6 Days
daniel ward

day 1

Arini Byng in collaboration with Rebecca Jensen, Lilian Steiner and Rohan Rebeiro, I felt it when you fell, 2021/2, performance documentation, Contact High, Gertrude Glasshouse, Melbourne. Photo: Keelan O’Hehir. Courtesy of Gertrude and Performance Review.

every day starts with a drum roll
as if the world is watching over
your shoulder
immediate like
a shot
a morning
a whole life

i have many words for time
do not say them and
from here i’m ringing up life as
a meditation on life
there is no more to it
just arriving
following new procedures
and doing

ringing cup i kick you
killing three versions of the self against
another as a start
and this is just breakfast
then working the yard
working around a room until you get
and do it

art has the potential for a few things where this
potential is held by all in
the room until we leave but
this is not known in the same way for everyone
so i guess some things fall away
and like touch
we wish this potential
stay as long as
a drum echo


everything through the front
everyone come down please
scrape the long wall which could be the
and totally destroy
where i am to get in the
and a need to be alive right now

i find you are on the track
i find you on the track
i find an action is the thing about art nobody tells
you because they often don't know how or why yet
even if there is a

are you
that's the game you are playing
that's the thing to take home
that you are
then not
then again

momentum as the only currency
our desire as an object or absence
to know and not know the origin
of our specificity
what we want to grab or run
what is the object here but
time moving

fifty people in a room and
nobody knows how to end
a performance
there is a current
it is pushing
it is all standing and on
a string! on a line!

we line up in instruction
so we feel its direction against our own
but we do not end

a group of people trying but ultimately accepting
their indifference in struggle
and by the end of it
and perhaps without knowing it
they identify a broader struggle or
but still in line for
the body
has a patient memory

day 2

Alexander Powers, The Plastic Body, 2021/2, performance documentation, Contact High, Gertrude Glasshouse, Melbourne. Photo: Keelan O’Hehir. Courtesy of Gertrude and Performance Review.

i wake up
the breath immediate
is the clock
from birth i’m placed in time ahead
of oneself
too forward, worn out
in moments of fear i am in quicker
and in earth i am idle in regret and

so everything becomes a territory
a state is a room
old punctuation; repeat it make a
home in a dream
and relax
everyday you received no
encouragement to begin
but you turn that fucking thing

the most delicate movement is often tense
when over considered
but you wish
to dissolve into it
a train. a home. a city.
waiting for whatever it is
that today exhausts the body

a circadian rhythm of effort/challenge and
expansion to exhaustion
what is what is what feels good is what feels at all

love becomes a letter in noise and organisation
endurance is fanciful and performative
an army is a collection of things moving to the
same beat
this room is an army
marching does not exist without truth and truth
does not exist without a dream or
an idea
but first it is a fear
stamping up and down until it is
or never found

the story is only told of as a wielding of
or every story is the same story
nothing in life succeeds but everything in life is trying

day 3

Sean Miles, Out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, Out, in, out, in, out, in, out, Out, out, out, out, 2021/2, performance documentation, Contact High, Gertrude Glasshouse, Melbourne. Photo: Keelan O’Hehir. Courtesy of Gertrude and Performance Review.

the rope. the clock again. i could hope-
fully take you anywhere
come on
call time anything as it already is you

i feel your breath slowly
the door
then nothing but floor

it is hard to tell a story in
a gallery
everything becomes a suggestion
gets all caught up in who is in the room with you to pivot
into abstraction
which is polite and
i certainly dabble
but when its a theatre we see you in
then behind a wall is a suggestion behind
the wall knows my life
if you can inhabit for one night a suggestion
you have known art

the joker
is a mountain
is a costume we know not
of how it becomes but that it became grand
and now it IS grand to make
something for us
or how unconsidered grand has become
that it became small and hard like candy
sweet and peppermint
sometimes when the mouth is turned in another direction it is aniseed
hot sugar
hair places
i call time a person of tricks
i offer no god to you but time
which offers you what
you already have

language is a trick
a ghost
but you offer a body to
language by living
and this is it
every day you wake up in your temple and
become an apparatus of fiction
this one body rises
i want to build around this with a heavy anecdote
i came to you as some bizarre relic of what has come before
and i leave
like a

all big like every god is every mountain is an electric guitar on bent
on heat
and out
and the audience notifies the audience notifies the artist
we were all done now
no easy way about it
we breathe in what
wonderment or stress or
we breathe out
and need silence

day 4

Marcus Ian McKenzie, Solo For Smartphones, 2021/2, performance documentation, Contact High, Gertrude Glasshouse, Melbourne. Photo: Keelan O’Hehir. Courtesy of Gertrude and Performance Review.

growing whisper is a cry for silence
the noise ushers for the most
i am forced daily
to be calm like a
gun i am told to fuck now or step now and be calm
do you know how important it is to be
you are going to be
a good half an hour of theory leads to a poem on a
waggon wheel
or laundry
why not?
self actualisation can be purchased and these both denounce
each other
meet at pure and neutral, good and rounding
to purchase the unpurchasable
is to purchase at all

life is interrupted by a vehicle
or hopelessness and unbridled
like a cup of water that spills as delight
between the sound of the head
like starting
an old car
yell man
really i feel good
all buttered
all optional
the biggest fiction book is success
the biggest lie
art is to find that
as quickly as possible and then
i do not look at enough art to know who really even
i like you
have lived inside my mind my whole life
what does a child see but a world of
making it up as they go along
timing it all up what a laugh
what a tear around

i am nobody to
expect perfection

art is one of those cheap translations of life
here is a clap
here is a hard shoe
hard work is dead
and now deskilling is the skill which is the skill of answering
and being cool as if religious monument
or judging punishing god discipline moment

everything is taken care of by
the day
today the the day is
blue hot
until we show our hands up
like a death machine
the big circle
as it goes
for maybe 100 years maybe less
the cycle of culture
who knows
i wish someone would guess
and then or at least for a while we stand on Wurundjeri land
flattened to contemplate neater
to be contemplating in the glass
room of what life looks like
head to screen to head to screen
for which the earth continues to
try and understand
the earth does not understand architecture yet

turn on a microphone for a second
me you are trying
until you are dead
you do not say thank you until the
end and the trip is over and you can no longer
walk anymore
then all you can say is
thank you
i am dead

day 5

Rebecca Jensen with dancers Enzo Nazario and Lydia Connoly-Hiatt, The Effect, 2021/2, performance documentation, Contact High, Gertrude Glasshouse, Melbourne. Photo: Keelan O’Hehir. Courtesy of Gertrude and Performance Review.

silence again
it's what we talk about
that we were always breathing fast and trying to
catch up
i seem to have been asleep my whole life

if people hear things in a coma
i am listening
walking around for a signifier of life but
the mind never resists
finds truth anywhere
it is the mind’s only trick
blind luck

of course there is no answer
set the timer for when you would wake anyway
open the blind
and we have found a way for food to become quiet
and almost unidentifiable

and NOBODY walks this slow
unless they are doing art
where a sound is a chorus much
the same as a group of people a spectacle
in slow
motion and are we sure we should take
the car?

everyone runs like a ballerina when they are being watched leaving
which further to the movement of someone trying to leave tells us
that everyone is a dancer

today when a performer comes through it comes with a
but i wished them to move into me
like a smell
without invitation

the more i think back i do not
if i smelt rosemary or
lavender or both or

along the track of hands i follow you
and in every voice there is the potential for
love where you feel the world’s hum as the tangible
longing for your far away money
but nothing

should we take the

consciousness is a tv
no wonder everything else is
a way to get to dreams

we call the boundless ability outside our consciousness
we call the inside
i do not even
but it is life
and my body
is everywhere else
the enduring reality becomes the only way to
find yourself
asleep in the mind forever
unable to find the beyond

we seep out like carton juice
left for weeks
sneaking past as the way of operating
time is a tv too
that grand programming
you know
you know it all greatly

the most universal experience is
jangling the keys before leaving
perhaps in this minor body movement exists world peace
or the high chimes of movement offers a door to a broader
beyond the self
and into the instrument of days
i search the technicolour visions of the momentary
of disaster
of bright light

had to leave because it was so scary
had to leave because of a date sorry i
dashed off and the sound of jangling keys to the bright light ring forever

day 6

Ari Tampubolon and Scanlan Wong, Contract High Xx, 2021/2, performance documentation, Contact High, Gertrude Glasshouse, Melbourne. Photo: Keelan O’Hehir. Courtesy of Gertrude and Performance Review.

joining the call and pretty
knowing when to get up like impulse
like refuse
like sorry
like i learnt that
like i know that
are you there?

there is a beamer coming through
dressed up wonderful
oh my god
was that too much for you?

when we are told to talk we need time to think finally
someone lets us speak
thank you for
every job
and every job is
cool > momentum > capital > what is cool

we are wishing to be in and i guess
we are
but really
you want nothing much in the world

i am both a trans woman and a transphobic narcissist
and i don’t meditate as much as i should
duality is much more like myrtle or between colours
is that okay
for today

it often passes before it can be
you understand this
you fail
and it had to be perfected
tuesday as harmonious disorder
wednesday as confusion
thursday i talk to you as a signature
is everything okay on friday

reading this poem right now is like reading an email and i wouldn’t expect you to
like it anymore than an email but i
know and
maybe you know
emails can be wonderful
life giving
better than anything i have seen in a gallery

what number shall we give you
people are scanned and moved
while success is again not tangible
but each day a rehearsal for the next
a dance with everything that you have
but we call it a name
we title
what we paint or point
who we want
what is close
and drive me please
i'm a savage
i am
the wind or
i am the pulse or
i am the rhythm eternal

6 Days is a poetic response to Contact High by no more poetry's daniel ward. Contact High was a Performance Review takeover of Gertrude Glasshouse. Over the course of three weeks, six Naarm based artists rehearsed, workshopped and developed new or existing performance works in the gallery. This residency culminated in the public presentation of these works across two performance nights on 20 and 27 January 2022. 6 Days conceptualises each of the six Contact High performance as a day. The poems appear in order of performance (one to three being the first performance night and four to six being the second). 6 Days is the first in a series of articles published by Performance Review in conjunction with Gertrude, in response to Gertrude's 2022-23 Artistic Program.

daniel ward is a poet and musician based in naarm. they are the editor of no more poetry, an independent publisher of poetry books and art magazines. they have previously been published in Cordite, Lor Journal, Inhabit Journal, Sick Leave and elsewhere and are currently completing their second poetry collection titled eternal delight paralysis. all other writing can be found at danielwardpoems.blogspot.com. daniel performs predominantly improvised music under the moniker bodies of divine infinite eternal spirit, accompanied by a range of rotating collaborators and is the drummer for glam-punk band Wet Kiss.

Performance Review acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we operate. We pay our respects to their Elders; past, present and emerging and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.