01 October 2008


death and taxes

when Elvis died
my sister’s 10th birthday party
was cancelled

when Marc Bolan
drove into the tree
I took two days off school

when Sugar Ray Robinson
lost his last fight
I saw my father cry
for only the second time

when Bukowski
took that last drink
I owned a bookshop
and all I could do
was stare at his words

when my father died
I had his blood
on my hands

but when Hunter S Thompson
blew his brains out
I was drinking red wine
out of a vegemite jar
and snorting lines of speed
off the back
of a Janis Joplin CD

12 hours in
to a 20 hour binge
his death barely registered

some of us take losing
our talent
harder than others
and some of us
are just resigned
to living it out

green thumb

drunk and fucked
I wake up
and it hurts
more than it should
you would think
I’d be used to this
by now
I lay there
trying to remember
where I’ve left the car
this time
then get up to piss
I look out the window
the car is on the lawn
doors wide open
the neighbour
is gardening in the nude
I don’t need this
I shake
pad back to bed
but she’s hogging
the sheets
and I lay shivering
until I give up
get back up
and go watch the neighbour
through the curtains
as she weeds the geraniums


I first heard Lou Reed
in the back of Jimmy’s van
Jimmy let me go through his music
because he had his eye
on my sister
but she wouldn’t get in
the back with him
she was much smarter
than that
so they sat in the front
and I sat in the back
pawing my way through
his cassettes
while he tried to paw his way
through my sister

I was supposed to be
protecting her
I found Transformer
and everything I’d heard about Lou
which wasn’t much anyway
seemed true
so I just listened to the tape
while Jimmy found out
that what he’d heard
which was way too much
wasn’t true

my sister never got back
in the van
so I never got to see
what else Jimmy had
back there
she told me
it wasn’t much anyway

shout at the devil

my cousin and I
sitting in the back room
and he’s telling me about his dream
“there were guys with guitars
and leather
and blood dripped
from their mouths”
and I laugh
toss him the cassette
Motley Crue
Shout At the Devil
and say
“it’s all right here
everything we’ve been waiting for”

we played that tape
until it broke
bought another copy
and did it again
this was our world
and no one else dare enter

now I dream of him
mouth open
blood dripping
and I know it’s bullshit
there was never any blood
just a swelling on the brain
and a slowing of the senses
but no blood

and I wasn’t even there
the day he stopped breathing
but neither was he

and I played that damn tape
all the way to the hospital
after they rang me
but I was too late
and the tape broke
as I drove back home

so I sang the whole album
out loud and alone
windows down
voice cracking
but I sang it

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