Three Poems

Michael Farrell

'Man Overboard' Smoothes the Pillow of Burke and Wills

The song brushes away pubic hairs (flies) from the lips of
Burke and Wills, using Heath Ledger as a bookshelf. If 'Man
Overboard' was pure patience it could just read Capricornia and
need Heath Ledger at all. Burke and Wills don't notice his
presence and the books are all turned spine in. Soon there
would be no more explorers: kind of sad, but they are
not part of the current vision. 'Man Overboard' reads The Tree
of Man and The Golden Bough: sometimes aloud. Burke and Wills
stare at the sky, visibly deteriorating; you are perfect and imperfect
that will never change, whispers 'Man Overboard'. The song regrets
bringing John Hargreaves to be a standing, unslamming door, perhaps
though images and even design might be an offence to the
dying. That someone so good-looking can hold so many books!
Gawain and the Green Knight, The Yellow Wallpaper. Yellow wallpaper
not be depressing in the outback sun. Pastures Of the Blue
Crane. What do I love? the song asks itself. There is
little sign of a body to Burke and Wills apart from
the mouths and eyes. The Little Penguin Book Of Toilet Jokes
will not be denied. 'Man Overboard' considers materialising as
          a score
to trap crows and tamper with the past. Instead, the song
initiates a conversation with the air about objects. 'Songs don't need
sweetness though they may contain it', it began. 'An actor may
become a bookshelf, a song move out of the playlist – and
the minds of listeners – into a socially involved and meaningful

Like a Lamington

The zeitgeist takes a chance and turns around the meaning
though it doesn't seem to know how tainted it is. You gesture
to the soft blocks, why not? Mixed-up, blurry, blue-eyed nation
where 'blue' means under the ground, and 'eye' means what
blocks vision. I'm staring at this history plate with its scene
          of hunting. Its meaning seems to change with the
minutes. Or a girl stares at the equations
on the board, with other crossed gazes in the room. You read
          it because it's there. 'Opal should
be an element.' A class decides what it learns. Behind the
          wire, knowledge. Bodies know things that stop them, harden
the mind. Queer hidden things are the clue
to what we're proclaiming. The magpie with a lamington
          in its nest, a bellbird with an opal, the
young Irish boy at the blacks' camp dreaming of finding a
          coconut shaving and saving someone from hanging or
A committee for an Australian periodic table's established
It conforms to a preexisting model of things known, such as
          meat. The mechanisms are assembled, glued. The
host sails towards you, brushing at their shoulders. You may
          be invited to a rodeo. You may be
perfect in the morning, but not flower in
the afternoon. You fly over the monument, the unbombed
          walls, crumbs falling from your beak, understanding the

Australia Is A Nonentity Including PC Readings Of 'Down Under' And 'Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?'

If we have a little money, we can go to that
other non-Europe, Tasmania. That country really does want to hurt
us. Travelling over that non-monarchy, the ACT, to Sydney, for
vegemite. Another lie! Well, things settle down soon enough if
pounded. Songs look us in the eye. (Excess depletes.) Does
that excuse us (them?) from evil? I think about these
things when acted upon (like maggots on a wind chime
The many countries of the west, undefined by the Pacific
Leave no clues. The naïve sweetness of foreigners, the artificial
barbarity of coastlines. Not only are kangaroos present in every
country, their clucks and coughs travel from each to its
neighbours. Standing like a grey with its flute ripped out
'Down Under' will still leap when frightened of being kissed
or accused of visiting museums. Others go inside its walls
and ephemeral pouch. Snake-eaters fly over the Blue Mountains
like radios. Look up: now you've snake blood in your
eyes. The more inquisitive ask, does 'Down Under' lay eggs?
British naturalists were given their name because they naturally
the dead bodies of the species 'Down Under' to Britain
where they were displayed like Sleeping Beautys under glass
never returned. Others were labelled hoaxes and archived
          surviving when
the upper storeys were bombed or burned. The former is
one explanation for paranoia. A land mass appears at a
war crimes tribunal in nightshirt, braids and mascara. 'What's
name, boy?' the judge demanded. 'Boy Mutiny-On-The-Bounty'
was the chirruping reply. It's whimsical behaviour like this
attracts seniors to pine their lives away in community service