEVE SMART, cult-personality around Melbourne, one of it's most amazing voices, constantly torn between high art and low art, and making sure we’re all caught up there with him in the struggle.

(if you are not seeing a playable video-window above click here for a link)

This is going to be the best thing since the wheel was reinvented to be better than sex-stacked metaphors on top of sliced bread, ever. Or at least a damn fine night of stage-poetry. Or your money back.

...oh and that reminds me it’s free entry. See you there!

Bar Open

317 Brunswick St Fitzroy