K*m Mann – Guest Poet

This month I am very pleased to introduce K*m Mann – a good friend and wonderful writer.

K*m grew up in Alice Springs. She has traveled around the world and lived in America and England. Her poetry has won several prizes and been published in journals, newspapers, online and in books. She has performed, and taught workshops, at schools and festivals around Australia. In 2002 K*m completed a Master of Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide and began to get her short stories published.

Next she co-wrote opera lyrics for a concert with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the script for a new play. 2004 saw her create and direct Skin of the Text; a live installation with text and body. During 2005 she worked with Tutti Ensemble on a project called MOUTH MUSIC. She lives at Henley Beach with a beautiful green-eyed black cat. In addition to working as a counsellor, she is currently writing her first novel.

My live-in mistake

Rain stuttering down
your pencil rattles on the outside table
as the wind picks up again

In the microfiche of my mind,
I’ve located a memory; a watercolour version
of a time we were together; a Sydney of bright colours and champagne

I am not sitting in a garden, not in a park, not by a river
not with you on the Harbour Bridge
I am standing on a balcony with plants in pots, a weather beaten table
a few bottles for recycling and one ashtray
attempting to think out our tangled hair and minds; untangle us.
All the times I tried to ask you what you thought, wanted
When, you didn’t want to say a thing
Words, too much of a commitment to meaning
I had to guess at what you might want
We lived, silently side-by-side, bodies close but our minds’ distance holy

3 months ago I saw you driving on Grange road
– your face looked bleached in the morning sun

On the balcony, the wind picks up corners of paper
an old shopping list, pen on scrap of envelope
from all those months ago, memento of our dailiness
Held down by one small stone from the sea

If you lived, now, by all the rules we broke – I’d not be surprised.
Rain and wind het up off the sea.
My tiny white memory flies up into the air like a helium balloon.

all the pretty colours

she used to love
all the pretty colours
all the maddest shapes
but now
when she looks up
feels strange about the sky

anyway hauls the basket of smelly clothes towards the laundry
loads it up, pushes buttons… sighs
pads back along the hall

turns the toaster upside down
bangs and scrapes, then pushes the crumbs
down the plug hole with her sore fingers
scratches her chin
brings the washing in
all his socks, the red checked swimming shorts…

blinking into the cupboards
can’t find any teabags
won’t look in the afternoon mirror
stares out the window

she doesn’t know whether
he is due back at 6
or if he left a year ago

…she used to love all the pretty colours
all the maddest shapes
and the T shirts and socks
and red and white and blue
but he left
and America bastardised the star
and now

she can’t hang out the washing
and she can’t
look up

previously published Social Alternatives, October 2003


in my dreams
I have no freckles
& my neck is elegantly long

I have written & published & sold
my first book
& my parents are 30 again

I can whistle too
and quirky girls and boys the world over
find me attractive

I visit concentration camps and suffer on boats
I see history

in my dreams I can kiss for 3 or 4 years
with the same person
not needing other sustenance
nor eyes, nor hands, nor head

I dive into the town pool and swim deep under
When I swim to the surface
and there is a thick glass wall
I discover that I can breathe under water

I never fly – I don’t need to
eat sandwiches and chocolate towards morning
float to the surface
& find that I can breathe too, above water


Please note that all material appearing on this website is protected under Copyright laws and may not be reproduced, reprinted, transmitted or altered in any form without express written consent of the author.

Michael Kingsbury – Guest Poet

This month I am delighted to introduce the strange and wonderful poetry of Michael Kingsbury.

Michael’s writing has been published in the Friendly Street Readers, Vernacular and other publications. He performed at Onkaparinga’s Poetry Unhinged Festival in 2005, as well as other venues and events in South Australia. Michael is currently involved with the Tutti Ensemble, a theatre group of variously abled actors, which has provided him an ideal platform for the idiosyncratic nature of his poetry, which is meant to be spoken, embodied, performed, growled, crooned, and chanted.

The Minotaur takes a
cigarette break

And the Minotaur takes a cigarette break
And all christs get down from their crosses
And the prophets take five
And sit around playing dominoes
And stare
Slightly puzzled
At the indigo Hills
And remember they were supposed to be doing
But can’t quite remember what
And after that they chew olives
And drink Chianti till sunset
Whereupon they all get laid in the orchard.

And after that you know what
things got really messed up
And the crusades never even got started
And they wrote a book about that
And there wasn’t much to say
And they stuck it in the Baghdad library
Because the crusades never destroyed it in 1095
And the end of all that
Was the museum of natural history
Was a history of all the things
The Christians didn’t do
And the twin towers never even got built.

* The title references a work of fantasy fiction by Steven Sherill

Published in Friendly Street Poets 30


In the shopping mall
A businessman
is riding
A fat brass pig

A pigeon eats steak off the pavement

everyone has forgotten what to do

A woman in a suit wails to be fed

The mayor skewers
five cent cans into a hessian bag
with the spoke from a bicycle

Anti peace protestors march to
the steps of parliament house

All white people live in the park

Parking inspectors give themselves tickets
everytime they step in a crack

Pensioners are paid to play poker machines

The Premier lives in a tree

Published Friendly Street Poets 29

Burning man Project

My hands are a bundle of sticks tied up with rags.
My feet are made of old tires.
My face burns ceaselessly,
One hundred years.
My tendons crack and ping,
Piano wire from the wings of a World War Two Spitfire
My voice creaks and roars
I frighten crows and starlings, wet myself with fuel oil
And Kerosene, weep field mice and human blood
As I am crucified with the
string and sealing wax of governments
I call out to mama
I am Lazarus with a plan
I will walk my cross to the sea
With the electric impression of Mahatma Gandhi
And make salt from a thousand tears.

Performed as part of The Tutti Ensemble’s
Musical Theatre project “Mouth Music”
Higher Ground, Adelaide 2006


Please note that all material appearing on this website is protected under Copyright laws and may not be reproduced, reprinted, transmitted or altered in any form without express written consent of the author.

A Procrastinator’s Guide to Time-Wasting

Why write that epic novel, hit screenplay or award-winning poem when you can spend your valuable time in a far more creative and rewarding fashion? After all, you’ve got your whole life to write! The opportunity to daydream, doodle and dilly-dally is here and now!

Here are some time-wasting tips from one of the country’s champion procrastinators (i.e. me).

1) The Collection

Start collecting something – dolls, books, antique clocks, records, gemstones, whatever – and you will never need to worry about wasting time ever again. Hours, days, months will pass as you search, sift and scavenge for your chosen collectable. Arrange them, clean them, catalogue them, and display them. The time-wasting potential is endless!

2) The Kitchen

Have you ever noticed how you suddenly feel hungry when you sit down to write? If you plan your day properly you can ensure as little time as possible is spent at the writing desk. Stop for an early morning snack at 9.30am, a mid-morning tea at 11.00am, and lunch at noon. With another three breaks during the afternoon you should be able to fill out your day nicely.

To make the most of these breaks make sure you choose to eat something that takes a while to prepare. If you put the kettle on, make sure you wait and watch it boil. If you toast something in the grill, make sure you check it every 30 seconds or so. And, of course, clean up afterwards!

3) The Vacuum Cleaner

Some people (i.e. my mother) are able to turn housework into a full time job, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to do the same. Vacuum the entire house daily, iron the bed linen and the tea towels, scrub the bathroom floor on your hands and knees, dust the skirting boards, wash the windows, empty the little tray that collects crumbs underneath the toaster – the house is never really clean!

Extra-special time-wasting tip 1 – Try combining point (1) above with point (3) and you’re onto a real winner. Ornaments, antiques or ceramics might require regular attention, even a daily clean and polish!

4) The Computer

It might only be known to Bill Gates and a couple of his friends, but the real agenda of the computer is not to make life easier for us, but to waste our time. Perhaps the aim was to keep us busy while they make more and more money! Whatever! The serious time-waster is not concerned with conspiracy theories, but with how best to utilize the time-wasting potential of the home pc.

For starters, try buying and updating your peripherals as often as possible. And make sure you have everything – webcam, digital camera, mp3 player, mobile phone. That way you will maximize your installation problems, incompatibility issues, and software meltdowns. Instal lots of complex, RAM-hungry software; download recklessly and fill your hard-drive with junk. Believe me, you will soon be wasting more time than you thought possible.

Extra-special time-wasting tip 2 – Try combining point (1) above with point (4) and you’ve hit the time-wasting jackpot! Draw up an inventory of your collection in Microsoft Excel. Design display labels. Use the Internet to research your interest and expand your collection.

5) The Illness

Feeling tired? Got a headache? A runny nose? It’s hard to perform creatively when you’re not feeling 100%. So don’t bother trying. Curl up on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate and watch some heart-warming sitcom, or snuggle under the bedcovers in a Codeine-induced haze.

The best thing about this time-wasting alternative is the guilt-free aspect. No one will dare accuse you of being lazy if they learn you’ve been sick! The other bonus is the complete lack of effort involved. Just lie back and watch the hours roll by!

Use these ideas well and you should be able to delay your novel-writing or other creative project indefinitely. I’ve got the feeling you’re already well on the way to becoming a first-rate procrastinator. After all, the fact that you’ve just read this article means you’ve got some time-wasting talent!

Kerryn Tredrea – Guest Poet

This month I am very pleased to introduce the poetry of South Australian writer, Kerryn Tredrea. Kerryn is well known in the Adelaide poetry scene for her provocative writing and lively spoken word performances.

those moments.

it’s in those moments
when i’m caught
between touching you, and
not touching you,
and finding out that the truth
doesn’t always move
the narrative along
that my life takes on the
orchestration of a car accident.

it’s in those moments
when i keep finding the wrong
way to express myself
that i get the feeling i’m
a tourist here,
in my own town,
in my own home,
in my own bed.

it’s in those moments
when i’m pushing
myself too far, but somehow
it’s never far enough
and the burden of
carrying ugly
is just a knife slice
short of too heavy….

it’s in those moments.

art form.

sit by the window. type with one hand till the prozac takes hold. drop out to your alter ego ‘strap – on girl.’ take on the world with your sinister sister. paint pictures in porn. establish galleries of eyeball scraping masterpieces. break through the barriers of depravity and find fame in the strangest of places.

angels speak in fingers and tongues like deaf people. you are secretly suspicious of the handicapped. refuse to learn their language. still their sounds loop through your mind like a skip rope rhyme. your shadow slumps in the corner, exhausted, the little egos that you nurture in the window box are struggling in the winter sun, your guts feel like a traffic jam of fire engines. oh the humanity.

plagued by impossibilities, you obsess with pretensions at company. leave the door creaking. read dead lovers love letters. use comfort puppets around the lounge room and as occasional dance partners. put pillows under the doona, roll over and pretend that someone’s there.

loneliness, like pornography is an art form.


winter walks behind me but is sympathetic to my needs as foot falls echo off deaf walls and the gutters give nothing away to the full, fat moon hanging belly heavy in the early sky, mocking my moods and the decisions i make. but, girlfriends forever i never hold it against her even though her body is very beautiful.

desire comes too, clinging to an unfortunate chain of events that eventually show up in my underwear and inner linings. she is slow and chooses the shadows since being wounded in the war that nearly bought the whole house down. i wait for her because her dreams are strong.

adrenalin from within gives me speed, gives me needs that i cannot put names or faces to. and when i see my brother standing by the road i do try a little kindness but that only winds up as another meat hook moment – i just don’t know how else to end it when tender doesn’t cut it and nice doesn’t have him begging for more.

vibrations shake each footstep is a beginning and an end, a moment and a memory making tear drops mix with beer slops as i bumpy ride my way is long, longer than either road travelled no matter which route you take helicopters circle in a serendipity that rarely touches me but shines brightly through the eyes of others.

if it’s my way or the highway then i try the middle of a green lighted george street – rush hour pushes trucks thunder rumble through my every membrane where the word of the day is alert to flirt with danger no stranger to straddling the thin white line that is over in a footstep, in a heartbeat, in a sigh.

About Kerryn:

i am an adelaide poet, spoken word tourist and current secretary of the friendly st. poets committee. my publishing credits include paroxysm press anthologies, vernacular, sidewalk, friendly st. reader, releasing my first book “adventures in captivity” in 2004 through paroxysm press. my poem “cigarettes and speed don’t work anymore.” placed third in the melb. poets union international poetry comp. 2004. currently i am putting the finishing adjectives on a novella and planning my next trip to the overload poetry festival in melbourne. i like my poems to have a short attention span and sharp edges.


Please note that all material appearing on this website is protected under Copyright laws and may not be reproduced, reprinted, transmitted or altered in any form without express written consent of the author.

GM Walker – Guest Poet

This month I am pleased to feature poetry from G M Walker’s new collection blue woman, which was launched last month by Jude Aquilina and Graham Rowlands at the SA Writers’ Centre.

G M Walker has published in Friendly Street anthologies #17, #18, #21-#30, SideWaLK 9, Fingers & Tongues (Paroxysm Press – 2002), Reclaiming anthology: healing our wounds (2005), FunHouse #3 (2005) and ArtState #25 and read her poems at many spoken word venues and festivals in and around Adelaide.

for Clive

I people my memories
with images of you

sex in the suburbs

3am – I am woken by
‘are you gonna give me a fucken root or what?’
so loud – so close
I thought he was in my bed
just my downstairs neighbour
they have 4 or 5 kids already
I hoped the answer was no

long and black

Café Bravo – Norwood
I order a long black
she says
like your hair
I laugh
different from the usual response
like your men

Buongiorno’s – Adelaide
I order a long black
he asks
what’s wrong with short blacks
I laugh
he is
short and black

the swan

six months after my lover died
I found myself sitting on a park bench
by the River Torrens wondering
what kept me from throwing myself in
I could think of at least one person who drowned there

a black swan waddled towards me
stood in front of me
started preening itself – exposing hidden white feathers
I marveled at the agility of its neck
how it could reach every part of its body

a couple in matching blue outfits jogged by
a young family on bicycles rode between us
the swan stopped – waddled up
to my park bench then past
onto the parklands behind

it was a beautiful day
other swans were in pairs followed by their young
splashing about in the water – I noticed the sunshine sparkling
on the river then looked again into its murky depths
my eyes filled with tears

the swan returned
this time he came right up to me
his red rimmed eyes stared into mine
he started to peck both of my outstretched legs
tenderly – gently pecking up and down
then my hair – he stopped – looked at me
continued – my shrieks of laughter
did not scare him away

after ten minutes
I said “Mr Swan thank-you, but
I have to go now” – he backed away
allowed me to get up and walked with me
part way up the parklands

blue woman is available in good book shops, published by Bookends Books (bookends@chariot.net.au) and distributed through Wakefield Press (http://www.wakefieldpress.com.au/), or can be purchased direct from the author (gmwa10@yahoo.com.au).

To hear G M Walker read from blue woman please come along to the SA Writers’ Centre on Friday 26th May 2006. G M Walker is one of four poets reading on the night. Full details as follows:

Bookends Poets – Readings from Poets
published by Bookends Books
Friday 26th May at 6.30pm
at the SA Writers’ Centre
2nd Floor 187 Rundle Street

Kate Deller-Evans, Steve Evans,
David Mortimer & G M Walker.

all welcome – light refreshments available
Bookends books on sale
Bookends Books and Music
PO Box 216 Crafers SA 5152
(08) 8339 2483


Please note that all material appearing on this website is protected under Copyright laws and may not be reproduced, reprinted, transmitted or altered in any form without express written consent of the author.

David Mortimer – Guest Poet

This month I am very pleased to feature poems and images from David Mortimer’s second collection, Red in the Morning, which was published late last year by Bookends Books.

Red in the Morning is a collection of 99 poems grouped month-by-month, along with 15 original works by photographer Josie Mortimer, the poet’s sister. The poems reproduced here are: firstly, the title poem; secondly, a tribute to Robert Johnson, the American blues singer from the 1930s; and thirdly, a poem written at the time of the Australian waterfront dispute in 1998 – brought to mind as we face even more threatening industrial times in 2006.


The red-in-morning-sailor’s-warning thing
Lights your back, your skin, our whole room
In the slow strobe of an emergency ward

Quieter than thought, than thought can even be thinked
Everything is water-colour linked
Water-colour warned
Warned in its waters

Against embarkation, dies illa
A day when setting out is dangerous, beset

At the beginning, before the start
For any with eyes open
We are given the universal colour of threat
The bard weather-wise
The words curt


Singer song wrought voice guitar supreme
Beyond mastery of craft aware, intent
That no thing shall be other than it is
By any thickness, settled in, called same
And each from each the soul/strings/self laid bare
As this this this this this
Shall own themselves, repeat only themselves, prepare
Only the deepest, freshest, truest, wildest named and struck
Resonance of meaning all through meaning’s
Straightest dance, sweetest play, signally astringent, precipitous
Aching entertainment’s inward mirth
Of impossibly precise sheer joy


Find a forum
Bounce around until
You find a forum, don’t be still
You’ve got to keep moving, as the blues kill
Anything that stands too long
In one place, once
Without sanctuary
Or grace

The hail
Flying sharp
And many-sided will
Razor any fabric any length to lace
Unsinew strength and punch a pattern; spill
The heart of any goodness down the salt of any hill

You find the space
That grounds and shelters
There in time to trace, expand
And mount a case, expound the virtue
And the vice; and hope to cut down inlets
Close down angles that must face the coming
Snarl for access of that whirling hound
Whose muscled hackles rise in turning
Bare computation of a corkscrew’s chance to
Radiating hatred out of meat-dead eyes
The wave of cruelty/ too-much-knowledge/ violent haste
Lays waste, gnaws inward
Likes the blood to race
And yet taste

Red in the Morning (ISBN 1 876725 63 X; RRP $22.95; published November 2005) is available in good book shops, published by Bookends Books (bookends@chariot.net.au) and distributed through Wakefield Press (http://www.wakefieldpress.com.au/), where Mortimer’s previous collection Fine Rain Straight Down is also available, along with collections by Elaine Barker and Tess Driver, in Friendly Street New Poets Eight (Wakefield Press 2003).


Please note that all material appearing on this website is protected under Copyright laws and may not be reproduced, reprinted, transmitted or altered in any form without express written consent of the author.

Poetry Matters

It’s shaping up as a busy month in Adelaide for book launches.

Rob Scott and Bookends Books continue their support of the local poetry scene with the launch of Gail Walker’s long overdue debut collection, Blue Woman. Gail is well known in the Adelaide poetry scene as a writer of succinct, often dark poems about love and life. I will be featuring some of Gail’s poetry on this web log next month. In the meantime, a sample of her work is available to read at the Friendly Street website.

Blue Woman will be launched by Jude Aquilina and Graham Rowlands at the SA Writers’ Centre on Friday 21st April 2006. Celebrations begin at 6.30pm. All are welcome.

One of the sadder events of last year was the death of local poet, Ray Stuart.

Ray was about to launch his second poetry collection, High Mountainous Country, No Reliable Information, when he passed away suddenly last September. Ray’s family are now looking to launch the collection on 25th April (Anzac Day) 2006 at 2pm. Once again, the venue is the SA Writers’ Centre, and the ‘launcher’ is Jude Aquilina.

High Mountainous Country is a collection of poetry drawn from Ray’s experiences as a serviceman in Papua New Guinea in the 1960s. Complementing Ray’s poems are photographs by Teunis Ritman. For more information about Ray and his work visit www.raystuart.bigpondhosting.com

Support South Australian poetry and attend both launches.