davey dreamnation

seething since 2001

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Category: Poems (page 1 of 5)

As of October 2011, I’d posted over three hundred poems on this site, including many sonnets and search poems, as well as numerous poems that didn’t make it into chapbooks such as Abendland and Morgenland. I then ceased posting poems here, choosing instead to distribute them via my poem of the week newsletter. Then I stopped doing that too. Every now and then I post a poem here … but not as often as I’d like.

One Hundred and Five Candles

for Mary Fitzgerald Unthank nee Hurley
8 November 1905 - 16 September 2010

They say the first one is invis­i­ble,
 you only feel its heat. It’s shin­ing
 some­where out in space — or is it
 the womb — where love is a can­dle
 in the dark, cre­ated by a spark of
 some­thing felt though never seen.
 The next one, then, is num­ber two
 but we’ll call it one so that you can
 light it again, a red can­dle per­haps
 or a candy-twist pink. By this time

 you grasp & grab at con­scious­ness,
 at these appari­tions that re-appear,
 reg­u­larly, and each time in greater
 num­bers: three, four, five candles. 
 The sym­me­try of six demands your
 grudg­ing respect, which is fur­ther
 whet by num­ber seven, or heaven.
 Nine revolv­ing bod­ies in a child’s
 plan­e­tar­ium, then the ten’s maudlin
 return to its begin­ning: a one & a
 zero, together, on the same cake.
 Com­pared to this, eleven’s a breeze.
 By now, you’ve grasped the basic
 terms of the deal: some­one lights
 the can­dles, then you just sit back,
 pre­tend­ing to count stars. Twelve
 can­dles brings you a dozen roses
 which you’re too young to blow out.
 From thir­teen onwards it’s all a blur.
 The teenage can­dles, a sound­track
 fea­tur­ing a style of music no one
 over the age of eigh­teen even hears.
 Nineteen’s similar to the invis­i­ble
 one we touched on at the start, only
 warmer, and full of beer. Twenty
 brings us back to ten, which is to say
 the decade, ready-made. By this stage
 you view the whole can­dle thing with
 unaf­fected dis­dain, although you still
 pro­tect your own like a bird its brood
 every time what you know will come
 comes around. To move on to candles 
 in their thir­ties is to doc­u­ment a series
 of increas­ingly intel­li­gent — no, bril­liant
 cru­sades against the light­ing of those
 can­dles which are yet to come. When
 you think of light­ing forty can­dles, by
 your­self, in a dark room alone, a weird
 kind of uneasi­ness comes over you.
 Thence­forth, every year for at least a
 decade, you light those can­dles with
 the minia­ture flame thrower some­one
 once gave you as a present. For the
 bar­be­cue, you remem­ber. The can­dles,
 dipped in kerosene, sing in delight as
 you make your big light-sabre sweep.
 From sixty onwards you expe­ri­ence
 what it’s like to be caught inside some
 cheer­ful wax­work mon­tage, sixty two
 and three, espe­cially, arous­ing your
 long-forgotten enthu­si­asm for years
 spent set­ting stuff on fire. Seventies?
 Don’t speak of the sev­en­ties can­dles, you
 don’t want to hear. The late sev­en­ties,
 though — there’s a film, right there, in
 sev­enty eight or sev­enty nine candles. 
 The golden glow of eighty can­dles, set
 on fire, burn­ing right through the night.
 The triple zero birth­day cake, a dou­ble
 one next to another big zero. You alone
 get it: the invis­i­ble can­dle, stage left,
 wear­ing a hat that’s com­pletely green. 
 The six­ties mon­tage reap­pears right at
 the end of the eighty-ninth, spoil­ing an
 oth­er­wise flaw­less run of candle-lighting
 cer­e­monies that some­one should have
 filmed, had the means to do so existed
 at the time. Ninety and ninety one, to
 their credit, pro­ceed with­out a hitch. 
 Then you hit ninety two & you notice
 that some­one else lights the ghastly
 things now, and you don’t even mind,
 par­tic­u­larly. You review the wis­dom of
 this while sit­ting com­fort­ably on ninety
 seven, & the ninety eighth doesn’t hurt
 a bit. You occupy your ninety ninth like
 a remote eagle its eyrie, watching over 
 the abstract world two miles below you.
 When you hit the big igni­tion switch that 
 will set in motion a slow-combustion of
 one hundred mile-high candles you’re
 already in heaven. The immen­sity of that 
 agri­cul­tural slog over mid-on seems so
 easy that you’re light­ing the next one as 
 we speak, dis­patching the following three 
 with ease, spank­ing a radi­ant thrill of love
 into each of those one hun­dred & four
 can­dles, etch­ing their flames into space
 & then set­tling again on your still-warm
 eyrie, to sur­vey an earth par­secs below.
 The can­dles, clearly, will not be denied
 their even­tual vic­tory for much longer.
 You, for your part, feel no fear. Softly,
 all in one moment, you realise some­one
 has blown the hun­dred & fifth one out.

16 September 2010

(revised 11 February 2011








Read more

Women Live at Paradiso

eyes radar green / 

      the drummer kicks 

it in & (s)he spills her 

beer \

meanwhile        onstage               & as i hit record 

        in paradiso birds 


like a light show 

       unsafe            for epileptics               

                                                 i'd describe it as 

         black & white music 

grainy        d-tuned 

                                        & free as a whip! 


for the deaf           i'd describe it as


i have no                  


                                  words - 




won't you sing it for meh 
	the way you sang for the prince of wales 
the duke of york the albion family 
	& every other pub in melbourne 

tell meh when was that first drink 
	& when was your last one francis 
was it on the day you died &
	when did you die anyway did you

francis what happened did you drown 
	or were you pushed from this life
unwilling uncaring or uncertain
	what did the moon look like francis

are you buried in a unmarked grave 
	or do you lie still in the dark which
one is it francis will you sing it for meh 

	won't you sing it for meh francis - 



(Anagram) Nation

Daydream Native No
Daydream Native On
Daydream Naive Ton

Daydream Naive Not
Daydream Novena It
Daydream Novena Ti

Daydream Novae Nit
Daydream Novae Tin
Daydream Neat Vino

Daydream Ante Vino
Daydream Nave Into
Daydream Vane Into

Daydream Ovate Inn
Daydream Anion Vet
Daydream Anti Oven

Daydream Vain Note
Daydream Vain Tone
Daydream Vita Neon

Daydream Vita None
Daydream Via Tonne
Daydream Nova Nite

Stolen Landscape With Horse

in the landscape was a horse & it was stolen
   yes said the crow it’s true for i was there

i saw no crows & it was in broad daylight
   then it was a silent film i was watching

unless of course a nightmare is a dream too
   we saw blood & the smoke of several guns

the opposition crew also carried weapons
   of course there were no official casualties

all of which is totally impossible but nice
   i do think they have a point don’t you?

as she trotted along that dusty track in fog
   so was it fog or dust it really can’t be both

as the boat came up the river to collect us
   I thought it looked more like a small creek

yes so did i or maybe a smallish rivulet …
   we have no idea what you’re talking about

well it’s obvious that we’re talking about –
   it’s not really so straightforward as that …

but it’s true that you stole something there
   i saw the crow but it was already dead

i could hear a banjo playing somewhere
   – not that i know anything about music

American Creek: E II

Leaves that flicker at the years
returning the reserve to jungle;
the owls too return, & headlights
prowl the perimeters of suburban
lawns. Letting out a yearn I hit
the back fence with my hind legs,
shovelling out an escape hatch to
nowhere. Nothing but the tree dark

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Adam Fieled: When You Bit

I read this book while travelling first class on a train from Stockholm to Gavle in Sweden last month but that’s another story. At seventy-odd pages, When You Bit (OTOLITHS, 2008) is a good hour’s read, if you pace yourself properly.

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Cordite 28.1 MULLOWAY

It tickles me pink to announce that MULLOWAY, Cordite’s tribute to the poetry of Robert Adamson, is now online!

Join our guest editor Greg McLaren as he navigates the river of Adamson’s poetry, with new work by John Tranter, Kate Fagan, joanne burns, Stuart Cooke, Adam Aitken, Adrian Wiggins, James Stuart and the mysterious Albert Adamson, Chris de Adamson and Golda Finch.

Get thee to the index page today!

Cordite 28.1: Mulloway online October 2008


The summer of 1981 comes like a scene change and I’m lying on my back in the middle of a montage, flat out on the concrete listening to that tape. The hot wind coming off the river is laden with moisture that beads on my upper lip, and crawls from my armpits all the way over my shoulders to my neck.

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Fantasy I

oh yea! let us go then you & me
to a tavern & drink meade there
mumble through a manuscript of 
runes & pull on heavy chain mail

sharpen our swords (let the orcs
come now for we are ready here
in our makeshift campsite cloaks
compulsory tales of yore yea of

bravery (other words that sound 
like meade did ye drink the dregs
of it already (fool! meet me on a
barren hilltop for my daggers will 

want a word with you (an elvish 
word that may well be meade oh
yea huddle closer to the pathetic
little fire ye little people tried to

make from peat & strange rubber
(how that got here is anyone's 
guess my silhouette stalking the
compulsory full moon & mist yea

the usual atmospherics (beards 
see previous comment or shave 
with sword we'll tear chunks of 
mutton &/or venison we'll leave 

grease marks on platters & make
strangely powerful masticating
sounds with our rotting teeth oh
ye pixie lights of fate shine down

upon us here in a vengeful glade!
& our boot buckles jingling as we 
stamp our feet eh frostbite takes
another of our mounts we'll walk

on blistered soles & recite bawdy
hymns to battle & to our beards
except yours oh little ones whose
bum fluff insults the gods yea now

prepare to face your final armour
(geddon! yo lords of the ringtone!
compulsory burning torches & the
faint nauseous strains of mandolin

music (we shall meet de burgh &
live to tell others of his brilliance!
now form a circle let's defend our
little patch of slime & what is left 

of the meade & last night's feast 
but as for these pages of poetry 
well let's just skip them shall we?
nothing more boring than poorly 

written verse (except bad meade
drunken wizards treading on little 
people in the dark & elves whose
airs of superiority make me wretch

When Billy Corgan Had Hair

you were only ten years old when billy corgan had hair. & you
know, i can barely remember that time myself – it’s as if i was
never actually there oh but i was at selina’s in coogee where
billy corgan had lots of hair & he screamed & yodelled & shook
his mane of greasy sweaty hair (he had hair. & so did almost
everyone else who was there so what? so what if he had hair
or had no hair? at least i can say i was there at the time unlike
the many people who weren’t there when billy corgan had hair
the ones who couldn’t get tickets or hadn’t been born or were
too ashamed to go out because they had no hair & billy’s hair
made them wish they still had some (i kind of liked it you know
billy corgan’s hair it was almost demonic yes i guess that was
the whole point that nasal whine & frenetic guitar style of his
coupled with the long locks of hair well who wouldn’t want to
look like that on stage who wouldn’t shake those locks of hair
in the face of their fellow band mates mockingly showing the
crowd his hair as if to say I’m billy corgan & i’ve got hair! look
at billy corgan’s hair! (he had hair okay so you probably don’t
remember it at all & in fact maybe he never actually had hair
in the first place maybe the wig that britney put on had first
been worn by billy corgan in the nineteen-nineties just so he
could demonstrate the falsity of the rumours about how he
had no hair (couldn’t sing & was also crap at playing guitar –
personally i prefer to believe that his hair was once real (in
the same way that baby boomers like to believe that things
were better when they were younger (i don’t see that as a
trait that’s exclusive to them i mean look at billy corgan with
no hair today the exact inversion of his former self (the one
who had hair when billy corgan had hair we were all so much
younger than we have since become balder older & yes even
worse at playing guitar writing killer pop songs & maintaining
the rage i like the fact that he went from long locks directly
to chrome dome without pausing to comb over or pretend
that he wasn’t losing it i like the element there of flipping the
bird at his old age (see however my earlier comments casting
doubt on the authenticity of billy’s original hair perhaps we’ll
never know the full truth of the origins of billy corgan’s hair
but at least i can say i was there when it looked like he had
some & that’s not to denigrate anyone who wasn’t there (he
had hair this much is clear what i don’t understand is where
that hair went you know the way it disappeared so suddenly
quietly without a whimper & was it an arcane ceremony that
day when billy looked in the mirror & saw his receding starlife
& just went (damn! & grabbed the nearest razor blade & just
shaved it straight off (did he chuck those clumps of hair in a
bin or is there a wig somewhere made from billy corgan’s hair?
i’d like to find that wig one day & buy it just for you just so
you could say that (okay maybe you weren’t there when billy
had hair but so what (now you’re wearing it & we’re still here

The Fall Reunion

a lot of empty places at these tables here-ah
our drummer jumped off the brighton pier (ha
count me in with the beats mark e smith (ta
dah! screw my lightbulb honey brat sonically
sophisticated buy a round of drinks-ah sorry
your services no longer etc … squizzle! boss
says “random quote generator” live at which
trials? ah (gots me gigs in sheffield-ah (brits
in penzance costumes ringleader-ah (as tour
bus tourist reunions go this one’s the bits-ah
for services to etc (timelines like bronze age
villages filled with squizzle (pints are … free
at synthesiser auditions forthcoming US lucre
so i say i mean why are people grudgeful? ah …

Honey Power

over there where you’re laying down
down amongst the styrofoam cups &
album cover broken glass bra straps
honey power coming all over me me
& you with your oh fantastic english
got me high & left me there stranger
with a honey tongue warm between
the vinyl EPs wet beneath the stylus
rooms in which to shudder awake on
busy streets we mistook for england
first time & forever in a dark carpark
then i exited from the passenger side
smoking our enemies (drunk on power
honey pixel closer now hold my flower


he bites into the apple eats the bruises
soft & brown like sugary endings (rayon
bites the bruises cuts them clean out &
spits the skin onto the crusty pavement
sucks the bruises (swallows them whole
into the apple of his insides & scratches
& bruises yes just there soft like blisters
just beneath the green skin (leaves like
green canadian flags covered in bruises
fresh & rotten undermined & cleaned he
ate the bruises popped nectary blisters
felt the juice of bruises coming down his
chin (drop everything pavement colours
bruises left to rot (the mapled manholes

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