Tag Archives: SpeedPoets Call Back Poet


john koenig



The Ted Bundy Affair

Forensic psychologists talk
about how he selected
his victim, by the tilt
of her head.
Such an emotive word, victim,
he was never one
for emotion,
he would much prefer, prize,
as in trophy.
Not for him anvil-jawed
fierce-eyed girls
with smooth sure strides,
he was never one
for competition.
Better a girl caged by doubt
or best of all a bleeding heart.
How they bled.

Splintered mouths,
limp below clouded eyes,
curled like a flat spare tyre
in the black trunk of his car.
Rust red staining
the cold steel tools,
rattling along
gravel ridge roads,
where the warm night air
carried the smell of


                 SpeedPoets Logo edit





JK 2











It’s all in the Grain

And on that night
when I sit with my back
against the summer breeze
of a friend’s verandah
around a table hewn by the
rough hands of a bushranger’s son
laughing about the foolishness of life
please let that table
be silky oak.

And if while driving home
on one of those country roads
like the back of my hand
I nod off and drift
same as the last time
when I first started dreaming on roads
and splintered that ironbark railway fence
except this time there is no highly strung
eight-gauge safety net
to catch me
this time my luck runs out
and I run off the gun metal road
headlong into the crunching embrace
of a grand roadside tree
and there is smoke and shattered glass and spilt fuel
one deflated wheel spinning lazily
under a straw man dawn
please let that tree
be silky oak.

And when the undertaker
toting his heavy green bag
with the body length zip
comes to fetch me
and in his care I ride for free
back to the mortuary
where with a minimum of fuss
he does my hair
taking time to clean under my nails
(it’s the thought that counts)
and only then does he lay me out
in a blue silk lined box
where I can finally rest
and oh yes
please let that coffin
be silky oak


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SPEEDPOETS feature poets for the rest of the year WILL ALL STAR AT QPF this weekend

SpeedPoets will enjoy the QPF this weekend

and will continue the celebration of great poetry with features from:


lesley synge
on september 27


zenobia frost
on october 25


david stavanger
on november 29

david will also judge the Call Back Poet for 2014,
following features from all those who have been
call back poet of the month during 2014

zenobia’s and david’s new books will be available


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SpeedPoets August Call-Back-Poet: Kevin Smith

The August gig was an absolute belter, with Pascalle Burton and Tylea turning in one of the sets of the year… and the Open Mic bar was set very high from the get go. But in the end, there was one poem that ripped the breath from my lungs. That poem was Watercourses by Kevin Smith. Here’s the poem and a little more about Kevin, who will now join the other Call-Back-Poets at the November gig when one will be named SpeedPoets Open Mic Champion for the year.

kevin photo


‘First wonder goes deepest.’
– Yann Martel, Life of Pi


The watercourses of my childhood
were thin clear creeks
with fluted chutes tongued smooth into bedrock
we’d slide down into shallow pools,
the rock pockmarked with sinkholes and shafts
honed by pebbles over volumes of time.
These aching arteries carved pathways into stone
we ran our hands over,
over and over again
in blind attempts at reading the braille of water prints.
A choir of creeks sang anthems to the arcane,
ancient song cycles
that rippled through the rivers of our veins.
The tunes rose like smoke
through limbs and leaves of mountain ash.
We lay flat on our backs in the long-thonged grass
counting out loud the dragon-clouds
that drifted out of the blue realms
and blazed above the hardwood mill
pounding like a foundry on the dark side of hell,

the millstream a minstrelsy of crotchets and quavers,
a cadence of dark age vatic revelation.


The watercourses of my childhood
were small incessant things,
necks chock-a-block with smooth flat stones.
They fed scant dams lying flat as old cowpats,
panoptic discs set in low-slung paddocks.
We sank knee deep into slick cold mud
scrawny arms flung back under a blistering sun.
The stones sat snug as guns in our hands.
We skimmed them across the top of the dam
counting each stone-skip
dwindling as it went.
Our faces lie in a pool of blue sky
mirrored in this dark glass eye to eternity.
Log trucks ploughed the dry dirt road
and haystacks of dust bloomed long after they’d gone.
We looked up from the middle of the creek
our bare feet slipping over cold wet rock.
We chased crayfish through these translucent wombs
their blue claws scrabbling over russet-coloured stone.
Far away the hooter in the mill sounded out,

a voodoo chant drifting through the trees,
an opus of voltage quickening our dreams.


The watercourses of my childhood
were alive with wildness
running untethered through farmland and scrub,
small stony creeks that undercut banks,
gouged out boltholes where trout used to hide.
Their speckled backs gleamed red and gold
in the cold throb of glassy streams.
They nipped and sluiced over slick round rocks;
their knowing pulsated in our guts
like a belly flop over
a crest in the mill road
when the school bus lumbered to carry us home.
The lilt and tempo of the creeks
swirled through the bush like an early morning mist,
eddied around log piles stacked at the mill,
riffled through our bone marrow
singing up our souls.
And under the thousands of acres of stars
we nested in the innocence of what we were.
The creeks played requiems to a waning moon

the tunes purling into the mill-blind night,
each note lit up like a firefly.


kevin smith:

… grew up in hardy’s mill in the southern highlands of nsw amongst a litter of mongrel kids and hard-working parents and hard men and families struggling flogged snoopy warner’s white fleshed peaches and hunted booshank’s chooks with home-made bows and arrows in high school played every sport going then studied shakespeare and the language tripped something off in my head and i wanted to be a writer then and tried studying journalism instead and that didn’t work but i discovered theatre and did plays and taught in high school and uni all the while trying to write poetry in the cracks of time life afforded and now trying to do it more seriously …

… my first play got professionally produced by goat track theatre in august and had a poem published in florida and one in york, a couple in manchester, some mentions elsewhere, western australia, county cork ireland, london, strathfield Sydney, nowra …

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SpeedPoets July Call-Back-Poet: John Wainwright

John Wainwright has been stepping on to the SpeedPoets stage for quite a few years now, and last month, he took out the coveted title of Call-Back-Poet. This means he will join Trish Reid, Chloe Callistemon, Simon Kindt, Chris LynchShanti at the final gig of the year when each of the Call-Back-Poets perform a short feature and one of them walks away $200 richer with the title of SpeedPoets Open Mic Champion for 2013.

Here’s John’s untitled poem published in the July issue of SpeedPoets.


tell me your day
what birds were in it?

raven dawn
muscle shirts and spitting dogs

 Australia Day
kookaburras get the first laugh

 cockatoo dawn
egg yolk scraped off the plate

stormy petrel
dives in a shaft of light
bones and quills
are straightened
lungs are bursting
sound screams
tail is rudder
wings sweep back
I define     flight for the air
I define          arrow for the breast of the sea
I define               death for one fish
magnificent death        for one fish   

 wind cannot win
the sea-bird’s love

the tiny smiling bird
flies a Moebius Loop
another insect dies 

harvest moon
an owl comes down

 tell me your day
what birds were in it?

© John Wainwright


So if you want to be in the running to take out one of the final three Call-Back-Poet spots, pack a poem in your pocket and head on down to The Hideaway tomorrow (Saturday Aug. 31). Doors open at 1:30pm!

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Pascalle Burton & Tylea live at SpeedPoets this Saturday

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about the ‘SpeedPoets Only’ collaboration between Pascalle Burton & Tylea that will envelop one and all at the Hideaway (188 Brunswick St) this Saturday, August 31. Anyone who saw them together on the stage at QPF 2012, will, I am sure, share my excitement.

To get you buzzing, here’s the film that won Pascalle Burton the 2013 QPF Filmmaker’s Challenge and an absolute gem from Tylea’s former band, Gota Cola. Now imagine the combined adventurous spirit of these two ladies on stage… good times ahead!

And of course, there will be bountiful open mic opportunities, free zines, raffles and the guitar roar of Sheish Money. Be there to experience something special!

Date: Saturday August 31
Venue: The Hideaway, 188 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
Time: Doors at 1:30pm for a 2pm Open Mic Start until 5pm
Entry: Gold Coin Donation


Filed under Featured Artists, Gigs

August SpeedPoets featuring Pascalle Burton & Tylea

August is a massive month of poetry here in Brisbane – it’s QLD Poetry Festival time – so it seems right that SpeedPoets brings it to a close when it returns to The Hideaway (188 Brunswick St) on Saturday August 31. The lineup for August is another stunner, with solo feature sets from Pascalle Burton and Tylea, as well as a special collaborative performance.

Singer songwriter Tylea’s ethereal music has been resonating for the past two decades in either her solo work or in Gota Cola. She will be featuring at the next Speedpoets alongside performance poet Pascalle Burton. Tylea’s recent show, featuring the music of the Twin Peaks soundtrack at the Brisbane Powerhouse, was astonishing and her otherworldly yet unpretentious music has the ability to trigger emotion in virtually any audience. Pascalle and Tylea collaborated on a Yoko Ono based piece at QPF last year. For this year’s QPF, Pascalle has been working on the Letter.Box.Stamp.Collect. installation as well as a new performance work based on the idea of conceptual poetry called Poems by Telephone. By request, Pascalle and Tylea will collaborate again on some new pieces especially for Speedpoets. Both artists continue to be inspired by the work of Yoko Ono and promise to bring ample amounts of light and dark.

And as always, there will be plenty of space in the Open Mic Section with all readers in the running to be named Call-Back-Poet for the month. Each of the Call-Back-Poets will earn themselves a feature spot at the November event where they will have the opportunity to take home cash prizes, be crowned SpeedPoets Open Mic Champion. There will also be free zines, raffles and the guitar roar of Sheish Money! What more could one want?

Ink it in your diary people!

Date: Saturday August 31
Venue: The Hideaway, 188 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
Time: Doors at 1:30pm for a 2pm Open Mic Start until 5pm
Entry: Gold Coin Donation


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July SpeedPoets featuring Shane Rhodes, Ghostboy & Cindy Keong

SpeedPoets returns to The Hideaway (188 Brunswick St) in July with an all-star lineup featuring the 2013 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence, Shane Rhodes, Ghostboy and his co-conspirator Sir Richard Grantham and the launch of Cindy Keong’s debut collection, Same Sky.

Shane RhodesShane Rhodes is the author of five collections of poetry, including The Wireless Room, Holding Pattern, The Bindery, and most recently, Err. His poetry has won an Alberta Book Award, two Lampman Awards, the P. K. Page Founder’s Award for Poetry, and the National Magazine Gold Award for Poetry in 2010. His latest collection, Err, was a finalist for the 2012 City of Ottawa Book Award. Shane’s poetry has also been featured in national and international anthologies such as Best Canadian Poetry in English 2012, 2011 and 2008, Breathing Fire II, How the Light Gets In and Seminal: Canada’s Gay Male Poets.

ghostboy-gloveGhostboy is one of Australia’s foremost spoken word & performance artists. A live hybrid of performance poetry, absurdist comedy and “spoken weird” theatre, Ghostboy has featured at numerous major writing and poetry festivals. In 2011 Ghostboy created a two-man neo-cabaret comedy – ‘We Love You!’ – with multi- instrumentalist Richard Grantham (Deep Blue Orchestra). The two team up again this July to perform some of the pieces from We Love You, but don’t get complacent, they also threaten to unleash some new work!

first-words-vol-2-print-smallCindy Keong is a Brisbane based photographer, poet and teacher.  Her poetry has been published in Page Seventeen, paper wasp, SpeedPoets, QLD Poetry Festival Anthology 2011 and the Third Australian Haiku Anthology. Her short films have been highly commended at the Overload Poetry Festival and shortlisted for the Queensland Poetry Festival Filmakers Award. Cindy was recently commissioned by if:Book Australia and Queensland Poetry Festival to take a series of photographs for the enhanced e-book, “The City We Build’. Her photography was also featured on the cover of Page Seventeen issue 10.  Cindy has performed her poetry at Queensland Poetry Festival, Blackall Heartland Festival and many local events.  Same Sky is her debut collection and this will be her first Brisbane reading from the book.

And as always, there will be plenty of space in the Open Mic Section with all readers in the running to be named Call-Back-Poet for the month. Each of the Call-Back-Poets will earn themselves a feature spot at the November event where they will have the opportunity to take home cash prizes, be crowned SpeedPoets Open Mic Champion, and thanks to Phillip Ellis, have a chapbook length zine of their work published ready to launch at the February 2014 event.

Ink it in your diary people! And don’t be shy… here’s the facebook invite, so spread the word! https://www.facebook.com/events/531096176940148

Date: Saturday July 27
Venue: The Hideaway, 188 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
Time: Doors at 1:30pm for a 2pm Open Mic Start
Entry: Gold Coin Donation

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