Clothes laid out on a table in the opshop. I pick up a huge pink jersey, hear a lady say, ‘I knitted that’. Giggles as I try it on, and another the same colour that’s far too small. I hook a gauzy grey dress over myself – ‘I made that, too’. Shuffle around to a mirror in the middle of the shop. The dress has changed: it’s blue with cartoon panels, including an image of Mickey Mouse. Short, slightly puffed sleeves. Sleek, makes my stomach look flat. I hop up and down in front of the mirror. Shoppers edge away, overly absorbed in cast-offs, but with staring children. I don’t want to leave the mirror. I don’t want to take the dress off. The shop is suddenly cluttered with chairs. I can’t return the dress to the table. I carry on gazing. What kind of shoes?


little boy

on the plane, looking for

the magic

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Judging comps




He’s wearing robes, cerise, magenta, loosely draped like wind on the shore – you can garden in them, fix the downpipes. Kilts energised and free, leaf vein yellow, flame and midnight blue. Lavalavas, passionfruit and the light in an orchard at midday. Men will dress this way from now on. I give the designers eleven out of ten.




You can’t go wrong with Indian spices, so long as you know how to prepare them and they’re fresh and they do. Garam masala and lots of it, enough to feel the bite. They give me sensation. I reward them with a trip to Paris to see two of the pinnacles of western culture: a Frenchwoman smoking a cigarette and a Frenchman mounting a bicycle. If they win the final round, they’ll go back in time to gold platforms, glitter and Gibson guitars – the era so holy we do not name it.

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you were the first to make eye contact


let’s be the suck-ups at the front


Federal Highway

she thought the sign read

Bush  anger


deals with feels


she went to move her hand   and her other hand moved


that just about sums up our relationship


I can see by the hinges on your door   that you’re at work


you have so many hastes still


I actually had an Oscar Wilde moment in my life


LOL must have meant lots of love


3 a.m.

you rub my back

let me get to sleep


Palliative care access

use Flemington Road

Swirl catering


their old crackers   still there


I don’t want any events near me tomorrow


this flip went to Castlemaine


sweet smell

furtive schoolboys



another four clicks   and you’re there


partial yeah!


the system’s changing


I’m forced into being passive/agressive










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The way we do things round here


fifteen years or more

coughing your lungs out

until, four days in hospital

they finally emptied


tough, my brother said

one of the hard men, lean

half a stone heavier than you ran

at naval school


you never complained

except about the government

and that didn’t count   to me

Arthur Scargill some kind of hero

to you   Thatcher the ultimate villain

along with the Queen and Prince –

we never had spells or wands

just tinsel at Christmas

best enjoyed alone


when you eyed that twinkle

I liked you, but only drink

or the thought of a pretty woman

seemed to conjure it, and she was

never mother   never, father –

what had she done?


I sought you out

you wrote to me

about the treatment

and as you shrank

stopped walking to the pub each evening

took the car, that

ill-begotten thing on wheels

or accepted a lift

and choked on it till breakfast


the birds came and your

cat’s fond bell

herbs and onions


you survived

in the house without hot water

toilet at the bottom of the garden

where it belongs

and now   now, I second

your fine ideals, father

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