The Messenger

Everyone said that horseback drama
had taken it’s toll on Nautilus Glen.
He was prone to vanishing into mystical haze.
The former jockey’s dreadlocks
concealed him like a burka.
He knew the gardens too well to part them.
After what appeared to be another morning
of sending telepathic messages
to a statue of Zeus,
Nautilus turned to address me.
When he finally spoke,
his words painted a picture as disturbing
as a Munch and Picasso hybrid.
“The frozen wasteland of his soul is on fire.
His granite liquefying gaze,
makes sparks of supernovas.
His enemies melt like hail stones
stranded in the core of the sun.
What say you, Surreal Art Pyschonaut?

“Um, um, that’s amazing” I muttered,
hoping supreme admiration
is still the solution to the equation
that is Nautilus Glen.
He shook his head.
“What it is, is dangerous” he mumbled,
as he glanced nervously over his shoulder,
before continuing his silent conversations
with stone locked divinity.
“Whose granite liquefying gaze” I wondered.

It was 3a.m
when my upstairs bedroom window shattered.
As I hurried downstairs, my bowels loosened.
Thankfully the doors were locked and bolted.

.22 calibre rifle in hand,
I gazed at the yards from the balcony.
There was something inhuman,
about it’s leering grin.
It’s eyes made the Spanish inquisition
look as harmless as a bee hummingbird.
Aware I was on the verge
of pulling the trigger,
it stopped.
It’s hideous smile broadened,
as it turned
and casually walked away.

I wasn’t sure whether to call the police,
a psychiatrist, or an exorcist.
Footprints leading into the forest
made up my mind.

Callie

Callie wants a bad boy to tame,
who knows he’s her soul mate
before he knows her name.
She purges fear and rage
with staplers and lighters.
Lust making is no escape,
unless she bites and is bitten.
She dreams of sucking sacrificial blood
from her master’s fingers
and sharing it in a kiss.

Callie waits for her protector to grow bored
with her plump curves, nipple rings
and a year’s rent worth of exquisite tattoo’s.
Then she let’s fly,
with a barrage of obscenities
as witty as Socrates
and as vulgar as bestiality in a sewer.

“It’s plain to see, you’re the kind of guy
who would inject a stroke victim with HIV.
I wouldn’t wish your drone on a serial killer.
Clearly, when God made you
he’d finished with the plot
and was on to the filler”
Callie lambasted her last boyfriend,
after she caught him flicking through
copies of Plus Size Prize, Petite Treat
and the Leggy Elite.
Teeing off on his smirk
was as tempting as ice cream pie,
long before he impregnated her sisters.
Callie drew frowny faces on her arms
with cigarettes instead.

After changing the locks,
the Princess of Pain retreated to a secluded corner,
of platform four
and played noughts and crosses on her thighs,
with a compass.
The most exquisite creature she’d ever seen,
locked eyes with her.

Callie blindly followed the corporate Goddess
on to the intercity express,
her dentist appointment
as forgotten as Neolithic past lives.
“I knew you’d follow” the mystery woman purred.
She opened her briefcase,
to reveal pain converted into string and ribbon art.
Callie quivered from excitement
over a rubenesque blonde,
with silk butterflies pinned to her breasts.
She was eager to emulate a flame haired beauty,
adorned with pink flamingos.

“You’re going to feature in an art exhibition”
the anonymous businesswoman promised.
Her modus operandi didn’t involve questions.
Callie unabashedly ogled her lady in shining armour.
Joan of Arc was among the characters Mistress Rowena played,
during business hours.

B Grade Troll

I’m Wilfred Anders Napoleon Kent,
no, not the one who craves cryptic crosswords,
the one who lives on a diet of skunk carcasses,
sewage leaks and diluted detergent,
under Ramble Road Bridge.
Sometimes my friends call me
Wilfred Anders Napoleon Kent Enrique Rodriguez.
I don’t know why.

When my therapist saw my green skin
and monstrous features,
she assumed I’m a body modification addict.
But I’ve never been tinted by a tattooist,
or sculpted by a scalpel.
My amazing transformation started
during the infancy of the information age.

The internet is an astoundingly efficient
means of mocking losers anonymously.
In 2005, I first noticed
the green tinge from my temples to my toes.
At first,
I thought my liver wasn’t functioning correctly.
The blood tests were inconclusive.
Then I turned white again.
There was no Wi-Fi onboard,
during my Antarctic cruise, you see.

Once ashore,
it took mere hours to restore my hate tan.
I’m Wilfred Anders Napoleon Kent,
the ultimate comments section assassin,
the greatest genius in the nation,
I restore facts to every situation,
I’ve got a black belt in humiliation.

Even my molars
were beginning to look like fangs,
by the time an ill informed loser,
followed my recommendation,
to rid the Earth of her intolerable presence.
My sloping forehead is coming along nicely.

The Scorpion Centipede

“Yes, centipedes the size of sausage dogs.
My eyes don’t lie.
Why does it have a tail like a scorpion
and a snail like head,
I don’t know, ask a biologist.”

“It’s so preoccupied with drinking pus,
from gangrenous goats,
I feel safe videoing it.
Hopefully the wind
carries the stench of rotting flesh westward.
When I press play, will anything be there
besides Melaleuca shadows?
The chameleon dolphin,
peeking from the dam,
assures me the creature is real.
Some say he’s less trustworthy,
than a serial killer leading a murder investigation,
but they don’t know him like I do.
Why would I question my sanity?
What do giant Scorpion Centipede’s sound like?
Dogs bark, cats meow, cows moo.
and centipede scorpions blerk and blork.
Blerking is a happy medium between hiccups and burps.
Blorking is what growling would sound like,
if it was as mellow as piccolo.
Do I mean a high pitched screech, except smoother?
Can’t you hear it?
Are you going to ask me what a duck sounds like too?”

“Sir, please remove yourself from the football field,
this ground has been booked
by the Draper Hill Dragons
and the Wiley Valley Wombats.
Only players and officials
are authorized to set foot on the field
before full time”

“Football, what are you blabbering about.
Ouch, an obese pterodactyl just collided with me.
You’re acting like nothing happened”

“There are no pterodactyls here sir,
you were struck by a football”

“A football match you say,
you’re psychotic.
I’m watching four scorpion centipedes,
with snail like heads,
They’re feeding on the hindquarters,
of gangrenous goats.
Can’t you smell their rotting flesh?
There’s a Melaleuca lined dam over there,
with a chameleon dolphin
frolicking in the shallows.
He doesn’t doubt me”

“Probably not sir”

“Probably not you say?”

“yes, probably not,
in the sense the Earth probably isn’t a cube,
resting on the back,
of an interstellar Pegasus,
that level of probably not”

“Do you have evidence,
to support your denial?
Why can I hear sirens?”

Duke Showman Sherman

There’s a swingers party of one
in the hall of mirrors
Duke calls a gymnasium.
The critically acclaimed author
of unintentional comedy,
“My Glamourous Glutes”
is too busy licking his reflections
to notice the twins
have learnt to climb like cat burglars.
Gale force winds send his teetering tiny tots
toppling over the balcony.
Catatonic with self-admiration,
Duke is oblivious to their screams.
The founder of the world’s first selfie stick museum,
can’t afford to be distracted
from flexing his eight pack.

Duke might have spotted the enemy drone,
if he weren’t dreaming about fucking his clone.
Fearful of marring such perfection,
the contract killer hesitates too long.

Duke retreats to the bottom
of his rooftop diving pool.
Transfixed by underwater mirrors,
he forgets to take a breath.
His wife collapses in the doorway,
paralytic with grief.
Duke looks more vibrant in death,
than she does in life.

Body Spray Dismay

Since dusk, my manly musk
has been as rancid as ancient prawns,
hiding in an equatorial bean bag.

My deodorant has sprouted limbs.
It has the audacity to flee Master?
I was ordained its aerosol leach.
Outrageously it strives to maintain
its reservoir of fragrant blood.

Apparently it’s read Orwell,
for it shuns the electronic homing devices
happily worn by those obedient zombies,
my keys and phone.

Aromatic rebel,
are you lurking at the bottom of the pond,
or hiding in those cockroach apartments,
the wall cavities?
I will hunt thee down!

Featured

Misery

He hails from Freezeburn Swamps,
a place where rock bottom
is just another ledge,
on the way to another nameless bog hole.

He’s not granted death.
He drowns again,
in the flood of his own
rising and raining blood.

He lives in the cold,
a cold where sheets of ice
as hammer proof as granite
are sought like thermal blankets.

Black dogs roam freely,
across withered tundra,
their fetid breathe asphyxiating the weak.
Anthrax powder in mother’s milk,
is the most benign wish of their ilk.

Corpse Creek Connection

Chase Chandler swiped the virtual cards left, right and up, during his insufferable search for female company, on kindling.com. The super like option had recently been added to the original like and dislike choices. Chase occasionally had the urge to swipe straight down, to super dislike. He’d mentioned that in a questionnaire. For some mysterious reason, the app designers ignored his suggestion.

It was those whose passions were limited to eating, drinking, fucking, sleeping and shopping, that Chase wished to slam with a super dislike. The way they gazed adoringly at their own butts, boobs and abs, in nightclub restroom selfies, appalled him. In his bitter eyes they were as uninspiring as toxic waste dumps in school playgrounds. “Surely bird attractant gardens, sunset painted beaches and forest valley vistas are worthier backdrops than toilet cubicles” he mused.

Minimum height specifiers made Chase’s blood simmer too. His dip from one hundred and seventy five centimetres short, to one hundred and sixty centimetres short, after someone stole his fish tank platform boots, intensified his fury.  The fish within the soles looked remarkably real. Those boots were one of a kind, Chase cherished them more than the 1974 Lamborghini Countach, he’d inherited from his grandfather. Not even stilts could have made him feel as tall as those wonders of the fashion world.

Everyone who has met Chase, via the smorgasbord of single delights known as kindling.com, either considers him too intense, too sedate, too educated, too uneducated, a workaholic, too lazy, too adventurous or too boring. Chase Chandler and boring in the same sentence? That’s like the serene firebombing of hospitals, or oil painting classes for blind cave dwellers, twenty thousand leagues under the sea, it just doesn’t make sense. It’s as contradictory as the sluggishness of warp speed yoga. Nobody has persisted long enough to solve the inscrutable riddle that is Chase Chandler. Most women don’t persevere long enough to discover there’s a riddle to solve.

Stella Mckenzie, Chase’s twenty year old work mate, at Nature Restoration International, couldn’t understand why Chase so rarely meets his kindling.com matches. She relied on a database to jog her memory, when potential partners invited her to everything from Fleetwood Mac concerts to Caribbean cruises. One woman swiped right on Chase’s profile per week. Stella was blessed with a match a minute and that was just during the early hours of Monday morning. Whether it was voluptuous good looks, genius, a thrill seeking spirit, stamina or awe inspiring empathy that suitors sought, they found it in Stella Mckenzie. Chase was in awe of her too, but the age gap was a whopping seventeen years. He didn’t quite have the lungs or the balance to keep up with her insatiable appetite for acrobatic love making, sightseeing and every conceivable combination of the two.

In the next eight years, Chase went on dozens of first dates, half a dozen second dates and one third date. During that time, Stella experienced six lengthy casual relationships, three short lived engagements and finally one marriage, which was showing no signs of wear and tear after eighteen months. Chase could no longer bring himself to believe there was a woman in the world who found him more attractive than bleeding eyeballs or more intriguing than watching varnish dry, while listening to elevator music. He’d had enough.

Late, one Saturday night, he jogged the short distance from his home to Corpse Creek and performed a graceful swan dive from the bridge railing, towards the concrete cycling path below. There was no time to contemplate his mistake, as he struck a deep river pool palms first. The slender rock ledges, that would have obliterated him, had finally been dislodged and sunk to the bottom, just hours earlier. Chase barely had time to think the words “I’m alive” as he desperately thrust his way to the surface.

There was someone else on the bridge, peering down at the concrete cycling track. They climbed on to the railing. Chase accelerated across the path and leapt up the steps, to the top of the gorge, four at a time. He could only hope the figure he’d seen silhouetted on top pf the railing would still be there when he arrived.

“It’s not worth jumping. Stay still while I come and get you down from there” he pleaded with the petite young woman.

“Why is it not worth jumping” she asked. Her voice was harsh and lifeless but her hesitation bred hope.

“How about we discuss why in the nearest café” Chase offered. He’d brought his wallet with him, to make identifying his broken body easier. He’d been too focussed on self annihilation to consider the affect that discovering his torn flesh, smashed skeleton and splattered brains might have had on an inexperienced police officer.

“Please, err on the side of leaning back towards me.” Chase sounded as calm as the lapping of harbour waves.

“I’ve got you” he confirmed.

Lonnie and her saviour’s cafe conversation continued until long after dawn. Chase was surprised to learn she was twenty nine. The discovery that her interest in him extended beyond gratitude surprised him more than news reports of the Lochness Monster being shipped to Sea World would have.

It wasn’t until Chase and Lonnie were living together, that he discovered the fish tank platform boots, in her wardrobe, along with her Sasquatch slippers.

Strenuous Sleep

I fought exhaustion like a gladiator,
before drifting into dreams with no colosseums in sight.
“Why dry July?” asked the bus stop graffiti.
“Are your droughts broken with floods?”
was scribbled on the weeping fig fractured footpath.
“Happy to collect locusts with the Baptists,
or trekking to the land of vodka rain”
was scrawled across the toothpaste ad
on the side of the bus.

“Fluoride is an industrial waste product”
said the chemistry encyclopedia beneath my seat.
The stench of tobacco and last night’s bourbon
hung in the air, like fumes from a volatile factory.
Owen’s breath was the keys to freedom,
for the contents of my stomach.
I painted the bullet proof glass
with something resembling the latest
Museum of Contemporary Art masterpiece.

A blue collar philosopher snapped a photo
of that chunky ticket to the visual art community.
The dazzling array of berries
in my vegan ice cream
had done a pretty face justice.
My one in a billion chunder,
looked like a gymnast riding a unicorn,
in what the ladies from Pride and Prejudice
might call a most improper manner.

As I departed,
the driver shook his mop in rage.
The getaway car
raced to Burrogorang Road.
In a forest gully,

Tawny Frog Mouths flocked
to the bottle orchestra man’s treehouse.
A cloud of red browed finches
obscured his dreadlocks.
He nodded with approval
at the poisoning of African Olive regrowth.
The oil on canvas version
of my vomit on window,
hung on his wall.

“Did you know there’s a lack of independent research
into the safe level of fluoride?” he whispered.
“Colgate’s spies walk among us” he continued.
“Is four parts per million too much?”
a sulfur crested cockatoo probed.

The bus featuring my one in a billion art work
flew from an unfinished bridge,
scattering my skull in eighty two directions.
It’s lucky his ghost loves jigsaw puzzles,
the funeral director whispered.

I thought I was dead, as I woke up in bed.
until I felt the intact portions of my head.

I felt like a ghost as I wandered to the bus stop.
My fellow pedestrians
appeared to peer right through me.

“Why dry July” asked the bus stop graffiti.
“Are your droughts broken with floods”
was scribbled on the weeping fig fractured footpath.
“Happy to collect locusts with the Baptists,
or trekking to the land of vodka rain”
was scrawled across the toothpaste ad
on the side of the bus.
The driver assured me I wasn’t hallucinating.
Owen’s bourbon and tobacco breathe made me gag,
I felt ill as I reached beneath the seat
and grabbed a book.
Cold sweat threatened to drown me
as I hauled the industrial chemistry enyclopaedia,
on to my lap.
A tsunami of relief washed over me,
as I remembered there’s no bridge on the farm.

The driver turned to me and said.
“I had this crazy dream last night.
You chundered a masterpiece on to the window,
depicting a mermaid riding a unicorn,
in an x rated fashion.”

“A mermaid?
Are you sure it wasn’t a gymnast?”

“Maybe it was a gymnast mermaid”

Featured

Horace Henley

On the downside,
Horace was an arrogant, ignorant, argumentative,
callous, remorseless, dishonest, manipulative,
tantrum prone, domineering, violent, adulterous,
greedy, middle class snob.
Ridicule, threats and lies were his teaching tools.
When he was cheerful he could be lenient,
until your suffering become inconvenient.
His calculated generosity, was a lever for manoeuvring
excruciating boulders of condescension and pomposity.
“How dare you defy me”
he roared, like an emperor to a slave.
“you’re useless” he repeated
until he was as hoarse as a desperate punter.

The underemployed, unemployed and unemployable
traded rations of cigarettes, lighters and coupons,
as they filed into Centrelink,
opposite Henley’s Camping Supplies.
Work was Horace’s drug of choice.
He imagined everyone had it on tap,
but some were too lazy to twist the faucet.
In front of customers he was a lovable larrikin.
The great white shark t-shirt, from his staff,
went over his head like a pole vaulter.

“Without me, you lot would be the dregs of society,
lining up for a handout across the road”
he reminded his wife Sharona
and sister in law Lonnie.
Horace hired the best psychiatrist in the region,
to treat his family’s “mysterious” anxiety and mood disorders.
Like him, these conditions weren’t prey seeking missiles,
that killed as swiftly as falcons.

Horace didn’t have a personality disorder.
He was merely the carrier of misery and fear.
Growing up, the barrel of a shotgun
was as familiar to him as cornflakes.
He dealt in throws, kicks, slaps and backhanders.
“I’m a model of restraint” he boasted.
There was no walking away from his marathon tirades.
He was Fuhrer, educator and soother,
his role as unpredictable as mountain weather.

Horace taught his sons how to kick drop goals
and threw baseballs so high
they turned black in the twilight.
Catching fly balls became as natural as walking.
His lessons on romance involved
hiring eighteen year old back packers,
who looked like they’d stepped straight from the pages
of lingerie catalogues.
The interviews were camping trips.

Horace didn’t care who blitzed maths tests.
100% effort was a pass in his eyes.
A lack of enthusiasm
was akin to burning down the mint.
Jarrod always felt like 99.9% effort
was a crime worthy of being hung, drawn and quartered.

When he became as reclusive as a Himalayan mystic
and ate like he was preparing for a sumo tournament,
not an eleven kilometre fun run,
he finished miles behind his best.
Horace chipped away at his self esteem like an auger.
“If I sliced open that ice cream gut,
I could feed an army on dripping sandwiches.
You call yourself a jogger,
you make a penguin look like a springbok.”

Horace sold his camping store,
so he could spend all day woodworking, fishing
and listening to conservative shock jocks.
“Abolishing excess franking credits,
it’s a Labor Party commie plot.”
he roared at his local MP.
With only 1.2 million dollars to his name,
since the divorce,
how would he cope without profiting
from the Australian Tax Office?
All that Greens nonsense about tortured refugees
and the climate emergency,
had him reaching for a bucket.
What about the suffering of middle class retirees?