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.

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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.