rap career

I know people think
I’m not the most expressive
unless herded to the brink
but don’t be dismissive.
My emotions are not passive,
they are massive.
Yes it’s good
but I don’t need sex,
I want emotion.
Companion-ship is the most important thing
in this world of rolling oceans.
Is that too much
commotion?
If I scream and shout,
spell-cast Red Mist,
strike with my fist,
does that mean I care? 
I do not display violence here,
especially at the beginning
of my rap career.
Believe me,
if I didn’t mind
I would have disappeared.
I would have stopped being kind
when I was eighteen.
But I’ve been
around,
you might have seen me,
admittedly a little unhinged
because I haven’t been watching the news.
My head’s been floating free of the world,
unsure of what will make my body crumble next.
I’ve taken a tumble before,
I don’t get surprised when I lose
anymore.
So I change the channel to the ABC or even something lairy.
I don’t provide couch commentary,
rather feel my face hurt
and it’s quite nice
because for once it isn’t my chest.
It was hard not to think
something sinister went on
but I’ll never know
because it’s gone.
You haven’t always gotten my best,
I forget to project
after the turmoil of getting through the day.
I do mean what I say here,
it’s just that sometimes 
I feel like the folded pelican on the pier.
How could it ever lift itself into the air?
Then you watch it fly
and it’s glorious.
Do you see him there?
He’s not in the sky to stretch his wings,
he wants to impress you.
So far I can only do that
in my stories.
At times I’m a thousand bee-stings
of self-destruction,
I only spill my guts
at the very end.
It’s not the most efficient
way to be existing.
When I learn to steer a saddle
I’ll have a new genuine love,
one that needs no reciprocation
to make me happy.
I will take myself out into the cold
before I’m too old.
I will be bold
and take those 10 days
in the wilderness.
I will not shave my beard,
I need to hide the blush in my face
every time I open my mouth.
I need something for the ice to form in,
Need to brush it away like sin,
and keep my identity hidden safe,
just in case
I actually risked myself
with no fear of losing my self.
I would stare at wood grains
and you would see me in space
but I see things there;
Like a world that’s stable,
one where I’m able
to resist ticking boxes
and adding labels
that have no place in what’s real.
All my life
I’ve just been trying to heal.
I’m good,
I attempt to find the people that are good
but they prove it wasn’t a good deal
most of the time.
I used to think it was my fault,
there was something wrong with how I felt
but I’ve checked my tool belt,
tightened every bolt
and put a halt to those thoughts
now.
I listened to Milo
(that line when he says 
“Maybe if I learned to sing raspy like Gonjasufi
I wouldn’t always feel so fucking poopy”)
and didn’t know what he was saying,
but “if I was a necromancer”
I’d bring back all my dogs.
So I made some Milo instead
but that put kids in my head.
Specifically me
drinking milk
and chocolate dirt after dinner
at my parents’ feeling like a winner.
The only difference now
is that the house has blown away
and they’re not within shouting distance
to say it’s okay.
Trifling alterations…
There’s got to be a key
to open up
what’s inside of me.
I don’t want to be late,
or for her to get tired of me.
In honesty
I have no rhythm
but I’ve got heart
and that’s what it takes
to create art.
Sadly the images,
and my pride,
are missing.
This level,
just like Donkey Kong,
had a found a way to beat me.
I get distracted
by two people kissing.
It must have been early
because they took their time
and their lips were soft,
and when they locked eyes
the train lurched and stopped
but they kept to their goodbyes.
I closed mine,
sure that I had tried.
He had said
why now, when everything was working out?
I too wondered what that was about,
I asked the same question
as I cried.
When I need to feel better
and worse at the same time
I put on my favourite song.

I hoped it wouldn’t take long.


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Approx. 12.30am

Under the glow of the Lacoste sign, he leaned back and put his heel to the concrete wall, leather jacket meeting bumpy granules to produce a small but satisfying scraping sound. In his pocket a text message buzzed and he quickly pulled out his phone.

It was who he was hoping for.

After replying he breathed out and small tendrils of steam escaped his lips, drifting upwards and disappearing in the framed blackness between buildings. Absently, he stared across the street and allowed a certain amount of contentment to settle on his face. This was what it felt like for someone to actually want you. Nothing was shrouded. He lingered comfortably on the thought as he studied the modern, angled, architecture of the offices over the road.

A group of people his age walked by, intersecting his vision. One girl, wearing heels, caught upon a chipped crater in the footpath and stumbled. She went down to one knee and he set his posture straight to take a step forward. Then her friends reached her to take her by the arms and levelled her balance between them. They laughed it off and continued on, saying one more drink would see the night away. He relaxed and checked his phone again, noting that his ride was due in one minute.

Surprisingly the car, a Toyota Corolla, stopped directly in front of him. Enjoying the small internal smile at simple pleasures, he opened the door and sunk in. A standard greeting followed and he resolved, a little less positively, to go through the motions of conversation a trip like that normally delivered. His driver, a middle-aged man with freckles across his cheeks and hair curling out from a grey flatcap, spoke in an accent he couldn’t place. Hanging and rotating periodically, a name tag read Mayenzani. He couldn’t pretend that helped much, although it probably narrowed the options down to the continent of Africa.

Despite the drinks he’d had, he was negotiating the conversation with ease.

‘You been at it long tonight mate?’
‘I started at 6 man,’ Mayenzani replied. ‘And I’ll be going until about 4.’
‘That’s some shift.’
‘Gotta do it, it’s worth it. Once I finish here, I head over to Newtown for the late crowd.’
The younger man was momentarily distracted as the car passed a nightclub. Outside, the same group he’d seen earlier was waiting to get in. The girl who had stumbled seemed to be lecturing the bouncer, assumedly about how sober she was. He smirked as they disappeared from view and shifted his attention back to his driver.
‘You work every weekend?’
Mayenzani nodded. ‘Most but it’s okay, I’m old. How are old are you man?’
’22’
‘You’re young.’
He chuckled but then he quietened. ‘Yeah, I’m young,’ he murmured.
Mayenzani flashed his teeth, the brightness of the smile startled the youth for a second. He thought about his own occupation.
‘Do you ever feel like your job is meaningless, like your time is being wasted?’
Mayenzani looked at him then, narrowing his eyes. ‘You had a few drinks tonight my man?’
A soft exhale through his nostrils. ‘A few.’
Mayenzani smiled broadly again. ‘I guess you have to do things to keep yourself excited. Do you have anything like that?’
‘I gamble.’
‘I used to work in a big casino back home,’ Mayenzani said nodding. ‘My best buddy and I, we were waiters.’
‘Where’s that?’
‘Sorry?’
‘Where’s home?’
‘South Africa man.’
Of course, now he recognised the accent clearly. It made sense that he was happy to be in this conversation. While he considered this, ruminating on a South African biology lecturer he’d once had, the car fell silent and the radio could be heard clearly for the first time. A song he liked was playing. Bruce Springsteen crooning that he was on fire. It made him gather his phone again and send another message off into the ether. When a reply came almost immediately, he didn’t know if he wanted to grin or run away into the dark to be alone. Realising he’d become distracted again, he spoke.
‘Did you ever see anyone win it big?’
Mayenzani glanced away from the road again.
‘A few times. We even had a good time ourselves once.’
‘Yeah?’
‘Yeah man, when we finished our shifts we would sometimes have a go. We did okay one time.’
‘Why’d you move out here?’
Mayenzani didn’t answer immediately, then he turned the radio off just as a newscast was coming on.
‘I had some things I needed to get away from.’
The younger man deliberated. Mayenzani’s expression was not as rosy as it had been. But it couldn’t hurt.
‘What kinds of things?’
Again, there was a pause before a reply was offered.
‘Violent things.’
‘Ah like gangs and stuff?’ Lines in his forehead.
For a second, Mayenzani’s eyes had glazed over and he seemed caught by surprise with the young man’s reply.
‘Yes, of course. It wasn’t safe…Plus, what better place to live and spend money in man. This is a beautiful country.’
He changed down gears, slowing for a corner.
‘You’re right about that,’ said the youth. He stared at his phone screen, realising he’d typed “I’ve got a bad desire”.
‘What’s her name? Mayenzani motioned towards the device.
‘How do you kn-‘ He shrugged then and smiled. ‘It’s Helen.’
Suddenly he didn’t want to share any more than that. It was something special, something only they could know. He focused back on the former conversation.
‘It always seems like a risk, moving to a new country.’
Mayenzani didn’t push the issue, as he was concentrating on the dim ashphalt again. He had not accelerated after turning. He peered slightly forward, looking for something in a darkened street dominated by large leafy tress along the footpath.

Then he locked eyes with the veritable boy in the passenger seat.

‘We all take risks. Gambling man, that’s life.’

The car turned into a driveway and stopped. Puzzled, with a strange sensation entering his stomach, the young man looked through the windscreen at a nondescript house. In that instance he had a thought and a resolution. Something was wrong. He would not try to speak to Mayenzani again. He would try to exit the car immediately. Even that prudence wasn’t enough. Even unclipping his seatbelt with his right hand and letting his phone fall from his left so he could grab the door handle at the same time, wasn’t enough. As a foul-smelling cloth closed over his face, he had only brief seconds before he was out of it. In its last throes his eyesight saw the word “desire” still illuminated on his phone after it had come to rest on the footmat. He felt regret. She had to know. If she knew, he was okay. Why hadn’t he just said it. His eyes closed.

No other cars passed down the road, and the street stood in relative silence. A slight breeze rustling the upper reaches of tree limbs was the only sound disturbing the early morning. Mayenzani punctuated the space with the opening and closing of the car doors, the last of which was the passenger side after he had lowered his former client to the pavement. The young man regained some form of consciousness in the absence of the cloth. His eyes split open momentarily as he tried to regain his senses. Above him he saw Mayenzani take a cursory look around at the surrounding properties. Then the young man was being dragged towards the front door of the house. Feebly, he tried to wrap his fingers around the frame but another figure appeared in the silhouette of the opening and the last thing he felt was a thump to the back of the head.

The door closed then, and the street outside was unaltered. Waiting under a parked car for the small commotion to pass, a ginger cat ventured out and nimbly leapt up a tree to place itself in a safer lookout for the next time someone happened along.

implore

You’re sacrificing yourself

for an image

you won’t find until you’re invisible.

You’ll look down from above,

see it in the polaroids

your loved ones are grieving on.

 

What put you in this frame of mind?

How could a world of so much good

be so viciously unkind?

Tell me who it was,

tell me what it was,

I’ll give them a piece

of my mind.

 

Darling,

come to the table

now.

Let the banister

hold your weight as you walk down.

I know you say

you’re not able.

But we won’t tag you with a label.

And when your hands

have the same hard edges

as your knife and fork,

we won’t look.

 

You know that furry skin,

that hair on your legs

means you’re underfed.

The wobble of your weightless head

means you’re dehydrated.

You say you’re cold

and I wrap you up.

I feel your frame

and think of your grandmother.

It scares me that

you feel so old.

It’s no one’s fault

but it’s time to consult

how we get past this,

because you’re still here

but I already miss

 

you.

 

I know it’s a process

and you’re fearful

but give us access,

and let’s make it fun.

You can teach

your little cousin

how to beat the sugar in slowly.

Or you can do the chicken

and the marinade.

Don’t you love the way

our kitchen window is hit with the morning sun?

Remember the crinkled grin

you would give when you licked the spoon?

Those were the days.

 

I’m full with greed

for ways to help.

I found a book

we can read,

written by those

who’ve chewed through

the same as you.

I know you’re older now

but you can still nestle under my shoulder.

I promise

it will give us everything we need.

 

It’s a trigger for me,

the more you stay home

the less your friends ring your mobile phone.

Your hand is up and down

like a windscreen wiper,

thumb pressing apps.

Great.

Another obession

to help you relapse.

 

I’m sure it was just the TV glow,

sure it was just the shadow

making your eyes look so hollow.

 

You implore me

to leave the light off.

 

a long time

I was on the 14th floor

saying I don’t want to die

but I don’t want to be here either.

I guess we all have our secrets.

He said you’re feeling helpless,

everything is meaningless.

I asked are you getting paid for this?

Then he helped me.

I would forget to tell myself

at least you have your health.

I would think

give me feedback.

Use the weight of the world

to break my back.

People would say relax

and I would try

but I couldn’t get it off.

Things

wouldn’t

slow

down.

I wanted to be in the sunlight

on the back porch

with my grandfather.

As they faded away,

I wanted to

too.

Why do children

always get straight to the point?

They make sense

where we make mistakes.

They are honest,

their logic is inarguable.

Adults are scared,

some more than others.

I felt my muscles ache

and quiver.

I thought about incurable disorders,

saw my voice constantly crossed the borders

of self-pity

without reason.

I realised I was looking at life

like an ant’s nest

seeing the descent

of an atomic bomb.

Things weren’t that bad,

I was lucky.

I am here once

and the next place forever.

I will do the things

that give me freedom.

I’ll still want them

but I won’t think about it.

I will still see it,

still feel the sadness of the world

but I won’t swim in mine.

All things right themselves

eventually.

If they don’t,

it’s still no reason to worry,

you’ve put your seatbelt on;

just hope it’s

for a long time.

Oh smile at me,

look me in the eyes,

make me realise

the moments are a blessing,

not a collection of curses.

Remind

my mind of the simple good.

The places you ask me to go,

I would.

And it’s about time I understood

it’s not that hard

to tie my shoelaces,

piece together

a string of things done right,

stop turning off

my own light.

ache

The sky says to the grass

 

“if you grew blue

you could be up here with me too.”

 

But the grass was too long now

to change the composition of its roots.

As it strained

it found itself in pain.

 

“I cannot change to be blue

but I can be everything you need for you.”

 

The sky shook its head.

 

“If you aren’t anew

and you are still green

it will make me less blue.”

 

And so the grass remained,

alongside a bee

who wished he could

sting without dying,

knowing where it wanted to be

was a place it could not go,

would not be allowed to know.

 

The grass hurt.

As it began to wither

and fade to yellow,

there was nothing it could do

about that either.

 

Then it whispered

 

“but don’t you see,

without the sun

we are the same colour.”

it comes around

Christmas paper soggy

from the son lost a few days ago.

She couldn’t throw the present away now,

this time of year was wasteful enough already.

She noticed;

her hands wouldn’t stop shaking,

her stomach wouldn’t stop contracting.

Across the street a different house,

a different feeling.

Two lovers just announced

they’re getting married.

 

Rainbows lit up across the country

and it was like a loose brick in the wall

had finally slid back into place.

You could feel the energy

but then you hear these everyday conversations…

“You’re a dumb whore cunt, wish I’d never met you way back when.”

“Aboriginals, not half a brain between the lot of them.”

They’re breaking down the mortar

so the erosion doesn’t go away.

I don’t know how to stop it.

 

It’s important to learn about darkness.

Not so you can find the right way,

just so you can survive.

You can light a little candle

in a circle around yourself,

you can pull others in but only for a short time.

They’ll breathe all the oxygen in

and eventually

one of you will be alone again.

 

(In the blinding light

of the realisation of my life

I saw you’d gotten a move on

and I hadn’t budged in so long.

It was alright, I was learning to be laid back.)

 

What is it about the colour purple?

It won’t tell me

if it’s happy or sad,

reminds me of the battle fought

inside my own head.

For years now it’s up and down,

I’ve always managed to keep it down.

 

(Walking in the dark with my dog,

on a deserted bike path,

I can feel ten feet tall.

I can feel wild and strong.

I see nothing for miles

except the lights in the distance

of the cars going

places they think are more meaningful than mine.)

 

In the moments of respite

where the only movement is a leaf

falling to the ground

you’ve got to wonder

if you stayed there forever

and let yourself fade away,

would it be peaceful,

would it be a better way to go

than fighting all the way down the line

until you’re too tired and old

to do it anymore?

 

 

fragment

Put me on a billboard,

watch my eyes turn away.

I see the floor,

it doesn’t tell me how to find…

Put a celebrity in an empty room,

take the light off them,

see them fade away.

 

The way ice cream melts

reminds me of the moments

I’ve sunken into myself

for reasons unknown.

There was a time

when the world wasn’t so big,

when creation was exclusive,

and life unaltered.

Left to its own devices.

Now there’s too many vices.

 

I don’t want to be a receptacle

for the pain that jumps off the page,

the screen.

The screams I imagine,

the fear clamouring in.

Where’s evil,

where’s the reason

It keeps existing?

I admit I wonder

how I could ever make a difference.

 

Come on.

We’re adults now,

we can talk.

We can be honest.

The truth

does not have to be uncomfortable

or hard to utter.

 

Like the open mouth

of a storm-fed waterfall,

let it flow.

What you feel

is never meaningless.

Like the open sky,

I always have room for your voice.

Let me hear you,

take the strength

I can give to you.

small

A thousand guys better than me,

I stared into the blue.

Something about the colour,

something deeper there

spoke of solving problems.

Didn’t help me impress you.

 

On the train,

centrally wedged,

I felt like a child again.

I was molten in my seat,

fever taking hold.

But it wasn’t just my body,

specks in my mind, pain in my skull

made me feel more than old.

 

I get tired more often,

I wish the air to dissolve me.

My patience used to be my pride

but now I find it hard to soften.

 

I curse the change,

I thought I had my head around it

but under the surface of my skin

I’m aggravated, feeling strange.

 

I’m a power surge,

happy

and sad

are interchangeable,

as is my urge

towards recklessness and caution.

 

Don’t mess it up

I tell myself

before I begin to sweat.

Holes in my hull,

I don’t fill up.

 

I would drive away

if survival wasn’t a reason to stay.

unseeing

Without realising,

the grass overran the pavers

by the garden,

concealing the cracks.

A caterpillar traced a blade,

slowly dipping

towards the grain of the ground.

Equally unaware,

the insect fell victim

to the swoop

of a keen-beaked magpie.

 

A puppy, husky,

had an unconscious thought

while sunning herself.

Her sapphire eyes caught the movement,

that was all.

Back legs sprang into action.

As the bird cleared the yard

the puppy launched too late

and wobbled the fence.

 

A mouse delicately traversed

along the colourbond,

oblivious

except to the straight line it was running.

When the tin shook

it was startled.

As quick as the snap of time

it tumbled,

the wrong way.

Instincts already activated,

the puppy pounced

and her jaws closed

and the rodent,

it’s eyes closed

not understanding

a single moment

of it’s life.

 

 

I stepped outside

to the wagging tail

and the bright, proud eyes.

It could have been the best time of her life

but she wouldn’t ever remember.

Until later,

when it had already snuck away.

 

a mess is best

Time to make rhymes,

and half rhymes,

about the things

that make me sigh

and light up my eyes.

 

 

Moments at dawn,

on a stranger’s lawn,

seeing things

that are not there.

Though I could have sworn

I saw

a shape with garments torn.

Leering from the past,

or the future?

Undoing my sutures.

Despite its presence,

it convinced me I was alone,

put cold in every bone.

Froze my tone

as I whispered to myself,

above the whipping breeze,

all the plans I had sewn

would hold tight.

A moment later

it was they might.

Then, they wouldn’t last the night.

 

 

Gee, it’s easy to scare me.

Put a music video on the TV,

murmur dark themes in my ear,

tell me secrets I don’t want to hear.

Celebrate the end of a year.

Stand me on a cliff

and tell me it’s better not to lift

off.
The landing has always been soft,

yet ever in view of the places I would break.

Now I’m in the clear

and you’ll never be mine to take

but I’d like to think

you’ll let me make it work.

You choose what’s good for your sake

and I’m happy to follow.

 

 

I feel less hollow

and less again tomorrow.

Something’s unfolding,

like a sapling learning

To keep growing.

I just need to find a way to keep holding

onto this.

 

 

There have been things I’ve missed

by choosing to wander through mist.

But it’s a good place

to go at my own pace.

And no one sees if I’ve misplaced

a thought

or not tied up my shoelace.

If they don’t see me stumble

trying to stay humble

then it’s easier not to crumble.

Am I nearing the peak

of what life means?

Around the corner

I can see everything I want

and have wanted to keep.

Is it deep?

Once I fill it up

will it seep away?

I hope it doesn’t go that way.

 

 

All we can do is try.

Things will work out

because hope is strong

and our will’s are stronger.

Once you realise there’s no reason not to be happy,

boy does a good feeling last longer.