Scout troop Australia

March 1, 2012

Kevin Rudd has always annoyed me. The carefully modulated voice that sounds like a school principal circa 1970. The hideous mind-numbingly boring speeches. When he won the election back in ’07 and he gave the most tedious speech possible I knew we were in for a frustrating time. That man can stub out joy like his mouth was a soggy ashtray. (He did do the ‘Sorry’ speech, but that was properly written.)

On the other hand, I quite enjoyed the speech when he was toppled by Gillard, but even that became tedious. I don’t think he’s capable of talking for a short time; a bit like Castro used to be, but I’m sure Kevin would win in any tedious speech contest with Fidel. (In fact he’d probably finish Fidel off through boring him to death, and do what the CIA was unable to accomplish for all those years. Give that man a poisoned cigar!)

I also disliked his giving quick interviews from the steps of church, which seemed to be a very American thing to do. (“Look at me, I’m a Christian.”) If it weren’t for the precarious state of the Labor Party in Parliament, I’d hope he’d resign. But no doubt he’ll be waiting until after the next election to make another move.

And compared to Tony Abbott’s politics, Kevin Rudd is almost palatable.

This poem (or dramatic monologue, perhaps) was written in an attempt to work through how annoying his way of speaking is; the unspoken supposition that seems to be there that we are all idiots. Except for Kev. I make a reference to his visit to a strip club in America in the poem; what annoyed me about that was his assertion that he couldn’t remember because he’d had too much to drink, rather than the thing itself, which is no more than tacky. I also refer to the outcry over Bill Henson’s photographs of a nude thirteen year old girl, works that Rudd referred to as ‘revolting‘. Those photographs are not pornographic, whatever one thinks of Henson.

Scout troop Australia

For Kevin Rudd

Are you listening? Working families sent you here,
children, so work you will. Tie that slip-knot tighter,
and line up straight. There will be no nude kiddies
in my scout troop, girlie. Disgusting, like an unsettling
wind, blowing ideas where they have no right to
be thought. Mandarin may be spoken, so long as that too
bores the listener into a fester of panic, like a band-aid
placed on a scabby ear, and ripped off by millimetres,
forever and forever and forever, each passing day.
Put down that filthy under-taxed fizzy booze, irritating child.
Have you done all of your homework? Wash your hands!
Have we all read sufficiently big briefs? Don’t giggle, naughty
revolting one, I meant paper, not undies, as you certainly know.
We have a visitor. The hirsute fellow nodding in the corner?
That’s God, of course, the fiscally responsible God of Working Families.
He drove a sensible, reasonably priced car to be here with us tonight.
He gives sufficiently incomprehensible thought to regional co-operation.
He puffs out cheeks and purses lips about the environment.
An occasional break-out will be forgiven, by God Over There,
so long as it involves poles and undies so brief as to be mere
commas in a speech about the need for Australian working
families, who are, after all, the setting cement of our society,
and who do fleetingly and regrettably get pissed, and ogle like
Tasmanian owls on cocaine, to be sufficiently supported
by proper and formerly fully funded fiscal policy.
Salute. Wake up, put down that dreadful marijuana and salute.
Who put those undies on the flag-pole? I’m waiting, children.
No-one’s going anywhere until the guilty one confesses,
and writes neatly a hundred thousand times:
I will stay awake and listen; heaven is a decent place,
and beauty is just one short step away from waste

T shirt poetics

July 29, 2011

Dedicated to all those who have ever worn a T shirt with a message on it. Written back in the Old Days when Kevin Rudd was running for Prime Minister.

T shirt poetics

That downwards stroke, belly hugging I
imprinted with messages curt or cute;
each body a chap-book (or chick-book)
moving past the reader.  Mobile library,
hanging garden of haiku in Babble-on.
A glance up from well thumbed phone
must be all these poetical shirts expect.
First there are the desperate and flirty,
such as ’69’, all tucked soixante and hide
that croissant.  It’s enough to make you latte
your lap.  Or not.
Then come the polly tics,
with their saves and bans, their heavenly
Kevins.  The shirts have faded over Summer,
but not the bloom of the loveliest wearers.
I wore them once, such earnest eager screeds,
but that wench is dead, slogans so long gone.
Someone should wear that rude arrowed
‘I’m with Stupid’ when they sit next to me,
such is my love of  ‘Paris, je t’aime’ with a heart
above the wearer’s pumping one, as if Cupid
were about, looking for targets, the susceptible
or the contemptible. I sit, sip and compose
my own T shirts, such as ‘Gives good sonnet’
and the more complex ‘It’s a couplet.

Then ‘Get a Life’ walks past, not very nice.
But I see the point, and I take its advice.

P.S. Cottier