Michael Farrell


Come on old kidney old string old green
You’re not at the moment of conception
Father withdrawing and mother too close
Remember colonisation raking it all in
With shit popup coffee for the tall ships
No one could tell the difference then
Especially not poor sailors from Lancaster
Or wherever fled from in the Dordogne
That little phrase comes from the Bible
The one spouted in all the Greek books
There was a sprig of parsley on the lintel
A grain of rehabilitation for the chooks
Yet the Bible had stolen it backwards
From a later translator of name unknown
Who perhaps never went out of England
We do the same when we read the classics
Occasionally inserting a red bush fly


Down at the frog pond someone was imitating the frogs faithfully. Why were they doing that? Did they want to piss off the authorities? Day after day, night after night: quiet when the frogs were just breathing, loud when the frogs were singing. They must have known they were looking for trouble. No one wants to know what the frogs are singing. No one wants to know that frogs even exist. The frog-imitator was eventually arrested and put in prison. They were accused of making fun of the State, of disrespecting Discourse, and all manner of things that brought a life sentence if not death. Actors were brought in to rave and say crazy rubbish, as if they were reading from the accused’s diary. When the frogs came to testify that the imitation was not at all accurate, that even they couldn’t understand it, they were shouted down in the courtroom. The judge screamed—whether on their own behalf, or as a representative of the court—and therefore the State—they want to kill me! Which is a pretty gameowning rebuff to any play by a defendant, when it comes from the judge anyway. Then Stalin had the pond drained

Mary Visits Elizabeth In Melbourne

It’s Mary’s hometown but she’s the one who visits
Had your coffee yet Elizabeth asks her no she says
Have a double espresso on me then Elizabeth yells
She gestures towards the machine in her hotel room
Did you ride here M what kind of lock do you have?
It’s fine it’s not Florida no more like Reno Nevada
Elizabeth there’s a reason I’m not drinking coffee
Mary a woman of the people bucks local tradition!
When Mary was younger she thought Elizabeth wise
As an adult Mary realises that her cousin is a prat
Great view you can almost see my studio from here
And there’s the now infamous St Patrick’s Cathedral
So have you been painting have you got any shows?
I’m taking time off from the art scene Liz Mary says
Oh I’m writing a book on Damien Hirst as you know
I’m calling it The Dreck from Ootchie-Kootchie-Koo
That sounds more like Jeff Koons to me sighed Mary
So tell me about your coffee cold turkey I’m all ears
Guess your pores are abuzz your tummy a carousel?

Michael Farrell lives in Melbourne. His books include Family Trees (Giramondo, 2020) and the edited Australian tribute, Ashbery Mode (TinFish, 2019).

< Pascalle Burton

Judy Annear >

By Michael Farrell

lives in Melbourne. His books include Family Trees (Giramondo, 2020) and the edited Australian tribute, Ashbery Mode (TinFish, 2019).