Hit Me With a Coconut, Sunshine

She asked me how I was, how I was
going, and I said I’ve got salty lips,
I’ve been down in the deep blue sea
biting shark’s penises, trying to control
the great white plague so they eat less of us,
less humans, so we can breed more of us while
killing more of them. This is socio-pathism,
this is population dynamics in action, this is
crude justice: bite me, and I kill you.

Then, with you gone to the bottom
of the azure limpid sea with a hole through
your big ugly sharky head where
your brain used to be, then we can get on
with fornicating and making more of us, since
we are in charge, shark boy and shark girl—
and if you get in our way, and we don’t like you,
then we net you out of your grazing grounds
and we hire big fat ugly policemen
with bigger fatter uglier guns:
and we blow your fucking brains out,
fish head.

It makes me wonder, really,
who I am and who we are
and worse: where we are.
It is easy to get lost in this
undeclared war between top feeders.

I am confused, I hear it is
more likely that a man like me
can get killed by a falling
coconut than by a hungry
savage heavily-fanged pulsing
thrashing toothy fishy thing—
but I know what I’d prefer,
even if I don’t know who I
am: hit me with a coconut, sunshine!

Allan Padgett (Western Australia)

I Was Young As, Once

When I was young I was as
skinny as an undernourished
sewer rat—they poured
cod liver oil down my throat
and told me it would turn
me into a man, but it tasted
like dog shit crossed with
North Sea cod sperm so I
regurgitated more than thoughts,
I regurgitated my memory and
was left feeling blank: there
was only a distant past to
refer to, and not only was it
beyond time: it was beyond me.

When I was young, freshly
born, they found me in that
rapid descent from foetus to
neonate, they found me with
two club feet. Fuck, you know,
my father likely felt like
handing me back to my
maker—but then he realised
that he was my maker, and
he would inherit me anyway,
two club feet included!
But then I smiled as they
handed me back to the nurse,
and I heard them say:
this one’s not ours, ours is
that nice one over there, the
handsome boy with feet
that are made for walking,
not talking.

When I was young, a man
kissed me, he was handsome,
he might have been my uncle,
he might have been the butcher
or the baker, or the candlestick
maker. But he kissed me,
and you know, it felt really
nice, and I wondered even

then, before I even knew I
was a boy, if I should have
been a girl, and then it
dawned on me: a kiss is a
kiss, and bliss is bliss.

When I was young, I sat
high up in a gum tree and
I defecated from branch to
ground, I was naked, I was
young. I was an orang
utan, doing what comes
naturally to orang utans.
So I went to the zoo, when
I was young, and I steered
my hormonal glaze toward an
orange flaming very hairy
monkey thing, and I said to
her or him: hey, I’m very
young, moderately confused, and
I have this powerful urge to
make out with you.

When I was young, I
whirled around the dance floor
with a young man of same
age, and it felt like, right,
and it felt like, alright, this
is it, I know who I am:
I am a young boy turning
toward a man, I see and
touch a hairy monkey, I am
at home in this jumbled
jungle of soft erotic touch,
ecstatic mood and electric
shooting feelings.

When I was young, though
it might be hard to discern:
I was younger then than now.

Allan Padgett (Western Australia)

When Mastodons Roamed the Earth

I was feeling rather feeble,
you had me by the trunk.
I kept thinking of times long past,
when mastodons roamed the earth—
and life, for them and for me,
was so much simpler.

To start with, there were no:

hoons driving at 235 km on public roads;
football scores or updates;
red light districts to distract a man;
governments or policies or police or regulations;
brain surgeons;
soup du jour;
massive bills for consuming water, electricity, gas;
force-fed geese;
ads on free to air;
fucking red lights;
plasma screens;
poets dreaming;

But, there were plenty of mastodons,
and their role in life, their casual ordinary everyday routine, was to:
nuzzle up to each other,
in their mastodonic fashion—
to kiss and fuck each other,
to make more mastodons.

And then those mastodons went out to graze,
and they held their peace and they held their trunks—
and life was nothing more
and frankly, nothing less,
than roaming across fertile sucking tundra—
and eating frozen grass.

And then, if they were lucky,
they got a kick up the arse.

Allan Padgett (Western Australia)

The Melting Gazebo

I recover well from
fatal wounds:

crushed by failure
marooned by fear
quartered by anxiety
burned by lust
decapitated by tranquillity.

Circumcised by derision.

It is a long way
to abandonment—

turn right at Tipperary
tumble left at the
melting gazebo
stroke the neck of
a rutting zebu.

Fuck me dead!

Walking into this
dreamworld is more
work than the
pleasure principle allows.

More heavy than a hundred cows.

Just as bent as a Roman nose.

Allan Padgett (Western Australia)

the gift

my mother gave me a gift
wrapped in red and gold
and she called it love
but when I opened it
there was only religion
so I learned how to serve
   to worship at the feet
of god and man

no hand to lift me out
of this righteous lie
   this gutter where I
hung my head in holy
humbleness and she said
this would give me
everlasting life

and all I wanted was death
   I prayed, begged, for
mercy from my suffering
for I was just a sinner
who would always pay
for the sins of all the
women before me

then I found the gift of
awareness and I rose
to the level of my mind
and beyond    and flew away
to all the places I’d
never imagined

Maureen Sexton (Western Australia)

shoe shine, Sumatra

‘hey mister,
you want I shine your shoes?’
laughter shines in his eyes

our rubber thongs
are no use to a shiner of shoes
but he stays to chat—one day
he'll be rich, have a bike, a house
a pretty wife

‘hey mum,
you want we have photo
for your memories?’
he likes us very much
he is our friend

we enjoy the game—
his eyes are so big,
so soulful,
his skin so brown, so smooth,
his smile so wide his teeth
so white—

but he must go
find shoes to shine
earn rupiah
for his good life
we shake his hand

give him some rupiah
for his good life—
he treats us to one last
beautiful smile
and is gone

Elizabeth Nicholls (Western Australia)


Oscar Mike

CHECK CHECK - Yo Oscar Mike

so - I'm up on the mike to rhyme stuff with shit
baby I'm wack with the rhythm stick
spittin out little biddy literary kicks
like this - like this - like this and like this

pretending to flow like the pope on dope
I'm bendin vowels-boy like they're made of soap
washing my tongue with saliva hope - I hope I hope

gotta fit it all in this syllabic tric
kme got rhythm on my soul n shit
rhyme and I rhyme and I rhyme wiv it
now hear this - it’s a mountain of shit

Yo baby baby I'm OSCAR MIKE

so - when
I'm a stick in the middle of a puddle of words
gotta get my little biddy verse to be heard
nothing is fresher than the morning turd - mm mm
but this is - is it? - it is - like - this - is…

I got a question for the judges do you like this one
put yr hands in the air if you dig this one
wave em around if you think this one
these words are bullets in my hip-hop gun


make some noise if you lick my lolly
keep all my poems in a shopping trolley


and - then
can't seem to stop this verbal diarrhea
how do you spell that?D - I - A double R - H - E - A
or D - I - A double R - H - O - E - A
with an O in it in - with an O it it
holy motherfucker gotta O in it
and it runs and it runs and it runs like this
like a tyger tyger burning bright
in the dark wet shadows
of the bakery tonight

I'm more shaggy shaggy than snoop doggy doggy
more flava flave than D to the chucky
now I wanna chuck - holy fuck
I'm stuck - in a rhyme truck

Yo baby baby I'm OSCAR MIKE

well we're straight outta bronx to the compton town
tiny inner suburb of the heathridge downs

man my flow is like so fucking good
and you knew it would
be good - it should

take a bow please judges coz I love your faces
when I was a kid I wanted

braces - shit


c'mon everybody gotta sway in time
and very very soon we'll be over this rhyme

Yo baby baby I'm OSCAR MIKE X 2


Antipoet / Allan Boyd (Western Australia)

Editor's note. This poem pretty much expresses Uneven Floor's attitude to poems that mention poetry, poets, writing, and all that.

Editor's second note. If you don't know what 'Oscar Mike' means, look it up.


Take me home

If I could meet God
I would meet her in New York
in a nightclub
in the middle of a dance floor
I would spin her around
under the strobes
her face would flash red
and mine would flash blue
I would take hold of her arm
pull her aside
cup my hands to her ear
and whisper
‘take me home’

If I could meet God
I would meet her in Moscow
we would dress up like Russian dolls
take a horse and carriage
across cobbled streets
into an old growth forest
full of giant oaks
we would kneel in the soil
create a mountain of leaves
light a match
and dance around the flames
I would inhale the smoke
breathe it into my chest
attach a string to my foot
and holding my breath
I would float
up to the stars
with her holding the string

If I could meet God
I would write her a note
on a piece of birch bark
I would scrawl inside the veins
and sign it with my name
then I would bury it
deep inside the earth
and a year to the day
I would return
dig up the note
shake off the dirt
siphon the ink off the bark with my tongue
spit out the words
into globules of light
to form trails in the earth
leading out of the woods
we would take off our shoes
step on the sand
and holding her hand
I would ask her
to follow me home

Andrea Barnard (Western Australia)


She said ‘They put me
in a prison, took away
my name, gave me a number
instead. For a year
I was there, called by a number,
answering to a number,
giving a number
when they asked my

My eyes were wet
as she bravely made her speech.
A young woman. I can't remember
whether she was Tamil, Afghan,
or what. I can't remember
whether it was her who spoke
about travelling on a boat
across the open sea, with people
getting sick
and dying.

I came here on a ‘boat’, too.
A luxury liner.

One rainy English day
my parents saw a billboard.
Come to Australia! Sunshine, opportunity!
Ten pounds passage—the government
paid the rest.

We stayed one week
in a migrant hostel. The photo shows a cabin
with curtains at the windows.
My mother shy on the wooden steps,
sunshine on her pale cheek,
babies on her lap.

The shire of Bunbury needed a labourer.
For three months we lived in lodgings
on the main street, near the beach.

The next job came with a house.
A front garden, a backyard.
My dad heaved logs into the boilers
of the last steam pump
on the Goldfields water scheme.
The photo shows him shirtless,
all taut muscle.
There were shit jobs then, too

but in the pub
the blokes called him ‘mate’
and the local families
invited us to their parties.

‘They locked me
in a prison, took away
my name, gave me
a number.’

I'm old enough to have gone to school
in an all-white class.
At uni the white students hardly mixed
with the ones from South-East Asia.
We called them ‘choges’.
We said it to name
what we couldn't speak:
the newness, the fascination,

the fear.

Even now, whenever I meet
a person whose language
is different to mine, whose idea of fashion
is different to mine, whose idea of God
might be different to mine, whose idea of breakfast
might be different to mine, whose manners
are different to the ones my mother showed me

I'm afraid. The stupid reptile
at the base of my brain
is scared that this
unfamiliar creature
might want my eyes
as a snack

but that day, they were wet
as the gentle young woman spoke.

‘They locked me up.
They took away my name.
They gave me a number
instead, for a year.’

She didn't give this ‘they’ a name.

She was talking about

Jackson (Western Australia)

UK poet Patrick McManus reading at Raynes Park Music Club

Here's an entertaining performance by UK poet and painter Patrick McManus, author of  Ready Mixed Aggregate (Hodgson Press 2010) and various chapbooks.

This is the cover of 'Ready Mixed Aggregate':