Owen Bullock


my thoughts so fast I need lycra

but bumpier)

slip into The Knox for a crème brulee

a thousand small corrections

   with the dishes
   cleared away

there’s a lovely sunset –
come out here and help me see it!

   Tuesday morning –
   a student skipping
   between the lights
   I think I hear 
   my name called

a box that ticks itself

adventures with the sky

the word ‘crazing’
in the old pot

   under the power pole
   a dead bat, wrapped
   in its own wings

The penguin planted its flag. On the moon.

   depression – what’s 

   all I have 
   the energy
   I wake with
a flower poking through a gap in the fence

drawing forever on your fan

demanding that property be taken from us

fizz-top pigeons

a letter addressed to Obligation

the word ‘fungable’
you can change your allegiance

   how much green
   do you need
   white flower

switching to sonar depth
present rather than linear

   busy bus
   reading the news
   on someone else’s phone

the closing bars of Comfortably Numb . . .
(your grandmother crying in grief)

   I put on something
   I know will make me weep

yer yert or your yort

I like how awful the folk singer is
his mouth too close to the mic

maybe the words don’t matter

that deadly look
when they’re not playing

a voice of rocks

every moment I’m sitting here listening
not having to work
dreams of rock n roll

earnest young men listening to
earnest young men

bad friends as well

edges of leaves

the cat climbs your legs
digging into jeans

a tin of rice pudding you can’t 

bassoon –
no one will show you
how to play it

crack in the earth
a ravine you could
tumble down

Light spangled wave tops, silver, purple, white.

   a schoolboy 
   with a text-book
   counting on one hand –
   or figures?

   meditation –
   the violent film I watched
   aged 13

How good do I want to feel?

the word ‘smarmy’ –
even Leonard Cohen 
irritates some people

they could talk underwater

the secret life of cups & saucers

Everything begins with if

The sense in which we’re farmed.

   draw me a game of chess
   I can colour with blue brush
   like a parquet floor
   sliding between pieces
   with muffins and cakes
   perpetually moving
   to work off the cakes –
   what contradiction
   to be human

The reflection

the reflection has a shadow

   I’m not a duck 
   on the water, when I’m not 
   on the water

Go cry on somebody else’s shoulder 

the orange lamp tells legs
swamping the park
poking the eyes of wardens

lose my place in the sky
labouring trees 

You come here with your tinman suit and your words, 
where you dance, I run

How do you keep your trousers so red?

16 birthday cakes were too many

   the garage sale
   the still risen moon

obedience (to what you know to be right)
is bliss

SAY _ _ SS

a man sitting on the sidewalk 
smoking and staring at his roll-ups 
with the seriousness of an interview

When the moon hits your knees
And you mispronounce trees 
– Sycamore

hospital stoptable

I’ll have to leave the car in the computer

   Enlighten lights flicker
   on Old Parliament House
   the Aboriginal fire

Do they have eftpossum?

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here on Cake Saturday to join together this butter and this 
sugar in Holy Indulgence, for the assembly of St CSIRO and Our Lady of the High Protein. In 
the name of the Second Cousin, the Dodgy Neighbour Down the Road and the Pet Hamster, amen.

Grey recedes and everything else comes forward

Winkie Volcano

I want to die in the roses

   flower show
   it’s a long time
   before I look at one

when the heat goes out of the day, 
when the heat goes out

   evening walk –
   is this the last mown field
   of summer?

   ducks skid 
   on the water, make ripples
   in the night sky

New new new

being a Youtuber is not a get out of school free card

   having a boyfriend is like parenting
   you have to teach them
   how to express their emotions
   & how to manage in the world

      yeah & your mum parents your dad
      even thought she doesn’t need to

   there are good guys out there

      I have an idea
      what mine would be like
      he’d be a middle child, with asthma
      but he’d play the trombone
      at least until it gave him asthma attacks
      & he’d be cute

has previous with taking unfancied sides into the upper echelons of the league

   In goes Savea, cleanly gets the ball, frees it up, nice from Laumape, where’s the space? It’s     
   there, Matt Todd, where’s the space? It’s there. Anton Lienert-Brown brings in two  
   defenders, flicks it to Bridge, step, step, bangs it down, wow how good. 

being Deans, we all had our hearts taken out

   the Universe tripled down on uncertainty

I was a bit garden-pathed by that

   dragging tables into sunshine

I’d love to be stuck in Norway for two years on a fjord

What’s that in the pot, some kind of weed, some kind of grass. A graminivorous bird would 
like that peck peck. Graminivorous bird would go peck peck, a hen. I’m leaving it there 
for the birds. The leeks & chard growing fine.


the voice across the concourse
calls you to sit & fade into the song

eucalypt-scented, its pine & burn
child & beer

its moist cake buds
and almond essence

swathe & draw of giant feather

Gauguin-textured island-lit canvas


Mars, you might ellipse close to earth
destabalise my connection
fuzz the audio, cancel video
so I can’t teach
duplicate settings, add confusion
so I can’t teach
crash my computer

but I’ve got my cerise pink umbrella
& I’ll wave it at you, you fucker


Poetry moonches together. Poetry makes a cottage pie with apricots instead of mince. Poetry 
washes my brain with milk, steam-cleans the mind with sheep, or is that sleep. Poetry is 
funny as a fight, but laughs harder.


in my dreams
I wear a skirt
the man gets aggressive
I sense his fists though he doesn’t raise them
tries to make light of it
I feel a glow inside
despite the outward tension
as if I’ve achieved something –
incidentally, the young man
was raised in an alternative community
but religious
it doesn’t square with his image of god
(another man)

the skirt is one
my daughter used to wear
if I toned it down
& wore a kilt
they’d see it differently

but that’s just in dreams . . .


Walk into bare branches, the purple steam bath
alight on pale blossom, still winter the red tongue 
     of exotic flower
fold yourself into six petals & let the daffodils’ 
     sun be you
fish in the red blue yellow white carpet for the kai of hope 
     & let it do the talking
scramble into leaf veins of winter chard, find its roots
     starting to take off, let it smile & nod for you
slide down the stalks of leeks into the castle of refreshing 
     swim in the soupy moat
perfection raids the courtyard, gives everything to it 
     I’m not missing anything


The grey-misted downs started you off, gave birth to you – you crawled out of a crater like a 
bomb, all eart smudge & muddy knees, tottered to the tor, stood up & here you were in the 
world. You realised you had eyes that could still the sky, icy blue, clouds arrested, winds 
lulled, so the voice rang further far, past Land’s End and from there northwards, you never 
wanted for sound or food & the clear air quickened your steps, the only problem, delusion, 
statistically likely. A companion already only twelve thousand miles hence. Calling calm.


I’m glad I stole the sweets from the corner store where we waited for the school bus. I had 
no money. 

I’m glad I picked up your words, you didn’t realise how poetic they were and once uttered had 
no further use for them.


This world is not where I belong.

graffiti ISORE

watch out for jazz magpies

crazy mayhem monsters

Page is a wizard, a necromancer.


   spark hooves up
   bisect the sky
   land on soft earth
   say a whinny
   calling for a friend –
   you don’t like to be alone

   food shifts
   like a mirror in the river
   you’re a gourmand
   no one understands
   your particular self-
   medication – chew on!
   I hope there are layers
   stomaching against the cold


   fiercer than any
   challenging hawk & cocky
   a fear you might
   pluck out my eyes
   steal jewellery
   but we don’t have any, magpie
   you took it all
   with that first thought of fear
   no mother no feed
   respect your colours
   from distance



   envy lips

   you have a desert
   between your eyes
   make it a road

   don’t eat
   don’t drink

   until the people are astounded
   by water
   at the station way

   & take you


   they tell me
   you’re rock
   perhaps even
   no longer there

   I don’t know

   you flicker on at night
   & off with my click
   of the door

   a vital poppy
   no colour
   (perhaps yellow)

   perhaps white –
   if white is a colour

   they tell me
   it’s all colours

   I don’t know
   you could be a 
   loop the loop

   when I reach out
   & grab you
   in my fist
   you dissolve into dust

   I’m not the right
   reception for you

   I don’t care
   what your name

   intrigued at the way
   you sit above the pine
   at the same time each night

   what are you doing there

   what are you saying

   adrift so 

I’m still trying to find . . . 

What is that confounded phrase?

With a note like that, taking the bridge back to the main riff, he’s a right to strut & take it 
easy. Kashmir.

When Page smiles too widely & the others don’t get it you realise you have to be your own joy.

He’s the edge, the occult in the senses, ghost in the body of rock n roll. To make it sit up 
when it should be dead, laugh a cackling & you know it eclipses the arches of the gone.

The eye

The camera is slower than the eye
and you’re in charge of the eye

Jeff Beck, Vinnie Colaiuta, Tal Wilkenfeld, Jason Rebello
smiles, nods, raised eyebrows
shrugs, headshakes, pointed arms
signal music

reptilian hindbrain
handshakes, head nods, bowing


Trump likes to dance to ‘YMCA’
by the Village People

his supporters say
masks don’t work
and COVID is 99.98% safe

QAnon supporters
believe Trump is working with a secret taskforce 
to expose Democrats who are Satan-worshipping paedophiles
COVID is a hoax

during the Capitol riot
fundamentalist Christians kneel and pray
The blood of Jesus protect Donald Trump

star blogger

rag & bone man
practical shaman

MRSA isolates from whales, human volunteers attending these animals, and the beach sand 
and marine water associated with the marine mammal conservancy showed a high degree of 
genetic relatedness.

B-la(ctamases) B-la(ctamases) B-la(ctamases)

middle of the night
like an extra day

   allowing the space
   between here
   Saturn and Jupiter

Important knowledge gaps have been identified that should be addressed in future studies.

I treat people like employees.
I’m obsessed with my own comfort.
I want everyone to be like me.

I’m a field of flowers

I don’t trust her enough.

. . . part of that Alpha male will inherit the earth thing. 

Getting lost on the beach after a swim in the ocean pool, going to the PA, the man asking 
what my mother was wearing, I said a blue dress and it wasn’t blue, just how I imagined her 
in a blue floral dress . . .

Don’t get me started

Dreams and daydreams, cycling thoughts, pulsing neurons – you keep paths open, like a right 
of way you claim & the neighbour denies – bird call, light piercing blinds and unobscuring 
the telegraph pole, engine, dog bark, cup of tea against the day, what meaning, what meaning 
has changed? 

   waves washing
   all the way from childhood
   in the clouds

Ghosts are things you can’t let go, they might mutate, like art, but they’re your concern, 
you’re the one seeing them.

when I cry
some of it
a father’s anger
everyone in the house eating alone
arguments & bruises
late night shouting
you can still hear
under the muffled covers

all beliefs are wrong

are you inventing men?
he remembered the b3 opening

The biggest queue I’ve ever seen was for tickets to see The Who at Carlyon Bay, 1980, it 
stretched out of the carpark and up the hill to the hotel about half a mile, two nights 
sold out in two hours.

put your sleeves down 
before it goes in the wash

tapping leg, flicking fingers, stroking face . . .

the past
sitting behind your chair
drumming you occasionally on the 
   shoulder like a fly

or showing short clips of 
   without colour
and a self-analytical soundtrack 
   coming back like a slug

you trudge over mountains
take an extra 
only a few kilos but it all 
   adds up

Train lines, desire lines, flight lines of spirits, ancestors who died and have gone on 
(with their conceptual selves) to something more.

bride & groom
photos by the lake
traditional sari
chewing gum
cause she’s nervous
an assistant adjusts the light
with a fold-out reflector

Distilled from electrons in water, the first light rays of day over Mt Karangahake, the 
welcome of your child become adult. Your heart glows inside this sphere. 

Sunrise, South Durras, dolphins swimming across your eyelids, the first cuppa, cool water 
at ankles. Your heart shines inside this sphere. Steam-heated bush walk, the shade of 
trees & the pool of drenching sun drenched in the pooling of the waterfall falling on water 
and you. Your heart breathes inside this sphere. 

previous page     contents     next page


Post a Comment

<< Home