Monthly Archives: October 2012

red moon
rising on her neck
a mosquito bite

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SpeedPoets Call-Back-Poet #7: Jo Brooks

I am now officially counting down to next Sunday’s (November 4) SpeedPoets Open Mic Championships. It’s been another incredible year and I have no doubt, the 8 poets who were ‘called back’ will be breathing their finest into the mic when there name is called. So let me introduce you to another one of these poets, Jo Brooks.

If we are to mark the passing of
This Precious Life
Please
Do not invoke
a minute’s silence
That time would turn
hearts into clocks,
counting
beats, breaths, debts, receipts
But I cannot commemorate
in peace and sterile quiet
Though some may seek comfort
in the circumference
Some may find control
in measured emotion but
it is not commensurate
with the chaos and commotion
of those last unholy moments
confounding
belief, doubt, depth, reprieve
and these silent seconds
are no communion
For I know
This one did not go quietly

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Jo Brooks doesn’t like to talk about herself in the third person. If you’d like to hear her fumble through a first-person introduction, head to http://speedpoets.com/2012/03/17/march-call-back-poet-jo-brooks/

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2012 SpeedPoets Open Mic Championships

Date: Sunday November 4
Location: Brew (Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane City)
Time: 2:30pm – 5pm
Entry: Gold Coin Donation
More details at www.speedpoets.com

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SpeedPoets Call-Back-Poet #6: Cameron Logan

Known to some as ‘The Maximalist’, Cameron Logan has been delivering performances that combine science, surrealism and a razor wit on stages from Bellingen to Brisbane. He has poured his wordy concoctions into the ears of SpeedPoets’ audiences for several years now, and will be bound to deliver a set of Shakespearean proportions when he hits the stage in November as part of the 2012 SpeedPoets Open Mic Championships.

Mental Health Warning

Mental health warning: Discontent is bad for you.
Discontent will fuck you up like syphilis.
Reality check bounces to the forlorn beat
of a broken man
and I, can
only plead indifference.
Bled out, and blinkered
from trivial things, like
taxes
mining
and sudden onset protest voting syndrome.
Lazy nights of high-brow banter, G and T and fair-weather philanthropy will not. Save. Anyone.
Mental health warning: National calamity may cause everyone to become an expert on everything.
If you can’t wax lyrical about climate change and public assets then what… Good… Are you
To listen… to the bickering of colleagues and wonder if you could EVER stop caring,
COULD EVER ATTAIN a sense of peace that transcends anthropological footnotes, that,
breaks free from restraints man-made and theocentric.
A severance.
From killjoy Nietzsche and dime-store nihilism,
wrathful God and vengeful Dawkins,
And I
Can’t even consider prayer.
Medicate yourself with culture,
And break even with those around you.
Swing, gently swing and roll with the clear night sky
that beats out the benevolent rhythm of joy and, shallow contentment,
Faster now, FASTER,
CLIMAXING guitars and jazzy violins as the night wears on with youthful screams of
atonal ecstasy and gay abandon.
For those… who find one another. No more
No less
To feel the arsenic kiss of outrageous fortune as she envelops you in a cloud of delicious discontent,
Salute the setting sun!
Salute the drunken clergy!
Salute the revelers, the entourage, the sacred prostitutes who ply their wares behind stained glass to the rhythmof Gershwin’s Rhapsody.
Look upon creation.
And see.
That it’s mostly good.

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Cameron is a hybrid of farm labourer and perpetual arts degree monkey. He enjoys slam poetry, page poetry and most garden varieties of spoken word. He likes long walks across arctic tundra and shouting at people in cafes. In his spare time he tries to think of the least original thought in the world.

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2012 SpeedPoets Open Mic Championships

Date: Sunday November 4
Location: Brew (Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane City)
Time: 2:30pm – 5pm
Entry: Gold Coin Donation
More details at www.speedpoets.com

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SpeedPoets Call-Back-Poet #5: Andrew Phillips

It’s been such a massive couple of days… first up, I want to thank everyone who was there to celebrate the launch of The First 30 and other poems on Sunday. I was overwhelmed by the turn out and the love in the room was especially big. Reading those poems to the backdrop of babies chattering and kids playing was such a thrill. I will be posting Nathan Shepherdson’s launch speech and some photos later in the week, so will share a few more of my thoughts on the event then. Right now, I want to share some words from SpeedPoets Call-Back-Poet #5, Andrew Phillips. Andrew is the co-author (with Tiggy Johnson) of That Zero Year, a collection I was privileged to write a blurb for. This is how I summed it up:

From the sudden weight of Thirteen weeks to the biting complaints of Fishing, That zero year screams with joy. These poems form a dialogue of love and loss; unpicking stitches in the family weave to welcome us to the bedside table of these most private moments. Here, we witness breath-taking devastation – the missing knee in the chest, the remembered rub of a belly – and wide-eyed wonder – a smile wriggled through to the toes. That zero year is an unflinching celebration of breath and blood. Phillips and Johnson know what it is to be alive and we are richer for it.

It was wonderful to have Andrew read at the launch of The First 30 on Sunday, so to feature his words here, is again, a  real pleasure.

moment, for a currawong

too heavy for air
between cathedral roots
of a black booyong
wing bent back
it floats in the decomposing leaves

its expression; noble
as the way it stood
in suit jacket
piercing 
yellow eye
closed
offering 
itself
to the forest workers
who will massage
 everything back to soil

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Andrew Phillips grew up surfing, rock climbing, scrambling through rainforest in South East Queensland and never ever read poetry.  ‘It must be some kind of bug bite on a steep traverse through a council library.’ In 2012 he performed at the Qld Poetry Festival and launched ‘That zero year‘.

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2012 SpeedPoets Open Mic Championships

Date: Sunday November 4
Location: Brew (Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane City)
Time: 2:30pm – 5pm
Entry: Gold Coin Donation
More details at www.speedpoets.com

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blossoms fall
while I rake
the hum of bees

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SpeedPoets Call-Back-Poet #4: Nicola Scholes

It’s Friday night, time to chase the light, so before I drift off into the blustery Brisbane night, here’s the 4th poet in the SpeedPoets Call-Back series, author of Dear Rose, Nicola Scholes. Nicola has been a regular SpeedPoets contributor now for many years, so it is an absolute pleasure to be sharing her words.

Aniseed Balls (I Wish to Resign…)

I wish to resign from my position of slavery and subservience

I wish to resign from the 24-hour factory turnaround cogs in the brain

I wish to resign from hungry stomachs starved spirits drained drudgery

I wish to resign from a partitioned life, computers printers faxes photocopiers are not made out of grass, and it’s no fun running round them

I wish to resign from this machine angst: the toner has run out, it’s as thin as my blood, the printer is out of paper, it’s as empty as my head aches need paracetamol the air is conditional, the stapler has cracked its last

Do not worry about me, I will go like Bartleby to my grave besides I’ve still got a filing system at home, I’m going to clip my winged articles

Goodbye to the paper moon and the cardboard stars I have cut you out for too long

Don’t ask me to flex my muscles under your corporate clock

I’m giving you my notice now—21 days I’ll expect some fuss, a morning tea, don’t disappoint your clients

It’s no good paying me when you spend it too

Don’t try to intimidate me with your red-necked fluffed up self-importance

Don’t cock-a-doodle-do down my neck: you’re too late, at the end of the day it’s just one of those things

I won’t lose sleep, run up and down steps for you, I won’t speed on the highway for you, miss my breakfast for you, this is the ugliness we’ve created lethargic prisoners numbed by re-runs, smiles, words, thoughts, movements, (how many times have I scaled this carpet?), burning off steam on the wheel of ambition, counting the dollars, editing our emotions, ticking off our lives, saving our energies for some day—is the weekend really as fantastic as we hope it will be every Friday afternoon, running out of the offices, satchels flying…

Somewhere—we know—the faxes are left on.  Our fates are being printed out in a perfect typograph, and all the yellow rejects will fill the bins on Monday.

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Nicola Scholes is the author of Dear Rose, which won the 2009 “Dreams Ain’t Broken” Small Change Press Chapbook Competition. Nicola’s poems have also been published in various anthologies, books, magazines, and journals, including The Australian Library Journal, The Broadkill Review (USA), Cordite Poetry Review, Finger, Forge (USA/UK), Hecate, Hibiscus and Ti-Tree: Women in Queensland (Hecate Press, 2009), holland1945, Page Seventeen, Poems in Perspex: Max Harris Poetry Award 2007 (Lythrum Press, 2008), Social Alternatives, Stylus Poetry Journal, and Verity La. Nicola performed at Queensland Poetry Festival in 2011, 2009, and 2008, and has also been an actor in Brisbane community theatre. She has published two articles on Beat poet Allen Ginsberg as a part of her current PhD research: “Adapting Kali: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Stotras to Kali Destroyer of Illusions” in U.S. Studies Online, and “The Difficulty of Reading Allen Ginsberg’s Kaddish Suspiciously” in M/C Journal.

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2012 SpeedPoets Open Mic Championships

Date: Sunday November 4
Location: Brew (Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane City)
Time: 2:30pm – 5pm
Entry: Gold Coin Donation
More details at www.speedpoets.com

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SpeedPoets Call-Back-Poet #3: Carmen Leigh Keates

Just back from a great new Poetry Open Mic gig at Little Prince Espresso and feeling very lucky to live in this city. For those keen to fill their ears with words, the next gig there is scheduled for Thursday November 15.

And of course there is SpeedPoets on Sunday November 4. One of the many features at the gig will be Carmen Leigh Keates. Carmen has had a big year, publishing her first collection, One Broken Knife as part of Brisbane New Voices III, featuring at Riverbend Books and QLD Poetry Festival and being the Call Back Poet at the April SpeedPoets gig. She is currently writing a series of poems about Russian Filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, so I thought I would share one of these works:

Flocks of Eider
(Watching Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev.)

When it snows
in the cathedral the snow is
feathers. Some say
it is an embarrassing oversight
while others think this is
poplar fluff floating by to
subtly mark a change in season.

Maybe it is flocks of eider
gliding overhead where
the frescos used to be.

Or ectoplasm streaming
like bandages in the wake
of the ghost of Theophanes.

Perhaps the film is actually
on the sea bed and the sky
is the water’s surface refracting
all Russianness into a kind of
woven papyrus of light
from which our Kirill reads
in his mysterious hood

and from his mouth the bubbles
need no translation for us to recognise

incapacitating self-suspicion.

(for those of you keen to check out the film, you can watch it free online here)

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Carmen Leigh Keates was born in Brisbane. Her verse novella, Second-Hand Attack Dog, was commended in the 2011 Alec Bolton Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript, and her poem ‘One Broken Knife‘ was commended in the 2010 Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize. Carmen is undertaking her PhD candidature at the University of Queensland, for which she is writing poetry about the films of Andrei Tarkovsky.

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2012 SpeedPoets Open Mic Championships

Date: Sunday November 4
Location: Brew (Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane City)
Time: 2:30pm – 5pm
Entry: Gold Coin Donation
More details at www.speedpoets.com

2 Comments

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