A Poet’s Perspective on a Conversation With a Poet

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.

What Did We All Die For

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. 

An Ode to Sydney Road

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

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. 

Come See the Duality of Man

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
pride

Come in and see which one you will be
after passing through the hall
or rooms
of mirrors
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.

Good night
ladies and gentlemen
and please come back
tomorrow.

Why Not Die at 40

I smoke and I drink
Nightly and daily
to me it's like prayer

But there's a difference between what I do
and what the preachers do
For one what I do accomplishes something
another is that it is killing me
slowly

All the warning labels and
predictable ads
say that I'll be dead by 40.

But why would I ever want
to live longer
than that

Why would I want to see my friends
fade away from me

Why would I want a child
when children disgust me

I can't imagine anything worse
than not being able to get it up
when a flaxen haired Aphrodite
sits upon me

Then your memory fades
The only real reason we're living
All those moments of the life I've lived
lost to some invisible trashcan in my mind

Why would I ever want to live past fourty
It seems to me
we should live life as much as possible
while we're alive
and when our time comes, we let it come
rather than cling on to something
that wasn't there in the first place

Live life
then die

That's my philosophy.

Thinking

There are no new things you're allowed to experience.
They all have to conform to what is useful
Do you want to write
or can't you decide?
Do you wan to study physics
Or mathematics
or philosophy 
or something else

You can't
You made your decision when 
you were fifteen.
And that's what you'll stick to
Unless you want to learn something useless

Philosophy, literature, science
choose one and proceed.

You can't learn anything else
any more
it's useless to us
The people who you belong to

Learn what you must
and nothing more

Thinking is pointless
So think no more.