(1 September 1950 - 23 January 1998 / Melbourne, Australia)

Speed, A Pastoral

it’s fun to take speed
& stay up all night
not writing those reams of poetry
just thinking about is bad for you
—instead your feelings
follow your career down the drain
& find they like it there
among an anthology of fine ideas, bound together
by a chemical in your blood
that lets you stare the TV in its vacant face
& cheer, consuming yourself like a mortgage
& when Keats comes to dine, or Flaubert,
you can answer their purities
with your own less negative ones—for example
you know Dransfield’s line, that once you become a junkie
you’ll never want to be anything else?
well, I think he died too soon,
as if he thought drugs were an old-fashioned teacher
& he was the teacher’s pet, who just put up his hand
& said quietly, ‘Sir, sir’
& heroin let him leave the room.

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