Randall Stephens and Alex Scott - 08 Saharan Siren Song

from by Randall Stephens

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  • My first printed book of poetry "One For The Road" is all about travel and journey, a collection representing work written over a 6 year period.

    Featuring Hopeless crushes in strange places, communications breakdowns, heartbreak, isolation, floods in Thailand, scams in Malaysia, wankers in Auckland, disillusionment in India, freaking out in the Sahara, and a stolen pith helmet in Nepal. We go from exotic adventure to facing up the economic disparities in the world.

    It's 22 individual stories on 60 pages, staple stitched with illustrations, all created and composed by the author.

    Also there's elephants in it. It's pretty good.

    Includes unlimited streaming of 06 Don't Ask Why via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 3 days

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Co-written with Alex Scott.



There was nothing out there to see
and I could see that

eyes couldn't contain it
legs couldn't resist it
that feeling you have
every time you're on a ledge looking down
hearing that voice, saying (Step off)

stepped out of the Berber tent and into the furnace
(Step off)
ahead – the black stubble stretch,
and in my hand a bottle of water.

...and it was that falling-off-feeling
stretched out flat forever
and calling to me
from desert mountain mirages
where a Bunsen-burner blue flame
sky ripples and swirls

at first I headed to the north
mistaking a cairn for your slumbering form –
but collected only blood red rocks
and bad omens for my trouble

those dunes
those dunes taunted me
like friends in high-school
who egg you on into a fight

before I left, I said – I always get my man –

nothing left behind to pull me back
those feet, once mine
pushing forward into nothing
like my turn in the queue has come

– that I was going to hunt you in the wilderness –

and I walked and I knew and I just realised I knew

-as I reflected that the night before
I had introduced myself
as your own conscience

I just realised I knew, I could die out here

it was as your conscience I set out to chase you
a mad man’s mission:
find a man in a grey gelaba in the black desert
as mad as it was, I knew I would succeed

I could die out here
not a realisation of the harshness of the Sahara
(I would succeed).
that we knew already
but I could die out here... in peace.

looking from the cairn
the silence of the place pounding
like a thousand hidden drums

like all my machinery got switched off
(the silence of the place)
and I’m not thinking
(the silence of the place)
not seeing
a thousand hidden drums…

I could walk out here and never come back
drown beneath those - black – rocks
like there was nothing else to do
I wanted to, I still want to

I made first for the tree then out
keeping the dunes to my right
and the mountains to my left
scanning the limits of the reliable –
where the trees became goats, became men
became finally nothing at all
shapes twisted by heat horizon

infinity at boiling point

everything was flecked with uncertainty

black marble, suddenly smashed by God

a man in a grey gelaba
in black desert who does not want to be found
will not be found

as he threw up his hands and said

I knew there was a road
but I also knew your hunger for nothing


and so struck out perpendicular

leaving empty scattered everywhere

a gamble in the desert

a mess not cleaned up

but it was together,
we walked back

turned around yes

- and you said you would not go out again

but I didn't come back

…you said you would not go out again –
and you did, and I sit here at camp

nothing else to do
so much nothing

your conscience rests

can’t contain it

and you are gone

not empty enough
not empty enough
not empty enough



from Product, released September 1, 2013
Co-written with Alex Scott.



all rights reserved


Randall Stephens Melbourne, Australia

Randall Stephens writes poetry about other poetry, cycling, sexuality, masculinity, dinosaurs and your boyfriend. People have called Randall controversial. Randall has called people losers.

Randall has toured extensively in Australia, as well as in New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Borneo.

Also competed in London and New York, but didn’t do very well so don’t tell him I mentioned that.
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