Showing posts from February, 2006

Snow Bicycles


Machines for Dying In

Way back in the late 1990s, when I was still living in Sydney and feeling extremely sorry for myself, I wrote an article for a Sydney design magazine which took Le Courbusier's machines For living in as its inspiration. The magazine unfortunately rejected the article, which actually concerns coffins, or machines for dying in - but I thought it was pretty good at the time. Here's a sample: "This MACHINE for Dying In has been fashioned from an unknown number of COFFINS. Though a Coffin is a simple Machine (indeed may be termed, after Choisy, part of the 'machinery of antiquity'), its admittance to the GRAVE'S architecture - as when a factory design accommodates plant equipment - embodies the performance of a complex function. The Coffin, in turn, facilitates the obsolescence of other, less functional Machines, known as BODIES. View the vertical stresses of gravity: the Coffin and the Body ingeniously engineered to touch at a series of points, bevel and bone ta

Still More Signs That Speak For Themselves


It's Real

It's there and it's real, like snow. Trucks carrying newsprint clog the freeways with its rumour. I was walking along beside it. Something about its timing, its velocity, struck me. I thought, for the first time, that it might be real. It is. It's there, inside the word. It's a breathless word. It's a mountain. Its shadows are cool in summer. Its slopes are the reclined thighs of a human being. It walks beside me in the evening. We have no use for silence any longer. Bottles of it have been brewed from bees. It's there, just like you and me. It's alive and it's real. It's the arcane magic of a long string of digits, or a phone number. It's local. It has a destination. Its timezone is fluid. It breathes. It is the silhouette of a flower. Children know of it. Animals knew of it, once. Its cogs and wheels whirr. I know of it. I could see it in the moon. Winter knows its warmth. Stars do not. Sailors sing to it. Birds do not have wings. I do not even

Nagasaki Trance

i got frisked in fukuoka/ like a dog i just woofed and rolled over/ i had a date with a destination/ had to get to the bullet train station/ validated my japanese rail pass/ calculated how long it would last until/ I had to get off to get on to get off/ to ride a peace train yeah/ a peace train going on a peace train yeah/ on a nagasaki peace train/ i'm on a train yeah it's a train it's a very very good train / i'm on a train yeah i'm on a train/ all aboard the nagasaki peace train in the city of nagasaki/ the nightlife leaves much to be desired/ wandering around the entertainment district/ i couldn't find a single bar to whet my whistle/ then suddenly a sign that read "ayers rock"/ struck me out of the koala blue so i decided to/ go down the lift to the bar in the basement then instead getting hit by a long hot blast of/ (beat) nagasaki nagasaki yeah it sounds like nagasaki/ and i don't dance i don't dance /not unless the dj's playing/ tr


One for none. All for none. One for all of us. No one for us. You for me. Me for all of us. Us for you. You for me of us. We for them. Them for all of us. Us for all. You for us of us. One for none. Two for none. Two for none of us. Three for none. Three for one. Three for none of us. Three for you. You for two of us. Two for me. Three for the rest of us. Us for me. Four of us for three of them. Five of us for none. None for six. Six of me for you. You for six. Six for three and three of us. None for six. Seven for you and me. Me for six and seven. You for none of them. Them for none. No one for them or us. None for eight. You for none. Me for one. Tnem for seven makes eight. Me for them. You for none of them. None for nine. You for nine. Me for eight. Seven of them for none. Six for none of you. Five for none but us. Four for you and me. Three for you not me. Two for one of none. None for one.


I got into a car with a stranger. I was five years old and temporarily deaf. I remember now getting off the school bus, at the corner of our street, then running across the bitumen road. It was on Lawson Crescent, in Orange, that I got into the stranger's car. I'd tripped over in the middle of the road and gashed my leg, I think. This car was coming down the street at the same time. It was almost as if the car, not the stranger, actually "saw me" as I lay there in the road, or had I got up by then. The stranger's car stopped next to me on the road. The stranger asked me where I was going? I said I was going home. Meanwhile, on the front doorstep of our house, only a few houses down the street my mother, who'd been waiting for me to arrive, watched with perhaps a mixture of horror and surreality (it was a hot day, the blue in the sky had vanished, leaving behind this white hot pressure combining with the bitumen road, covered with small sharp stones and balls o

Faster, Rain

The sound of the falling. Under scattered neon raindrops form a pool. Rain swims in the sky. Faster than any other sound. Sheets of cloud tears. Bosom of rain. Swelling through the grizzly morning. Bird calls in the rain. Rooves peppered with raindrops. Pools of last night's rain in the oily streets. Cars moving through rain like cattle. Standing at the side of a field with a torch and a raincoat. Rainpods that play rain loops. Faster than silence. The late raindrop landing on the roof. Its surreal beauty. Traffic swishes on the saturated black roads. A door opens. The biords resume their conversations. Miniature rain. Buzzsaws. Power. The beauty of a trickle of water in a downpipe. The universe of rains inside the earth. Drains full of rain. The wind that carries the rain like a friend. Beams bowing beneath the weight of water. The slow sun. The bruised sky. Faster, rain.

Drunken Text

Audience of subway strangers. Stagger at them! Pelt them with praise! I'm Ko Un, and I'm drunker than a poem. This text, pirated, sallies forth upon the bristled breeze. Ko Un! Standing in your shadow magic. Spam, originating from the Republic of Soju, hits me fortnightly. Ko Un! Standing by the door, laughing at advertisements. Shouting obscenities at microscopic mobiles. Dreaming of deep blue grass. Coming round to the sound of sirens. Drunkenness, created by weaving fingers! Text! Applause! Ko Un! You look so cute in that dress. Oops, sorry! That wasn't meant to ... go to you. Hmm. Text me! Tomorrow you'll wake up and wonder what I was drinking. I was drunk on your text! Looking forward to your future replies! To your future! To the text future we are creating together. You ... Ko Un ... you really looked ... drunk in that text. Boy, were you drunken! Who would have thought your poems - out loud? Ko Un! Text me! Call me a name! I know voice calls are expensive but I

My Body Is A Radio

My body is a plastic radio tuned to static. It's hidden in the leaves. Children try to find my cord but I'm powered by batteries tuned to static. My body is a well. My body is buried under a pile of books I've read but can't recall. My body is a salmon. It's a lonely little salmon. Children don't usually eat salmon. Sky tuned to static. Bristling leaves. The earth's cord has been cut. Someone has lost their cut of cloth. My body is a census. My body hides the world. Salmon tuned to static. Fly-bys, children staring at the sky. My body's radio. The static's ratio. Leaves try to run but they cannot hide the death of autumn. Summer radios, tuned to static stations. My body runs along the green belts. My body seeks a radio, seeks its batteries. A battery powered by static, by the legs of children riding bicycles. Your funny inventions. My body is made of plastic. It's no longer biodegradable. My body is a book. Opened at a page marked "Salmon&qu

Babble Post Mortem and Pics

My re-baptism of fire on the Melbourne spoken word circuit last night at Babble provided me with some food for thought about how to get the most out of performance poetry. As I've not really performed as such for over six months, I of course went into the gig with grand plans and unpredictable outcomes. A small but generous crowd witnessed me limping through some old poems and some new pieces from my time overseas. First up was a risky gambit: a reading of my poem "There's A Wild Jack Russell In the Moon" featuring a piano soundtrack I recorded years ago, with me miming playing the piano and trying to remember the words to the poem. It was probably a bit long for an opening piece but it felt good to challenge myself to improvise the poem, and it got a few laughs. Next was "the Sprawl", my poem for Bruce Springsteen, and I was happy with my ability to remember the words (it's quite long). Next, another risky move, a new poem set to the tune of an Enya