Reading the HomeCare Catalogue

lint shaver homecare

Reading the HomeCare catalogue was reliably
therapeutic; as a kid I read it like a born-again
reads Watchtower Magazine. It was a utopia
you could inhabit for six easy payments
of $29.95 per week. Every month
I waited for it to turn up in its humid plastic
sheath on our tiled terracotta doorstep
so I could seize it, free it, and pore my way across
its waxy pages as if reading a wordless book
translated into Braille. Egg timers, oven mitts,
bread boxes, tea towels, frypans – a cornucopia
of household inanity. I read it while lifting spoonfuls
of microwaved Weet-Bix to my lips, mouthing mantras:
Effortless slicing, chopping, grating and shredding;
The deep ridges allow heat to circulate. Dishwasher safe.
So comfortable you’ll forget you’re wearing it!
Nursery rhymes describing a lukewarm universe
where nothing ever catches fire. I meditated
on their psalms, then grew up to be a copywriter –
a prophet urging sinners not to repent, but to buy.
But in the same way bullshit makes great fertiliser,
it taught me a lot about concision and how to speak
to an audience with the attention span of a blowfly.
These days over breakfast (boiled eggs on sourdough)
I try to stick to literature. Its world is not as shiny
as that of retail marketing. But admission is free.

We’ll Get Stoned on the Couch if it Takes All Night

The scarred couch

We stripped him
ran a knife through his belly
shook the treasure out:

xxxxxxxgold coins

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxguitar picks

xxxxxxmisshapen cutlery

Ransacked his memories
bar coasters bearing more than one woman’s name:


xxxxxxcall me!

Forced his rigid form
through the narrow doorway
in darkness, hushing each other
so the neighbours wouldn’t hear.
Ten years of dust in our fingernails
leaving a crumb-trail behind us

xxxxxxxxxof condom wrappers

xxxxxsoy fish

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxand more guitar picks
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxget them get them

Cockroaches made refugee
Italian leather in tatters
gutted, we laid its carcass
in front of someone else’s house
then tiptoed back upstairs
to confront the vinyl imposter
still in its bubble-wrapped bondage.

Impassive, it watched
as we argued about screwdrivers
our sweat speckling the carpet

xxxxxas if


xxa watering

But we got it upright
plonked our arses on it
drank wine, smoked weed
in silence; co-conspirators
in a breathless meantime.

Note: the title is taken from a line in a pantoum by Peter Minter, ‘Wallpaper Codicil‘.

The Queenslander

The Queenslander

On the banks of the warm wet river of life
Stands a house that’s built taller than tide or flood
Destroyer and giver, the river, his wife

On the deck is a hammock, beside it a knife
And he sleeps in his fishing boots, glossy with mud
On the banks of the warm wet river of life

His lover, a mermaid, plays an ivory fife,
But her shanties cause storm clouds to gather and scud
Destroyer and giver, the river, his wife

On guitar he plays harmonies, goading the strife
In time to the crackling thunder, its thud
On the banks of the warm wet river of life

But by dawn it is quiet, the riverbed rife
With flatheads and mud crabs and lilies in bud
Destroyer and giver, the river, his wife

He’ll put on his overalls, sharpen his knife
Colour the water with fish guts and blood
On the banks of the warm wet river of life
Destroyer and giver, the river, his wife.