Issue 31: Michael Farrell

Wrong Forest


Seven candles in flame trembled; birds chirped in excelsis;

whistling ‘Trouble’. To what extent I could blame the forest,

I couldn’t say. Affirming shadows, widows, indolent sons,

for five trade depots, hastening, itching. I had destroyed

the family fortune, so I went seeking another. My cherub,

assiduous, tolerant, damning few mistakes, sweetly ignorant,

miming ‘Pamela’. Punishing myself, I sold my favourite

daughter to a cotton mill. The rest read novels all day: I couldn’t

expect any help there. That havoc ailed everyone, consoled

indeed, debts accumulated, no rent ready, taxes. Beware Flaubert.

   Choose Balzac? No Diderot, or Racine, provided nuts,

Armagnac. A new program result: Oasis deserved 0.05% blame /

credit for Brexit. Travelling. Faded hopes by dinner. Keeping my

wits for the interruption. In the forest were many knights’

decaying bodies hanging from trees. I’d resolved to press on; or

my horse refused to reverse. Rubbing the rifle. Hurrying,

making offers, orisons, penance, though really imaginary. Past

a castle, burnt hedges, no animals, charcoal everywhere,

whistling ‘Teardrops’. To what extent can a national history

be considered a play? Eerily elated, hamstrung, anxious, the time

melted through wood, rushed on. One route would’ve taken me

to Titania, and her enslaved elves. Every bell and violin, organ

peal, played tunes that intimated benison. But I’d taken

the predestined path of violence, and bloody endurance. Guess

away, jury, whether days, tomorrows mattered, after honourably

braving it. I believed hacking a murderer to death was just

and glorious.  






Primitive America


Each one caused tears and warfare, which let archery and orgies go tepid, some said, indignant.

   In several sites there (‘groves of academe’ [arch.]), literary women worshipped at the Church

of Emily. Mellowing squires, Louisiana fires, wound wistfully, doing cartwheels, jumping badly,

if such quaintness notable. Nearby, queer scholars, in ‘breakout’ (jarg.) corridors, designed

the Walt Whitman Free Love Scarecrow Museum. Ingenious door, drawing right, left, neutral,

yet it adjusts some, yet frames anyone, under change, indecision. I came upstairs and found you

sorrowing, as if you no longer read Dickinson’s Death ironically. Well, many use a walking stick,

try paddling here, long drought, young saplings, yews that incline. I thought you’d said you didn’t

like her poetry, that she was an uptight, melodramatic, wisecracker. Kept after ants, upstairs ants,

which sneaked through honey, left dripping, yet stopped termites, initially. I thought you’d said you 

didn’t like her, that she was as ugly, as a kangaroo. During the thunder, everyone braced with

ontological sense, yelling, farting again, by ten, over, irritable. I went out the back, and found you

singing old Walt’s body electric: to the dahlias. Blaming wind instead, antagonising witches,

holding the priest’s hand. Later, dreading your sensual yearning, true introspection. I thought

you’d said you didn’t like his poetry. That he was an insensitive, woolly bully drongo.

   Understanding duty as wealth, hearing the hounds’ last dash, yet saying your timing instructions.

   I thought you’d said you didn’t like him. That he was a donkey-breathed, upright, dingo.

   Intuiting insulting references, blithely running off, I dealt with wistful endings, grabbed two rebel

tenants aggressively. And that, roughly, the GF [Emily], ‘was what disallowed its own realization 

by rendering itself inauthentic’. Via Old French, not wasting semantics, putting art

as elective, if Western wisdom broke through tension. That the BF [Walt], ‘was in effect

an a priori structure’ with no ‘field of validity’. Debutantes keyed large Fords towards Amnesty,

Montana, made bread, etcetera, then loitered by water, grinning madly. My great-grandfather was

better looking than either, but married mousily; after, the family looks kept declining.

   Send pens here if inked, chanted barristers, heterosexual wankers – if the masturbation tag

is decorous excess. Everyone delighted in telling me that I wouldn’t have better-looking children if 

I had plastic surgery. Perhaps God tried it, using turps, then oil, ingenious God, messing

the room – mending ugly icons. I’m using my resemblance to my great-grandfather, in order to

trade up in the gene pool. Under Amherst, there live goats, nicely combed, almost

presentable ibex, the Mexican type, if doubt exists. Everyone delighted in telling me that

it’s personality and chat – not good looks – that attracted, ultimately. Taking temptation to angle,

catching Atlantic perch, eating mud trout, idly lusting whenever driver baked yabbies. Yet being

dissatisfied, while looking in the mirror, eroded personality and confidence, and thickened

the tongue. Other orifices. Taking sugared beans, coffee seeds, yesterday under cost, yachts

tracking, keeling winds, now inside. It’s not widely known that you can up your sperm count

by swallowing that of others’.






Garden Hammer 


Pennies tarnished and rusted put away, resting till Wednesday,

yes, indefinitely. If you wished to rehearse a play, renaming

all the props. Hard and housed, and often happy, after breakfast,

candied ham, apple. A hammer could be a hose, or a hose,

a hammer. Vets versified humorously, naturally blessing blood

and bone, chasing virtues (animal). A vase could be a budgie,

but not humanely, vice versa. Every time records halt and hiss,

a brilliant musician’s playing trumpet. The play might be about

how a hammer rejoins the earth. Chords that iced pines worked

heavenly attitudes / divine atmospheres / angelic worlds. When

an ancestor died, a hammer was placed in the coffin.

   Rationalising success persuaded the lionised that they advanced

humanity – yes, seriously. Suppose you had access to the library

that provided Shakespeare’s reading. Roving Avignon

and Chartres by Yamaha, ready this holiday: weed, divan, yurt.

   You didn’t want him to read your books cold, and recoil.

   Vanity: tries at pulling his, blocking his great solitude. Some

groundwork had been done, but he’d plateau’d at the Victorians.

   Trying to advertise bucolic treats, fearing hectoring, at thesis

retreats, hell. He’d renewed Tennyson and Hardy 500 times,

Browning about 2000 times. Dried beetles, chopped

into inch-wide units, herbal teas, best with wormwood. What

would the ‘heave’ / ‘undoing’ – be, if it could be done? Seeing

frail creatures about, placing all beauty without, possibly naked

apparitions. Any new plays would be a poor, audienceless

(coffin flies?), sort.






Market Share


Hymning red orchestral freestyles, and ornate

beatitudes, that idealise Uncle Stalin, bitterly

connected to uncle sarcasm / aunt terseness,

undoing most frozen attitudes: candid, yet

educative; institutionalised violence; innocence.

   In Victoria (if eligible), you can apply for

‘movable units [that] are self-contained

units that can be set up in the backyard of

a friend or relative's home’. Hope, perish, or

the assumption; all ukuleles, tuned.

   ‘The units are a type of public housing’.

   Although the ants are beneath our pillars,

faith and succour annihilating gold, in

sentences, they never tilt. That’s not to say I

give a stuff about fencepost ‘positionality’, or

being an ally to anyone. Singing of

sandcastles, evening Mister, ostriches,

beaking bread, seven violins wailing down

Tipperary Crescent, and oh, shopped-out

Ikea. I spit on any concept to do

with violence (see ‘Black Boys on Mopeds’,

early S O’Connor song). The ideology of

guests, harsh, plaintive. Predictably her

Guardian obituary is terrible. Saints, sinners,

chaste envelopes, sorted guesses, old chairs,

and heavy suede, mansions. Market Share

has a couple of good songs, even culturally

significant songs. As beauty or kaleidoscope,

afraid antelopes, sending music after

the newest, and Wordsworthian, best. But

we are not talking about Market Share as

a kind of blue-eyed anything. Fear and

worry, that triumphant vortex, sound ocean,

playing to audiences that applaud,

wonderingly. We are talking about

the possibility of Sinead’s voice turning

the world a fraction. Catching nerves,

enclosed, trying it, and tripping yet

a wonder, a typhoon in Wales, frantic till it

turns south, then shadows after sails, or

beestung lads chase this wild derivation,

that sinks, solar nexus, where people are

over whether ass watches ass. As well as

writing on a par with Nina Simone:

something to do with the conjunction

(lightning bolt) of speaking and syntax,

to say this is the fuck what I’m talking about

what are you talking about,

in ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’. Bearing all,

playing Bottom, young, yet people envying,

carrying inanity, until Lake Banjo; camping

restaurant treaty. The rest can be looked up; I

don’t even pity you, you bereft, Prince-less,

ABBA-less bastards.

Michael Farrell is an Australian poet, editor and artist, from Bombala, New South Wales, and based in Melbourne, Victoria. For Michael’s art, see @limechax on instagram. For Michael's books, see Giramondo Publishing. 

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