Touching and Talking

Touch­ing and talk­ing
that’s what our time is,
touch­ing and tuck­ing up fuck­ing
oh and then we talk, we talk about and out and around it. touch­ing and talk­ing
remem­ber when I would wear noth­ing but bell­bot­tom jeans and
they were pepetu­ally get­ting chewed by cogs on my bicycle
and I always had rub­ber bands around my ankles to hold them back
rub­ber bands all over my floor
I never wear jeans any more, now.
I’m wear­ing your dress which came from her and it never felt like my kind of dress, or like I even wanted it untill tonight when I saw it, cos it’s green and I knew and I’m wear­ing it and I don’t feel like that per­son, in the jeans, any more.
And there are people here who I want to touch
and there are people here who want to touch me
there are people here who are touch­ing and talk­ing
there’s a pretty girl, I’ve for­got­ten her name because there are other people who I want to touch talk to
remem­ber when we made that list
who am I kid­ding, we make lists all the time
remem­ber when we first shared clothes
iten­er­ant desires, an order­ing to the mess of want, lists
remem­ber when we first shared clothes, cos I don’t
shar­ing skin, sis­ters, cloth-of-kin
remem­ber when we first for­got where your ward­robe ends, and mine begins
because life is a nos­tal­gia fact­ory
sit fat on a pile of memor­ies
but, why­for for what
liv­ing in the past tense
but I want to touch
and touch­ing is now
fuck­ing is now
speak­ing poems is now
reach­ing with words and fin­gers and hearts to touch the now

Riddled Reality — Sans Sanus

My spine is made of stones
lined up in single, smoothed, grey pebble file.
My stom­ach is hol­lowed out
an empty cav­ity in a tree.
My eyes are morphine
blind with bubbles burst­ing behind them in
my sand­pit mind.
I dig until my nails get gritty
find­ing treas­ures, fossils, toy sol­diers
and bottle caps, sil­ver thin and glint­ing in the after­noon sun.
My hands graze and strain
dig­ging up the black box
which, locked inside, stores the secret,
a small, blunt, heavy gun.


Legs drunk on the scrambled time
Move, stumble-run, without me.
They stag­ger together
tak­ing me places before I have thought to go.
I have been hungry for so long
I have for­got­ten how to taste
how to think about the big­ger smal­ler things
I have for­got­ten how to won­der about the waves
and weather.
I have been tired so long I have for­got­ten
how to dream when I sleep.
I awake now imme­di­ately with the dawn
crawl­ing out of my hideout in the bough
of high up trees.


My mouth is dry with flies
and I keep repeat­ing days
circ­ling between vis­ions of past and present
I lose which hour is now and which was then
I have broken out of tense and
speak in broken sen­tences to myself
I do not laugh out loud.
And my hands are rough with wire.


I am alone and those who do not want me
walk the city streets.
My hair has grown and my body cleans itself
incom­pletely. But I do not have the
strength or energy to notice smell.
I must fol­low the instruc­tions.
How long has it been now?
Days or years alone?
But I can­not break, I can­not let go.
I must work, pro­tect, stay alert and
vigil­ant, not let myself get hurt
keep myself awake and with it
away from other vis­ions and words
I must remem­ber to remind myself that
this is the only,
This. Is. The. Only. Real World.


Dehyd­rated days and sig­nals and secret mes­sages
of sal­va­tion left hid­den in places
where other eyes might not see them:
curled in leaves, that align only in the
breeze at the right time, from the right angle.
Writ­ten almost as though by chance
in the scrawl of a bark
bit­ten out by grubs and ants
I must stay awake and not miss any signs
That may help me close in on their reality.


I will chase those voices who always rearrange
sticks just ahead and around the corner
point­ing towards door­ways I would oth­er­wise
choose not to enter.
I will obey their signs if only to meet their chal­lenges
and con­front their form.
I will struggle on to show them that I am stronger
then they who visit in my sleep and
change the real­it­ies around me.


I will stay awake I will stay away from the wrong real­ity
I will stay strong and sane.
I will learn to tell the real from the fake,
I will struggle on in silence but not in vein,
I will stay awake
I will do what I must to stay awake
I will cure the hurt and wrongs of this world one riddle at a time
I will stay awake
I will take as much as I can take.
As long as I can just stay awake.


We fuck the sys­tem man

we fuck it through our LCD enhanced visions.

Take your pos­i­tions, fall­ing into pose for

vari­ous peti­tion missions

turn­ing up our nose,

We fuck it up like this:

Click click click!

To your indecisions

We’re tak­ing down the empires and

Roar­ing as the dis­sent grows.

There goes, New-Rome, the US and old Great Britain

col­lapsing into the dust

coales­cing into the hands of us;

one online opin­ion at a time.

Have you got yours, – ‘cos I got mine.


Down down down!

go the barriers,

the colo­nial lines, are dis­in­teg­rated into pixilated

shrines of antique tumblr reminiscence

hung drawn and quartered clones

now kitsch in their antithesis.


We’re tak­ing down down down!

The walls of the old mas­ters with

pho­to­graphs and videos on our mobile phones.

Sud­denly res­ist­ance has risen in an instant and

Ber­lin, border-security and the banks are ours,

won with but­ton mash­ing passion,

the power of reb­log­ging until 3 in the morning

And the per­sist­ence to ignore

per­sonal hygiene and a cor­por­ate– Friendly

online per­so­nas.


Pow pow power!

We’re look­ing at the big­ger pic­ture now

On our higher res­ol­u­tion screens

We’re kid­napped social media

and we’ve spiked your dreams

we’ve got no end goal yet

but we’ve already stolen the means.

Medal­ing with trans­mi­sion of cily­con scenes:

with witty cap­tions we’ve crashed and crunched,

jammed and flunked con­sumer cultures,

we’ve sunk the sig­nal ship and

spammed the vultures.


We get strip-searched

and we delete our inter­net history.

We write for­ums and we

dis­solve the mys­ter­ies of physics,

essay ques­tions and music genres

one open-source Wiki­pe­dia page at a time.


Down down down loading

the let­ters that con­nect us

into col­lect­ive consciousness

cas­cades of crit­ical clicks and

net­works explod­ing like fireworks

blind­ing serv­ers and online services.


Reb­log, repeat, skip let­ters, delete.

Share, refresh, splurg, retweet,

con­fess, con­verge, but never end sess-ion.

This revolu­tion is up to your anonymous

proxy server’s discretion

So stay on, whatever you do, stay online.


We have pow pow power! We the boys and girls

who take

Down down down!

the cen­sor­ships (who hois­ted their sails

and once fired can­nons into the sea of surfed urls)

now exterm­in­ated

inform­a­tion bar­ring now terminated

cor­por­ate cook­ies now confiscated,

and the end of power trips taken

as they anchored

their ways into our

pir­ate bays and on line islands.


Pow pow power! Has fallen to us in just hours

As we steal back the social sov­er­eignty to

intel­lec­tual com­mons prop­erty that was never ceded.

Pow pow power!

Stolen through sig­nal scram­bling of specialized

Out­sourced, enforced, work

mono­pol­ies profit­ing from inform­a­tion poverty.


Now we are the ones

Seiz­ing syn­thesis of the simulacra

Sim­u­lat­ing situ­ations to satisfy

stimulation-saturated dial up dilations

We are the ones mak­ing our own

kit­ten gifs and pho­toshoped imaginations.


Pow pow power!

Taken from towers who mon­itored and

trade­marked our time

Imposed ads until they restrict minds

For­cing us into broad­band atten­tion spans

That have now lost their patience


Down Down Down!

go inter­net spines who Copy-Righted lines,

filled instead with

Cre­at­ive and crit­ical inform­a­tion watersheds.

quot­ing Chom­sky, Swartz, Gal­li­ano, Assange,

and our favour­ite porn movies.


Because we have won:

Sprung the leak of intel­lec­tual property

Shar­ing the no longer privately owned

digit­iz­a­tion of our own DNA,

and plant genes that are part of us, not patents.

Reori­ent­at­ing flows of information

We are the act­ive mimetic generation

dis­cov­er­ing direction

Now now now!

we take back gov­ern­ment schemes

stor­ing secrets about war zones, tor­ture or chem­ical agents

and we dis­solve them

one online action at a time,

one noc­turnal night at a time

one online life at a time.

Have you got yours – cos I sure got mine.


Sun­rises Sunsets.

Old songs, hanging out with other people’s pets.

Solved prob­lems, stolen groceries.

Not being on the internet

alone again at 2am.

Dan­cing until you break the heel off your

favour­ite boots, until you break into sweat;

until no one else is left

on the dance floor beside you

except for you, and you, and you, daggy music

and the light of the 4am full moon.



Warm after­noon bike rides beside friends

wind­ing through sub­urbs between

group-house, dirty-dish in sink, dens.

People in Pyja­mas still at 5pm.



People gentle with one another’s love;

giv­ing and keep­ing gifts of collaboration

tangled in the sheets of other people’s ideas,

time, stor­ies and beds.

Swim­ming out behind the waves

that roll and break on other swim­mers’ heads;

lift­ing, your body away from the centre of the earth

up towards a belt of stars;

the milky-girth of the swirling




Sex fol­lowed by scrambled eggs.

The wicked grin that comes from drink­ing other people’s gin.

Everybody’s’ cook­ing,

and all of the legs -

because it’s not your fault for noti­cing that

every­one is just so good look­ing.

A dance in the pasta isle at the supermarket,

not caring if there’s any­one that’s going to stare,

while your housemates

grab the eggs, deter­gent, party cups and camembert

three isles up.



Open eyes and open irises

Open minds pulsing with idea viruses -

Curi­os­ity catch­ing on like an enquiry

inspir­ing contagion.



Climb­ing on sculptures,

get­ting naked at the Carillion.

All your friends

swim­ming and splash­ing beside you

with the lake bur­ley bends:

flash­ing cyc­lists and buses,

pub­lic ser­vants and politicians

on the way home from work.



Being on the internet

alone again at 2am.



Old friends, new faces.

Back yard music and singing at the sky

to let it know that we don’t care

if we can’t get shel­ter from its rain,

We don’t care if it is going to pour down upon us

again and again and again,

and make us cold, because we have

hot drinks, dan­cing and whisky at home.



Smil­ing at strangers, hands in hands

and hands through hair.

And then:

Howl­ing at the moon.

Howl­ing at cars.

Howl­ing at any­thing until

you’re left won­der­ing what kind of

dog, or chimp or animal you are.



Fall­ing asleep with the world spin­ning the feet

off the end of your bed.

Awak­ing to won­der about the adventures

As they slowly mosaic their way back into your

unwieldy head.

Wak­ing to walk the mountain,

start­ing all over again,

with its sun­rises and sunsets.

Neil Gaiman’s Skin

This is a story I wrote this morn­ing, inspired by a con­ver­sa­tion with CJ Bower­bird. It is about Neil Gaiman’s skin and Neil Gai­man retweeted it so I am pretty happy with how this all turned out.



I’ve had enough of this,” growled Ed. “I’m going to steal Neil Gaiman’s skin and take over his life.”
I blinked. Sarah hid her face in her tea­cup.
“Come again?” I asked. Ed turned his nar­row eyes at me from where he was lying on the couch. He seemed to pos­sess too many knees.
“I’m going to steal Neil Gaiman’s skin,” Ed repeated, “and take over his life.”
“Okay,” I said, slowly. The thing about Ed that you should know is that he doesn’t make jokes. He’s the most humour­less per­son I know. Nev­er­the­less, I found this hard to deal with ser­i­ously.
“Ha ha?” I said, prob­ing the waters. Ed’s eyes nar­rowed.
“Did I say some­thing funny?” he asked.
“Ed, man, what are you on?” asked Sarah.
“Noth­ing!” He threw his hands up into the air. He seemed to pos­sess too many elbows, too. “I’ve had enough of this life. Neil Gai­man is a superb writer. He has a per­fect life. He’s mar­ried to a rock­star. I want to be him.”
I thought about this for a moment. “See, Ed, when most people dis­cover someone they admire, they don’t try to steal their skin.”
Ed looked puzzled about this. “Why?”
“Because,” I began, then stopped.
“Because,” said Sarah, “it’s creepy. You’re sup­posed to get bet­ter through effort, not skin-stealing.”
“But why?”
Now it was Sarah’s turn to throw her hands in the air. “Shut up, Ed.”
“Alright. But I’m going to steal Neil Gaiman’s skin. I’m going to do it tomorrow.”


A few days later, Sarah came over again, look­ing per­plexed and wor­ried.
“Ed bought tick­ets to Eng­land and now he’s gone,” she said, hold­ing onto a cof­fee cup like it was a buoy.
“Yes. He was obsessed with this Neil Gai­man thing. I’m wor­ried he’s going to do some­thing stu­pid.”
“He already has done some­thing stu­pid.”
“I’m wor­ried he’s going to steal Neil Gaiman’s skin.”
I laughed, or tried to. The sound got stuck some­where in my throat. It was absurd to think, but I was wor­ried too.
I didn’t see Ed until two weeks later. We weren’t close friends – I only really hung out with him when he tailed Sarah to my place – so he, and his strange ideas, soon passed out of my mind. But then, I came home one even­ing to find him sit­ting on my porch, smoking a cigar­ette.
“Hey, Ed. Long time no see. I didn’t know you smoked.”
Ed nod­ded curtly and crushed his cigar­ette into a corner. “We need to talk,” he said. “Call Sarah.”
“You okay, man?” He looked dif­fer­ent, strange some­how. His face seemed sal­lower. There was a dan­cing dark­ness behind his eyes.
“Just call Sarah,” he said.


Ed had taken up his usual pos­i­tion, sprawled across the couch. This even­ing, though, he seemed to take up less of it, as if he had been gently crushed over the last two weeks. He forked hun­grily at a plate of leftover stir fry like a giant bird. Sarah and I sat in chairs oppos­ite him, wait­ing.
When he had depos­ited the last of the plate into his sharp mouth, he let out a belch and sprawled more com­fort­ably across the couch. After half a minute, he closed his eyes.
“So,” I said, when the silence had become too long to be com­fort­able, “Looks like you didn’t end up steal­ing Neil Gaiman’s skin.”
Ed’s eyes shot open.
“What?” he said loudly. Sarah jumped.
“I said you’re still in your own skin.”
Ed looked at his hands as if he was see­ing them for the first time. A nar­row smile cracked his lips.
“I sup­pose I am,” he said. Then he sat bolt upright on the couch. “I need to tell you some­thing,” he said, his eyes rov­ing. “Some­thing.”
“Yeah, go on,” I said. I was get­ting annoyed and a little scared. Ed was eccent­ric, sure, but never crazy.
“You have to believe everything I say,” he pro­claimed, nib­bling at a stray grain of rice, “and not inter­rupt.”
Sarah and I nod­ded.
“Okay. So I went to Eng­land. It wasn’t hard to work out where Neil Gai­man lived. He’s blogged enough that any­one with access to the CIA data­bases can find his house eas­ily.”
“You have access to the CIA data­bases?” I scoffed.
“I said don’t inter­rupt!” yelled Ed. “Sorry. I’m sorry for shout­ing. Don’t inter­rupt. Okay, so there I was at Neil Gaiman’s house. It was snow­ing. It’s a nice house, dark stone, very nice. Big grounds, full of snow. I broke in. I may have killed someone, that’s not import­ant. I may have killed a dog.”
Sarah and I looked at each other. Ed didn’t seem to notice. He was star­ing at his empty plate.
“I had broken in, Neil Gai­man wasn’t there. I hid in his ward­robe. I waited three days. He was away some­where. I ate things. I ate clothes. Did I eat the dog?” He looked at us. His eyes were spark­ling and dark. He was twist­ing the hem of his shirt with his fin­gers.
“Ed, man,” said Sarah, gently, assum­ing she was per­mit­ted to speak. “I think you have really bad jet lag and maybe you should lie down.”
“No!” exclaimed Ed. “I need to tell you. Or I’ll for­get. I needed to tell someone for a week. Nobody listened. I’m not crazy! I ate the dog! Okay, so I was in the ward­robe. In comes Neil Gai­man. He’s going, here, boy, come on, where are you? He says, what is that awful stench? I jumped out of the ward­robe. He screamed and fell down on the floor. I grabbed a kit­chen knife I had pre­pared earlier. I said, Neil Gai­man, I’m going to steal your skin. He screamed some more and then he stopped when I cut him open. I cut him-” he stopped and drew one fin­ger from the top of his head to his stom­ach “-like that. I thought it’d scar less. I don’t know why I thought that.”
He stopped. He let go of his shirt. He sunk deeper into the couch. A minute passed.
“And then?” I asked, very quietly.
“Then? Oh. Yes. His skin fell open. Like raw puff pastry. There was very little blood. There was a man inside Neil Gaiman’s skin. He was short and had glasses. I said, who the hell are you? He said, my name’s Rob­bie, look what you’ve done, you’ve ruined it for good. He said, when I stole Neil Gaiman’s skin, I did it real care­fully while he slept. He was very unhappy. Then he left. He had a little suit­case all ready to go. I bur­ied Neil Gaiman’s skin in the garden under a tree, but I don’t know what the tree was called. I would’ve bur­ied the dog too, but there wasn’t very much of it left.”
He stopped again. The silence this time was much longer and much fuller.
“Ah,” I said.
“I don’t think he’s going to come back,” said Ed.

There needs to be a Twist to This // Buy me a Beer

Let’s cre­ate the com­plete discipline

to look at what’s around us and under­stand it

per­fectly: thor­ough through both the­ory and real­ity.
But import­antly, let’s remem­ber to keep the text books thin.

let’s begin with his­tory, but for­get the emphasis on

indi­vidu­als, and vary­ing philosophies,

let’s get sci­entific with our social the­or­ies,
apply­ing deduct­ive methodologies;

have tan­gible, quan­ti­fi­able, cal­cu­lat­etable prob­lems
to test our queries.

Let’s not do a, holy-grail scale quest, series of inter­views,
attempt­ing to estab­lish a mul­ti­pli­city of intrinsic truths
try­ing to recon­struct ‘that which was

my, your, his, her, their our inter­pret­a­tion of

what was once writ­ten, then translated,

recon­tex­tu­al­ised and oblit­er­ated before it was

reques­ted and con­tested by the hege­mon’ and then
‘recon­struc­ted by a prophet per­tain­ing to a par­tic­u­lar polit­ical imagination’.

Who then did noth­ing to real­ise  that they

were sew­ing words against the wise just to get a pension.

Let’s get rid of that tension.

Let’s get through this with physics

applied to polit­ics and ser­i­ous stat­ist­ics
study­ing the way soci­et­ies tick.

Let’s not dick around with cre­at­ing a dia­logue, open ended,

no norm­at­ive (or rad­ical) val­ues intended,

no impli­cit, assumed, des­ig­nated or pre-consumed agenda.

Let’s get some data that doesn’t need

a lec­turer who’s role is not as teacher,
but as imperfect-information defender.

And for heaven’s sake: Let’s save a bit of paper,
write some truly axio­matic stuff so we can for­get about expiry dates

And oh man: I can­not wait until we’re in a work space where
we’re not swayed by the publisher’s gender.


Let’s not let this get distended

but hey, I think my mani­festo just ended.


Because as much as I wish it could go undefended:

these knot­ted threads and hashed ends of cables – carrying

inform­a­tion feed back loops through ter­rain and time -

pro­cessing, and fail­ing to, tran­scend the bends

of our Chinese whis­pers with the world:

Our imper­fect extrapolation

of ideas, gen­er­ated in responses to our

ever morph­ing environments.

As much as I wish it could go undefen­ded so we could

say that class had ended after this next chapter

of equa­tions about people steady,
and invari­able in what ever series of situations.

The world can­not be cemented –

it is erratic in it’s static character.

And we are the self-conscious actor given

chaos’ as our grey matter

we spoke ourselves into existence

my grey mat­ter, the man­del­brot set

and your grey mat­ter, the universe.

We are the grey mat­ter that is the blend

of white noise and black text

on a tele­vi­sion set and any given page of the internet.

We are chaos who wraps its coat tales around its

old, over grown stom­ach, bloated and cough­ing from

dis­eased varicose veins of dilated dis­tri­bu­tion,
and dis­place­ment pollution.

And we are the music that sputnik-splutters,
rup­tur­ing, away from Earth’s own face,
we sing the thin inter-planetary whistle of

shuttle sym­phon­ies from a blip-blip-blip in A key,

sur­vey­ing cold war hos­til­it­ies from space,

to a caco­phony of the inter­mix­ing melod­ies of

us, of you, of them, we the human race.

we are the static noise of the bio­chem­ical, biological

philo­soph­ical, his­tor­ical, present and past tense.

And as much as I try – I can­not combine

all of these diver­ging lines of enquiry,

wir­ing real­it­ies in dif­fer­ent directions,

across dimen­sions of mind – and find

a single uni­fy­ing way to ana­lyse that which makes

this grey mat­ter, and that blue world, whirl,

and makes any simple sense.

Crocodile Canberra

Canberra’s funny flat-black,
mush­room topped
moun­tain mingled

tree lined streets

coated in thin-black, thin-black tarmac.

See we, can­berra community,

smoking in what, I don’t know
ash, fires, fumes and tobacco,
always go back this way
along the cycle path.
Along, Barry drive,

along north­bourne avenue,

along the roads curl­ing and alive with

tired tyres

Thin-black thin-black breath in
con­vin­cing grin
suck in suck in smoke.

Exhale thinly, breath­ing easy, wheezy
between Bur­ley Griffin’s water borne disease.

Squat­ted down between prime minister’s knees

we open the cab­inet up to the air
and suck in suck in

wheezy moun­tain dust car­ried in breazily.

And it beginnings:

the thin-black thin-black tarmac

begins to crack

it cal­luses into tiles of cro­codile skin

and the walls that keep us in from the

cold moun­tain air –

frac­ture as the roads around us rupture -

and the land, the ver­teb­rae of moun­tain line

vel­veted in vegetation

starts to sway, swish­ing and creas­ing into a spine.
Here comes the ancient alligator rapture.

Morph­ing into a cro­codile, mon­ster with

a snap­ping smile,

emer­ging from the mud, com­ing up.

Has had enough of our

elec­tri­city our needles of street lights

dig­ging in every night like

elec­tro­fide acupuncture.

The earth erupts

and claws drag them­selves, first legs with stumps
then other lumps of a being big­ger than us,
out of our sur­rounds out of the grounds

we’ve shaved into gar­dens, tamed into

arti­fi­cial lakes.
with thin-black thin-black eyes

who have had enough.

And the mon­ster begins to shake.


Faces built like houses

along a crooked street.

Nestled in

beside out feet.

Houses built like faces

to a sub­urban beat

look­ing out

win­dow eyes greet

our tires as we ride

along a crooked street.

Once Upon a Plastic Bag

For Jinnie’s ‘help me clean up my vil­lige’ fun­draiser, Septem­ber 2012.

To me, it’s essen­tial
to know the names
(Black Moun­tain, Sullivan’s Creek
olive tree, aca­cia, bank­sia)
my grand­mother spoke, off­han­dedly delib­er­ate
the names of plants
(red box, melaleuca, echin­acea, sage)


my grand­father knows the names
and calls of all the birds round here
and I would repeat them
under my breath
(cur­ra­wong, mag­pie, east­ern rosella
wat­tle­bird, butcher bird, Indian minor)
so that when I meet them
I know what they are


my uncle knows forests,
and when I walk with him
no mat­ter the con­tin­ent
he tells me what things are


and by these names I know that
I am stand­ing in a rain­forest
or by a river
or on a beach
a beach, feet in the ocean – by a rock­pool
I saw some­thing scut­tling
I called it Crab, but instead,
it was paper bag


swim­ming in the ocean
I saw some­thing float­ing – a jelly fish?
no, not a blue bottle, but another kind of bottle, not
of the sea


per­haps I should learn the names of plastics
(poly­ethyl­ene, poly­ureth­ane, PET)
my world is full of them
but I don’t know any­one
with a pas­sion for these names

Death Poem #2

We have this prob­lem with things dying
fish in the rain
pigeons in the winter
pots of basil dry­ing out in the sun

We have this prob­lem with things com­ing alive
in the back corner of the fridge
in a for­got­ten bowl of… some­thing
a flower                          in an aban­doned                        cup of coffee

We have this prob­lem with things dying
dreams, ideal, sun­sets, relationships

We have this prob­lem with things com­ing alive
bankers, East and West, blank cheques and bal­ance of power power
power and supermakets

We have this prob­lem with things that are dead
we don’t let them stay bur­ied
we dig them up and burn them
to live in false brightness

we have this prob­lem with things that are dead