Michael Farrell ~ Three Poems

The Concept Of The Queue As A Justification For Linearity

Catching a bus offsets the cost of addiction. The Australian
Stands at the front yet belongs at the back. Things
Can be learned from browsing the fronts of books, but
There’s no free ride when it comes to
Entering a bus in the middle’s
Like an operation and causes rage from the Jonahs inside
Trying to escape. Being nervous like a word expecting to
Be edited, finding that it’s shifted place. No one takes
Logic that seriously; they take breaks and find themselves
Refreshed and to some extent alive. When translating we consider
The age of each word and the relative respect due
Yet a bus may come at any
Time and even on arriving refuse to go
Further or in the right direction. At the end of
The night’s service, most passengers have been shifted around and
The stops are empty, except for those who don’t want
To go anywhere. They are the full-stops
The ones insisting on shelter. In the line-up
There’s one maroon coat or the drabness is relieved
By a scarf printed with tulips. When did they arrive?
Will we see them again? Perhaps in a much larger
Space, where the scarf will appear like a foreign
Word or note of light and not as it does
Now, a fireplace

The Blue Wheelbarrow

I wake and I take my waking pillow
& cover it with warm milk. Things
Are not as they
Black chickens are popping on the piano lid
Again; Canto V Dorothy says dragging
On the chords. Years of widening
Undies, Canto LXXI drones Olga. Anything, anything
Under a bridge can be a giraffe
A blue wheelbarrow can become a platypus, barking
At a viper
In the night. The viper too cold
To respond. Some people make images, others swallow them
In the background – though life is not
A stage. When we read we put our hat
Under the pew and reach for
Its felt when done. Our hand is bitten, glazed
A blue chicken. Things are – perhaps
In reverse. Canto minus I snaps Mary. The foreheads
Of the National Front. The ideograms
Of purification. The nougat scene. There is a way
Of saying that may result in laying
A boy runs around, or boys, scared
Of talk, weather, tools, shit
Aesthetics, music, stories of paternity. It’s not that
I disagree, it’s that I don’t find
It meaningful. I didn’t want to open up because
Of the smell, which became an
Analogy that you found in a dream, but
I found in
A hymn, being the beneficiary of so much holiness
I mean so much finger. I am
A sick biscuit, tracing the expressions of windows
In the aftermath of friends mating
In the ashes. The blue wheelbarrow decides … Everything is
As they were and are. The War
Of 1812. The Coniston Massacre. Honour the method that
It’s not what I’ve seen that counts: emu wrenches
Off spinifex like they were chewing firecrackers
Giraffe pulls screaming wheelbarrow around the yard or rain

Things Known Vaguely Come Into View

I heard a sound like a wombat gnawing
At Songs of Central Australia but was only
A light hail falling
On Ned Kelly’s helmet. My wife drives by in
An Yves Klein Red HD Holden, while
I make do with a photocopy of
A secondhand pushie because I have nowhere to go
I’m at the Disco of the Finzi-Continis because
I work in the music industry and
I like to boogie
All night long. The night’s theme is ‘Dance
On Mussolini’s Grave’. Scott Walker and Marc
Almond dance to the left of a reproduction
Of the original
AA battery. The perfected now looks like failure
& the unfinished a success. Look
At this dress made with an iron and
A bale of hay: it is the father
& the mother in one. When you come here
You must say ‘Measure for Measure’ or
‘All’s Well That Ends Well’
Or you will never be invited into an
Elizabethan home. You will live and die
Among hedgehogs and wild boar, with your own reflection in
A fountain for human company and a plant as
A postcard pal. When the medium is corrupt
Everyone pays for it, sometimes at
A discount. Gifts tend to make you forget this
Everyone tells you where the real
Is, that the beautiful is where the tarantula lives
Even if they’re not home, because of the increase
In lightning, pollution and right-wing popularity. After
A large dinner
You may walk down the flagstones thinking of Thredbo
& Jindabyne and bushfires
A celibate Hare Krishna devotee wears orange
Yet milk direct from the Virgin is blue. It
Is not enough to take
A bus to the park, you must find
A storybook object such as a green apple
Or yellow riding-hood. I will be there gazing
At ‘Father’s Playing Their Sons’ Guitars in
A Garage’ by Jeffrey Smart, with a jealous look
On my face that I learned from Isabelle Huppert’s fingernails
‘Upside Down’ is playing
& flies come. My fan not
Only keeps me cool but rubs anchovies
Into the wounds and they fall to the floor
Onto political cartoons from the Balmain Morning Herald depicting
Robin Hood playing basketball with his own pumpkin. Pumpkins
Are the symbol
Of moral strength, though many things pose as them
Including those with frost
In their handbags: they claim to keep their relics
From decomposing. But vines climb up
& down Time like baroque scribble: green means stone’s alive

© Michael Farrell

Michael Farrell has published five books: ode ode (Salt Publishing), BREAK ME OUCH (3 Deep), a raiders guide (Giramondo), open sesame (Giramondo) and most recently ‘Cocky’s Joy‘ (Giramondo 2015); ‘Writing Australian Unsettlement‘ is out later this year (2015) from Palgrave.

He coedited ‘Out of the Box: Contemporary Australian Gay and Lesbian Poets‘, published by Puncher & Wattmann in late 2009. Recently he cowrote ‘Waste the Alphabet‘ the Dick Diver single.  His short story ‘Making Love (To A Man) was published in Overland in 2012. He has recently completed a PhD at the University of Melbourne on experimental poetics in the nineteenth century.

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