'Graphology Endgame 100: I am a dickhead' by John Kinsella | States of Poetry WA - Series Two

I am a dickhead in ways I thought I wasn’t
I am a dickhead in ways people who call me a dickhead can’t imagine
I am a dickhead in ways people who call me a dickhead can imagine
I am a dickhead with residues and hangovers of misapplications of beliefs
I am a dickhead whose interior was an adequate backdrop for exterior worlds
I am a dickhead who has tried to leap synaptic gaps to make conversation
I am a dickhead who in damning his past and his routes via heritage has liberated
               none
I am a dickhead despite the awareness of the dickhead moves that preluded me
I am a dickhead who has secretly thought I am no dickhead and that I am defying
               the paths of dickheadery I was injected with at school and by the state
I am a dickhead who lives and breathes the pollution I condemn and tries to hang
               onto life like my life is precious
I am a dickhead caught in anaphora because the mantra is preservation and
               conservation and forests still fall and bush is scraped back to bare bones
I am a dickhead whose epiphanies and self-doubts would liberate him from the
               damnation of exploitation and Western subjectivity
I am a dickhead for allowing the mining industry any leverage over my life at all –
               I use implements manufactured using their extractions, their abominations
I am a dickhead for not planting enough trees for using petroleum products
I am a dickhead for deploying manners as a token of respect when I sit uncomfortably
               in a roundtable confab, adding my two cents’ worth
I am a dickhead for utilising and being part of a monetary system I despise
I am a dickhead for saying I need downtime like everyone else – there’s no time free
               and when I fall into the lush up-currents of birdsong it is not enough
               to say I am there, nothing in the absolute bliss of existence, as existence
               is so tenuous and the deprivation of the right to a spiritual journey
               for all living things nullifies the luxury of my own journey towards
               enlightenment
I am a dickhead because I once thought sex was a natural process, was more than a social
               construct, was a sharing on an equal footing if there was consent, as if consent
               was chained by the privilege of gender and identity
I am a dickhead because I don’t think of my pacifist rage as a form of violence, and caught
               in the paradox, critique each step I take with motifs of calm to channel my anger
I am a dickhead because I am prepared to give up my life in an effort to stop damage to
               other lives – peace at all costs, my body crushed by machinery on the edge of a
               forest – trampled down by the military, the constabulary, neo-Nazi Australian
               patriots flying their Southern Crosses and Eureka Stockade t-shirts, the Liberal
               party, the Nationals, the right wing of the Labor Party, and some of the ‘left’
I am a dickhead thinking my words might make a difference and the problem is not
               in the make but the kind of difference words can bring because words
               can’t be contained and controlled and nor should they be, surely? Which leaves
               me with what at the end of the day? as the tradies say as I co-opt to my purpose.
I am a dickhead because I have so immersed myself in the consequences of self and what
              constitutes the ‘I’, especially my responsibility to my own subjectivity
              and the declaration that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction
              platitude which I don’t see as a platitude nor as just another variation on self-
              mythologising which is an affirmation of purpose when I too am nothing in the face of
              remorseless entropy and eschatology
I am a dickhead who won’t be held accountable when ‘the reckoning’* comes, comrade
I am a dickhead you might think is actually trying to call himself a dickhead to avoid
               actually being called a dickhead or to say so while believing he’s not
               but I can assure you I know the truth of it, and I am a dickhead
I am a dickhead who confronts people destroying the bush and throwing a tantrum
               collapses as his heart falls out of sinus rhythm and brings the world of nature
               he has constructed down around his ears
I am a dickhead who can’t ward off the truth with a mantra as the bulldozers and heavy
               mining machinery are hauled slowly and steadily to the mines of the north
               with vast areas of bush falling to blade every day and the roadside vegetation
               vanishing despite a change of government as there’s no halting the loathing
               and though there are many good people working to stop it, the hatred of life
               beyond self and family permeates this world this dickhead is part of this world
               this dickhead watches and dies a little more each day as he experiences and yet
               cannot stop the ravaging the rapacity the cruelty of ‘development’ so what more
               can a dickhead do than declare himself than plead dickheadery?
I am a dickhead who talks too much in a place where ‘lippy bastards’ like me are held
               in contempt and I have the healed fractures of nose and skull, the cigarette burns
               and the psychological scars to evidence this fact though my saying so makes
               me more of a dickhead. Maybe you have to have lived here. Though that in
               itself is no proof as the hearsay, voting trends, main street of town, actions
               of land owners, and internet chatter will tell you
I am a dickhead who thinks he can in some small measure co-exist with the state he rejects
               when the state murders and robs and bullies every nanosecond of its existence
               while feigning innocence while claiming the higher moral ground while claiming
               it speaks with the approval of the majority
I am a dickhead who thinks the majority doesn’t and shouldn’t rule that only consensus
               has authority and a dickhead for whom authority is a lie anyway
I am a dickhead who thinks democracy is about oppression of minorities and not liberty
               for all – never has been never will never wanted to be
I am a dickhead who won’t use pesticides or herbicides or fungicides but who lives
               in a realm where they rain down from neighbours and shires and farmers
               and contractors with the support and affirmation of multinational companies
               that are eating the earth to its core and claiming they make the world go around
I am a dickhead who doesn’t think any job is better than no job. Not even worth
               explaining that – a condescension that makes me even more of a dickhead
I am a dickhead because school mates, teachers, police, government ministers, right-wing
               newspaper columnists, blokes in the pub, some friends and some exes, people
               yelling at me as I march and protest as I read poetry in public, tell me so. Oh,
               and some literary critics. Maybe more than some. I am not sure how that ‘more
              than some’ sits in the calibration of the personalised (‘wank’) of the dickhead scale
I am a dickhead because I am loved by my son and my partner and my mother and my
               brother and my mother’s partner and my auntie and uncle and cousins and maybe
               a dozen friends. Which is not to say they might not privately think I can’t be
               a bit of a dickhead on occasions but I am hoping against hope that they
               can cope with that and it’s not simply out of politeness. What I appreciate
               is their tolerance of dickheads, and I’d like to think I’ve got a bit of that as well

John Kinsella


*This is a reference to a communist marcher at a protest in Cambridge telling me that if I didn't convert from anarchism to communism, my fate would be decided at 'the reckoning'. JK