By Dan Hogan
30 November, 2021
Dan Hogan is Running Dog’s poet in residence for November and December 2021.
Each month, a poet produces new work, which is distributed via Running Dog’s monthly newsletter—Stray. If you haven’t already, sign up to our newsletter.
• • •
This poem was originally written for the XYZ Spoken Word Award, in which it was shortlisted. It appears here as a new video iteration, with the full text below.
Good evening. Thank you for calling Services Australia Centrelink
Debt Recovery line. There are currently no Customer Service
Officers on duty. To find the location of a Centrelink say, ‘find
an office’ or if you’re calling about something else, say, ‘something
else’. This poem is called Creepypasta. Restrictions are easing
but capital is not. Okay. Say what you will as millions of financial
(light)years tiptoe on your blood like a password. Why did you
have to go and define your mask? Many things are not unlike
the neck of an extinct nightshade and yet the crashworthy cloud.
Sickening pipeages. Multilaned figments of desire taken in by
algorithmic grin. Hello? Yes? I’d like to report a misspelling. Say
who is in your family. Misdrawn platitudes like a nose blown on
an encouragement award. You can do a lot of things. Elsewhere,
glops of joke make their way into a status update. It is an annihilative
transaction largely misunderstood. Featherless depictions of early
drearihood gloss over the plucking. So, tell me in a few words,
what’s the reason for your call? The dinosaurs with their feathers
all plucked out due to society’s expectations. What is an origin
story if not capital persevering? An anxiety supplied by decrepit
(pay)slips in time. Indicate interest by burning butter. Hello? Yes?
Painkillers, instant coffee, 4kg of rice dropping to the ground as you
dematerialise. The download link will expire but if the customer
logs in, a fresh link will be generated. This, too, will expire. It’s an
unending you’re not against. No lake chock-a-block with heartwater
here. Adore to be hemmed in purpling sap. Collapsible but not
collapsed. When you said snow keeps showing up beneath the
piano, I took this to mean anything can be a puddle (as long as
you’re underpaid and overworked enough). Is it not enough to
headbutt the afternoon like finance? Restrictions are easing but
the productivity index is not. Rude epoch. How very dare. What’s
the reason for your call? The much frowned upon wasp is always
a working-age citizen. Okay. Don’t talk to your sky like that. Not
when it is swollen with birds with feathers like crowbars. Forward
slash, safety net. You would do well to resist the urge to be a bonbon.
Forward slash. See to a gearchange. Safety net. Pull the handbrake
while driving backwards and call it a reverse doughnut. Reverse doughie.
Restrictions are easing but capital’s psychic weaponeerings are not.
Change the locks. Change the locks while the dreggiest abscesses hog
the quo. The words of another cis whitehead announcing unprejudice fall
to the floor like an unsliced ham. Ham? One ham! Every time. Change
the locks. Restrictions are easing but—
I think you said, ‘something else’. Is that correct?
Restrictions are easing but—
Thank you for calling. Goodbye.