Catacombs Made of Drama: Recapping the Final Weeks of ‘The Block’ as Poetry

Liberty and Eliza on he second last episode of The Block.

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 season. Please enjoy his breakdown of The Block’s final two weeks worth of episodes, sans the finale.

The Block — Episode 42

Dear Gian and Steph,
This week is landscaping week, and
Your piggy bank is named Moccus.
He’s Celtic god of the swine.

You have fed Moccus
Lottery tickets, $100 bills,
And V-Bucks, until his stomach
Grew pear-shaped and full.

You kept patting his
Swollen corked belly,
As he rolled around
In the Commbank mud.

In return, Moccus has blessed you.
Moccus has blessed you with a
Year’s worth of salaries to
Landscape and sculpt your backyard.

There will be a pizza space,
A huge deck, where parents
Can sunscreen their children,
A sauna, a pool, and a lawn.

Dear Gian and Steph,
You have so much money.
You have more capital than
I have held in my hands.

However, I’m unsure if
Moccus is enough, as the
Daybreaks turns into night.

Dear Gian
And Steph,
I’m so sorry.
I’m so sorry
That Gian’s
Has passed.

Standing, in the darkness
Of your backyard, Gian,
As you stood there you say,
“I don’t know. I don’t think you
Have time to digest it properly.”

“Because you have so
Much going on here.
But yeah, it’ll take time,
It’ll take time to sink in.”

Gian, you then
Break down
Into Steph’s right
Hand shoulder,
As you stand in your
Mud pit backyard.

Dear Gian and Steph,
Both of my grandfathers
Died when I was young.

I grieve that I can’t
Grieve their lives more. 

May you find a moment
For the people that you love.  

There are too many funerals and not
Enough eulogies that can fill them.  

In loving memory
Of Giuseppe Andreacchio,
Gian’s grandfather.

The year was 1937,
And 2023 isn’t quite over.

My good stranger.
Giuseppe, farewell,
Rest in peace.

The Block — Episode 43

In Melbourne, on Charming Street,
There is a house that doubles
As the catacombs on the weekends.

It belongs to Kyle and Leslie,
Two adults who died in the backseat of
My car with the windows wound up.

However, on October 17,
A miracle takes place.
Taboo magic, illicit cryogenics,
And a Pope Francis bribe get
Slowly performed in tandem. 

Leah cannot believe that
The catacombs can afford
Such a nice backyard,
So she raises both Kyle
And Leslie from the dead.

On the curbside
Of the catacombs,
Leah yells into
Its hallowed halls.

She questions a
Steward and
Landscapist, Troy.

Leah asks the catacombs,
“Do you reckon that he is
Paying people fairly? Do you
Reckon that’s what’s happening?”

“Troy manages a huge
Landscaping business.
He would know today how
Much all his men and
Material would cost to date.
I just want that number.”

The mortal coil
Of Leslie replies,
“I don’t think Troy
Needs to provide
You that number.”

Leah says, “I do.”

There’s a long
Pregnant pause.

“Do you mind if I
Go and ask for an audit
On your backyard?”

Leslie turns, walks away.

Oh! La vache!
I drop my glass of Champagne!

What a Shyamalan twist.
These catacombs aren’t catacombs.
The weekend Crypt tours: No more.

The Block — Episode 44

Babes, I know
What your heart is like.

It’s a hollow ledge holding a
Little pool, a little tepid pool.

You’re evaporating.

You’re drying
from the edges.

You dry inwards.

In episode 44 of The Block,
Kristy and Brett are munted.
Their landscaper has forgotten to
Order their landscape its plants.

Kristy: “When are they coming?”

The Landscaper:
“Oh, you don’t know?”

Kristy: “Well, you gotta
Order them to come, don’t you.”

Kristy and Brett, their
Heart is your heart, the ghost
Of Edna St Vincent Millay.

A hollow ledge holding
A little pool, a little tepid pool.

Drying inwards,
A ghost,
The ledge, a ledge.

The Block — Episode 45

Yesterday, I got married
In the green myrtle
Curls of Mt Kembla.
Grandfather Mountain.
Between American Creek
And a boutique of rosellas.

Isabel, her ranga hair tangled
With clips, smitten, and spring.

Some days are just good days.
Sometimes it slaps to be human.

It is now October 22.
The reception is over,
And I’m sitting on my
Honeymoon balcony.

I’m bingeing
What’s left
Of The Block

All of these
Are beautiful. 

Vistas and landscapes.

Isabel, my love,
Let’s buy all
Of these houses.

Let’s live in their yards,
Raise puppies, hold spring,
Fight about our taxes, and
Wrinkle into a leathery skin.

The best Garden by far
Was made by my good
Friends and pen pals.
Their veggie garden, a
Young skink’s wet dream.

“This is a five bidder plus
Auction,” says a judge,
Walking through this garden.

“If White Fox real estate
Were to put this on the market
And run a two week campaign,
I can categorically say you
Would have five plus bidders
In two weeks time. That’s how
Good of a product this is.”

Gian and Steph. 

Sometimes it
Slaps to be human.

The Block — Episode 46

In the dusk of a Sunday night,
Our snails congregate
On dirt bike tracks and topsoil.

The Angel of Death
Leaves Eliza’s body.

On The Block, an
Angel of Death
Isn’t a person, it’s a title. 

It slithers into
Kyle and Leslie’s
Garden Gnome.

On The Block, Gnomes
Can be traded for an extra
Point each judgement day.

On episode 23
Of The Block,
Kyle and Leslie won this
Gnome in a car race.

This Gnome is now
The Angel of Death.

As Rosy-Fingered Dawn stretches
Her Monday hands skywards,
All of the snails Glu-Stick back home.

Kyle and Leslie
Sell the Angel of Death
To Gian and Steph.

They sell it for $5,000.

Kyle and Leslie
Don’t believe that
They can win the final
Week of The Block.

However, they’ll do what 
They can to prevent Leah
From winning the crown.

“Boys and girls, let me teach
You a lesson in how
To really f**k s**t up
In the last week,” says Leslie.

“Be a dick,
And I’ll be
A dick back.”

The Angel
Of Death
Is a Gnome.

The Block — Episode 47

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Scotty Cam. I’m an angelheaded hipster burning for that ancient heavenly connection, I’m hoping that my commercial television can give me such a fix.

How many poems can one write about The Block? How many poems can one write about The Block?

Which gargoyle of cement and steel bashed open my skull and ate up my brains and imagination? Was it you, Scotty Cam? Moccus! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! The McCafé, and unobtainable dollars! 

In episode 47 of The Block, Gian attends a funeral, Eliza, Liberty, they underpay their builders, the Gnome is the Angel of Death, everyone gets matching tattoos. They get matching tattoos of The Block.

Scotty Cam. I am with you in Rockland, I mean my bedroom. You have coiled around my computer like a bike chain, and I am unable to use Netflix or Stan. You demand that we get matching tattoos of The Block’s logo, but I cannot, for I am wondering why I dedicated my life to this series in the first place. I will never own a home, let alone ever attend an auction, let alone rent a place for less than half my salary a week. 

I wonder if Isabel and I should move back in with my parents; tattoos aren’t my cup of tea. Moccus! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! The McCafé, and unobtainable dollars! 

Friends, lovers, I’m sorry if these feelings are coming from nowhere, I’m sorry if they somehow surprise you. I’ve been holding them in. I was a toxic little angelheaded hipster holding them in. I’ve been feeling this way for a while.

In episode 47 of The Block, Leah and Ash’s dog is hit by a car. Their boy, Ollie, runs under a car’s wheel and their boy dies. Leah and Ash, they learn this news from a phone, thousands of hours away, and they weep.

The Block — An Interlude

It’s 9.40pm on an
October Wednesday, and
I just did the unthinkable.

I didn’t turn my TV on, I didn’t touch my
Candy Crush, and I ignored my mountain of cocaine.
A wedding gift from my Yakuza squash team.

I instead wandered through
the Sydney suburb cityscape.

From Redfern to Glebe.

The daylight saving sun, it turned
All the red unit bricks golden.
A heavenly glow, weaved through nine trees.

Wow, I thought to myself, maybe
This is why my rent is so expensive. 

This is why the national
Vacancy rate us 1.1%
As of PropTrack’s statistics. 

Each home in this cityscape
Is now worth millions of dollars. 

The Australian dream has been slaughtered.

I stretched my back.
I’m not happy with this situation,
But I’m ready to go back home.

My unit, my people, The Block

The Block — Episode 48

On the cold tiles of
Her bathroom floor, our Eliza sits,
Disrobed, she is nude.

She has locked the doors
And is analysing her
Home’s documentation.
According to Eliza, this
Was her routine for months.

What a gem of an interview.
The National Gallery of Victoria
Should buy this confessional
And hang it in one of their galleries.

They should put in
An exhibition,
Next to Edward Manet.

What a beast.

The Block — Episode 49

Turning and turning in the widening gyre,
The falcon cannot hear the falconer.
Things fall apart, and the centre cannot hold.

It’s front yard week on The Block.
Leah and Ash versus Gian and Steph.
Whoever wins, they win a Mustang.

Leah, Ash, turntable driveway, native shrubs.
A water feature filled to the brim with goldfish.

Gian, Steph, dichondra,
Rhaphiolepis, silvergrass,
Blue bugle, two baby owls,
And their Angel of Death.

On a soundstage,
All the contestants lineup.

Scotty Cam, he pauses.
He then asks for
Objections before
This tally’s revealed.  

Gian and Steph step forward.

They unveil a Gnome,
A bonus point,
The Angel of Death herself.

Leah, a nervous giggle,
“How did that happen?”
Ash, “You bought it?
What did you pay for it?”

Gian smiles, “Five.”

“Five grand,” Leah explodes. “Jeez.” 

Scotty Cam then
Tallies the scores.

Another stillness takes place. 

Congratulations, Leah and Ash.
You’ve both won front yard week on The Block.

Now drive, drive into the sunset.
The Angel of Death, now destroyed.

The Block – Episode 50

Friends, lovers,
Most of this episode’s fluff.

It’s an open inspection,
Where Block fans walk
Through Block houses
While loving The Block

However, there’s
A lonely opal,
Buried in the cement.

The Block has been hiatus,
And in the interim of months,
Leah has dissected her soul.

“You know what’s so
Bizarre?” Leah asks.
“Like Kristy and I never,
We’ve never spoke
Since that kitchen chat.”

“The perspective of
Life, just, you know, all of
It became petty nonsense.
So swords are down.”

“You can’t pick your
Neighbours, right?” Kristy jabs.

“You stay on that side
Of the bench,” Leah
Says, “I’ll stay on mine.”

The Alien
And Predator,
Oh, how
They laugh.

They get their makeup in tandem.

This episode? I give it
Two or three silver stars.

The Block’s final episode airs this Sunday, November 5, at 7.00pm. It will be on both Channel 9 and the 9Now app.

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