Showing posts from March, 2006

Abstract Moon

We are planets. Some endure. Others melt, or spin off course, like tops. I'm one of those. This poem is my brand new abstract moon, a satellite whose strange attraction causes moods to rise and fall like waves, abstract tides. The truth is, by the wooden wharves, even fishermen are gods. Inside each plastic bucket, offerings to the moon. Each hook's a hope or prayer; every cast an arm around the shoulder of a tearful stranger. I'm one of those. Lightning is a kind of poem, a song sung by clouds as they rub together. I'm one of those. Shoes on cobbles, words on the wind. Ask somebody if they'd mind walking slowly. Who knows, they might just say goodbye. We're abstracts in each other's eye. That's okay. You'll find a flower in the smog; I can already hear little white trees. Hands hold onto us. You're the kind of person who sees a single moon. I'm one of those too.

"Taking Kylie To Korea"

Last year, as part of my residency in Seoul , I wrote an article for the Australian National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) on the subject of my experience of teaching at Sogang University. The article has now been published in the NTEU's Advocate and can be downloaded as a PDF along with the rest of the contents of the March 2006 issue . The article contains a small factual error: in the final sentence I state that the way to say "I am Australian" in Korean is "hoju saram", when in reality the correct way to say it is "hoju saram ipnida". Just in case anyone's ever called upon to explain US foreign policy whilst travelling in Korea. Then again, perhaps it'd be even more useful to know how to say "I am not an American" in that delightful but difficult language. & me ...

It's funny what you remember and forget about yourself sometimes. For example, I just remembered that in 2002 I was involved in an online discussion forum as part of a project called and which was organised by (amongst others) the French Bibliotheque Publique D'Information. Ten forums were held between October 2001 and March 2002 on various topics "dedicated to investigating the impact of the Web on reading, writing and the diffusion of knowledge." Forum presenters included Jason Epstein, Dan Sperber and Umberto Eco. I contributed a response to Dan Sperber's topic: Reading Without Writing , or "the future of texts which will continue to be read but will no longer be written." You can read my contribution and Dan Sperber's response under the heading "Advantages of Speech to Text?" (it's a javascript pop-up, hence I can't link to it here).

Reflection #9


Pimba Roadhouse


Flat Out On A Highway Lined With Dim Stars


Woomera Exclusion Zone


My first podcast!

I'm currently experimenting with podcasting via the CastPost (Alpha) service and this is my first attempt. Hopefully, you should somehow be able to download a version of my poem "My Body Is A Radio" ( click here to read the lyrics as I speak the words!) in mp3 format. The poem was recorded live at Babble on February 1, 2006 by the jaw-droppingly funky Mr Sean M. Whelan. Leave a comment and let me know if/how/why you liked/disliked it. Oh and if you have any technical problems leave a comment too. Okay just leave a freaking comment. I won't bite. UPDATE: there seem to be some gremlins in the machine (not so unusual for a free service). If you click on the track and let it run through once, then play it again, it should work fine the second time. Powered by Castpost

Thinking About My Mother Today


Black G.S.T.

__% of childhood. __% of country. __% of memory. __% of hope. __% of laughter lines. __% of dots. __% of uranium, bauxite and aluminium. __% of cowboys. __% of dance. __% of saltwater crocodiles. __% of totems. __% of Canberra. __% of your head. __% of Charles Darwin. __% of protectors. __% of peppercorn trees. __% of truth. __% of dignity. __% of black armbands. __% of Tiwi. __% of Albert Namatjira. __% of football. __% of Wimbledon. __% of gold. __% of language. __% of Lowitja O'Donoghue. __% of Hindmarsh Bridge. __% of white guilt. __% of deaths in custody. __% of Uluru. __% of Arthur Tunstall. __% of running. __% of petrol. __% of Michael Long's feet. __% of Rumbalara. __% of Ruby Hunter. __% of gum trees. __% of clean water. __% of immunisation. __% of dreaming. __% of Captain Cook. __% of terra nullius . __% of historians. __% of talkback. __% of little things. __% of crying. __% of big things. __% of sorry. __% of reconciliation. __% of stolen wealth. __%

[dnrc]: The First 50 Releases!

In the tradition of everything barnestorming and brill, [dnrc] has reached a massive milestone, just one day after the completion of the EvilWealth Games: namely, its fiftieth release. In just over a year of operation, [dnrc], the record label set up and made famous by the hard-working, committed and just-a-little-bit-deluded maestro of the signature jarmy, Davey Dreamnation, has earnt a reputation for backing artists who have never been heard of, and then deleting their entire ouevre, to the chagrin of fans and the delight of rarity-obsessed collectors. Hence, releases by The Guide Ponies, The Cruns, Mead and (most recently) Super Grope , which could have garnered a massive listening audience, have instead been consigned to the dustbin marked "sad" and, on the other side, "deleted". You may never hear these records out loud. However, you can be certain that the massive archiving effort that is the [dnrc] website will one day rival the one currently being set up by

We Will Disappear


Fresh poemz online

It's been a little while since I last had some poems online but as of today there's two fresh ones at the PFS Post site, run by Philly poet Adam Fieled, entitled "Exes & Zeroes" and "Oh God!" . I've also got two poems in a neat little journal called Luzmag run by Lars Palm in Spain, entitled "Maz" and "Three Generations" . Finally, papertiger's exceptionally cute webzine hutt, edited by Paul Hardacre, now features a poem called "Machines for Living In." These five poems were all written last year while I was on an Ozco new work grant, and are part of a loose collection about love and stuff tentatively called Loveship Demos . Some other poems from this group have already appeared (check out my full list of online publications here ). It's kind of interesting to think that while I've had a number of poems in print mags, I've had far more in web journals and online poetry zines. The attraction is obvious:

Hunger Sleep

Sparks flew off the gravity wheel as I lay still and hungry in the dark. Couldn't sleep, or thought I wasn't dead. The sound of Jay Leno made me want to throw my crash test dummy away, buy a car and drive it straight at him (sans headlights). Lying there with the earplugs drilling deep into my brain, monitoring my heartbeat for irregularities. The caustic combination of vodka and soda water, that grumbling fountain of bubbles and home remedies. Homeslick. Barren graves and sudden power. The special aura created by dancing children. The eternal street, of which Pynchon wrote, stretched out before me like a body. Minions dealing insults, pizza shops that never seem to close, or sell pizzas. Groups huddled in cars, wolfing down space food meals. Robotic marsupials performing their own special Chipmunk version of my life story, featuring two banjos. The pantomime's intermission that allowed me to sneak backstage and find out just what "behind you!" actually meant. The

Storm Girl

as soon as she kissed me the storm front wheeled around (& something in the way her eyeshadow ran signalled the changing of the big new year tides the fishermen had warned us of down on the beach where her pet dog ran wild & her hand in my hair from here to eternity (the moments of compassion whipped palms surrendering their seeds to summer but back to her eyes in the dark (if i was there the waves climbed up my outstretched legs like a vine & there she was her kisses advancing & then changing shape one look was barometric so johnny took the pressure down & examined satellite maps a spiralling mass of fluffy white cotton as she removed my facemask & flippers (not the stun gun the water massed & heaved her arms surged around me whispering her own weather predictions in the conch shell of my ear i grew afraid of her shape- shifting in the midday dark & the palms were now parallel to the ground & calls came in over the walkie-talkies of evacu

Great Big Star

I'm David Niven but I can't say who you are. You're the mystery light shining from a great big star. I'm a top gun actor but I've gone and lost my lines. You're the only script writer I'd entrust with my life story. I'm dabbling in moustaches, drowning in pink gin. You're looking cool in Errol Flynn's swimming pool. I've got a yacht. You've got a lot more than that. I'm toying with the idea of learning Esperanto. You speak a language I'm just beginning to realise is poetry. I got a cramp last night, in my right leg. You skip and you can dance on your hands. I'm up and I'm down then I'm somewhere in the middle. You're lava. I'm about to say something silly. You're listening. I'm listening. You're about to say something lovely. I'm right here. You ride your bike through springtime streets. I listen to the radio. You could burn CDs with your smile. I'm compiling a mix tape for our dizzy reunion

His Heart Was An Empty Hotel

He was unknown to me, a phantom bird. Our flight paths intersected momentarily, somewhere over a sandalwood sea. I dreamed of empty hotels in the desert. Stories that never seemed to begin or end. The virus came and I was stranded in an airport, feeling lonely. That much was real. My heart was bruised. His heart was an empty hotel. Someone said the oilwells were on fire. I laughed and turned to the sporting pages. Extinct frogs. The coffee grew bitter and cold in its porcelain cup. I drew moons on my breast in the dark. Echoes riddled my fever dreams. A sniper drew out my tongue and bit it off. Confiscated it. A thud, inside the theatre. Detonated bombs. Now I circle the lobby, translating his dim messages into the code I use to breathe. The smoke from the sabotaged pipeline, like evidence of cigars in a private club. Plans for my eventual evacuation, on hold. I tuned a radio to their world service, laughed again at the inaccuracy of the reports. Still, in the empty hotel, when I found

One Beautiful Word



you realise this message is for you now - entering this bright blue now for the first time - the thirst for word from an emergency (not a word you wanted to hear - it strikes you now as surreal - this imperfect now for everything's summer - it's for word & a page ignited by some word you heard - down phonelines as you now recall - another breath & now for the burning - an allowance for word momentarily become not a word you understand - rather a bird you now see flying overhead - gone now for the great birdcage - hungry for word or letter - read & burn (word

Bird Rain

bird rain from the hard steel sky no mercies!  no juggernaut rides whip roofs off the honey   powered winds jacked western highways blinds    radio reports looping abstract delays shutter     whirr powers fail electricity rains down hail      bird lightning in its wings sonar burns one       staccato bullet trained in space collides with        tree flower crooked bolts feedback lots drawn         & hung fenceposts moving horizontally spares          horses inside panic braces streamlets emerge           giant rains lash perimeters & allotments while            telegraph poles cartwheel velocities unknown             earth solid bird clouds enveloping hills in              feather mists rain vomits birds cracked necks               on underwater lawns marinas invade the oceans                of black bird rain cellars stuffed with human                 remains short wave useless bird rains continue                  coast guards sliced ribbons of steel flesh      

Missing Children

Not even a breeze. There is the next door neighbour's music bleating through the hole in the fence. The sound of a toaster popping. No crumbs, though, and no sticky hands. Morning comes but you don't notice. The phone rings. You embrace the emptiness. The sky bleeds. Christmas is here. So what. In the housing estates, other peoples' children play in their small grass compounds. Silence is your bell. Not a photo. You didn't have time. Your eyes are useless cameras now. The shutter falls and a tear creates a blur. Wipe it away. It means no harm. All that effort expended on a smoke alarm. Something you heard on A Current Affair , blaring from the next door neighbour's plasma screen TV. You took notes. You could hear their cries from the bedroom. Your quiet envy, disguised with a smile. Maintain dignity. Don't let on. The interview went smoothly. You were numb. It's still not quite believable. You find yourself sweeping the carpet with a broom. Something about t

The Babble Krewe

I'm no groupie, despite what anybody says. My idol's Han Solo. I have to admit, however, that deep down I have always been a secret Babble groupie. Ever since moving to Melbourne, I mean, before which I had never even heard of this loony Melbourne institution, originally a weekly spoken word night held in Fitzroy. While Babble's now held on the first Wednesday of every month, it still packs a punch, word-wise. Its fortunes do swing erratically in the shifting breezes of the Melbourne scene: a special hip-hop Babble in January drew a crowd of over one hundred, while February's Plainsong and Enya Babble drew less than thirty. Luckily, last night's Rock and Roll Babble hit a happy medium, with two feature poets instead of the traditional one and a strong Babble Open Mike section afterwards. Hosted as ever by the dynamic, funky and legtastic Sean M. Whelan , the mood throughout was electric. DJ Rag Doll , returning once again from Berlin to spin some garage tunes, got

Gerhard Richter and foam:e

For a long time I've admired the art of Gerhard Richter , whose photoreal candles ("kerzen" - see example, left) would be recognisable to any fan of Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation album. In the first part of last year, when I was writing full-time thanks to a grant from the Australia Council for the Arts, I wrote three poems inspired by Richter's Kerze pictures. Unsurprisingly, the poems are called "Kerze 1", "Kerze 2" and "Kerze 3". Now, for the first time, you can read these poems , which have been published online by the minimal and kewl poetry zine, foam:e . Today being the first day of autumn, I was also reminded of a poem I wrote about six months ago, during the last days of summer in Bruxelles . The poem's called Landschaft Mit Gerhard Richter . I'm happy to report that while summer may be over, the sun is shining, it's nice and warm and it looks like staying that way forever. Thank you, global warming. And thank y