December 12, 2008

Woman Leaves Poetry Seminar

          (for Kevin Brophy)

finished with the poetry thing
now I have to deal with
dirty nappies, screaming,
a husband who thinks poetry’s quaint

where is it all leading?

there it goes
through the traffic
leaving a trail of tail lights
smudging up the rain

there it is
carved up on a butcher’s tray
but not yet dead

& there it was
in the split of curtain
drawn down in Jesus’ last words

the poetry thing is over
the reading, the talking
now for the living
where the bloody poetry thing
keeps on appearing

leading to places
where words are used
to describe what words cannot

& I’m a fool that tries

—Paul Mitchell
originally appeared in fourW

Posted by dwaber at 12:08 PM

December 11, 2008

Not a religion, poem. Key?

This is consciously a poem and so must try
to outstare itself. It knows itself by its
line breaks. And clever self-referencing.
Its lack of narrative is clear–

we’re waiting.

And again.

‘Here’ lies. an opportunity. Your eyes can speak
of symbols, signs of things that haven’t come
in a visual age: an end to war, despite a War
to end them all. And suffering, despite a fat man’s
sculpted illusion. You have your peace, B.
I prefer my conflicted version.

But this is consciously a poem, not
a religion. It’s a chance to speak
without dogmatism, without a voice

if you choose. And to read without one, too.
Chance forewords drop from the air
or out of your mind’s eye, whetted and appetised
.. .
No pictures anywhere! So is reality nowhere?
Yes, we can be happy at last. Reality freed.

Costing nothing, giving nothing. All
consuming, a self-conscious //
“not mean”. Or try this ~

Art? Always ‘not art’. Its one
great purpose. Don’t blame the // or the ~
or even the ____ for their re-thanking.
When you’re in a dark cell, ancient
ring pulls from Coke cans feel like keys.

—Paul Mitchell
first appeared in Eureka Street

Posted by dwaber at 12:38 PM

December 10, 2008

Conversation at the Publishing House

               Poor cultures can afford poetry, wealthy cultures can’t – Les Murray

Who’s that on the phone?
          I think it’s that poet again
He wanted something, didn’t he, I wrote it down–

          Our publishing guidelines—

Tell him no one’s funding poetry
Tell him poetry strained a back muscle
Tell him poetry attempted a double
somersault with pike, landed on its belly

Tell him my bra strap’s loose
Tell him your shirt’s too tight

Tell him there’s a lot of competition
Words aren’t cheap
toads have warts
and ice-cream shouldn’t be left
in the car at the supermarket—

He’s just hung up . . .

Has he? Bloody poets

—Paul Mitchell
originally appeared in a Melb Poets Union anthology

Posted by dwaber at 01:32 PM

December 09, 2008

Roll of Meaning

I read a poem about how meaninglessness
compounds in language until it means something.
I think I know what this means, which maybe
shows I don’t. I’m not sure I want to.
The title, ‘a poem without dice’, seems chancy.
Perhaps the poet wanted to mean, ‘a dice
without spots’? On the bathtub corner
I spot a small white cube. It’s pointless
to say, ‘It’s true’ –

—Paul Mitchell
Originally appeared in Blue Dog

Posted by dwaber at 02:45 PM

December 08, 2008


It’s no use showing me poems about music;
I’m tone deaf.

There’s nothing wrong with that one,
just needs more brilliance.

Yeah, you’ve written a shocker there.

Having died you never completely come back.
I had a rehearsal for the big stage.

Great poem. And full of love.

*          Don’t use tired images when you feel
            you are at a crucial point.

Don’t crowd the idea. Have confidence
the point is made and

ask yourself
has this poem got hungry pockets?

—Paul Mitchell

Posted by dwaber at 02:22 PM