Monday, March 25, 2013

Train of Thought

This weekend I trained to Albury as recipient of the Poetry In Motion/Countrylink Poetry Prize.

I decided that I would stream-of-conscious record my thoughts, which lasted between Canberra and Goulburn. What lies below is that unedited document.

Train of thought

So I am typing this  entry as a stream of consciousness exercise from  Canberra to Goulburn as a part of my Countrylink Poetry Prize. I plan to load it onto the Modern Dyslexicon

First thought: I’ll fucking kill the old person and their key tones on their phone.

It took the laptop  until Queanbeyan to kick into gear in this time I had watched a hare rabbit its way through a broken fence nd a border collie shitting into the molongalo river

According to a study its natural to hate oldies I wonder if they hate each other, probably a reason behind why they die alone

I harbour a lot of old person rage as the train rolls on. One of my speakers in my headphones  are broken and it left the plastic in my ear at the inconvenient time that my brother called. I’m sharing this journey with him, but he is driving to Goulburn, while I wind my way through the molongalo gorge and leonard cohen sings in my right ear.
Please ; I’m your man
My Brother will meet me at the train station stop in Goulburn,because of the crazy rail system, the capital terriotory of Australia is not actually a part of their network, and Goulburn acts as a hub between south and western lines. This has provided me with consternation in the planning stage. Albury was never the plan. I wanted to head out west, to places I had never ventured, places like lightning ridge and bourke and the train lurches around a corner showing kangaroos fighting before running away. Only superman can stop a speeding train and live, so I think that’s a good decision.
All the exciting destinations that we tried to pick  had lengthy…. Long long long stretches of bus rides. I have to, no, I wish to capture the joy of  train travel, the cheap cups of wine a good way to increase the joy.
At Albury my bro and I plan to play it large, with a canoe of the murray and seedy bar crawl with the riverbillies
Listening to “do bad things to you”  which is the theme song to  True Blood,  which is terrible because it’s a great song and a poor show. Good vampires? Puh-lease. Lets jump on the Anne Rice, Poppy Z brite band wagon.  Vampires are a sliver of the devil manifest.
The tran picks up speed in the pine forests , towards Bungendore. I can hear too much of the old lady in front of me’s stories. The food in Canberra Hospital has improved.
The sings along the rails, sings like a chocking old lady, or a rusty frog. First Class is golden for leg room and looking left I can see the cyclone fenced JOCHQ, as some old person hacks up something bodily.  There are a large amunt of cars on the hill next to us.
My second job is love councillor to all my friends and my concentration on my own thoughts stop as I answer  a series of pent up texts.
Who builds their dream house backing onto a railway? What is this, Mexico?

I swap ears for my head phone as we pass some of canturf’s land. Sometimes they are my favourite billboards
My new phone is primitive.  Gum trees on  this plain grow like hairs from a mole, as we coast into bungedore’s the  new gunguhlin.
So my bro hops in in Goulburn,  because there is a 4 hour wait in Goulburn as we switch trains. He misses out of on two journey legs, but gets home 6 hours earlier on Sunday. I haven’t decided if I’ll try tto stay up and continue train of thoughting for as long as possible. The Friday coast traffic hates us as our three carriages hold up  everyone on the kings highway
Bungedores a quick stop. Four rusted horses” plays in my left ear as I realise Bungendore will grow into Queanbeyan and the QBN grw into Canberra as a large sterile conglomerate.
Face-fucking die,  or don’t cough so horribly
Would you capitalise on a view out here knowing that its gunna be suburbs with a woollies and bunnings and screaming kids everywhere?
Pasture here is good for suburbs, submerged power lines and a rail service.
Wind farms. Who wouldn’t want to live out here? Wind farm all of Australia
The olds behind me debate whats the difference between “wind turbines” and “wind mills” and I wish for the bovine ignorance of the grazing cattle who do not listen to the knit-pickers and plovers on their backs
Simon and Garfunkel are singing bridge over troubled waters. I heard this in the high clouds on the shoulders of kilamanjaro on a day that we had almost enough of walking.
An octogenarian keeps yelling about mobs of kangaroos as if a) they were a novelty and b) she just learned the term “mob”
A poor gymkhana and a dressage nag moulder in the thin trees of a disused paddock

Ploughed oats are greener this brown grey plain I assume I’m somewhere near Lake Bathurst
I was born in Goulburn and the rocky out juts and ute wheel ruts the hayseed and the sepia colour bleed stir something in me like a 1000 hectare driveway or the second verse of a national anthem, I know these dusty hills saddle sore horses on  rose shores I’m coming home

Pied alpacas protect flocks from foxes rabbits honey comb river bank dry bends
Black berry brambles pick their way between tussock grass serrations and generations of farmers have plowed the  hills and the hoof lines of ovines terrace the hillside earning the erosion know how
Fittingly Dam at Otter creek is my next song and it wont be long before I hit the streets of Goulburn not to blog to to dine with my bro. that me for this leg. Train of thoughting Canberra-goulburn.

Actually this is tarago the loaded dog is a great pub here, with bushrangers or policemen or lies buried beneath it Goulburn is the next stop.

Better go!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Canberra Guerrilla Poetry Splinter Cell

After years of operating as guerrilla poet lone wolf/loose cannon I've decided mobilise, and train a guerrilla poetry death squad in my top secret headquarters (granted it is the ACT Writer's Centre, but i asked for a hollowed out volcano).

The training will be in the form of a workshop that will run for roughly 4 hours, with a bit of history, powerpoint and poetry.

Attendees will be encouraged to participate, and create their own guerrilla poems, and unleash them upon Canberra.

The guerrilla poetry can then be posted onto the facebook page

a shorter follow up workshop will be arranged with the attendees.

Sign up through the ACT Writer's Centre here.

so bring your derring-do, your derringers and your Dillinger-style escape plans to Join the Canberra Guerrilla Poetry Splinter Cell

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy New Year

Its taken me three weeks of the new year to sit down and compose a post (compost? Compoesie?) for you.

I'd ask how you are, but the truth is I don't care and if you answered, others would think you were strange.

Earlier, it was that time of year that people make promises to themselves that will hopefully shape the year to come, as if the first of the first bestowed an extra measure of Will Power or that the resolutions are somehow more sanctified because they were drunkenly spoken under the burning-magnesium-eyes of the god of New Years. This is not me.

I live with the intention of each year being better than the last, and it's worked so far, last year will be pretty hard to top, But I intend to succeed. in fact, exceed, in all forms of excess. I want to get continually better so when I die (nine years time - I'm predicting death at 40) I'd be a comet of awesome.

Well, we can dream. Certainly a better resolution than only drinking skim milk. Or giving up sex with marsupials. Or whatever it was you said while drunk... I wasnt listening.

Heres a poem. I hope to do one a week


By next year's summer
Vows of ours we've spoken
Promises broken

Thursday, December 6, 2012

So Long, Schmoozers!

My reign as the Schmooze Artist in Residence is now over.

On the night of the 111th Schmooze, which also happened to be Schmooze's 9th birthday, I returned the badge and gun I was issued with.

I presented Phillip with a framed hand written Poem I had composed especially for the occasion

Photo by Kelly Chen Photography

Tesla Coils

as puck on pipes,
Calls the dance.
                    We hum
Charged with Atmospheric

Synapse snaps from node to node
                 you to me
a tight-winding, loose coupling
magnetic energy edging
the pixie ring.
The Schmoozoisie of Oberon's
royal court;
each a rung on the other's ladder
each a step in the choreographer's scheme
each a portal to the other's dream.

My Artist in Residency blog can be reviewed here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Kangara Waters Performance

Being both irreverent and civic minded, I took my poetry, anecdotes and puns along to Kangara Waters, a retirement village hidden in the outer-northern-but-soon-to-be-central-if-we-dont-stop-urban-sprawl-and-build-more-medium-density-housing district of Belco.

I managed to escape car-jacking or a brutal knife fight with the local denizens by pulling into the bully-proof named street "Joy Cummings Place".

Interestingly, Kangara Waters was ungated. Curious considering its location near Lake Ginnindera College and the bowling alley. Perhaps it was the overwhelmingly manicured setting, the building's "modern retiree" stylings, the permanent autumn feeling, the crushing ennui and the impression  the sky had transformed into a colossal stop watch that was held in expectant hands that protected it from the depredation of the teenaged.

The place was like the start of Edward Scissorhands or Blue Velvet. I'm sure it appeals to people who have run out of serotonin. everywhere you look you say gosh, that's interesting.

I parked at the entrance and was immediately lost.

The staff were very helpful and soon had herded a crowd together.

I performed for half an hour. Afterwards I lunched with several of the more attentive residents and we spoke of the funny threads of life, their stories and the impact that a stroke or dementia and the banality of existence, and how that half hour of poetry was an injection of colour on a beige canvas.

It made me glad that I chose my pieces a little more wisely than usual.

I have lain here since yesterday
on the cold tiled floor
the refrigerator door is open, and chill
the pot on the stove top boiled dry
I cannot answer the phone,
or call for help
I cannot feed my dog
or fight him off.

As I was leaving, the director spoke with me about the Try To Remember program in the UK, which had success blending poetry and caring with dementia patients. I agreed to come back, if only to perform, but my head was filling with ideas.

walking out I realised that Kangara Waters was an exceptional facility, with wonderful, caring staff and not just a place to dispose of the olds. More of a place to dispose of them thoughtfully.

To pull this post back from irreverence, and maybe my soul from the hell-fires, and give myself a hollywood ending;  Dementia is a fearful loss of one's history, perhaps through poetry I can help readdress this. I wouldn't mind being involved in a Try To Remember-esque project.

Like all good stories, the character goes on a journey. I drove home.

D Day

Well, actually, bin day.  but that didnt seem as dramatic.

Friday is the day you get things done that you should have done on a more convenient day earlier in the week.

Due to this procrastination, I'm gunna overload you, dear readers.

you were warned.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Canberra Poetry Slam Farewell to 2012

Not going to Corinbank until Saturday?

well we want you! Come along to the last front Slam for 2012!

The theme is "Undecided between Blues or Valhalla."

The night opens with the open mic at 7:30 followed by the slam at 8
Join the slam and compete for cash prizes!

The features will be Steve Smart & Kim Jeffs from MELBOURNE!

The Slam will include the music of beauty and passion from
THE NIGHT CAFE, a latin/gypsy/jazz ensemble who will improvise intro/outro music for slammers and melt your nerves with their sultry sound.


Over the past fifteen years Steve has performed his work and that of others thousands of times in hundreds of venues across the world. He's more famous than most people you know, but much less famous than Ryan Moloney who plays Toady in Neighbours.

Career highlights include 'Mouth Off' at the Sydney Opera House; the one man show 'Wild Optimist: rises and falls of a performance poet' (Brisbane Festival Under The Radar); performing at Bar Open's 10th Birthday celebration (Fitzroy); winning the audience award for 24 Hour Fix (short theatre competition); and co-featuring at the Berkeley Slam in California. Upcoming events include feature performances at the 2012 WA Poetry Festival and the Queensland Poetry Festival.

Kim Jeffs’ writing began as a response to the Black Saturday fires – as therapy. She set out to create a small book of memories for her children. Instead, she found poetry. Or perhaps, says Jennifer Compton, poetry sent a wildfire to chase Kim to its arms.

Epicormic growth is the new shoots thrust out by trees burnt by inferno. It is the tree’s desperate attempt to remain alive – for without leaves for photosynthesis the tree will assuredly die. After catastrophe, we must grow. To remain static is to invite death. Kim’s poetry mirrors her recovery – intense, painful, bleakly humorous, but not without moments of joy.

I first met Steve Smart at This Is Not Art in 2009, I met Kim on my tour to Melbourne in June and became acquainted with The Night Cafe through Schmooze,  and can say each are an extraordinary act in their own right and we have all three of them at the one place, throw in your regular host the Flying V, who'll no doubt be ready to improvise with The Night Cafe (is ready to improvise the same as planned spontaneity?) and its going to be a complete corker of a show!

7:30 at the Front Gallery and Cafe in Lyneham, 30th of November.