Poem —

To solve the contradictions, our dear founding fathers

laid before our beloved

We need to form the correct frequency

of Codeine Fire Waves

They kill the resisting black-fellas,

shooting their tongues off in

a wild maelstrom of bullets and muffled screams.

Mother superior is here to claim you for your own good

dear little children, no need to chase the fence!

Form the little bastards up from birth

with early routines and gunpoint rituals

Bellow the streets go to

the high-rise pollution towers onto Montgomery street

Leave the elders to understand

the ways of land once theirs,

in a dead city of horror folk

Oh to be moral and mortal!

We still have you by the hair

Oh to be young and Immoral!

Poem — Writing on an Empty Stomach

Why do I always write poetry

On an empty stomach? I type away

Always lost, never found

But typing away, on little time

I stare back at myself, at a screen

blanked by what I thought I would seem

 

I thought the world made sense when

you wrote it all down on a page

But it turns around and it slaps you

like a stupid and bitterly old sage

 

A lover will always quarrel

When they see you write

It does nothing ever more

that convince them: they are never right

 

I thought that anger taught writers

to harness what float in their minds

It was too complicated though, we are but fighters

 

Of sin and hate we learn to speak

But then turn it into lovely speech

And afterwards, our minds are not as bleak.

 

 

 

 

Article — Bedevil: Australia’s Forgotten Cinematic Treasure

Australian cinema has been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride for quite some time. Aside from the odd critical success stories, such as Picnic At Hanging Rock (1975) or Ten Canoes (2006), Australian cinema has never been as beloved, nor taken as seriously, as films from other countries; mostly because of the success of those fantastically outrageous ‘Ozploitation’ (that wondrous period in Australian film filled with boobs, bobs and excessive violence) movies which, aside from perhaps Mad Max (1979) have being treated as simple and cheap entertainment.

And with all of the great Australian films that have and will no doubt continue to be made, there is one which, for one reason or another, has being denied its appropriate place in Australian film history. This is a film that is one of the finest cinematic achievements the country has ever produced. It is a film from 1993 called Bedevil.

This film is a miracle in its mere existence. It is directed by renowned indigenous artist, Tracey Moffatt, who is one of the most unique Australian artists working in the scene today and who also created the brilliant short film Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy (1990), which showed her keen sense for the cinematic. In Night Cries she creates an environment in which an aboriginal orphan has to take care of her dying, rich and white foster parent: feeding her, clothing her, bathing her, and regularly taking her to the outhouse. Despite this simple story, its brief ten minute running time is laden with breathtaking artificiality, using studio sets and exaggerated lighting to create a deeply troubling environment which is often quite disturbing to witness.

The film is about an anthology of  Australian based horror horror stories, starring some brilliant Australian actors such as the immortal Jack Charles recounting his tale of his childhood and of the ghost of an american soldier who drowned in quicksand. Lex Marinos playing a sympathetic yet still patronising landlord, and even Tracey Moffat herself playing as Ruby; a woman whose house is bewitched by the lost souls of the nearby train tracks.

This film was shown at Cannes Film Festival 1993 and won numerous awards, and Moffatt was celebrated immensely overseas, but forgotten and ignored here in her home country. So in 1992, she set about to produce her first (and so far only) feature film: Bedevil. In the film she creates the same sense of unease and cultural displacement which was featured in Night Cries and expands on it tenfold. Where Night Cries was more of an experimental horror film, Bedevil follows a much more digestible but by no means lesser creation of immense power and fortitude.

The images Moffatt uses within the film, blending intense artificiality with subtle touches of naturalism, to create one of the most unique, beautiful, weirdest, and most challenging of films that Australian cinema has ever seen. The film sparks with glorious beauty and sparkling originality. But why is it barely even seen by the general Australian public, much less celebrated?

The film’s historical significance within both feminist and indigenous circles already makes it go without saying. The fact that it is the very first movie made by an indigenous woman is an amazing achievement, but the fact it took until 1993 for an indigenous director to get international recognition is outrageous. It is strange that she faced so much resistance in making the film is also something that our film industry (being mostly controlled by straight white men) is almost sickening.

Aesthetically, it is most ingenious. The only other film directors that can come close to her style are British film makers Ken Russell (The Devils, 1971) and Derek Jarman (Caravaggio, 1986). She has created a style and a voice that is uniquely her own, and it is an absolute joy to watch her work unfold on screen.

Bedevil is a film that should be considered a national treasure. Moffatt’s worth to the Australian filmmaking scene is unparalleled in our cinema’s history. The fact that her films are slowly disappearing into obscurity is insulting, and she is one of the most unique and talented artistic voices working in the scene today.

When most well-known Australian cinema is being created by great European directors (Werner Herzog’s Where the Green Ants Dream (1984) and Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout (1971) for example, which are brilliant) or white males telling the stories of aboriginal people (Rolf De Heer’s The Tracker (2002) or Peter Weir’s The Last Wave (1977), which are both fantastic), it is more important than ever that Moffatt, as well as that of other aboriginal artists, be recognised and allowed to flourish. It is more important than ever to celebrate and cherish the work created by artists and filmmakers like Moffatt and that we protect them at all costs.

Currently it costs $80 to buy a DVD copy of Bedevil but it costs $5.50 on Vimeo, which I will provide the link for. Either way it is worth every single penny. https://vimeo.com/ondemand/bedevil

Poem — November 15th, 2017

Today, my best friend told me

that he would be my best man

When me and my love would be free

Where we would not be less than

All others who came before

When the veils of love blossomed.

 

And like a sunrise singing

we danced into the streets, the rain

glistening with our hot sweat and tears

in that tropical heat we were beautiful

regardless of who said what

And the band played with a rainbow flag.

 

We danced into the rain

Our bodies bared, our love now judged

Our country left us naked to judgement

But we won a small victory today

Less it be, a country who preferred our pain.

 

Though here we were, here to stay

Our flags waved proud clear to see

Our bodies ready to love once again

A country that was ready to forget us

And through destiny’s eyes now singing.

 

To our lost brothers and sisters

Who never loved the one they wished

or married in a lovers bliss

We love and drink to you as resistors

of anger and hatred, lover’s fighters.

 

You are in our heart’s, however much

it hurts to talk, about the young lovers

Now lost to ignorant hate, we drink to you

Our brothers and sisters lost

Lost to the sorrow of hatreds prime.

Poem — No Man Was Ever Lost To Laughter

No man was ever lost to laughter

Tears perhaps would properly find him

When the whiskey dipped it’s tail

into his eyes, gently coiling his memories.

Though memory would find that laughter

Calling him through a misted visage

Telling him what was better than

What he was seeing with his beloved drinkers

Drinking quicker than the memory would catch

To the good will of others of those he would not trust

But all was well the day after his acidic crown

Disappered into his lost mirror self, dancing

Still in the memory of the drunken angels

Of his laughter and his weeping.

Poem — To Whom the Night Belongs

Out there, where the grassy knolls die

There is a fire that act’s like sand,

Whirling as if devils of dust, clouding the sky

With no end in site, the salt flattens the mainland

And the earth is left scorched with whats left of life

Held together with skies blue, greyed by southerly wind

And yet here you stay, with a hut older than you

In a body burned by the highest sun to see

Your skin cut and bruised with it’s knife,

A life no longer lived without an eye blind

To what you and all of you sinners do

To a land that was birthplace of thee

This land was born of you, not of who you were

And yet, you are still forced to suffer,

with guns and shackles to your head and neck.

Poem — To A Cistern

What was taught to me, from babe to newly-born

From the cool ceilings of godly houses and holy men

Was the singing of praises to a thought wired

Told to me through golden, gilded pathways

That separated love from hunger and praise to damning

And lost the graves of braver women and men, who never

lost the greater half of what was human;

Who taught themselves night and day

and never any difference despite the

fire of their burning souls and screaming

for reason in that godly house

where none was ever seen