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Liam Ferney

Millennium Lite Redux

i. Come On Die Young

the diary is a newstart fraud de art
a fortnight spaced with love minestrone neruda
7-11 EFTPOS seals our entente

mallboy with a rose and a resume company suitor
caffeine cigarettes bandana and an ipod body rock
dusk don't care if you're a mover or shaker

if you don't have the ingredients, don't try to cook
greasy libraries pull over for accidents
inventory your stuff see what you can hock

the nokia generation reject their romances
in a dark wood the peace corp succumb to diphtheria
are you the sum of your selection criteria

ii. Busabout

waifs all over triple j                                                  singing london
you're                                                                                  still in london
the bars are                                                                        full of london
everybody is coming and                                        going london
and i think i understand the saints
stranded so far from home.

iii. Geezers Need Excitement
for Sam

His shirt says This is the Modern Age.
Piffing bottles outside the Worker's Club,
rucking with wannabe rockstars
takes up Friday night
like the footy would
if it was
July and we were Bombers fans.
ACNielsen decree we play on Saturday.

Hit the trendiest digs
trying lines before you go
on the run from the morning after
when it's too early to know
what you've gotten into.
(Horse tranquilizers are strictly
for the racing fraternity.)
Hang out with bouncers
until they ask: is this it?

Walking down Boundary St.
Golden Casket's neon rainbow fades fast.
Sam hasn't even emptied his bags
and he's ready to jump Brisneyland's bail.
There's too much Peter Parker in me.

Someday the clouds will lift
and you'll catch me tipping my sombrero to a senorita
giving the day as a gift
shuffling like a reptile at the fade of a dusty siesta.

iv. La Bamba
for Frank O'Hara

fairytale dawn:                                        our estimations
of ourselves relax their
grip on temporality

the killer gets off on a technicality

the big easy at the not quite there
swelters with afternoon's enthusiasm
     punchpacked with clouds
     a storm that never breaks

to the bequeathed: shoeboxed ‘78s
a mildewed dive slate a cassette

hot nights translating prime time's bottom line

your model for the world
is a house                                        where you've lived in
every room

you carry the memories around like prized mumbles

vi. The Secret Life of Them

life in the fast lane catches up with you
do tony montana's march towards destiny
morally ambiguous as a tense day five test match finish

the logistics of summer mean you drive over creeks
underneath airplanes beside
containers ceremonial grounds
the italian mausoleums
fence the bottom l of the cemetery
the seminary guilts down from its hill

you take out life insurance
but can't find a beneficiary
methamphetamine labs hide in our sheds
cut down the banana plantations
put up condos instead
it's an all night burn up at the fossil fuel doof
last man standing turn off the lights

                                        but the lights go out on us,
as lazily as a midwicket poke in the annual boxing day game
michael slater has never known such a tragedy

rather than celebrities the glossies give us notorieties
the gossip in the weatherboard suburbs
is as periodical as a cold sore
the pleasant machines
in the bourgeois estates get whacked on irony and debt

play prime time remote control keno
if it comes up rove everybody wins

who says the naughties can’t be fun
just get the rules down:
it's mob life

once you’re in the pocket
you pay

i float off
into the universe
a sceptical astronaut
who was only ever in it for the uniform.

Liam Ferney’s “Millennium Lite Redux” was first published in Cordite 31: Epic (2009). The guest poetry editor for this issue was Ali Alizadeh.

Liam Ferney

Liam Ferney is a Brisbane poet. He works in politics. His collections of poetry include Career (Vagabond Press, 2011) and Popular Mechanics (Interactive Press, 2004). He is a former Poetry Editor of Cordite.

A Typical Day At Work 

I am a political staffer in the education and industrial relations portfolios for the Queensland Government. I am responsible for media management, and with the more-than 1200 schools spread across an area more than nine times the size of Nebraska with 50,000 teachers teaching almost half a million students with just under a million parents who all get their news from 14 daily newspapers, four television networks, five radio networks and the incessant mosquito swarm that is social media, it can be a huge job.

The average working day usually kicks off around 6:30am. Before I get out of bed I'll scroll through emails on my Blackberry to find out if anything has happened overnight and to take stock of the morning papers.

However, if I'm especially unlucky my day can start closer to 5:00am with some obnoxious radio producer wanting an interview on some breaking issue. If this happens I have to pretend that a) I'm already awake, b) am completely across the issues and c) didn't think it was a good idea to have half a dozen G&Ts the night before.

If there are urgent morning issues I'll generally try and write talking points and handle enquiries from home before heading in; however, if it's a light morning, I will be in the office before 8:00am to read the rest of the papers, scan the office diary, and brief the Premier's staff on key issues. This is all fuelled by mugs of strong black instant coffee.

What follows can be hard to predict. There is no real typical day or even rhythm to a day. Some days are completely taken up by talking to journalists and public servants to handle breaking media issues. Other days are completely consumed by writing speeches, media releases, tweets, talking points, statements, and updates on websites.

If there are media events, I am heavily involved in planning them and often accompany the Minister to schools, worksites, or other events across the state. This might even involve taking a 6:00am flight in one of the Government planes to open a school 2000kms away.

Other days can be full of meetings with Departmental staff; politicians and other political staffers; external stakeholders; and community groups. There are always documents to approve, Right to Information applications to manage, and briefing notes to approve—all while keeping an ear on the radio and an eye on Twitter to stay ahead of the media cycle.

While there are no typical days, generally my day begins to wind up around 5pm with the first of the evening news bulletins. This is the time to finalise media enquiries, prepare talking points ahead of tomorrow's news items and try and clear the email inbox. Generally, if I'm lucky I'm out of the office by around 6:15pm.

It doesn't give me a whole lot of time to write but it is a tremendous finishing school for a communications professional and while writing poetry is my heart and soul, professional communications is my bread and butter and I am working hard to build twin careers in both areas.