There probably really are that many Randall $tephenses, considering how much stuff the man gets done. Since Geoff did a runner overseas, Randall has been the engine room crew of the Wordplay site, stoking the boilers, watching the pressure, and keeping things cruising. He’s the man who spends countless hours on audio recordings of varying quality polishing them up as best he can to make them available for you on our Podcasts section. He loves Wordplay and it loves him back.
Despite this, Randall keeps pushing the spoken word envelope . He has released and re-released two versions of his spoken word CDÂ Product, and keeps up a punishing touring schedule to different states and cities around Australia. When in Melbourne he’s regularly performing at other people’s shows, and just making up his own when he thinks things are getting boring. The Michael Caine of spoken word, his gruff, no-bullshit style has won him a lot of fans among those who want poetry to get to the point. He’ll make you listen to him – and if you don’t he might just sit you down for a short chat.
Randall blogs incredibly regularly over at Tales Told By An Idiot.
I’m so angry at you
for not finding me attractive.
It’s not fair!
There was body language
there was eye contact
there was intelligent conversation
I listened to your half of it
I showed some genuine interest,
And I bought drinks too.
Had just the right balance,
acting like I was myself
but not too much myself,
my fashion sense was sensitive enough
I was projecting laid-back
without looking disinterested,
wasn’t too talkative
or too quiet,
didn’t say anything stupid
was careful not to sound too intellectual either,
wasn’t too showy
without being boring,
not too nice
I wasn’t too geeky
or too cool
reckon I was a little bit geeky in that cool kinda way,
short of sounding like a prude,
I was completely casual
I was totally natural
and that was…
really hard to do.
Do you know how much I agonized
over that text I sent you?
just the right mix of wit with pathos
I was tasteful in the use of emoticons
I was clear without being too suggestive
I was eager not to sound too eager
I was waiting all day,
and trying not to expect anything.
…I was expecting one date, at least.
I didn’t invent this game,
just doing my best to stay in it,
I did everything I was supposed to,
so why don’t you like me?
What did I do wrong?
What is wrong with me?
And why won’t you tell me?
I can be sleazy
I can be cocky
I canNOT offer to buy a drink
I can sound smarter
I can act dumber
I can be melancholy
I can be depressing
I can be lively
I can be with it
I can be in control
I can be chillled-out
I can be serious
I can be funny.
really fucking funny.
I can be
If you like.
If you’re okay with that.
If that will make me what you’re after.
Turbublence and Other Unfinished Business
Tonight I cruise around in a borrowed car
fuelled on a dwindling supply of borrowed time
fossil from old bones from older seas
under a sky too big to hold anything as small as this
in its favour.
Tonight is a sky full of turbulence
It may not feel like it
but these are the good times
the only ones we have to spare.
after putting my father on a plane again
wishing him a good trip
and driving away in his car
wonder how many more times I can
before one of these car seats
will remain empty.
Donâ€™t know when the last time I get to hug my mother
is going to happen
only that it will happen
and will only happen once
so Iâ€™ll have to hug her like it is that time
simultaneously hoping it it’s not.
And now hoping it hasnâ€™t happened already.
Because I still needâ€¦ to need
I still need tomorrow to emerge from plane turbulence
for my father
for my arms
around my and every other personâ€™s mother too.
Last time my plane hit a patch of turbulence
it was above Brisbane
the woman sitting next to me
grabbed the moan in her throat too late
and I heard it
I laughed my arse off
feeling utterly alive
happy enough with what I have had here
that I felt immediately ready to die
without wishing to.
It was only after I landed
that I got scared
and itâ€™s only after these thoughts had become real words
that I knew I was wrong
it was only in recalling what Iâ€™d previously heard
that I listened to it.
The sound of the human being next to me
who simply did-not-want
every single thing she had done
to be the last one of those.
I think about… everything
everything I’m yet to put in the face of those fuckin’ poets
everything not yet read, visited or photographed
everything I have not loved enough
I have not shit-eaten-fucked-thought-talked-fought-fled and bled
For all that could be said in praise of contentment
and counting oneâ€™s blessings
I want what the womanâ€™s turbulence-induced moan wanted
and the firm grasp of my father’s shaken hand
I want more.
I want more
so if this somehow were to end up
being my last poem
that I never intended it to be
know that I ate every dish
I sung every song
and faced every face
savouring but still saving space,
After each helping
loving that living,
and saving room for a little bit more.
I have chased you further
than rainbows or shadows
from where I want to be.
You are anywhere but here
and everywhere else
you are just over those walls
held in a vice grip
somewhere on Baker street.
Choices I never knew I made
held in common
explained in a shrug.
You are as real as any excuses given
thinking on my feet
rationalised in balancing acts
You are my tragic strategic
you are my play
in clear-headed moments
all too soon forgotten.
You are the steps
when I keep going back for even more
I can still win,
With what little I have left.