•October 25, 2009 • 1 Comment

Making frames that have no contents
Framing claims without a context
Replacing reason with reflex
Substitute sub-standard subtext


Faking fame that has no pretense
Making claims without a pretext
Substitute reason for reflex
Submitting/Sustaining sub-standard subtext

Taking aim without a target
Taming flames with (gilded argent)
Transforming into pathogen
(Tresspassing, a secret agent)

(Replacing the words in brackets)


Splintering fragments
Absorbed, distracted
Making fake names
For the glittering facets

October 2009 Derek Wilson

Sunset Into SFO

•July 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Bittersweet life lived
Tantalising tapestry
Wanders down
Corrupted streets
Under sweat-breaking sun
Through sweep-scorching
Wind tunnels

He askes for change
Scratches sores on his face
Sounding like that actor
From that movie
On that flight

What to give
But trinkets
Broken particles
Of hours of toil?
Toil? “Toil”.
But a smile?
Smile back
Leave instructions
“Have a good night”
“Take care”

“God bless you, man”
He brays
Sounding like that actor
From that movie
On that flight

July 2009 Derek Wilson

Sunset Into CLT

•July 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

She will dance a drunken bit
You will folie, take a sit
She will tell for you her name
You will laugh quite much at it
You will laugh and say the same
You will say, but more tacit
She will speak but more a whit
She will leave you as you came
She will pirouette, exit

You will feel like a Ma/onet
In a slightly crooked frame

July 2009 Derek Wilson

Crystal by Delboy by Nathan

•June 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

A friend of mine on the other side of the world turned my poem into a song. It reminds me of many things from my life, but of most interest is that it eerily sounds like something that “she”, from the poem, would have liked to hear, and she would have been particularly impressed by the process that formed it. Unfortunately, she did swim away a while ago, but the fact that I reckon she’d like it, I think means that when we depart, we leave a bit behind. I feel a sense of peace that she is remembered and in some way has contributed to an artistic collaboration.

You can hear the song here at:

House On Red Corner


•June 11, 2009 • 2 Comments

She stood on the sand
On the edge of a great ocean
And wondered, if she floated or swam
Would it carry her away
And find for her a place she could believe in
And breathe in, a sacred land?
As her tears hit the grains pulverised
That hold the memory of billions of lives
And silently make no judgement
Content to let us pass by
A fleeting blink in their gritty eye

2005 Derek Wilson


•May 22, 2009 • 2 Comments

As I go to sleep tonight
My thoughts dance wild
And I rattle off cliché
Sleep on it
Sleep on it
But my brain
Likes the rattle dance
So I tell myself
Dream on it
Dream on it
And it almost works
I will toss and turn
But I have to say
Do dream, though
Dream it big
Dream on big

May 2009 Derek Wilson

This Day To Die

•May 12, 2009 • 1 Comment

It would seem to be
A most ludicrous thing
To die in spring
To die while singing
The theme to a
Romantic comedy film
As your hand is pressed
Firmly close to her breast
And her strong musky scent
Rides the heat of her fume
To jam up each lung
And explode the space
Between her beauty
And you

May 2009 Derek Wilson

I Fell Down

•April 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hiding my head in the sand
Slamming my fist into the palm of my hand
Bouncing off walls and floors
Opening windows and slamming doors
Running, yelling all the night long
Pulling in noise, calling it song
Fallen from heaven to earth
Suspended between my death and my birth

2004 Derek Wilson

She Never Showed Up

•April 8, 2009 • 1 Comment

I was meant to meet up with a friend today to teach her Garage Band but she didn’t make it (with good reason). Having mainly used Digital Performer for work and Logic Studio for myself, I decided that I may as well create a track to reacquaint myself with GB.

I haven’t done much music writing lately, typically I’ll come up with a guitar riff and then get distracted, or drunk, or both… My aim for this week was to ‘complete’ one track. It didn’t have to be great, or necessarily finished, but something I could play and it sound complete. I was thinking I would do one of my already written songs but this piece just came out of nowhere and somewhat surprised me. It’s not a style I’ve worked in before. The fact that I used sampled beats heavily affected the rest. It’s a bit bgm, sort of a chill lounge vibe. A thursday night track to talk over while your body feels it. You can have a listen below.

So I’ve got my toes wet again finally and had fun doing it. Now I need to go for a swim…

She Never Showed Up

The Desert Revisited Part II

•April 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The guitarist asked me if
I know about things (THINGS)

I told him I used to
But not anymore and
Certainly not here…

Some other guy came up
And asked if I was a journalist
I guess, because I was writing
I told him no, I write poetry
He came back later and told me
That he is a journalist
And could interview me
But would need to read my poems

To this day, I’m not sure why
But I told him
That my writing was not for
Public consumption
And he nodded and left

August 2008 Derek Wilson


The Desert Revisited part I

•April 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The guitarist hugs me and pats my back gently
The guy with the bug eyes smiles his warm yet creepy grin
My drink keeps being replenished long before I need it
Nirvana is being played… again
I haven’t seen many guys around here with long hair
Except for musicians
People shake hands with really flaccid grips
Man and woman alike
I can see a French horn and a banjo nearby
Under UV light and those glow in the dark
Stars and planets and satellites
Those chords aren’t quite right
And let’s not mention the shirt
Do I have enough money?
I’m worried about my grammar and how many more times
In my life I’ll have to hear ‘Sweet Home Alabama’
Does the physics of snow shoes apply to sand?
Why, whether I eat a lot, or just one small meal a day
Does my energy level not really change?
Most people dance quite badly
I’ll throw my own hand up there
But having listened to dancers for most of my life
I’m sometimes surprised by how much I know
And how much I care
Am I being unfair?
I’m missing my friends
Looking forward to sweating my way hotel in the heat
Looking forward to those crisp white sheets
What the hell is this on my shoe?
How can someone drop Stevie Wonder’s name
But not know ‘Hotter Than July’?
Was Carmen Sandiego a girl or a guy?
I wonder if I’m as trivial as most things seem?
Dum-dee-dum, dum-doo-dee
Places to meet, people to be

July 2008 Derek Wilson


A Parliament Of Owls

•April 6, 2009 • 1 Comment

Trust in me, like a Church
I provide sanctuary
Apothecary mix
Frankincense and
Dirty kneeling cushions with
Stone buttresses and
Wooden crosses
And dusty prayer book scents
So, warm under my wing
Take the food that I bring
As I sing of my father
And you gaze on him
But twist your sight
One eighty degrees
And cast your
Piercing eyes to me

March 2009 Derek Wilson

Hollow Bones

•April 6, 2009 • 2 Comments

This boy got bug-eyed
And sometimes he misunderstand
And when he go and stretch his wing
He’s breaking things and raised his hand
Like it were the Moses man
Full of God, full of plan
Stop, eyes pop and stumbles down
Grazed gaze tears tears
Who does what it find in here?
What is it want?
This boy got mono-browed
Stereo soft and mono loud
And sometime he take controls
Steering steady to
That path he do not know
And when he go and show his strength
They breaking him
And raised his hand
Like he is the preacher man
Born again, but now and then

February 2009 Derek Wilson


•April 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

How does this happen, this fiction, this fashion
This whimsical fantasy?
Fade out and cash in
Condescend to attend this chardonnay soiree
This saturday matinée
Please be advised that for this afternoon’s performance
The role of God will be played be The Devil
So put on your halo
Just talk slow and lay low
And linger in shadow and false rolling fog
And flicker and falter and alternate quickly
With those in the wings
And then, make your hand sleight
Raise up to full height
Lay down a smoke screen
And see if you don’t
Steal the scene

January 2009 Derek Wilson

She dressed blackly

•April 5, 2009 • 4 Comments

And took a fancy to the underside of river crossings
And southern-facing balconies
And she sung songs in slow motion
Lyrics from the Eighties
To Seattle-rock melodies
And sometimes stuff like, you know
Eagle Eye Cherry to Bob Marley
And of course, the obligatory
Tomorrow, Wendy

She freaks, she pauses
Mr. Eyebrow-Ring-Bandana-On-Wrist
Sings some sort of Save Tonight
What did she just write?
She didn’t write a thing
And nervously twists
Her (dual concentric)?
Stainless steel ring

I used to be a little girl
Smiles irony, she hopes
It’s a tough gig tonight
And she’s stretched for definition
But full of ammunition
Did she mean ambition?
Yet, pulling on a tartan skirt
And wondering if they’ve realised
That she’s wandered down to the riverside
And kind of, dematerialised

January 2009 Derek Wilson


•April 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This is insomnia
This is the waking dead
This is sleepwalking
The alcohol talking
This is realised dread
This is depths unfathomed
But, hey, Nirvana never mind
This is relent, accept
Acquiesce and unwind
This is dreams dissipated
Schemes corrupted, unweighted
This is rock and roll
Anti-inflammatory coup
This is guitars debasing
And nuclear inflation
This is atomic, ironic
Iconic and idiotic
This is falsified records
And Honda Accords
This is buses home
And mobile phones
This is workers, or drones
This is an unanswered question
All the things left unsaid
This is the song that you can’t stand
Getting stuck in your head

June 2006 Derek Wilson

Conversation With A Stranger

•April 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This conversation’s getting stranger
I came here feeling fragile, fractured
We talked about targets and tactics
Melted visions and dreams that have shattered
Like windscreens during an urban riot
But now, you can’t stop yourself from talking
And I can’t stop myself from keeping quiet

February 2006 Derek Wilson


•April 5, 2009 • 2 Comments

Throw him a rope from the side of your boat
Throw as hard as you can
And aim for the drowning man
In the centre of the whirlpool
And hope that he knows how to swim
And his skill or will, will keep him afloat
While you’re casting it in
And pray that he has the presence of mind
To grab hold of your line, and then reel him in
Give him water and wine and warmth and a fire
A soft bed to retire his sodden head
And peaceful dreams to help him sleep
Hold him when he weeps
And tell him everything will be all right
And tomorrow, when he wakes
This will all seem
Like nothing more than a bad dream

December 2006 Derek Wilson

Conversation With A Cockroach

•April 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’m trying to have a conversation with a cockroach
And intermittently punching myself in the head
Because my reflection in the bathroom mirror
Won’t respond unless I say something
But the cockroach appears independent
I tell him to stop moving his right antenna
And just wiggle his left one if he understands
But they both keep moving
I don’t think he understands
But he pauses when I speak
Maybe it’s just the wind of my breath
And I feel remorseful for the many deaths
Of his brothers and sisters that I have caused
They meant no harm, they just do
Whatever it is cockroaches do
Yet I impose my own restrictions
And regulations and justifications
And I wonder why these poor maligned bastards
Don’t just rise up and take control
They’ve gotta have the numbers
And possibly intelligence in abundance
Continually confounding our best attempts
To wipe them out, to take control
And you’re all worried about Islam
And Jihadist suicide bombers
And fiscal fluctuations and leaders with less than a promise
And taxes and death and Shakespeare and Socrates
“But I’ll tell you what!”
He finally relents and drops his guise, much to my surprise
“You’re all worried about Armageddon come
Fool, it’s now with the insect, not yet with the gun”

October 2008 Derek Wilson

Mirror Mirror

•April 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

What changes ring these bells of time?
What creatures crawl through this dark mire?
What day is this and why do I reflect in my heart, face, the sky?
What future reckons, judged by my past?
Heart, it beckons, beating too fast,
Could I, with sole force of will, then halt this fleeting surge of time?
Slow this heartbeat, still the earth that shifts beneath my aching feet?
At least, at least if nothing else, I’ll take this day’s reflection,
And with little guile I’ll bend its truth,
And where were tears, you’ll see a smile.

December 2004 Derek Wilson

Black Cloud

•April 5, 2009 • 2 Comments

He opened the window
And stepped out
Lit a cigarette
And looked around
Breathing deeply
And marking time
Gazing five floors
Down to the ground

Descent of the cloud
Here it comes
Here it comes
Like a home run
Like a blood hound

October 2004 Derek Wilson

She Wants To Dance

•April 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

She wants to dance
She wants to hold hands
She wants you to kiss her
Softly goodnight
And prays you won’t ask
To sleep with her tonight
She wants to date you
Wants to love and hate you
She wants to get to know you
She has so much to show you
She wants to feel
Like your high school girlfriend
She wishes she could stop
She wishes you would put
Your arms around her again
And it would be enough
To complete her

Her feet don’t touch the ground
Your voice is her only sound
She gently takes a rib
That used to surround
Your broken heart
And like a modern day Eve
In a Devil’s Eden
If you give her your breath
She’ll take that and the rest
And become all she can
Be one with you
Be woman

July 2006 Derek Wilson

I Raised My Hands Up

•April 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I raised my hands up
And laid down my weapons
I three wise monkey’d
And paid no attention
I took the trash in
And threw out the lesson
I walked so softly
I made no impression

I cut the volume
And faded the lighting
I lit the torches
And raided, igniting
I took the needle
And drew out the blighting
I walked in warpaths
I waded in fighting

I fixed the numbers
And rorted the ledgers
I campaign promised
And courted the pledgers
I took the solo
And blew up the wedges
I walked the mazes
I ran through the hedges

I dredged the bottom
And caught things discarded
I laughing Buddha’d
And wandered unguarded
I took the setbacks
And grew up retarded
I walked a fine line
I wound up red-carded

September 2008 Derek Wilson

Ningyo 人魚

•April 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

And then, we were there
And you’d done something different with your hair
And then, you drew my eyes again
And I was like, orbital
But losing my spin
And you were like a siren
To a sailor, giving in
And then, you were taking pictures
And I was, well, in stitches
And noticing reverberance
With sibilance and clapping
And then, of course you were dancing
And tapping on my shoulder
And I was soon forgetting
The plotted course and setting
And then, we said a lot of things
I wish we didn’t mean
And you were so soon leaving
And I didn’t mean them anymore
And this heart has stood such beatings
But again this heart was sore
And then, well, I don’t know the end
But I was sitting alone again
And watching distant mermaids
From the incognita shore

September 2008 Derek Wilson

Ningyo 人魚

Ningyo 人魚


•April 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I had just arrived in Tokyo after spending an amazing yet busy week in Osaka and was looking forward to a few days off before our shows at the Tokyo Forum. I checked into my hotel, unpacked my bag and then wandered into the shopping and eating district of Akasaka. Akasaka is a largely untouristed area itself, but quite close to the Imperial Palace, The National Theatre and other such imposing sights.

Leaving hotel with a group from our company, I needed to return hotel briefly and said I would text someone to find out where they were eating. (Digression: I’ve been thinking lately that if you can correctly say things like “I walked home” instead of “I walked to my home”, then shouldn’t you also be able to say “I walked hotel”? I’m trying it out here, but it does feel a little awkward…) That someone forgot their phone and I was wandering around without a response when I came across a little English styled pub I remembered visiting last year.

I ordered a Kirin Ichiban – marveling, not for the first time, on how good Japanese beer is and how similar to Australian beer it is, which is probably why I think it’s so good in the first place. There was a picnic table style seat outside and I placed myself in the warm, sultry, extended-summer afternoon, writing a poem, sipping beer and watching Tokyonians wander by.

A middle aged man in dark blue slacks, light blue business shirt and a dark blue cap with an embroidered Koi on it soon walked in, got a beer and came to sit outside too. As he was about to pass me, he stopped and inquired where I was from. He then welcomed me to Tokyo and hoped I had a pleasant stay. Noticing my beer was somewhat low, he asked if I would like another. I was happily drinking quite slowly and so declined, but I believe he was ready to buy a complete stranger a drink, just to welcome them to his city.

As he finished his beer he came and sat opposite me and asked me my name and how long I was staying in Japan. He then again wished me a pleasant stay in Tokyo, expressed how nice it was to meet me – several times, then returned his glass to the bar and wandered off down the road, pausing once, to turn around and wave goodbye.

September 2008 Derek Wilson


•April 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Stare at the smoke curling
Around invisible, oddly shaped objects
Suspended in space like children’s’ toys
Tossed up into the air
And frozen as if in a photograph
As it rises from a resting hand close by

Stare at the dwindling supply of liquid
As it slow-dances with neglected cubes of ice
Lethargically jostling for position
To take the first place in the last sip from this glass
Both forgetting, that if left long enough,
They will eventually become one

Stare at the speakers dangling dangerously
From carelessly hung brackets
Attached to careless walls reflecting
The emitted sounds of last month’s
Song of the moment
Ah, it’s all just noise

Stare at the speakers of: what happened at work today?
What is she wearing?
Would you like another drink?
Do you know who she is?
Who does he think he is?
What was I thinking?
It’s worse than the music

Stare long enough and even those tears that rarely flow
And must be reserved in abundance, dry up
Lids scratch gently at unfocussed eyeballs
Tracing their way across
This may as well be empty room

Stare at that still beating heart
Residing somewhere outside of the chest
Seeing all the way things were meant to be
And not understanding
The patterns and shapes the fleeing blood makes
As it spills on the floor

Stare at the door and the windows
Through which escape seems possible
Beyond which, flight seems credible
Light shines indelible
And amiable futures are ambling by
Awaiting a chance encounter
With a willing, talkative stranger

Stare at the faces of these few known friends
Whose features are now etched with subtle lines
That are surely, if slowly, growing deeper
Marks and signs that are inescapably connected
To shared experience
Burdens borne across several shoulders
Across joined inhabitation of time

Stare at the flowers and the rodents
The careful graffiti and the homeless in dirty blankets
The vodka in plastic bottles and the fantastic moon
Peeping through sandstone, bounced off steel bridges
Expensive boats and the ever-compelling ocean

Stare and stare and stare and see
In place of despair, endless possibilities
And laugh and feel and heal in pieces
Love in stitches, live like characters in
Bizarre, tragic, touching moving pictures

Stare again at smoke and hand and face and glass
And heart and future and music and past
Seeing all the ways that things may be
Eyes learning focus, to witness, not stare
As apparitions arise from air
Becoming angels solidly

July 2008 Derek Wilson


•April 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Peace descends with the setting sun
Traveling faster as darkness comes
Traveling light and tricking time
Now yet, she takes the bard’s sturdy advice
While being my ethic and avarice
She trips away with a bright sparkled eye
And it’s only this heart that makes its stay
Between its unsatisfactory, anyway, beats
Gazing, soft focused, self conscious, atrocious
At bruised, self centred and dusty feet
But she says it’s alright
Says it again
Kisses me goodnight
And then?

September 2008 Derek Wilson

Independence Day

•April 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I should get a blood test
I should get some more rest
I’d be worth my weight in gold
If I was made of oil
I’d tap into these blackened veins
And hit the auctions
Sold! Your number Sir?
Light and sweet and crude I can do
I’d be a real bargain
With an increase in production
And a fondness for combustion

I should get my head read
I should probably stay in bed
I’d be smart like Stephen King
If I was made of science
Or is that Stephen Hawking?
I’d write a book
New York Times bestseller
Entertainment equals media times celebrity squares
I’d pimp out the formula
For a few million clam shells
After all, it’s sex that sells

I should get one more beer
I should get out of here
I’d be as strong as Ghandi
If I was made of peace
I’d be orange and white and green
With a circular pattern in between
All good things come
To those who don’t hate
I’d petition myself for a brand new state
Partition myself then send those pieces
Off to celebrate

August 2008 Derek Wilson


•April 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Construction workers
Heads wrapped in dirty rags
Squat on dusty concrete
Barricades that centre
The highways
Waiting, breaking, under the
Increasingly persistent sun
For a small break
In the seemingly ceaseless
Traffic flow

Stoic and diligent
Building a world
They will eventually be
Excluded from upon completion
Which doesn’t look like
It’ll happen anytime soon
Which is in a way good for them
And their families
Back home on the
Lonely receiving end of all this
Tormented toil

From beneath their light
Loosely fitted, soiled clothes
They glare at men
Entering air-conditioned offices
With fridges and water coolers
Inexplicably decked out in
Garish ties and smart
Dark woollen suits

While they may understand
Why their employers
Neighbours and countrymen
Now converse in
The language of a
Small, cold European nation
I’m sure they don’t understand
The fascination
With the fashion

There’s yet another traffic jam ahead
Possibly caused by still more
Construction workers
But it allows these ones to
Weave through these small
Portable weather systems
All set to arctic gale
Keeping the inhabitants
Suitably frozen
And they’re back to the night and day
Pneumatic, hydraulic, nightmare
Accompanied now and then by this
Stubbornly unhelpful breeze

One guy pauses as he
Crosses a few feet away
And stares into this false frost
With eyes that look colder
Than any day he’s ever known
But it’s a look I know
Can be turned in seconds by a
Smile and a nod of recognition
Into a joyful, humble, hello
His face is strained and streaked and wet
And, I don’t know, is he crying?
Or is it just sweat?

August 2008 Derek Wilson


•April 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Look at this skin
Check out its setting
Notice how it contrasts
Watch as it’s shedding

Speak a few words
Note their low worth
Measure how they affect
Guess if they’re working

Live out an ideal
Examine if it’s real
Reverse the polar longing
Seek out a reckoning

Trial a new style
Trace down its trail
Mark all that prevails
Pretend you’re not pretending

August 2008 Derek Wilson


•April 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This one likes a quiet place
To close his eyes and pray
To plead and to praise
And send thoughts from
Deep within the soul
To a place of belief
And faith

This one likes confession
Selfishness, then submission
To be led and told
Just what he must say
To preserve his soul
And keep eternal judgement
At bay

This one likes to reflect
Look in the mirror there
Gaze at the inner self
Find a new meaning
Behind the eyes, a soul
A universe and more
And all

This one likes to be watched
And wonders how we ever survived
Before YouTube and blog
Voyeurs and video response
The connected soul
In a world detached
And alone

This one likes to scream
At the sun and the moon
And anyone who wanders by
Wanting recognition
There really is a soul
And if the volume’s right
You’ll know

This one likes to immerse
In confusion and noise
Frantic images, flashing lights
A frenetic, pulsing beat
A frenzied, fractured soul
Fantasising disorientation
As peace

This one likes to take stock
To sit back and observe
To notice and so evolve
Yet rarely be involved
Hoping that the soul
By learned association
Will grow

This one likes his pen to speak
Organising into category
Wayward ideas with
Tight little letters, syllables
That represent his soul
In an abstract, or essay
Or verse

August 2008 Derek Wilson


•April 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This conscience is crawling
Across pale freckled skin
And this is a scream
Revolution aloud
Like four hundred
Thousand kilos, winged
Ripping apart
The top of a cloud

This habit is forming
Like the clouds rolling in
And this is defeat
All hands up and heads bowed
So how the hell
Do you work this thing?
Hanging on to
The top of a cloud

This patience is thinning
Like a body diseased
And this is a face
Hidden under a shroud
Swearing an oath
Swearing like lightning
Raining down from
The top of a cloud

This melody’s fleeing
All the harmony drowned
And this is the song
Overcome by the crowd
So how the hell
Do you learn to sing
Hanging on to
The top of a cloud?

July 2008 Derek Wilson


•April 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Whiplash car crash
Sit in a state
Of constant awe
Devouring ideas
Like they were beers
On a summer Saturday night

Hurricane Cocaine
Squeezed in a box
The size of an ox
Shattering walls
Like they were glass
Installed in a soprano’s dressing room

Umbrella of terror
Walk to the edge
Of the raging storm
Gathering hail
Like it is manna
Materialising in a minefield

July 2008 Derek Wilson


•April 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I can still feel the rush of you
On my skin
Still smell and taste the disbelief
That I’ve been swimming in
Do you wash yourself and
Cleanse your head
Of the same strange things?
Or do you take it in?

Do you feel sometimes
Like the sky is falling
In some sort of fashion
It’s all caving in?
Or do you recognise in me
The same kind of mania
I see as I watch you
Climbing the walls?
And when you see him too
Just like you, ascending
What do you do?
Do you let him fall?

I can still feel the fear of you
On my lips
Still bouncing back from
Where you pressed your
Glittered fingertips
Do you also
Stare into the dawn
Like it’s the apocalypse
Swinging your golden hips?

Should I be acting like this
While I’m thinking that way?
Always courting the night
While seducing the day
And dancing with the twilight
Stepping between the rays
Of the sunlight’s dying gaze

June 2008 Derek Wilson

Day Off

•April 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Turn off the television
It has nothing new to say
Disconnect the Internet
After closing every page
Unplug the telephone cable
Over there at the wall
Put the Do Not Disturb sign
On the handle of the door
Power down the laptop
Letting tired eyes adjust
Switch off the air-conditioning
And feel the settling dust
Place the half-read history book
On the table in the hall
Even disable the fridge
By separation from its power source
Let the cell phone battery die
Extinguish every light
Open up the window
To the dry and baking night
Let the music enter in
Cacophony of sound
Inhale unfamiliar scents
Slow the breathing down
Let the iris plot its course
Lens focus, pupil grow
Altered by the city’s warm
Sepia and neon glow
Leave the camera shutter closed
No online/offline friend will see
This moment chosen only for
This solitary memory

July 2008 Derek Wilson

Fell From The Sky

•April 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Crescent moon carved clean and crisp by sword and scimitar
Century after century watching desert sun set
Over Mosque and Temple, Synagogue and Cathedral
Handshake and embrace and blood red heartbreak
Prophet, nomad, sage and fool, Bedouin in dusty tent
Careless crashing young man in rarely sparkling Mercedes Benz
Lady of convenience, Gentleman of wealth
Oud and kohl, spice and gold, designer clothed
Adorn beauty and enhance it unseen under loose black robe
Violin, dulcimer, tanpura and slowly beaten drum
Down sandy street rings wedding bell and call to prayer
The crying mourner come to beat fist and head against ancient wall
To wait, to watch; to wit: to witness, to observe and spectate
A crowd of one, one eye on the moon, one eye on the sun

July 2008 Derek Wilson

Bluebell With A Broken Heart

•April 4, 2009 • 1 Comment

All my friends have bleeding palms
They raise them against
The claustrophobing windows
Of their bedrooms and kitchens
When they think no one’s looking
Making strange stained glass
Swirling patterns
Abstract designs
And the names of people
They should be forgetting
Because all my friends have
Broken hearts
They stitch them together
With threads of religion
And philosophy and
Making arrhythmic beats
Ill-conceived flow
Ill-conceived pathways
That force surging cells down
Through bruised arms and
Chaffed wrists
Towards their upturned
Hands dug too deep by
Ragged fingernails

Someone whispers with
The quiet authority of rage
All this is surely a sign of our times
But I’m inclined to think it’s just
A sign of my age

June 2008 Derek Wilson

Choose your own adventure

•April 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes in my travels, when I’m going to, am in, or have already been to a place where friends have already been, I receive (very well meaning) exhortations to “go see this” or “go look at that”, as do most people when they are traveling. I’m quite guilty of this myself. Even the other day I was telling someone what to do when she goes to China later this year.

I also find that when I revisit a place, I often try to seek out a similar experience to my previous one – particularly if that experience was great.

I’m not sure how other people find it, but I find that, while sometimes the friends give handy advice, generally I’m left disappointed or underwhelmed. Obviously they had a great time here. Why shouldn’t I? The ‘repeat performance’ attempts are usually even worse (as anyone I dragged around Singapore to long closed entertainment districts could attest to…).

What I’m learning the more I travel, is how important it is to let your own head and heart lead the way. Advice is a good thing, it can start you off in the right direction and lead to some great times, but if it’s not working, it’s good to be able to tell yourself that maybe your experience is going to be a different one, and move on.

I have had some of the most amazing times of my life when I’ve struck out by myself, followed no plans and got a little lost – sometimes physically, often mentally. These are the times I’ve also forged friendships that, while they aren’t necessarily my best friends, they are nevertheless lifelong friends who I stay in touch with and always seek out when I return. My friend Paul Welch said of these types of friends “I will always keep a seat for them at the table round my heart”. I like that.

So now I don’t worry so much if I haven’t experienced what everyone else has. I’m trying to approach each new chapter of my life as something I’m writing, not something I’m reading.

May 2008 Derek Wilson

Notes on Burial Ground

•April 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

In October 2004, I was in New York for my brother’s wedding. We were driving from his place in Brooklyn Heights, to Connecticut for, I want to say, a costume fitting, but no, it would have been a suit fitting.

Somewhere in Manhattan, I think on the Upper West Side, but I’m not sure now, I saw a battered old sign that simply said ‘Burial Ground’. My brain immediately went into overdrive with images of North American Indian scenes and landscapes and I wanted to start writing. Not having a pen or paper handy – somewhat unusual for me – I started writing words as a text into my phone.

It was a stream of consciousness event, I just wrote as the words appeared and the more I wrote, the more the style, form and content seemed to be directed by what I was writing – perhaps a stream of unconsciousness?

I realised pretty quickly that what I was writing had nothing to do with North American Indians, or the American West at all, but far more reflected my images of England, which I had visited around 10 years earlier. The style too, was heavily reflective of some British and Irish writers I’ve studied.

It turned backwards on itself though, when I sat down later with several verses of an incomplete tale, to realise I could clearly hear Poe’s influence above all others in the imagery, word choice, arrangement and rhyme structures even though the meter was loose and inconsistent. I also noted that a few words were not ‘legitimate’ words, but kept them in, as they fit their intended meaning exactly and are easily decipherable. It’s fitting that Poe came from Boston and at times worked in New York and all over the New England and surrounding areas. Back in 2006, I drove up to Vermont with my brother and his wife and got to see some of the stunning scenery that inspired the New England mantle. It was a particularly beautiful time in the region – ‘Fall’, just as the leaves were falling. Travellers from all over the world come to New England each year to see this spectacular happening.

Given the convoluted intersections of past and present experiences, I decided to continue writing and editing in this style. I’ve kept taking it out, looking at it, trying to write more lines, rearranging, etc… ever since. Recently I made some larger leaps in writing to come very close to feeling like it was complete, but couldn’t quite get there. Then I realised that I would be back here in few days, with lots of time on my hands and lots of inspiration…

I woke up the other morning listening to my sister-in-law practice Mozart on the piano in the living room, stepped out onto the fire escape and into a warm and fresh spring morning to see that the trees in Owl’s Head Park, that tower over the Narniaesque lamp posts and playful squirrels, were just starting to bud. Mothers were pushing their kids in strollers, people were playing with their dogs or sitting on blankets reading newspapers and books – I imagined Joyce or Wilde, E.M.Forster or Murakami. Perhaps someone was even reading “The Fall of the House of Usher” (probably not…) as a few Hassidim with their blacks coats, hats and ringlets ambled by? I was having a Merchant-Ivory moment…

My sister-in-law would later remark that the weather reminded her of England in the Spring, where she grew up. I’m intrigued by these loosely tangled connections of England and New England, with my own experiences and perceptions. Recently I was also in Amsterdam, now I’m back in ‘New Amsterdam’ reminded of the underlying influences that join these two famous cities, as I witnessed when I was there.

The surface story of Burial Ground is ridiculously simple: there’s a cemetery on a hill, someone walks up, clears a grave and leaves flowers on it, then walks away. I’ve attempted to use equally simple language to explore far more complex ideas below. Questions that, in other contexts, I find myself asking often. Seeking answers that may take a lifetime to unearth. Or maybe I’ll find them tomorrow…

Derek Wilson
Owl’s Head Court, The Narrows
Brooklyn, Kings County, NY
Spring 2008

Somewhere in The Narrows

Somewhere in The Narrows

Owl's Head Park

Owl's Head Park

Burial Ground

•April 3, 2009 • 2 Comments

Who comes up this hill once more,
This tired and weighty rise of sods and stones
That has seen your kind and mine
Forever and before?

Who lies below and underneath
Their sodden, treading, trudging feet,
That stir the settled earth mixed recent
With the sullen, sogging rain,
Having seen not sign of animal or man
For decades of the winter’s frigid dark
And summer’s baking, swelling heat?
Who comes up this weed-bred, rocky lane?

Who approaches now as night encroaches,
Blackening travelers’ blistered toes?
Who goes beyond their fear
To wander near this haunted place?
Who respects, with awe, these fallen kin,
These long forgotten men of yore,
These women’s bones therein the dirt,
Whose memories time has sought for all its days,
With vigour, longing to efface?

Who wears the darkened lace of mourning,
Grieving in the dawn and evening,
Even as the sun set years ago upon their heart?
Who challenges yet time
As they climb up through lime-washed picket post and wire
To read inscripted eulogies carved in an ancient art?
Who laments these sorrowed, bleakened rhymes?

Who besets these hell gates black,
Spilling salted tears upon corrupted earth with longing,
Yearning for their long departed to come crawling back
With rattling hail and banshee wail,
Arisen from the frozen dirt, the seldom-hindered turf,
Their unimpeded stretch of years of rest now interrupted?
Fallen, beckoned by the calling of the living,
Conscience clawing at their consciousness
Like wolves in winter, hunting in their pack.

Who bends low to pluck the weeds
From over their shallow sleeping beds?
Who places fresh cut flowers now
Above their wormed and rotted heads
That turn no more, nor see, nor care,
No longer knowing when to reap the fields
Or plant the new year’s seeds,
Having long past lost desire to spawn a beating heart?
Who regrets this awesome span of years apart?

Who now departs, enwrapped in woolen coat
And cape and weathered cap,
Shaking undesired grime from sturdy leathered boot,
Looking back not once, not more,
Not looking at this place at all
As navigating bracken, bramble,
Down this forlorn tor they stumble,
Setting damp eyes squint against this sulky, sleety gale?

Who vanishes from sight and soon’s forgotten
Then, as quiet, ghastly silence once again descends
Like covers hauled by kindly mothers softly
Over sleeping babes to ward the chill
And challenges in measure of this lonesome night,
In measure more of this folklore,
This sad, eternal tale?

April 2008 Derek Wilson

Observations on how touring has changed me

•April 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’ve come to prefer a takeaway cup to a china mug.
I choose clothes on how small they’re going to roll up and if they can survive not being washed for a while.
When I enter a hotel room the very first thing I check out is not the bed, the decor or the bathroom, but whether I can open the window – even if it means using tools.
I don’t worry so much about making a mess – housekeeping will clean it up.
I leave a few dollars on my pillow each morning.
I can say hello, goodbye and thank you in many different languages, but little else.
I get alarmed by the price of a taxi at home.
I have friends for life in Malaysia, South Korea, USA, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand, some of whom have never left their home town (and some of those, may never leave).
I consider a power board and a face washer indispensable travel items.
A good internet connection and some incense makes me feel at home.
My own room in Sydney feels a little alien.
I no longer buy CDs, preferring the weight of a download instead.
I know where to get a great cheese and egg sandwich in Seoul, the location of a hidden yet stunningly beautiful restaurant by a river in the outskirts of Bangkok, where to get amazing cheap food in Singapore and the best coffee in New York.
I crave the coffee a few minutes walk from my home in Sydney. And generally head there first when I arrive home.
I’ve been mugged in New York and pickpocketed in Thailand.
I bought my last phone on the strength that it would also work in Japan.
I know my way around many airports, downtowns and transport systems.
I often look out my window thinking “where to next?”.

October 2007 Derek Wilson

Feel Like Laying Low

•April 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Feel like laying low
Feel like an aged merlot
Feel like a train wreck
A car crash
Brittle as driftwood
Fragile as glass

Feel like keeping quiet
Feel like a different diet
Feel like another beer
A cigarette
Two cups of coffee
And an omelette

Feel like breaking stuff
Feel like it’s never enough
Feel like a walkout
A sit in
Drinking till morning
And crying

Feel like flying high
Feel like Captain Bligh
Feel like a mutiny
A street party
Painting the town red
In graffiti

Feel like calling home
Feel like the fall of Rome
Feel like making love
A cliché
A country song
And reggae

Feel like walking tall
Feel like a brick wall
Feel like an arsonist
Spark and flame
Fleeting fire
Eternal fame

March 2006 Derek Wilson


•April 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I look out across Manila Bay
Another new room
Another new face
The madness begins again
Another new day
My heart begins to race
As I hang my head
And think about the things I’ve done
The words I’ve said
The lack of strategies
I begin to pace
Across the balcony
Over the bay
And I form in my head
The rhyme and the meter
The meaning
The appearance of what I’d like to say
But it comes out tangled
Falls out wrong
And all I wish
Is that I had my guitar
So I could write a song instead

July 2004 Derek Wilson

Fairy Lights

•April 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The heaving downtown sound glares loud
Like the lights on Christmas Avenue
The chill wraps around like a pending cloud
On a mountain with a city view

And the sky is falling fast
This afternoon hazy glow won’t last
I reach into my pocket for a tune or two
And once again I’m falling through
I’m falling through your song

The throbbing downtown throng grips me
Like a toy Santa climbing a chain
It’s too hot again
Like a Bankok winter with no shade
No airconditioning

And the night is falling slow
This uneasy feeling will not go
I reach into my pocket for a tune or two
And once again I’m falling through
I’m falling through your song

The notes this time seem somehow dissonant
Your gaze sort of glazed and somewhat distant
I never was a great dancer and tonight
I feel that like never before
Like I’m hearing the music through cotton wool
Watching the world through gauze

And the dawn is falling fast
This stolen time is almost past
I reach into my pocket for a tune or two
And once again I’ve fallen through
I’ve fallen, to your song

December 2006 Derek Wilson

Ladies and Gentlemen

•April 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It’s like I’m living in Las Vegas
Not that I’ve ever been there
The TV Las Vegas in my head
Some strange planet based on a circus philosophy
Clowns and freaks
The clowns and freaks don’t get along
And I’m not sure which side I’m on yet
But there’s a growing concern that I may be one of the animals
Exploited and restrained
Bring me the greasepaint, quickly
‘Cause if I hit that stage from a cage, I don’t know what I’ll do
Maybe I’ll eat the ringmaster

January 2006 Derek Wilson

Lava Lamp

•April 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes I can’t breathe
Hammering these clumsy fists on the too thick ice
Praying it will open up
And swallow me back to the warm, solid earth

Skin bursts and breaks and blood flows
Escaping the bounds of my fragile wrapping

Warm blood rises
Cool, it descends
And I immerse myself in a bubble
Heading for the surface

September 2005 Derek Wilson


•April 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Too full of nicotine, sugar and caffeine
And alcohol

Wired like Wolverine
A vampire roused from a dream
Porcelain doll

Sit at the terminal, edgy, unusual
And dangerous

Feeling, so hard to tell
But nothing if not unwell
And curious

November 2006 Derek Wilson

Notes on We Did Interesting Things With Pianos

•April 2, 2009 • 2 Comments

The title came about through a night of conversation, laughter and red wine in Maroubra Beach with my brother Hugh and my not yet good friend  and longtime flat-mate TJ Eckleberg. The body was written while I was living on Alice St in Newtown and has nothing at all to do with that evening.

Secret Poet

•April 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Stars align and radiate to their distant destinations
Irrigate with dusted light, the farthest depths of constellations
Sprinkle sparkling sayings amongst universal populations
Willing inspiration with an ancient lore, a humble place
And evening invitations

August 2004 Derek Wilson

White Butterflies

•April 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

She came to; the sky was grey
And some may say, she actually flew out the door
And on her way little angels descended
Surrounding her, battered and bruised
They led her astray
Whimsical, well dressed and poor
They tended to her defection
Guided her direction
Abandoned her at the crescendo
Wanting more
Like any good performer, they graced the air before her
And some may say, she rued their sudden departure
Like actors disappearing through the gauze
Accompanied by the dying strains
Of once tumultuous applause

December 2004 Derek Wilson

Notes on Night Fell

•March 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Night Fell was initially inspired by a piece of music I heard in my high school music class in 1990 – Floe from Glassworks, by Philip Glass. It was around this time I started to experiment with writing as well.  I wanted to try to employ the minimalism I heard in his music as a concept in my words.

March 2009 Derek Wilson

Night Fell

•March 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Somewhere between the sand and the waves
Somewhere between the rock and the flames
Somewhere between the clouds and the rain
Something will rise to measure us all
Sometime between now and nightfall

Somewhere between awake and a dream
Somewhere between a cry and a scream
Somewhere between sunlight and moonbeam
Something will raise the alarm, the call
Sometime between now and nightfall

Somewhere between above and below
Somewhere between a yes and a no
Somewhere between the storm and the bow
Something will sound to tumble the wall
Sometime between now and nightfall

Somewhere between the air and the crust
Somewhere between the passion and lust
Somewhere between the ash and the dust
Something will rise to measure us all
Sometime between now and nightfall

April 2004 Derek Wilson

We Did Interesting Things With Pianos

•March 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

We did interesting things with pianos, made amazing alterations
That defied standard conventions and accepted social codes
Caused a fascinating racket quite beyond imagination
And it’s possible the din was heard to echo right across the globe
Facing untold challenge, circumstance and limitation
We overcame the obstacles and unforeseen frustration
And when the gathered masses heard our unveiled symphony
They got down all, on bended knee and prayed to our creation

December 2005 Derek Wilson