All (the pain) In A Day’s Work

Completed suicide

Unfinished poems

Degrees and degrees

Until I freeze destitute and confused with my HDs


Xeroxed from the calendar and replayed

Again and again and again and again and again

Until all the complaints are memorised and annotated in biro styles

The sun doesn’t even show up today, no medical certificate, reliably disappointing

I’ve been called the retiring type and all I want is to retire early and sleep though the morning

Endlessly moving the finish line away

We are no better than dogs running a yard

And imaging we’ll escape

Our yard is just bigger, in fact it never ends, never stops confining

And we’re not at play but labouring and gradually dying

Too stupid to be offended

Too stupid to band together

Too young to die on the chain with our mouth’s ringed in spit as God intended

Leaving home everyday just to have one

Working so hard when all we want is to relax, maybe have fun

Just completed another lap but could’t catch my breath before the starter’s gun

Went powpow again and blew the back off someone else’s skull

The day is a chandelier we had plans for that combusted on the linoleum

The day is too long for me to crawl across it’s broken glass hallways on my knees

Daydreaming out the closed window of open fields from this institutional setting in some back street whose address I still can’t understand

Do Trees get tired dancing in the wind all day? …That’s how tired I am.


Everything You Thought You Wanted



When you sit down with your little self

Your big ego

And submit

That everything will be alright

If you just try harder

And compromise and be grateful—

If you redraw schematics for a radically new existence

On pages well-wrapped with chaotic strands like a chrysalis

And decide that nothing previously thought was necessary

And bare existence will do you so long as it will let your hands unclench

And give your callouses a rest from holding on,

Out of the void comes the ancient toneless voice

So familiar to you you don’t notice its accent

Screaming ‘No’ with animal anger,

Aflame with disbelief and refusal

A voice so percussive it can huff and puff and blow your drawn-up happiness

To a far away land of bed-bound imaginations and drunken dreams

Then what?

Then what is the power of resolution, of trying, of well-bound self-help books

And pop psychology and well-meaning social support?

What do the pretty clothes of a novel will matter when they’re still hung off the same old broken coat stand?

When even your compromise is too expensive and drains your wallet of blood, your face of blood,

And the blood clots in your palace of blood.

All that works is fleeing from the self, denying the I inherently dying inside,

Leaving your little resolutions laying weakly in the parlour,

Dissolving into the body’s chemical mixture and adding new drugs to

Defang the innermost predator of the soul

The huntsman in your bed, tucked in and fast asleep (or just momentarily still, reflecting your gaze?)

The huntsman you can’t dare kill because you’d have to take your eyes off it first and retrieve your shoe

And what if when you look back it has moved?

I sit with myself as in an interrogation room and we both come out bloody, bruised, no wiser for information shared,

Mutual blank faces staring rudely at each other, no evidence admissible that wasn’t was netted with violence

I am the blinding light of hurt in my own eyes against a night sky dethroned of electricity

I am the heel hovering just above the head always ready, waiting on its own time to consider homicide agreeable and necessary

And the head too, the ugly thorax, unaware death is about to blanket the land from above

I am the resolution-maker, subject to the demands of my resolve and considering how to balance the fires that nibble at my being’s distant parts

I am the flood and drowning in it too

So what do I do when I sit down with my little self and say “let yourself be happy” and the voice denies me from the abyss?



Original photo by Nicole Garmston, Herald Sun 18/01.


While the Australian Open played out just 2 blocks away, the Melbourne Council and the Herald Sun focused common attention on the ‘scourge’ and ‘blight’ of homelessness ‘festering’ outside Flinders St Station. They called it a ‘crisis’, they adduced some anonymous all-powerful tourist disdain that said ‘it’s not a good look for our city’, and they offered binary polls to their bigoted readers to create a fake consensus. Be careful to notice how they whisper thesis insidious narratives in your ear. The Melbourne govt claimed they have no resources to help these people and impugned their collective status, labelling huge swathes of subaltern people ‘not really homeless’ drug addicts. They suggested giving police more powers to move them (out of sight out of mind) increasing poorness from a social canker to de facto crime. The media filmed them like they lived in a zoo, exploiting them for clicks and views. The police deprecated them with customary inhuman disrespect; reducing them to jobs to be done and processes and stats. The everyman in his ivory mortmain called it a disgusting sight as if he had to look at Robert Doyle’s neck or housing affordability statistics every day on the way to work and not just people exactly like him but without the momentum to stabilise their lives. And the whole time this sordid drama played out with everyone lingering at the pulpit saying a whole lot of grandiloquent nothing and no one offering sympathy or common sense or doing anything, while those without homes remained constantly on view like they always are,  the Australian Open finished. No money to give someone a life but a total of a 50 million dollar purse being sponsored by the ANZ, and Kia and Rolex and over a quarter of a million dollars revenue entering the city of Melbourne in just over a fortnight (well over 10 million dollars of which is pure profit). And while the duality off having one of the worlds most expensive sporting events– where a bath towel from the gift shop costs up to $100 and a hotdog runs nine bucks– only 90 seconds walk from people are sleeping on hard concrete, four deep, covered in newspapers with trauma pets and balled-up clothes and days of stubble and dirt painting their face, may not affect you, as it doesn’t the media or authorities or cherished profit margins or the cosmopolitan status of the city, it does affect them. Every ‘move along’ issued to a homeless person creating embarrassment and uncertainty, every time you look away from them and refocus on the dim hallucination of your future they’re still there, struggling, human, exactly the same as you if you just knew it.