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Dan Byrnes
Personal Website

Note: This personal website was begun on 13 August 2008 as an adjunct on the domain - http://www.danbyrnes.com.au/

Dan Byrnes
Word Factory

More poetry

If I were you


If I were you I'd go for
the top of the next imbroglio
of the scene I was involved in,
then I'd check the fallout, assess the scene,
make a stand, advise anyone green,
and then ask them, who, and what for, do you know!

(A silly thing I wrote in 2010 for no particular reason)

Cooking at a friend's party one night
Dan Byrnes cooking at a party

Poetry, more of

An old man

Draft3 10-10-2013

He walks with worsening eyesight and memories
too long for younger people.
His drill bits are blunted and the world is anyway different,
managed badly and on the cusp of fresh disaster.
His seeds of long, slow anger disperse
and find new soil to grow in.
This is one of his private entertainments,
enjoying schadenfreude at the state of the world.
(I told you so. I could see it coming.
Why couldn't you? Why couldn't they?)
But his lack of energy means he has to snooze,
or take more booze to bed, and wait.
No more new tears to shed,
only old ones.
And tied to the past, he thinks and says …
It's all sweet and sour curds and whey,
and childrens' stories and nerves that fray.
Everything changes and it seems pointless to pray.
Though a lot of things stay the same. Hmm.
I wonder what, or if, I will think today?

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Recent poetry from Dan Byrnes

Poem 801

By Dan Byrnes Poem 801 of 18-12-2009 draft 6a

Poetry: The Making of the DVD

(For Paul Anglin, Melbourne)

We secured the location with rifles,
grenades, mortars and air strike.
Rifles using academic-coated bullets,
the grenades of utter frustration,
napalm of seemingly-seductive linguistic balm,
burning and smoking,
turning in the wind and choking.

And set to making the sets.
A dictionary here, a rhyme there,
a word from a nerd, a cast of a thousand recluses,
each of their homes lovingly detailed
to capture the misanthropy, angst and anomie
that go into the making of The Poetry.

The secret is to learn how to digitise the word,
bring in graphics the poet never thought of,
freeze-frame it, speed it up, slow it down, give it an edge,
make it contemporary and drown it in the ignorance
that all sorts of people have, who actually think
that the emotions are, or ever could be,
skilled workers.

We needed more special effects and make-up than expected,
though, truckloads, because poets regrettably get old
and often can't plausibly explain any more
their fantastic love affair when they were twenty-six,
any better than you or I could who were never there.
And what's the point of lengthy filming or re-enactments
of the wit-of-the-stairs of them
half-remembered smart-arsey quips,
now-demolished hospital wards,
forensic DNA work on landfills of dead used condoms and pizza crust,
the archaeologies of the bad use of punctuation and of
well-intentioned tendencies to multiculturalism?

At a poetry reading in Armidale
Dan Byrnes at poetry reading
Dan Byrnes (not normally looking so bleary) at an April 2008 Poetzinc reading. Photo by Bob Cummins

G e t .. a .. l i f e. We thought, this is historic and never been done!
Drizzled with history like a homeless dog in the rain,
flavoured with dead languages, printed,
and remorselessly drained
of life fluids in the morgue for posterity.
A screen-saver picture of a waterless, wind-blown desert here,
a bit-torrent download of Beethoven symphonies there,
and we get Rumi-eyed poetry,
poetry of the frangipani,
poetry of the beloved homeland,
poetry of the needy-souled wishful thinker,
poetry of the disastrously-undressed soul
in some fresh and excrutiating extremity,
and a eulogy from a meek vice-chancellor
from yet-another pointless university.

Is good. The sound track is by Phillip Glass,
as minimalist as an old city razed
slow-mo in just a few blitzkrieg strokes.
Hence the ending with the ...
disappointing scenes of ruins
under slowly-rising smoke.

We gather now in post-production parties,
and everyone here tries to hide
that they know the other people know
that they all knew, that the others know,
who aren't saying, unforgiving,
this is the kind of joke that arises from high school, from Year Seven,
when wordy-educated people, ordinary voters, try to make a living,
but also secretly try to defy the angels and to annex heaven.

What they're going to do in heaven
for such a long time
is the question never answered.

Odd that the parties never wind up,
talk continues while the zephyr winds blow, the surf comes in,
peace grows between the wars,
and no one knows what a zephyr is anymore.

Somone puts on some old Irish music
composed by the mounds of heartbreak.
Someone cries,
and life goes on because it has to.


- Dan Byrnes (otherwise indicated in these pages as -Editor)

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