Strange Days

Jerome’s memory of the office Christmas party
was as vague as a tabloid horoscope,
yet he was sure his position
remained as unsinkable as an iceberg.
If he’d done anything as disastrous
as texting his penis modelling portfolio to the board
or slapping the gardener,
for neglecting the plastic plants,
he’d remember wouldn’t he?
He staggered to the letterbox,
to rummage through fast food vouchers
and get rich quick schemes
and failed to find anything more useful
than a bunker busting bomb
in an archaeologist’s tool box.

Jerome made climbing the garden stairs
look as death defying as swimming across
an alligator infested swamp,
before passing out in the lift.
He woke to discover he was made up like a geisha girl.
A temporary tattoo of Donald Trump
covered his left butt cheek.
Giggling could be heard in the distance.
He’d been wearing trousers when he entered the lift hadn’t he?
His party hat, that he remembered;
the sparkly silver thong he didn’t.

Jerome made climbing into his bunk
look as challenging as visiting a Sequoia tree house.
The sun would’ve had better luck
turning a necropolis into a hectic metropolis,
than rousing him before evening.
The belief he’d slept for twenty six hours,
stunned him like a taser.
His reflection mirrored his thoughts,
it took seven clones to keep pace.
The Sorenson’s Surreal Art Gallery voucher,
beneath the door, inspired curiosity
like a helicopter hovering over a stone age tribe.

The remnants of Jerome’s hangover faded, enroute to the station.
Judging by his shirt, strawberries grow on watermelons,
peaches on pineapples and grapes on coconuts,
and it’s all the fruit of singing avocado trees.

The solitary figure on platform four
was stranger than Jerome’s clothes.
His Dickensian suit and cobra tipped, floral walking stick,
weren’t as odd as his robotic dance between vending machines.
He chose a can of ice cold coconut milk,
poured it into his packet of pumpkin chips
and gazed at the over flow
as though it were as entrancing as Victoria Falls.
Saluting an Ibis,
as it salvaged half eaten chicken burgers,
from a broken bottle littered bench,
was an attempt to blend in.

“All stations to the city circle on platform two,
departing in one minute”
Jerome spun and boarded.
An old guy, in a Cannibal Carcass t-shirt,
listened to The Demonic Pixie’s Greatest Hits,
without headphones.
Desperate to escape this brain bleed inducing noise,
Jerome race walked four carriages. Once every set of doors
were as shut as a jar of funnel webs,
he barely heard that demonic audio cancer.
His ears were ambushed by distant doof, doof,
as monotonous as a life sentence in solitary confinement.

With the urgency of a man caught between
a flood of boiling mud and a river of lava,
he fled to the top deck.
Two phone Talia was half infomercial echo,
half gossip mag journo wannabe.
Pounding exclamation points
infested her ten words per second.

In a bid to block out her inane chit chat
Jerome salvaged a tattoo magazine
from an abandoned brief case.
An almond-eyed beauty,
with a cherry blossom branch
protruding from her black satin briefs,
distracted him from the reappearance
of the nineteenth century relic,
with the cobra tipped floral walking stick.
His high-performance phone
had eighteen years battery life remaining.

With a shirt like that
you must be on your way to Horace Hill Graffiti Labyrinth”
“I’m headed for Sorenson’s Surreal Art Gallery” Jerome insisted.
The dapper stranger found Jerome’s denials more absurd
than Tiger Woods staring blankly at a golf club.
“Horace Hill awaits you” he proclaimed,
before zoning out more completely than an interstellar astral traveller.
Glare tentacles prodded his abnormally large eyes.
He turned away and stared
in the perpetually jabbering two phone Talia’s direction,
as though she were part of her seat.
Jerome and Talia both stepped off at the wrong station
to escape the strangest man on the planet.

At the bus stop,
a voluptuous Goddess’s, flowery summer dress
lapped against her shapely sandalled feet.
The breeze threatened to send her hem into orbit.
The floral satin Jerome may’ve glimpsed,
vanished like a Thylacine in the undergrowth.
Beyond thinking, he followed her on to the 458.
Her hips were so broad,
squashing against her was the only way
to avoid tripping old ladies in the aisle,
As she turned to read a street sign,
one of her snugly suspended breasts,
pressed against his arm.

The bus went from cheetah to snail pace in a nanosecond.
Burning rubber invaded their air-conditioned sanctuary.
“This is Horace Hill, Graffiti Labyrinth darling,
with a shirt like that, it must be your stop.
Have you lost your irises” she teased.
The kiss she boldly planted on Jerome’s begging lips
was affectionate, yet chaste.
“Come with me”
It was the closest she came to asking a question.

The radically eccentric fellow,
with the cobra headed floral walking stick,
manned the ticket booth.
How had he arrived so swiftly?
Could a man like that have doppelgangers?

Once inside Jerome lost all sense of size and direction.
In the colloseum,
netballers moved as gracefully as ballet dancers.
Music erupted from sub court speakers.
They were their own cheerleaders.
Their little skirts flared like parachutes
as they leapt, flipped and spun in unison.
From giantess shooters to petite centres,
Jerome savoured every glimpse of jungle camouflage silk,
“This direction” Jasmine prompted.

“Which way now, through the hippy praying mantis’s eyeball,
or the beatnik koala’s pouch?”
“I don’t know”
Jasmine’s authoritarian stare said “that’s not good enough”
“Um, um, the beatnik koala’s pouch.”

“Introducing Graham H Goalposts Smith,
the high priest of The Obscure Poets Club,
The Original, Mr Ultra Cool, Ice Cold,
The Terrestrial Scuba Diver,
a man who can put the floor
of the Mariana Trench under the microscope,
while break dancing on Chomolungma’s nose.
See how he strides to the stage like Hughes jaguar,
to enact a rap battle between Apollo and Seshat.”
To Jerome and Jasmine’s uneducated ears,
the ancient Greek and Egyptian Gods he channelled
spoke fast forward gobbledegook.
They left to explore spray art mazes.

Some works were as provocative
as children, orphaned by I.D.F bulldozers,
painting Swastikas on Zionist extremist memorials;
others were LSD on concrete,
hybrid storms plummeting to Atlantis,
on submersibles moulded from the shit,
of a dragon butchering, warrior bilby.
The amphibious giraffe man was Jerome’s favourite.
His forked tongue was superior to lassos.
Jasmine preferred the gliding squirrel fish.
Its scales were cinemas for artistic plankton.
Muffled drumming and guitar duels,
bathed their ears in enchantment.
Himalayan singing bowls
synchronised with tap dancers xylophones,
cut the remaining strands,
trapping them in this universe.

During an aquarium submarine cruise,
to a mural maze,
Jasmine undressed with a graceful fluidity,
burlesque Goddesses can only dream of.
Why was a 20th century alarm clock
invading that temple of creativity?

Jerome sauntered to the letterbox on steady feet.
A Sorenson’s Surreal Art Gallery leaflet
Plummeted to the footpath.
Must’ve seen that before I dreamt of it, he reasoned.

The fabulous weirdo with the cobra tipped, floral walking stick,
screeched around the corner in a gold-plated Rolls Royce ute.
The most alluring netball squad/dance troupe in history,
lounged in the Jacuzzi tray,
in jungle camouflage sports briefs and bras.
Falcons had stolen their fluttery little skirts
and paint tight shirts.
Jasmine walked a pack of huskies in the park.
‘You’re going the wrong way’ she screeched,
as he approached the most ostentatious motor vehicle ever built.
She didn’t protest as he strode to the hospital.
Diamonds toppled from low lying clouds, solidifying mid flight.
Once Jasmine caught them
in her purple lace adorned cleavage,
they shone like an amalgam of every precious stone
in existence.

It was a daunting wait.
A triage nurse finally arrived.
“Highly unusual question nurse, am I awake?
Did Socrates just ask me the definition of a dream?
Can you see a woman carrying ethereal gem stones
in her cleavage,
standing at the door with a pack of huskies?
Is slipping DMT in drinks a common bar room prank?
Do DMT trips ever begin as slowly as windows flow
and last for aeons?

“Regarding the bejeweled lady with the huskies,
not that I’m aware of sir.
Haven’t seen or heard Socrates either.
I need to get some details from you.
Firstly, do you have your Medicare Card there?
A doctor will be with you ASAP.”

“Youuu, you’re behind this”
Jerome accused a clown,
who kept four ping pong balls in the air
with his cobra headed, floral walking stick.
“Where did you park your gold plated Rolls Royce ute?”

“We’ve met have we”
the clown replied, while continuing his performance
for children with leukaemia,
on their way to The Enchanted Garden.

“Is he real?” Jerome asked the nurse.

Varnished and Vanished

Jade painstakingly sculpted Myrtle,
the bipedal, amphibious, octopoid,
from mottled marble.
The black garnet pupils of her green fluorite eyes
looked real enough to grow and shrink in light and shadow.
Mining magnate Martin Martyn paid more for this lifelike marvel
than his driverless Rolls.

Myrtle was Jade’s lover Opal’s preferred murder weapon,
in Art Museum Mayhem, her latest theatrical gem.
Jade wheeled the loan into her partner’s hallway.
The place was as chaotic as manic poetry.
Opal’s sister Helena was assembling kitchen cabinets
without instructions,
that alone was as ominous as a tsunami warning in the Maldives.
Their sibling Hugo had smoked enough weed
to believe a claw footed bathtub, in the lounge room,
surrounded by a fern jungle,
was a home decorating triumph.
The tub overflowed,
as Helena’s husband Darius bored holes for picture hooks,
with a drill that hadn’t been tested and tagged
since Reagan continued his acting career in the White House.

Between beers and bowls of ice cream,
Darius and Helena raced each other up the fire escape,
giggling like toddlers.
They’re in a competition to see who vomits first,
Hugo explained to the bath’s scuba diving gargoyle.
Jade meditated with the aid of a blind fold, ethereal jazz,
and a playful breeze, until her angel arrived.

Opal instantly noticed
the sculpture trolley was as empty as a politician’s promise.
Months of honing her search skills, for the Federal Police,
proved as useless as a granite dartboard.
Her one thousand litre pot plants had been toppled.
Nobody remembered a mini tornado invading the balcony
The wine glasses perched on the window sill
looked as stable as Olympic divers.

Opal once told her tower climbing, ex-girlfriend Jacqueline,
she buried cash in pot plants.
Had Jacqui taken her more seriously
than rumours of lunar rain forests?
Ecologists cameras ridiculed her crime time location claim.
Only an albino goanna and a graffitied turtle were recorded.
Opal’s radio was found in Jacqui’s back pack.
Detectives wondered if she’d
dropped Mrytle the amphibious bipedal octopoid
into a foam rubber lined dumpster.
A homeless man, camped in bus stop shrubbery,
was filmed rummaging through the industrial bin.
His explanation sounded as unconvincing as stories of
Mars being terraformed by Saturnian cyborgs,
but the damning evidence was circumstantial.
Rumours he was a pub salesman, of everything
from mobile phones to comic book tribute toilet paper,
lead nowhere.

Multimillionaire buyer Martin Martyn
had seen Jade’s masterpiece evolve from a slab
to the finished form. He waited for its twin to emerge
from beneath her chisels and lathes.
Myrtle the amphibious, bipedal, octopoid, mach two,
was more finely crafted than the original.

Jade returned from the book exchange to discover
Myrtle the Second had been swapped with Myrtle the first.
Martin Martyn was as oblivious as an oyster.

After observing Helena glancing nervously towards the kitchen cupboards,
Jade discovered the floor space had shrunk.
She found the false wall, behind the pots and pans.

Art Museum Statue

If I wasn’t stone my back hair would be fleece to lease
but foul, feral fleas are hard to please with granite follicles.
I’m older than the oceans.
For eons I was rock, lava and magma.
I recently became a statue, of a morbidly obese man,
suspended above a barbecue throne, in imitation of levitation.
Touring the world’s premier art galleries
is better than being banished to a storeroom prison,
without a lawyer or a trial.
People watching is my main interest.
If I weren’t frozen in stone it would be easy to smile.
Opposite me is an Arctic oil,
as life like as a voyage on an ice breaker.
To my left is the glow from the window of a 3 a.m poet.

I’m not as content as I was before a descendant of Michel Angelo
released me from the mountainside.
I was happy as an amalgam of crystals on that blizzard swept slope,
but curious about the dying world of the parasitic, bald apes.

My sculptor, Quincy Macquarie, has no faith in quarrymen,
It took seventeen Sherpa’s to wheel my finished form
down ten miles of precipice bordered goat trails.
I was loaded by the mother of all forklifts
on to a second hand Black Hawk helicopter.

This is my ninety ninth gallery.
I’ve had stints in the Louvre, Hollywood sets,
the National Museum of Korea
and Kim Jong-Un’s palatial bedroom; aren’t I glad that’s over.
I currently reside in the penthouse level of birthday world,
an art amusement park.
The graffiti roller coaster looks set to grow beyond the walls
of this towering monument to the ridiculous.

There are peepholes in my skull.
A schoolkid is gawking at my pseudo cerebellum right now.
My brain is a solution of honey and water, in wrinkly, grey plastic.
I need it like relaxation therapy needs Death Metal.
My thinking apparatus is purely subatomic.

Wow, someone dedicated a hectare of wall space
to a photograph of a jumper knitted by an Alzheimers victim.
It’s as shoddy as the web of an acid tripping orb weaver
and as boring as an entire continent reduced to a salt pan.
Thankfully, time is relative to the speed of perception.
I fast forward mistakes and reserve slow motion
for the likes of Marilyn Monroe.
During my Hollywood era I was her telepathic shrink.
Assuming I’m as innocent as a teddy bear
she practised the subway grate scene
in front of me countless times.
I can assure you she wasn’t wearing lace edged virginal white.

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art awaits me.
Eventually I’d like to combine my interests
in hang gliding, volcanoes and euthanasia.
When I was a little pebble,
I wondered what was all the hullabaloo about youth in Asia.
I look forward to Armageddon.
Live volcanoes will be plentiful then.

The Dip, the End and the Pity in Serendipity

1.

Whether it’s a Renoiresque landscape
decorating a highway underpass
or the kid who failed art
scrawling his tag on the court house
it’s all the same to Senior Constable Brett Clydesdale.
Celeste and I were graffiti artist hunters,
of the photographer kind.
Clysedale mistook us for a useful pair of eyes.
The moniker ‘Rebel Chameleon’ dominated his patrol car.
The crime was committed beneath the midday sun,
while Templeton Hill was distracted
by local sporting hero Melvin Mayhem Mannix
stalking ageing middleweight kingpin Supersonic Sid Salisbury.
Clydesdale yearned to arrest tourists
for showing his defaced vehicle on social media
but had to content himself
with warning them against blocking traffic.

Celeste spotted a man in a chameleon skin mask
join a busload of similarly attired tourists.
There was an air of confidence about him
that said I could tattoo your sclera
and vanish before you feel the burn.
The tribe of street artists
were headed for a graffiti convention,
via Templeton Pie Shop.
By the time Senior Constable Clydesdale
finished sampling the latest confectionary experiment,
at Bessie’s Bakery, their vehicle was on the highway.
To Clydesdale’s disgust,
no known spray paint wizard in the country
was athletic enough to commit the crime
and be relaxing in the pie shop,
before the graffiti tourists were on the road.
If the culprit had boarded their bus,
he wasn’t an official passenger. 

The first time I saw Celeste
was at the Art Gallery of New South Wales,
when Freddie Mercury was still alive,
I took  a picture for her and the sniggering toff
she was already tempted to jettison.
Celeste photographed me kissing a marble sculpture
of Margaret Fontaine on the buttocks.
Security anticipated my lewd conduct
with a bronze incarnation of Zeus.

Luckily my book was emblazoned on my t-shirt.
Celeste liked every poem.
I found her as intriguing as the Amazon
but harder to reach than it’s undiscovered tribes.
Her detractors claimed to have met more responsive statues.
Approaching topics from more angles
than architectural encyclopaedias,
prompted her to weave philosophical tapestries
that made Wahiawa’s Pineapple Garden maze
look as straight forward as a two chord typhoon.  

The nature of our relationship
was unpredictable as Antarctic ice.
The journeys from chaste pecks to cavorting tongues and back
were longer than the Kokoda Track
but I was as persistent as Pheidippides.
By the twenty first century,
Cupid was a passed out sentry
as I kissed passive lips goodbye.

Celeste’s misdial was as unexpected as Mercury orbiting our moon.
She found the conversation less comfortable
than Monday for the sole bearer of bad news
in an intensive care ward.
Another year of estrangement passed.

 

2.

At our Circular Quay reunion,
cyborg flag marshals ushered in fantastical U.F.O’s,
for spare change,
until hail carpeted the ground like snow.
Viking helmets, from ‘In Characters’ closing down sale,
shielded us on our journey to The Domain.
The temple façade of the gallery loomed.
Fantastical art as surprising as Bates is enterprising,
the brochure lauded a lord of philanthropists.

My irises shrunk to porthole frames
as I gazed at armor plated starfish,
with a penchant for hammerhead blood,
guarding their Great Barrier Reef lair.
Venus Stegosaurus Traps settled for hapless rhinos.
A trumpeting zebra summoned a genie
from its Bourbon bottle prison.
Rats decapitated cheese statues of pest controllers.
You looked restless.

Down the corridor,
a plague of suns fought for space in the skyscape,
as a shepherd shook his crook at disobedient woolly mammoths.
Sequoia triffids failed to see the irony
in their chain saw rampages
turning loggers huts into mounds of sawdust.
The wolf dolphin was petrified
of the reflections on its scales,
it looked too drug addled
to tell coral quays from blue whales.
I clutched my pen
with the relief a diabetic grips overdue insulin.
A tsunami of ideas can kill like a wall of water.

 

3.

Your favourite gallery was all palms, tree ferns and moss.
Under a gazebo we embraced.
Lingering barriers flew like wildfire dew.

That night I watched Celeste’s hyper expressive face
engrossed in Wuthering Heights.
Normally your passion is as hidden
as black spray paint, on a coalface,
countless corners from a pin prick of light.
The good night caress of your tongue
was sweet, tender, but not without restraint.

I lapsed into chaotic REM punctuated by a starters gun.
All I had to do was catch the horizon.
Pheidippedes grinned from his roadside knee store.
Between Broome and Darwin
Celeste was mouth-watering in black lingerie
and mouthing something.
Did she say “I’m in love with your love for me?”

Three laps of the continent later, the horizon was inverted.
A man in a lizard skin mask danced on the seesawing highway.
Climbing spikes appeared, vanished and reappeared
as unpredictably as highland spring sunshine,
but their comings and goings weren’t as erratic as Celeste.

 

4.

My eyes tasted the sunrise.
Sunday morning’s ration of affection
rendered strawberry studded Vita Brits,
buried in passion fruit yogurt,
blander than a plate of lettuce.

We trekked through suburban bushland,
to a body, mind and spirit expo.
The closed eyes of an uncannily accurate medium
said more about cold reading than the Sceptics Society.
Tarot was more fun than any gambling game.
A botanical mystic claimed telepathic plants speak English.

On the way home, at an unfamiliar crossroads,
my confidence vanished like Lake Eyre in a drought.
‘Dream it, live it’ was carved on the shoulder
of a sandstone marathoner.
‘The Horizon’ was embossed on the back
of Celeste’s marble double.

A hammer and chisel wielding figure,
in the undergrowth, disappeared like a fox.
His face was hidden beneath a lizard skin mask.

In my last ever conversation with Celeste
I discovered she couldn’t recall our first kiss,
my quirky stories about my stint as a football team mascot,
or which continents I’d visited.
It was an impressive feat of apathy
from someone who could swipe the pieces from a chessboard,
and reconstruct the match days later.

Wrong Angled Triangle

The Bannister sisters and I were a “wrong angled triangle”.
We changed the definition of an elective
and smirked at the principal’s invective.
Every afternoon our gang absconded
through lorikeet infested shrubbery,
for a feast of lascivious grubbery,
and to photograph the grandest vandalism
ever to grace a storm water drain.

In a psychedelic haze we’d gaze
at each and every foaming curl
painters had chosen to unfurl,
on a hippie ship drifting perilously close
to the waterfall at the edge of the world.
Nearby, hamsters hang glided in hurricanes
and dugong harlots waited
for a tie dye t-shirt wearing Bluebeard
to don his dope goggles.
Spear gun wielding, werewolf transvestites
paddling after yowie Voodoo Lords,
weren’t the strangest of the hordes
gawking from those gallery walls.
The artists were crazier than your average
Angel Trumpet munching, LSD lunching,
smoke imbibing, needle punching, Kombi zombies,
but they were all natural trippers.

While nerds wondered if their algebra had slipped,
we went to a wake in a walk in crypt.
We didn’t mean to miss the maths test,
a blues guitarist’s tapestry of sound
rooted us to hallowed ground.

We spent the final week of school
in an empty mansion playing pool.
A Rolls Royce idling in the driveway,
prompted our escape from Rose Bay.
Revenge mad suits in swift pursuit
went sprawling over a fig tree root.
Textbooks launched into the harbour,
made room for loot as conspicuous
as bunyips playing frisbee, with a flying saucer,
on the White House lawn.

After we’d indulged in a heavenly blend
of four hands Swedish, Hawaiian and Thai massage,
I had the Bannister sisters mischievous, angelic faces
tattooed on my back by an Archibald Prize winner.
The dregs of our fortune evaporated in Gold Class.
Another Hollywood doomsday soon arrived.
None of the tsunami surfing Leviathans
headed for the Harbor Bridge survived.

The movie was a prophesy for a calamity.
The girls were a writhing mass of limbs
as they landed in the storm water,
their lifeless bodies snagged and snapped on a bridge.
A playful wrestle was twisted into mutual murder.
The papers claimed our polyamorous arrangement
was rocket fuel for enraged jealous derangement,
a ‘wrong angled triangle’ they called us.
I lost count of the cameras I sent cannoning into brick walls
and the drones I slingshotted into the bitumen,
before the story was buried
in the sediment of sport and celebrity gossip.

 

 

 

Photo

Untitled by Kedai Lelaki

www.flickr.com/photos/40110070@N02/5267517689

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