poem for gilli smyth

this poem is for gilli

who once told me that writing poetry is the most important job in the universe!

poetess goddess


wild wise woman with a pen for a sword

a sticky well used pen

encased in a sheath of grains of sand

from south golden beach

and adorned with a touch of fluff

rumagingly retrieved from the crusty bottom

of her colourful cotton celtic bag

midst the scattered crumbled makings

of a welcome fag

used tissues

old parking fine issues

piles of useless reader’s digest unsolicited spam mail

a ragged corner of dark chocolate

unfortunately decidedly stale

a purse devoid of cash

a pouch awaiting a stash

a lighter or two that might just light

she composes late at night

by hash oil lamplight

fuelled by wine or whiskey or tea

or all three

and always with the help of some lovingly smoked weed

so her body mind feels relaxed and freed

a razor-sharp intellect for ammunition

she’s on a multi dimensional experimental mission

a cosmic kaleidoscopic sorceress linguist

she expresses herself in perfect english

et la langue de francais

y espanol ole!

ancient latin

classical greek

pot head pixie cheeky speak

forgotten tongues of invisible mystics

prostitute street talk erotic gnostics

ephemeral space whisperings from planet gong

primordial psychic evensong

she will not be distracted from her work not a chance

(she really is a willful housewife

and has been her whole life)

and ‘pon completing her poetic parlance dance

we may enjoy a long rejuvenating remedial draught

of unabashed uncensored verbal witchcraft

she’ll go for the jugular in polite vernacular

proclaim the mundane as utterly spectacular

she is directly connected to intergalactica

she is starshine and moonshine specular facula

she will skillfully distill

the essence of the thrill

of one’s rebellious pledge

to live life on the edge

rally against restrictive rules and uptight regulations

deride grubby greedy lowlife corporations

chide the church

hail mary

expose deception

propose a revolution

outline the details of a fantastical solution

with well bred elocution

be informed forewarned armed and charmed

one’s artistic spirit’s now safely embalmed

swill a homeopathic dose of gilli’s fearless verse

and feel the nasty side effects of society’s ills disperse

in an intangible whiff of a cloud of a puff

of pure mother gong syllabic magic stuff



tee hee

24th july 2016

gilli performing her last gig as a feature poet

poets@the paradiso byron bay 23rd october 2013.

feature poets at the paradiso october 2013 tanya delys mandorla, rebecca rushbrook, christine strelan, vasudha harte (host), gilli smyth


r.i.p. gilli 1st june 1933 – 22nd august 2016

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ode à l’immense ciel étoile


following a performance at nimbin’s great green cabaret in may (pictured above) i was invited to perform on accordion at the 25th anniversary of the lismore live poets (thanks to host david hallett). i combined my love of accordion and the french language and, with the help of a dear french friend monique lavail, wrote my first french poem/chanson. it is an ode to the spaciousness of the night sky inspired by the stars…the cosmic dust let the ego rust…here tis:

ode à l’immense ciel étoile

la nuit

j’aime voir le ciel

la voute céleste est si belle


les étoiles

les étoiles

un ensemble cosmique parfait


je les regarde et ressens dans l’espace infini

une profonde détente de l’esprit

et tant de gratitude

pour cet interlude



alors que le dehors reflète le dedans

le dedans devient un miroir

qui reflete l’espace infini

de la nuit



les orbites galactiques

tournent et tourbillonnent

tournent et tourbillonnent et tourbillonnent


l’esprit poetique embrasse avec fluidité

l’inspiration éthérique

promesse d’une oeuvre artistique


je prie


je contemple le ciel de nuit

et sens qu’il y a des possibilities illimités


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Tom’s Waitress

USA - Tom Waits

01 Nov 1993, San Francisco, California, USA — Singer-songwriter, composer, and actor, Tom Waits at the Limbo Lounge Diner in San Francisco. — Image by © Ed Kashi/Corbis

I have a secret I must confess

I want to be Tom’s waitress

I want to be the woman who holds the flame

that lights the cigarette of the holy gravelly voiced one in a game

of coffee and rolls adoration

hopeless hospitality infatuation

I want to stand at his table with his head at my torso

ask him what he wants and point out that also

we have love consuming wine to go with his meal

and like Mary Magdelene at his feet I will kneel

shine up his shoes with spittle of awe

tickle his toes so I can hear him guffaw

yes yes I must confess

I want to be Tom’s waitress


I want to be Tom’s waitress

not such an impossible dream I guess

I could find him in America by sailing across the sea

pull pen and pad out of pocket and say so baby what’ll it be

I could sing you a song about toasted cheese sangers

or perhaps you’d prefer to eat mash and bangers

I know a cool poem about being perpetually drunk

or we could gaily swap stories on the virtues of punk

I could serve you up a slice of our best grapefruit moon

and while you’re consuming it I’ll quietly swoon

I’d pluck up the courage when time was in fullness

and say I’ve always wanted to meet you your coolness

yes yes I must confess

I want to be tom’s waitress


I want to be the waitress of Tom

not his daughter or lover or sister or mom

just an anonymous girl in his old café scene

that he strikes up a chat with at the coffee machine

a charmed willing object for his observation

transformed into lyrics via sweet inspiration

and when he’s busily chopping out that song

I’d jump in his piano and say take me along

I’ll serve you up pancakes with wasabi and mustard

he’ll look at me strange and say baby you’ve lost it

but a look is a look and it’s enough to satisfy

and I’d drink in that glorious gaze and happily die

yes yes I must confess

I want to be Tom’s waitress


tom’s waitress is published in you near verse (2014) selected poems by vasudha harte

recorded versions are available on stereognostic (2011) by dinkum bohos and an evening of poetry and music (2015) by dinkum bohos www.thedinkumbohos.bandcamp.com


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