Month: November 2016

Shock & Awe

Shock & Awe

My grandmother slept with her head
on the kitchen table & spent her days
gargoyle vigilant by the front door. I
love her but did not cry at her funeral.

My mother filled my head with stories
about her own childhood of corporal
punishment & emotional violence,
torture of which this tuttering old dear
did not seem capable; & suspicious

I became when she encouraged my
disobedience.

When Delilah died in the fan belt of a
tractor gran’s cataracts obscured both
the carnage & her giving a damn.

When Frootloop came limping in from
a cane fire, Golden Retriever ears
burned to jerky she shuddered &
turned away from his cries, back to
the smoke & the crows circling for
snakes.

. . . 
© Brentley Frazer 2016
from Aboriginal to Nowhere: new poems 2016 (HeadworX, NZ)

 

Travel Under Any Star

travel-under-any-star-venero-armanno-bkbooks-678x1024Circa 1990 something a skinny young punk with fresh acne scars and waaay cool hair stood in the crowd at The Zoo in Fortitude Vally and watched witch goddess and lead singer of electro pop band Def FX launch Strange Rain by Venero Armanno. The ultimate writers name I thought when I saw the poster. At the time I worked at The Zoo running a poetry reading named The Rose Croix. The poets featured tended to celebrate decadence and debauchery in their verse. I met several reincarnations of Marquis de Sade there. The thirty litres of free Spanish wine The Zoo provided only lasted hours. A band, I cannot remember their name (no surprise, really) who dressed as fallen angels with wire wings smoked joints right there on stage. To keep the story skinny like the faded punk writing this, I  have ever since admired the writing of Venero Armanno. Now,  twenty years later I’ve had the honour to not only meet Veny but to edit, typeset and publish a collection of his fantastic short stories for my fledging indy press Bareknuckle Books. No critic can argue with good writing and this Armanno provides in this beautiful collection of stories about . . . well, outsiders and so much more. Arnold Zable, acclaimed writer, novelist and human rights advocate reviewed the manuscript for Bareknuckle Books and what he had to say (one of the best uses of an LY adverb possible) sums up the power of Venero Armanno’s work, one of the greatest ever Australian writers:

“Venero Armanno is a writer who fearlessly explores the primal urges, pressed desires, and the intense, contradictory cravings that drive human behaviour—and the betrayals, family breakdowns, violence and tragic misunderstandings they leave in their wake. While the settings, and the social and cultural references are contemporary, there are echoes of the ancient Greek melodramas in his work. Armanno’s stories probe beneath the explosive surface. and in unmasking his characters, he exposes the elemental human need for intimacy, connection, and a sense of belonging.”

Launches November 18 at Avid Reader, West End, Brisbane. There may still be a ticket or two but I’m pretty sure it booked out.