Damen O'Brien

Damen O'Brien is a Queensland poet. His poetry awards include the Peter Porter Poetry Prize, the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize, the New Guard Knightville Poetry Competition, the Yeats Poetry Prize and the KSP Poetry Award. He has been a finalist in many others. Damen has published in journals including Mascara, Verity La, Stylus Lit, Rabbit and Island.

Egon Kisch Takes The Dictation Test 1934

I do not speak the language which condemns him. My task is to speak the language of this door, the simple words of yes or no, you may enter here, you may not. Behind me Australia branches and the door …

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Help, I’ve fallen in a fatberg and I can’t get out. I have spelunked the greasy caverns of Johannesburg, I have scaled the dripping chasms under Tokyo, I have seen the tallows glowing under Texas, and now I’ve fallen in …

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2019 Val Vallis Poetry Award Winner

Damen O’Brien is the winner and the runner up to the 2019 Val Vallis Poetry Award, managed by our longtime partner, Queensland Poetry Festival.

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Every day a beetle has its bowl of grass. Every day a nip of mouse is pursed up in the articulated ribs of an Eastern Brown. For each breaking of a Heron’s fast: a nail of Perch headfirst gulleted and …

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Ice and Glass

You will be out of reach upon a wafer shelf of ice, crabbing through dreams with bent knees, while the ice snaps and smokes like a fragile simile. But this has not happened yet. You sit with me, sketching out …

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Logical Fallacies of Alien

generalisation Ripley’s first failure was one of generalisation: that one alien’s elemental viciousness could be ascribed to all. gambler’s fallacy that the late acid savagery of subsequent samples was similarly brutal proved nothing. Repeatedly. divine fallacy the Giger-counter leap at …

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What We Know About Her

the price of freedom is eternal vigilance – Thomas Jefferson What we know about her is what she gives us freely of her own will, one click wrap privacy policy at a time, swiping across the slate of her life. …

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The Land Becomes A Story I Can Tell

Walking home in the unsteady night fragrant with stars, we stepped through fig mush and the sand wrack of yesterday’s high tide, arguing with the beach and maybe we pierced noisily through someone’s story, webbed ragged in this Quondamooka country, …

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The sand hangs in a suspended glaze in Abu Dhabi: a silicon horizon, washing down the sky in glaring white. Moted in it, the falcons spiral on dune thermals and salt thermals, and circling higher, the 737s scrape north. The …

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The Trilobite’s eyes were chipped calcite marvels that had a million years of ocular dominance and then vanished in a blink. Before the plexus of nerves, there were first lapidary conjunctions of a thousand eyes, polished and re-faceted to new …

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