[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!




I’m a bit worried
about all of this
rampant pigeonholism &
unnecessary categorisationism,
but I guess you could say
I’m a believer in
sleeping latism,
vegetarian lasagnism &
thai green curryism,
romantic poeticism,
friendly humourism,
pub bandism,
early morning sexism,
Sunday paperism,
brand new bikism &
crappy old carism,
late-night T.V.-ism,
Star Trek Voyagerism,
good bookism,
open firism,
thunderstormism &
user-friendly cynicism.

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



The Modest Demands of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Guitarist

all I want to do
is play
sing backups
and drink the
before the
gets to it.

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




[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]

The cup thunks back onto the table, empty, & the bean races through your blood, bouncing off the walls of veins capillaries arteries arterioles venules entering your brain & showing those neurons & synapses what for. “Get moving, you sluggish chemo-sensitive sonsabitches! We got the power to keep you up for hours!” Neurons hesitate & pitifully protest but soon are caught up in the song of ZAP! ZOW! ZAM! & ZING!! Eyes widen pupils & nostrils dilate hair tingles limbs tremble risorial muscles tense mouth opens throat opens & WHEEEEEEEEE!! HOT DOG! YEE-FUCKEN-HA!! We’re There.

“Oh, yes,” cries the bean, “you just can’t argue with us! Born under desert skies, that ol’ goat-herder really wondered what in Allah’s name was up with his goats, didn’t he? We got them dancing & jiving & writing iambic pentameter in Russian! We got them bleating up a storm, running around like they’d just had a barb-wire enema! & when HE started chompin’ on those beans, he got such an Allah-be-damned surprise, he fell to praying & didn’t stop bobbing his head up & down for a week. We travelled the globe, stopping off in the Americas, sharing a spot next door to our cousins, the cocoas, & we got this to say to you. Have another cup, boy! Hell, have two more! We’re looking for a new home, & we picked you!

We don’t care how you have it, white, black or even with that fuzzy chocolate crap on top, just so long as you have it. Can’t you feel the strength we give you? Energy, my friend. N. R. G. Now you can go out & do whatsoever your bunny-beating little heart desires. Twice in ten minutes. Go for it boy, sprint! You’re ours now, you sonofabitch. All the way from Brazil to you. We want you to have a good time, & all we ask in return is that you HAVE. A. GOOD. TIME. Now, don’t you feel like another? Hmmmmm?”

Your quivering hands put the percolator back on the stove. You strike a match (dropping the first, but getting it the second time) & hear the satisfying thump! of igniting gas, & as your pores exude the rich, textured smell you’ve come to think of as home, the caffeine molecule goes deeper inside & bonds with DNA. Adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine & caffiene.

Witness the birth of a new being, more coffee than man.

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


crappin' on about the inconsequential, man bites dog, Not Quite the Man for the Job, the reason why I am doing this

Happy Birthday to YOU (again)!

Another year ticks over and it’s once again time for a birthday ebook sale. Last year I offered a 50% discount on my ebook poetry collection and novel for 41 hours, but this year I’m going one better (and by “one better” I mean to say “967 hours better”) by offering both of them for NINETY-NINE CENTS EACH FOR THE NEXT 42 DAYS.

Because I’m 42 now. Get it?

Anyway, here’s the link: Go and get yerself some cheap ebooks.

man bites dog, Me and my opinions, Not Quite the Man for the Job, the writing process

Post-Sale Debrief

I’m not sure how long I spent converting my old out of print books into ebooks, but it felt like a bloody long time.

It was exciting at the same time as being exhausting. I taught myself how to do it through a combination of online searches, asking for advice, manual reading and trial and error. Eventually I got there and the books were done, thanks in no small part to the generosity of the people who preordered copies and kicked some cash my way as part of my pozible campaign.

Since then, the response has been… shall we say not overwhelming?

Since September last year, when I finally released the ebooks of Man Bites Dog and Not Quite the Man available for sale over on bkclb I’ve sold about ten copies of both books combined. Before the sale earlier this month that total was three. During the sale I sold another four copies to three individuals, and then another three at full price to two people a few days after the sale finished.

Continue reading “Post-Sale Debrief”

man bites dog, Not Quite the Man for the Job

Happy Birthday to YOU!

EDIT: Sale’s finished. All done. Thanks to everyone who bought a book. Hope you like ’em.

I just turned 41. To celebrate I’m having a CRAZY 41-hour sale whereby you can buy either of my lovely ebooks for the half-price price of just $2.50 between now and 2pm, Friday 17 May (Australian Eastern Standard Time).

Yes, that’s right. A Leunig-endorsed poetry collection AND a Nick-Earls-lauded novel for $5 bucks total.

What a bargain. That is a bargain for YOU.

You can sample the wares or buy sight-unseen over in my Bcklb store. You’re welcome.


man bites dog, Not Quite the Man for the Job, the writing process

Now with extra e!

No need to worry about facing out on THIS bookshelf!
No need to worry about facing out on THIS bookshelf!

Long time coming, but I finally finished making the ebook versions of my novel, Man Bites Dog, and my second poetry collection, Not Quite the Man for the Job.

They are now available to purchase and download in either .epub or .mobi format from the folks over at bcklb. Just head straight over to adamford.bkclb.co and they can be yours for the measly price of $US5 each.

Copious thanks to all of the kind people who donated to the crowdfunding project on pozible that let me raise the readies to license the original cover images these books were published with when they were released by Allen & Unwin.

Thanks also to the bkclb crew for their invaluable support with the whole ebook-making thing. They steered me right when I was heading the wrong way, so cheers to them.

It was a really interesting process going back over these two books in as much detail as I had to in order to make sure all of the formatting &c was where it should be. There were times when I cringed a little at what I’d written way back in the late nineties/early naughties, and I can’t deny that I was tempted to take the odd poem out or to rewrite a scene here and there. I resisted though, and what you’ll see on your reader screens is practically indistinguishable from the old-school print versions when they were released.

Yeah, okay. I did make one or two changes, but they’re of the minor-yet-immensely-satisfying kind, taking care of a few glaring errors and one thing that’s bugged me since I read it in published print for the first time.

In Not Quite the Man for the Job, the poem “Veclocipe” went to print claiming indirectly that the units of acceleration are metres per second and not metres per second per second. You can see how a proofreader might have innocently deleted the second “per second” there, but when I showed it to the editor on the book she screamed out in embarrassment, confessing that her boyfriend was a physicist and she knew the units of acceleration. An easy mistake to make, and I totally forgave her right then and there. Now and here too, especially since the lawful restitution of that second “per second”.

The other error was a bit more egregious, which is to say that when Professor Albert Einstein was referred to in the subject index of Not Quite the Man for the Job he was referred to as “Alfred Einstein”. I have endured the shame of that malapropism for almost 14 years, but now it too has been rectified. Einstein, Albert. End of.

Finally I gave a minor tweak to a scene right at the end of Man Bites Dog that, no matter how I read it, was completely ambiguous about whether Steven (our hero) was doing something or just imagining that he was doing it, so when it came time to proofread that part of the novel I snuck a quick look over my shoulder, added a clarifying phrase and released a nine-year-pent-up sigh of relief. No, I’m not going to tell you what happens in that scene. Spoilers, yeah?

So yeah. ebooks. I made some.

man bites dog, Not Quite the Man for the Job

Imma make some ebook!

(check out the full details of the Adam Ford eBook Cover Fund over on Pozible.com )

As the above video will attest, I have this crazy plan to turn Not Quite the Man for the Job and Man Bites Dog into ebooks.

I’ve been tapping away for a while now, mucking around with html and freeware ebook converters, picking the brains of other ebook publishers, and I think I’ve got most of it sorted now, at least in terms of the internal pages. Getting the poetry to sit right was a bit tricky, but I eventually sorted something out (stay tuned for a future post on how to make poems retain their line-integrity in ebooks – riveting stuff, I know…).

The covers, though, are a slightly different matter. I thought it would be good to use the covers that the print books had when they were released, but to do so I need to pay a wee licensing fee to Allen & Unwin, under whose good graces the books originally came into the world and also under whose good graces the delovely covers were commissioned.

That’s where you come in. In order to raise the money to license the rights to the covers I’m offering both ebooks for presale at a discounted price through crowdfunding website Pozible. The nice thing about Pozible is that if, for whatever reason, I don’t make the goal target, then your pledge doesn’t get honoured and you don’t have to pay any money at all, so it’s reasonably risk free.

If this interests – or even merely intrigues – you, you can pre-order the books at the aptly named adamfordsbookcovers.pozible.com and sign up to stay informed about my progress towards the lofty goal of three hundred of your Earth (i.e., “Australian”) dollars.

Further samples of Man Bites Dog and Not Quite the Man for the Job can be found on this website somewhere.