Liam Ferney is a former poetry editor of Australian online magazine, Cordite. His first collection Popular Mechanics was published by Interactive Press in 2005. He lives in Brisbane, Queensland.




“Room 14, please.”

Apparently Singapore is an island.

At the expat bakery

                        desperate for a macchiato.

It has been years since mangoes

& I wonder if too much rice

            leads to forsaken cereal

while Obama wins a primary & Rudd says sorry.


The days between dispatches

            have grown long & I can’t

gurney the dust from my knees.

& the noise from next door,

            as unlikely as it seems,

a muezzin’s call to morning prayers.




Portraits of Famous People


“Even when the subject is different,

people paint the same painting.”

                                                                Andy Warhol


for Luke


It was supposed to have been a gift. When she asked for it back he had turned to stand in the doorway, as elegant as an apartment block. As rugged as William Holden he held secrets like trump cards. There was a right time for martinis but that had passed. “You were always going to leave,” she said. As wistfully as an unbeliever’s incantation. And he looked beyond the Bugatti appliances, out towards the balcony. This city was no grid. The characters: just imagined. And when the hour passed it disappeared. A click, indistinct from the 3600 that had proceeded it.





Houses of Neglect


A door ajar, the louvered window

through to a retreating brown roof,

the tips of the gums fingerpoking

into the oil paint perfect blue sky.


To win at this game you’ve got to lose;

every jazz man propping up a bar

scatting along with Trane about the one

that got away attests to this.


The problem is familiarity,

slipping in and out

of it’s private school uniform

forgetting that every star


is for someone a setting sun.

To avoid didacticism and melodrama

you play like a politician and keep it obtuse

not letting on, you still don’t understand


what it was you did

to leave everything as busted as a Nissan Pulsar

the colour of curdled milk, weeds pushing

through the floor in late summer humidity


like oil in a Texas dirtbowl.

The neighborhood cottoning on

and the parts start to disappear,

first the radio, then the battery, the alternator


some hoon strips the tyres before

the last cheeky monkey flogs the engine.