Saturday, March 23, 2013

Because You Can. Because You Can't Not.

They come out crying, kicking and screaming, and you have to teach them to be nice.

You try to teach them to be nice, teach them manners and how to behave in public. They ignore everything you tell them.

So you hold them down, smack them sometimes, even though everyone knows you shouldn't, but what else can you do? They fight back and spit in your face.

And on the rare occasion that they do as they are told you realise that it's ugly- this thing you've forced them to do and you have to go back to letting them run barefoot on the asphalt even though there might be broken glass or used syringes lying about.

They grow up. They don't feel like yours anymore. They have life, they live and breathe and you give them away- to other people. You put your name on them. Sometimes you give them your voice. Sometimes you give them somebody else's voice. Sometimes they don't need to speak at all.

And after a while you can step back and look at them. And it may feel like creating them was a mistake, an accident. And they might look beautiful. And it might be like looking in a mirror when the shower has been running too long with out the fan on- through the steam you can see yourself and it's uncomfortable, is my nose that big? My hair that limp? But you can't look away- is that really me?

You make all these things and call them poems or stories or scripts or art. And maybe you make people laugh, and maybe you make them cry and maybe you just make them forget about the dishes or the shoes that have holes in their soles or the fact that everything is just so hard sometimes.

You make things because you can, and because you can't not make them. And you shouldn't stop. Not. Ever.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Magic Awaits



It's all for you,

because of you

each incantation
of dark night
of sharp knives.

Drawing pictures,
                                   and curtains,

                                                      and weapons

we're all wounded,

It's a trick of the light,


each time we meet

each day,
each night.

Behind panes of glass
I regain lost sight

and use this cover
to cloak
a wizards smile




Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bars and Whiskeys, Gypsies

It's been a year of 
mountains and molehills

of open chords and secret thoughts.

Bars and whiskeys


Full moons and Junes
and meteorites

righteous prayers
that could have been more specific.

I didn't need that man in '68
I'm pretty good
at spelling out my own fate

from pilgrim's calls
to wooden walls

to insinceritys
and the small mercies
that hide
beneath the shoe-string fries.

here's to sharp knives
brandy and drys

and Prague's as yet unseen skies.

I dreamof moons
and Junes

and January promises
to provide
more mountains
more mole hills

more open palms
and open chords.

I'll be skipping and tripping
still, slipping

and still sipping that whiskey
the barman knew
would be smokey and smooth

while writing the next fairytale
that's bound
to come

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mid Summer's Sky

Indigo shadows
and dancing
and 'don't know's

the moon's almost as full
as our festive bellies
fat and heavy
with too much good cheer
it's that time of year

everything ending.

We're in between
we're breaking

we're mending

no one likes to be alone
but sometimes it's too hard to talk
so typing and sniping
and feigned cleverness
seems best.

The sun's taking a day off
and the rain can't decide
whether to leave cloud comfort altitude
or just hide

I've got two bottles of whiskey
to whisk me
from the corner that keeps me
like the lover
whose proximity
is their sincerest attempt at

Let me untangle you
from the threads of your sorrows
and I will sew them into silk cranes
and we'll watch them as they fly
across the glowing mid summer's sky.

To Doris, from Phil- 1915

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day

I've got skyline envy
pumping through my vagabond veins
and my train of thought
is scattered
and fraught
with summers and winters
and inbetween dreams.

It's Boxing Day
and I'm being strangely
well behaved
though a tonne of trifle
and the ciders chime out as I open the fridge
to force feed myself

I'm thinking about first times
and last times
and past times
as I cram
Christmas ham
into my mouth

feeling a bit
a bit trapped in the patterns
stitched up
sewn up

(it runs in the family)

but promises are made to be broken
and doors are closed
only to be opened



This time of year
brings that repeated heated symetry
and the thoughts in my veins
turn anxiously
to the people
still cutting down trees

amongst them,
amongst the axe carrying,
chainsaw gripping,
sharp word weilding

is me;

dragging an old
barely decorative
sad collection of sticks and leaves

to pin shiny things on
and pretend
that it's some kind of deity.

Perhaps promises are unnecessary
'first', 'last' and 'past'
just a literary menagerie
of beasts
need to be
set free.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Good Together, Tonight

From the back of the cab he tells the driver,

'I love this woman'

while his hand slides down my thigh.

This was five months ago
and we'd just met.

Tonight he whispers,

'We're good together'

And he's right-
from the start we've been
good together
palm to palm
open hearted.

It's just got dark
and I can't resist the opportunity to say your name

'I would have married him'
she says,

while we drink someone elses wine
on a footpath in Northcote

and with no legitimate claim
it surprises me to think I could have said the same. 

But his hands on my knee
and we're hailing a cab

we go back to my place
go back to being
good together

we don't worry about whether our reasons are
or right
we just know
we owe it to ourselves
to be
good together

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Both Necessary and Dangerous.

I'm craving epic landscapes

and the truck that nearly hits me
on Brunswick St at midday
comes close enough

giving me a good dose of
without any need for a detour
on my way home.

In this heat the roads
can be dangerous
sweating inside us
any sense that exists
escaping through salty moisture

you're dangerous,

in you
I see pebbles
disappearing off cliff faces
devoured by

while white gulls

They too desire the shock
of cold water
diving down,
through hot hot air
to another element
both necessary
and dangerous.

It's epic,
that's for sure.

Fear of failure
keeps me circling

but desire of shocking cold
keeps me looking
for that

both necessary and dangerous.

The gulls cry out
mouths wide
wings outstretched

while arms keep close and tight
the secrets
that are both necessary
and dangerous
that neither naked flesh
nor late night breath
can reveal.

Beneath the intermittant street lights
I see only you
in duplicate

summonsed by the full moon
no longer blue

but bright
and white as a seagull
to dive

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

This Time Of Year, Always

Climbing roses and bougainvillea
in full bloom
and the scent of jasmine
that gets stuck at the back of your throat

that's spring
in this city

all choked up with sweet smells
and pollen
and other things that make you rub you eyes

in disbelief

this time of year
in this city


always, as the summer skirts
begin to appear
revealing calves
and thighs
and the odd flash of undergarment

revealing things hidden
throughout winter

and red raw eyes
rubbing away the irritation

though we're probably making it worse

by touching it at all

stripping off
stripping back

I remember that one spring
years ago
leaning up against the cool poles of the cafe
my favourite summer dress
newly exposed
all flowers in bloom
on the street,
on my favourite summer dress

still wide eyed in disbelief
at your proximity
that you'd been there all this time.

this time of year
that disbelief

I'll rub my eyes
one last time
the sweet irritating scents
of this time of year
in this city.

Perhaps I'll put on my favourite dress
and wander the streets
we both know so well

wide eyed in disbelief
that we exist
at all.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trick or Treat

I remember post-it notes on my front door
and a tight black costume
but before then there was nothing
though perhaps some knocking
local kids

the passing of time
by pumpkins
or slutty outfits.

I think I'll wear a costume this year
something bold and
perhaps unrecognisable
to most of you

a superhero
or something

I think I'll go as

Friday, October 26, 2012

I'm Not In The Habit Of Making Friends With Ferrets

So, I'm being dragged down Brunswick St by this big eyed beagle X when I'm stopped in my tracks by a familiar face. His name is Allan, and he's a ferret, frozen into an unnatural position and glued to a piece of wood, half snarling at me and staring, glassy eyed through the window of the second hand shop, up near the big intersection with Alexandra parade.

Now let's not get our wires crossed, Allan and I have never met. I'm not in the habit of making friends with ferrets. And yet, I did say familiar, didn't I?

Let me explain. It's not Allan himself who is familiar to me.  It's that glassy eyed stare I used to stare back at in those stolen summers I've mentioned before, perhaps you can remember? Perhaps you can't.  But that's beside the point.  It's that glassy eyed stare, the frozen limbs, once live and quivering now stuffed and mounted. That taxidermists captive, that kept-behind-glass demeanour.

He sat bolt upright, proudly holding an acorn, tail perfectly curled into an S shape, carrying no sense of the violent death that must have befallen him.  That always intrigued me.  I think my mother told me he'd been shot. I couldn't conceive of just how. Tiny bullets? Expert stitching? Black magic?

This little guy never had a name. I never gave him one. I guess we weren't really that close.

And this summer- I mean, a real summer, in the sense of it being an English summer, not an Australian summer lost translation and timezones, transmogrified into a promise of snow and sledding with days as short as your father's temper- this proper English summer, sun shower soaked bunting and sprawling strawberry plants, he was gone. No one seemed to know where.  Just another thing displaced during the chaos of family deaths, relatives rummaging, rash decisions where the past slips past us, disintegrating like old fabric into dust.

 I never gave him a name.

But I spent hours, wondering what sort of life he had led, wondering  if the little red squirrels that you'd see occasionally on the Heath, rarely now,  were descendants. Wondered if they ever peeked in the window from a branch of that old tree (surely you know the one? I suppose you probably don't, but if you paid attention you'd know exactly). I don't suppose they'd give a damn, I doubt squirrels have that much of an interest in genealogy. In family trees? That's a terrible joke, but you know that old tree carries my family's history too. My family, dying out like the red squirrels, that you hardly ever see any more.

I spent hours looking through that glass at the face of extinction, of death. And that's what I see staring back at me from the window of that second hand shop up near Alexandra Parade.  Death. Extinction. The past slipping past us.

I want to take his picture- Allan's picture.  I don't know why.  I mean, other than to run it through instagram, post it on twitter along with my faux-artsy shots of flowers and coffee and pictures where the filter has made me look younger and prettier. I would have done the same for Allan, it's only fair- he'd have come out looking quite dapper- he might have even looked lifelike.

But there's someone cleaning graffiti off the step  and the smell of disinfectant is overwhelming and the dog is tugging at his lead and I leave, looking over my shoulder at Allan, who is staring at me from behind the glass, mid snarl- frozen, captive.

And I think that perhaps that's why he seemed so familiar.