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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Featuring George Douglas Anderson

I have edited Bold Monkey for over ten years. I like to use this electronic space to promote the writings of the alternative small press. Sometimes I feel an urge to add to the pile.

I grew up below the tracks in NDG in Montreal and moved to New Zealand and then to Australia in my early 20s.

My main spark in writing poetry was ignited in 2000 when a close friend of mine died of throat cancer. As his corpse edged its way towards the curtains of the crematorium I reckoned I needed to get some of my shit down.

A few days later,  I was in a hall supervising a Year 12 exam. The words just flew out of me and I wrote them down on a spare pad of paper in the back of the hall. The poem 'The Portal' will shortly be included in a chapbook of my school poems of the same name and published by poet & editor John D. Robinson of Holy & Intoxicated Press. Click on any image below to enlarge.

Here  is a brief sampling of some of my work and where you may find it:

A Beginner’s Guide To Death

My mother died
one late November afternoon

my young sisters found her
on their bottom bunk bed
with pissed pants.

Returning from my paper route
I slide through the back door
& I was surprised to see Mr White

the old man
my brothers & sisters
heads bowed as if in prayer.

A few days later
my mother lay deep in the womb

of the funeral home
on Sherbrooke Street
her cheeks
tinted with rouge make-up
like a whore.

My father was so distraught
he left the funeral arrangements
to others
the service hi-jacked by Christians

punctuated by the rallying cry
of centuries old, out-of-tune hymns
& the uttering of hollow prayers.

The old man sat directly 
behind me during the service 
& from time to time
he would edge closer
& whisper into my ear
in a deep growl
that I alone could hear:

Fucking bullshit.’

(Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2019)

From the chapbook FUCKWITS & ANGELS (Holy & Intoxicated Publications, UK 2019). SOLD OUT. 'The Burial' first appeared in The Bones of Nirvana, Svensk Apache, 2016. Illustration by the Swedish artist Janne Karlsson.


Keith is a regular who usually shows up at three in the afternoon for his “daily constitution”- a pint of Dark Ale. He always wears a sharp suit and his shoes are immaculately cleaned and polished. He is a World War 2 veteran who fought in Tobruk against Rommel, but like most veterans, he never talks about his experiences. His secrets are buried deep within him. 

One day, we get around to talking about shoes. I tell Keith I recently purchased a pair of shoes on the internet. A friend was getting married in Leichhardt and I was best man. He perks up.

“Oh, what size do you wear?”

“Twelve. Why do you ask?”

“I thought so. I’ve got just the pair for you.”

“Don’t worry Keith, I’ve already got a pair.”


The next day Keith enters the bar and hands me a beautifully polished pair of black shoes. 

“Try this lot on,” he says.

I’m impressed. I slip them on.

“They fit perfectly. They’re wonderful, where did you get them?”

“Oh, they were home collecting dust. You must have them.”

“Keith, they are so shinny I can actually see my face in them.”

“Young people don’t put in the effort these days,” he says.

Keith reaches in his bag and pulls out a can of black shoe polish and a clean rag.

“Here, have these as well. The secret is in the muscle you put behind it, and in this,” as he lands a large gob of spit on the toe of the shoe.

I laugh in admiration.

“Thanks Keith, where’d you learn how to do that?”

“Early on at Tobruk, sometimes we spent four hours a days cleaning our boots. It gave us something to do as we were preparing to take on the Krauts.”

From my short story collection The Empty Glass. There is some heavy, confronting shit about alcoholism & Australia's drinking culture in the book, so it's not for everyone:

Elvis on the Factory Floor

For a time I worked 
in a factory
slipping tiny plastic sleeves 
onto the gold wings
of ski bindings

then cooking the plastic
on a slow moving conveyor belt
under a hot lamp
until the plastic molded to the steel
& then plopped 
into a box.

One summer’s day 
as the steel presses boomed
& the rivet guns clanked,
I heard on the radio 
that the King
had died.  
Heart attack. 
Aged 42. 

White wings 
every five 

into that 

From my chapbook Teaching My Computer Irony (Epic Rites Press- Punk Chapbook Series 2, 2016).

Auntie Via

Most Wednesdays
I visit my Auntie Via
with my mom at Peria House-
she’s nearly 85 years old

She has a glass eye
it sits there  staring at you
with a blue icy blankness

Last week- my mom was talking to her
about her brother & the weather-
she was propped up in bed
& struggling to recall my face
when suddenly her eye popped out
& rolled down her pyjamas
& into the folds of her bed

She sat there
blissfully unaware
of that sunken hole amongst
the bones in her face-
two nurses laughed as they 
    scrambled to pull the bed apart,
searching for that elusive eye

I watch fascinated 
as her glass eye 
                                     onto the
                                                                & rolls under her commode

After a quick clean
her eye is popped back 
         into      place
& Auntie Via is harnessed tightly
into her side chair

I closely scrutinise her,
trying to recall
which one is real-
her two eyes like 
blank slits in the 
early evening’s funereal light

From the children's chapbook Melting Voices (Perspicacious Press, 2011). The poem was originally published in The School Magazine (2010):

Melting Voices was a chapbook of poems used for classroom purposes and is not available online.


You make an impromptu entrance into my life
kicking open with considerable skill the shed door
housing heavily chained bikes & grass cutting equipment-
Leo, our enigmatic Chow sends you away; for now

the following evening you reappear
a blackened, indecipherable shape through a small square front entry window
I voyeurishly watch you bending over 30 metres away
examining     perhaps admiring in a humoured, knowing manner
the challenge of our new fish hook dead lock

with a Bob Bailey autographed baseball bat in hand
I CHARGE flat-out        silently         towards you
murderously-  I know fully
when I catch you

you are elusive-
you down the tools of your trade
& sprint headlong to the front fence
& fling yourself precariously
over the 2 metre metal fence
the dog now awake to its task                    
chasing you, us

leaping the fence in one wild bound     
I pursue you 
down the blue metal street                                                              
you disappearing 
through a conveniently cut wire fence     
into the disused brickworks
I shout out menacingly to you:
I’LL KILL YEAH!! (& really mean it)
& thrash the air several times with the baseball bat for effect

The police arrive the next day
& tell me he could have had a knife
& slashed my face or torso
entering it deep & cold
me lying wounded   oozing
like a slashed waterbed
or the shit smeared walls
they've often left behind

From my first chapbook Dancing on Thin Ice (erbacce-press 2008):

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