BILLY MARSHALL STONEKING

Poet / Playwright / Filmmaker / Script Editor / Mentor

     SELECTED PERFORMANCE POEMS

Integration

 

Being an American in Australia isn’t easy,

but I’m trying to integrate;

I’m trying to fit in.

Just one of the boys with all the right expressions

under my belt, like:

        pasty glut

        cosmetic spring roll rut

        five o’clock shadow cigarette butt.

 

I mean, I’m trying to integrate;

I’m trying to fit in.

 

I try not to talk about the good ol’ U.S. of A.,

and I’ve never mentioned Uncle Sam once,

except to suspect he lives inside Colonel Sanders

who also gives me a big pain in the ass

with his mysterious suppository herbs & spices;

cos I’m trying to fit in, see?

I’m trying to integrate.

 

Okay, I can get nervous about women,

and cover it up under muscle and toughness, O.K.!

Say: “All sheilas are made fer fuckin’!”

while dreaming:

         leather cock thrust

         beer lubrication

         violet steak lips!

 

Say: “All poets are poofs!” and

beat my balls around fields of green

with wooden sticks so stiff and clean, screaming

 

          semen icing power

          spread on scones of breasts!   

 

Bloody hell! Can’t ya see?

I’m trying to integrate,

trying to fit in.

 

Like wearing high-heeled snow-shoes

and roller-skater shirts;

doing al the expected things, even tho’

my Balinese sarong trips me up occasionally.

 

I’ve got a sun-tanned asshole,

and I’m keeping me nose to the ground,

no bloody fear! I’m integrating, ya see?

Trying to sit in.

 

I’m a tough-fisted slow-sauntering grog-pissing

knife balling tit watching boong hating self-deceiving

regular visionless mate of no matter:

 

              Swallowed by deserts

                       and the fear of vaginas;

              Tortured by sun

                       and the freeze of lost passion;

              Murdered in business;

                        resurrected in wages!

              Enslaved in the cities and

                         imprisoned by FACTS

 

that stretch from my body

in steel rails of tracks I ride on,

              I hide on:

                          I’ve lost where I’ve been.

But I’m integrating

                          (yeah, INTEGRATING!)

 

I’m just fitting in.

 

 

Playland-by-the-Sea

(for Peter Neale)

 

There is no desire suffering is not heir to.

Every trap the heart makes

catches itself in mid-flight.

We fall into each other’s cages

so easily;

wingless birds in a gullible principality:

a constituency that understands bread crumbs

but cannot sing.

 

The arms, the legs, the wizened heads,

the wisps of feather hair gone grey,

flap over collars on a windy day.

 

The tide goes out,

the tide comes in;

the older we start;

the younger we end.

 

Pushed from the nest you learn

to fly or fall to earth - .

a hollow scavenger navigating

the unmappable, tracing the ancient

route by blood –  an instinct for movement

migrating to Death. Memory is no salvation.

Every death begins at birth.

We swoop the air, without wings,

Clear eyed and egg full,

Arcing towards that final nest.

 



Notting Hill Graffiti Blues

 

TUBE     WORK     DINNER     WORK       TUBE    ARMCHAIR      TV    SLEEP

TUBE                DINNER                 TUBE  ARMCHAIR      TV        SLEEP

             WORK                   WORK

 

TUBE WORK       DINNER WORK            TUBE         ARMCHAIR     TV SLEEP

 

                             One in five goes Mad

                             One in five goes mad

                             One in five goes  WORK   TUBE

 

TV ARMCHAIR MAD!            TUBE      WORK         DINNERWORK

TUBE       ARMCHAIR           TV SLEEP

TUBE WORK             DINNER WORK           TUBEARMCHAIR        TV SLEEP

TUBE                      DINNER                     TUBE ARMCHAIR               TV SLEEP

              WORK                         WORK

 

NEW WEEK

 

                          NEW WEEK

                                                     NEW WEEK!

 

                             One in five goes Mad

                             One in five goes Mad

                             ONE IN TEN CRACKS UP, and

                             One in five goes Mad

 

TUBE WORK           DINNER WORK            TUBE ARMCHAIR         TV SLEEP

TUBEWORK        DINNERWORK         TUBE  ARMCHAIR  TV  SLEEP

TUBE                       DINNER                     TUBE ARMCHAIR       TV        SLEEP

              WORK                          WORK

 

HOW MUCH MORE

                                    HOW MUCH MORE

                                                                           HOW MUCH MORE

 

CAN            YOU              TAKE!!!??


 

VENTRILOQUIST

I remember that summer
when she’d pull out Charlie -
which was what she affectionately
called my prick -
& being an artist,
she’d draw a face on it.
Then, without moving her lips,
she’d go to work:
"Hello, how’re you?
My name’s Charlie."

The first time, I laughed.

It was like meeting a stranger.
We stared at each other.
"What do you do?
What’s your name?"
I couldn’t take my eyes off him.

After a while,

Charlie started taking over.
He was the center of attention,
the life of the party.
He’d stay up all night.
Next morning, she’d ring me:

    (ABOVE: Clay icon by Christina Conrad)

 

"How’s Charlie?
"Are you looking after him?"
Sure... sure, I’d say,
giving him a reassuring pat.
He was the picture of confidence.
He gave me a helluva time.

One day, inexplicably,

she added eyelashes, a beauty spot
& bright-red lipstick.
The transformation was remarkable.
Charlie had changed into a woman.
It called me "big boy" in a squeaky voice;
it pouted & pulled faces.
I blushed.
The rest of me was speechless.

Then it became political.

Overnight I became a total shit;
a chauvinist pig.
It wanted to know
what kind of relationship is this, anyway?
It chastised me for not being able
to see beyond the end of my dick.

Later, the ventriloquist split,

taking her paints, her pens,
her mandolin & clothes.
"You never talk to me anymore,"
she said.
"So long."

She left Charlie behind.

He slept all day;
the old eloquence was gone.
I couldn’t put words in his mouth.
Then his face disappeared
entirely.
It was a shock at first, but
I survived.

Now, taking a piss, sometimes,

I actually smile, remembering
those days & nights of indelible lust
when love was neither deaf nor dumb
nor altogether blind.

 

 

 

ELEPHANT
(for Ed Field)

He liked the monkeys & the hippos,

the polar bears, & even the birds,
of course...
but most of all, he loved the elephants.
The elephants were dependable -
solid and definite as the paperweights
he’d played with on his father’s desk.
You could trust the elephants.
"The elephants," he said,
"the elephants are my friends."

So he learned their stories,

their way of speaking, their private jokes
& what they knew of love and keeping;
& by the time he was nine,
had mastered their vocabulary,
committing to heart their logarithms & astronomy.
He could walk like them, talk like them,
& even recall small facts about
some of the really great ones
who’d made big names for themselves overseas.

On special days,

before he was allowed to travel on his own,
he’d go with his father to the zoo
to say hello to his mates -
the Indian & the African -
waiting for the keeper to come
with leaves of hay,
or brush & bucket to scrub them clean,
transforming their skin
into an ineluctable rubberiness.

By the time he was eleven,

he knew their gestures & their joys,
imagining a life in other countries,
free of cages,
before Loxodonta africanus stumbled
accidentally
into a crowd of peanuts & boys.

As he recalled it,

to touch the eye of his first elephant
he would’ve needed a hook’n’ladder;
it was so high, its grey head
scraped the ceiling in the animal enclosure.
Outside, you would’ve lost it
in a cloud.

Lost - the child grows down into the man.

And year after year, the elephants grow smaller.
The big one - though he searched for it everywhere -
he never saw it again.

Behind the locks that keep us safe,

inside the Sundays of our brains,
hordes of creatures are detained
that can’t be fed & won’t be named.
We play our parts.
The he strongest cage: the human heart.
Not good, not bad, not false, not true.
The incomparable comfort of sawdust
contains the fool.


 

Quiet Weapons

 

The tablecloth is not your enemy.
There is no need to be afraid.
The way it canopies out and floats to earth
is perfectly harmless.
The fork will answer most of your questions.
Raising the knife above the chest is ill-bred.
More butter and less vehemence.
Do not take more that you can chew.
Those who betray themselves do so
when the mouth is open.
Tomato sauce is revelation.
The spoon is mystical.
Dessert is utterly blameless.
To see one’s face in the plate
is no disgrace 
so long as everyone is fed.
Sit up straight.
No elbows.
Those who are tired will be sent to bed.
It is all quite natural:
the menu, the salt,
the paper napkins rising
to meet their chins,
the knife held so...