Monday, March 31, 2014

Lights Left On - 31/03/2014 (redux)


an off-to-work-this-morning
lover's room
you lie alone in the warm
smell of her sheets
before letting yourself out
without the offered shower
and latch behind you

an office un-neatly after
work, less silent than
those quiet desperations
that fueled it's productivity
just twenty minutes back

laundromats on cold nights
grumbling machinery reeks
stale damp of the shit jobs
and a grubby mental illness

or old factories mapped
in a broken glass history
with pigeon shit topography

empty shiny car parks
echo-wet with clacking heels
of someone else'
hedonistic nightlife

these places
you're not supposed
to linger in
are not those lonely ones

from what you've left behind
see you some in trace-shape
imagining I... remember
liking people, like them
like liking that last light left on

imaginary lives fill my head
rush hour slow motions
a spectrum of living both subtle
and grossly different than mine

in my mind
their laughters
their dreams
their fears
and own ideas

in my mind
such places
are made

convenient fictions
of people
who do not need
back from me

it feels welcome here




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sky’s The Limit -26/03/2014


every so often
a light will flash
breaking yellow over grey
hot air balloons
hovering the skyline
each bursting a flame
to keep themselves
up there

every so often
our conversation will spark
into a one word answer
when I ask him
how my sisters are
then will sink back down
under the dashboard

this is our thing
you have to get Dad mad
about something
to get him talking
about anything

don't feel like doing that
this early in the morning
as I drive him to the airport
colour me overcast

oup! - there's another one flash

must be one hell of a view
from up there
...yeah I've been in a hot air balloon
one of a myriad of chitchat things
I’d say to virtually anyone else
I was one-on-one in a car with

think it don’t say it
no longer trying to spark up
a conversation
for the grunts I’ll get back

sometimes I forget this happened
the hot air ballooning, I mean
I was in Cappadocia, Turkey
on my way to Nemrut Dağı

there was a time in my life
I could only talk to others
about all the impressive things I've done
cycling through Spain
on a Catholic pilgrimage
or seeing the sunrise behind
then right over mount Everest
and trekking to Annapurna base camp
by myself

or how I beat hepatitis C
and liver cirrhosis
six months pegulated-
-ribavirin and interferon
and how I survive
with severe haemophilia

how me and my mates
have escaped police chases
gotten away with all sort of stories
we tasted the back of the wind
and I would like
to tell my dad
what it was like

my father does not know
what these things are like
and for all the voice I have now
there just isn't enough muscle in my words
to get it across the other side
of that driver’s seat

another flash

I no longer need
to try impressing people
is the hallmark
of having done some impressive things
tell that to yourself

like I tell myself
I know this isn't his fault
the envy and distrust
that characterises us

want to blame generations
and wars
and elections
and politics
and talk back radio
and role models
and you just figure...

once you've gotten up
in front of hundreds of people
at a time
making them laugh in your own words
once you've been to other countries
giving workshops on making poetry
to street kids via interpreter
once these things, you just figure
you could carry a fucking conversation

or be cool
(not talking)

I once did a course of meditation
where I was forbade
to speak to anyone for ten days
it wasn't that hard
you might not believe
pushed my sexual boundaries out
with another man in Madrid
I rather enjoyed it
but yeah
that was a bit harder

we don't have to go there
only to say there's a few places
you haven't
know some things you do not
talking points

for us to have something to say
I know there are others
that you know about
~an abseil
down a hundred-ten metre funnel
or the rope-free-climb
up the rock walls at Olympus
the time I scrambled up a cliff face
above a Borneo jungle
or jumped out a plane
above the Southern Alps

talking points for the shortage
of fairly difficult things I've done
but every one of them helped
redefine how far I can push myself
each one done
became a precedent
for something else
I might have once thought impossible

yet this unlifted limitation
unable to talk-Turkey
with my Dad
bears down on me now
with a bit tongue
so hard

so we
drive this silent fixation
through the minuscule burst
of light
above us

right now
sitting across
from him
it's the only thing

I feel capable of




Monday, March 24, 2014

Hey kids shut up it's Randall Stephens' poetry. Work. Shop. -(timeless)


so want to be a poet
goes like this~

your opening line is
not really
nobody is
hey shut up back there

my advice to young writers
is to rip off lines from other people's lines

fuck everybody
or fuck everybody
make fun of everybody else
then make yourself, a lot of enemies
that's it, and a few more
find out who their enemies are
will be your new friends

they will love you
everybody will love you
and that's why you'll hate them
in that order
that's why they'll hate you

before that happens
make fun of yourself mercilessly
it will scare the crap out of them
leave critics with nowhere to go

now, about people
find out what is very important
to them
attack it
attack it like it hurt you once
and you've been waiting

then do it again

Christ will-you hurry up about it
now get drunk
now laugh at it
I said laugh fucker

everything that makes you happy
makes you a shit poet
unless making others unhappy
makes you happy
then you're okay

turn everything into a poem
anything to do with mums or dad
or disabled refugee aboriginal drowning polar bear
holocaust rape victims
is pure fucking gold mate

hey don't fucking smile at me...

if I ever see you getting good
I'll turn on you
if I even think you're saying something
or something I don't agree with
I'll turn on you
ah fuckit I'm going to turn on you anyway
now I'm going to remind you
that I told you to turn back
that you didn't want this for you
that I begged you to go play-write instead
... I forget if I ever said that though
no don't go back and check

show your teeth
then try bite off
your own left ear
work out
in a mirror
pretend that you're thinking
delete the most important line out of your poem
if your poem is about what it's about
then you're in deep shit

if I have to spell out why subtext
is important in a piece of writing


it's about creating a hungry empty space
to be filled in deep
when they read between the lines

(that is a sex metaphor about sex, very sexy sex)

make the audience a vagina
I mean I mean I mean
make them an imaginative participant
in your story
yes, take your reader on a journey
that involves trying to have sex with them
a wondrous magical spiritual journey that
if they don't

use your writing selfishly
if your poems can't get you laid
they're shit
if your poems are getting you laid
you're really in deep shit

don't try and be ironic
people are ape-shit stupid
what, you didn't know that?
how stupid are you my case in point
I'm glad you're paying me to tell you all this

let's do some stupid writing exercises now
get in a circle, look into the eyes of someone
pretend popularity is stalking you
like a mugger
and you better run
and better memorize
you better sound American
yo better be hip hop
one time like
I thought you knew
up in here
but you don't hear me doe'


now forget the name of everybody
now forget their faces
now sell the house
now sell the car
sell the kids
sell the money
sell stop trying
stop them from stopping you
stop me if I'm wrong
or stop asking stupid questions

don't look for answers out this far
don't write anything you fully understand
just let everything you put down ring false
then turn in on it's head
and you're still not going to be interesting yet

when I was your age
I was older than you
I wasn't trying to write poetry
I wasn't having sex, but trying
I wasn't having luck
I wasn't trying to change the world
I was trying not to get caught
and I was really angry

poetry isn't for kids
it isn't for families
or for weddings
isn't for friends
it isn't for fun
for healing
isn't helping
it isn't for anything
...shit I don't think this is for me

any questions?
Oh yeah I said not to ask any
get drunk, I already said that too
so that's enough wisdom for today

so here's my closing thoughts
here's my website
here's my advice
here's my high score
here's my community
here's my slam rhythm
here's my Taylor Mali impression impression

(I haven't met Taylor Mali but I hear he's really nice.
ah who am I kidding. No I don't.)

here's my thing like it's my thing
like every slam poem-
is like that other slam poem
like it was all this one giant big poem
like I wish I still wished I was black
because you and I
belong together
you and I
forever and ever
no matter where you are
you're my shining
press kit...
oh and yes also here's my invoice
yes it's statement of supplier
here's my rider, plus one and guest list

well that's enough out of me
hope you kids have learned something
about learning something poetry about kids
mirroring your lines the way Shane Koyczan does
Shane Koyczan way the lines mirroring
about kids poetry
you know it's me

and if I ever catch any of you little shits
trying to bite my uh, shit...
I'll laugh my arse off at you
'cause it got me nowhere
like by point three of a judges

it took a long time to get here
Melbourne-Bitter but it was
such a fun ride
til it was time
to get off

(sexy sex metaphor is also now running joke. hash tag)

oh and your last line is important.

ahem... umm





A Monday Morning Road Moment - 24/03/2014


until it thinks
until it goes
until it talks
until it can see
until it stops

until the entrance
the light
in a dark wet place
splitting headache
until you can hear
until it can hear
should sing
for it

until you feel it's warm
until you're turned on
until you're hands go down
until you make it weird
until you make it hard
until you feel it's shape
until you feel it's hate
until it all-almost makes

until you can smile at it
until you can laugh with it
until you can empty
with it

it has a name
you can say
until it knows your face
until you know
where it goes
when you can't see it
and you can't stop
thinking about it

until then
you're still not very good
at this
but if it makes you feel
it won't always
get to you

until that is
you go get some gloves
an' another cup of coffee
go deal with this

without me


Sequel-itis. Poem 2: the next other one. Returns. 

Actually no, this has nothing at all whatsoever to do with the last blog entry, and was written days before it, I just can't think of a title. Besides, every poem I write is a shitty sequel to the last one.



Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Friday Night Bike Moment -24/03/2014


my side of the story
is a wet sky by night

it's waving not drowning, at us
this is traffic signal arc-light
lines of water down
as my bike and I roll

this is where my week ends
this is how I get back
this is the way



A little something I wrote Friday night after cycling home in a light shower. Just read it this morning as an intro to 3CR's  Yarra Bicycle User Group radio show, so figured I should canonise it here on the blog too.



Friday, March 21, 2014

Probable Cause -22/03/2014


there was a fire here

starting small
some still unknown catalyst
hidden somewhere amongst
his belongings
people came
to put it out

alarms rang
they all ran
it got big
and alive
and dangerous
and it wanted
everything it touched
and the experts
extinguished it
before things
could get worse

if they hadn't
it would've consumed
you and me
and this whole stinking place

but it's okay now
we're cleaning up now
the bins are filling now
no one hurt here
no one got burnt here

who knows what we would be doing now
what might have happened

everything is under control
we're safe and clean and calm
and very much out of danger

there was this fire here, man
I missed it
and maybe

it might have been something to see.




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Kobayashi Maru -(revised 24/03/2014)


"It is easy to be saint in Paradise,
but they,
do not live in Paradise."

-Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

before you say
anything else
let me say that
I want-
to like you

I would really like
to like you
and would love it to be
for the way you are

I want that

to believe what you say
about the things you believe
to see the good
like it's some place
that we can get to

with space enough
for our best interests mutual
not to compete

I want there to be a way
for your dogs to run around
the park
without worrying where food is
where the kids are
or what anybody's bite-force

sincerely now
I want to trust your sincerity
and I want to trust
I trust you

like the train timetable
or a boss with reassuring words
or a set of statistics
a Doctor's succinct explanation
a distractingly sexy walk
an arms-length rattle snake
I trust you as if
you are

a hippy's constant assertion
about how spirituality attuned
how positive
and how blissful
they are feeling

so go ahead and tell me
whatever it was
you wanted to tell me

about a person's attitude.


Yeah so I'm on some dual Star Trek and anti-hippy thing recently. Sue me. No, pray for me. Or just call me a dick.  Call it the diametric between what I see as real hope and fake optimism. Either way. 



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Payload -18/03/2014


"we train young men to drop fire on people,
but their commanders won't allow them to write 'FUCK'
on their airplanes because it's obscene."

-Apocalypse Now, by John Milius

I just did this really, really good impersonation
of myself
not crying

at work
on an outreach visit
with one of my mentally impaired clients
who showed me the awards and certificates
from his own disability work
before the community program
he was working for
got defunded in 2007

one was framed
signed by the mayor of Moreland
he points this out to me
in coming out slowly slurred words
how proud he was to be out
helping kids
who couldn't talk to their parents

until someone decided
the few thousand it took
each year
to keep this man working
was better not spent

he used to be a history teacher
it's either that or hording
why his room is stacked
with books about war

those who control our economy
are now spending billions
buying fighter planes
and locking up refugees
while this wonderful
fragile man
sit here rotting away
in an inner city rooming house

I hope he didn't notice
me choking up
though if he had asked me
what was wrong
I would have told him
the truth

that I was distracted
daydreaming about fighter-planes

imagined seeing them soar
over Canberra
dropping a hateful payload

on Parliament house.




Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stupid Fucking Ducks -12/03/2014


watching a young couple
taking wedding photos
eating my lunch
with ducks in Carlton Gardens
it's sunny but not warm
perfect day for photos

he's skinny
barely fills the cut of his suit
she's quite fat
her dress was ambitious
for how unflattering
it's ended up being

they look young
they look too young
but minus out
fussing over light and shade
under that giant oak tree
they look happy
like they got what they want
and their families want.

I don't understand why people want
the things that they do,
why they believe I should also
and this makes me afraid of them
afraid of you

last night late
I looked at my facebook news feed
three friends in a row all traveling
my stomach started to hurt bad
pulse jumped I started sweating
couldn't sleep
couldn't read
or do push-ups enough
to knock myself out
you could call it panic

or call it FOMO
or jealousy
or... like whatever

I have a very vague grasp
of what I want in life
therefore a pretty loose chance
of ever getting it

never mind I'm right now
working away, saving and planning
for a cross continent cycling trip
which will be the biggest adventure
of my life
sleepless, all I wanted last night
was to be someone else

I will feel stuck
til I get gone travelling
again out there

and by the time I write this
the couple have moved on
I'm still here
with the ducks and pigeons

they'll eat the egg crumbs
out of my focaccia
but not the tomato

I guess
everybody wants
what they want
and a little
of what others have too

at least
they think they do