anti-slam newsletter November 2013
Editor: David Graham Proof editor: Carlin McLellan Photographer: Genevieve Carr Thank you to all contributors. My inbox is like a carnival ride of sweet hijinks. This publications may be reproduced and distributed freely in its entirety.
Individual pieces within this publication remain the copyright of their author.
C o n t e n t s
Editorial Warble of the Magpies
by Timothy James Next Time Word Hurl Anti-Slam... doesn’t know Judges Pick: Untitled by Katherine Knight Slacker Poem by Clark Gormley Photographs Word Hurl Anti-Slam becomes Lame and Uncommitted Hurler in Focus — Alex Morris Table Manners Well Wishing Woman Article: “Bitterness Calling” by Naomi Fraser Story: “Fables for Children: Grimy is Back in Business” by Matthew Graham Posters of the Past by Susannah Jack Article “Studio la Primitive Arts Zine” by Robyn Werkhoven Just a little bit extra — The French bus driver By Mark Liston SUBMIT YOUR WORK Other News and Events Contact
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aiting for Godot is the title of a play by Samuel Beckett. Except on a metaphysical level that has nothing to do with the happenings and going ons of Word Hurl Anti-Slam. Of course, metaphysically that play has to do with just about everything. So here we are in November with a full belly and holes in our socks. This month we have articles by Naomi Fraser and Robyn Werkhoven and a short story by Matthew Graham (no relation to David Graham except that they’re cousins). There’s also poetry by Tim James, Katherine Knight, Clark Gormley , Mark Liston and Alex Morris. Alex has been coming to Word Hurls since the start of the year, so it was high time to ask her to be the featured poet this month. She is always a favourite performer
at the anti-slams. Seeing her poems in written form gave me a new appreciation of her work. The first poem included, Table Manners, is a whimsical take on race relations driven on by couplet rhymes. Whereas Well Wishing Woman is a lament on the way childhood ambitions don’t always come about in adulthood. In this poem the rhyming is more subtle, but still there. I recently attended the announcement of the David Harold Tribe Poetry Award in Sydney. Mr Tribe, a very hunched-over, elderly man seemed to unfold once he began to give his speech. At one point he despaired that the death of form in poetry during the 60s and 70s meant not only a loss of structure but a loss of meaning or at least clarity. He went on to describe how poetry comes from sung and spoken verse. This is a very old
fashioned and academic view. But there’s a fact behind it. As Alex’s pieces show devices, like rhyming, are still very alive in spoken word poetry. End rhymes divide language into audible lines. Usually smaller than a sentence, lines help divide the information being given so that it is easier to understand. Because one can’t go back and ‘reread’ a section of a performance, this is integral for intelligibility. I still don’t agree with Tribe’s point on many levels, for one, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with art not making sense. Unmeaning is just as valid an expression as something with a definite point. Although it is kind of like two men sitting beneath a tree. DG
Warble of the Magpies by Timothy James The warble of the magpies Rings out through the sky; Floats down from the trees And I, for one, am pleasedâ€Ś For when to this song I listen It makes the heart to misten; To hear the chorus of this valley Singing through our suburbâ€™s alley. Bushland stretches before me Covered in low grass green; Tranquil is the silence Miles away from violence. Ah, here I am once more And this is felt for sure; May others feel the same
That peace is ours to claim!
NEXT TIME... Word Hurl Anti-Slamâ€Ś doesnâ€™t know At Word Hurl Anti-Slam we don't have all the answers. Actually, we don't have any of the answers. I don't even think we have any questions either. Just a whole heap of no rules open mic spoken word and poetry. This is the last Word Hurl Anti-Slam of the year! It's gonna be a famous romp of ignorance and stumped faces. So come, oh yes, please do. Thursday 5th of December 6pm signup 6:30 start The Terrace Bar 529 Hunter St Newcastle Check out the poster over page: Image by Matthew Graham Poster by David Graham
Judges Pick Katherine Knight
On a high street block bookended by bookshops there is a balance of brothels and bridal boutiques. I pass by. My story is not set here.
Judges Pick Clark Gormley Slacker poem
I can’t be bothered. it’s altogether too hard. I couldn’t give two figs or one flying mallard. It doesn’t make any difference what I do. Don’t you see? That great juggernaut of life will just keep on ploughing right on over me. I’m just one voice in the crowd one brick in the wall one drop in the ocean one leaf in the fall. Why go to the effort to put on a show? No one will review it. No one will go. Why put up the posters? They’ll just take them down. I’m talking to you Zinc on Darby St with my most disdainful frown. And what is life? Huh? It’s just one long death. But don’t weep about it. No, don’t waste your breath and don’t try to live a long life by being all healthy. Your’re just drawing out the inevitable agony.
See, motivation is just a cerebral disorder caused by fluoride dosing of our drinking water and yes, climate change is for real. Yes, we’re going to be shat on. But we’re gonna be stuffed way, way before that, cos Yellowstone’s about to blow Fukushima will nuke us AND well be infected shortly by avian mucous. Yes we’re gonna be fried AND we’re gonna be clobbered. So, live for the moment if you can be bothered.
11 Word Hurl Anti-Slam becomes Lame and Uncommitted
Hurler In FOcUS:
bio: Alex Morris is a disoriented American who likes making up little rhymes to go with the beat of her cowboy boots as she walks down the street. She likes writing personalised poems about nice folks. This could be you, so you should make friends with her and tell her some jokes.
Table Manners Salt hisses to pepper "You’re just a little leper. Sprinkling your seed over potato and meat Could you be a little more discreet?" Pepper snaps at salt "Is it really my fault? What can I say you hate me cause I’m black, But at least I don’t cause heart attacks!" Salt trembles "Shut your holes! Some of my best friends are dark spices! Cinnamon and I go way back, and Cumin and I once had a roll in the sack, and that my friend is nothing to sneeze at." Pepper’s getting all shook up now, He says "you sure are proud to have all those rocks loose in your head!"
Then salt really blows his top "I’m sick of having to share my table with you, you black bloody nincompoop! What society is this, where we’re forced to live side by side, have the same job, season the same food? I’m not racist, nor am I rude I just wish I had a bit of space you know? Who made you the other choice seasoning for every single meal? Sugar makes more sense to me, and sure there’s splenda but she won’t talk, and in fact, I’m not sure she’s real!" Pepper jumps in says "DUDE take this with a grain of yourself, they say variety is the spice of life, and sure we may not look or smell the same, but it sure is a shame to live life with such a bad taste in your mouth."
Well Wishing Women In a western white whirl, Little girls grow up dreaming, They'll actually change the world. They grow up dreaming blindly of places far away from what they know of strong hands of strangers who should never leave them lone. These little ladies grow up planning on their life a fairy tale A strawberry shortcake pony ride an endless sea to sale. But in a tiny office At the age of 22 She can't escape the fishbowl and the old boss-man watching too. Or maybe she wipes down strangers' dinner crumbs At the Holiday Inn Hotel She watches the people that she serves floundering in her wishing well. She waves goodbye to successful strangers As they walk off to a life more glamorous than her's She notices in the mirrors She's losing her allure. Or maybe she's putting herself through school Working at a bar to make the rent She watches the tequila that she pours Thinks of the life that she was meant The adult contemporary pays their tab She drinks their last sips of gin She denies that she's an adult She'd die for one more spin on a the merry-go-round imagination Where you can do anything and be a star Where just by showing up for work you're, like, way above the bar
So wake up little Amanda Breaking news Gabriel I hate to bear bad news sweet Sue But life quickly goes downhill But go on dreaming sweet Cynthia Close your eyes while you can dear Jane Because once that real world surfaces begins the life mundane A world of deadlines, boring people stupid constraints and more A society divided between married girls and whores. Yes hold onto to your delusions ladies, for as long as you can take. Because a Bitch named reality is watching, And she can't wait for you wake!
Check out Alexâ€™s blog Overanalyzations of a Delusional Happy Woman at http://www.coffeecavewoman.com/
“Bitterness Calling” by Naomi Fraser
I’m joined by other students who are at different stages of completion. Sadly, and you hope that almost without fail, each of your work will them is bitter about their be earth shattering or experiences at uni, about the paradigm altering or maybe community, about the quality just something that makes of teaching or supervision, someone’s day or forces about the governance of the them to stop and go ‘ah’. uni, or the difficulty of Along with this expectation getting published. of performance are a whole It didn’t take long for array of additional factors me to realise that their like the pressure of actually bitterness was like a black writing something. hole threatening to engulf Sometimes the systems at me. Put quite simply, their Institutions are not experience is not my conducive to research and experience but listening to it innovative thought. Then almost made it my there’s the self-enforced experience. isolation. So what can you do? Wear In my experience one of ear plugs? Throw a pillow at the most destructive factors them every time they start in the midst of deadlines, up again? Avoid ALL human bureaucracy and hermitude contact? is the cultivation of No it’s much simpler. I bitterness. choose not to interact with Most days I sit in an the atmosphere on campus. office at the uni. Sometimes
It’s one of fear and stress. Instead I deliberately cultivate peace and joy. Whenever I start feeling lost in a labyrinth of work or find myself getting unhappy about how things are going, I give thanks. I thank God, but you can thank whatever. Even when I don’t feel thankful, by simply expressing gratitude for what I do have my whole perspective changes. As a result, whenever someone asks me if it’s worth doing post-grad research I always answer positively. It is the best experience I’ve ever had and there is support and there is a community which rallies around you. Not to mention the freedom of researching and exploring the things that excite you and make you get out of bed on a Monday morning.
Fables for Small Children Grimy is Back in Business By Matthew Graham Grimy worked in a small studio, just off Ashen Crescent. It was a decrepit old place, full of dust and cobwebs. The cracked windows, barely allowed any light in due to a millennia of soot and grime. He was officially listed as an undertaker, though work lately was very scarce. Each day, at the crack of dawn, he would emerge from his bedchamber, hidden deep within the catacombs in the bowels of a wretched city and make the long trek up countless flights of natural sandstone stairs into his little studio, only to be greeted by its pungent musty smell and bare work benches. Each night, he would make the exact same journey in reverse, only to be greeted by a sleepless night in a cave of pure darkness. Grimy had many theories as to why the cities death toll was so stubbornly low and he would spend sleepless hours on his slab incubating schemes that never seemed to come to fruition. Not that they were particularly impractical, he just lacked the resolve to initiate them. Most of these schemes started with Grimy convincing the local Lord to go to war with a neighbouring city state. Probably over taxes, but the details were never very important. Nor well thought out. All that mattered were that these fantasies ended in the same manner; with Grimy standing stoically atop a pile of bodies, happy as a maggot in rotten flesh. One morning, feeling particularly lethargic, Grimy realised that it didn't much matter whether he opened his shop that day. So he lay on his slab, cursing and spitting at imaginary demons. After several hours and with a mouth as dry as sand and a throat as course as gravel, he came to the conclusion that he was being absurd and elected to go for a walk. To get a soy latte or something. It had been a great many years since Grimy had ventured into the outside world. Many more since he had done so for anything short of the necessity of his job. The day was hot and heavy. With his eyes downcast, staring at the cracks in his bare, bony feet, lest he meet the gaze of a condescending neighbour on his apathetic journey, he shuffled along, considering turning back with every leaden step until finally, he was at the foot of the stairs 16
to a local cafe, one of those trendy ones, with the incessantly changing menu on a blackboard, the old re-purposed furniture and no name. He bumbled up to the counter, feeling extremely self concious in his blood spattered robe. There was a sudden awkward silence from the usual cacophony of empty patter. Slowly, trembling, he asked for a drink, in an impossibly dry and raspy voice. The barista seemed to loom above him whilst the cafe shrank away in an effect commonly known as the dolly zoom. The barista thrust out a ham sized fist to collect his money. Grimy cautiously lent his scythe against the counter with a sharp clink as he reached for his coin purse. The other patrons, watching this exchange aghast and wide eyed. Grimys coin purse was overflowing with pennies, all taken from the eyes of his deceased clients. He jumbled around and found eight coins with scarcely any blood on them and placed them into the threatening fist. The barista wanted more. With an awkward thrusting jumble he threw another fistful of pennies onto the counter, each rolling around with a deafening rattle until settling into an unholy configuration. Grimy slowly backed away from the barista, creeping away from his accusing eyes and threatening posture. His robe caught the handle of his scythe and sent it smashing down on the mismatched tiles with an almighty clang. The sound of two thousand teacups falling and smashing could be heard, each and every patron oblivious to the broken china and boiling puddles in their laps. Embarrassed, Grimy slowly bent down and picked up his scythe. The air was thick with silence. Standing up but still submissively hunched over, he reached a thin, bony hand out and took his takeaway soy latte off the counter. He inched out the door. Backwards. A sea of eyes glad to see him go. There was a deafening silence as he exited. Outside, Grimy ran off down the street, scarlet and regretful. He should never have ventured out. He picks up speed, now at a gallop not caring when are where he goes. After a few autonomous yet somehow instinctual turns, he came upon the ocean. There was a neglected, rotten, wooden pier that bordered the ocean and stretched out into the horizon. Gulls laughed at him and threw steaming white projectiles. The salty sea breeze assaulted his face. It was like a sharp slap. His bony knuckles turned even whiter as he gripped his scythe tightly. He could feel his emotions bubbling inside him all convoluted and red. His scythe was twitching, it wanted to be unleashed. With an impossibly quick three strikes, the air around him was released from the gull overlords. He stared angrily down at his cardboard cup of froth. It was tightly crushed in his hand and vomiting out of the little drink hole. He cursed it, the cafe and its patrons before abruptly hurling it into the ocean. It exploded and bobbed on the surface where curious crustaceans came to inspect the damage. A hermit crab took the cup for a new home and several floating fungi got a huge lactose free caffeine hit. It didn't matter to Grimy that he had just wasted his drink, he had no digestive system anyway, much less a taste for soy lattes. Dejectedly, he scraped up to the edge of the pier and slumped down, his legs dangling into the air above the low tide. The angry outburst had somewhat calmed him. Reflective, he wondered, what on earth had possessed him to leave the comfort of his cave, especially on a day as hot and sunny as this. He lay back against the rotten timber planks and turned his face to the sky, hand on his scythe which laid neatly beside him. There were no clouds, 17
just a sickeningly blue sky. After a brief spell, in which Grimys turbulent thoughts churned enough to create butter, a shadow encroached on his space. It was a man. He was looking down at Grimy, hands on hips and eager for a sale. Grimy rolled away from him, onto his side and pulled his robe tight around his neck and assumed the foetal position. Maybe the man would disappear. Not at all repelled by Grimys cold shoulder, he offered to sell some trinkets. Some useless baubles with tacky decorations. Grimy didn't reply. He then offered to sell him some dresses, for a special lady friend or daughter. Grimy had neither of those, he pulled his hood over his head and gritted his teeth. He wished the man would leave him be. Finally, the purpose of the heckle became clear. A shiny trump, hidden between the layers of salesmanship. A tincture. A smelly liquid intended to ward off accidental death. It was called 'The Amazing Tincture That Wards Off Accidental Death Among Other Dastardly Ailments'. Grimy slowly stood up and stared into the man, rage burning deep within his empty sockets. The man grinned in response. Grimy was trembling with rage as he asked the man if it worked as advertised. The man chuckled. He guffawed. He broke out into fits of outrageous laughter, flailing his arms around like twin pieces of rubbery spaghetti. His brightly coloured silk shirt billowing in the breeze. The smell of Gin was unmistakable beneath the acrid sweat that rained from his flapping arms and squawking mouth. He was now spinning around in circles, screaming at the sky. “Of course it works as intended” the man trilled whilst doing back flips. “In fact, I don't think there has been a single accidental death or other dastardly ailment in this town since I started selling it.” He skipped around in a circle, whistling a merry tune and stood on his head. He spun in circles faster and faster. The cobblestones and boat houses becoming a blur. His ultraviolet silks whipping up the wind, the gulls cawing and pecking at Grimys shoulders, the doppler streaks of colour, the red pricks of laughter, the cartwheels and bugle, the smacking lips, the trumpets, the tincture, the scythe, the gritted teeth, the humming, the screaming, the back flipping, the splitting, the slicing, the tearing, the screaming, the splattering and the falling and the dribbling and the groaning. The slowing and the stopping and finally, the death. Grimy was panting, the eruption of blood was slowly pooling in his empty eye sockets and dribbling down his chin. He calmly bent over and ripped the empty bottle of tincture from the mans bloody hand and casually threw it into the ocean. Searching the clingy silk garments, Grimy procured a couple of pennies which he placed over the mans open eyes. His mouth was twisted into a grotesque scream. Grimy grinned as he hoisted his dripping scythe over his shoulders and grabbed the man by the ankles. In fact, he grinned the whole time as he dragged the cadaver all the way back to his little studio, hoisted him onto a bench and went about starting the embalming procedure. He was back in business. The End.
Posters of the Past
Poster by Susannah Jack Please note the event this poster advertises has already passed 19
STUDIO LA PRIMITIVE ARTS ZINE On the 1st October 2013 we launched the first issue of Studio La Primitive Arts Zine, via email and online at www.issuu.com web site. The Arts Zine features artistsâ€™ interviews - a glimpse into the artistsâ€™ world, to gain an insight into how their creative concepts evolve; exhibitions, art related articles, essays, poetry and art news. It is very exciting what the future of the Arts Zine could lead to, as a voice for the artists - not only from the Hunter Region NSW, but nationally and internationally. The Zine is free, with no advertising from sponsors. It is just something we want to do for the Arts, which has been our life long passion. Already we are having a splendid response with many artists, writers and philosophers happy to contribute articles and exhibition news. Hopefully we will have your art works and words to print in future editions. It is important to have your work seen by a big audience, and the first issue had over 1000 viewers and has kept growing. Please email to the address below if you would like to be on our mailing list to receive the direct link for future issues of Studio La Primitive Arts Zine. The Arts Zine may also be viewed on Face Book and LinkedIn. Let us know about your forthcoming exhibitions, art events or creative essays and poetry. Regards - your Editor Robyn Werkhoven Co-editor Eric Werkhoven Email: email@example.com 20
Just a Little bit Extra — ’Cause there hasn’t been enough. Long time café poet –in-residence at Sprocket and frequent hurler Mark Liston is about to move to Tasmania. To say goodbye, here is his poem The French bus driver
The French bus driver
A final cigarette is flung and the door opens. One step up he sips coffee from a polystyrene cup two steps up he sweeps black hair from black eyes black coat open on a white shirt St Christopher medal dangles stands and glances to us talks with the voice of the smoke of a Paris autumn morning ‘We are leaving now’. Ringless fingers clipped fingernails wrap around a leather steering wheel he slides into his seat the women watch with eyes like butter on a warm croissant he crunches impatient gears in need of oil and love and drives on the right side of the Rue de Departure then slices narrowing lanes dodges pedestrians with periscope baguettes proud swords of Parisian independence he adjusts rear vision mirrors to block his back finds an English speaking radio playing Piaf dodges the holes in the tired back streets and tunnels like the clogged arteries of a two packet a day smoker exits Paris past squashed squares jutted jackets of cars parked like cheap suits in small shops below apartments notapart grey sky falling onto the roof of pigeon poo and closed windows coffee finished traffic thinned northern suburbs nudging our nods for trees or grass or air you can’t smell the past in he pulls to the kerb holds a cigarette at the door and remarks with the Parisian curl of vowels and punished consonants ‘Arve is appy to leave but ‘appier when ‘e returns’. He is short and strong like the straight black from the tiny cups of her cafes the women sip on his words of lingering mystery around the teeth of their trip. ‘There was Marie en Belgique, alas maintenant?’ he shrugs shoulders a bus seat wide and we all lick the last of the froth from our lips and wonder how many Maries there are in waiting for him in Paris.
Submit your poetry, prose, art, photos, love letters to the Word Hurl Anti-slam Newsletter! This newsletter goes to the junk mail folders of over two hundred email addresses. So get into the spirit of 21st century non-copyrighted, free for all, mass sharing, uncensored creativity! The editor is completely undiscerning and has not turned down a single submission yet! Help me out people. Special Note: The editor is calling a hiatus on Word Hurl after the December Anti-Slam. The next newsletter will appear some time in January. But thatâ€™s no reason not to send something in!
Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org 22
OTHER NEWS & Events If you’re interested in more poetry performances check out Poetry at the Pub every third and fifth Monday of each month at a brand new venue, The Wickham Hotel 61 Maitland Rd Islington NSW 2296 from 7:30pm www.poetryatthepub.com/ Their recently launched anthology Palaces of Reflections is available now for $10
Another good resource for local writers is the Hunter Writers Centre www.hunterwriterscentre.com/
Club Sandwich is a poetry based variety show held at the Royal Exchange on the first Friday of every month (usually the night after Word Hurls!) royalexchangenewcastle.com.au
If you’re one of those cats who is all up with smart-gadgetry, the Word Hurl newsletter is now hosted on issuu. This website turns pdfs into a format that is very easy to browse with a touchscreen. So check it out! http://issuu.com/ and search for ‘Word Hurl’
http://unevenfloorpoetry.blogspot.com.au/ http://alivepoetssociety.wordpress.com/ http://www.australianpoetry.org/ http://www.australianpoetryslam.com/ Newcastle Mirage is a free zine that is popping up in cafes all over Newcastle. It is dedicated to promoting all kinds of creative activity in our fair city. If you’d like to know more do the facebook thing: https://www.facebook.com/ NewcastleMirage/ or their website: http://newcastlemirage.com/
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