by Daniel Stephensen


Transtemporal heart tremor

the sour, dolorous nest:

fed to un-

by code rod, by
acid face, by breakdown.

A Castle of Books

In Thistle magazine’s autumn ‘Solitude’ issue – availble now

Lex Cutamora shepherded this series to publication. I love her photography and a poem accompanied by her photographs was recently published in Homework Magazine.

Buy a copy of Thistle's 'Solitude' issue:

The SOLITUDE Issue features interviews with illustrator Cristina Barsony, artist Ambivalently Yours, filmmaker Tara Violet Niami, and fashion label Ouur. It showcases the artwork of Edward Hopper, the mysterious draw of Moon Jars, and the lonely lives of lighthouse keepers. Arianna Lang makes her poetry debut with her collection “Sentimentalization.”

Tuesday September 30, 2014


Little Grasshopper Circus Bikes

S.T. McCarthy used to be on tumblr. I met him, he’s Australian, he lives on the Gold Coast, close enough to paradise. I met him a couple of times down here in the south. Last time we spent six hours together drinking and dining and talking life and literature and baseball. He’s a dear friend. He’s a fabulous poet. Here’s his first collection:

Little Grasshopper Circus Bikes

That’s a book which costs $9.99 United States dollars.

Says McCarthy:

The style is free verse and abstract, with influences stemming from the likes of Lorca, Bukowski, Blake and Rimbaud.

I tell you, McCarthy has poetry with him – it walks around with him, a second McCarthy, you can just about see it – but it’s not quite, not quite here yet, not quite… Poetry needs McCarthy to bring it over, so poetry goes with him – and they talk about what we talk about:

your eyes, her eyes
unbearable sweetness, measured comments
and, most of all, an unease
without which
there can be nothing
at all.

Whatever McCarthy puts into the shape of a poem can’t be put into any other shape. And I don’t mean anything grandiose by that – just that what comes through him to be written has to be the way it is.

I’m late to this plea:

Do yourselves a favour and grab a copy of Little Grasshopper Circus BikesYou won’t be sorry. McCarthy has it with him:

Into the game of poetry we go, all goggle-eyed and shot through like a wounded heart, gangly legged, cycling knees high, destined to shortly fall off the ride. Insects of infinity. Tumbling. Seeking the monstrous beauty — the circus of Truth. By our very nature we are reminiscent of everything else. Timeless…

And Shiver You All The Shapes

Anguish written by someone else in MY hand,
​One of MY script variations from MY head –

Handscript of someONE else of an Other make
​Observed by No-one I perceived, overseen

By what Expression of MY eyes – who could say?
​Elephant, Medusa – Days left to vacate –

HERE I have mapped my illicit copies –
​And shiver you all the shapes of who you’ve been.

And Now I Knelt To The Corpulent Archangels

And now I knelt to the corpulent archangels FEAR and VERTIGO. Polychronology became my last religion, and I was distressed in it, and forgotten until I were visions. And now we filled with bodies. We called out the Word. I was a student of the mutterings of God, Who ever in Its anguish is most self-incurred. I was a student of Its everlasting loss. And clouds came to cry to our tireless FEAR. Unmade to ragbones we racked ourselves still tighter, and strained to hear the voices which spoke inside me: I have found you unanswered in the midst of life! There came a rainbow. It left a sick, sour tang. And FEAR gave way to VERTIGO, overbrimmed as a blank head mashed, blow by blow, into a face. I was a student of the nausea of skin. In my faith I was hot and direct as venom. I became a margin of error. Transcendence was finance for visions and madnesses – of God: I was a student of Its everlasting lens, the perfect and directionless: It stared Itself.

S’ain’t Christop’er

It’s no use thinking you could get there. You can’t.
I sure as hell can’t. You might conceive of it –

That’s all. It spread out like a soup-can moon pool,
And I looked over to it – tried to see it –
But it’s never been there. Just the thought of it.

Not to say it’s gone – it’s always never there,
Never always there; just the concept, right there,
The never of it. Like love. Utopia.
‘What do you think love is?’ the silence asked me.
I would have said, ‘Faces beat of all their spark,’
And laughed. I don’t believe it. I don’t believe
A god-damned thing I ever said. It had rained,
And the soup-can filled up with water, not fast,
It had rained for a good long while before that,
For as long as it takes to call it A Good
Long While. I had a different keepsake, those days.

The soup-can rained up with water, floating night,
Moon pool, and a mirror of the universe –

Come on in, Love, and bang me out a nightcap!
Inside this girl a soul dangled in a charm.
I knew her A Good Long While. She used to be –

I knew her, one time she was A Poet’s Girl,
He brought her odes and Ballantine and flowers.
‘What do you think love is,’ she told him one time,
She was reading him a poeming of hers:
What do you think love is in the hush of night?
What do you think when you wake in cold stillness?
‘You keep this for me,’ she said, and gave it me;
It was long gone when the soup-can filled with moon –
She was reading him a poeming she wrote:
Mirror of the universe, her kitten-thought –
The thought of getting all that way! She held it.

In our future, she told me: I want to be –
‘S’ain’t Christop’er!’ he croaked out. ‘S’ain’t Christop’er!’

Order Is That You Answer

When I was a decoy I tracked them, blood fakes,
​I tracked them and did my duty – I stopped them
​And asked the question dictated by language:
​Order is that you answer, in the name of –​

And they wailed with fear: We are still human!
​I made my notes. A hundred decoys to mark.
​A hundred today, tomorrow four hundred
​In four hours! I kept book, a hidden list
​Written out in our handscript of unknowing –

But knowing mouths besieged me​, a blame torus,
​And high on their loathsome, halitotic hill,
​Hauling women stuffed with concrete and lockjawed,
​Force-fed manna from medicated phallae,
​Came the parade bier God Of Machine Death

Glorious nation! Fire up your flag poles!
​Swiftly I went to ground. I was a decoy.
​Soon I returned to carry on with my work:
​Order is that you answer, in the name of –
​I kept my book. A thousand decoys to wake.

​A thousand today, ten thousand tomorrow.
​Decoys bubbling in deified sump holes.
​We were still human, written in unknowing,
​Marked out on the other plane of nature’s tongue.

L’avenir, c’est le présent bien vu.


The future is the present seen clearly.

— Ballanche

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