Owen Bullock


                                                       push the noise away   
                                          father and son through the desert

                                        light comes   from many directions

                                         looks at the other’s ink blots
                                                               wondering if they’re better

                                                                learn rules of engagement
                                    (no one remembers to tell you)

                                       they look alike   they’re the same height   
                                                           but they’re not

                                                   they have the same haircut   
                                                            but they don’t


                                                       the castle 
                                                                               hangs in the air
                           a studded abyss

                         an exterior surface                                         D-rings 

                   that won’t let you in
                                                                                      spikes   keep off 

                a padded seat                                                            but no sitting

                                                        the citadel 


                              the gods –
                              what god 

                              our names 
               in stone a dozen times


                                             taking them for a ride
                                             a helicopter
                                             at the showgrounds

The President focusses on “getting bad people out of this country.” To build a wall, a wall to Mexico.

                                             at the end of a cross pole

“Get out of my country,” the gunman says in a bar in Kansas, as he shoots and kills an Asian Indian 
man who’s lived and worked in America for years. The gunman wounds a local who tries to intervene 
and flees the interstate border. Eventually he’s arrested. 

                                             eyes dead
                                             his mouth turned down . . .
                                             a helicopter whirrs in the distance

A place for the Phantom

The Phantom escapes again. Train to Liverpool. Bribes passage to Australia. A tiny porthole, 
sea-sickness twists his body into half a man, and half again – many’s the time he thinks he’s 
died. The ship in early, he disembarks on a rope. Spends six months scrimping, delivering 
pizza. Gives himself up to the authorities, who pardon him. Goes back to music: church 
organ, retro bands, teaching, and after five years a steady gig. Hear him each Sunday at the 
Carillon on Lake Burley-Griffin, with those other-worldly bells.


we have to prioritise our tantrums

               on my to do list: choose happiness

                              fifty years later she realises
                              she’d been beautiful
                              in the place where they ate
                              ice cream with forks

                                             we turn into reflections

                                                            it’s not tea-towel over your shoulder time any more

                                                                           I have no heart, just a stupid brain

                                                                                          did ee put sugar?

                                                                                                         when you buy it   you want it

                                                                                                                        I’ll be back now chef!

                                                                                                         he’s a bit on the spectrum or something

                                                                                          hey, why don’t you sit down and play us that 
                                                                                          Fire Hose Reel

                                                                           I won’t eat your bagel

                                                            the pigeon wants to mate with me

                                             the scent of daffodils along the corridor . . .

                              looking down   another way of looking behind

               high heels in the sand

a man wanders into the day and says

               I’ll be five minutes early for destiny

Owen Bullock’s most recent publications are Work & Play (Recent Work Press, 2017) and Semi (Puncher & Wattmann, 2017). He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Canberra.
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