How the New Novel is Going

So much of it is about realising what you’re writing. What’s going on? In our house we sing this out all the time as a greeting, a punctuation, an existential complaint!

“What’s going oh-on?” I would love to make the words do all they can right now as they find their way into the world and some of that goes on. It’s in the rewrite where their final identities will emerge, their personality and even, now I am growing aware, their embraced imperfection. Once, I hunted down my solecism and eradicated it with glyphosate.

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Whole Body Lessons

Just as we were packing the kayaks I heard the cute squidgy sound and looked up to see vibrant green barreling overhead in a volley up to the steps at the end of our street. Where there is a bower in the bushes, blue plastic from fizzy CO2 and cooking propane in a tempting trail leading to what to me looks like a wicker bird from a craft nation flag. Only not creepy. Cool and a bit sexy. Pegs. Bottle tops. Mmm.

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the new occupiers at our joint got this note

• respect the geckos
• watch the blackbirds but just grumble
• doves nest in the treefern
• rats cross the fence (not possums)
• at dusk our bats do not stop
• but almonds and apples and apricots and figs draw parrots on a single day
• keep mulch and water on the magnolias
• gall wasp want drowning twice a year
• mice foiling when weather drives them in
• when the days are baking three days still
• you may then vent night air
• (don’t cook indoors)
• (not just because the grill knob’s dodgy)

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When the sleep-bellied River rolls over clear
and wombats can stay from the Shoulders
till the flathead Rise Up in Joyous Choral my dear
and the miner birds fall short of Words,

Darling cleave to me and I shall cleave to you
until we cleave to the dust Both Together
cleave my dear Heart to me and you Know I’ll cleave to you
till love and lust cleave to dust and Forever—

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Thought I saw Les Murray in my rear vision mirror
walking with a black dog where the footpath isn’t clear.
Had like a simile in one hand but no lead gripped in the other:
puppy was or wasn’t his, it would appear.

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percentage game

now I am a snake
come October alarm clocks
cry – pesky mynahs

mornings by the creek
ceviche growling grass frog –
post-noon bake

now I am a snake
pretty basic black or brown
stick – lying doggo

grassy-banded spine
belly occasionally
crimson of attack


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Grammar of Parts: II

They cannot hold those facing eternity
And, taking ages, hold. They run across
A landscape unhurried after urgency
Imagined. Whorls bake into pastry cases
Evidence crunched and analysed on a tongue
Where good to go and not welcome play
Identically and sometimes both at once.
Show me your hand and what I see is your palm
But the tips are the pupils of that hand
Or, if unpicking a tangle of hooks
And fish slime, just one. They work so hard
You should give them a break and tickle them too
Lick some ice cream off them, buy some gloves
For goodness’ sake, bite your nails if you must,
Please don’t swallow. Unless you’re a god, that is
Whose touch gives light and even a hangnail is
Infinite. Tap time my dear, know that place.
Fingers may be digital but your tips
Analogue. They are not your employees.

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Once all that’s left is my certificate
Not even rubble
A guy, you can sew him up from all my posts
Will be good enough to run for office –
Good enough? Superior! Going to win!
So why not have at it before I die?
I am a post-thought guy. High up
Everything is media anyway.

Once did nature, yeah:
That yellow liar with its blossom, not yellow really, see?
A conspiracy of colour,

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Pituitary Blues

for Karl

It’s a sunny day in Melbourne
The rain is pouring down
I chased the nurse around my bed
I did it sitting down
I think I know just what to do
But I’ll put it off till spring
Easier to wrestle
When them alligators sing
For the minute think I’ll just relax and listen to the band
The pituitary blues has got me by the gland

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From the Siren

This here is the story of Irene the sireen
We met in a restaurant they call Disco Beans
She ordered brown rice and I ordered spleen
I was a dumb poet and she was a queen
I crashed on her rocks and now I must get clean

Irene sireen
Irene sireen
Irene sireen
In what ocean your island?

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Shore On April 26 2016, Omid Masoumali, a 23 year-old Iranian man, set himself on fire on the island of Nauru.

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I have been thinking about the little girl who died by Darebin Creek. So have others. There is a poster advertising a newspaper that mentions her on my route to work. I hate this. There have been a couple of articles in The Age about why someone would kill their 15 month old daughter. One is a short google on some instances over the past few years and a few stats. The other is someone, like me, who knows the area. But there have been a few murders in the suburb. There are kids riding trail bikes along the muddy track beside “my” creek to the point where the police had an accident with a cyclist while looking out for them on a quad bike. More than once I’ve seen four wheel drive vehicles trundling along where there is no road, almost no path in places. Where when the water rises, eels cross. It’s a magical place. It has been damaged.

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Campaign in Prose and Govern Poetry

Lorne Sky
This evening is painted by a terrible boor
And hanging in a café for two hundred bucks
It is filled with heckling birds and that gum smell –
It is more than I can reproduce with my crayons.

Start to that ending cadence it’s wanting
Perfect roar of the incoming surf to
Extinction of the sun with prejudice –
It is more painful not to write than to blot.

Go, billions of stars before and after urge
Be, none of your pages will warm bones
Act in the best interest by as much or as little
As the painter of the evening commands.

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Purpose of Moths

Purpose of Moths

Algorithmic flap into burning
Rush backward to egg
Beard on a heron
Whistle on a pigeon
Run by with your tongue hanging
But without your head.
Compulsion free for a change.
Lift your face to grey louring
And live in the pale
Pushing air out is all
Past your useful age
From purpose into meaning.
Watch ripe brittle without comment
Prepare being without management
Hope for platypus
Do with far away swallow
Stay by me
For two swings
And a chase.
I sob without recognition these days
Groan after nothing much – not even bones
So I accompany morning’s night with arse trumpet
Although I can very well help it.
Noon’s brief passage is alright
Evening’s better. Less frantic saturation
To formula. To getting somewhere.

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Makeshift Hearts

Makeshift Heart IX: upon the decay and death of Thatcher


My beloved gave me a nutcase bell with a glowing green brain on it
The damn thing broke within a couple of days but I cannot remove it
And so as I go pedalling for my life I cannot help it my brain tinkles:
Synapses alight with chemical connection in creative destruction
Neural Darwin makes up my mind. By fits and by starts I love everybody
And such is my heaven, my humanist hell. I fly down the road, ringing.

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