Tomorrow, I will be getting together with Sheish to have a run through a new set of poems, so thought I would share an old one with you. And with the recent floods and the cool change this one seemed somehow appropriate. So here it is, Empty Garden… it was first published in The Black Rider and was also on our debut CD, The Stillest Hour. Just click on the title and let it play…
We walk through the sun’s diminishing arches until we reach evening’s blue outskirts, then check-in to a cheap motel. In the room, you undress and point to the galaxy swirling above your hips. I ask about the brightest star drifting beneath your skin. That, you say, is a black rose I planted one morning, shortly after emerging from the flood.
None of the many flowers planted take root. Flowers, like dragonflies, their pulsing colours, rise up and scatter in every direction. Frantic winds tear the remaining stars further and further apart. Although night has claimed the city, the moon still glows. Winter, or something known by that name, soaks through the last porous layers, the ones we imagined never growing cold. It is time to start removing your skin, you whisper, its garden of disguises.
The moon continues to glow like poisoned fish. Two lovers kneel beside a lake, marvelling at the border of their reflections. Am I trapped inside his fiction, or is he trapped inside mine? the boy asks. Yes, she says, just look at us. The space between the flowers has started to grow. That, he answers, happened long before we met.
Here’s another clip from the Ocean Hearted Project, performed live at QLD Poetry Festival in 2010, with live music from Sheish Money w/ Namedropper and visuals from Cindy Keong. Watching this brings back so many memories… Cindy and I caused a bit of a stir on the banks of Cabbage Tree Creek when we shot these images. I am sure the local fishermen thought we were from some kind of cult! Viewpoints was highly commended in the Poetronica Award at the 2010 Melbourne Overload Festival and I am very pleased that it is finally available to view.
Back in 2010, I started working with Cindy Keong and Sheish Money on a show that would feature several of the poems from Ocean Hearted, live music and photography. We performed the show at QLD Poetry Festival that year and it still stands out as one of (if not) the best gigs I have ever done. Cindy shot countless photos over the months leading up to the festival and put them together as short films to be screened while we performed. This one is particularly important to me, as the poem was written for my Grandmother and showcases the picturesque landscape of Toorbul; a place that instilled a love of the ocean in me forever. I hadn’t watched this since the show in 2010, so it was a thrill to take it in all over again… Enjoy.
I am still buzzing after last night’s FreeVerse: Page meets Stage event. It was a thrill to share the stage with Pascalle Burton and create a poetic back and forth for the audience that gathered, while Ghostboy prowled, pondered and kept the event rolling with his razor wit and immeasurable charm. Truly a night to remember! If you are in Brisbane, I can wholly recommend getting along to the next event in the series.
One of the real highlights was working with Pascalle to record a version of my poem Anniversary from Ruined Man, which has inspired me to once again lift the lid on the audio vault. This time, I offer up a track that did make it to The Stillest Hour, a regular in the live set with Sheish (though ironically, it never sounds like this anymore):
The hinges on the vault may be a little rusty, but what’s inside is still shining bright. This track was recorded somewhere between 2006 & 2008 at Sheish Money’s home studio. It was one that Sheish fought for to make it onto our album, The Stillest Hour, but for one reason or another, it found itself on the cutting room floor. So for the very first time, here’s Sheish and I performing, Train of Thought.
Recently I have been sorting through our sprawling CD collection, alphabetising and culling and as a result I have found a number of audio gems that I plan to feature on the blog each week. Poet, songwriter, guitar slinger, collaborator, singer and all round musical whizz, Sheish Money and I have been playing together and recording for almost a decade and many of these newly found recordings have never seen the light of day. The thing I love most about them is that they have that absolute ‘live feel’. There are snippets of conversation and laughter as we regularly surprise ourselves. It is all spontaneous, all predominantly one take. Just the two of us in a room, with Sheish then adding some bits and pieces here and there post recording. It’s a process that has brought us both a great deal of joy, so I hope that feeling is infectious.
The first track from the audio vault is a poem from my collection, Ocean Hearted:
Conversation in the Departure Lounge