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I’m back at Greasy’s Gym to do some benching with Big Bill. I’ve had a tough week but the clanging of weight plates is therapeutic  and the dim lighting and stinky smell of rubber flooring is soothing me like a big man-pacifier.

Still, I am just a little uneasy because I’m aware that Bill’s been doing some sneaky backdoor Tweeting to Lasoo and trying to score on my Celebration of Man sponsorship. And I’m not sure if he knows that I know.

‘So, what’d you score from Lasoo?’ I ask, as he takes the bar from the rack and bangs out some serious poundage.

He looks a little sheepy, then breaths out between reps and says, ‘A Belkin TuneCast Auto for iPod worth 67 bucks.’

‘Far out, man. They’re so generous. Lasoo are just so into people and the way they…  buy things….’

After he racks the weight and sits up he says, ‘Look, I wasn’t going behind your back or anything like that…’

‘Hey,’ I say, cutting him off and holding my hands up as a gesture of peace. ‘Lasoo are cheating on me. I know that now…. and I’m okay with it.’

‘…it just sort of happened, you know…

As I lay down on the bench to bust out a hard set of five reps at 140kg, I say, ‘Look, if Lasoo was going to cheat on me with someone… I’m glad it was with you. I don’t want to let a highly rated pre-shopping website come between us.’

‘You’re right, RD’ Bill says. ‘So did you get anything this week?’

‘I did,’ I say, ‘Logitech Ultimate Ears Earphones worth a cool 97 bucks.’

‘Shazam! You are still number one, mate.’

‘That’s right,’ I say, and then under my breath, ‘You harlot.’

‘What was that?’ he asked.

‘Okay, let’s do some weighted pull-ups and dips.’

Bill threads the dipping-belt chain through a 10kg plate and tightens it around his waist. ‘You doing a Celebration Of Man post for them this week?’

Big_Bill‘Bloody oath,’ I say. ‘I gave the earphones a good testing out at a poetry reading last night. So I might write about that.’

Bill bangs out eight solid pull-ups and then drops to the floor and says, ‘Don’t you have to write about stereotypical manly tings. Poetry’s not really that kind of manly is it?’

‘I think poetry’s very, very manly,’ I say, stepping into the dipping-belt and gripping the pullup bar. ‘How about Rudyard Kipling, Charles Bukowski, Boy George…’

‘Oh, I know,’ Bill says, ‘And there’s Raymond Carver, Eric Beach, Luis Gonzalez-Serrano… but I’m talking about the common perception. The stereotypes…’

‘Well, that’s shit,’ I say. ‘It all depends on who’s writing it and what’s being written about.’

‘What do you write about?’ Bill asks, as he strikes a triceps pose in the mirror and nods approvingly at himself.

‘Ducks,’ I say.

‘Right,’ he say, ‘Well, that’s where you’ll struggle. Ducks are white and fluffy. Vulnerable, awkward and edible. They  are definitely not manly.’

‘I guess you could be right there,’ I say.

As I sit down and prepare to torch my triceps with some hard-core dips, Bill says. ‘What if you combined poetry with powerlifting?’ and I can only respond enthusiastically to his fricken genius.

‘Let’s do it man!’ I say as I psyche up a little. ‘You do the filming, I’ll do the spoken word and heavy lifting.’

‘Right on,’ Bill says. ‘Right on.’


My Backyard 4 – Everything that arises

When it rains

my ducks stick their beaks in the mud and search for things –

slugs and bugs I guess.

They have white feathers.

Their whole bodies, apart from the orange bits, are white.

Despite this, they spend hours slurping around out there.

It seems a little strange

but they stick together.


You should see them – I could watch them forever.


There is no point to this.

They are ducks.

They stick together.

Their white and orange bits are covered in mud

and, it seems, they are happy.

It’s very challenging,

you have to watch and watch

but if you keep watching,

thoughts you once considered important, will pass

and days of seeing nothing

but white feathers and black mud

will tell you something, at last.

*Poetry Reading photography by Michael Reynolds