The conversation started out innocently enough They asked what I did I replied that I’m a poet After that we had the conversation that most poets have had at least once in their lives or, if they haven’t yet. They will The part of the questioner will be played by the reader. Improvisation is encouraged It’s difficult to say how I got into poetry I don’t know, not really One day I saw a sheet of paper before me and I wrote down some words and they seemed profound to me So I kept doing that and now I’m here Well, no, I’ve not really published anything I’ve yet to be discovered if that’s what you mean but I do have a blog where I post some of the stuff I write but it doesn’t get much traffic Well I guess it is disingenuous as you say to call myself a poet when I’ve yet to publish anything I cook. I work on the line. I work the fry station So yeah, I suppose it is more accurate to say that I am a frier rather than a poet but I still feel that I am better described by my poetry than my skill with in a kitchen The reason I don’t send in any of my stuff is because I don’t think I write anything that they’ll like right now Mostly what I write is absurdist poetry here’s one of my favorite pieces that I’ve ever written ‘I got on the train it went from West Richmond to North Richmond without changing directions that’s fucked’ So what do you think? Do you like it? No, it doesn’t rhyme not all poetry rhymes I’ve read thousands of poems I’ve yet to read one that rhymes. Do you not appreciate the absurdity of it though? What I’m saying is, like, life is like the train and we’re all just living in it and we go from one place to another without our input and without really changing directions And then you get to the really good part the part where it says ‘that’s fucked’ because of how insightful the poem is you kind of expect there to be some really profound conclusion that can be drawn from the premise that would take multiple lines to clearly lay out and then that conclusion could be debated on by people who study my poetry long after I’m dead, because they will, you know, they will. but then all that’s said is how fucked it is again reiterating the absurdity of it all No, I don’t think it’s immature to swear in a poem For someone who claims to know nothing about poetry you sure are acting like an expert How many poems have you published? None, that’s what I thought. Oh, well, yeah. I guess that is technically the same number as me. So what do you think poetry ought to be? Something that all can relate to or something that at least you can relate to I’m guessing the second one since you obviously don’t relate to me little poem and because of that you didn’t like it No, no, please. There’s no need to pretend that you liked what I wrote I know a critic when I see one I want to know what tickles your fancy because it might ensure that I actually make it big in this poetry game some day You think it ought to be more relatable and it should have more lines and cut out the ‘fuck’ obviously but what do you mean it should rhyme It doesn’t need to rhyme for christ sake rap rhymes poetry needn’t I think poetry is simply the art of expressing complex things in the simplest way possible kind of like life is full of complexities and seeming improbabilities but ultimately it’s full of simplicities Think of how complex life itself is and yet we float out in an infinite void and the most difficult part of life, for me at least, is putting on pants. That, to me, is what poetry is I’m on a train it goes from West Richmond to North Richmond without changing direction that’s fucked.
And what cause did they all end up dead for? Now where are they those whose corpses that used to lay strewn about upon beaches and landings and forests or are they nothing more than food for the worms and now nothing more than bone or less What now do we celebrate that they in their time celebrated What now do we share with those who died wanting to carry on their culture to share with us Nothing but dust and shadows All is lost cries the man in the castle all will be lost should cry the man outside the castle Nothing is shared nothing is passed on no grain of sand in a dune can be counted twice in a generation no belief in a man can be carried beyond his term So what did they all die for and what do we continue to die for if not a grain of sand in a great dune that spans eternity And yet so many die for the chance to be considered a compatriot of a grain of sand.
And from the first argument we see - those who have made the argument have never lived in true poverty. My car was shit, as were the cars of my friends. The reason they were this way is because we were poor and could only afford cars that were old. They only held old odometers that were within 8km/h of accuracy. It's easy to squeeze money from the poor. If not that then there are many people who are poor, and these people can be easily exploited for free labour under the vague term of indentured servitude. And beyond we can see that you have never been anywhere other than in an upper class suburb. The rules (that the state writes) state they cannot catch you on an orange, but try arguing that when all you have is a public defender; you'll be fined for going on the green. Go to an upper class judge as an upper class individual and you get off easy. Go as any other individual and you get the book thrown at you. I don't expect you to know or understand, because you've not had the personal experience I've had. And registration of a car is needed to know where you are. Not you, you of the upper class. But us, the ones who have built everything that you depend upon. I expect nothing of you other than for you to cast the first stone. And I expect nothing from you except to be judged for not being you.
Late at night or is it early in the morning just after closing time at my favorite pub I take a walk down Sydney road to the place I call home along the way there are many sights to see and many more things that can be explored. I light a cigarette while I stand in a laneway and looking around me all I can see are buildings as old as time itself Plaster and concrete and bricks that make up facades that cover the faces of places where people used to eat and live and talk. Just opposite me is a modern Chemist Warehouse selling discount drugs and other things Down from that is a pie shop then the Bunnings and the post office, that will guarantee your item will get there late if at all. And that’s run by people, I’ve found who don’t care about the person at all but prefer instructions written on paper. Bureaucrats. Turning to one wall of the alley I am in, the light at the tip of my cigarette lights up prints that various artists unknown and uncared for have created and posted around these unexplored areas for free perusal. Beside them and opposite them the buildings are tagged with spray paint of the disillusioned and the careless. My cig has burned out and I start my walk back home. La Manna Fresh, then the butchers then La Manna Fresh Organic and just after that a Vietnamese store that makes the best Vietnamese rolls out of anywhere you wish to compare it to. All modern places, with lights electricity, friers, burners, fridges staff in cute little uniforms or without them working hurriedly throughout the day to provide the modern comforts demanded of the modern times. While just above them sits the facade that has sat there for a hundred years or more. And now I am here. It is 3am and I am the only one who is alive to appreciate each of these elements that make up the fantastic buildings along Sydney Road. Just next to them is a barrister’s office. Or something to that extent. And after that the liquor store. It’s here that you can get a bottle of Spanish or Italian Wine For $12 And a case of Furphey’s for $15. Then comes the Middle Eastern bakery It sells Koftas, and Turkish breads, and Kebabs but it’s never open late enough or early enough for me to want a kebab. Crawling along the street, now, comes a cop car. It’s slowing down at the presence of my cigarette burning. I know what they like to see they want to see if I even vaguely match the description of some fellon probably long gone. But they’ll not let that stop them the thrill of arresting someone even on the flimsiest of pretences is what they crawl down the road for. But, tonight, I don’t match the description so all I do is blow smoke at them and all they do is crawl on looking for a different victim of the night. Equally as preposterous and imposing and detestable is the first fully modern building that I’ve encountered along my walk back home And it’s a bank. And it’s disgusting. Just across the road is a pharmacy Another one And thankfully this one embraces the facade that was handed down to it from generations past. Then the cheese store For some reason the only place I feel more at home than at the bar is at the cheese store. Then a cafe, that I don’t visit often because I make my own coffee After that a bookstore that stocks all the latest drivel that would be pushed by Oprah and her lackeys. that comfortable housewives can sit around and tsk at while drinking red wine and caring nothing of the rest of the world And now a bar then another and then another, but Mexican and finally, to continue in the tradition at the end of this section sits another modern building this one dedicated to phone plans Then one of the most glorious buildings that I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s so unfortunate that what it houses is mostly government business but it also has the library so that compensates for it somewhat. Crossing the road I pass by my local tobacconist that also serves as a liquor store and a general store and I see, staring through the window and using the dim light of the sign out front that my brand of cigs has gone up another dollar per packet And now they’re a quarter of a days pay as if smoking a cigarette is some sort of a luxury and not just an escape from the world that prefers banks and phone carriers to the simplistic beauty of the world already around them. But if that’s the price I have to pay to kill myself slowly and get out of here as quickly as I’m comfortable with then so be it. After a few moments have passed I sit myself down on the curb as the police crawl back again still looking to me for the thrill of a cheap arest. I light up another cigarette and I reflect on what it was that people past did on this street. Probably nothing like what I do now or what others do. Probably the drunks on the street in the days gone by were far more drunk than I am at this moment And I’m sure that a pack of cigs didn’t cost a quarter of a days wage.
It’s not a dream it’s a delusion. One that we’re encouraged to maintain To look up when times are troublesome That one day they won’t be One day we’ll get to live in a house Overlooking a lake With a beautiful wife That relaxation is in our future And each night After the horrors of the morning The three extra hours or working The customers The boss The colleagues We dream of this world We escape into it Our foolishness covers our eyes Deprives us of the ability to see the truth And turns our dreams into delusions What chance have you Of competing with the multinational? Of competing with those who have inherited wealth Or land Or connections and contacts? Do you truly think that you can work hard And achieve this thing This dream of yours? There is such limited land on which to live And most of it has already been claimed And the ones who own it Aren’t going to give it up easily Who are you to take it? A tiresome cog in a wheel Why not sell to the machine Work as much as you like As long as you like As hard a you like A cog will never compete with a machine Neither will you compete on this market Delusions are the tools of the powerful Like oil in a machine That keeps the cogs running Until they’re burnt out and useless And replaced Then you might get a home One that you are thrown into And your delusion will fade And your dream will become reality Then your dream will become a nightmare Looking around you will realise This is what you were working towards Your entire life A home for a cog.
I just went from West Richmond to North Richmond without changing directions that's fucked
Come one come all
Roll up and come and see
the duality of man
our freakshow awaits all those who pay
to see how we treat everyone individually
One is so concerned
there is a strong man in a corner
with the opinions of others
he is lifting a heavy dumbbell
that he is willing to torture his body
His muscles flex and relax but that is all that moves
for the enjoyment of others
There is a general feeling of awe throughout
the awed crowd
Next is the one
panning over we notice a man eating
who cares nothing for the opinions of anyone who is watching
no matter who you are you cannot catch his eyes
he sits and enjoys his nachos and his unearned
Come in and see which one you will be
after passing through the hall
see what you will be
It doesn’t matter
Noone ever really makes it
They just keep wondering in a field
of mirrors that whir around a sun
stuck in a galaxy
that sits within an expanding universe
that’s far too old for any of them to ever understand
But the muscled man and the nacho man
They keep stretching and eating
Knowing it doesn’t matter
but hoping it does
At the end of the show
they’re both killed
but by what we’ll never know.
ladies and gentlemen
and please come back
Start studying the things they tell you to study. Don’t look outside that sphere. Your interests aren’t important to the function of our lives. Put your head down and study, this will be important for your future – our future. Our collective interest is all that you should be concerned with. If it is then we will reward you and if it isn’t we will punish you. That’s what’s at stake here. Here in this classroom full of people with individuality. The entirety of society. You wouldn’t want your parents or your siblings or your grandparents or – heaven forbid – me from suffering would you? Then sit down and learn the things you must learn to ensure no harm comes to them. If you don’t then everything could collapse down around you. The walls, the roof, the very fabric of things that holds us together.
slap. A hand comes down upon my desk. Were you listening to me? I wasn’t. But she can tell lies that slip from teeth and the punishment for lies is worse than the punishment for silence. She informs me that a day of writing out platitudes awaits me this afternoon instead of playing in the fields, playing outside. That’s certainly one way to ensure someone bays to your instructions. Meekly and wordlessly I accept my punishment of detention for the afternoon. Gazing down at the notes I’ve taken so far in class I try to distract myself. I’m bored is all that I think about. That’s also all that is written. This class is boring me. I’m bored. And now I’m punished. I guess you could say that I am boorish. As in bored and punished. I thought it was clever – so clever in fact that I jot down boorish in the corner of my notebook while the teacher continues.
It’s some time before the exercise of listening to this megalomaniac is over and the whole time all I can think about is boorish. Bored and punished. Funny. Definition of boor, by the Merriam-Webster dictionary 1989 edition (the only edition I own) 1. A yokel 2. A rude or insensitive person. The second definition makes sense, but what is a yokel? I doubt I’ll ever know. The USSR was still around in 1989 wasn’t is? I wonder if any KGB agents converted any yokels to the side of communism. Maybe that’s why it fell in 1991, too many yokels. I wonder what was taught in schools under communist rule. I doubt it was so different from what I am taught as to make a difference. The difference is that I know that a yokel is a boor, and I am a boor. Then I think about Cletus from The Simpsons and how he is a yokel and I laugh.
slapping upon the desk again. What are you laughing at? is the question that I am immediately confronted with upon my return to this classroom from the lands of the Soviet Union of 1989 – the land of yokels and Cletuses. I didn’t realise I was laughing was the only reply I could muster. I was just writing down notes. And then I showed her my notes that were full of scribbles that could maybe be construed to represent the things she was teaching at that time. Not good enough was the interpretation that I interpreted from her various screams and condemnations. I guess I would be staying behind for more than just lunch. I had gone too far – my imagination had gone too far. It had imagined things outside of her field of view and she hated me for it.
So I stayed on for the rest of her class – at the back of her class to be precise. The place where all dissidents were sent. The bell rang and all the other students were silently happy – gazing at eachother and sending messages of where to meet up and what to do telepathically. They were all dismissed and merrily they went to their lunches and their designated areas of control as though they were lions. But meekly I shuffled off after the teacher who still had lessons to teach me. I was to spend the period of time reserved to play learning. But, not exactly learning. There was nothing new for my mind to consume, analyse and confront. No, it was something that all knowledgeable beings knew instinctively. Except for me ofcourse. For some reason I had to have special lessons to learn this lesson. And so I wrote and wrote and wrote the message that was so utterly important to our advancement in education. It was so important that anyone who veered from it found themselves writing it out until they eventually believed in it – and they always ended up believing in it. That was part of the appeal of the statement – no matter who you were you would eventually believe in the statement.
And so I wrote it out and as I wrote it out I found myself believing in it, as things are supposed to be. It made sense and only now, upon reading it for an hour, do I understand why it makes any sense. Then I began to think of other people and how they all needed to learn this thing the same way I had learnt it. I begun to think of my past self, of only a few minutes before. Or was it hours? It didn’t matter. That person was behind me. I had evolved beyond him and had learnt through the repetitive writing down of this thing.
In my next class I was far more malleable to what they were teaching me. Even if I disagreed with it. I didn’t want to go back to that place that had me write out line after line after line instead of spending my time outside. That’s how they got me to be who they wanted me to be. And I was happiest that way.
Just smile and everything will be okay That's what they tell you everyday Happiness isn't a feeling it's a choice Why do I have to decide to be happy today? Why do I have to decide to be happy everyday? Is it not sick that despite everything being wrong my unhappiness is what concerns you most? Why do I have to be happy? To help you move along? With your pathetic life as if you've helped me? Or do I need to help you? Smile, it'll make life better But it won't It doesn't solve how little I think of myself How little others think of me How little I think of the world How little the world thinks. It's okay to not smile to not care to give up to be unhappy. That's the problem with us today and I know that gets said a lot but I'm just throwing my opinion in We care too much about being happy that we can't ever let us be ourselves and we can't ever react the real way someone is feeling and we cant ever feel the way we are feeling. But we also can't ever be happy truly happy. If we jump for joy or dance on the street we're judged just as much as if we sulked and drank and stumbled Don't let the world control your emotions Don't let them tell you who you should be You are who you are If you let them tell you when to celebrate or how to celebrate then you'll just become another them rather than a you. And you'll be dead from hemlock. Sob, weep, cry if you need to. Dance in a fountain if you want to. Don't let their failure of emotion control you. Because they can only hate. And their hate kills. Slowly. All joy leaves and you are sucked dry of any emotion. And then you are left like them Dead. Don't die. Live.
I try to keep my conversations to a minimum so that I can limit the amount of time I have to interact with others My usual response hour is at about two in the morning. This is generally when I am on the verge of lucidness and drunkeness and it makes to the most honest replies. But everyone else is asleep And so I don't have to deal with replies or conversations. That's one of the things I love about modern technology I can talk to anyone in the world and ignore them. Conversations bore me. People tire me. And at 2am I am free of either of these things Free to be me Free to be free.