Graham Rowlands moved from Brisbane to Adelaide in the early 1970s. With degrees in literature and history, he has been a literary journalist, lecturer in literature, educational editor and both a poetry editor and a poetry reviewer. He now works part-time as a workshopper in creative writing at Flinders University.
From 1972 to 1992 he published seven poetry collections, including his Selected Poems. Even so, he has always concentrated on publishing individual poems in magazines and newspapers. These now number over 800 poems with some anthologised by Penguin, Random House, Oxford University Press and University of Queensland Press.
He was awarded the Barbara Hanrahan Fellowship in 2002 and his Collected Poems will appear in 2003.
In 2002, Graham won the Satura Prize for his poem, “Down on the Ground”.
Saying Hello Graham
I’m not talking to myself
in the mirror – I’m
teaching Jeremy who I am –
at least I think I am.
Saying Hello Graham Hello Graham
I pram him, stroll him, bounce him until
I think I’m talking to myself
in my sleep, hanging on
for grim death to my name –
except I’m Jeremy. Must be.
Looking him into the mirror
saying Hello Graham Hello Graham
I’ve got three heads to choose from –
two of his/one of mine
& he’s got two of mine
one of his.
I’m thinking of a committee of psychiatrists
appointing a schizophrenic to compile a
Who’s Who Who’s Who
& thinking again (although yet again)
about father & son.
From Friendly Street No. 8 and Tuesday Night Live
Today I launder.
Yesterday I laundered.
I have been laundering.
I’ve gone to the dogs to launder –
the trots, the casino, the racetrack.
I’ve registered whole companies
whole holding companies
just to wash out the filth.
No way I want to be caught
off balance, off balance-sheet
or off, just plain off.
So now I launder in laundries
a chain of coin laundries. Mine.
They’re off off balance-sheet.
So obvious no one would look.
From Friendly Street No. 17
Benjamin Guggenheim on the Titanic
I’m hardly going to drown my sorrows. So here goes.
Slowly, carefully, deliberately, I’m changing into
my tuxedo. Call it dressing up for going down.
I could do much worse. I have done much worse.
Helping women & children into the boats wasn’t
my idea of atonement no matter what people think.
It was the flip side of being a charmer, a rake.
I’m going to die but at least I can say I’ve lived
even if I have to say it to myself alone in my cabin.
I think most of them enjoyed it & those who didn’t
didn’t complain. I’m sure I got my money’s worth
& I’m sure some of them got my money’s worth too.
My money, of course, was worth more than other monies.
My family always stacked my money on the up & up.
Sometimes our tin, lead, silver, copper & diamonds
upped the particular currency right up the up& up.
Old man Meyer would have even bought up icebergs
if he’d foreseen a future in them – or futures.
Well, I’ll leave & not leave that to the future.
The cuff-links. The last button. Now the bow tie.
From Friendly Street No. 21