206 Autumn 2012
‘Dear capitalism,’ began one of the handmade, cardboard signs floating above the sea of occupiers in Toronto, ‘it’s not you it’s us.’ Then, scrawled below: ‘Just kidding, it’s you.’
Over the past year and a half, events have highlighted a growing suspicion that capitalism is becoming a threat to anyone not a stockbroker, politician or CEO. This widespread movement had made itself felt in Tunisia, Egypt, Greece and Spain, in the crumbling of Wall Street, and in the people’s occupations transforming public spaces into tent cities.
Read the editorial for 206 Autumn 2012
My partner and I went to see Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry when it was released back in the 1990s. Though not one of his critically acclaimed movies, the film had moments I loved.
Read 'On Woody Allen's Romantic Worlds'
A libretto extract
Commissioned by Victorian Opera, to be staged in 2013, with score by Michael Smetanin.
The life and death of Michael Atakelt
I sit at one end of the foyer in the Coroners Court. A young blonde woman sets herself down next to me and then addresses the two older men seated by my side. ‘I’m Sarah, from the Maribyrnong Leader,’ she says. ‘So, um, what’s happening here today?’
Read 'Between two oceans'
Crisis across the continent
Like ‘sex’ and ‘violence’, the words ‘Europe’ and ‘crisis’ seem to have a near permanent affinity these days. This constant conjunction tells us that the nature of the crisis is no transient thing. It is what Gramsci would have called an ‘organic crisis’, one that condenses multiple chronic problems at various levels of the system in a single, epochal spasm.
Read 'The European meltdown'
On whether Australians are too rich to protest
When the Occupy movement spread to Australia, many mainstream commentators were incredulous. Has Australia not been doing exceptionally well, having enjoyed a long summer of economic growth since the 1990s and escaping the worst of the global financial crisis?
Read 'Occupy abundance'
On acting and identity
Ramsay Street’s newest family is part of a deliberate campaign to diversify Australia’s most famous neighbourhood. The move has already met with public outrage: online comments criticising Network Ten’s decision have been filled with racist vitriol. Me? Well, I just hope that the Kapoor children have better luck in suburban Australia than I did.
Read 'The dangers of a single story'
George Drysdale, a forgotten sex pioneer
Once upon a time, Victorian England had a reputation as such an arctic tundra of sexual frigidity that people believed the ridiculous claim that piano legs had to be covered with drapery to preserve decency; or that the typical mother’s nuptial advice was ‘Just lie back, dear, and think of Britain’.
Read 'Another other Victorian'
On Occupy Reading
Given the assignment of choosing a handful of books that to me represent, or inform, or speak to, or embody, or maybe manifest the spirit of the Occupy movement (that should probably be capitalised: the Spirit Of the Occupy Movement – SOOM), I went democratic: I asked around.
Read 'The five books of my apocalypse'
Keeping it together in Brazil
That’s how it started – an exchange via internet floated the idea to bring me to South America. Now here we are in Sao Paulo International La Gru shaking hands.
Read 'Blood and chocolate'
Meanland: computers and class struggle
We have reached a point where reading and writing are now inseparable from the consumer technology and software that produce them. Those who don’t use computers at their place of employ will almost certainly own a mobile phone – and increasingly, it will be a smart phone, of the kind that have made fortunes for companies and CEOs.
Read 'CEOs, authors and white-collar work'
A week after he killed himself, Dane Johnson came to visit Toby at the service station.
Read 'The inconvenient dead'
In Nepal my friend Cliff is trying to keep the wind away. A tiny disease has taken his face. Nothing that won’t repair, he assures me, that a month on the farm won’t fix. But it hurts to be alive.
This makes me want to scribe something long-winded and a little brutal to the diplomatic corps.
Read 'Tractor Tractor'
The academic formerly known as Cedric Pinkwattle sat with one leg crossed over the other, a position of repose typically favoured by women, libertines and intellectuals that he found pleasantly conducive to thought – in spite of the pressure his scissored thighs placed upon his testicles, creating a sensation that, if he paused to think about it, he would have to define as painful …
Read 'Australian academic'
A scalpel chill snips through the weave of beanies.
Woollen scarves put up a thin resistance.
Night’s south-west wind goose-bumps uncovered skin,
Read 'Constant companion'
My hounds will never find me,
even with the cracks in the tabula rasa.
They, after all,
Read 'My Hounds'
Rotate the potato. A labrador is happiest collecting kindling.
While the football’s on in the other room we salt the pigskin: O, giver of gout.
Brie suctions the wooden platter. Wisteria bruises on the patio.
Read 'Sunday poem'
There are bees at her mouth
and birds at her eye – flying.
The dust, so scattered
the field out there
is that expanse
hazed in glary
this is hell to be got out of
unpitied strip unpeeling
in the massive heat
a lens no-one
has looked through
it is the hard
Read 'new mexico'
O man – that concrete powder twilight over Mayfield
falls softly down into the mind; we’re skylarking, you see,
on Vine Street, atop the hill, near The Gatsby House,
Read 'Mayfield Blues'
From a drunken cruise on the harbour
comes a bouncing melody: I wanna
have sex on the beach. Anyone can
The winner of the 2011 Overland Judith Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets is Joel Ephraims for his poem ‘Rock Candy’. The two runners-up are Sam Langer and Patrick Jones.
Read 'The 2011 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets'
once a bird flew in a blue moon . shell
shocked she cuts across a lawn towards me and
Read 'rock candy'