June 2014 Call-back Poet graciously declines the honour!
Hi speedy poets,
With Andrew Phillips disappearing into the thready winter sunset and heading for the warmer shores of California, it’s an honour and a privilege to be joining the Speedpoets crew as the guy who jumps on stage and says things (read MC). With that said and done, it would be a little odd to be both an MC and a call back for the year so I’m going to respectfully decline my spot at the November showdown and make way for finer poets than me to get up and make noise. Looking forward to seeing you all at the Lucky Duck (bring your friends- all of them!) and thanks for making Speedpoets one of the pillars of culture in Brisbane.
Bio. In collaboration with Chloë Callistemon, Simon co-published the collection air / tide in 2014. He is currently working on various projects including a verse novel and – as a teacher at a major Brisbane High School- he is working on building a youth slam community in Brisbane to provide opportunities for teenage writers and performers to share their work. Some of his students are going to be onstage at QPF in 2014. And you, well… you should go and see them.
Simon’s writing explores the sublime and the ordinary in the colliding territories of landscape, the body, and the whole human mess. He has an open, gentle performance style, a generous grasp of human emotion, and a willingness to carefully peel back the seemingly ordinary to reveal what lies underneath.
We, such stuff as dreams are made
it’s true sometimes,
a day will end like this:
the river swelling as the tide
the sun slouching down
below the ridgeline,
light unstitching the horizon.
the shadow of a hunting hawk
spiralling a thread of air
above the headland,
waves singing quiet through the water,
golden light washing your hands.
your daughter carrying
a bucket full of shells she plucked
from the lowtide line,
she’ll spill like jewels
across your palm,
and you, for once with no desire
to weight these things with any
meaning but their own,
for once with nothing
in your head but
some lost and broken thing
the whale, thrown off course,
a compass no doubt spinning in its skull,
came ashore in the night.
its belly, fat and heavy with myth,
bottomed out against a sandbank,
then hauled itself, fat on grief,
into the shallows, and waited
as the tide fell away beneath it.
in stranger days than this we might
have taken to the sand in celebration,
lit a pyre and hauled the beast above high water,
sunk a blade into the flank and carved the fat
in slabs, rendered blubber into lamp oil,
cut and cured the meat, carved totems
into bone and offered up the heart
to old Poseidon.
now we, so thoroughly enlightened,
so insistent on solidity of borders,
hang fences round our necks,
take those who’ve lost their way
or fled from something brute and full of teeth
and say ‘no dear, this is not your place.’
we turn the the lost about,
point them back towards the waves
from which they came
and declare the brace and rope
and chain we used to haul them out
of our compassion.
when the ocean offers up a metaphor
we look anywhere but inward for meaning,
for the risen scrimshaw guilt,
the bloodied history written
in our bones and all our unpaid rent,
we tell ourselves everything can be forgotten,
that all history is palimpsest
unremembered as words written in sand,
scraped by tide and draining out to the pacific:
“Here some lost and broken thing
tried to make its way to shore,
here we hurled it back to sea.”