Ted Nielsen (b. 1968) lives in Sydney, Australia. Five Island Press published search engine in 1999, and Vagabond Press published wet robot in 2001.
I can't believe there's not
another world where we will sit
and read new poems to each other
- Frank O'Hara
in my grandmother's orchard
are many pony clubs & all the ponies
love to blink
let me never write
of childhood it's much as yours
& just as vital a blankness against
you trace my limbs & let our pose attempt
to answer questions i avoid i am not
a brave man i am without a childhood
& if i if you there is no protection
nothing to offer my darker moods or yours
& soon consumes us if we never
went to school how could we not
have gone together & yet we walked
across the river out of history where we live
apart & part of everything we speak
& beautiful & meet & go away
to meet again & if we dare not vanish
let me never write
& this for you
towards current affairs
the long, tepid afternoon.
i have sulked myself to a standstill,
though perhaps i am 'not well.'
perhaps it is the weight
of all that boring poetry
(will you guys please quit it? shrugs.)
i would like to make
about my life.
i don't think it will be
an interesting film.
all the things i could say
about my friends.
i wonder if talking is a drug?
psychology says yes.
can we arrest the prime minister
for abuse of a controlled substance?
his control is so rigid
i grind my teeth in response.
how could a lifetime of ambition resolve
into something so dull?
(tedium keeps the cabinet in line.
the boys on the front bench look solemn (pompous),
the country settles lower in the waves.)
he would be in the documentary, too.
a kind of comedic figure
who really wasn't very funny,
peering round the edges of the frame
in his silly hat.
the theme music begins.
classic hits & monkey memories
all set out like a dinner!
here at the backend
of the thirty-year crying jag
what got you going
is somehow blurred,
as if you've woken up
with someone else's head
on your brother's shoulders.
leichardt spins around you,
the beginnings of astrology
(bus stop rising in laundromat)
or flawed thinking about sex in terms
of technologies of reproduction,
hips doing the xerox thing
outside petersham station.
ii. higher calling
i walk up some street
ah fuck it.
piss off. like
standing at the urinal
measuring your motives.
i think your one
to contemporary life
was to shut up
why not apply
for a grant
& try again?
iii. the wild, the innocent,
& the king street shuffle
buttocks clenched against the wind
hammering in from halfway to tempe.
geography is meaningless beyond
a sullen reminder i'm not keanu reeves
so the pre-symbolic better leef me alone.
imagism connotes the fascist fetish
but i'm considering the total operation
just as mathematics fails us
or we refloat the slave trade
on a raft of hormones.
what i do with my anger
is sublimate it, how about you?
& is your art really designed
to make me think you're a wanker?
it's doing a great job.
pneumonia. are you at risk?
bright lights / downtown / keanu!
say it ain't so!
iv. kissing cousins
riffing on the way your shoes
rub your heels
won't carry your end of the party,
& those film crews
could be a subtle hint.
best to swallow that
mouthful of wine
& see if you can
repeat that expression,
this time with a tilt of the head?
a little quizzical,
maybe a little skeptical?
okay, places people.
v. trans-tasman facial
rubber dolphins desire pornography
& what you think of as your heart
is a bunch of synapses
you smash with a mallet,
rugged up & screwed around
like '80s anthems played underwater
or listening to the neighbours upstairs
fucking in their bathroom.
a handy guide to statistics
placates your lack & now
inherit their rigour
from scholastic publishers,
an algebra of repression
& the failure of your head derives.
vi. transcendental bullshit
clued in at the speed of light
like the ultimate bassline,
what's the day doing
now i'm more complete
breakfast's hardly a challenge,
just check out my fat arse
on the recliner theory built,
bubble wrapped modalities
deflect every impact
as chemicals precipitate
from the body's solutions
for the soul you're having
trouble trying to conceive.
time for bed & your
time enough for sludge.
where the body forms
an imperfect alibi
like terminal lyric
documentary filmmaking is the perfect toy
& after we decode the menu
the waiter brings our prize.
(go easy on the hollandaise sauce.)
will technical problems derail the evening?
the question as modus operandi
picks you up & drives you home,
self-contained as a history of surfing
recovered from a garage sale,
& outside the field of the poem
the shape of your aversions
is hopeful & seething.
does emerson as transparent eyeball freak you out?
we're giggly & lurching
but you should see us now,
stranded on the lounge /
implacable & remote controlled.