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


testing ah testing one two three four five six –
is this thing on? can you hear me up the back
there? no? okay how about now? that’s good
that’s better (okay damn the PA what i came
here to say is quite simple really (just listen to
me now you’ve heard what everybody else has
to say it’s a matter of common decency isn’t it
i’d appreciate a bit of silence (are you sure it’s
switched on? what? i see (it sounds like no one
here can hear me i say you up the back there
you there walking out the door would you all
just shut up for a moment what i’ve got to say
is extremely important i’ll only take a minute of
your time after which you’re free to say what
you like this is a free country after all & while
i disagree with what you say i’ll defend forever
your right to say it (right after i’ve said my piece
frankly i don’t think it’s very fair to characterise
me that way (on this occasion & on this day we
come together to remember how things were &
how i’d like them to remain (if you’d kindly put
that down sir i don’t think there’s any need for
that wouldn’t you agree? sorry i can’t hear you
i don’t think this thing’s even switched on is it?
would you speak up please? could we have a
bit of quiet? is this thing on? can you hear me?

The Day Britney Died

was standing in the bathroom shaving my head
when the news came through about how britney
had died & i just choked up you know i had an
emotional malfunction kept scratching my face
like some academic stunned by the shrill levity
that followed & all the drive-time scrambling for
moronic puns as far as i could tell no one really
cared about britney at all it was as if she hadn’t
actually died but only gone crazy maybe shaved
her head for cancer research i looked at the tufts
of my hair on the tiles & started crying i didn’t
know why but somehow they reminded me of
french collaborators during the war the women
paraded in village squares & their shaved heads
the self-righteous stares & the grim satisfaction
as if you could eradicate someone’s shame with
a pair of clippers & therefore exonerate society
or just yourself i swept up my dwindling clumps
& thought it’s no use selling this on ebay is it?
when it just grows back (unlike a severed head
i switched the radio off & britney was still dead

Afternoon Clouds Sprinkles

Reading your electrical poems in a Northcote
bar in winter made me long for Sydney where
July was windy and wet but not cold. I sat in a
laudromat once, read Faulkner to stay warm –

& by September the frangipani was exploding
along the Chippendale lanes. A sock got cold.
I tramped through Central Station & hoped in
desperation that if I closed my eyes I might

pretend to be living somewhere else but as I
had never lived outside of New South Wales
all I could think of was Sydney in the 1920s,
the futurism of Bondi travel posters (and I’d

already been there, once. I wish I could turn
to poetry the dismal warehouse districts of
Fouveaux Street & surrounds, the whipped
palm trees, the blackboard menus inside the

Atlantic Cafe but I can’t – they removed the
soul of Strawberry Hills just to make houses
from its yellow clay years ago & the pub that
shares its name has now stopped playing jazz.

Oh yes, it blows just like the wind. The paper
today carried another article about Australian
poetry, written for everyone over sixty. I am
reminded of seasons, the way they insinuate

themselves inside culture & how we insulate
ourselves from change (unless the climate is
at stake, in which case Sydney blows its bum
notes all along ‘Broadway’. So I light another

Craven A, crack a silver bullet, chomp down
on those sausages Bert Newton ate in Fatty
, dreaming of the days when trams lit up
Sydney skies with meteor showers of sparks.

Day One Rabbit

“Every time a rabbit comes out of its burrow,
it is facing Vietnam the whole of its life …”
Allen Carr (R.I.P.)
they call me pirate dave just to piss me off
i am the vietnam rabbit coming out of a hole
out of a burrow blown to bits i am a rabbit
coming out of my hole every day for the rest
of my life it’s vietnam i’m on pirate radio
for twenty one days bury me face down so you
can all kiss my arse i am a white rabbit on
pirate radio this is my story don’t call me
dave i’m fragging myself i’m fire in a hole
i’m a rabbit on fire in a hole it’s vietnam
on the radio pirates coaxing rabbits out of
holes a memory of a bitumen street at home
i was just dave no one bothered to check if
that was okay by me well fuck you all i am
a rabbit you can call me pirate dave i was
watching tv when vietnam happened we were
eating tv dinners in front of vietnam on a
tv my father made himself from a kit it was
his birthday when they rolled the dice & he
was gone in a puff of smoke someone calls it
magic i called it vietnam i got kicked out
of the band because they had too many daves
in the lineup already so i volunteered for
chopper duty started smoking watching puffs
of smoke from the relative luxury of some
chinook in the sky i dreamed of rabbits in
fluffy white cloud uniforms coming out of
holes in the sky above vietnam we were all
smiles for the tv i saw my mother’s face in
that camera’s lens & blessed america dove
into that hole full of pirates all named
dave on tv daves pulled faces from barrells
full of birthdays dad’s was one of them off
he went a puff of smoke cigarette dangling
from his jazzy lip the tv stopped working
the day he left i bought a magician’s cape
& started fooling around with mirrors magic
dave they called me fuck them all i said
what’s your name pal he said richard nixon
i said how about if i called you dickhead
he said fine by me & disappeared in a puff
of smoke that didn’t come from a cigarette
it came from vietnam where we smoke rabbits
out of holes not just the white ones but the
red and blue ones too i was colour blind as
noah i had a rabbit his name was charlie he
never called me dave just sat there smoking
cigarettes day in day out listening to duke
ellington driving me crazy with that stuff
he was smoking charlie i said you ever meet
richard nixon say what day’s your birthday
charlie never answered back just put those
headphones on & ignored me my penitentiary
was the graveyard shift insufficient wattage
to spook charlie who never did dig the radio
anyway stuck in his hole smoking cigarettes
charlie started turning blue right in front
of me started coughing up red gunk from his
lungs started turning white as vietnam on a
high school map that was the hole they said
dave you gotta get into that hole you gotta
save that rabbit & i said hey don’t call me
dave i’m vietnam i’m pirate radio & i am no
fucking maggot i’m twenty one days of rumour
control twenty one nights of vietnam smokes
& rabbits coming out of my arse i had a hard
on for radio jane fonda she’s a foxy rabbit
in a puff of smoke it all disappeared wiped
those tapes couldn’t bear to hear the loops
winding over & over vietnam awol dave i am
a pirate rabbit clambering out of the hole
the grenades bounce off me as i yell fugazi
or sebadoh running towards the px the depot
every time a rabbit comes out of its burrow …