Short and Twisted

I heard yesterday that one of my prose poems, “The Collector” has been selected for inclusion in “Short and Twisted 2012″”

The poem is definitely the weirdest piece I’ve ever written, and is short, so will go well with a lot of other ‘short and twisted’ pieces. It arose out of a chance meeting with a woman I used to work with. When I enquired what she was doing these days, she told me she was collecting tissue samples from men!  Turns out she was working in a laboratory which does tests on men’s prostate biopsies.

My mind ran a bit wild with this thought, and “The Collector” resulted. I’ve performed it at a couple of gigs, and it has got good responses from the audience, ranging from raucous laughter to shocked bemusement.

Anyway, I can’t reprint it until after “Short and Twisted 2012” has been published (around May 2012 I think), so you’ll have to wait.

Poem for the first day of the year

I took up a challenge to write a poem for every day of the month of January. I made a reasonable start, and then faltered when I went away to Goolwa for a week. You would think with time on my hands that it would be easier to write, but sometimes it seems like the opposite is true.

Anyway, I quite like the very first one I wrote, on new year’s day. Here it is:

1st January 2012

The new year delivers itself

cuts loose from its expiring parent

stretches out, flaunting a flawless body

unblemished by broken promises

undamaged by dashed hopes

every bit the potential champion

it takes

    its first



Love and Politics – Can they go together?

Wilson Tuckey

Wilson Tuckey

A while ago, the Poetica poetry group, of which I am a member, set a task of writing a love poem from an unusual angle.  I was thinking about this for a while, and struggling with the concept.  One Saturday morning, whilst passing the time before a poetry slam, I thought to myself “who is the most unlikely person for me to write a love poem about?”.  Answer: Wilson Tuckey.  I sat down and knocked this one up in an hour or so, and performed it at the poetry slam that afternoon.  It didn’t win, but a lot of people liked it.  Veronica Matthews, who is the SA Libraries co-ordinator of the poetry slams, came up to me two years later, and said she still remembers the poem.

It’s always been a favourite of mine, because it still makes me laugh. I sent it off to Voice magazine (a ‘left leaning’ journal) over a year ago. I think the editor missed the point, because he sent it straight back to me by return post, with a note suggesting it would be more suitable for Quadrant (a ‘hard right leaning‘ journal).

Poor old Wilson got kicked out of politics in 2010.  No doubt with a handsome tax-payer funded pension.

Wikipedia tells us some of the highlights (or lowlights) of his career :

Tuckey was one of the most controversial figures in Australian federal politics. In 1967, while a publican in Carnarvon, he was convicted of assault after striking an Aboriginal man with a length of steel cable. It was alleged that the man was being pinned to the ground at the time.He has had the nickname “Ironbar” ever since.
In 1986 Tuckey taunted the then Labor Treasurer, Paul Keating, in Parliament about a former girlfriend called “Christine,” leading Keating to call him “a piece of criminal garbage.” In one notorious exchange, Tuckey told Keating: “You are an idiot, you are a hopeless nong”, to which Keating replied: “Shut up! Sit down and shut up, you pig… Why do you not shut up, you clown?… This man has a criminal intellect… this clown continues to interject in perpetuity.”

 In short, the man was a buffoon. Here’s my love poem to him:

Wilson Tuckey, I Love You Man

Wilson Tuckey, I love you man

the way you look over your glasses

as you kick those journos’ arses

I love your hairy nostrils and your square double chin

but most of all I love the way you know everythin’

not a skerrick of doubt, any subject, any time

you can hold forth. you’re ready to chime

Wilson Tuckey, I love you man

you don’t need no research. no need to hold back

here is your wisdom, you’re on the attack

here is the gospel according to Tuckey

you front them with macho, you front them so plucky

you tell them the answers straight from the heart

they look like stunned mullets as you take them apart

Wilson Tuckey, I love you man

you run rings round those greenies, those tree hugging scum

with their talk about warming, their climate change glum

I trust you Wilson, you know better than them

you can leave them all gobstruck with a home spun gem

Wilson Tuckey, I love you man

you can spot a terrorist at a hundred paces

the ones with the beards and the slightly dark faces

we don’t want them here taking our jobs and houses

with their Qurans and burqas and baggy white trousers

Wilson Tuckey, I love you man

you show us what it means to be Australian

some call you redneck, some say you’re not cool

but you are our bedrock, you are no fool

you are the brown substance of this wide, sunburnt land

and that’s why, Wilson Tuckey, I really, really, really love you man.

On Goolwa Beach (audio / visual)

(if you are reading this in your email, you may need to click 
on the title link above to play the video on the web).

In 2010, I wrote the poem “On Goolwa Beach”. I’m fond of this poem, because it captures, for me, my experience of swimming, walking, relaxing there. Goolwa Beach is a sensational, long sandy beach near the town of Goolwa, on the Fleurieu Peninsula, in South Australia.  The waves on the beach are relentless.  Great fun if you’re a reasonable swimmer, and if you like body boarding. I’m not a surfer, but there are plenty of people who surf there too.  The poem is all about waves, but the word “dogged” came to mind, when I was thinking of ways to describe those waves. Hence the dog metaphor used throughout in the poem.

On the page, the poem is set out to vaguely resemble a seated dog. (See below). At least it does to me.  Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, the publishers of “New Poets 16” (in which the poem was published in 2011) were unable to replicate the formatting. Don’t ask me why. I wouldn’t have thought it was that hard. It ended up looking more like something a dog left behind, than a dog.  So I’ve always felt that the poem never got its just deserts.

I’ve been thinking of experimenting with audio / visuals to accompany my poems.  Rob Walker does some great musical stuff with his work, which has always impressed me (see  So I’ve had a go at putting some sounds and images with the words of “On Goolwa Beach”.  I’ve got a bit to learn in this area, but its a start.  Let me know what you think.

Here’s the video:

And here’s what the poem SHOULD have looked like in New Poets 16:

On Goolwa Beach