Nathan Curnow

_DSC8907 (1)Nathan Curnow lives in Ballarat and is a past editor of Going Down Swinging. His work features in Best Australian Poems 2008, 2010 and 2013 (Black Inc) and has won a number of awards including the Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize.  His most recent collection, RADAR, is available through Walleah Press. Nathan has been twice short-listed in the Peter Porter Prize.




The Guru

his rants make sense with ‘listening glue’
he is convinced he can poop a dove
he prophesies that a dragon will shake the building
separating the wheat from the chaff

murderers go to hell and play Cluedo forever
Salvation—harder than pissing on a frog
we dig him a moat and fill it with lions
‘hurple’ is the mantra of the month

he blesses each raid on the cannery outlet
gives us hair bracelets and Kalashnikovs
flexible parentage is the number one doctrine
everything consensual at first 

how much sunshine to bleach a camel
tepanyaki is your mum
his koans are unique and so expensive
they are impossible to forget

passing the time with games of wink murder
while he sleeps in his celestial vault
it is his destiny to ascend in a skybox we bought
with the life savings of non-believers

rejoicing when the famous clown becomes a convert
until we become wary of tricks up the sleeve
we patrol the stockpile and then the orchard
executing the voluntary penance

and when the guru returns trembling on stage
trying hard to poop one with wings
we see it all makes sense in his divine program
on guard for whoever smirks first



teenagers help their parents conduct them
in exchange for car keys and weed
but if they tire of quizzing the Ouija board
the pointer just keeps on moving
packed away the wooden heart slides faster
knocking against the sides of the box
some wrap it in blankets and stash it in a draw
some submerge it in the tropical fish tank
an anonymous narrator transcribes War and Peace
there comes the back story of the Cheshire Cat
and something is spelling quality mince matters
perhaps a butcher with undying remorse
this last parlour game this after-life rhythm
a constant tapping of fees and charges
Rosabelle-answer-tell-pray—believe believe believe
over and over from beneath the house
wedged in a locker at the Ever Fit gym
abandoned in a food court at an empty mall
the dead metronome counting down
some set it on fire to watch their flaming souls
posting premature messages from the grave
some never tire remaining stuck to the board
for answers that will come soon enough
as the family car pulls out throbbing with bass
denouncing the beats of the Angel of Death
the last players of hip hop middle fingering
the stereo uh   yeah   uh   uh   uh