Showing posts from July, 2006

Pegs, Pumpkins and Balloons


buddha three machine

This one's a secret, between us three. You, me and Buddha - our secret machine. A dim machine with four long limbs, two hearts and one desire. Explodes upon impact with water or fire. A new machine in time, its discernable hum. The clock that will not lock, an horizon's tilt. A pink smoke machine, a bubble-gum vending Buddha. Lights go out around the world. Someone asks a question but it's only "what?" - we're looking for a "wow". And that's not even a question. This one's a secret, between you and me. There's no one else listening, and the hotel's open. I have an interview with the manager. In my mind she's tall, though I haven't met her yet. I'm still carrying the machine with me - though I know it'll trigger palpitations in passers-by, strong motion in pavements and maybe even innovation in poetry. Powerful machine! Drilling stacks, plasmic karma, ornamental crushes. Through the gates of doom, blindfolded and shin

Here Comes The Judge

For the first time ever, I've been asked to be a judge for a short story competition. The competition, organised by the City of Boroondara, features three categories: Open Short Story (judge Paddy O'Reilly), Young Writers Poetry (judge Bulk Ace ) and Young Writers Prose (judge, yours truly). You can read the press release here . Jippie. Here's hoping we get lots of good entries, and a minimum of fantasy writers. I clearly remember my own years as a young scribe, writing endless stories involving swords, scabbards, trumpets, duels and lords. JRR Tolkien, you've got a lot to answer for. Oh, and that also includes you, Anne McCaffery. Yeah, John Marsden, you too.

The Return of The Signs That Speak For Themselves


Texting Templates

Please call a doctor. I'm losing blood. There isn't much time. I'm at home. Please call a doctor right away. I mean it. Hang up the phone, then dial the number. It's on the fridge. Above that one. Right. You've got it? Good. Now, do it. I'm at work. Please call home, as there seems to be some kind of emergency there. I can't, just at this moment, as I'm about to go into a meeting. I'm sorry about that. Just call me later at work. I'm in a meeting, call me later at work, I already told you that. I'm afraid that even if it's an emergency there's very little I can do about it from here. I'll be stuck here all day so you know where to reach me. Did you call home yet? Meeting is cancelled. Well, how could I have known that then? Did you - you didn't get through. Right. Did you try the mobile? I couldn't get through either. You what? Okay, I'll wait. I am late. I will be there at 2pm. I have to go to th

Every Single Saturday Is Stocktake Day


two buddha machine

Send me your sunshine. Only you can make this buddha machine run. When there's just one the drone creeps and the loops begin to skip. Buddha needs two machines to set up his feedback mantra, his fearful explosions. Buddha's playing your melody. Buddha's sweating underneath those robes. Your sunshine is Buddha and the sound of the northern sea drowns out my southern gales, my hail and cloud. I'll post them somewhere else. Through the chat rain and the weather reports, I can sense the glow of long evenings. Send them to me, too. Preferably on a floppy disk, in Buddha format. Compatible as two bombs. Bam! The machines that hum and create their own sunshine, a kind of quicksand sound I'd happily throw myself into, hoping that you'll come along. Teen movies starring Buddha. Family sagas in several parts. No more sad bildungsroman . Happy Buddha. The phone's earworm keeps drilling its designs. There's no need to send them on, just yet. Buddha can wait. I&#

Poetry Picture Show

In breaking news I've been chosen as one of ten poets to participate in a project organised by Johanna Featherstone's The Red Room , a Sydney-based arts company specialising in poetry projects for screen, radio, print and real space. Entitled Poetry Picture Show , the project asks each of us to write an original poem inspired by the theme of the �picture show�, and poetry�s relationship to moving images. Will you check out the line-up, it's like the poetry Big Day Out: JS HARRY, JOHN TRANTER, DAVID PRATER, EMMA JONES, IVY ALVAREZ, NATHAN SHEPHERDSON, KATE LILLEY, BRIOHNY DOYLE, FELICITY PLUNKETT and SARAH HOLLAND BATTS. Poems will be presented as podcasts and moving images, with a project blog and other untold stuff to come.

The Heat-Ray

No one would have believed in the middle of an already bleak Antipodean winter that cylinders of heat would one day be passed out to individuals as a last refuge against atomic chill. Silver cannisters cold to the touch but containing propellants and gases that, upon contact with the eerie airs, would spontaneously ignite, providing up to six hours of warmth, and light for twice as long. The telegraph poles glowed and a strange red oil covering the roads made even walking difficult. It was around this time, or maybe a few weeks before, that I saw my first mugging. A desperate-looking urchin, fingernails gritty and chipped, just walked up to a middle-aged woman and struck her cleanly in the face with his raised palm. The woman, whose dog began then to bark erratically at her attacker, fell swiftly to the ground and I knew without looking, from the sound of the frozen snap of her forehead against the concrete gutter, that she was already dead. My companions and I decided then to scatter,

Polka Dot

My co-pilot loves polka dots. I love their simple English. Dots that could connect me to the whole world if I wanted, and I do. Polka dot scarves for summer picnics and walks through symmetrical green gardens. Polka dot shirts for shimmering nightclubs and photo opportunities. Polka dot skirts for Sundays and intercontinental flights. I can imagine polka dots tattooed all over her body but maybe they're just freckles. Our plane is covered in polka dots: black on white, pink on orange, green on black. We've nicknamed it "Polka Dot". We taxi down a runway of polka dots, take off and climb steeply, our flight path a haze of polka dot fields, green on yellow, cream on black. Two cats dancing the polka. Polka dot eyes, winking. I want to be a black polka dot on a white background. A green polka dot on a black background. A purple polka dot on a green background. A red polka dot on a red background. She's a polka dot. When I take a shower, polka dots fly from the rose.


I can feel the nettle, stuck in my leg, this remnant of Nebo�s glory, shoved deep inside my thigh, and poisoned too. I can just imagine the swelling there, and the pain. Totally worth it. An opportunity I�d never had before In the field. The perfect ambush. No Sound save for the odd raindrop. Op. The only one I missed. We drank Victory sips from our canteens. Mine Was nearly empty but I shared it with Thurston. Up above, the water tower Promised unlimited canteen refills But offered us no source, not a tap. The irony of it was lost on us. Once We�d recovered we marched, our Cut, leech & scratch inspections. JR. My preferred call name. Sure, we�ve Got walkie-talkies. Sticks, also. My Hands a circuit board of cuts, made by brambles. On the other side of Mt Nebo there�s just the escarpment, and a farm we don�t ever go to. Rumours of ordnance, of secret tunnel dumps. Jason Malvern. Securing the sting�s Venom could take some time. Must Remember to breathe normally, thi


The school yard�s dense with bodies BUT I CAN'T HEAR A THING. No need to shout, a corona's hanging around her head. The silence of summer. Here we go, across the iron bridge and onto the sports oval. Grass whistle. I'm still asleep. Memory tastes of Vita Brits. Something snaps in my ear as the fog on Mt Nebo clears. Pressure. Younger morning. Raindrop fans on a jacaranda. Oil rainbows on the road. Then I get my best thinking done. So Figtree wakes up. I see it every day. Watch the streets change shape, grow. Trajectories of wet newspapers still visible to me, in the air. Energy of a little volcano, the one that feeds the sky with its extinct knob. Nebo. O'Briens Road like a trail of ants up its side. There's the water tank and the barbed wire fence. Its sign. The long strip of black tar leads to the high school far below, base camp. I rode down it once, without brakes, into American Creek. It�s flooding. This is the best, so untold. By this afternoon, I be

Imaginary City in Stylus!

Issue 22 of Stylus Poetry Journal is out now, featuring some kewl haiku plus poetry by Frances Raven, Justin Lowe, Barbara Archer, Julie Beveridge, Caroline Gilbo, Leanne Hills, Graham Nunn, Ynes Sanza, Jena Woodhouse, Caleb Puckett, Mandy Beaumont, Alison Eastley and me! Read imaiginary cities: heli today! This is the fifth city to have found a home in an online journal this year, following Softblow and Snorkel. Now I just need to find some more webzines starting with an S. Two previous cities were also published in Going Down Swinging in 2003: read cities of pau , velo and the special bonus city, vera . The architecture of these cities was, however, inspired by Darwin, as opposed to Seoul .


You know it�s just that every day this wave of International Roast it just hits me, in the common room, and I want to run. I see a pile of papers that may never get marked, handwritten notes, attendance rolls, and I just want to bolt. I navigate classrooms, listen to the bells but it�s as if I�m a starter�s gun. Take your marks, get set, then go. Mrs Malvern! shouts the small crowd, Peace, land, bread! As if it�s some re-enactment, not two unit History. Summer has stolen its march on the end of another school year. I could smell it on the bridge by the Creek. Mrs Malvern. Mum. Here he comes, turning into his father once a minute, slouching like a fucking hat. Swiped. And then seated. Eighteen years old. Two weeks of exams. His first adult Summer. Barely ready. Pretends to read. Has got a lift to the city library with Ralph every Saturday this year. Later than usual, with a look on his Face like Mt Nebo in fog. Blackout. Won�t answer me in class. Somehow I gave u


By American Creek there�s a fig tree with someone�s name written on its trunk. I hesitate to say mine. Okay, yes. In some fit of adolescent vanity I carved the initials RM there one day, after school. Never have gone back to look at it. What would be the point? Just a memory now, like the fig tree that�s been chopped off at the waist. I suppose it was infected with some Kind of disease. I used to drive past it every day, you know, on my way to the F6 and Sydney. This kind of semi-dead tree, down by the creek there, at the end of our street. Then someone chopped it off at the waist. Nothing but a brown stump remains. I can�t look at it anymore. In fact, I drive a different way now, cutting across Figtree Heights to reach the on-ramp. It�s actually about fifteen minutes faster. A lot less traffic. As a result I don�t drive past the school that often now. Or the fig tree stump. It�s the reason for my suburb�s name. I�d like to crawl inside that name and sit ther



American Creek I

i. By American Creek there�s a fig tree that�s been chopped off at the waist. Nothing but a brown stump remains. it�s the reason for my suburb�s name. & as for mine, you ask? Ralph will do. Mr Malvern to their friends at school. I watch them walk down O�Brien�s Rd. Reflected in the Fairlane�s rear-view. ii. Hit by a wave of International Roast I navigate classrooms, bells. Verna. Mrs Malvern. Here they come, late as usual. Somehow excusable. This public high school�s last summer day. Relief like the change that brought The hot rain. The creek swells under the old iron foot bridge. I watch it. iii. The school yard�s dense with bodies as the fog on Mt Nebo, youngest of the city volcanos, the one that feeds into American Creek. It�s flooding. Call me Clint. No, I am the eldest. It�s okay. Happens all the time. Well, there�s the bell. I�d better run. Got our big assembly today. Sure. Bye. iv. I can feel the nettle, stuck in my leg. The only one I missed at the post-

U.S.S.R. (January-June 2006)

William Gibson, Pattern Recognition Mark Davis, Gangland Dorothy Porter, What A Piece Of Work Anna Funder, Stasiland Mary Ellen Jordan, Balanda: My Year In Arnhem Land Peter Carey, Wrong About Japan Brett Dionysius, Universal Andalusia Luke Beesley, Lemon Shark Flannery O'Connor, Wise Blood Nicholson Baker, Checkpoint Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night Time Ban'ya Natsuishi, Right Eye in Twilight Manning Clark, A Short History of Australia Pam[ela] Brown, This World, This Place Todd Swift (ed), Future Welcome: the Moosehead Anthology X Phillip K. Dick, Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said Patrick McCabe, Mondo Desperado! David Niven, The Moon's a Balloon Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö, The Laughing Policeman Stuart Macintyre & Anna Clark, The History Wars David G. Lanoue, Pure Land Haiku: The Art of Priest Issa Overland (#181, Summer 2005) Westerly (v. 50, 2005) Leonard E. Barrett, Sr., The Rastafarians Kazuo Ishiguro, The R