Javant Biarujia


The Dutch have lately made a new discovery of the South Land in latitude of 44 degrees and their longitude 169, the draught whereof is herewith sent. They relate of a gyant-like kinde of people there, very treacherouse, that tore in peeces lymbemeale their merchant, and would have done them further mischiefe, had they not betaken them to their shipps. They make mention also of another sort of people about our stature, very white, and comely, and ruddy, a people gentle and familiar, with whome, by their owne relations, they have had some private conference. We are tould that the Dutch Generall intends to send thither againe and fortifie, having mett with something worth the looking after.
— ANONYMOUS (Letter from the India Office archives, 1691)

“Word has it The Affluent Society is making a comeback.” Molly was mildly sibilant. “Money supplies everything — including graft — Milton Friedman said,” countered Blum, with a wink toward the honored guest. Everyone ignored the bait. We were in the NGV’s Great Hall (another festival!), where Robyn Archer looked rather pallid under the Leonard French glass ceiling. I was thinking, how, even before Eric Westbrook’s death, Ipoustéguy’s Mort du Père had been “consigned” to storage, never to be seen again, when Blum fell once more into metaphor — as quick to retract as to advance decades, whatever that meant. Suddenly, everyone started talking at once, particularly the Nobel Laureate Friedman (the main talent), who must have been in his mid nineties by then. John Kinsella, at the podium, was reading “The Machine of the Twentieth Century …”, which was difficult to take in over the clamor. Les Murray was ranting again, like the 9/11 conspiracy theory documentary maker who kept starting his sentences with machine-gun
“Fact: No one saw a plane hit the Pentagon.”
“Fact: All American airspace was shut down, except for the Ben Laden family, who were spirited out of              the country on Airforce One.”
How the essential nature of every step — an ellipse or ellipsis — of the Wheat Belt was so unlike the city’s, from the Underground packed with workers to the rooftops brushed by the gilded wings of industry, down to the stalls and up to the gods! Kenneth Galbraith had just died, and Pramoedya Ananta Toer, too: Molly was on Java just after the fall of Soeharto, in early 1998, at the university not far from where Pram lived; on every corner, there were signs of calcined exchanges and survivors of the démokrasi terpimpin, so much so the Faculty felt it was too sensitive, too revolutionary a move to arrange a meeting. What was he thinking, what with Tempo still banned and Glodok a burnt-out hulk, when the junk we call the world was supposed to have been globalised once and for all? Blum used the word again, like a Franz Wurm you can’t get out of your head: globalised. He was sure a great deal of thinking went into it. And so the great self-made man of the Industrial Revolution, whose last memories resembled the last rites, had doors open for him even before he knocked. “Surely that was a good thing,” said the then prime minister, not looking terribly relaxed and comfortable on an original Gerrit Rietveld Blue-and-Red Chair as he was being interviewed on late-night television, “for it was, and still is, far too early to tell.”

EROS (from Virilities)

The algolagnic curl of lip reveals a saw of razor-sharp teeth and, below, a smooth organ-pipe neck leads the eye down to a pair of nipples sharp as tacks. Cocteau renders the arrowhead of one soldier’s lance as well as his nipple in the same crude rendition of a couple of pencil strokes (torso as phallic trope). It is shocking. The soldiers are asleep, stripped of their firepower and weaponry — yet their nipples are standing on end! Their very sleep is minatory, predatory, arousing. Moreover, the danger of their waking is even more arousing — historically, destruction (death) has ever been coupled to creation (sex), for that is the nature of flesh and blood. Even though Cocteau may have subverted their military muscle through eroticising it, these sleeping troops’ open mouths seem nevertheless to be self-consciously sneering — as much at us as at him:
     “You can drool over me as much as you like, but I’ll never be anything more than a jerk-off fantasy to you. You’ll never have it off with me!”

                                             SONG FOR KAY YPSILON
O cataminetails lubricate perinaeum
cockswell jewels of your beefcakeyouth

JOe Dallesandro the motive s Parlyaree:
“ilovey oun omore idoi dontil ove yo unolo”

grOaning lout cumuppance loinfetish
sticky physique chesthair and tattoos vis-à-vis

chrOnicled costersscouch Nash
ville hornyyodel “boyskeepswinging”

cowbOy the whole hole loose too subtle
omeepolone translucent hardon boyjoy

StratOs homos au [un]naturel moist openings
lay a lad arsecheekbyjowl bumbuddies fuck


i was fifteen when i decided to kill
myself i came home from the school
social kissed mother goodnight
and went to my room and closed the
door from their hidingplace i got out
the bottle of barbiturates i stole
from fathers medicine cabinet and
a jug of water i started writing
a simple note which i propped up
against the bedhead when finished
i drank all the water for their acrid
taste i lay down on my bed and
waited to pass out i convulsed then
vomited a mess of halfdissolved
pills on the carpet i lay awake all
night finally watching the sun rise
my mother came into my room
in the morning and saw what i d
done but didn t say a word

“I was fifteen. I had made up my mind to die. I locked my bedroom door. I placed a spirit-stove under my bed, which I raised up with some books: it was to be my funeral pyre. I lit it. I lay down on my bed and cut my wrists with my razor.” He showed them his thin white scars. “Blood spurted out, fast at first, but then stopped. I passed out. When I came to my mother was by my side, the doctor was there, and my wrists were bandaged.… The bed had not burned so well, but badly enough for the cook to see smoke filtering out through the top of my door, which they broke down.”
     “What did your mother say?” Lucie asked.
     “Not a word.”

                   — HENRI PIERRE ROCHÉ

for Kent MacCarter

Kathy Acker draws on a cigarette
blinding sunlight to the sputniks gesture
after the collaboration — Thom Gunn

is that what they teach in lit class these days?
lsd versus astrology class
Kathy Acker draws on a cigarette

airplanes thread round fish and generation
y kiss substitutions and discuss words
after the collaboration — Thom Gunn

it started with the left but the right —
over a martini discuss Arkley
Kathy Acker draws on a cigarette

orchids for Ashbery or O’Hara
ordure for Oppenheimers atom bomb
after the collaboration — Thom Gunn

Harry Houdini and Arthur Miller
object as they turn over in their beds
Kathy Acker draws on a cigarette


for berni janssen

“How can we make this inhuman?” they ask
like refusing to write Es or plurals
manusia is indonesian for human

being a typewriter giving it up
for lent or longer as a one off protest
“How can we make this inhuman?” they ask

perahu is another indonesian
word to which our word “prow” is related
manusia is indonesian for human

perfected it — let me detain you the
lyrics of a Sia song? Her wigs sigh
“How can we make this inhuman?” they ask

now ruminate our old men perfect-
ing it ecstatically falling down!
manusia is indonesian for human

possession is nine tenths of the law — the
banshees wigs are no more than a chador
“How can we make this inhuman?” they ask


in memoriam Gough Whitlam & Malcolm Fraser

the poets genius of consciousness
or politicians power to mimic
are left to justify their means to an end

it s metaphysics — the beauty of change
contemplating Mallarmé or Narcissus
the poets genius of consciousness

Heidegger with his taboos and terrors:
us ships carriers planes over Sydney
are left to justify their means to an end

politicians sing      our highest court says
papers lives revolutions nostalgia
the poets genius of consciousness

dance in the beds they have made up themselves!
off to lonely Canberra bells ringing
are left to justify their means to an end

politicians love the sound of their own
voice chattering champagne beer shunting off
the poets genius of consciousness



Oh Time! the beautifier of the dead

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
































one day “as one August gust on another”

one day [1914] Derains autopsy of organisms purling
one day the metronome unsteadily and very prolonged

one day — the next day — “If I should die out there, for now
I’m in the firing line” one day trees a boatload of blood

one day [1944] all the bridges in Florence except the ponte
are blown up thru unrestrained boredom

one day [1962] the woman with the girly voice dies and
is bourgeoisied in crypt 33 of Westwood cemetery

one day [1916] those Casement briefs and diaries [1945] out
of fire Hiroshima centaur Robrothel Hughes dies [2012]

one day [1949] LeRoy Gorman haiku + cllgrmm = Chvrlt
one day [1994] victorian police are like bulls in a china shop

one day [1815] Bonaparte is exiled [1969] Charles Manson
starts his killing spree [1977] The Red Robins in New York

one day [1945] putrid Nagasaki night lamps extinguished
one day in 1957 Michel Leiris dreams of Asia

one day [1900] René Crevel is born to infinite castration
one day [1934] James Tenney is born to electrocatachresis

one day [1956] Jackson Pollock dies from color decapitation
one day [1966] The Village voices Frank O’Haras chiasmus

one day [1762] Tiepolo flute concrete poem his eyes burning
one day [1827] William Blake dies from acanthus hats

one day [1977] south London national front contradiction
controversy corruption crash deceit by definition

one day [1040] Macbeth kills Duncan to be king of Scotland
one day [1951] Citizen Kane dies from desire under the sun

one day [1871] Rimbaud as Alcide Bava wrote to Banville
one day [1939] stood the primal despair of The Wizard of Oz

one day [1926] Lew Welch was born to whom The Kindness
of Strangers
by Philip Whalen was dedicated

one day [1953] Jean Cocteau his diary echoes dragons
repetitive earthquakes any shadow can be changed

one day [1933] Michel Leiris dreams of islands cities the sea
inside a levantine pearl scherzando lichanos empty vessels

[1930] the two halves of the Sydney harbor bridge meet one
day Timothy Learys epanadiplosis [1961] overplays this day

one day [1857] Charles Baudelaire must suppress six of his
poems and in 1882 the 1812 Overture premières in Moscow

one day [1943] Blaise Cendrars couldn t sleep for ten years
as he started hapax legomenon on his life with gipsies

one day [1911] Guillaume Apollinaire is raided by the police
one day [1997] Guillaume Burroughs dies from epanalepsis

one day [1942] epanorthotic shoes cross the Volga
one day [1973] the fata morgana of Stockholm hallucinates

one day [1955] “a system of metaphor for the allegory
(Keats called it)” the meaning of life/corps exquis

one day [1900] Nietzsche with tears in his eyes
one day [1941] Akhmatovas jukebox Поэмы без героя

one day [1883] “it s like Krakatoa in spring!” my friend
Anthony was fond of saying as he joked about serial poetry

one day [1813] evolution execution exile failure fake fame
one day [1959] personism was born with a female voice

one day [1963] i have a dream hermaphroditic stop thief!
one day [1988] Sontag called it a firing squad day

one day [1874] o lost one! post coitum triste omne animal est
one day [1977] Mansours flash card submissiveness

Q: if it was a few days before the earthquake in 1923
A: were fortune tellers acquainted in 1923 with free verse?

rue de Furstenberg is my favorite spot in Paris

Javant Biarujia is the author of eight books of poetry and has appeared in more than twenty anthologies, in Australia and abroad, including Out of the Box: Contemporary Australian gay and lesbian poets (2009), The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry (2008) and The turnrow Anthology of Australian Contemporary Poetry (2014). Spelter to Pewter (Cordite Books, Melbourne: 2016) is his latest book.

previous page     contents     next page


Post a Comment

<< Home