Herculean Dream

Taking part in this music video was a (Herculean) dream come true!

It was filmed during winter in a chilly warehouse in Camperdown. We just about froze our tits off! But it was worth it. So, so worth it.

Artist: Wartime Sweethearts
Song: Herculean Dream
Directed by: Brosis

Taken from the (incredible) album So Long Sparta, which you totally should buy.

Just wanted to share. 🙂

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I’m on a Poetry Podcast!

Alice Allan

It was an honour and pleasure to speak with Alice Allan this week on the Poetry Says podcast. I was a huge fan of the Australian Poetry Podcast, and I’m thrilled that Alice has picked up the poetry podcasting gauntlet.

You can listen to our interview here: Episode 8.

Alice had asked me to talk about a poem that I really loved, so I went totally over the top and spoke instead about two entire collections: Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy, and Interferon Psalms by Luke Davies.

We also had a bit of a chat at the end about my recent (and somewhat infamous) poem Marrickville.

Thanks Alice! That was super fun!

 

You can subscribe to Poetry Says on iTunes, and you can also follow Alice on Twitter.

 

Mesmerized (redraft)

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A version of this poem was published earlier this year, but I was never completely happy with it. This is the redrafted version. 

Mesmerized

xxxxxxxxxthe word derives from Mesmer,
a German guy who spoke of animal magnetism,
of energy transference. Mesmer, with his swirling
pinwheel eyes that paralyse the mind and slow down
time, the swoon on the cusp of an epiphany, a dream
that’s neither good nor bad but interesting.
Standing in my lover’s light I’m caught
like a child in a doorway looking up at a giant
and his meanness dissolves as he carries me
like a tombola prize with my feet dangling
through the sky. But like so many boys, he’s rough
with his toys, and plastic can only be pushed so far
before it will snap. Yet whenever I crack
he’s always the one to come back, waving
his wine-stained peace rag, his voice casting spells
and his eyes like magnets, electrified –
and the whole thing starts again.

The Secular Sacred

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What ‘faith’ means in the modern age
is getting up and going about your business
day after day after day after day
without asking for a miracle.

A miracle – two eyes and a face
witnessing your witnessing,
and the weird relaxation that comes
from realising we’re all the same.

An act of creativity is always an act
of optimism, and the willingness to love
is always brave. Yet there is godliness
in solitude, and pleasure in waiting.

The hopeful suspense, the anticipation.
It’s the reason why we cover the eyes
of the person who is to be given a surprise –
it’s the juxtaposition of darkness and light

that jolts the dreamer alert to the fact
they’re alive. Suffering, like everything,
exists in the mind. You can change it –
that’s what faith is. You need it to survive.

Poets on Porches Drinking Tea

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In July 2015 I travelled to California to attend a poetry conference. It was actually just a coincidence that Luke Davies (the poet whose work I am studying) happened to be at his home in LA while I was there, but it was a blessed week, and (after some serious prodding from my supervisor) I arranged to meet him for an interview.

I am not a journalist, and I am also not an excessively confident person, but despite these impediments I managed to do it without having a seizure or vomiting on myself. Even better, I was able to cobble together enough material from the ‘interview’ to pitch it to Meanjin, and (gods be praised!) they accepted it.

It’s out now!

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Note: ‘Poets on Porches Drinking Tea’ is a nod to ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee‘. I’m an enormous fan of Jerry Seinfeld, and I actually think there are many parallels between poetry and comedy.

Anyway. I’m so happy to see it in print. Cheers Luke, you are the coolest poet to do a doctorate on; all my PhD buddies are jealous.

The Glass of Water

The glass of water

A glass of water beside my bed – right in the spot
where I’m prone to flinging my pillow, directly
beneath my iPhone plugged in to charge like a man
attached to a bungee – unwittingly tethered to death.
I turn to anxiety as a way of warding off bad luck
(as if luck had anything to do with it)
and the worst thing is, it works.
Night after night, catastrophe is avoided
thanks to a nonspecific benevolence
which reduces suffering in idiots. I’m grateful
that this omniscient goodwill sees beyond
the girl too lazy to deal with clutter to someone
absorbed in the task of doing something that matters,
something greater than superficial order.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxThe glass of water
has always been there, and I’ve always
ignored it. ‘Fantasy prone,’ they call it.
But my dreams are always good.
The pillow only falls to the floor
when reality seeps in.

As she Breathed in the Spicy Scent of the Big, Bright Flowers

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Compatibility has less to do with pleasure
than it does being able to tolerate awkwardness
and boredom in each other’s presence
without hostility. That’s why romance
is associated with being young –
no joint pain, shonky guts, drooping jowls or chins
or nuts – it’s easy to love when the physical
is a baseline from which everything else
is up. The inconvenient fact I’ve come to know
in the lull between distractions is the long haul
isn’t fun. But there are other descriptors
with more than one syllable that lie in store for those
who can stick it out – words that go further
to illuminate the human conundrum.
Beyond infatuation lies something sinuous
and nourishing – beneath the field of poppies,
a paddock of mud. That person must be out there
for me, surely. I’m too full of life to give up.

 

 

* ‘As she breathed in the spicy scent of the big, bright flowers’ is an excerpt from The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

Poets at Potts Point

pottspointpoetry

On Sunday 28th February I’ll be joining Anna Couani, Kate Lilley, Ruark Lewis, Conrad, Joanne Burns, Billy Marshall Stoneking, Miro Bilbrough and Les Wicks for a poetry reading at Yellow House.

Entry is $10, which includes tea and cake. Good value, if you ask me.

Bookings can be made here.

Very excited to be involved. See you there. 🙂