Michael Farrell is Slopeís Australia editor. His poems appear in Heat, Jacket, Calyx: 30 Contemporary Australian Poets, Verse, Tooth and La Petite Zine. living at the z was published by Vagabond Press in 2000.

the whores

the whores wet from waterfight are
on the track illumining a grey way
their long necks tilt to lush loss
on crisp corners in soggy saunas
we chat we exchange industry hints
how we fill our pages with lashed
visages on the phone to friendsinlaw
the apocalypse will be canary yellow
i doubt that mewed a milder cat
a wilder water wet pyromanic
barbie & her shrimp valise oily
hair from here to there are the
wages of cheap peanut butter thiefs
straying in the grass a chestnut made
a bid for clover ices at midnight
a chance to balance our internal
excolonels hunt intestinal fauna they
sleep with their machines on escape to
unfashionable beaches clamour rules
inconsiderate swimming styles rife
sniff fat chips walk thighs raw the
next apocalypse will be wren blue your
duetting mother called your idealistic
fathers whipped himself into a froth

canberran echoes

the pasts full of holes we fill when
we meet a person hear a phrase
or only a name people wear colours
that match remembered settings its
pleasing & unexciting times reduced
to an adjective timely we warm
ourselves with these red phrases
revive with animosities & revile
without thought for those not there
in the past in canberra with us
she talks of piercing & we mock
our own weariness describe woden
its environs its offspring who even
now push us into scenes they say
are parodies wheres angst located
anyway it left & we reformed
so sit down to tea from funny
boxes politics again a verb if
we concentrate on first impressions
angels may appear between sighs
listening to your timely sewing up

bird in position

as a pancake & destroyer
extravagance comes to me
unstopped by spindles like these
i slept the sleep of the unjust
cracking crystal while i slept
sniffing cocaine from school
the polaroid made a surprisingly
good poster you couldnt tell
a thing ive heard of travel
medicine the bronze draperies
the miniskirts own me for
what its worth i smoke
lotus brings me a light
my knees arent much but in
mes the spirit of the young travolta


moving too slowly to renew single life
the rain doesnt come you drink anyway there
are things you cant find out if you havent kids
to find them out for you & there are things
like day old calls from friends you wont see
again & punches in the jaw while apprentice
police look on identifyingly a book holds
your head up renunciations the theme
educations the second theme of this day
a sandcoloured block holds almost a year of
your past what coffeecoloured milky middleclass
affected afternoons sweet jarred labelled dawns
make up a future a life a bird would call it
sick fly up to a wire with worn insulation
stupid intelligent bird feathers sticking out of your
neck fuck off lay eggs come back to my window
ill give you ash to peck & youll like it
over the border flies interstate trauma you
regret the smoky inaction of pregreyhound
moments each ticket each insult each plea are
just straws to make baskets to use up the straw