Archive for August, 2008


boo: so many weddings in supra-repose, usual things
like reinforced steel, unstructured, left to grind away.
the flat-screen memory not only for popcorn edifices.
then, see, patricia’s breasts hide the top of her shirt
& i do see what you are saying & i am a bantam-weight.
we were paper plane dreaming to fly ass-numb right
frozen in moment (i weaken to a fracture of lips, spill)

perfume expands time – in a bluesy organic setting:
yeah, organic (not inserting part two though). at a lack
of breath we point out special letters of the alphabet,
lofty chicks skirting coincidences – closer – closer –
playwrights up to fear & debauched grimaces wake
with the tangible smell of wet skin? oh that clutch
& messiness – a methodical climb to the basecamp…

wind is distance when living on fringes & you orange
out the frames of reference, no text to guide. still you’ll
wander with the draft, peruse the limbs of oak, squarely fail.
i imagine kissing your neck until much later on. i enjoy this
but a little. suits play fleeting cards; families miss the victims
of serial killers. we all drink. my lust & my three-letter and.
you’re digging in spurs – a straggling drunk going ‘avast!’


‘His strength lay in his capacity for enduring boredom, his wife suspected, quite overlooking the possibility of a relationship with a landscape, an unprepossessing one at that.’

Patrick White, A Fringe of Leaves

what do people assume your strengths are? a capacity for enduring boredom is probably a common surmise. perhaps they’re not wrong. your ‘relationship’ with something time-consuming, perhaps it is just a fabrication of your talent for boredom, a personal embellishment that helps you sleep at night. not that i think that’s what white was saying…


block the stairs!

i ordered the obstriction blitz, like a good cartographer,
Velvet in Wurlitzer sun. We’d lube-up asunder
morgue trestles (umpteen xenophobes essay profit
in ear-shot, as always, so fallacious, so cute) all the while
doubting the drastic illness gaining currency. Whoa.
a lack of sense. i queue; you zap goobers,
seethe with junkies, yabbering betwixt jubes:
Uxorious minds of kelp on this serious pavement.

In Europe you read ‘Europe’, listen to ‘Europe’ &
Advise clients to dwell on it until maturity. they’ll
embrace error-architecture, talk of fine character.
this & in other ways the feel of blisters is female
(shod from one hell of a jeep) like tripping in
an imaginary frame-of-mind. the Hoot goes up
at your rocking horse red shoes. Click Click.

the zeppelin pumps dude slam-dunks another babe
at some ethics symposium. Fuck it, we list astray in
future possible worlds, Goblins at the ballet,
that sort of messy narrative. lastly there was pomp
apropos of a party, & a lone champagne tower slants,
grumpy stalactites bruised into a martian cell-block blue.
grapes in a wizened Field got dead. call it Lavender times.



phrases like ‘a map’ & ‘quiet head’ are in vain;
my dorsal fin seems a colonnade at times but
with cunt-culture qualifications noted then blown
aimlessly we, we are, cultivating a marquee!
the door shuts on fuckup poems or sympathy
cards trees planted for the utile value drugs grown
to a place value. ask me pi i’ll get back to you.
if you want other contrivances, lines of neck
action… earlier we’d think lapidary images:
processes, montages: all is well. australia is quite
deep & by publishable i mean desk! (she’s in
a brusque spot: rugged compost left by a male)

you’re a virgo, else, a 2004 boy out to dinner. search
for lost lego, scurry at the chance of antique jokes. anway.


i’ve been following krissy kneen’s stories. &, i’m kinda hooked. have a read of truth & the tampon story.



he said this at one point:

The Spanish Prison, like all of my works, consists of a dialectic between the conscious (straight lines, designed shapes, weighed color, abstract language) and the unconscious (soft lines, obscured shapes…) resolved into a synthesis which differs as a whole from either. The hidden Spanish prisoner must represent the anxieties of modern life, the intense Spanish-Indian color, splendor of any life.”

Harrison notes (in this book i’ve got (i know, a great reference)) the ‘implicit suggestion here that formal and spontaneous procedures are not necessarily irreconcilable’, citing it – i think – as a positive. there’s something in that.

cool as a criteria

keri challenged me on this one, so what i did was to firstly (as always) google ‘cool’ & find out exactly what it means. i think i know, but you know, my brain is a wasteland…blah blah…

so after googling for definitions of ‘cool’ i did a tag analysis to find out the most commonly used terms (there were lots of definitions). it turns out, as i suspected, that ‘cool’ is very often associated with music. on the internet at least, this association is much higher than any other particular term.

music then. poetry often gets lauded for a perceived musicality. is this ‘cool’? i don’t think so. i always get the sense the musicality descriptor relates to sound, but to refined melody, compositional exactitude – in short, music that is traditional, classic, orchestral. a teacher of mine used to say ‘ah, mozart’, & i can just imagine him saying in a similar tone ‘ah, musicality’. is this all in my head? again, i don’t think so.

the musical ‘cool’ then is to me music of a more ephemeral nature. or maybe more correctly, it is music that hasn’t been proven yet. we can ascribe many labels – punk, grunge, dance, hip-hop, metal etc – but i think in many cases ‘fineness’ of melody / harmony (indeed compositional mastery?) is not of the utmost importance (& i guess this works with jazz too, & i was worried the groovy cool of jazz just wouldn’t fit – the pre-composition being only a small part of the performative action). this is the musicality of ‘cool’: it’s about the times, the fashion, the resistance, the words & the music.

i think it makes sense to affirm cool as a compositional criteria. it adds to a mode of writing that is a mode of being. & interestingly, the sense of ephemerality (i may have been wrong to use this word) that comes with fashion / newness / vogue is not strictly associated with cool. & the tag analysis revealed this too, in a curious way. the definitions of cool of course take in the meteorological ones. & one of the most used words (along side ‘music’) is ‘heat’. what is hot right now is in both linguistic senses opposed to what is cool. the latest australian idol pop song release will be ‘hot’ for a while, but never cool.

cool does not amount to populism. come to think of it, i didn’t mix with the popular kids in high-school. but i’m pretty sure i was always cool. now that’s getting of the subject of poetry… but is it?



I’m just here, thinking about the poetry that investigates poetry itself. It’s inspired by the recent debate on compositional notes, but only a little. (By the way, if you want you can check out Issue 5 of Haiku Review, which features work from Ali Smith, Jennifer Compton, Jill Jones, Joanne Burns, Kristin Hannaford, Lizz Murphy, Louise Waller, Samuel Webster, Simon Taylor & myself. The pre-requisite for this issue was that every series of poems would feature a note on the composition. My note is kinda bland & not that intriguing. However, the focus of the issue was process…)

So, poetry about poetry. Some editors just don’t want to read it. I do, but there’s some qualification needed: no-one wants to read about a writer having writers’ block. That’s just fundamentally uninteresting. (I marked some student’s poetry assignments last year & I had to make that comment many, many times.) But of course it is a truth that many readers of poetry are writers, or potential writers. For them, for me, how one writes (as opposed to the torment that’s an adjunct to how one doesn’t write) is an interesting thing. Here’s another link: my poem from Ars Poetica.

The process can become part of the experience or subject of a poem. A compositional note like the one I wrote for Haiku Review, something like ‘I took the third word from here, the third word from there etc’ don’t interest me a lot, & in some instances it can detract from a work. For instance, I don’t much like learning that a poem was made with complete chance arrangement, that all the poet had control over was the parameters – ‘I used a six-sided dice…’ I like that writers do court chance, but to foreground the totality of their chance-arrangement can seem like a justification for a weak piece, an apology. Perhaps because of this the important line from my Haiku Review note is ‘Then just organising into cool lines’, because this is the part where I consciously changed a lot of things, in order to give the poems direction & flow. I am the author, reconstituted & all, & I won’t apologise for that.

Process from within though is intriguing. I won’t say too much, but I do want to hold up alicia sometimes’ piece ‘evolution of a poem’ as a great example. This is a 5 part poem that begins with the following:

1. idea

i saw a documentary.

i like the way otters

seem to tickle each

other all the time.

want to write about it.

The other 4 parts are labelled ‘scribbles’, ‘further notes’, ‘adjectives’, & finally ‘the otter poem’. This is a poem about the way a momentary image (a segment from a documentary here) can lead us to a poem. But also, it is a poem about an otter. The output is twofold, or even more, because section 5 is not simply a poem about an otter, nor are the rest of the sections simply poems about the semi-titles.

Do you want a return like that, or do you just want an otter poem? I dunno. I tend to want more. Not all the time, but often.

Oh yeah, the book is kissing the curve, out a number of years ago through five island press. I like it.

the collected selected

check out nathan’s poem Booranga, which appears on his blog. i like it when writers blog their wares.

i’m tired though, & a such, more posting tomorrow. but if you want a hint: my next post will be (due to popular demand) about compositional notes, & the poetry of alicia sometimes. these are the thoughts that come to me.


Malcom Turnbull a spatchcock avoiding arguments in bra & panties. His honest depiction wages a campaign out the back, where one keeps hose, twine. Mark out a pitch or de-camp and drink pepsi in the light, pacifism your way. To avoid the general (brick-shit-house; I can take anyone) we strain to act in a manner imaginary. A tepid trickle behoves you, white-haired and in thought, jamming most nights away illustrious. You’d say we prefer methods in the face of jazz: though should you ask (more than words) it’s all I’ve ever needed. An earnest political haircut not only seems witty, but. I lust for bling about the nose while you’re not doing enough. I’ve done most else. Malcom, waiters court flattery without haste or lying and I think you’re a waiter. Last I heard. So it seems times are a worry – a recent thread gets nasty; production teams are grouped as opinion makers in a certain sector; teachers look sour. This guy I know suggests you marry a zebra, but well before that, don’t speak for me. Don’t be pat. ‘Goose’.


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