Rubber Blowflies of Hogmanay

A few blocks bent away from the sealed shopping centre

That has become the one-stop recreational dome

A backstreet: straw grass, bricks, oily graffiti

These human skeletons carrying rubber blowflies

The ageless lidless brown gnome with his beard, pate

Chunky bags of holy artefacts squeezed into a shopping trolley

A slumped car shell pulls a big sly girl around

In a sheen of hunger, all hunger, groin hunger

Blackslit eyes and brittle sugarcoat turquoise nails

The lurking car burps into motion, slides up the backstreet

The boy driving is wrapped in cigarette smoke and energy drinks

And is trying to feel sinister

Behind me, by the ringtone I can guess

The weight of the call’s recipient

The putty-brown bowel pipes of these various businesses

Shine slippery in the silver sun

And a crow flaps like a lung across the sex shop bricks

All things out here coagulated in cobwebs

On the dumb dong dial of the New Year

I go as a pilgrim into the public pool

Fall from the block like a stoned mandrill into a harem

As that strange old girl fails and accelerates through the water

In a palsy of controlled panic

As a batch of ducklings tumbles down the green to the edge

Like a small grey waterfall

As the inbuilt program on this computer

Electrocutes words with its redhot curly underlines

Telling me that they are invalid and false


Will Swan


Scene Hopeful

Menopause is about a paper plane’s flight away

It’s just over there, on that wet pub table

And yet she’s still tying red strings into boots

And trying to make the dye hold, or twining

Herself into big Puss-In-Boots leather gothic things

Like your hostile fifteen year old niece at Christmas & Funerals

She’s still trying to get this whole Gothic Punk image up

And running

Across the moonlit fields

Like Brown’s last cow with a gumboot stuck on backwards


Will Swan


Saxon Mounds

What do you want me to tell you, that it was heart-warming??

‘twas 48 hours before Christmas dining, ham turkey

Cranberry lashings etc. or prawns and the summery stuff

In a food court there were unending saxophone solos

Echoes of a sleazy American Golden Age that never was

The insincerity and limitations of Sinatra and Crosby et al

Drawn out by the limbless chorus of sexless pop idols

Over the PA, between looped blurbs by a man who sounded

Like he’d had a stroke but continued to advertise

In afflicted descant frothing

I ate the green-black offal of Chinese duck, or rather

I didn’t, and $7 later I looked over at the food court table

Where they had barricaded themselves

Nuclear family, adult children

Boyman in a gangsta chain, eyes thumbed-in dough

Inhaled of the great sugary cup with an even pace

That bespoke a kind of serenity

Princely and sated, a young man of fulsome appetite-

So fulsome that it was mutating him in a state of dramatic

Chemical reaction, his head somehow flattened

Above the surging enzymes of his billowing base

They had surrounded themselves with trolleys made hard

By the density of cases of soft drink

A barricade that would easily hold against any

General purpose machine gun you might employ

And, more to the point, impervious to light artillery

The tables stank of infants’ feet and there was

Pissy nappy in the air

But the four of them, they held fast

Mother and father resolute as roadblocks

Though the sister rose, dwarfed the others

As her undercarriage swung like a seal

Above the polished unhygienic table of cups and cans

Duty had them out here, all four, this was not routine

And by Christ they would do their duty

With the swarms around them, with me

Cheered on by Christina Aguilera warbling tribute

To nostalgia and blasting through

Melodic possibilities in a kind of absurd experiment

The sugar welled in ankles and haunches

The great creatures groaned and wavered under

Jurassic strain and a thin oily light

The trolleys pitched like temple blocks

Each one as the other


Will Swan

Internet Poetess

Heard some cool people say that Bukowski

Is cool

She guesses:  yeah, cool, he didn’t give a fuck

About anything, just being cool

So she drinks the red wine that is aimed at her demographic

Female, single, buyer of new hatchback cars

In the designated colours

Drinks a little of that red wine with the hatchback girl label, yeah

Looks out the clean kitchen

Window, yeah, this is the edge of poetry now

Doesn’t have a man, there is something disjointed about that

Something wrong, something poetic

And she’s drinking an acidic red wine so

She gets on the internet and posts up that

Quote they’ve all strangely appropriated:

“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”

So now she knows how it goes and

Although she cannot spell

Her warm ego fills her like a pillowcase full of geese guts


Will Swan


Kids pushing a pair of their own stowed teeth

Into the firming tar scrapings of roadworks

The dainty arming of a booby trap, sputtering laughs

Above a thing that could tear the bowels out of the day

But won’t, will loaf there black forever now

White flecks of them soldered within

That grey old ute that floats around

Like an overthinking chunk of debris

Tells us its master, the plumber who got born-again

Is abroad among the streets-again, stoking and grimacing

A porcelain chimney sweep aglow

Boning up for Christmas

And there’s a hobby hot rod with stickers splashed

In window corners of glaring voodoo gel

But its master is a mystery

Inflatable Santas sadly deflated, slack of blood pressure

Mongol horde-slain and congealed on taut ropes

In puddles of hungover pubescent cola

Waiting like cheap tents for resurrection

Need a wash after the rain

Cold hose water and a scotch should see Santa right

Probably not today, though

But the best of all

Are those bloated white roses in this steady breeze

Lush and kind as drunk hopeless friends

They drape their jowls in mutant swaying

They sing and smile and cry over the venetian blinds inside

Deaf and unmoved by the day, blocked by glass

The big droopy white roses of ruin, they bob

And bow and do all the

Crying and singing for them


Will Swan

The Juicy Children of Abraham Abide in Worlds New

The lifeform:

Its face to the highway, back to heather haze of ridges and gullies

Mouthgums exposed like a lesson, small row of teeth

Like one of Clive Barker’s Cenobites, it sits

There on its crumpling prawn tract

The butt’s hole set flush to the tiles, out the front

Of the house perched on the highway, it sits its rubber self

Pink and pure with malevolent acknowledgement

The wet mouth of immodest silence in the square of a bottle opener

The highway wobbles and shrieks, hyperspace tensile

Strung there animated, a battery-fuelled and pluming ribbon

A machine in the form of a channel, and the lifeform sucks

Drifting highway air up onto its small wet mouthguard teeth

As Scandinavian smoke smells join the current, now crackling wood

Now seared haunch meat, more fizzling smoke

Fat wheel cheeses in snowbound cabins

No idea where this all came from, but they’re real as reindeer phantoms

They frame the lifeform, blow west, he looks to me

He’s planted there, some fuse of unwrapped Danish meat

With an expression like paste on a spread-fingered palm

He’s gotten away with things and wants me to know it

There’s a good chance that he has

Invented a foodstuff tastier and bleaker than McDonalds

So he doesn’t eat there anymore

Looks like he’s perfected the art of masturbation

Then given it up

Looks like he abducted a young girl once, for 48 hours

And threated her with such bone china elegance and certainty

That she’s kept quiet about it this whole time

I look out into the highway, turning from the lifeform

Look out into the west where memory and possibility

Now drip like cold rain from a car window’s rim

Refreshing in the whipped smokehouse clouds

There are country towns out there

Where I’ve seen strange things:

A giant Kewpie doll dangling on a clothesline

While something hulking, male, wick-eared and yellow-eyed

Skulked behind the brown glass plates of a tin shed

And a rabbit the size of a greyhound languishing in dust

On a hessian sack with ribcages of poultry

Surfacing in the dirt around it

An insurance salesman who kept a big white bucket

Of maggots and tapeworms in the backyard

Just for the sake of it

A girl in a leopard bikini jumping into a farmhouse swimming pool

Her hands and feet all shortened neatly, like guillotined origami

A halfwit stoned and zealous carrying a snake in plastic bag

Along with his big raw baby, glaring and grubby

Both the snake and the baby struggling against him

This lifeform, he looks like he’s from the same worlds as these

He’s an uninvented wonder

Colonial bloodfruit, twisting there like an ox’s twitching kidney

That mouth yelping in its blunt puffs of oxygen

Somewhere an evangelist’s organ whorls in amber chords

Held together like strands of cordial, the idiot melody

Gets the showman on his toes, the microphone

Smells of halitosis and pocket mints and shaving soap

In the space of the church hall, you can hear his

Enzymes and sperms and gullet motions, he’s hoping that he finds

His people out there

But I actually know where they are

And I’m not going to tell that crazy dancing fucker


Will Swan

The Summer of Ghostbusters

Jesus, EVERYONE loved it, young and old as they say

The logo phenomenon doesn’t really translate now

But it was really cool to wear the t-shirt

Nobody could dispute that, so you saw them on

Scumbags and little kids and breezy characters who

Knew about what was cool

I always preferred black (since I could say the word

& identify it in a book of colours, personified by sketched crows)

So I thought I was the business in my Ghostbusters t-shirt

We all went and saw it at least twice

Our whole class went as an official excursion

We had an English teacher, a quaint gay Englishman

Mister Tinslay, dressed in cardigans like a wartime kettle

Good man, who had clearly decided he could either be

Wasted in the cattle yards of school, or make the best of it

And he chose to make the best of it

Also took us to see Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom

Got us to write about it, he was camp and rollicking

Rumours flitted and fizzed, that he carried handbags

Outside of school

He had volume and balls, which is more than I can say

For 90% of adults I’ve known since

If you had divorced or separated parents, remembering that

This was right in vogue –

Husbands were leaving the families whom they’d spawned

When they were boys themselves

And were taking flight like a crop of cicadas from their own

Gooey shells – well if you were in with both parents

You were guaranteed a double screening

Then there would be the outings with cousins and school friends

Idiot horse-headed yokels in the cinema would always

Parrot the lines, especially Bill Murray’s classic lines

They wanted to be like him: fearless deadpan jester

In the face of weird danger

And when the apocalyptic portal swirled above Manhattan

EVERYONE was in its thrall, nobody was jaded

You don’t need a degree in humanities to understand

How the Cold War, which was burning away like dry ice

Sat behind all visions of cinematic Ragnarok

Christ, it had been that way since our parents were kids

Now, if you want to know something sad

Then think of this: Any funeral you may have been to

Of anyone within a broad age range, there’s a good chance

That the person in the coffin

Got their ticket and tumbled into the cinema

Excited to see Ghostbusters, and laughed out loud at Bill Murray

And all the clown characters, and was enthralled by the

Little ghosts, and then by the demonic near-apocalypse

Maybe they even had the soundtrack on vinyl

You still find those in op shops, sometimes with the owner’s name

In biro across the top

Maybe they wore the t-shirt, in one size or another

And they probably told the people whom they loved, smiling

How great Ghostbusters is, and no doubt said

“You HAVE to go and see it!”


Will Swan