Liam Ferney

Liam Ferney is a Brisbane poet whose work has been published in Australia, New Zealand and North America. His first collection, Popular Mechanics, was published in 2004. It’s follow up the french word for ‘voyage’ should eventually be raised from the depths of the Marianas Trench sometime around 2010.



       for Paul

all those flat whites & what was the name?
       shopping for bargain bin westerns
       after the donuts

while the day kept it’s blistering silence
like the coal station at black diamond bay
       given as a gift to the jungle.

with no where to go i drink beer with fish
& banished cheap music but
       i remember you making machiatos  
where the cats played sax

before you shopped for kalashnikovs,
gunja by the kilo
            at a 3rd world truck stop.

                   they were beautiful days
tables adorned with tulips and skulls
where renegades retired

       & we are ready to assume
the poise of our generation.
common music betrayed by static,
            the treachery of an fm ocean.


Iron Lion Scion

As abandoned as drive-in’s, tracer fire
no longer fireworkflecks the six o’clock news

and the friends he made in Barcelona
have all upped stumps, migrated to Angola.

So he spends lunch hour’s lolling at the lights,
the cavalcade of unspecific grooming,

a crimped starter at the boom where we all go bust,
melting figurines of Posh and Becks

puddling on the high table, the slow waltz
with the sticky palms and dystrophic hearts.

You’ve cancelled your appointments
but there’s no point apportioning blame

on the circus tent revivalists preaching at the riverbank
or a hedge fund backed Buddhist retreats.

The aficionados swear by the tune in the tumult
a detached viola, adagio on the kitchen radio.

That’s how Black Tuesday sounds on a website,
there were warnings but they were polite

and for once the phoney doctors are right:
“Coin is clarity, that much is bankable,”

(you’re holding it long until the ever after)
“call our hotline,” that’s what they say

coming down off the millennium
        like a bad pill on a good day.


some nights the heat

Coming home
I read the alleyways
like Toohey Forest tracks.
The night is over tropical,
silences and shuffling,
television antennas
and fake iced tea.
Kept awake
by Kinsella’s
anthology aliens
the earth’s thermostat cranks
and I smoke This Plus™
at the top of the stairs.
My accent gets smudged
like important digits
penciled on an ATM receipt
dishwashed against the coins
in your wallet.
Watching the scuffling
drunks at the end
of the street
it’s as though I’m the big prize
on the crooked game show
destined never to go off.
I learned surrealism
from travelling exhibitions
then did my best to forget it
hoping I could come off
easy and casual
like terry towelling hats
or cold beer.


The brave and the free

These are not good days with the Gipper still on TV,
the Kool-Aid sins of the brand new colony;
when the truth is too grotesque to grasp
all we’ve left is a remembrance of things fast.
While the lights go out on Melbourne’s plains
our best friends have all assumed new names.
The things in your cupboard you no longer trust
the graduate scheme analysts are nonplussed.
And like any goomba I’ll extract my vig,
endure the torment when they breach the brig.
It seems like yesterday that Bopper, Bamba and Holly:
the asthmatic engine, the wheeze of Buddy’s Folly.