Mike Ladd

Mike Ladd is the author of nine books of poetry and prose and approximately 200 radio features. His most recent book is Invisible Mending published by Wakefield Press and his most recent radio series is ‘The Sands of Ooldea’ broadcast on ABC Radio National’s The History Listen.

Aubade of the repaired spine

It’s nearly dawn. Pain, against my will, makes me a bore giving too many details over the phone. There’s a loneliness to it though it’s the most common thing in the world. At least it’s brought me this stillness. I …

Posted in 112: TREAT | Tagged

A Poet’s Progress in the ABC: Reflections on a Life in Radio

On my job application to the ABC in 1983 I mentioned that I was a poet, even though the job advertised was for a purely technical position as a trainee sound engineer.

Posted in ESSAYS | Tagged


The prime-minister’s words fill the air – they hang over the bays, obscure the roads to the little towns, drift between the bridge’s cables. His words turn the sunlight a dirty orange. You need a breathing mask to get through …

Posted in 97 & 98: PROPAGANDA | Tagged

Paleontology Archeology

At twelve, I wanted to be a paleontologist digging up bones in the paddocks round here, easing a scythe of jaw from the creek bank – not Diprotodon, but horse. Still, I remember the thrill carrying it home through that …

Posted in 89: DOMESTIC | Tagged


Undulant pinecone, needle-nose sniffer, I imagine you mountain-size, monstering a city. You are harder to pick up than Hungarian, more stand-offish that a stylite saint. Little high judge in your wig of thorns, its pattern complex as a deal in …

Posted in 86: NO THEME VII | Tagged


At the edge of the caryard the bunting in cloudless air framed by two poles triangular flags clap in the wind lift, flutter, clap again: petro-chemical colours the retina loves the shape, feel and hue of our times styrofoam grains …

Posted in 84: SUBURBIA | Tagged


This curvy horse will gallop in your dreams. The fruit so fat, the watermelon splits with its own weight. Can that parrot even fly? The squishy hands pluck the strings of the guitar? The dancers’ heft makes a slow music. …

Posted in 79: EKPHRASTIC | Tagged


One gets sick, the other follows — and drag out blue irises and lines by Tennyson, the only one that really fits: “We know nothing.” When they call for a minute’s silence there’s always some chicken truck roaring past, or …

Posted in 06: NEW POETRY | Tagged

Fishing Shacks

A shocking mismatch of colours, a love of galvo, these bachelor beach pads say “eternal boy” in the boofiest way, sometimes edged with shotgun warnings — the skull and cross bones on the cubby door. A total lack of tizz …

Posted in 06: NEW POETRY | Tagged