Pascalle Burton


(answering the Proust Questionnaire via movie roles played by Judy Davis)

Still I am content. I’ve seen you at last. And I am delighted to find you’re not a man at all. ★ It’s how I always feared it would happen. The devil doesn’t carry a gun, Welch. It carries fast food, cheap appliances and bad television! ★ I’ve become the person I’ve always hated, but I’m happier. ★ I don’t understand people inviting guests and not treating them properly. ★ My mother and father. ★ I make no apology for being egotistical because I am. ★ I’m in this restaurant, and the waiter brings me my entree. It was a salad. It was Lloyd’s head on a plate of spinach with his penis sticking out of his ear. And I said, ‘I didn’t order this.’ And the waiter said, ‘Oh you must try it, it’s a delicacy. But don’t eat the penis, it’s just garnish.’ ★ The big question is, how do we define charity? ★ Look, it’s really just a formula. You don’t have to type your soul into it. We’ll invent some names and a new setting. I’ll help you and it won’t take any time at all. I did it for Bill so many times. ★ I think ugly girls should be strangled at birth by their parents. It’s bad enough being born a girl… but being born ugly and clever… ★ We’re not supposed to eat in Mummy’s car. ★ Men! You’re not fit to be men! Morons! Idiots! ★ When a woman gets to this age, it’s a different ball game. Don’t defend your sex! It’s true! It’s great till you start to show your age, then they want a newer model. ★ Love, it’s so vast. It’s difficult to imagine how one can achieve it. ★ You schmuck, you bastard. I’d like to cut your fuckin’ head off. ★ Could I please have a minute before I reply to that, Mr McBryde? ★ I was pregnant with Jesse then. We lived in the most wonderful one-bedroom apartment. You see Lloyd never took any money from his family then. I found that so attractive. ★ I’m on bug powder. I don’t have to come. ★ Je suis une catastrophe. ★ Give me a chance to find out what’s wrong with the world, and with me. Who I am. Everything. ★ Because the dead don’t live again. ★ God, that’s a good question. Where do I live? Sydney, I think. I live in Sydney when I have to and when I don’t have to, I travel. ★ The ashtray. ★ Our barren childhood. Our barren life. ★ I want to be a writer. At least I’m going to try. But I’ve got to do it now, and I’ve got to do it alone. ★ I’ve written ‘get fucked’ all over my tits. Do you think that’ll turn them on? ★ I want to tell everyone about my own people, how I love them and pity them. Pity all of us. ★ It’s a Kafka high. You feel like a bug. ★ Yes! It’s like Hamlet and Oedipus. You were angry because I did what you really want to do. ★ What you’re wearing on your heads are called Lucia wreaths, worn in honour of Saint Lucia, a brave and noble woman I admire very much. A woman whose beliefs were so strong, they rendered her inflammable. ★ All your life you’ll hear a lot of things about important people and some of them will be true and some of them will not. ★ Michael was a hedgehog and Jack was a fox. And then I thought Judy was a fox and Gabe was a hedgehog. And I thought about all the people I knew and which were hedgehogs and which were foxes. Al Simon, a friend, was a hedgehog. His wife, Jenny, was a hedgehog. And Cindy Salkind was a fox. And Lou Patrino was a hedgehog. ★ I truly dislike that chair. ★ Ooh, are we referring to my little Bunny period? ★ Audrey lies facing away on her side of the bed, half covered by a blanket. ★ The sun is shining, another day, and hope is whispering in my ear.


Impromptu (James Lapine, 1991), Children of the Revolution (Peter Duncan, 1996), Celebrity (Woody Allen, 1998), A Passage to India (David Lean, 1984), Husbands and Wives (Woody Allen, 1992), My Brilliant Career (Gillian Armstrong, 1979), The Ref (Ted Demme, 1994), Georgia (Ben Lewin, 1988), Barton Fink (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, 1991), The Eye of the Storm (Fred Schepisi, 2011), Deconstructing Harry (Woody Allen, 1997), High Tide (Gillian Armstrong, 1987), Blood and Wine (Bob Rafelson, 1996), Naked Lunch (David Cronenberg, 1991), Dark Blood (George Sluizer, 2013).


(an internet performance of Paul Celan’s Speech-Grille)

lack of sleep can cause fluid to build

infrared film and blaring flash
Kōun o
bamboo screens to conceal and enhance

room spinning ringing gets pulled inward
narrows the arteries to your heart

I thought you were telling people to stick a fork in an outlet and I was gonna yell at you
it wasn’t an even fight, we were in a battle

the further south and east, the higher the Yes vote, the further north and west, the higher the No
When U see an illusion everywhere U look

(Tsaved tanem. Let me take away your pain.
never before seen dimensions of disaster
high luxury, high-powered violence
around the roots of a tree.)

I’m looking to re-do the floors on my ‘lanai’ (enclosed balcony) in my third-floor condo
the butter makes its way to the table because I removed it from the fridge
is the joke on the audience:
symptoms include
the mere fact of being born.

Sources by line order

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  2. Benson, L 2020, ‘The Photobooks Channelling the Spirit of the Night’, Elephant,
  3. Google search for ‘good luck’ in Japanese,
  4. Nichols, S 2019, ‘An oral history of the Waterloo scene in ​‘Muriel’s Wedding’’, The Face,
  5. 2019, ‘By the way, doctor: Plugged-up feeling in an ear’, Harvard Health Publishing,
  6. Smoking Causes Heart Disease,,%20heart%20disease.jpg
  7. u/icecreamcake15 2016, ‘LPT: Fix bent electronic plugs with a fork if you don’t have pliers.’, Reddit LifeProTips,
  8. Kachor, K 2020, ‘‘This time round it just wasn’t an even fight, we were in a battle’’, 9 News,
  9. Green, A 2018, ‘Daylight Saving Referendum in Queensland?’, ABC News,
  10. ‘Prince – Freaks on This Side Lyrics’, MetroLyrics,
  11. Pogosyan, M 2016, ‘Understanding Others: What is behind the brain’s ability to empathize?’, Psychology Today,
  12. Regan, H and Yeung, J 2020, ‘Tens of thousands protest Australian PM’s climate policies amid bushfire crisis’, CNN,
  13. Jacobs, S 2016, ‘Incredible photos give a totally unexpected perspective into how the 1% lives’, Business Insider Australia,
  14. Tout-Smith, D, ‘Gold Nugget ‘Welcome Stranger’ (1869)’, Museums Victoria Collections,
  15. carrienations 2016, ‘How to get floors like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater?’, houzz,
  16. Oakes, K 2020, In the quantum realm, cause doesn’t necessarily come before effect, NewScientist,
  17. Welby, A, ‘Puddles: Pity Party’, beat,
  18. AAP 2020, ‘Two more measles cases in Sydney’, Sydney Morning Herald,
  19. ‘John Cage (1912-1992)’, UbuWeb: Sound,

Pascalle Burton is an Australian experimental poet and performer with an interest in conceptual art and cultural theory. Her collection About the Author is Dead is available through Cordite Books and was shortlisted for the 2019 Mary Gilmore Award for best first book of poetry.

< Jake Goetz

Michael Farrell >

By Pascalle Burton

is an Australian experimental poet and performer with an interest in conceptual art and cultural theory. Her collection About the Author is Dead is available through Cordite Books and was shortlisted for the 2019 Mary Gilmore Award for best first book of poetry.