'Advantages of Stopovers', a new poem by Michael Farrell

September 2019, no. 414

'Advantages of Stopovers', a new poem by Michael Farrell

September 2019, no. 414

Writing a line, as if from bed, on a lovely, handmade

organ based on Gerald Murnane, the Goroke novelist

last seen pouring a glass of amber silk and swaying

imperceptibly enough to be called coincidental to Hot

Chocolate. I would not be the writer I am if I forebore to

mention the snowy peaks outside, being an analogy of

actual peaks. You see me out there gesturing at their

anti-poetic line, my hand perhaps making a mosquitoey

movement in the air, a veritable range-splainer or

Attenborough in Asia  Sentences erode like


ripped earth, as if an editor or technological malfunction

(how can a malfunction be bad when it sounds so good?

you can’t spell a-b-c-d without b-a-d) were large yellow

machinery with the name Cat, or Komatsu. Do you

believe like me, in a different way, in Spinoza, in deco-

nstruction? It is not, to return to the trope of the hand-

made musical instrument, as if wood is dead, I mean

wood as word or key. Call science (but how? where?)

romantic then, I may add there are rows of yellowing as-

pen in clear view like I might – going blonde in midlife


  It started with a kiss and if a lengthy

trial must be undergone, it is not too shabby a thing to

wake in a room like this. What, I’ve been asked is the

tension between a sentence and a stanza? (Or you might

say: between a block of flats and a plaza.) This is a

question for the infinite forest to ignore, but I must give

it some thought, in order not to begin to sound like a

mechanical monkey, however cute, based on Broken Hill

essayist Evan de K – not their real name, last seen drop-

ping a dingleberry into someone’s coffee, perhaps at the


height of their humour, and irony  So I begin to chop

in earnest as if I earn money from making salad, or it’s

my passion: lettuce under the knife, just needing freshly

roasted advice to bring its yellowing heart back to life

  Should prose rhyme? Another question I’ve never been

asked, but on a night when you know that sleep will make

you ill, and road fatality statistics arise like clapped-in

topiary at an impatient neocon convention – I’d marry

Time, but I just turned seventeen and by the next day

the voice on the radio says it doesn’t remember me

Michael Farrell

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