Stephen Lawrence

Stephen Lawrence has four published collections of poetry, and is working towards a PhD in Creative Writing. He has been a speechwriter, media, project and publications officer for the South Australian government, and was a poetry editor for Wet Ink magazine. He has edited eight anthologies, including co-editing ‘Small City Tales of Strangeness and Beauty’ (2009), and has been a judge for the Adelaide Festival Literary Awards since 2002. The fourth collection is with Picaro Press.

Client: Family Furniture Discounters

Dave, Dave – no listen.
Dave, boss – listen, no
I got it. Okay? Everyone?
Boss. Okay? Okay. It’s here
Here somewhere. It’s –
A presentation? Well, yep. It’s rough.
A bit rough. I’ll
I’ll talk you through, sketch it
On the OHP. Okay? Picture
This. It’s a meadow. Okay…Alright
It’s a meadow. On film, obviously.
Got that? Yes? It’s
Not much of a sketch – but
You get the idea. Yep? Okay.
What? – Oh, they’re sheep, Dave.
In the meadow there. You –
You see.
On their flanks are – Yeah.
On their sides. Yep. On the sides of the sheep
Are cards.
Big. Got it? Pinned there. Somehow. Square,
Squarish – see? Well, y’know.
Yeah, guys, rough night, still shakin’,
Know where I’m coming from, ha ha.
But – alright – this is it.
On the cards –
cheap whiteboard, you know the stuff,
Do you? Nothing fancy,
Keep inside the cheapskate’s budget –
Yes, Dave? Boss. Yes?
How? A close-up.
Well, yeah – with a close-up.
So…yeah, that’s right, that’s right.
Yep, got it. Made a note.
Okay? So anyway.
Anyway – on the cards
Are the items,
the selected items – yeah, they’re
On a list here somewhere I got faxed from them last week.
I mean yesterday.
And the prices. With the numbers –
The numbers are bigger. Right.
Right? So… Yep. Lemme just
Just draw it.
An example…
A sheep not a cloud, asshole. Fuck you too, Matt.
So –
Like, you get,
Modular Lounges Four Niney Nine.
Bargain Suites from Nine Niney Nine
Tasteful -Seater a Tiny Three Senny Nine
Got it, Dave. Yep – but there’s more:
Two Leather Chairs a Crazy Two Thirdy Nine
Recliner Rockers Out For Five Niney Nine
Free Coffee Table with Every five hundred dollar
Yep. Yep. Yep.
Yep. Nope. Yep.
Yeah. Yeah but –
Well, they’re sheep. I know. In a meadow.
I know. Because –
Because, right?
At the end, the voice-over –
An, no-one in mind right now, Dave,
Could be that weather dickhead from Channel 9 –
But the voice, anyway,
Will be. Say. You know. Something like.
You know: Don’t be a sheep.
No, not that. But, you know.
Something like:
Follow the herd – follow the flock.
People will flock.
That sorta thing. Right? Right?
I’ll give you fucking prepared, Damien.
Get the idea then guys? Yep? Okay.
Pens down boys and girl.
Yeah, Dave, that’s
That’s it.
Well, you know – roughly. There’s
More to it than that
Obviously, but –
Sure, no wuckins. I’ll just
Pack up here –
No, sure. I’ll be across in a sec, I
Have to make a –
Yeah now. Alright.
Not a problem.

From Friendly Street No. 19


            The charge
        Of thought
    And intellect
Passes through structured ether, receiving
            The glow
        Of instant,
In return for the intensity of the outlay.
            The ghost
        Of awareness,
    The mind’s electricity,
Traces varying pathways across the board.
            The mindfield
        Of each reader,
    Each reading,
Determines the quality of induction.
            The oceans
        Of electrons
    Catch and swirl
Consciousness in their eddies and flux.
            The current
        Lights up
    What it touches,
Illuminating one route each time through
            The maze
        Of the grid,
    And passes out,
Changed from when it entered.

From Friendly Street No. 23


J’appartiens à une génération qui n’est plus jeune.

Once, the writer did the work, scattered references
Like gentle seasoning, inviting the reader to verify.

My son clumps into our workshop home for supper;
His boots engulf his lean ankles, like a club-foot.

Once, elegance, self-effacement was a duty;
But learning has changed its form and method.

My stew is perfect, tasty, vegetable and meat;
But he takes the shaker – salts, and salts some more.

Nowadays, paraphernalia, l’appareil d’erudition,
The show and fashion of formality, burdens our craft.

He kicks my delicate carven teak as he sits, then
Parades off, stomping, disfigured by his swollen feet.

I have passed my riches on to my son.
I belong to a generation no longer young.

From Friendly Street No. 26