Poetry | Wombats shit candy

To avoid treading on a snake, I stepped on a land mine. Did this

really happen, in my dream? No. Is it a fiction, then? Yes and no.

The time I spend looking for socks is insignificant: lie, irony,

or philosophy? Wombats shit candy. Joke – hallucination? This is

in fact a truth claim. My poems: litanies of truth claims. Is that where


We’re huddling, in a poem? And if so, narrated – spoken – by whom?

The Witch of Hebron? Saint Commonwealth Bank? I just call her

Aunty. That’s my affectionate nature. To improve, substantially,

a patient must be well enough to realise that it is up to themselves.

That’s the candy in the bed: it’s the last of it. Candy – lollies, to you –


Must be reframed as making the bed. How sweet, you will say, as if

sucking on a sheet or one of my socks. Well, you never know how

queer a poem will go on you, like a virtual lover, or a cow dealing

with trauma. What a chatty tone, as if staying up all night in Rome,

with Jahan and Robberto, and finally letting my guard down. Or taking


Speed, and getting fleas as I come down. Ultra rare episodes in a life

of work. Cf (short for the Latin: confer/conferatur, both meaning

‘compare’) Roland Barthes, who trumps Oscar Wilde here. Barthes is

hardly chatty. For an exemplar on surviving work – life even – see

neither, but rather, Juan Ramón Jiménez. In his work on the poetics


Of work, he urges us to live one hour at a time. All of us, he argues,

can seize moment after moment, forgetting the day, and without ending

up on the couch like Wilde, even if with less to show for it.

My adolescent prose style was rather too replete with dashes, which

were circled in red by Miss Hunt, yet they survive in my PhD thesis,


As pointed out, in black, by Professor Gelder. I try to keep a rein

on rhetorical questions, too, like, or unlike, a horse colliding

with Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. That’s ekphrasis. There was a bad smell

in my flat yesterday, and eventually I realised I had some patriarchy

on my shoe. An ultimate lie, irony, metaphor, and / or punch line.


Michael Farrell

Originally from Bombala, NSW, Michael Farrell is a Melbourne-based poet, with a collage practice which can be seen on instagram @limechax. Googlecholia is out now from Giramondo.

More by Michael Farrell ›

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