Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Monday, December 12, 2005

I'm back!

Yes, I'm back on the saddle of Blog. (That sounds strangely rude or kinky somehow.) Anybody who reads this blog regularly, or used to, has probably well and truly gotten sick of checking here for updates, but you know, that's life. I'm sure you managed to fill the gap with the two or three million other blogs out there.
In my defence a large part of my hiatus can be explained by the fact that for the first three weeks of November I was away from my computer and good internet access. I was in the heavenly Blue Mountains, or more precisely Katoomba at the writer's house Varuna. Varuna is a writer's retreat that used to belong to the Australian writer Eleanor Dark. I was lucky enough to receive a fellowship to work on my writing there for three weeks. For the first week I totally panicked and wondered how on earth I had got there in the first place. Then after a moment of illumination in the shower, things got a lot easier and I managed to have both a very productive and relaxing time. I drove all the way up which is a pretty long way from Melbourne but I do love a good road trip and took a few photos along the way, one of which is the painted cow above taken in Shepparton. Cows really do it for me, so I just had to stop and take this pic. More pics to come!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Reading Tonight!

Ridiculously late notice but yes I'm giving a reading tonight.
For those that aren't completely legless from Melbourne Cup frivolities come on down to The Spinning Room, upstairs at ET's Bar, 211 Hight St, Prahran. 8pm for an 8:30 start.
And if you completely lost your shirt today, don't worry because it's FREE entry! Also open mic, raffle and door prize.
Be great to see you there.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Death To Your Dreams: in pictures and words.

pics by Em and M.

Where do I start in trying to describe the evening which was the debut of the show Death to Your Dreams?
I am still stunned by how incredibly well the show went and I'd like to send out a warm and sincere THANK YOU to everybody that came along on the night and witnessed the collaboration between myself and the amazing band that is the mime set comprising of Sam Wareing, Andrew Watson, Chris Chapple and Justin Avery. I'd also like to thank Ai Yamamoto for her amazing work with visuals on the night, some of which you can see in these pictures.
We all put a lot of work into the show but none of us really knew if it would work or not in front of a live audience. Somehow though all the planets aligned on this magical evening and I felt this incredible atmosphere in the room even before we started. It was a late start due to various factors beyond our control, to anybody who had to leave before the show commenced I do apologise, there was nothing we could do but rest assured you will get another chance.
That's right, due to the overwhelming success of its debut, Death to Your Dreams will be returning shortly! Dates and venues are yet to be confirmed but it will definitely be announced right here as soon as we know.
The other good news is that the show was digitally and multi-track recorded.
We have big plans for the show which myself and the mime set will be discussing and formulating soon.
Keep an eye on this space for more details.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Death to Your Dreams - in pictures.

pics by Chris Amor.
Above: Justin Avery, Sean M Whelan.
Middle: Justin Avery, Sean M Whelan, Andrew Watson and Chris Chapple.
Below: Justin Avery, Sean M Whelan and Sam Wareing.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Death to Your Dreams - a spoken word & musical collaboration

This year as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival I will be performing in a show called Death To Your Dreams, written by myself and a fantastic Melbourne band by the name of The Mime Set. Below is the press release for the show, this will give some idea of what to expect.


Sean M. Whelan & the mime set


Death To Your Dreams

Hear the waking dream of love in conversation with spoken word, music and visuals. This collaboration, between poet Sean M. Whelan and Lynch-ian musicians The Mime Set melds lush soundscapes, lyrics and imagery to the words of one of Melbourne's finest poets. After creating a Mutual Admiration Society, Sean M. Whelan and the mime set performed together in April 2005 and decided to use Fringe as an opportunity to further explore the correspondences between Sean’s surreal romantic poetry and the mime set’s textured, emotional music. Death To Your Dreams, named after a mime set song, is an unabashedly romantic collaboration, capturing the reverberations between words spoken and sung, poetic metre and musical rhythm, performance and the melodic promise of poetry.

"Whelan dances back and forth in multiple perspectives, switching fluidly from experiencing to observing, from self to other, from ordinary to absurd, magically traversing all barriers in between.” Cordite Poetry Review.

the mime set craft their songs carefully, and it shows… [with] a spirit that will find its way quietly into your hearts and minds.” Losing Today (UK)


For those in Melbourne it will be great to see you at the show. It's on Sunday Oct 9th at Bar Open on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 9:30pm and it's free entry.
For those not in Melbourne, plans are in motion to record a CD of this collaboration. Watch this space for more details.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Dream catching house. Westgarth Station.

A tale of regret

Everytime he did something he regretted he would write it down on the back of a playing card and stick this card to the front of the television set.
Once he had enough regrets to cover over 70% of the screen he would take his collected regrets off the television set and he would spread them out over the kitchen table.
Then he would take an empty cardboard box and one by one he would shout his regrets into the cardboard box.
The regrets shouted into the box included various haircuts, lovers and bad clothing decisions.
He found he could shout about twenty regrets into the box before it became overburdened. Once the box was full he would take it out to the backyard and bury the box full of regrets beneath the fig tree.
Over time the roots of the fig tree became so soaked with a sense of loss and longing for someone or something that had once happened but it wished hadn’t that the fig tree regretted ever having becoming a tree in the first place.
In a matter of weeks the fig tree de-evolved into a small noxious weed especially toxic to cats.
So he shouted this regret into the box with all the others.
Now he’s eyeing off the lemon tree in the other corner of the yard.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Totoro sunset

A still from the movie Tonari no Totoro by Hayao Miyazaki.
For Cat.

In the Places Where We Stood

In the places where we stood,

buildings fell down and grew again.

Cars collided and buses were occasionally late.

Flowers stood up to say something, some changed their minds and became trees instead.

In the places where we stood intersections intersected with organized religion.

Nuns peppered the pedestarian crossings like devout ducklings.

Traffic lights stood quietly, and witnessed our failings on a daily basis, turning red with shame only occasionally.

How could I not notice you that day? Wearing your choose death t-shirt and glitter purple nail polish, fingers and toes.

The beach emptied its thoughts upon us because the ocean was seeing a counsellor.

Afterwards I combed the neuroses out of your hair, while you licked the salt of my shoulder.

We didn’t know what shape we were, when all our boundaries left.

So we filled our pockets with sitcoms until even the lint had to laugh.

In the gully between the back fence and the football oval, you showed me your Alan Alda and funny grew a thick skin of sarcasm.

Your parents chose beta, mine chose VHS. Clearly fate was against us from the start.

The potential for true love lay at the bottom of every empty Cinzano Bottle.

Oh my sweet jitterbug, this was not what George Michael had in mind.

Our heroes never made sense together.

The Human League vs the Victorian Football League.

Boy George vs Bernie Quinlan.

When Martin Scorsese directed a Michael Jackson video you proclaimed cinema is dead.

A relationship seemed impossible but so did Steve Guttenberg being famous.

One kiss under Echo & the Bunnymen’s killing moon and pop music became prophecy.

Your eyes were as blue as the smurfs we stole from BP petrol stations.

We caught trains to city nightclubs, I pretended to fall asleep on your shoulder on the long rides home.

I love you was whispered only once, under the cover of dry ice, eyeliner and a dodgy Dire Straits DJ . We pretended it never happened.

In the places where we once stood are velvet ropes now.

Our DNA is a tourist attraction.

Archeologists want to date us.

Scientists want to take us out for dinner.

Anthropologists pose as pizza delivery drivers, just to get a quick glimpse through the door.

In a luck filled future, loss is highly collectible and a valuable jewel in any trophy cabinet.

And in the places where once we stood,

nobody knew how to lose,

like we did.

Friday, August 12, 2005

My True Teen Confessions

I have a gig this Sunday, Aug 14th as part of The Age Melbourne Writer's festival Umbrella events program. True Teen Confessions is the name of the gig and is the theme for the event. Each of the writers have been asked to supply a teenage photo of themselves to be displayed on the evening. So if you'd like to see a pretty daggy photo of myself as a teenager then please come along. Joining me will be the great talents of Adam Ford, Richard Watts, Amy Rhodes and more! See flyer for more details. Hope to see you there. 5-7pm. 303 High St, Northcote.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Trophy Wives Defeated!

Well, sad to say but The Trophy Wives went down at the Word Wrestling Victorian Heat by a heartbreaking margin of just 0.2 of a point! The winners of the evening were the Legends of the Overfiends (Steve Smart, Meg Dunn, Paul and Lish Skec.) It was a tight competition and fear not, I don't think this is the last you'll hear of The Trophy Wives. Here's a pic of me and my beloved team mates in action on the night. Left to right: Paul Mitchell, Sean Whelan, alicia sometimes and Emilie Zoey Baker.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

My life as a Trophy Wife

I have a few gigs coming up and this first one is a biggie.
I'm in a slam team of poets called The Trophy Wives with alicia sometimes, Emilie Zoey Baker and Paul Mitchell.
On Wed 27th July we'll be competing for the right to represent Victoria in the inaugural Word Wrestling Federation National Team Poetry Slam! Whew! That's a mouthful.
Slams are very crowd driven, so I would greatly appreciate anybody who'd like to come along on the night and give me and my fellow Trophy Wives plenty of vocal support.
I promise a very entertaining evening.


when you blush
firefighters flee the scene
yelling 'save yourself!'
not knowing
that for me
it's already too late.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

She Has a Problem with Bill Murray

To justify the chips in her nailpolish,

the mouldy cups of coffee in her room,

the dusty easel and her inability to even look at a photo of Bill Murray let alone one of his movies,

she told me

our heads are nothing but TV sets and our dreams are old sitcoms that never learnt to fly.

Like that explained everything.

But after she said it,

I saw tins of canned laughter trapped behind the glass screens of her eyes.

I asked her out for breakfast but she told me she wanted to go to the gallery again to watch a video installation of two hands slowly reassembling the shattered pieces of a broken china plate.

The next day I drove to the dump,

reverse parked into the hard rubbish section

and loaded in the first old television I could find.

At her place I took her by the hand and led her out to the front lawn,

the TV sat on its side exactly as it had fallen from the trunk,

in the glass I could see our feet reflected side by side.

I placed the hammer into her questioning palm and with a large black texta I drew a squeaky X on the dusty screen.

Before she took a swing I told her to cover her eyes for protection (sometimes dreams hurt) and I also told her to think of Bill Murray.

She swung long and hard.

When the TV face cracked I thought I saw some kind of gas released that curled skyward between us before dissipating into the atmosphere.

This could have been a symbol of her repressed feelings being released or it could have been a toxic cloud of radioactive material.

Or maybe even a combination of the two, since I spent the next morning throwing up, while she dusted off the easel and started painting again.

I think she’s painting broken china plates, but fuck, hey, it’s a start isn’t it?

When things are broken, try smashing something.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I'm back

I moved house (again).
I went to Darwin.
I came back with the second worst virus I've ever had.
The drugs (prescription) are starting to do what they're supposed to do.
The fog is lifting.

midnight swim in Darwin

I took you to the beach
where I hoped things made more sense
too much sense it seems
before the moon had a chance to spit some gin in my eye
and provide some real inspiration
you said
get me out of this postcard
it's too beautiful here
I want crazy tonight
bury me so deep in crazy
that I don't know my arse from my multi-coloured propeller driven hat
you see those lights out on the point
yes, I said
well, each of those lights represent another good reason why we shouldn't be alone together
in a place like this
can you count the lights?
no, I said, there's too many of them
that's why we gotta go baby
you grabbed my hand
and we figure skated through the car park
to the phosphorescent lake on the other side
you ran to the shore
kicked and splashed until you were covered in sparkles
can you count these lights? you asked while backing into the midnight calm like a midnight cowgirl
no, I said, they keep disappearing
these lights, you said, are all the bad reasons we shouldn't be alone together
in a place like this
come here
I followed you in and seconds later discovered my mobile phone still in my pocket
that really fucks me off, I said
I held it up like a dead fish
half expecting it to gasp back to life and flip off my palm
while you cupped phosphorescent lake water into your hands and drained it over my head
to cover me in reasons
both good
and bad
until I couldn't tell the difference

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A Lion in the Hairdressing Salon.

One-thirty five am.
A lion in the hairdressing salon.
I'm walking home, but stop! There's a lion in the window of a hairdressing salon on Brunswick St, Fitzroy.
He looks like he's been there a long time.
But no less ferocious. No less proud.
At the bar, that dress looked like nice.
I should have told her.
I should have told her that hairdressers will do anything to attract a passing potential client, including placing a life sized concrete lion in the window.
But I didn't know that then. Like I know things now.
Little things like lions.
Big things like lions.
Love likes lions.
What are you doing here in the window?
How are you related to hairdressing?
I'll take your picture.
So at least you feel some purpose tonight.
You look like you've been waiting for your picture to be taken for hundreds of years.
Do the clients even notice you?
You look like you've been through some battles.
Yeah, that means you look great.
She looked great in that dress tonight.
No, she's not here now.
I know a couple who kiss every time they see a lion.
Yeah, every time!
No, they're not here tonight. They're a long way from here.
But it seems kind of cute. To do that. To do that anywhere.
No, I don't know if they've seen the Lion King.
I think they would have to watch it alone.
I know a girl who is obsessed by the Lion King though.
She knows all the songs by heart. And sings them in shower.
And she would melt your concrete heart my friend.
Like she melted my mine.
But she's a long way from here too.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

here be us

Come with me my love

down to the basement

Don’t tell your friends

I left a note on the fridge

Under the pig shaped magnet

Telling everybody

‘gone diving… don’t wait up’

I wrote a will and posted it to all the major radio stations

That shouldn’t frighten you

It’s not in case we die

It’s in case our eyes should change colour

before we return to the surface

Watch that step, take my hand

Come here my love

Tell me everything that didn’t happen to you today

while I turn out the lights

Remember to breath and exercise your right to punctuation

You don’t want to get the bends

I know it’s dark

but if we stay here long enough

we won’t need eyes anymore

Tell me one thing you love about me before we get any deeper

Okay, I’ll go first

I love the fact that you write notes to your self on the back of your hand

And then if you travel on public transport you insist on wearing gloves to keep your notes hidden from prying eyes

I see you now peering beneath the fold of your glove


Now take another step

Are we another note? Written beneath the house?

In 1985 The Jesus & Mary Chain thought they had re-invented rock ‘n roll and that music would never be the same again. At least they can laugh about it now

Will we laugh about this?

In 1952 Englishman John Cobb tried to break the world water speed record in his specially constructed boat The Crusader across Loch Ness. He broke the record, but as he decelerated, something broke the surface of the lake and John Cobb was flung into oblivion forever

If we reach through the tiny basement windows tonight, will we stop the traffic?

Take another step my love, deeper

I know we’re not special, the space we fill now has been filled a thousand times before by lovers far better dressed than us

God doesn’t keep our photo is in his wallet

But snowflakes are overrated, even those lousy butterflies live longer than they do

And everybody knows God can’t swim

That’s why the creatures who live down the very bottom belong to us, not him

He never really wanted us to go in the water, that’s why he put sharks in there

Never leave the boat was the 11th commandment

So take another step my love. We’re almost at the bottom

Can you see your hand anymore?

Neither can I

That means we’re almost there

Written to the theme of Monster.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Emerging Writers Festival

This weekend I'll be participating in the Emerging Writers' Festival. I'll be reading at the session titled "By the Light of My Laptop - Bloggers and Zinesters Revealed." 7th May 4-5pm. Victoria Hotel, 215 Little Collins Street.
I'm also DJing at the opening to be held on Friday night. Which also features two fantastic writer/performers Philip Norton and Justin Heazlewood (AKA The Bedroom Philosopher.)
There's a lot of great sessions at the festival well worth checking out, some including my sometime collaborative partners, alicia sometimes and Emilie Zoey Baker. For a full program look here.

some things to do when she is nowhere to be found

  1. Name a month after her, force it into all the calendars in the house. Surely she will appear during her own month?
  2. Sit in the dark, light a candle by your face and wait for her kisses to gather like moths.
  3. Cut off the heads of celebrity bodies in magazines and place her face over them instead. Then marvel at her new found fashion sense.
  4. Carve Mount Rushmore into all the blocks of cheese in the fridge. All the presidents have her face.
  5. Free yourself from this obsession by accepting that you already possess all that you will ever need and this senseless grasping is damaging to the soul… no wait, that’s crazy talk. Go back instead to ringing everybody in the phone book with the same name as hers. Just in case they’ve seen her around.
  6. Find a space, any space. Imagine you’re that shape. Like the space in the centre of a record. Go on, be that shape for a second. Does it feel cool? Does it feel existential? No? Okay, it was worth a shot.
  7. Don’t trust yourself. Videotape yourself sleeping, in case you’re getting up to no good while your consciousness is looking the other way.
  8. Turn up early at the Camberwell market carrying a powerful torch with all the other bargain hunters. Shine the torch into the stallholders faces and ask if they’ve seen a beautiful girl rummaging through their things. If they say no, shine the torch in their face again and ask, “bright enough for ya?”
  9. Get health insurance.

I'm hosting Babble this week. I'll be reading a brand new 'Monster' inspired piece.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Matthue Roth

Poet Matthue Roth from San Francisco performing on stage at Babble. Matthue and I will be reading together at Molly Blooms in Bay St, Port Melbourne on Mon 25th April. For more details see below.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

a reading Monday night

For my Melbourne friends, just to let you know I'll be giving a reading on Monday night (25th April) at Molly Blooms in Port Melbourne. 39 Bay Street. Apparently they have 2-1 meals too, so why not join me for dinner? Also on the bill will be the amazing Matthue Roth, in Melbourne for a short time from the USA. Starts 7:30. Be great to see you there.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

love in space

I'm building a spacecraft in your backyard
mostly from old toilet rolls and tin foil
you sit on the back step
reading People magazine
occasionally glancing up at me
and reading out the names of the stars that
will come with us
"Brittney Spears?" you ask.
"No", I say gently, matter-of-factly. "She's pregnant. You can't fly in space when you're pregnant."
You keep flicking for celestial companions and you look like every birthday present I never got
I turn and look up at the sky
and I wonder if love is simpler
without oxygen
then I ask you
to pass me another roll of tin foil.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Tram Stop No. 36

Good Soldier

I said to her “Just let me come pick you up Belle. I’ll take you home and drop you off. I won’t even come in. Wouldn’t you rather sleep in your own bed? You’re so far from home. It’s after twelve, there’s no more buses Belle.”

“No more buses?” she said.

“No Belle, not now. Or trains, nothing...”

She didn’t reply.

I could hear the television in the background.

“Listen Belle, I don’t mind coming down there, really. I’ve only had a couple of beers.”

She said “I hate my bedroom. I hate sleeping in it. I don’t like going to bed.”

And then she said that she was cold. And the light in the hallway was too bright and she wished there were a dimmer switch. But there wasn’t. Or if there was, she couldn’t find it.

She started coughing, and I heard her friend Kate laughing in the background. I heard Belle move away from the phone for a moment and shout “He wants to come pick me up. He wants to be a good soldier. But I’m no good, no good. You tell him Kate. Here, take it… tell him I’m no good.”

And then I heard her friend Kate in the background shouting “I’m not telling him that. You tell him.” And then her laughing again and the sound of glass striking glass. And Belle shouting “You bitch! You’ve spilt it. Oh it’s everywhere.” Then Kate was screaming or laughing, I couldn’t tell which.

And then Belle was back on the line “I’m sorry good soldier, there’s been a little accident. Accidents, accidents, they never happen when you expect them to. So inconvenient. I have to go. I think, I think there’s something left. But you probably shouldn’t call again. Not tonight. We’re too far away.”

I said “Belle…”

But there was nobody there.

I rang back twice. It just kept ringing.

I put down the phone and picked up my beer. I went back down the hallway towards the party at the other end of the house, a stranger’s house.

I stopped at the door of somebody’s bedroom. I walked in and turned on the light. It belonged to somebody I had never met. It was a tidy room. The bed was well made. The quilt cover was blue. At the end of the bed was a slight depression in the quilt where it looked like somebody had been sitting, just recently.

I stared at the bed for what seemed like a long time before I turned off the light and closed the door.

front gate 2AM

Thursday, March 24, 2005

deep sea heartache - in 3D!

exit stage starboard

you were in my dream last night
just a bit part
you walked in the room
waved and said hi
I was sitting in a chair made out of hundreds of small brass anchors
I raised my hand
which turned into a fish
and waved it back at you
you said
i'm not hanging around this nautical themed dream
the overt symbolism
suggesting that you're out of your depth around me
so painfully obvious
I can't stand it

and you walked out of the room
which was more of a deck really
I lowered my hand
which swam off into my pajamas
I turned to Leonardo DiCaprio who had been in the corner knitting a lifejacket out of seaweed
and said
do you think she saw you?
no, i don't think so he replied
I said, that would have really made her mad.

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Late night street
walking with friends
car goes by
somebody sticks their head out the window and yells
that's nice
at least somebody does
five minutes later
another car goes by in the opposite direction
and another head appears out the window and shouts
it's good to get a different perspective on things
and at least we were loved
for a little while

Thursday, March 17, 2005

under Melbourne

I have a Reading this week

For those in Melbourne this Friday evening I will be giving a reading in support of the book launch for fine local poet Justin Ashworth.
Details as follows:

Launch for Fleeting Poetry
poems by Justin Ashworth
with music performed by of, or pertaining to...
Friday the 18th of March @
The Artery
87-89 Moor St, Fitzroy (near Labour in Vain.)
special guests
Craft (voice, harp, percussion)
Sean M Whelan, Steve Smart, Meg Dunn (spoken word)
& DJ Hired Hand
free entry, book/cd packages availible for $15.
starts at 7:30.

yep, that's free entry. so come on down! what have you got to lose? be nice to see you there.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

the sky below our feet (or how to find a lost car)

You can’t remember where you parked the car.

We fashion a replica out of pizza dough

paint it with the appropriate food colouring

make tyres from olives (more salt equals better grip)

car doors from capsicum.

tiny versions of ourselves from goats cheese.

I cup my hands to form an oven

using warm thoughts for fuel

sprung from the knowledge this will be the tastiest car ever!

A bell goes off behind your ear to tell us

our pizza car is ready.

I unfold my hands.

We smile.

Look how proud we are!

We carry our pizza car aloft down Brunswick St.

“Have you seen this car?” we ask.

“It looks just like this,” you say. “Except it’s bigger and less tasty.”

They shake their heads in a negative fashion and turn ravenous eyes until we fear for our pizza car.

We turn to flee, as we do stars start falling from your sleeves.

Your jacket is filling up with stars.

They tickle.

You giggle and say “this usually only happens when I dream.”

Stars are dripping from your sleeves like water.

They gather in a pool at our feet. They cover the street until suddenly

the ground has become the sky.

We’re well dressed satellites

turning the heads of astronauts.

From up here we can see millions of cars.

But which one is yours?

Spinning around the earth is harder than it looks.

We stop to rest in one of one hundred rotundas specially constructed for Angels on earth patrol.

We gaze hungrily at our pizza car in the palm of your hand.

But we’re on a mission!

“Maybe you should retrace your steps?” I say.

And there are your steps falling from your feet, floating beneath us all the way back to earth.

We follow your steps, until there are more steps than stars and there’s your car, exactly where you left it.

On the drive home the pizza tastes… delicious.

for Evelyn

where satisfaction lingers

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

this is my city

Beautiful isn't it? Blue moonlit Melbourne. This photo was taken from the banks of the Yarra River. I like walking along there sometimes and I try to find the spaces where satisfication lingers. The holes we find that are neither full or empty. Neither sad nor happy. The moments that remind. Those lines across your palms, those beacons of your eyes, those compass points of your arms and legs, the angles of your face. You are the map and sometimes the city holds you and says where am I?.

Friday, February 18, 2005

possible settings for the moment of our first kiss #3

the world's biggest blank page
a love letter waiting to be written
feet for ink
we conjure warm thoughts
by inventing a new word for fire every day
you only use the furs from polar bears that died of natural causes
I discover the Ice Palace
your plumes of breath grow larger as we enter
I tell Superman
he'll have to go.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Day of Love

fall guy

I just fall.

Whenever, wherever you appear. I just fall.

You told me, that every now and again it’s best to stop and take a moment to admit to all the things that we don’t know. Stand on a corner, under a street light, let the night come and wait for your ignorance to fall out of your pockets like spare change. But I never had that much time (or money). So let’s start with what I do know and that is…whenever I see you, I just fall. Literally.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1 grazed knee.

1 bruised elbow.

1 smashed digital watch (old skool backlit LCD).

1 cauliflower ear.

1 small but very painful bump on the crown of the head.

1 chipped tooth.

1 torn calf muscle.

1 broken nose.

2 black eyes.

As if I’d gone to pray to the god of minor injuries and said ‘just give me a little bit of everything.’

The doctor described it as a massive loss of equilibrium produced for reasons his simple sciences could not explain.

Each prescription for another dose of painkillers was another merit badge of adoration. I found myself reading them before going to bed at night like love letters.

By the fourth visit to the clinic I had the doctor leaving the consultation room in tears. I tried to cut a deal with him on a psychosomatic diagnosis but he could tell I was really just trying to make him feel better. Which was true. I couldn’t stand to see him like that. There were fouler forces at play here and he knew it.

It was all in my head, but I didn’t put it there.

Here’s how it happens. You enter the field of vision and it’s game on.

Think of the body as a humble fishing trawler suddenly hit by a wave of biblical proportions. The legs forget what bones are for and that’s when all the sailors in my head simultaneously rush to the starboard side.

Then the colours come. I’m a television set jammed between the stations. But beneath the snow… the colours.

As if a string of Christmas lights has been fed through my skull from one ear to the other, and there’s you grabbing on one end and tugging your Electric Benwai Balls until my eyes are nothing but two peeled boiled eggs.

It’s usually about then the power goes out.

Later at the clinic, the desperate doctor asks me again while his eager interns crowd the door. “Who is she?”

At the Radiohead concert I dialed your number and held my phone up in the air to try and let you know how I felt without making eye contact.

There are fouler forces than nature in this world.

After the concert I checked my messages and found that you’d left a recording of the Spice Girls on my phone.

I still don’t know what that means.

I attempted to break the spell by going to my nearest shopping centre and running really, really fast the wrong way up the down escalator. A crude but hopeful method of reversing time. At the top I didn’t feel any different so I tried running backward down the up escalator. That’s when the security guards told me I had to leave. As if I didn’t already know that.

At night I wear a seatbelt in bed. When sleep comes, I’m assassinating Presidents for you. I’m fully armed and functional. The mohawk doesn’t suit but the khaki matches your eyes. We’re sweeping into nightclubs like computer viruses, rearranging the room so the light highlights all your best angles and then replicating ourselves to cover the dancefloor. A million lovestruck Hugo Weavings cutting the rug at supersonic speed.

At night I sleep beneath a pile of burning Autumn leaves and all this is possible.

By day it’s a different story. I fit my clothes like a bag of unwashed potatoes. I wear knee pads, a bicycle helmet and night vision binoculars as a form of contraception. My doctor is stalking me and my walls are papered with lipstick smudged x-rays and diagrams ripped from a seventies stunt man’s hand guide on how best to take a fall.

Does this seem weird to you?

Does my heart look fat in this?

Now I’m standing on a street corner and I’m searching deep in my pockets to find the one thing I know the least and the best I can come up with is: if two bodies fall in a forest and their lips briefly touch on the way down, does this count as a kiss?

This piece was specially comissioned by the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. It appeared in the catalogue for a group exhibition of several artists titled Swoon. The only brief was the piece had to be written to the theme of Swoon.

Saturday, February 12, 2005


If you're up for it,
I see us being shot out of a cannon together.
Not the same cannon
but two side by side.
After the initial flurry and shock of being airborne,
we could hold hands
in flight
and make bets on the distance we'd travel,
before we run out of momentum.
Giggling, tumbling, grazing skin, coming to a halt,
catching breath
before saying
"Again, again!"
If you're up for it.

party scene, morning after, sun coming up

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

All Her Friends Are Gods and All Her Gods Are Trying to Give Up Smoking

In the backyard she sits under the washing line staring through her underwear at the muted bush fire sun.

The sun in turn stares at her but curses the flammable nature of the Australian bush for obscuring the view.

“The smoke is getting worse.” You tell her. “Shouldn’t you bring your clothes in?”

“No,” she replies. “It’s better this way. If I run into a bush fire in a dark alley and it smells my clothes, then it’ll think we’ve already met. Bush fires prefer virgins, don’t you know?”

In her lap she holds writing paper and a pen.

“Are you writing a letter?” you ask her.

“No” she says, “While I was waiting for my washing to dry, I decided to do today’s crossword, then I got bored so instead I decided to create my ideal god. These are my top five god concepts. Would you like to hear them?”

You look up at the sky getting darker and redder and you turn to her and say “yes.”

“Okay, here it is,” she says.

1. Must not be flammable.

2. Be available when I’m coming down.

3. Not be warlike, but not be afraid to belt anybody who needs to pull his or her head in.

4. Be available for dinner parties.

5. Must be a good dresser.

“A good dresser is an ideal god concept to you?” you ask

“Of course. How can I respect a god in tracksuit pants?”

“What will you do if the fire jumps the line?” you ask.

“Nothing,” she says while standing up. “All my rooms are temples and I’ve just realised… all my friends are gods. I have nothing to worry about.”

She walks back into the house. You reach down to pick up today’s crossword puzzle hoping to finish it but discover instead that she’s filled every empty square with a tiny flaming love heart.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

this heat

This heat turns my will into steam,
empty, fleeting, then gone
I want to
want to
want to
want something
While unpacking
found my old ring holder,
elegant, silver.
Bought it at a $2 store on Smith St.
I have only ever owned one ring
and I don't wear that one anymore
But this ring holder is more of a statement maker
than a mere servant to anybody.
It says
it may be hot as hell
& the phone aint ringing
& your watermelon went bad
& the bar is too far to walk to in cowboy boots
& you cant afford a bike until you sell your stupid car
but I'm here to hold rings
it says
& even when I'm not doing that
I'm still foxier than drew barrymore's pubic hair
and that aint bad.

Monday, January 24, 2005

for a moment, a light there

Paper Skin

She writes poems about the dangers of addiction on the side of cigarettes.

She doesn’t use many words and the words she uses are little because there’s not a lot of room on the side of a cigarette.

Words like

I need you

I want you

I love you

I hate you

And once she’s written a poem on the paper skin of a cigarette,

she sits down and

she lights up

and she smokes it.

She inhales her poems and she feels the rush of the language of addiction seeping through her body.

Tiny words like








tumbling through her blood stream like drunken cows.

People tell her

- Why don’t you write on paper? You could say so much more.

She says

- Because then I might want to use bigger words and I can’t swallow anything bigger than a four letter word.

Yesterday she bought a new pair of boots so black and so shiny she could see her future in them.

So she wrote a poem about the future on the paper skin of a cigarette and she sat down and she smoked it and she stared into the black and shiny surface of her boots.

The future shone back at her

so before she even finished her cigarette,

before the tiny four letter words like






had a chance to reach her bloodstream

she already knew she’d write a whole packet of poems

25 poetry covered paper skins

and she already knew she’d make them a paper coffin

and symbolically set the whole thing alight

and she already knew she’d swear never to smoke again

and she’d watch her charred and blackened words disappear into the atmosphere, floating towards a sky that had been above her all along.

And she knew all this because her shiny black boots of the future told her.

The boots don’t know about the extra packet she keeps hidden in a hollowed out dictionary.

But that’s okay

she writes on her next cigarette.

Because I’m




Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Bin Night

Silent sentries
punctuate your footsteps
walking home
from her
a bad night
it took one train and two long tram rides to get home from a leafy green suburb where the security guard stood on the platform staring at you
as if you may steal one of the trains
or something worse
on the train you push your phone further and further into the deepest part of your bag
public transport is like a hearing aid for the lonely
everything becomes louder and clearer
it's not her fault
she told you
she didn't choose over you
he didn't give her any choice
and you were never in the running in the first place
you fucking idiot
how could you be so dumb?
you kick one of the bins
it just grunts at you
even the bins know
don't say anything
never say anything
just let them fill you up
they'll push you out when you're done
and in the morning you'll be empty
mouth open
like a baby bird
waiting to be filled up again
when you can wake up in the morning
empty and know it
this won't happen
you stand on the nature strip
staring at the long line of bins
knowing that on some quiet street
she's probably doing exactly the same thing
you told her you're an optimist
this doesn't mean you wait for bad things to turn good
it means they were never that bad in the first place
this much is true
you check to make sure the recycling is sorted correctly
somewhere she steps away from the curb
she walks into the house
and she turns off the outside light.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Introducing Morris Fox Whelan

My brand new nephew.
Step off fools because this one's a little outlaw.
Look out suckers, here comes my little man Mofo.
Because every now and then,
there comes into this world
... a hero.
One day this innocent looking boy will lead us into battle
and save all of mankind from the evil robot army.
Just as soon as he can wipe his own arse.
We love you Mo!