Michael Farrell

0Michael Farrell is the former editor of Xmas poetry zine, elves. His new book is open sesame (Giramondo) which was shortlisted in the Kenneth Slessor Prize; Michael also has a new e-book from Black Rider enjambment sisters present.



A Romantic Woman

Has sewn a bauble on her dress tonight
She thinks about the relation between
natural and artificial light as
she drives through the evening in a taxi
Doubt becomes her. If she were Catholic she
assumes she would’ve toyed with bishops …

agnostic it’s jackaroos that keep her
reading colonial fiction. Danielle
loves being twenty-nine (the pathos of
it) and dreams of an earlier name like
Muriel or Jean. She smooths the violet
sash her mother would say meant ‘die single
The country can be harsh like that. Next year
she might become a novelist, but for
now she’s happy with the magazine world
the hair and makeup boys, donuts on Fridays
She met someone online recently who
carves his own chess pieces and has a sandy
fringe, and she’ll meet Liam in the flesh tonight
Warm and soft, she said to herself warm …

soft. The night is floating with stuff: maybe
organic, but she thinks wearing a veil’s
underrated. I can’t wear a taxi
everywhere, she jokes to the driver who
doesn’t understand why not. Danielle thinks …

her friends, their brutal ways with men and how
successful such ways are. Men are afraid
she isn’t strong: yet she’s been known to eat
tuna from a can (to the right music
They don’t know what it takes to be her! She
wouldn’t be an editor for long …

Magazines were arcades for Danielle, not
stylish training manuals. Cigarettes
or insanity she would quip (before
she quit). Her therapist said she had …
Cinderella complex but Danielle – in
a rare fiery moment – retorted …

you have complexomania! Whereas
she was a deer of the forest …

Harriet Shelley without the river
bit, or the kids. Really, her mind was drifting

into inanity. The Melbourne traffic
wasn’t like a forest; she could surely
find better role models if she needed
them. She would never make anything happen
Danielle imagined Liam was probably
one of those soft, toilet-paper roll kinds …

guys with razor blades attached to the last
sheet. They love you until then. I have …
date with a bottle of gin, she thought …

a man on the side: a moment to cherish
cherish, cherish. She noticed that the clasp
on her handbag resembled a creature
with an unusual nose. She began
to conceive of a feature …

underrated beauty. She sat in the taxi
outside the party with the metre running
scribbling in her notebook while the humming
driver played a samba on the steering-wheel 


Blue Cat Repository

Of everything that goes on in this
small room that is the house. Every feeling
evokes or colours me. Other cats mime
monitors, or speakers. Bread’s being sliced
jam’s being spread. I’m in your lap …

I’m purring. I’m outrageously fluffy
The TV’s on. The emu eggs hang from
the wall. Today I caught a mouse. A lie …

fire burns, the kettle boils. There are stock
anecdotes; there are street anecdotes. There’s
extended family slander, swearing, shushing
Someone’s melting their kidneys, someone’s fleeing
from the room crying. If you listen

you build up a picture of a culture
a kind of play with endless exits …

comebacks. I listen. There are leghorn
chooks pecking at the doorway, there’s …

ineffectual dog, barking …

shaking hands. Someone’s going to get
corn, someone’s getting a boiled lolly or
a hard coin pressed into their palm. Attempts to
reroute the conversation are shouted
down. Margarine’s tolerated. Cake

vanishes. Who has indigestion
Who wants a pink milk drink? Our usually
empty, calm domain has become a place of
noise and tussle. There’s no respect for cat
beds or cat bowls. But I’m not fooled

… distracted: there are determinations
being made. I’m a bank and a banker
I’ve watched card games played on quieter days. Quieter
trades of emotion are made then. I
remember watching a queen fight with

a general. They were lovers. I
was like a weather vane. Lightning struck them
both and they smouldered in cold gold corners while
servants picked up bugs with ancient tweezers. They
would stand on the balcony and throw

cherries at the pigs, who barely cared
No one thought cherries food there or then
certainly not me. Yet here, now, they fight for
a slice of anything with a cherry
in or on it. They sing about them

as if cherries constitute a world