The Art of War — Recapping the Sixth Week of ‘The Block’ as Poetry

The Block’s 2023 competition.

Joel Burrows is a poet who has been published by CorditeGoing Down Swinging, and Stilts Poetry, amongst others. He’s also a huge fan of The Block. In this series, Block-etry, Joel recaps each episode of The Block’s 2023 competition. Please enjoy his breakdown of week six.

The Block — Episode 22

The Block is a big
Slab of marble,
And all of our
Poems are chisels.

According to
The sculptor
“Every block of
Stone has a
Statue inside it,
And it is the task
Of the sculptor
To discover it.”

“I saw the angel in
The marble and carved
Until I set him free.”

In Episode 22 of The Block,
Brett plays a Mitre 10
Claw machine and wins $5,000.

Leah fights with
The foreman
About the size of her
Bedroom’s cabinetry.

Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain: 1917. 

A toilet trapped in the marble. 

I carved and chiselled
Until I set this work free.

The Block — Episode 23

The art of war is of
Vital importance to the State.

It is a matter of life and death,
A road either to safety or to ruin.

It’s week six of The Block,
Bedroom builds on The Block,
Steph’s demise on The Block.

Kristy is pretending
To be her sister,
Giving her a poisoned goon sack,
Filled to the brim with advice.

She tells Steph to pump up
The height of her ceiling,
To maybe add wooden beams. 

Both of these options could
Send Steph into financial ruin. 

The wooden beams
May clash with her downstairs,
Magazine living room.

Next scene:
Steph is
Chatting with
Her builders. 

She paints a
Painting of cathedrals,
Of wooden beams
Made from Valhalla. 

In a cut away, Kristy says,
“I can easily suggest
Something as a throwaway
Comment, and it will eat her away.”

Her husband Brett
Is sitting next to her.

“If she thinks you have a
genuine relationship with her,
she’d be stupid,” says Brett.

“Like, if she believes it.
Because you’re
Clearly messing with her.”

When you
Surround an army,
Leave a unit free. 

Do not press
A desperate foe too hard.

Such is the art of the war.

The Block — Episode 24

Part One

Friends, lovers,
The gargoyle is gone.  

Scotty Cam is
No longer in
My living room tonight. 

He is instead in my television,
Ordering 100 hashbrowns
And 50 pieces of banana bread
From a McDonald’s drive-thru.

Are these for
The builders,
Or will he eat them
All in one sitting?

The answer?
We’ll never know. 

What a host.

Part Two

Up a driveway,
Through a front door,
Stepping over the
Chaos of a build site:
A white ceiling,
Rippled like the sea.

A series of
Pears cut in half.

A testimonial to
The Block’s 2023 competition. 

When the accountant
Reviewed the cost,
He tensed up into pure concrete.

Leah and Ash,
They may be proletariat terrorists,
But heck, what a ceiling. 

Part Three

The art of war
Teaches us to rely not
On the likelihood of our
Enemies not coming,
But on our own readiness
To receive them.

Not on the chance of
Them not attacking,
But rather on the fact
That we have made our
Position unassailable.
Kirsty is pissed off at Steph.

They are
Sharing an
And Steph is
Their time.

But, to be fair to Steph,
She needs a consultation. 

After all, the new
Wooden beams in her
Bedroom equal all her
Lighting must change.

“The people that are organised
Get screwed over,” Kristy laments. 

“Because she makes
F**king changes, constantly.”

A flock of migrating
Ironies fly past her car window.

Such is the art of the war.

The Block — Episode 25

Part One

“I’m not happy with it.”

On the back wall,
On an opulent piece
Of military-grade
Venetian plaster, two
Powerpoint sockets are
Too far off the ground.

Kristy and Brett
Have goofed up.

Between playing
Claw machines and
Curb stomping Steph,
They haven’t crafted
A divine bedroom.

An infant could stand
Comfortably under
Those powerpoint sockets.

Maybe Kirsty
Isn’t Sun Tzu after all.

The Art of War?
I don’t know her.


Part Two

Dear Steph and Gian,
It’s spring now,
And it’s spring for you too.

As the leaves change,
You sit on your couch,
Bingeing The Block
Each night, and you learn
That Kristy never loved you.

You learn that she
Wanted to destroy your
Household from within.

That you were a victim
In Mean Girls X Julius Caesar.

Do you hold each
Other and cry each night? 

Or are your
Keeping you warm?

On my September 17
Laptop screen,
The judges loved
Your master bedroom.

Your ceiling and its beams
Reminded them
Of an unsigned Notre Dame.

The soft couches melded
And merged with the marble.

As one judge said,
“This is selling the dream.”

Steph and Gian,
May this autumn win
Sustain you this spring.

Until next time, Midas touch.

The Block drops on Sundays through to Wednesdays on Channel 9 and the 9Now app.

Want more Block competition details this 2023? Read all of our coverage here, and click the links below:

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.