Liam Ferney

Brisbane Poems


For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror which we are still able to
endure and we are so awed because it serenely
disdains to annihilate us. Every angel is terrifying.

“That guy’s gotta see us!” Followed by a long screech, a skid, then silence and then the thud of glass smashing as I careen through the windshield of my Porsche Spyder at 100 miles an hour. No matter how I die I long for a rock star’s elegy. Such is poetry where every beauty becomes the sun and every poem is inevitably an Icarus melting at the peak of its ascent to an unattainable. One day things will seem far more important but while the Aussie dollar remains steady alongside the greenback swapping kisses for cigarettes takes on the chivalrous ceremony of religion. Finish your black coffee and consider getting a job because no poet ever got rich off love except for, maybe, Shakespeare and even he was long dead before his investment was earning a significant return. From a marketing perspective perhaps I should sell the rights for these poems to the producers of a movie starring Hugh Grant. But your bonsai eyes shine in a way that would blind the ubiquitous cameramen. Five minutes between shifts while the crickets complain like a Charlie Parker saxophone salute is not time enough to write epics so I’m left instead to staccato salutations undergoing rapid permutations. And then I realise that your life itself is as tangible as a car crash and I’m the brakes failing pathetically on a wet road in the mountains. By the time I’ve written this line the night is over and dawn hangs in the air like a bad ending to a good novel. You paid for your meal but you’re not hungry anymore.


beyond the scrub
for sarah

at dusk we followed the roses down to
the inlet and watched millions of soldier
crabs running between tiny mountains and
craters at midday the sun scorches the sand
like impossibly hot coffee and we try to hide

in patches of grass or by drinking pots on the balcony
of the surf club the long road past the army bases
back to the highway blocks out everything
but sunscreen and ice creams out here the
radio’d break and the night would go silent
(like a hoarse kookaburra)

and we’d dream of ways we could get
my little Galant rolling through the soft sand.


“Grunter’s gotta do,
what Grunter’s gotta do!”

the trouble with dichotomies
is that you’ll always end up on one
side of a besser brick wall with a
stick of dynamite in your hand and typing
far quicker than the words appear on
your screen the screech of a vulture
or tyres signals doom and you start
to count back towards the definitive
moment in you’re life when you became
that person you were today but its
retrospective and impossible like the way
I can’t remember when I started writing
in the third person like a frustrated second
rower down on game time and form being
interviewed after the game they’ve just lost
you’ve just lost the vulture swoops the Holden
pounces and the dichotomies all dissolve as you
bounce of the hood the last drop of water
evaporates off your tongue and the night
falls across your eyes like an overabundant
pension of booze and pharmaceuticals –
ya dig!


On the Television

The spiderman descends from
the clouds
disguised as an art thief
robbing the National Gallery
of Victoria.
Oscar Wilde with a beer
gut sits in the stands
on the fourth day
of a Gabba test
and when Youhana gets
dismissed for 75 he yells :
“Nice shot,
ya dickhead.”
We laugh but I’m not
sure of the value of
humour, smiling
clowns grinding to
a stop at a show in
The spiderman quickly selects
a Howard Arkley
and attaches it to his belt,
gliding up
his web, silently
towards the heavens.

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