Owen Bullock


The relief when you realise
you don’t have to read it

   does not fear 
   Unit Outlines!

cold fog off the sea

a kennel for nutty dogs

   an orange balloon
   floats the lake

I feel safe carrying out my role
– what does that mean?

When my need is great, poetry is there. 

play it cooler

This December on Bottom Star, Chris reflects on the plague of Scorpions in Egypt, Austin 
goes through a Venus retrograde with his trainer and Becca uses Chiron to free Prometheus.

planetary wussicums   Astrologer good   smoothment

   rain clouds arrive
   transforming the day –
   end of year wind down

Sperm is being used to create an eco-friendly alternative to plastic. Scientists are spurning 
old fashioned plastic and turning to salmon sperm in search for sustainable alternatives.

Time to stop




the sculpture said nothing

I’ve done everything
   now I need to rest
I can’t let go
   I let go
piano on loop
   ceiling fan reflected
in the empty plate
   this’ll do

what was I given yesterday
   that was so precious?
I switched off the machine?
   the festival tickets?
we hope to go
   or the need to rest?

   December 2021
   I’m the fly
   crawling up the wall

   holding the umbrella
   closed but unbound
   like chicken’s wings splayed

Present troubles are due to thoughts and are themselves thoughts. Give up thoughts.


I hide on street corners
& yawn at people without them noticing
then they walk down the road yawning

   a ripple 
   on the pond

“Considering how dangerous everything is,” says Gertrude Stein, “Nothing is really very frightening”.

the Omicron variant has been found in every state
travel restrictions are prudent

affects the art

in your house!

Poor tomorrow?

Poor tomatoes, they’re not tied up yet.

Big steps an little uns . . .

Robert L. Penick is no one you would notice on the street.

Fuck the NAZIS!!!

   the hybrids
   won’t reproduce   the bees
   visit anyway

a hard-wearing cotton fabric woven with stripes or checks
and I thought it meant ‘little’

go rapidly or fly


Everything that can be imagined is real . . . Vesna Zivkovi


My religion is kindness.

. . . flow . . . not over-doing it . . .

   a fly 
   with a tune stuck
   in its head

Why not try and find out the real nature of the present and ever present existence?

grey clouds pass   passing
yellow broccolini flowers still yellow
bees in them
mynah birds plunging
the wind shakes

the pieces can’t be equally successful

Hopefully they’re going to check the laundry baskets – Rassie might be hiding in there.

Beware of vehicles


love is holding the bucket while they’re sick
love is understanding you won’t be able 
   to have sex any more after menopause
   not pressuring HRT
love is there
love is together


my accent
I’m from Americer
low low low
he doesn’t say much
straight up kinda man
from France, he speaks French
with the group with the fur

   Now arriving at Eloura Street!

“Writing is the passageway, the entrance, the exit, the dwelling place of the other in me . . .” Hélène Cixous 

   Valhalla, a heaven for brave skinheads
   the place where Val keeps her teapot
   Crane, a giant toy-catcher
   a monastery for blokes
   Boysenberry, an explosion of purple
   a plant that sucks in little children and spits out seeds
   Dinosaur, a kitten in gladwrap
   Glue-pot, a mechanism for sticking the world back together
   a container for the shrunk souls of pollies
   Scissors, the tool to cut your past away
   a tool for cutting yourself back together
   Zenith, the highest hill in Cornwall
   a place where monks go to get their teeth fixed
   a blue line above the horizon which you can only see if you imagine red
   Furniture, hills to climb indoors
   equipment fir trees have discarded
   objects that don’t want to understand
   things I never built
   things the factories brought
   sticks that have sprayed over forest
   Places, faces spread flat across the land
   insides turned onto the surface of the earth
   those I go to and can’t find
   Words, a shelf full of lies
   a yacht that rescues the drowning
   a cupboard of surprises, live cups like fairies
   tiny tigers in jars
   somewhere to spot your doubts
   a cushion for your death
   a preparation to smear on your face and stop pride ulcers ruining 

Be ee werkin’ up a sermon?


they send an email – probably bogus
they post some photos – probably bogus


I’m the night sky untwinkling
a saviour burrowing itself into the ground
the matador slicing lemons
the guest cleaning your kitchen
I’m the whale beaching and going back
I’m the mat you lie on
I want to read you

The gallery’s up around there – you know what I mean . . .

   No, I don’t sweetie. And neither do you.

mercy a paddle
tongues remain light

tell me a tadpole
teach me a switch

lift me a campfire’s
cultured delight

   from the bottom 
   of the clay pit we take them –

   the willow a switch
   a sword
   and a baton

   the coals 
   of the campfire never cool –
   our own land


they post a video – probably bogus


fluorescent yellow
a proxy for light
in Terraform 
by Kerry McInnis



Peng Shuai is safe
But the WTA said the recent videos “don't alleviate or address the WTA’s concern about her 
wellbeing and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion.”


the straggly one
the duck stabs its neck
over & over with her beak
pushing the duckling under

she moves away
the job looks done
but the duckling bobs back up again
she attacks
and for a little longer this time
it opens its mouth
floats away
the duck has six others
to take care of
one of them circles in front of the dead

We must have faith
that things will play out

I must read the Social Impact Survey about the mining company’s plan to extract gold 300 meters from our door.

The point that this project is not going to help New Zealand's stance on combating climate 
change needs to be included (the extractive industries are heavily implicated in climate change). 

The language of these notes is not strong enough. These are more than ‘concerns’ – they are deep-
seated fears, based on the past behaviour of mining companies. 

Specific ideas to add re the last point, “Concerns around the remediation of a previous Newmont Mining project”: 
and the lack of legal redress for remedial work. A mining company can liquidate itself to avoid legal consequences; 
this has happened before and could happen again.

There is nothing that guarantees the safety and integrity of the environment. There is nothing that guarantees 
OceanaGold will be held to account for any negative consequences of their actions. They are taking risks with our 
environment that are simply too great. 

The whole process is skewed in the mining company's favour. We should have been consulted in this way before they 
did any work on the project. Social impact includes moral issues. OceanaGold's actions are already impacting our 
wellbeing. An apology for stress caused would be appropriate, together with a complete cessation of work on this 
project until full community consultation has taken place.


A glitch in the matrix

   grasses bend
   with the lightness
   of dragonflies

It gives me a sense of other possible worlds. What Hélène Cixous says about the importance of otherness 
in poetry is central. If it's familiar I'm not interested. I want to not understand.

   the seed will come
   it’s in
   the flowers


It’s what women do, isn’t it, think about things beforehand?

   And men love to watch them do it from a safe distance. 

   zoom on headphones
   clanking his cutlery
   that little bit louder



   in a corner 
   of the ceiling, shadows
   geometric art

   a bunch of plastic roses 
   on the piano 

Is this what I’m getting myself into debt for?

the cello’s maniacal laughter

a door made of silk

   a bag of stars
   a bag of moonfish glimmers
   a plastic bag of plastic bags
   a bag of pumpkins floating overhead
   a bag of comments thrown into the sea
   a bag of surprises – not end-gaining
   a bag of zens to space you out
   a bag of spaces to regulate time
   a bag of clocks to confirm your fears
   a bag of suns to light your way – you’ll never run out

Gate Venus god walked into the heart leg door and the spanner cat empire howled like an engine moose cyclone. 
The book cloud vacuum silenced the monkey slot-machine biscuit with a withered lantern look. The artist board 
turnstile drew a blank on a clipboard submarine surface and the mechanical cloud range nodded agreement like 
the pneumatic sandwich leopard. 

   subhuman   substandard   sub-Saharan   subtext (built in)
   sub-4-minute-mile   subsonic   subterranean
   subvocalising   sub-optimum   subliminal
   sub-orbital   subcutaneous

What does your meteorite fragment do?

a huge rock that walks the wheel

A tooth stabs me awake, even though it’s day, even though I’m awake. Listen, bastard, to the sounds of birds, 
the sound of rock bursting, crying from the speakers. Hey, fuck face, look at the green of this spring-spelled 
tree. Shut it, prick, listen to what she said instead, the girl without speech who uses a wheelchair. Go to 
sleep, stop thinking, stop criticising, stop ranting. Eat vegetables, not carbs & sugar. Go walking, go again, 
go around. Get up when they push you down, get the fuck up. 

Rare animal sighting turns out to be a croissant.

Get out of my life
the little boy shouted 



   street light –
   scurrying to and fro
   the possum

Owen Bullock's most recent publication is Impression (Beir Bua Press, 2022). His other titles include, Uma rocha enorme que anda à roda (A big rock that turns around), translations of his tanka into Portuguese by Francisco Carvalho (Temas Originais, 2021), Summer Haiku (Recent Work Press, 2019), Work & Play (Recent Work Press, 2017), and Semi (Puncher & Wattmann, 2017). He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Canberra. His other interests include juggling, music and chess. https://poetry-in-process.com/ @OwenTrail @ProcessPoetry
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