Donna Noble Has Been Saved (On The Radio)

Earlier this week I had a poem on RRR’s Breakfast show as part of their “Genius Squad” feature. My old buddy alicia sometimes is doing a regular feature in that slot, and for this particular instalment she decided to talk about Doctor Who and poetry. As you do.

This, naturally, led her to contact me to ask if I had any poems about the Doctor. To which I said, sure, pointing her in the direction of Whose Doctor? Reflections on a Time Lord, which features my poem “Donna Noble Has Been Saved”.

alicia asked if there might’ve been a recording of the spoken word event that the collection was based on, and I said hang on a mo, sneaking that lunchtime into an empty teleconferencing room at work and recording the sucker on me phone like I was in the future or something.

I wasn’t expecting the breakfasters to work the TARDIS’s trademark wheezing, groaning sound effect in at the start of the poem, nor was I expecting that funky, moog-y, swingin’ version of the theme song to accompany my words, but hey – I think it works.

Have a listen – hope you like it, and if you’re inclined to read along with your post hoc breakfast poetry about Doctor Who, don’t forget that you can score yourself a copy of Whose Doctor? in a range of ebook formats from Tomely (.epub and .mobi only) and Smashwords (pretty much any format you can think of).

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Posted in i'm on the radio!, new poems, poems, Published work


Edit: Sale is over, ding dong. Sold four copies in 42 days, bing bong. Not gonna bang on about it, ping pong. Just puttin’ it out there, ding dong.

Well, 42 days went by pretty quick there, didn’t it? Today is the last day of my 42nd birthday sale wherein you guys can avail yourself of either Man Bites Dog or Not Quite the Man for the Job in shmiggedy ebook form.

So if you’ve been holding out until the last minute to buy one of my cheap ebooks, this would be that last minute.

Here’s the link to my Tomely store – you know what to do.

I’ll be kicking the price of the books back up to their regular $5 ($2.50 if you tweet about buying one) sometime tomorrow – haven’t decided exactly when, but the clock is ticking, sort of. If you’ve enjoyed the cascade of samples I’ve regaled you with these past 42 days, why not risk less than two whole dollars and score yourself both books in their entirety?

Why not, indeed?

Thanks to all who’ve left comments and likes and bought books – next year I’ll be doing something equally random, so stay tuned.

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Posted in but enough about me - what do YOU think of me?, man bites dog, Not Quite the Man for the Job

A B-movie Love Poem

[Being the latest in a series of excerpts from my novel, Man Bites Dog, which is currently on sale at Tomely for only 99c until 23 June 2014]

The sex is gentle and lucid. Last night we were breaking down inhibitions. This morning we’re shyly saying hello with our entire bodies. There’s a nervous energy to it that makes me think maybe I won’t need any painkillers today—maybe the endorphins and the adrenalin and the sheer pleasure of this encounter will keep the hangover at bay.

Afterwards we lie in each other’s arms and continue our get-to-know-you conversations. We swap middle names, high-school crushes and favourite comics. Emma gets out of bed and I watch her move around the room as she searches for something. She comes back with the Krazy Kat book we talked about last night.

‘Read it later,’ she says. I put it to one side as she moves in for another kiss. Eventually we break the clinch, and our lazy hungover conversation drifts around to jobs. Emma talks about how much she hates her current job, temping in an office in the city, but I trump her with my story about the recent traumas on my run.

‘Man bites dog,’ she says.


‘It’s the test for newsworthiness. Dog bites man—that’s something that you’d expect to happen, so it’s not news. But man bites dog—that’s unusual. That’s news.’

‘But I didn’t bite Satan,’ I say. ‘He tried to bite me.’

‘Why chicken? Wouldn’t something like—I don’t know—sausages or a handful of mince be cheaper?’

‘I guess. I never thought about it before. Wayne said “chicken”, so I got chicken.’

The alarm clock on the bedside table says twelve-fifteen. We’ve slept and snuggled and fucked the morning away.

‘I should probably get going soon.’

‘Yeah, I have a few things to do today,’ says Emma. I make an effort to sit up. My head doesn’t fall off or implode, so I figure that’s a good sign. I could use some water, though. And I need to take a piss.

‘Do you want a shower?’

I do want a shower, but there’s the whole housemate thing to take into consideration. I don’t know if Emma lives alone or not, or if her housemates are awake and moving around at the moment, but I’d rather avoid bumping into them right now. It’s always awkward being ‘the stranger that so-and-so brought home last night’. I don’t think I’m up for the polite nods and the surreptitious exchange of knowing glances that comes with the situation.

‘Um, no thanks. I’ll just have one when I get home.’

‘You sure?’

‘Yeah, thanks.’

‘You smell like a goat, you know.’ I stare at her. ‘Because of the sex,’ she whispers in a stage mock-whisper. Goat? Is that an insult or intimacy?

‘Uh . . .’

‘And so do I, which is why I’m going to have a shower.’

She slides out of bed, shrugs into a black satin robe with Chinese embroidery on the back, and pads out of the room. Now what do I do? I’m lying naked and sex-stained in a stranger’s bedroom—what’s the appropriate response? Should I be here when she comes back? Was she giving me some kind of hint? Should I just get dressed and sneak out the front door now? Leave a note? I wanted to kiss her goodbye. I think about our lips touching and decide that, yes, I definitely want to kiss her goodbye, so that means I’ll wait here until she finishes her shower. Maybe I can do a little victory dancing while she’s out of the room. I jump onto the floor and wiggle my hips, then do a bit of hip-hop posturing. Oh yeah. Look at me. I just had sex. Twice. To the beat y’all.

That feels better. I stand still and look around the room. Lots of bookshelves. Lots of books. Emma’s got a good comics library here. I flick through a couple, but I’m not in a reading mood. I check out the shelf underneath and a slim spine catches my eye. You and What Army? by Emma Monori. Monori? I wonder if that’s Emma. A quick look at the photo on the back cover confirms that it is her. It’s weird that you can know what the back of someone’s knee tastes like, but not know their surname. I jump under the doona and start reading.

It’s different from Wayne’s poetry. More like I expect poetry to be, but still conversational—like song lyrics that tell a story. It’s not all about everyday life. There’s a poem about skinning a horse, another one about superhero sidekicks, and a couple based on primary school games like scarecrow chasey and those old skipping-rope rhymes. ‘Hide and Seek’ is a longish poem about a girl hiding from her boyfriend in weirder and weirder places. The last few lines catch my eye.

Now I’m here, resting quietly
between the folds of your brain,
mesmerised by the arc and shimmer
of your neurons in action.
I knew you had a remarkable mind,
but it’s another thing entirely
to watch synapses hiss and crackle
as you seek me out, piecing together
the clues I left for you. It won’t be long now.

This time, though, things will be different.
This time, when you find me, I plan to stay found.

I think it’s a love poem, but it’s full of weird things from science fiction B-movies. A B-movie love poem. How cool is that? I would have said that laser guns and long-lost loves had nothing to do with each other, but Emma’s poetry seems to suggest otherwise. That’s a remarkable brain she’s carrying around in that head of hers.

Emma comes back with her water-darkened hair plastered against her neck. I look up, feeling a little guilty.

‘Where’d you find that?’

‘In the bookshelf.’

She pauses, looking at me, almost frowning. ‘Had a bit of a rummage, did we?’

‘I was looking for comics.’ I sound more apologetic than I mean to, so I clear my throat.

‘It’s fine. Teasing.’ She closes the door behind herself. ‘I was wondering if you’d be here when I got back.’

Stay tuned for further excerpts from Man Bites Dog, or buy a copy from Tomely for only 99c and read the whole thing for yourself.


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Posted in man bites dog


[Being an excerpt from the poetry collection Not Quite the Man for the Job, on sale at Tomely for only 99c until 23 June 2014]

Some say it’s unnecessary,
even extravagant.
But to properly experience
every nuance of bike riding,
you need all fifteen gears.

First Gear

Along the Merri Creek
there’s a hill I swear
was created
with first gear in mind.
Only those strong of thigh
and heart
can make it to the top
without dismounting.

Second Gear

almost nothing
a feather on the pedals

Third Gear

I watch the cross-light
shift from amber to red.
My leg muscles tense.
I shift my grip,
release the brakes
and go.

Fourth Gear

Ten knots if it’s a breeze,
it bites my ears and pulls my hair.
I squint through watery eyes,
ignore the cold and pedal on.

Fifth Gear

a slight drop
for slowing as you
move through the

Sixth Gear
(cruising speed)

dodging potholes
and car doors
gone before their
apologies reach my ears

Seventh Gear

Regular oiling of the chain
will allow a smoother, quieter ride,
while ensuring that its fit
to the cogs is as close as possible.

Eighth Gear

Friday morning after bin night,
the sloppy garbage-men
have turned the footpath
into a slalom course.

Ninth Gear

Angle of ascent equals thirty-eight degrees.
Gravitational force equals nine point eight
metres per second per second.
Given that force equals mass by acceleration,
calculate the maximum velocity possible
for a rider weighing seventy-five kilograms.

Tenth Gear

Split the puddle
Neatly in half
Then curse the
Lack of mudguards

Eleventh Gear
(tram racing)

I play chasey with the number 86
all the way along High Street.
It passes me then I pass it
as passengers blankly stare
out of dusty windows.

Twelfth Gear

the only sounds are
my breath and the wind

Thirteenth Gear

The wind behind me
A downward slope
Thirteenth gear
All my weight
On the pedals

How close to escape velocity?

Fourteenth Gear
(seven-league boots)

I straighten my leg and travel five blocks.
Once more and another five.
Ten times my legs have bent and unbent
and I’m on the other side of town.

Fifteenth Gear

Sometimes it’s fun
to choose the path
of most resistance.


Some say it’s unnecessary,
Even extravagant,
But every click,
Every tick,
Every ker-chunk of the derailer
means something.

In the art of bike riding,
nothing is wasted.

Read more poems from Not Quite the Man for the Job - buy it now on Tomely for the mere price of 99c!


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Posted in writing

Someone’s Stolen Your Dog

[Being the latest in a series of excerpts from my novel, Man Bites Dog, which is currently on sale at Tomely for only 99c until 23 June 2014]

We follow the receptionist out the back, into a cavernous room with a leather-upholstered table in the middle. Between two benches on the right-hand wall is a large metal door.

‘He’s in the freezer,’ says the receptionist, motioning to the metal door.

She puts on a lined parka and opens up the freezer door, pushing down hard on the handle.

‘Did you manage to determine the cause of death?’ asks Gina.

‘Well, we had assumed that it was something he ate.’

‘You haven’t done the autopsy yet, then?’ The receptionist stares at her.

‘The what?’

‘The autopsy.’

She frowns at Gina. It’s partially a frown of confusion, but there’s some indignant something-or-other in there as well. ‘You want a necropsy?’ she asks. ‘I’m sorry, Miss . . .’


‘Miss Reynolds. I’m afraid that only your aunt herself can request a necropsy. It’s a rather delicate and serious matter, best left to the next of kin.’

‘But I am next of kin,’ Gina says.

‘Well, technically, yes,’ says the receptionist, ‘but you weren’t Gavin’s actual owner, if you see what I mean.’

‘But my aunt asked me to enquire about the possibility. She just wanted to be sure—you know, to be sure that she was right about her suspicions.’

‘Her suspicions?’

Gina clears her throat. ‘She thinks—though I don’t necessarily agree—that her mailman poisoned Gavin—Jeeves—with some chicken or something.’

‘She thinks her mailman killed her dog?’


‘But that’s ridiculous!’ I say. ‘Whoever heard of something so patently ludicrous?’ Both Gina and the receptionist stare at me. That same look again. ‘Well, it is pretty dumb, don’t you think?’ I say, sheepishly. ‘A mailman murdering a dog. Stupid. If you ask me.’

‘As I was saying, Miss Reynolds,’ the receptionist ignores me, ‘only your aunt herself can ask me to perform a necropsy. I can understand why she would want such a thing, but there are procedures to follow.’

‘Aunt Abby asked me to ask on her behalf. She doesn’t want to be there for it, but she does want to know for sure if it was the mailman. She’s too traumatised by the loss to come in person. I’m sure you under- stand.’ With this last, Gina goes into her uber-charming mode, only just stopping short of batting her eyelashes.

‘Of course it wasn’t the mailman,’ I say. ‘That’s just stupid.’

‘Steven, can you be quiet, please?’

I shut up.

‘Look,’ says the receptionist. ‘If your aunt calls me tomorrow morning, I can do the necropsy in the afternoon. Tell her that she doesn’t have to be here, but that I do need to speak to her personally.’

Gina nods. ‘Well, okay. I’ll get Aunt Abby to call you tomorrow, but could I still just see Jeeves now?’

‘Certainly. I’ll bring him out.’ She opens the freezer door again and steps inside.

‘Why would the receptionist do the autopsy?’ I whisper.

‘Necropsy. She’s not the receptionist. She’s the vet.’

‘But she was behind the desk,’

‘She’s wearing a white coat.’

‘I can see that. I thought it was just a uniform.’

‘It is. A vet’s uniform.’ Our squabble is interrupted by a cry from the vet.

The two of us bound towards the freezer. The vet is standing beside a stainless-steel trolley. There is no Doberman corpse to be seen. Above the trolley, on the side wall of the freezer, which would be the back wall of the surgery, is a small window, about two metres from the floor. Directly underneath is a pile of shattered glass.

‘I don’t believe it,’ says the vet. ‘Someone’s stolen your dog.’

Stay tuned for further excerpts from Man Bites Dog, or buy a copy from Tomely for only 99c and read the whole thing for yourself.


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Posted in man bites dog

Nostalgic for Now

[Being an excerpt from the poetry collection Not Quite the Man for the Job, on sale at Tomely for only 99c until 23 June 2014]

Garlic sauce from the two fifty kebab
makes its way through the paper bag
to collect in the bottom of the satchel
strapped to my shoulders.

Down the back streets on my grownup BMX.
I’m remembering all the old moves:
foot down to turn a corner,
swaying as I stand on the pedals.

I’m a self-powered projectile fueled
by two pubs and two bands.
No money changed hands over the bar,
but I’m high on something tonight.

I cut through the Edinburgh gardens,
past ghosts of Fitzroy full-backs,
riding by touch over asphalt
pushed aside by trees that got there first.

Casting double shadows under streetlights,
hearing the buzz of tyres
and the click of spokes
and the chunk of changing gears.

Through Piedimonte’s carpark,
past places I could have had my first kiss.
Along freshly-minted footpath,
pulling leaves from the trees as I pass.

This night is a free game of pinball,
a fresh bagel, the smell of her skin,
an answering machine filled with good news,
dimples on the head of a Guinness.

I’ve forgotten my longing for things past.
They’re gone. They were good. That’s enough.
Tonight there’s no need for “remember when?”.
Tonight, I’m nostalgic for now.

Read more poems from Not Quite the Man for the Job - buy it now on Tomely for the mere price of 99c!


Posted in writing

Published: Whose Doctor? Reflections on a Time Lord

Whose Doctor? Reflections on a Time LordBack in November 2013 there was a lot going on around the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Doctor Who, and I managed to get in on a bit of that action here and there.

One thing I got to do was a reading at the Litho Club in North Melbourne as part of the Melbourne City Library’s 50th Anniversary program.

The Not Quite the Big Finish: A Night of Doctor Who Spoken Word was a brilliant night featuring nine amazing readers from the cream of Melbourne’s authorial intelligentsia (well, eight plus me) waxing smart on the Doctor.

I was stoked and kinda nervous to be sharing the stage with folks like John Richards and Ben McKenzie of Splendid Chaps fame, as well as luminaries like Emilie Collyer, Karen Pickering and George Ivanoff. Everyone was amazing and there was a lot of Who-love in the room at the end of the night.

There was talk that night of somehow collecting the pieces that people had read for posterity, maybe as a a one-off podcast, and I chipped in to suggest that maybe an ebook collection would be an easy enough and fun enough thing to do.

Seven months later (and in the long lead-up to the first appearance on our boxes of Peter Capaldi as The Twelfth Thirteenth Fourteenth latest Doctor) I’m proud to announce the arrival of Whose Doctor? Reflections on a Time Lord.

It’s a fantastic collection of essays, commentaries and poetry that looks at Doctor Who from multiple angles, no two of which are the same.

So here’s what you’ve got:

  • John Richards’s wry essay about original companion Barbara Wright as the true hero of the show
  • Karen Pickering’s passionate excoriation of Steven Moffat’s gender politics
  • Jules Wilkinson’s hilarious opening lecture to a class of would-be companions
  • Ben McKenzie’s heartfelt admission that Seven is his favourite
  • Emilie Collyer’s touching poem about how she, her partner and her step-daughter bonded over Sunday nights with Christopher Eccleston
  • LJ Maher’s playful examination of New Who’s subversion of the male gaze
  • Philip Ashmore’s nostalgic revisitation of his relationship with the show and its monsters
  • George Ivanoff’s cheeky request to become a Doctor Who scriptwriter

Oh, and there’s also my poem about how Donna was faking it so she could leave the Doctor and have her own, much more excellent adventures without him.

So yeah. Doctor Who ebook. You can buy it right now from either:

  • Tomely (in .epub or .mobi format)
  • Smashwords (in formats including .epub, .mobi, .pdf and other reader-compatible versions)

It’ll set you back only $5US, so there’s no real reason not to, really.

If you’re a blogger or a reviewer or a Who fan of some kind, I’d be more than happy to provide you with a copy so that you can spread the word and extol our virtues (if you’re so inclined) – just leave a comment below this post, or email me at adamatsya [this is not an at] gmail [this is not a dot] com.

Thanks to all of the authors involved in putting this sucker together, and especial big-arse thanks to Aimee Rhodes and the Melbourne City Library for bringing everyone together in the first place.

Further thanks also to Mr. Nathan Curnow, award-winning poet and all-round nice guy, who worked with me on my contribution, giving me some excellent advice on how to improve on the version that I originally read in November.

[insert your own witty Who-ism by way of a pithy closing comment here.]

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Posted in writing
Like what you read?
Go off-blog with Adam's ebooks!

Heroes And Civilians, featuring Stories about superheroes, octuplets, giant monsters, rabbits, robots & astronauts, is FREE TO DOWNLOAD RIGHT NOW!

Whose Doctor? Reflections on a Time Lord, featuring 9 Doctor Who essays & poems, including Adam's "Donna Noble Has Been Saved" poem, is on sale until August 24 for $2.50!

Man Bites Dog, Adam's novel about posties, poets, dobermans & Angela Lansbury is only $2!

Not Quite the Man for the Job, Adam's award-winning poetry collection, is also only $2!

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