Mechanically Separated Chicken.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003


Also, are you even allergic to bees?  This seems like it might be important.

I just don't know about the bees anymore.

It used to give me arms of gooseflesh, imagining the black cloud swimming through your home like an airborne manta ray. The swarm, as I pictured it, would hang in the air, drifting from room to room until it found you undertaking some mundane household activity (perhaps in the kitchen, hands submerged in soapy water, humming along to The Boys of Summer and not realising that this would be the very last time you would ever scrape carrot curls from the blades of your chrome Alessi cheese-grater).

The cloud would hover a moment, silently contemplating the angle of attack. Undulating sexily, it would float into position just behind the nape of your neck where it would form a shape like an exclamation point, or an arrow, or a swordfish aiming its sharpened snout between your atlas and axis vertebrae.

In my vision, this is the best, the most beautiful, the most excruciating part: this ballet of strategy. This moment of stillness before the uncoiling of potential energy. Soon after, of course, there's a mess of writhing and stinging and screaming and squirming and scrabbling for purchase on the kitchen linoleum and so on, just like in the movies. In fact, at this point the special effects go a bit low-budget: we go from, say, Industrial Light and Magic to George A. Romero. But that's okay.

Recently, however, problems more pressing than aesthetics have begun to emerge. I'm starting to rethink my approach. For starters, how expensive are bees these days, and how am I going to get them into your ventilation duct? Can they be trained? Is it realistic to hope that they will actually descend upon you rather than upon the heavy yellow stamens of the arum lilies on your dining table?

Also, are you even allergic to bees? This seems like it might be important. I'll have to slip it into conversation at the next staff meeting.

[This story appears in HEAT #7 and on the Going Down Swinging #22 spoken word CD.]

Monday, January 20, 2003

Funny Like Burning

Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.

This is so funny it makes my dorsal webbing hurt.

Thursday, January 16, 2003


How would he put it? We just don't see each other any more, he'd probably say. Whereas the real truth of the matter is that he doesn't see me and I still see him plenty.

I don't think he realises how sobriety has changed him. He used to dance, used to make happiness go off inside people like a kernel of popcorn. This one time, he climbed a nine foot wrought iron gate to get into a Louis Prima concert, tore the shirt off his back and danced all night in the arms of a cigarette girl without ever spilling his whisky sour. That's who he used to be back then - a real catch, the kind of guy who could turn his baby blues on you and make a drunken twenty minute dissection of contemporary jazz feel like an eight week summer holiday in Tuscany. He was like time away from yourself. He was a long, cool drink of water. He tasted like butterscotch schnapps and smelt like the clean, acetone page of a brand new Playboy, one advertising bespoke slacks or first class air-travel or hi-fi systems the size of a teacup. In essence, he was a real gentleman, but one who also knew how to do the hot potato.

That's all over now, of course. These days he works to a tight schedule that does not include happy hour, cocktail hour or champagne breakfasts. He changed, he changed - the litany of the jilted, I know, but he truly became the kind of guy we used to make fun of. He started listening to Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. He gave away his Reidel glasses and bought a George Foreman grill. One Christmas someone gave him a copy of The Celestine Prophecy and the fucking idiot actually read it every morning on the can. It was so pathetic I almost couldn't bear to watch.

For a while I was in-between friends and used to visit him sometimes. He'd decided not to see or hear me by then, so I used to just tag along for an afternoon, watching him file stock reports and unwrap soggy alfalfa sandwiches at his desk. I used to give him helpful advice which, to his great disadvantage, he could no longer hear.

My friend Tony, who has a great, though exhausting, job as part-time imaginary friend over at a kindergarten, kept telling me, let it go. But when it was good, nobody understood me like that lovable old drunk did. He treated me with respect, he never made me hop over anything, and he never once offered me a carrot. Not even as a joke. Dear God, I loved him for that.

Anyhow, here's what happened. Last month I was helping a new friend of mine do some Rorschach tests at the doctor's clinic when I got a hankering for a smoke. I slipped outside for a moment and that's when I saw him, pulling out of the car-park in his battered sedan. I hadn't seen him for a couple of years and I'd forgotten that, unlike myself, he'd become old. He was hunched over the wheel, white as cornflour and with a peculiar look on his face.

Thing is, I'd seen that look before, eighteen years ago. The day he told me he was 'getting out' and that he'd never liked me in the first place. He looked sick of himself, I guess that's one way to put it, or like his skin was burning and he'd realised he couldn't just take it off like a jacket. Curious, I went back inside to reception and found his file in the cabinet: liverspots, benign melanoma, a prescription for ear ointment. And then, paper-clipped together, a bunch of test results and referrals. Two of them to oncologists. Funny thing is, it wasn't even his liver; it was his colon. And it looks like they might have to operate, poor guy. Take out a whole section.

Y'know, I've always been interested in medicine. Maybe I'll sit in on it.

[* this is a reply]

Monday, January 13, 2003


look. your head went bang.
you were standing there, sulking against the doorjamb
hair growing so fast it made your face sort of out-of-focus
(a blurred halo of speed)
& then it happened.
bingo. exploded.
you'd been swimming and the reek of chlorine filled the room
& gave me a headache. i've still got it.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Monster Truck Mayhem.

Going Down Swinging published a couple of poems of mine in their annual Ozlit anthology a while back and I realised just now that, since their brand spanking new website went online, one of them is available for download in PDF format.

It's not a new poem. It's not a great poem. It's not even about monster trucks, and I have sworn on my mother's grave that all poetry I write from now on will be about either monster trucks or Ralph Macchio's headband in The Karate Kid.

But it's there - and apparently it won't be there forever - so I'm linking to it. Goddamn it.

Monday, January 06, 2003

Looking for a House?

My friend and I are looking for a person of taste and discernment to move into our lovely weatherboard house in Melbourne.

Could this person be you?

There's some more info over here, if you're interested - alternatively, you can just email me to come check it out.