Category Archives: SLIPPERY PLACES

On paper,England is a good cricket team. The trouble is – they play on grass. Arthur Smith

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The Sultan of Swat

‘Why don’t you read the papers?
 It’s all right there in the papers.’
                                    — Babe Ruth
Waking, wiping the
sleep from his eye, he
reaches for his pills.
Reading the label on the bottle:
it seems to say:
‘don’t try too hard just
             let it carry you’ –
             like… a river, he finishes,
                        the sentence and his pills.
It’s prescribed like this
because mythology inadvertently
gets mixed up in the games
of chinese whispers
                                    we play with our history.
Drunk on fairy floss and beer
the story they’re telling in
Sideshow Alley is that Don Bradman,
fulfilling a promise to a
terminally ill child,
points straight back over
            Larwood’s head at a spot
      somewhere in centre field.
Winding up Larwood
          gives it everything he’s got,
   to the screaming ecstasy and
spilt beer of the Chicago fans,
            but  even as the ball leaves his hand
      Bradman’s eyes are fixed upon it and,
                  with a flick of his wrist,
            he sends it soaring out of
                          Wrigley Field.
Larwood, sticky with humiliation,
imagines a ball rocketing into
the soft-flesh of the batsman’s
helmetless head as he walks
back to his mark.
Bradman, luxuriating in the profanities
and abuse he has evoked
watches an angry fan hurl a cup
of beer onto left field and spits
nonchalantly just missing the fielder
at short leg.
Larwood turns and Bradman, like
            a brave Achaen points back
      prophetically to the same spot.
    The bowler runs in like a fierce
       bull charging through the streets
  of Pamplona and digs it in short,
              a spear jagging up sharply,
    but our Achilles has wiser eyes than this
         stepping backward and away,
                        hooking awesomely
the ball
                seems to climb
to the sun.
The news story is packaged thus:
The footage of the shot
from a variety of angles,
an interview with humble Bradman,
fans saying how he’s the greatest
the world has ever seen and
then the fadeout:
the small child smiling from
his hospital bed,
this miracle breaks hearts
for joy at dinner tables
A kid finds one of the balls out in the street.
He hides it away in a box,
and forgets about it for years
until one day, for no reason
     that he can name,
  he starts to take it out at nights
and let its elegant stitching
   take him back to the cutgrass
    summer twilight that now
seems so important.
It is a fact:
    The Bambino grows in deed and
    stature with every passing year.
Poem © Liam Ferney



To be as small as a vinegar fly and want to shit like an elephant

Too big for your boots

1 boot


He’s running up and down my roof
I hear him stomping by
How can that possum be so loud? –
I think that I know why –

That possum’s wearing gumboots!
On his furry little feet
He’s there when I climb in bed
And I’m pulling up my sheet

Leslie Shane Stanford, Australia

The weeping of the guitar begins. Useless to silence it. It weeps for distant things…”

– Garcia Lorca

1 guitar cases

People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands – literally thousands – of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss.” 

― Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

The uneasy seat in the ale- house is best.

"A collection of Gaelic proverbs and familiar phrases : based on Macintosh’s collection"



it’s warm beer and cold hands;
it’s leaning back into cigarettes and noise;
it’s the vague concentration of the fourth drink;
it is the alcoholic headache of the sun;
it’s someone whose name you can’t remember;
it’s the red esky suddenly full of a tidal water.
And when I can’t drink any more, it’s ………..

David McCooey.

foto – bilambil cottage 2009