The Poem That Stops A Nation (*Cough)

We have a horse race in Australia which, allegedly, “stops the nation”. For the past three years, it certainly stops me. Because since 2013 I have played a wee linguistic game (potentially only of interest to me) involving the names of the horses that compete — kind of a found poem with benefits.

Normally, the race runs at 2.30 (my time), I wait for 30-45 minutes or so till the full order listing is posted on the internet, I then furiously try & craft 24 unrelated phrases into some sort of logic … before racing into the city & reading the result (at around this time or earlier) at a monthly poetry gig to the confusion & consternation of many, haha. (Coincidentally, this reading always occurs on the first Tuesday of the month, & the big race is always the first Tuesday of November, which is how the game first started.)

However, last night, owing to an incident of unnecessary & alarmingly over-the-top pettiness (not involving me I hasten to clarify), I chose not to stay at that reading. So only my friend Sarah got to appreciate/was forced to endure me reading it to her as we scoffed our respective dumplings.

I subjected her to a personal reading, because, of the three poems I have created in this fashion, this is the one I feel works best (with the caveat being — ‘works best’ is a very loose description in a situation where one tries to wrangle 24 horses names into a poem … in the order they finished the race … taking a few creative liberties where necessary) & was disappointed not to get the chance to share it last night.

Only today did I realise I could post it on my blog … (well der, just cos I haven’t posted anything since June — doesn’t mean the blog has disappeared. My excuse: The 24 Poetry Marathon obviously took it out of me 🙂 )

So, for those of you interested in such indulgences, I present …

[24 names in order]

the evil Ivan Prince of Penzance
used the Max Dynamite allowed
according to the Criterion
on his terrorist Trip To Paris
& so — the Eiffel Tower disappears
in a Big Orange Gust Of Wind

the CIA agrees it was Excess Knowledge
& a Quest For More that ruined Our Ivan—howe
he got the dynamite & Who Shot Thebarman
Sertorius & whether the two events
are connected, remains a mystery

needless to say, everyone understands
it’s a Fame Game in The United States
but when Agent Hartnell runs along Bondi Beach
chasing Hokko (Brave whistleblower)
while that bastard Senator Almoonqith Kingfisher
(Republican, Texas) through some secret
Preferment is proclaimed Grand Marshal
we know the 1% are winning comfortably

meanwhile, the rogue spy, codenamed
Sky Hunter, drifts through a Snow Sky
searching for the Red gifts
that sadly, failed to arrive



NB for those who wish to check I didn’t cheat. Here’s a link the final results 🙂

April 16 – Day Sixteen: one of the games i want to play (finally had time)

For those playing at home, here is the first of the games I was hoping to get to for NaPoWriMo — both for me & for you. It’s been exhausting … but a blast!

First.  I’m not telling you what inspired these set of poems. That’s the first part of the game. I’d like folks to comment below when they think they have worked out what I’ve done. Heehee. The first person to correctly comment will receive a special prize — AS PART OF NaPoWriMo.  I’m excited anyways.  NB there are technically three parts to what I’ve done, but I’ll not be too picky. Bonus points, however, if all three are correctly answered.

Second. The poem which has the most comments in support of it, will be used to generate the final image for today’s post.  (& sure this could backfire & no one comments, but meh, you gotta try these things out! But I hope people do vote, cos I have such a cool idea for the image …)

Happy guessing … 🙂


part i

summer of secrets
april witch, silver wattle
the blood of flowers
i’m a believer
i, my beautiful friend
i the divine, the virgin
shall we dance?


the last summer (of you & me)
you or someone like you
a blind man can see how much
i love you the city of falling
angels, the bay of angels
the indigo sky, the moon
in the water, swim the moon, a web
of dreams slow love, a distant land
the landscape of love
the scared art
of stealing how
to become an angel

exodus, exodus
not the end of the world


tin toys
silences long gone
wise children
burning bright

the gift of speed

leading the cheers
strange days
a chance acquaintance
the facts speak for themselves


black mulberries  jacaranda blue
the stolen child  where i was from
fires in the dark  the sealed letter
lambs of god  the perfect sinner
small acts of kindness  the madness
of love  burning bright  animal instincts
from here to paternity


tales of burning love
the secrets of a fire king
the smoke jumper
the little book
the broken world
the lake of dreams
the girl who would speak for the dead
the rules of attraction
a good & happy child


cold mountain  dragon
dancing  the clouds
beneath the sun
air kisses  standing
in the rainbow
a million little pieces
flying the coop


a sweet obscurity  behind the silence
the pure weight of the heart
tasting salt  where you find it
the flaw of love  the summer i dared
i wish someone were waiting for me somewhere


barefoot the transit
of venus snow
mountain passage
and the mountains
echoed the falling

stargazer stargazing
a thousand
splendid suns

the absence
of night dreams
of sleep dancing
on thorns




the broken book
the colony of unrequited
dreams requiem


sweet miseries: the history of love
small crimes in an age of abundance
up in the air: in the company of angels

the moon under her feet: the storyteller
the vintner’s luck: this charming man
the other side of the story: measuring the world



the new dark age  the debt of pleasure
i know this much is true  the hour i first believed
a dream come true  if the moon smiled

imaginary friends
the seduction of silence
the given day  feast of all souls

girls night out  fresh girls  gifted  lost
under the volcano
the hope


oh pure and radiant heart
the speech of angels
cage of stars  oxygen
evening  end of the night girl
this side of brightness
the last town on earth
the deep end of the ocean
twelve times blessed
lost nation
chronicler of the winds
the colour of water
afloat  south of the river
a dry spell  simply heaven
farewell princess
so long see you tomorrow
child against gravity
no ordinary love story
a god for the killing

promise not to tell
promise not to tell



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