Category Archives: Gigs

CALL BACK POET     –    September 2014





Bed of Nails

I thought I read you well

Foresaw our future

in a teacup

Woke up to the rain

I had my head in the clouds

tripping on treetops

I wanted to cut off

your wings

Set fire to the sky

But I always knew

you would defy gravity

and rise like a Phoenix

I could never hold

you down for long

Pull you into my bed of nails

I have a desert

in the pit of my stomach

A sandstorm in my eyes

Memories mixing

with regret

No reservoir of comfort

Just another casualty

M.Shanti 2013



Shanti or M.Shanti, which her close friends know is short for Michelle and which they also know never to call her, came to poetry late.  After being introduced to it through her brother Francis, in 2000.  Who at the time was on the QPF board and involved in the Brisbane poetry scene.  After attending SpeedPoets, as an audience member for several years, from it’s inception, Shanti became so saturated by poetry, it entered into her blood stream.  The natural progression then was to start writing and reading her own poems.  Shanti has been attending SpeedPoets ever since, except for the occasions when work has got in the way.  Shanti has read at a variety of other poetry gigs but SpeedPoets will always be her favorite.

(For my Dad)

She sews on diamonds
to hide the scars
Hums a melody
to void the silence
Dreams of dancing
in the streets of Paris
And the clock ticks on
sunlight falls
across the floor
And in the shadows
she sees the faces
of friends long gone
She plants sunflowers
to light her memories
Lies down amongst the roses
to feel the rip of thorns
And the comfort of the earth
surrounding her body
Safe in the knowledge
that one day soon she will return
from where once she came

M.Shanti 2006



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call -back poet April 2014 – JODI CLEGHORN

call -back poet April 2014 – JODI CLEGHORN

sidewaysBWJODI CLEGHORN (@jodicleghorn) is an author, editor, small press owner and of late, poet, with a penchant for the dark vein of humanity. With short stories published at home and abroad and an Aurealis short-listed novella (Elyora/River of Bones) behind her, the publication of her first poem, Ambrosia, marks a new beginning in story telling.


We almost had sex.
Almost broke the lounge
as ‘Blue Velvet’ played to itself on the TV.
The gas radiator filled the room with heat
augmented by our lust.
When you slipped out into the cold night air
your calling card was my body,
almost covered in carpet burn.

I almost fell for you.
The man who parked his car a block away
so the cleaner from work,
who lived around the corner,
had no chance to put two and two together.
But still you huddled into my door,
knocking with an urgency
I mistook for me.

You, who moved your girlfriend in
so you could pretend to be
almost faithful.
You, who hissed, ‘Not here’
when I said ‘hello’ in the bread aisle
and later turned up to seduce me
while you were almost getting ice cream
for the girlfriend-now-fiance.

I almost cried that afternoon
as you drove off without saying goodbye.
When I was almost no longer there
and you had already moved on.
It was easy to regret everything,
rewrite it in the diesel fumes,
when I was almost at the town limits
but still so far away
from arriving.

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by | October 27, 2014 · 8:31 am


JAQK Horner





11 October 2014

Featured Poets are Heather Shearer and Angela Pieta.

the food and coffee are fantastic.


the company is great.


Bring a poem or three and join in the open mic (you may not need a mic)

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lesley synge
on september 27







one of the great things about the move to the Lucky Duck is that some of our prodigals (and prodiguys) have returned to SpeedPoets more regularly
Lesley Synge is one of these, and we are so pleased to have her dropping in so often that we asked her to do a feature

I missed out on a copy of ‘Organic Sister’, but have long owned and cherished her book ‘Mountains Belong to the People who Love Them: Slow Journeys in South Korea and Eastern Australia’.  Grab a copy at SpeedPoets this Saturday.  You will not regret it.


LesleySynge Sep 14

  There is         © Lesley Synge

 There is evil in the world:
I’ve seen it glow.
I have looked into its furnace
and seen it blow.

 There is love in the world:
I’ve eased its flow.
I’ve dived beneath its surface
and felt its tow.

 There’s emptiness in this world:
emptiness to know.
I’ve slipped into its nothingness
haha hee hee
……………………ho ho


Lesley Synge documents life with eyes wide open. She turns her gaze with equal intensity to all before her, whether the wrongs of contemporary society or the serendipity of passing clouds.  She is widely published in prose as well as poetry and is an award-winning novelist and short story writer. Lesley Synge’s first collection of poetry Organic Sister has gone out of print and her most recent book is Mountains Belong to the People who Love Them: Slow Journeys in South Korea and Eastern Australia. For sale at the special price of $20.

My Hairdresser

Don’t even think about
spending more than two seconds
bleating about your broken heart
in her salon
because she’ll tell ya straight –
men are only good for one thing.
After a hair appointment with Terry
you’d come out feeling like
you’d danced all night at a disco
steada having the dead cells on top of your head
tizzed up.
Know what I mean?

Bit on the loud side, our Terry
a bit … OTT.
Every time you booked in
she’d have redecorated
and be swirling around in a weird teenage outfit
running a hand through the latest
colour in her hair
or through the tinsel wig she wore
after illness struck.

She hated it when she couldn’t work any more
drove her husband nuts as she
ran up her bankcard
on rows of lights across the lounge-room ceiling
and huge mirrors.

I saw this jazz when I came to stay the night.
She was wearing slinky tight black pants
and a sexy pink T-shirt
and I was in my fake leopard fur
to help her feel as if we’d returned
from drinking cocktails
and not about to spend the evening
lounging on the double bed she could hardly leave
now her bones had started to shatter.
She told her husband
Darl, you gotta get me to the hospital
for a decent shot of morphine.
The poor bugger was so sleep-deprived
he could hardly summon the ambos.
When they came, she refused
to utter the word pain
but when they heard the name of her condition
they knew she wasn’t faking it.

She chirped away
as if some spunk was tempting her
into the back of his panel van
to zoom her to his favourite midnight beach
instead of the Emergency Department.
Hey haven’t I seen you guys somewhere before?
That naked ambos calendar?
These boys are spunky she winked at me.
And they laughed back
Lady, you belong in that TV show
Absolutely Fabulous.
And before they closed the ambo doors
her husband tucked a basket under the high-tech stretcher –
whenever she went to hospital she knitted psychedelic scarves
for the homeless –
and said Darl! you won’t believe the number plate!
it’s 124 LUV
and she said
I’d like to give these spunks 124 love.
The ambos eased away like they had celebrity cargo
while we stood in the empty driveway
and punched the air
and cried 124 LUV!
as if we’d discovered
the meaning of life.

Down Here, our Terry’s not cutting hair
anymore, making her clientele look good
for weddings, parties, divorces, new lovers.
But we all know what’s happenin Up There.
In her black miniskirt and stilettoes
brandishing her scissors
she’s chasing God around
from cloud to cloud shrieking:
You’d look spunky with a bleached crewcut!
Why the hell do ya wanna look like a hippie?
I’m gonna texturize the crap outa that beard of yours.
Have ya seen how cool the angels look with purple streaks?
God, we have ta brighten This Place up.

Lesley Synge 

For Terry Windred 1951-2012

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Sean M Whelan is a poet, playwright, DJ and wedding celebrant. He has published two books of poetry, Love is the New Hate and Tattooing the Surface of the Moon. He also collaborates extensively with musicians working with Isnod and The Interim Lovers. He is the co-producer of the popular literary cabaret show called Liner Notes, which most recently was performed to a sell out audience at the Byron Bay Writers Festival, Sean was also coproducer of Elemental, a show combining poetry and astronomy at the Melbourne Planetarium.



I am hot stinking decaying light.

I am the melting ice caps at the bottom of your whiskey glass.

I am the shhhhhhh on the tip of the librarians lips.

I am that small purple bruise on your thigh that you have no recollection of receiving.

I am the dust slowly gathering in the grooves of the record you left on the turntable overnight.

I am the big I am.

I am the 39th second of a New York Minute.

I am that letter you never sent.

I am the recession you had to have.

I am sorry about that.

I want to be your economic recovery.

I want to be MY economic recovery.

I am a grand design, in danger of not being finished and waaaay over budget.

I am the drawer full of Michael Jackson’s unused left handed gloves.

I am the ground control to your major tom.

I am 33 dogs that can’t even handle this right now.

I am grumpy cat’s secret smile, when nobody else is around.

I am very good at opening, terrible at closing.

I am the lipstick you used to write upon your mirror. Here Lies Buried Treasure.

I am this far away, from being this far away from you.

I am the grammar nazi taking apart your status update.

I am concerned at the diminishing effects of the word ‘nazi’ when describing anything harsh.

I am okay. Thanks for asking.

I am a free floating full torso vaporous apparition.

I can’t walk through walls but I can walk through trees. I have no

explanation for that.

I am the painting that the painting of Dorian Grey was painted over.

I am that noise you make in your sleep when you turn over in bed.

I am the jerk photobombing your family holiday snaps.

I am the dick you drew in the Herald Sun.

I am the books you never finish.

I am less than certain but I’m more than unsure.

I am the submarine caught in the seaweed of your subtext.

I am the snow covered pine trees that break your fall when the plane goes down.

I am the cherry stem deftly manipulated by Audrey Horne’s tongue.

I am everything: all the time.

And I am truly grateful.

But I’m not yours.

Not yet.

© Sean M Whelan. 2014.



Tell me where to stand in the garden.

And I’ll mark the spot.

You’ll find me there every evening at dusk.

Watching the day transmogrify, just like we did.


Tell me where the light falls the best upon my face.

I want to be just as handsome as you are supernatural.

Just because I don’t believe in permanence.

Doesn’t mean I want to forget this.

I want to build a theme park to us in the mountains of my mind,

travel there every lonely hour and take all the rides.

Tell me where to stand in the garden.

Where nobody will see us.

Not even Lou Reed’s satellites.

Tell me this shit is real.

Or unreal.

That works too.


Show me a species of bird that migrates from Melbourne to Manhattan every year and I’ll tie a love letter around its ankle.

Tell me, do birds even have ankles?

Tell me how somebody so old could still be learning about birds.

And by that I mean actual birds, but the other way works too.

Tell me how you know so much stuff.

I only want this love to have its own Wikipedia entry.

I only want the New York Times to tell me we’re getting married.

I only want to be more famous than your dresses.

I only want to live long enough to know how to die right.


Let’s synchronise our watches so we break up at the same time.

Then let’s drown our watches in the kitchen sink in sync, so that we never break up.

I know, we broke up, but for the purpose of this poem, let’s pretend that we didn’t.

Or let’s write up a post-breakup agreement with plenty of day passes.

Then let’s swap shadows, so I can watch your determined walk all the time.


Tell me where to stand in the garden.

Light has the highest concentration of magic at dusk.

We can dig in here forever.

We can learn how to grow.

Tell me where the soil is the softest, where the underworld will receive us the quickest.

I have the best of friends in low places.


I’m sorry.

I’m sorry the love letter I wrote you was eaten by the sky.

How could I know the future could eat so much?


Tarkovsky wrote poems with a camera.

He knew about us.

He knew we would break up.

He knew we didn’t need to worry about this.

And he was right.

When those doe eyed beared boy scouts come at you

With a pocket full of sadsong mixtapes.

Wait and remember

they don’t love blue like I do.

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