A Kiss

I sat as a boy at the table,
Silent and neat
My plate was clean
Nothing to do but eat
Since children
Are seen and not heard
I wasn’t allowed to say a word.

(This is the sixties,
You too were just seen
So off your high horse
You know what I mean.)

But it wasn’t a burden
A chore to be borne.
It was just as things were then.
Like a hat to be worn.
I tried to gain my Mum’s attention
In the hope she would know
My face’s contortion that show’d
‘Please let me go.
I’ve got books to read
Rollers to skate
Animals to feed
I can’t stay awake
So please, I just need …
To go, can’t you see?’
She finally caught
The look on my face
And turned to him
For him to say grace.
He did as was bid
Not knowing the words
Their meaning I mean,
It was just a chant
An act to be seen
By an invisible god
That no-one believed
Just a Sunday thing.
I was so relieved.

I wrote many stories
Without any ends
Since ends needed thought
A point to be made
I had ideas, no joins, just dots
I had no points, just starts
No stops.

I knew she was fucking the delivery man
Who came in a truck, The Faulding Van
It opened up like a shop with steps
There it was by the gate, and yet
No one was there
No one around
Not even a Mum or man to be found
Where were they fucking, where did they go?
The feed shed? Peppertree?, I’d like to know.
But once in my room, to change as I must
I saw the van in a cloud of dust
And there in the kitchen, stood Mum
Tying her apron,
A new job to get done.
So all was right, as right as rain
Until she needed some lovin’ again.

The boys, them too, the brothers I gained
When Mum hitch’d a farmer
Grew nothing but grain,
And sheep to be traded
Graded and sold
One killed every month
But one that was old.

Four legs it had, like Sundays in a month
As if god ordained
That if sheep had four
That’s what roasts were for my Mum explained
But still not able
To talk at the table
Until I was older, an adult no less
But then could I secretly still wear a dress?

Oh, pets and books and ducks and chooks
Reading and writing and watching TV
Black and white it seemed to me
To tell me what I dreamed to know
How to be older, and how to grow
To be someone taller, smarter, a good looker
A house that was modern.
False teeth, pressure cooker
Wasn’t enough to satisfy me
I wanted a life, a life more than this
But all I had was the back of my hand
To practice a kiss.



In the musical play Carousel, a spruiker called Bill, and Julie, who works in a mill, try to tell each other how they feel. They don’t have the words to be true to such feelings so they sing it to make it real: what “if I loved you?” The scene needs the music to supply the emotion and for the would-be-lovers to be who they are, not for writers to give them words they would never use. Songs in musicals happen when words are not enough. Poetry happens when prose in not enough. To describe a spectacular tree, you can try to write it realistically as best you can but if it is truly spectacular you will get to a stage where you have to forget what you see and write what you feel; what it reminds you of; what the words are for: sense, surprise, and metaphor. When Auden wrote “As I walked out one evening, walking down Bristol Street” he described what he did, and then what he saw, but what he saw was so such more and he had no words that did justice to the scenery, “The crowds upon the pavement” so he slipped into poetry, “were fields of harvest wheat.” And this adds meaning and insight; yes, and there’s rhyme and rhythm of course, a tune if you like. What confuses poetics for the readers of verse is that so often the text is so personal, perverse, and has no meaning, no revelation; but like masturbation, it may satisfy the writer, but does nothing for the reader. I’m going to read more poetry now and stop flogging myself since it isn’t a test. I’ll treasure those words that light something up, and dismiss those that maybe a gas for the poet, but hot air for the rest of us.


The Orchid on the 14th Floor

There is an orchid on the 14th floor

Trapped in the still, apartment air

Its seven faces staring

Just staring,



Some say phalaenopsis, some say moth

It’s stubby wings, ever so white

Hold expectantly, patiently

They will fold one day like mine

One day.

One day.


The greys and the blacks of the bustle below

Stirs the monied atmosphere

Where people rush, stop for a bit

Stop for a bite and then

Rush some more.

Not here.


Down there, touch, bumps, collisions

Avoided at all costs, can cost even fines

Up here, we scream for contact

Wishing, urging, yearning, hoping




Days go by, no movement, answer,

Not even growth, it seems to me.

No flies, no ants, no moths, no bees

To tickle its throat

And sex its genes

Not here.


So it waits, waits and waits.

No sag, decline, weep or sigh

So unlike a mirror this thing to me

It shows me pluck

But I read but waste.

And wonder.



Wars can wane and words can fail

And still it sits, so still

As months go by.

Its time is held

Like a freeze frame shot

Of a Becket play



But oh how it mocks and

Prickles the gall

As I sit in the kitchen

And wait for your call.




Bloody Roman arselickers

With shackles in sacks

To remind them which way to bow

Keep me dry and down trodden

In this hell of a cell

For talken and tellen what I see


All I do is talk talk talk

From the dusty trackside

And if people like what I say

Or think they might

They turn a verge to a mount

When they tell their mate

Or their aunt

When next she comes

So how was your week dear

Since I last was here

Is a hook cast by aunties

Down the eons of years

And the nosepicking nephew

Who was there at the back

Didnt hear much but

Likes to see his aunts

Eye brows raise

So he says things

And tells things

Hes seen at a glance

And coloured with what

All aunts want their nephews to tell

That a bloke

Me this is ya see says

The meek shall inherit the earth

Of course the meek love hearing that

And this too

Did you hear the one about the camel and pin

But the stand-up gets all twisted in the reretellen


And so here I am in a dusty hole

That smells of piss wetdog like

Because someone with eyesapoppen

Says I said somethen stand out godlike

And I did but who got the gist

So now I have to bare my arse to bootjacks

To speak to mates I have who know

What really went on

And what I really said was

Kill the fuckers and send em packen

Back to where they came from

They eat what we dont eat

They praise what we don’t praise

They sing what we don’t know

They favour what we think vile

What the fuck are they doen here


And I hear about one dirtsmeared whore

Called Mary my mothers name do you mind

Who says she loves me and yes she does

Cos I did her a favour



And now Im a miracle worker

With hangerson just waiten

To see me do it again

And again

Like the do I went to

A wedden

Pissed in a wine jar

Thought it was dry

But they drank it and marvelled

Ya see

The depth of flavour my arse

The fuckers were too pissed to know

Every girl every bloke

So word gets round

And round and round

The water I turned to wine

And Im havin a great fucken time

Cheap wine bloody oath cheap


But then it gets out of hand

And theyre stalken me

And walken me

To see me do it all over again


You wont believe this

Some dude runs from his burial cave

As Im sayen nice things

Mid rave

As you do at funerals

And so Im a hero

Bringen him back to life


Fuck me

If you knew the life he led

You wouldnt be wishen him

Back from the dead

But word gets out none the less

All twisted yeah and what a mess


No wonder I need a backup crew

To punch and paths to clear

So twelves a bit rich

I know

But watta ya do

If thats what they want

A jobs a job

And the fishens shit this year

Tried it too

Took em all out in an open boat

Teachen them to earn a crust

But ran aground

So I gets out

Ankle deep

No big deal

To lighten the load

But word gets back

To the aunts you bet

And theyre talken on it

And talken on it

And they add a bit here

And add a bit there

And wamo

Im walken on it

Im a weirdo magnet

No sweat


And now Im off to see

This poostabben bloke and I know

It wont go well

What the fuck can I say

He dont speak the lingo

So Ill say what I say

And some bloke will tell

It on and on and on

And get it all wrong

But because of some shiela

Some daughter of Zion no less

To impress

It will all be exploded

And the storyll go

Round and round

Oo-ah and jump up and down

Theyll go find

Societies and cliques

That demand special clothes

Head gear bells odd day weeks

Flowing robes

So theyll stand high from the mob

Who wont have a clue

But wholl want to ask a few

Like the meaning of life

And theyll say something grand

That will basically mean we have to

Remain in the shit-hole were in

And stand

In the sun and sell

Shrivellin dates and shrivellin bums

But give us some loot

And a ticket to boot

To the life after death

No evidence but

Trust us they say and trust em youll do


And those twelve blokes

Of mine will write it all

On tablets in tomes

And mark them sold

For pieces of gold


But what I need now

Is a godlike jaunt

Ill stuff thunder in a jar

A Volcano no less

And lob it in straight

At the temple door


And then theyll take heed

Theyll listen to me then

More god like then

Yeah thats what I need

Fucken yeah.


Fold Me Down (2020)

Fold me down
You old grey town
Fold me down
In rocks and ground.

Lift me high
But low you be
Lift me high.

Fold me down
You old clay town
Fold me down
In rocks and ground.

Leave I must
But leave I can’t
Leave I must
But. Leave I must.

Fold me down
You old grey town
Fold me down
In rocks and ground.

Take me back
As used as lips
Burn me black
Like eucalypts

Put me up
And let me be
Set me down

Fold me down
You old grey town
Fold me down
In rocks and ground                                                                                                                               Fold me down                                                                                                                                        In rocks and ground.



Americans are addicted to guns

But blame the fingers that pull the triggers

But who blames the fingers when pointed.

Americans are addicted to democracy

But only the democracy of those who vote

Those who don’t are addicted to not voting.

Americans are addicted to beauty

Except those who are not beautiful

They are addicted to striving to be.

Americans are addicted to money

Even those who don’t have any

But they are addicted to not keeping it.

Americans are addicted to food

Because food will make them strong

And a good boy is a big boy.

Americans are addicted to television

Even if they don’t understand what they see

Most don’t watch what they don’t understand.

Americans are addicted to war

Even though they haven’t won any – on their own – since 1898

Some are addicted to believing they have.

Americans are addicted to truth

But only when they see it in print

But only the truth they believe.

Americans are addicted to right

But only when history agrees

But addicted to history they are not.

Americans are addicted to god

As a way of proving them right

So they are not addicted to blame.

Americans are addicted to home

Because they are blind to what isn’t

So hate it when someone wants a bit.

Americans are addicted to health

But only the kind that costs

The other kind they call socialism.

Americans are addicted to communists

As though it’s still a threat

But can’t see the ones in their heads.

Americans are addicted to enemies

And if they can’t find any

They make them out of microphones.

Americans are addicted to talent

And all wish they had some

But talent is anything with a phone.

Americans are addicted to Americans

Name town and state, name town and state

But they are not addicted to maps.


Writing (2022)

When I write, the I is me. 

All those writers I read

Toibin, Porter, White, Winton, Boyne, And Gale

And the way they write

Is of no concern.

What I hope


The things About them I agree with And admire 

Have oozed themselves into how I write

So when I write

I write what comes into my head

And what comes into my head

Is the writing child of those above.

I give it rein And to ignore that 

That voice

Is death.

When I write the I is me. 

Sophie – a Lyric (2022)

What a lovely dress, Sophie,
You look so beautiful
But I’m a bigger size girl

What such killer shoes Sophie
You look so out there
But I’m a bigger size girl

I’m a girl who takes a size two up
But don’t you worry
Don’t be sorry
I know what looks so good on you
I like to look good too
But I’m a size two up girl
A size too up from you.
I’m a bigger size girl.