Shut Down Strangers & Hot Rod Angels an anthology inspired by the music of Bruce Springsteen

Two of my poems are included in the Shut Down Strangers anthology released to celebrate Springsteen’s 70th birthday and to capture all the different reasons and ways people have of​ loving Springsteen’s work. 

The anthology is published by Bone & Ink Press it contains a range of work – fiction, non fiction and poetry – that bounces off Springsteen’s songs.

“The work in this anthology speaks deeply to the gift that is Springsteen’s music and is a testament to the way his lyrics play in our heads, resonate in our souls, and help us make sense of the world and feel so much less alone. This book is evidence that almost anyone can find their way into his songs, as if Springsteen purposely left space for them. His characters capture the imagination of these writers and live on, becoming as real as anything, infusing the reader with the sense of belonging, connection, and community found in listening to Springsteen’s songs.”

Shawna Lemay is the author of Rumi and the Red Handbag and other books.

I created two centos from Springsteen songs, which is a VERY unusual way for me to write, usually I’m totally uninterested in writing that involves puzzling around with other people’s words, but this was heaps of fun. Here’s an extract from my poem that used the lyrics from Its Hard to be a Saint in the City and Lost in the Flood

dressed in drag for homicide

‘hey kid…this countryside is a hurricane
oil and blood
breaking beams and crosses
senses thrown to war
tracks clack
every noise boy smiles sweet
and pleads immaculate conception’

Head over to Bone & Ink Press to get a copy of the anthology. 

Screen Shot 2019-11-23 at 1.05.00 pm


There’s a dragon flying on your arm

And a friendly reminder, as of April 2017, my first collection – BONE INK – is available for order from Guillotine Press. This is one of the poems that didn’t make it into the collection.

There’s a dragon flying on your arm


The second summer of love was in a ten year tailspin,

we’d wasted years backmasking the Bad Seeds in search of a

decent Springsteen song, the end was nigh,

all we found was Shoegaze and the clicks of Drum

and Bass. There was nothing left to shake from the decade.


We tossed darts through the death throes; endless games

with a dealer, tucked in the pocket of a battle axe

off Jasper Rd. Months spent honing our class A manners,

preparing our banter, lippy precision darts –

501, 501, 501 – while he bagged tabs and doves.


The guy looked like Jeff Duff, shirt open, twitchy

as a whippet. Blabbed lore as he rolled

the barrel of his favourite dart between

rubber-gloved fingers; a squint, feather-spin and

triple twenty. He had a Staffy that could open the fridge


and fetch beers, it’d nuzzle up and you’d have no choice

but to take the spitty tin. Three games or a beer before

we were allowed to escape. Amphetamines and tins of beer

never end well in the suburbs. We pulled up on night to see

cops dragging him through gravel, wrists cuffed,


hands still gloved in latex, dog chewing a silver bullet.


Another oddity from 2015. Still clearing out the strange, old stuff. For all you people not familiar with Sydney slang, silver bullet = a can of Resches.


FullSizeRender (5)