Posts filed under ‘New Work’


A Quiet Night in Rangoon
Presented by subtlenuance, at the New Theatre, August, 2011

Directly opposite the New Theatre is a shop window with a map of South East Asia facing the street. Upon leaving the theatre it becomes immediately apparent how close, and yet so far Burma is from the world we know. A place of unimaginable beauty and horror. A place that peppers our nightly news with sporadic reports of disaster, uprising or oppression, stories which quickly fade into distance as we tackle our more immediate First World Problems. Burma can wait. After all, it’s been under military rule for nearly fifty years, what’s one more day?

It’s this everyday tyranny where the play lurks. In the experiences of trickle-down corruption, in the human-impact stories of a place bound up in knots of idealism and fear. It goes into some interesting corners, meditating on the seeming impossibility of technology and the oppressive military state coexisting with the sensual and spiritual side to the city. The ever-present Lake and Buddhism serve as prominent motifs to counterpoint the brutality of the main narrative. The writing utilises an array of symbolic and expressionistic techniques to explore how such an entrenched military system has imprinted itself on every facet of Burmese life. Even the powers themselves cannot escape such vile, soul-destroying consequences as will come with any abuse of power. And let’s not tread euphemistically when it comes to the Burmese military. They have systematically assaulted, starved, abused and kidnapped the citizens in a callous defence of their own position. Bully Generals, every one. Under such a regime we must redefine our notions of freedom, of hope, of purpose, of humanity. For a westerner to bring ideals into this place would be hopelessly naive.

This is where Katie Pollock’s script opens itself up, her fish-out-of-water scenario is played out through the eyes of the archetypically clueless Australian ‘journalist’ (cheekily named Piper Marx), whose personal quest becomes simply dwarfed into irrelevancy by the circumstances around her. By acknowledging that the Western world has no answers, we are then able to simply see into the lives of the characters. With a minimalist approach to the set and direction, director Paul Gilchrist has put his fine cast front and centre, without over-milking the intensity of the script and letting the comic moments pierce through with a gentle truth. This is not an easy play to contend with. It will challenge any ensemble, and any audience – but to bear with the challenges pays great dividends, as it not only draws you in but educates, provokes thought and discussion. Important, political theatre that’s not clear-cut or moralising – a rare thing.

A Quiet Night in Rangoon plays at the New Theatre until September 10. Featuring Shauntelle Benjamin, John Buencamino, Felino Dolloso, Aileen Huynh, Sonya Kerr, Kathryn Schuback and Barton Williams.

19/08/2011 at 3:11 pm 1 comment

“We can’t talk to shadows in the street”


presented by Company B Belvoir, August, 2011

When I was a small boy, back in the early 17th Century, I used to look at the strange people on the street as we went past in our carriage and wonder about the lives they lead, their fears, hopes and the many different stories they all had to tell. It’s a fascination I have always had with the city, and the strangeness that comes with being in such proximity of strangers. It’s an affliction I’m guessing is common to storytellers the world over, when they look at their local area, and think things like “where do all these people come from?” or “how many others are there in the world with dreams like mine?” But there’s that convention, that social nuance that prevents us reaching to find out about those who surround us, that business that keeps the mind’s eye focused inward, stuck on our own little world of problems, not so much on the manifold difficulties of the rest of the world.

And this is where things break down. Try as I might, I can’t help but see this production in the context of extraordinary events as have happened in London in recent days. Even though it’s ostensibly about street communities in a suburban city of Australia, it’s about so much more. How the personal is political, how we can carry so much weight of the world – together yet somehow alone. How this culture of picket-fenced segregation leads to whole communities alienated from each other and themselves. How this self-interest leads to the loss of wisdom between generations, which might seem some small thing but can become catastrophic.

Lally Katz has crafted a rare morality fable imbued with modern wit and fear; set around this unlikely friendship between an impressionable young woman Catherine and the indomitable, effusive, charismatic, irresistible Ana across the street. Within simple this framework are such leaps of imagination, magic, music and mystery that draw in its audience, stealthily as I have ever seen, teasing out the empathy with delight and genuine moments of horror or surprise throughout. You know it’s working when your feelings toward a character flare simply because they turned up. Or shift and flip at the behest of a single line – it’s an intoxicating brew of kindness and strangers.

I can say no more without making spoilers. The understated direction from Simon Stone allows the simplest detail of costume or voice to transport us anywhere – almost at the actor’s whimsy; which in harmony with Stefan Gregory’s gorgeous soundtrack and sound design has helped create a new entry to the modern canon. This play will go far. It’s Australian in context – but these are universal stories, set locally, but they could be the voices of any two women, across the street or across the world. It barely matters these days. Global, local, personal, political – everything is connected.

Neighbourhood Watch, By Lally Katz, directed by Simon Stone, featuring Charlie Garber, Megan Holloway, Kris McQuade, Ian Meadows, Heather Mitchell & Robyn Nevin. Playing at Belvoir St Theatre until August 28.

12/08/2011 at 12:54 pm 2 comments



presented by Strings Attached & Younes Bachir
Underbelly Arts Festival, Turbine Hall, Cockatoo Island, July 2011

This site-specific, one-off performance was probably the hottest ticket on the island last Saturday, and those lucky enough to get a booking were mostly unsure what to expect. If they had done the Underbelly Arts Lab tour in the fortnight leading up to the festival they might have known it would be physical, aerial theatre exploring humanity in its primal, post-catastrophic element. But we should know better than to reduce expressionism down to baser meanings, and be ready to accept a performance as it stands. Or in this case, take it as it runs, desperately seeking food or shelter, oblivious to the peering masses of onlookers crowding the cavernous space, we should take this sort of theatre as it screams, as it flies, as it hungers, as it fights for survival. For the one thing it does not do is simply stand still. Or when it does, it’s as a metaphor covered in meat.

As this performance is once-only I feel at liberty to explain; the bulk of the piece takes place at one end of the massive turbine hall. After a poetic prologue from a delirious flying dreamer we are invited through, behind canvas curtains, into a place he describes as “my mind”. There are no seats, and milling around we discover various bodies twisted, shivering amongst mud and metal wreckage, pieces of cars, clotheslines, the detritus of our time. If anyone else like me had been irked by the glut of “disaster porn” earlier this year, it was irresistible to be reminded of that by the shifting, shuffling crowd, not wanting to look too close, but all angling for a glimpse of these suffering humans. Too evocative of that unspeakable pain we could not help but see broadcast over and over to the point of fatigue.

So begins a series of violent theatrical vignettes as the people emerge from the wrecked piles of junk and literally, metaphorically and physically begin to rebuild society. What was a matter of desensitisation is now shocked back at us in the wonderful post-industrial expressionism of a crazed world. Echoes of Lord of the Flies and Tetsuo: Bodyhammer resonate to capture the bizarre fusion of human and technology, fear and futurism. The audience are as much involved as spectator, being shunted around as new elements of the performance begin or end we must move toward or away from the action. It’s pure spectacle and music in Aristotle’s terms; with characters as primal archetypes in mimesis, the barest of narrative as a visual catharsis.

I always wonder why ‘traditional’ theatre writers can’t seem to cope with new forms as these. Audiences seem to love it. It’s equally puzzling when all the elements of the convention are present, just managed in new ways, new styles. But then, I suppose traditional theatre writers are too busy sharpening their pen-knives to dissect traditional theatre to worry about turning up to something so unconventionally imagined as this. It’s definitely theatre, definitely modern, and definitely just a little bit ancient and primal, too. Well I for one; don’t mind if one less critic is in the audience. OJO was sold out, so more luck for the rest of us.

photos by Catherine McElhone –

OJO: at the Underbelly Arts Festival, Cockatoo Island. Featuring Younes Bachir, Alejandro Rolandi, LeeAnne Litton, Dean Cross, Kathryn Puie, Angela Goh, Matt Cornell, Mark Hill, Kate Sherman, Carolyn Eccles, Gideon PG, Robbie Ho, Matt Rochford, Elisa Bryant, Charlie Shelly, Julia Landery, Victoria Waghorn, Cameron Lam, Craig Hull, Leanne Kelly.

20/07/2011 at 5:10 pm 2 comments


presented by Crow Crow Productions and Eliza Ocaña in association with Tamarama Rock Surfers

I was able to have a chat with some of the cast and crew after the preview on Sunday night – I love previews, they’re so raw – and since they had expressed a desire to hear my thoughts on the play I felt very privileged to do so. There’s a school of thought that one should be very careful about what is said in theatre foyers – that it’s a very dangerous place for feedback, especially around opening night (I try and abide by the golden rule as writ by Patrick Marber “it’s vulgar to discuss the work at the opening of the work…”) – but since the director Sarah Giles had explicitly asked at the top of the show for our thoughts; even Marber concedes: “…somebody’s gotta do it”.

Which turned out to be a good move, since I was initially puzzled by what I had seen, and even a short chat with the artists helped clarify my feelings about the play and their intent behind it. As I left, still processing the performance I felt much more satisfied by my ability to respond to the challenges of the work. That in itself is a testament to the writing – that it pushes its audience around; ever-so-slightly manipulating fears and hatreds in the world it creates, a place two steps removed from the reality of Sydney, Australia, 21C (so far, so good at least); but depicting a war that somehow we know too well. It’s dark, and cold, getting darker and colder – and the worst question of all to ask is just how far away from this are we? How many square meals missed before civilisation breaks down into this? Caught up in the deceptively simple narrative are all manner of meditations and questions in theatrical form about the past, future, what’s right and oh-so-very-wrong. Writer Joanna Erskine takes the audience into some godless hell to pick clean the bones of such long-dead concepts as the moral absolutism we once attached to the nature of heroism, truth, idealism and nostalgia for things long past.. But it must be said that however confused about KIJE we get – is he a force for good or evil, or a way to see ourselves through a more flattering mirror? – in the moments of climax the play gives a distinctive moral compass to these four very lost boys at the centre of KIJE’s world.

It’s always good seeing new work, especially in preview form – however imperfectly fresh – I love that feeling of not knowing what I’m in for. This one’s certainly a smack around the head. Brutal, bold and thought provoking stuff. And they’ve only just begun.

K.I.J.E. by Joanna Erskine, directed by Sarah Giles, featuring Fayssal Bazzi, TJ Power, Gabriel Fancourt, Wade Briggs, Christopher Tomkinson and Michelle Durman. Playing at the Old Fitzroy Hotel until July 30.

12/07/2011 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

ACT 1, scene ii, p12

KEN Goodnight, Dulcie [exit]

RANDOLPH Now, where was I?

DULCIE upstairs, now will you join with us?

RANDOLPH come then – and quickly. But dance for me first-

[DULCIE dances for RANDOLPH, the CHORUS accompanying with movement and harmonies to PAN’s flute. The song and dancing reaches a frenzy before the night ends with everyone asleep in the bar. Enter GUIDO from upstairs.]

GUIDO I’m here to stay, no chance I’m leaving all this for that kid to take. He’s fragrant, that one. Less than the full deck. So they just hand over the keys and tell me to piss off west. Lay low? I don’t think that’s quite right. I got a stake in this too. I made plans in my time. Can’t leave that behind, so I’ve been creeping in between the walls, keeping eyes and ears on them that want what’s mine. There’s a secret spot in the roof I’m camped upstairs. No one knows I’m there. No one cares. Hiding out I listen deep and find out the secrets others keep.

[he takes off his hat at the bar, pours himself a drink]

Like this package I hear tell young Lionel’s retrieving from the wharves. I know what’s in it pure as driven snow- the powders we use to keep control, when things get too much. That stuff. I heard it’s s’posed to come through to Frank, but the old lady doesn’t know about it. Well what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her yet. That yank- seems to have lost his rocker, since the other night he talks no sense and walks around half-dressed. I can’t imagine he’ll report – if his package happens to miss its prompt delivery, eh? If it happens to go missing while I’m out of town – who’d catch the blame? I’m starving there up in my hidey-hole, ears pressed to the other side of the ceiling while my stomach growls. Now while it’s dark I can sneak past to find some crusty bread or off-soup. What’s this? The nightly till unkept. An omen? I should pocket it for my suffering. I should plant the seeds of doubt and theft. Too many times I held my tongue, now silence is all they might hear from Guido.

[He empties the till. SHARON wakes up and sees him in the act.]


GUIDO Fuck- oh fuck it’s you. Shh.

SHARON what are you doing here?

GUIDO don’t fuck’n say a word. I never left. Here – take this and give it out to the whores. And get me some proper food, leave it out on the upstairs balcony. You never saw me.

SHARON what’s all this?

GUIDO I got a plan. But I have to stay in hiding- where better than right under their noses? Trust me it’s the last place they’ll look. Just keep your trap – nice and tight. Right?

SHARON Guido when are you coming back?

GUIDO I’ll be listening in upstairs. You listen in down here. Alright love?

SHARON she wakes! Go- [exit GUIDO upstairs] … I know too much.

[SHARON hides the money. KAY wakes up.]

20/01/2011 at 10:04 pm Leave a comment

ACT I, scene ii, p11

[PAN suddenly stops playing his pipe]

RANDOLPH There was a time when I might deliver wrath at such a claim. The stories have been told. But I was younger then. Now I know there is as much to learn from disbelief as any truth you can name. So I will talk, not punish. That night we met I marked you as a man of learning. As you witnessed my transformation I confess, this notebook came into my possession somehow. I return it to you now.

KEN my notes – why?

RANDOLPH that I might glance upon the type of mind that inhabits this earth. Since last I woke, things have changed

KEN I have gone mad trying to find this.

RANDOLPH it carries your many varied thoughts. These things which put form to truths some dare not speak. A poet, yes? Your words carry our stories too, strangely fashioned into your own. You carry the sacred blessing, Slessor.

KEN I can’t deny what I do not see, nor can I believe.

RANDOLPH and you cannot see the wind except for how it cuts through life. Mostly over your head I might think! It matters not. Once I would have been angry with this unbeliever – but all I can see is me. Standing before you-

KEN Even images are just tools – let’s say you’re speaking the truth. That body is just an expression of an idea- a reflection to project. God cannot exist outside our minds.

RANDOLPH Yes, an idea, I am just that – one of many, brought into flesh. One that persists without your knowing nods. In any case, knowledge is a vastly overrated practice. Old as I am, what else should I know of this upside down earth? Eh? It is much to fathom this world can shift so far in – how long have I slept?

PAN about two thousand years, sire.

RANDOLPH is that a lot?

PAN It is if you’re awake.

RANDOLPH but dreams strip away in a moment what seems like years of learning. I care not for wisdom suffered through sophistry and reason. A toast to foolishness! Hah!

PAN not all of them are able to hear us in the ways we are used to.

RANDOLPH how does he hear us then? How do you hear us?

KEN I’m not sure what you mean.

RANDOLPH Pah! Meaning is the stuff of philosophers’ futile raving, eh? You, poet have the gift of vision – but furiously reason against the muse. Something you may already feel pressed against you. enclosing your mind, wet, sharp and howling like the wind. But still.

KEN what is it you want to know exactly?

RANDOLPH I do not suffer wants, mortal, I dream, it becomes my will. Your choice is yet to come.

CHORUS You hear us now as you have heard us many nights. Reaching. For what? To embrace the unknowable. The imagined. Security in a truth that fits the world you do see?

RANDOLPH You may see the gods as mythical, friend – and you would be right to worship reason as gospel and here I stand tall against such unanswerable gains of science, but these steel machines you ride have no such power as Olympus once regained. And I ask you this one thing- may your answer be truer than the soundest bell-

[The women of the CHORUS are undressing him in a comely manner. RANDOLPH increasingly becomes distracted by them]

KEN ask me what?

RANDOLPH Ah – where was I?

PAN The question, sire-

RANDOLPH Question?

KEN You were asking me a question-

RANDOLPH Well, let’s have it?

KEN Have what?


KEN I’m not following you.

RANDOLPH Good, good. For you must lead your own path.

KEN On that note- I’ll leave you to your riddles.

RANDOLPH it is so

KEN and thanks for my notebook. We can talk of this another day. Goodnight, Dulcie [exit]

15/01/2011 at 9:55 pm Leave a comment

ACT I, scene ii, p10

[enter PAN & RANDOLPH, the CHORUS begins to surround him]

DULCIE My lord!

KATIE where is that fucker anyway?

RANDOLPH ahha! Sweet choral relief – surround me

FRANK Guido?

KATIE no the other fucker – Len.

RANDOLPH come unto my girth

FRANK I got him working down at the wharf for a few nights.

KATIE what for?

PAN Your wine, sire.

FRANK I just need some eyes and ears. It’s no drama

KATIE better not be.

RANDOLPH dance with my desire. Touch the ring-

KATIE Just keep it tight. You. New girl, why you lingering over here?

RANDOLPH listen to the moonlight sing across the night.

KATIE Go with the others.

KAY No- I just heard you talking about Lionel.

FRANK what you want with him?

KAY Where is he?

FRANK He’ll be back, never you mind.

KATIE go on then. Find your friends. Watch that one. Questions don’t agree with this business. [KAY goes back] I get the sense she’s getting up above her station. Plus, she’s not been schooled in by Guido yet. Keep her close. Get Sharon across it. I don’t like you send out our barman on while the spick is out of town, but it’s good young Len is out of the way for now. Good kid, but soft, and not too bright. In future – just tell me when you start some private mission.

FRANK it’s an easy job- just a pick up.

KATIE I don’t need to know every top and tail. Just remember we’re in lockdown til the leather backs off on this murder case. Yeah?

FRANK not a problem

KATIE [referring to the chalkboard] that meant to be fuck’n funny?

FRANK it’s a play on words, i think.

KATIE I’m upstairs for the night. And I will take the bar tomorrow morning. Keep our guests happy will you?

FRANK ‘night Kate. [she goes up] Get some rest.

[FRANK gestures to SHARON among the group of women to join him, she does so and he whispers to her, she looks back over at KAY and smiles assent. FRANK returns behind the bar and pours a round. RANDOLPH dances with DULCIE to gentle music played by the CHORUS accompanying PAN. FRANK continues pouring drinks for himself and KEN, placing an amount of cocaine to share with the CHORUS, who move between their stations and the bar in a cycle syncopated with the dialogue. KEN and DULCIE refuse the drug but drink instead.]

RANDOLPH Where is my queen?

DULCIE Am I not she?

RANDOLPH I would not proceed without her by my seed. Too easily you wink- it carries no taste of triumph yet, I smell victory. A monarch’s scent is ripe, potent, poisonous – yours is sweet. Step back, it overpowers such a lasting trace. What leads upstairs to she who rules these streets?

DULCIE am I rejected?

RANDOLPH there are many at some high standing as yourself, of great esteem to those of poetry, perhaps. But would you challenge she? We have been close and still, I can never abandon you entirely, such is my way, to share! Now forgive, for I must attend.

DULCIE As you desire.

KEN wait a moment, I would ask you something. How can you lay claim to this? By what trick have you taken hold of these women’s will?

RANDOLPH my good man! You recall the hour on which we met, yes?

KEN and my friend Dulcie would hardly look upon you twice, then- yet here she’s at your feet.

RANDOLPH I was still weak, newborn into this slovenly sack of flesh. Not quite forgotten yet, and with belief comes our strength. My kind cannot abide doubt, you see. Even gods feel fear of becoming irrelevant…

KEN I can’t imagine why! For all your charm and likely dress- arrogance is still a human custom- you are not God.

[PAN suddenly stops playing his pipe]

09/01/2011 at 9:33 pm Leave a comment

ACT I, scene ii, p9


FRANK No just don’t fuck it up. Now get.

LIONEL I’m gone- [exit]

FRANK good. You right for a drink?

KEN wouldn’t hurt me.

FRANK you’re down here a lot this last week.

KEN good a place as any to get out of the heat.

FRANK this fuck’n little turd. I told him to fix that board. What’s this supposed to be?

KEN that’s partly me, I’ve been teaching him letters. We use the board for practising.

FRANK He can’t read?

KEN he’s getting there.

FRANK Fuck me Jesus.

KEN I’ll fix it. [picks up the chalk and considers the board for a moment before settling on the word ‘cuisine’ writ underneath ‘hot’.]

FRANK I’ll take that as a compliment-

KEN stretch of the imagination.

[enter DULCIE through the main door. Her clothes are stricken with bits of native plant life]

DULCIE I return ahead of those that come before-

KEN what’s happened to you? Where have you been?

DULCIE we took into the mountains, where I have been taught the ancient ways, where I communed with an immortal-

KEN You know I don’t believe in-

DULCIE Should seeing be enough you will know this truth- to learn mysteries so inexplicable as these, Ken – you would do well to cease your doubts and follow.

KEN what mysteries?

DULCIE elaboration is forbid.

KEN Forbid?

FRANK well this is all too fuck’n Greek to me, I’m going up to check our ladies’ progress. [he goes upstairs]

DULCIE I herald their return. You must learn as I have. Such things are not forgotten- quick pour some wine, I’m flushed. And more, we must prepare for the arrival. Any moment-

KEN what trick is this? Such men you speak that would have your service so quick, to submit is not in the style of your spirit, not the poet I know. Dulcie Deamer’s spirit’s free –

DULCIE irrepressible I know, and dancing on tables is just to show that squared off cities cannot contain my ways. Projections, devices, constructed personae to keep critics at my whim, to keep unwanted men from getting too far in. My wilder witty self could not bear the scrutiny of higher planes, of supernatural study such as I have not attained – until today.

KEN what is all this?

DULCIE the mystery of a woman’s soul is that she yearns for such release as only can be gained by another being’s control. I would run my own wilder ways and free, but just as a façade, my masks all slip away in the presence of a god.

KEN gods again? other planes-

DULCIE hush – their arrival is imminent.

KEN have a drink.

DULCIE any moment – sh!

[they wait. Enter KATIE through the main entrance.]

KATIE what’s all this? Where the fuck is everyone?

DULCIE they’re coming!

KATIE Frank! What’s going on down here? It’s six o’clock. [approaching the bar] You paying for those I hope-

[Enter FRANK from upstairs]

FRANK under control –

KATIE Where’s the barman? Where’s the girls?

FRANK Lenny’s on an errand for me, I’m covering.

KATIE don’t forget with the spic out of the picture we’re already short-handed

FRANK I’ve got it Kate.

[enter the CHORUS from upstairs]

KATIE should I even be asking this?

FRANK So it’s business as usual. Have a seat.

KATIE Don’t worry, I’ll do it myself.

[enter PAN & RANDOLPH, the CHORUS begins to surround him]

01/01/2011 at 9:22 pm Leave a comment

ACT I, scene ii, p8

KEN How long have we been at this?

LIONEL I dunno – week or so.

KEN Where were we?

LIONEL You were just about to tell me about ‘silent’ letters.

KEN no, fuck that. Let’s revise. Vowels?

LIONEL vowels, right – ‘A’

KEN on the board.

[LIONEL uses the blackboard to write up his letters]


KEN good

LIONEL I remember those last three in particular

KEN yeah but the only thing you owe me is another drink for helping you out.

LIONEL pace yourself- still early you know

KEN ahh fuck yourself

LIONEL daily. For the road. I have to make a break for it in a minute. Help me with this can you? [he scrubs the blackboard clean]

KEN what do you want to say?

LIONEL just a sign for the counter lunch. Hot Food. Free grub, something like that.

KEN free grub? I think it sends out the wrong message. Keep it simple. Hot food.

LIONEL so how does that go?

KEN you tell me-

LIONEL well…

KEN sound it out

LIONEL Hhh- Ohh – T

KEN Hhh- right?

LIONEL Hhh- what’s that one again?

KEN Hhh – think

LIONEL [counts on his fingers] a-b-c-d-e-f-g- ache?

KEN this is painful- ‘H’

LIONEL ‘H’ – Ahah!

KEN now write it- then what?

LIONEL ache – Ohh

KEN ‘O’ – good

LIONEL Ache – Ohh – Tea

KEN right – ‘T’

LIONEL [writing] Ohh – Tea. Hot!

KEN second word.

LIONEL Food. Hm, ‘Ffff’ –

KEN ‘Ffff’

LIONEL ‘Ffff’- ‘oooo’

KEN yes?

LIONEL Ffff – Fuck this is doing my head in!

KEN don’t give up now you’re almost there-

LIONEL I’ve got it! [writes] H-O-T F-O-D.

KEN Christ. Close enough


[enter FRANK from upstairs]

FRANK gentlemen – what’s all this?

LIONEL I’ve fixed the sign, Frank!

FRANK I’ll fuck’n fix you if you aren’t down at the wharves tonight looking for my package.

LIONEL Sorry boss – I’m just about to go

FRANK it took a lot of swag to get you in down there. So mind your P’s and Q’s


24/12/2010 at 9:15 pm Leave a comment

ACT I, scene ii, p7

[LIONEL escorts CAPTAIN JONES through the back exit. KEN regards the letter for a beat, then speaks directly to the audience]

KEN This girl’s the sort – who’ll leave the window open but not the door. I don’t know how to tell this bastard how: he’s on a slow boat back to where he started. Not that it’s any of my business to poke around in. He’s the barman, I should be telling him my problems, not listening to his. As it happens, I got my own. Lost my notebook for start. I’ll come back and look for it again tomorrow. It’s a good place, this hole in the ground. Kings Cross and misfits still laughing. You know, it wouldn’t be so bad to lose – the city blazes with ideas every place I look. This book is just a few marked down shorthand so I don’t have to remember. Or was it so I can forget? Ah- doesn’t matter there’s plenty more where that came from, all up here – right? Bugger that. I can’t unblock a thing. Not since Joe – I need that book if I could just get at it- the verse might flow again

[pours another drink] I’ll come back and find it next week.

He drowned you know. It’s hard to lose a friend, worse when pain that will not end bars any words for expression. I blunt such edges night after next and the blades return still keen to sting – why, Joe? Did you have to cross the black harbour night? To leave me here– to leave for nowhere. Such a young and burning mind to fall into saltwater mouths. I’ll still come back and find you, I’ll not forget. I can’t write it yet. Can’t express. You drunken prick, Joe – to haunt me in this bar still. With that face. You keep the words you took and grin at me in the dark – I’ll look to some distraction in your stead. Fucker. [still drinking, he toasts the ringing bells off in the distance] So I come back, day-to-day and teach this kid his letters, read aloud so they might run into words and words into letters again. Some stranger combination of the things I forget. My sentence is I come back each day to turn away from my lost friend. And drown myself in spirit, to join you Joe – in spirit and follow what I can’t describe.

[enter LIONEL on this last phrase]

LIONEL what are you fuck’n on about?

KEN You find my notebook yet?

LIONEL it’s gone, Ken. I told you. You must have dropped it somewhere else.

KEN How long have we been at this?

LIONEL I dunno – week or so.

17/12/2010 at 9:07 pm Leave a comment

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