Poetry | MOOT, the other t-shirt

the ratings icons have vanished

                             no one cares


yes     maybe     no

                    mostly no



how’s it going


bin night     bin night     bang bang

                          bring out the dead



& the mouse plague – how’s that going


in the barren paddocks

wheat        &        endless glare


awful murals mar the silos



who called the baby echidna

                                a puggle

& why



now as long as we have



         as long as we have food


                a few dollars


now if there’s anything

left over

              or     then again

                      if there’s nothing




      a tender forehead

                      rubbed weary

ready to heave

             a few shallow sighs

    to sleeplessness



whoever told the whole truth

                        & nothing but

& why



how’re the rodent management traps going

                                in the swanky suburbs


their roller door lanes




           if we wished

       we could reach

              every point on the planet


points on the planet

      swept up this wish


microelectronic tracks

                                  that left none



we lend

an ear

        to the connected world


how’s it going

                     in general


—   —   —   —   —   —


on delay



tuesday or thursday afternoon


ambling around

  behind the queue at Phởtown


green tea     on the sticky table


chemtrails      & someone’s cat

      just there         out the back


menu book open

       fish sauce stains page two





          you send two messages

          from your waiting room

no beds available


stem cells on delay

     test blood count



we met

         in the neu berlin


once was ‘neu’

        twenty years ago


we were reading

                       the dream

the book of appearances


both         an other



loitering around


by now

          the poem begins

to botanise the bitumen


the carbon retreats

       to the brigalow

far away

             from Phởtown



an old newspaper page

        fading     tv guide

        free to air  &  pay

wrapped around

          fresh basil leaves


what’s on

           a week ago


wonder if

ways of watching

are different from

       ways of seeing




        the little relief triangle

on an upturned plastic bowl


—   —   —    —   —   —


an invisible mosquito

                  pricks me

a pink mound

     encloses a red dot


so    yes                 the humidity


        the old crazed water bowl

        full of invisible larvae

        under the pieris japonica bush



that’d be them

   plugged in

   pressure washers  whipper snippers

   leaf blowers


                hedge trimmers    (cordless)


           always fiddling with the house


that’d be them



            shiny machine models of capital

emitting the adorable sounds of time-savers


can time

           be saved?


                                       not yet


—   —   —   —   —   —


bumper crop     &    no customers


emptying an idyll

                     told by an idiot


the sweeping plains having swept

                                         sweep on


brine dried pellets        dryzaboned



didn’t TRY

                  to think about it


there was

a local quandary

           for a fleeting luxurious instant

                      of thought

&   thoughts



       not reason but <reason> is the fundament of power


then a t-shirt –



           fundament of power

                   rules ok!


                                           sold out fast


(this was

              ‘back in the day’)



human resources      or       human rights

either way     we wore

                             that t-shirt  with pride


with    with    with

                      w   i   t   h


         well             w i t h o u t   p i q u e


the other t-shirt

with one syllable

displayed in caps –



after the t-shirt

  with the line diagram flow chart

             predicting bottlenecks

             in the division of joys


 ‘the critique of pure reason’

     sliced through by a claw



pressed by competition

           everybody had something to say


principles aside



we gobbled

            pastiche baguettes –

                              tripe filling

           garni de crotté 


           le goût du sommeil –

the taste


                  sleep’s powers



second guessed

                   the dream



       never said ‘desire’)



with the female gaze

                         glazed over

we ceased



ripped up the prescriptions



                         you tell me



the day the modem failed

we missed

          the french president

at G20


reduced to listening

to the stale tongue

of the national broadcaster



how was your sexperience

with your nbn technician?


hot spot service provider

you can track it on www startrek



we are in outer space – we are on a planet



speaking for myself

             practising seeing with the mind’s eye

is not useful


to be honest

                       i don’t even know how to




an unaligned

                   sixth sense?        or what



so many plastic pumpkins

             floating in the sea


hallow evening        nothing for pigs or cows

                                    no soup for the people



everybody has something


to opt out txt stop




Borrowed lines:
‘“the critique of pure reason” / sliced through by a claw’ – Galina Rymbu, White Bread



Overland’s Friday Features project is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

Pam Brown

Pam Brown has published many chapbooks, pamphlets and full collections of poetry, most recently Stasis Shuffle (Hunter Publishers, 2021). She lives in a south Sydney suburb on reclaimed swampland on Gadigal Country.

More by Pam Brown ›

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Related articles & Essays