NSW Writers' Centre Book Fair, 2001

"I’m just trying to be normal." - Anna Kournikova
"I want to be normal." - Eric Beach

It's normal to try to sell your wares in order to survive.
The camel trains from Samarkand to the Evandale Market,
sports stars and Blackwater selling expertise, Brian Burke
peddling access, my cousin the mob lawyer trading her skills
in a market that smells of blood and stale beer and tastes
of gunmetal, ice and lipstick: life is a hustle. So it's normal

to be at the book fair stuck between the man
who'd self-published a very thick volume purporting to prove
that Peter Reith never had a phone card
and the woman who had left her dog at home,
the dog that can cure cancer by wagging its tail.
And, no, she hadn't written a book about the dog,
but she'd self-published a book on reflexology
and was giving a free massage with every copy.

So that's where they thought poetry belongs.
And the wind blew dust until all the books were white
and the leaflets from the stall opposite were a blizzard
on every snowflake of which you could read,
"Buy our book on self-publishing. We published it ourselves."

And a thousand people walked through, and two of them
bought books. The rest wanted to be published.
That's normal. It's normal to worship the market,
the only higher being that's been proved to deliver
this side of death. These days we're too impatient
to wait for eternity, and that's normal, too. It's normal
to want something for nothing. When do we want it? Now!

Woodchips, glamour, KFC or a nice line in irony
that the drinkers in the Minyip pub don't understand,
whatever we've got, a country, someone else's country,
a past, a childhood, someone else's childhood, a future:
the hawker's smile has always shone on our normal lives.

Other poems by Tim Thorne

Bronte Country
Jonathan Burke McHugo Comes to Town
Pentecostal Chillout
When in California

An interview with Tim Thorne

A conversation with Tim Thorne (2007)

Reviews of Tim Thorne's poetry

Taking Queen Victoria to Inveresk (1997)
Best Bitter (2003)
I Con (2009)