Malachi Doyle graduated from Monash University in Melbourne. His poems have been published in Sidewalk, Social Alternatives, Cordite, Swintax and Pelt. He is also a drummer and singer/songwriter for the Bula Brothers, the acid-gospel act Apocalypse Riders, and Prick Rice.

today & probably tomorrow (snailman)

best (to) retreat in
side my shell 'til such a time
my balance re
turns. you deserve well chosen sym
bols, through movements well timed

today, my love's a
desperate man's – & so crooked
am i, even in
action is misplaced (&) all
you get is loneliness

hotel/café blues

the more i live, the
weirder i feel, the more i'm sure
they chose the wrong bits /things
to name – (better to have no
words than advertising jingles)

we will go on /(so)/(but)
ordering beers & smokes – thanks –
& wait for the weather to change


          not saturday evening, when 80% of the city plays in
          or nearby, but midmorning, when the place is only 40%
          full – 10 a.m. on a tuesday or some such


the writer thinks:

a casino play
write doesn't need props – the veil
of cigarette smoke, through
which the actors enter &
exit is already here


the writer thinks:

the novelist needs no
fancy, just dictation - the
sounds: warring for re
cognition – the bleep music
of pokies with teen lovesongs


the writer thinks:

watch!: the skyblack ceil
ing dotted with stars the coin
camoflaguing rugs – play
ers sit, dealers stand, extras
who appear for but split seconds


the procession thinks:

the old theatre say
ing goes: there's no small parts, just
perfomances – drink
waiters, cleaners, store room troll
ey pushers, a mail man...


the mailman thinks:

each day shouldering
the black bag, i journey through
quiet offices, errie
tunnels, & out into the
stadium – like an ancient marathoner


a man (sitting at a poker machine) thinks:

money. a young wo
man (eating a burger) thinks:
money. a man in
a red sports jacket, & white
patent leathers thinks: money


the croupier says:

to him sucking on
the cuban, & all of you
at this roulette ta
ble: last bets! – i wave my hands
over the magicians' wheel


the gambler thinks:

cigar, you can smoke
yourself – it's number 5, c'
mon sweetie – same numb
er as the collatoral
house - let's get back on that track!


his girlfriend thinks:

he takes a quick nip –
i'm still the hour glass figure
at his hip for a
tip – to match him drink for drink
i only swallow one sip


the croupier thinks:

i'm well rehearsed –
a product forged under high
heat at the casino's
college – where clean cut perform
ers with clear minds are turned out

... doubt your technique? don't! or
meltdown & reshape again...


the drink waiters' school says:

"drink waiters do this
every clean cut day – be
efficient & pat
ronise – & one in five hun
dred will get a $5k tip"


the mail man thinks:

dip my well practiced
hand into the bag – & fish
out the 3 letters
for our next bay & dock, bound
in a doubled rubber band


the mail man thinks:

watch: (as) approaching
the next mail box – in one move, the
sensei will release
th'envelopes from the rubber band's /papers
grasp & bracelet his wrist – whoops!...


the rubber band thinks:

i don't care where to –
i fly with full sail ! the air's
thick like between dreams
– whoops! looks like i'm headed for
a spinning wheel – though it's slowing


the spinning wheel, slowing, thinks:

little ball little ball
you are set on number five
feel fate's dizzy vibrations –
hear that man's voice rough with ce
lebration & relax...cease?!


nobody thinks:

a rubber band from
a dexterious hand & a million
times perfect routine
fouls a roulette ball off its perch
the stopped wheel adjudicates "10 black wins"


the gambler says:

i don' t believe what's
happ'ning – & the meek voice that
says this can't be mine!
oh, here it comes violent with rage
screaming out what the fuck?!

the mailman thinks:

lucky my dili
gent eye can follow chains of eve
nts too quick to catch
& redirect to safe
ty & service excellence


the mailman thinks:

solely concern my
self with leaving this scene – be
ing absent from mem
ory – quickly & silently
on to the next deliv'ry


the eye thinks:

i eye of rage spins
quick & then quicker, like a
drill nib, & then quick
er: sound the work songs of the
devils of retribution


the rubberband thinks:

them hypnotised by
"payback" won't spot materi
al evidence – like
the rubber band (is) in the slut's
– un'er the lemon slice


the girlfriend thinks:

next day, no problems get
ting more cash – plenty more house
s to wager – no,
'greater concern is "finding /of
the fucker responsible!"


the gambler thinks:

don't tell me what hap
pened was god (& even if
it was!), i'll find the
fucker responsible, sweet
heart, & fuck them responseless


the girlfriend thinks:

angry men have their ad
vantages – if i top up
the bag with cheap co
caine he should be too absent
to notice the good shit's gone?


sunny spring afternoon
– watching the city across
the bay hide & peek /seek
through the mist like an imag
inary thing... & vanish


perhaps once like bloss
om, i talked all through one night
not stopping for ov
er a week on the subject
of wet bark 'gainst a pale sky


once upon a time
there was a really bright star.
he was misunder
stood or unable to be
appreciated by the

dim wits. but eventual
ly he got recognised as
the one & only
beacon & the other lights
happily receded.