(c) Richard Tipping  All text and images are copyright. For permission to use any of these materials please email info@artpoem.com. See the Copyright page for more information.

Notes towards Employment: Some Uncollected Poems 1966-1969, Picaro Press, Warners Bay, NSW, 2006.  

These poems written between the ages of 16 and 19 are previously uncollected. Many were to have appeared in the poet's first book Soft Riots in 1972. In a last minute decision they were dropped from the manuscript - so no concrete poems appear in Soft Riots.

Seaside, Pregnant, Evening

Handtyped in the original Courier font

First published in 1968

"Richard Tipping's art includes sculpture, music, video and an irreverent revolutionary streak with roots in 1968 and relevance today. This collection of early works is fresh and lively in a way which 'classics' almost never manage. Tipping has been sui generis for four decades; curious readers might like to visit his website for a taste of his subtlety and wit."  Rob Riel, Picaro Press, 2006


through sparrowed blocks and the hiss and clatter of public servants – greyness on the red wind – in buses and shuttered cars nose to anus the sleeping tides of being are going home – returning to goodbye through hustling paper and the snivel of trams – returning to yesterday embracing tomorrow with empty fingers to laugh the sun through venetian cracks drowning in office nightmares – i cannot speak of this but why do we continue – you say there is no alternative and i should love my country – slowly i gather my broken breath and face the wall mumbling you are right I don't need a cause just a gun – somebody screams i love you but i laugh and shout blind footballs! purple cans! ((or 'beer is best!))– i am exhausted and collapse on my typewriter spilling orders receipts copies statements duplicates declarations birthday greetings eastereggs and am forthwith gagged and stripped of my superannuation medical benefits thirdpartyinsurance and dishonourably discharged – i wake up masturbating clutching my poems crying moaning crawling hysterical backwards down the gutters of night –i am above all happy – not only am i unemployed i am unemployable – i rush to collect my derelict benefits and am collared by greyshirt who tries to find me a job – AAAAAARRGGHH!! – i find myself alone no one comes near me i see he was just testing my strength – yesyes i am true sir i have long feet and bare hair please spare me – he slaps me hard across the face with $5 a week and bursts into tears – i jump into my car and howl off towards the sea i must have time to think  - accelerate – and am arrested for driving without a fixed address – land up back with greycollar who this time nails me to the wall as an example – i'm not an example i'm me! – but it's no use they laugh at my bald feet and pull my hair grabbing my genitals as evidence i have insufficient means of support – jesus i whisper you have broken my pride what do you want – nothing they reply we have everything handing me $100 accidentsickness compensation on a vinegarpole to relieve the pain – ok – ok – i'll work – i come from a goodhome i went to a goodschool I'm useful you need me show me the desk let me IN! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - dear dad – i have given up drinking you will be proud of me i have just brushed my teeth with paperclips for the fourth time and am no longer neurotic yours sincerely goodbye - - - five oclock comes overtime i swim for the train talking of horses and tomorrow is only another day ...

Richard Tipping, 1968

Published in Mok magazine, editied by Richard Tipping and Rob Tillett, 1968

“Looking back at Tipping's work across twenty years or so, we can see very clearly a tight group of virtual 'classics' which are likely to recur in anthologies for many years. These display his distinctively subtle wit – and often his visual acuity – at full strength.”

Geoff Page, in A Reader's Guide to Contemporary Australian Poetry

“There is a fine indifference to academic directives, and a warmly expansive egotism that achieves its own integrity. And these are a few poems which deserve to be called secular hymns, which find exact metaphors for the world's grace.”

Vincent O'Sullivan, in Meanjin, reviewing Nearer by Far









(c) Richard Tipping  All text and images are copyright and protected by international legislation. See the Copyright page for more information.    For permission to use any of these materials please see Contact page.