Friday, September 12, 2014

Rippling Leaves

Her sigh is a breeze
rippling leaves,
her smile is laughter
trailing dreams,
her eyes are mirrors
scintillating sorrow,
her love is a sea
drowning horror.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The House Without Books

Science Fiction saved him
as a young boy
in a house lacking books.

Books were the answer
to so many questions
and a portal to wonder.

What is special about science
he thought?
Perhaps the search for truth.

Asimov drew him in to
Galactic empires but
really it was the Roman Empire.

History.

Robert Heinlein took him to
strange people in strange lands,
and he learnt about free thought.

Individualism.

Thomas Disch taught him
about why we still
strive to achieve freedom.

Fascism.

Philip K. Dick showed him how
the world we see is not
the world in which we live.

Surrealism.

Robert Sheckley made him laugh
at the twisted possibilities
of multiple universes.

Theoretical physics.

By the age of 16 he was educated
but the world still had to catch up.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cry in Vain

We cry for the children and
mothers,
the fathers, brothers and sisters,
the friends and workmates.

We cry as smoke rises through
debris,
through rubble and twisted metal,
from twisted toys and melted dreams.

We cry as rockets scream and
babies die,
as guns rule the lives of innocence
in Gaza and Ukraine.

We cry in vain.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pale Sun

The pale sun on your face
is listless apathy,
forget your woes for
they are worms
gnawing into your inner
blight.

He couldn't forget
the slights,
the insignificance,
where he forgot himself
and became another necktie,
an endless coffee break.

When the cars raced down
housing commission streets
his blood boiled and testosterone freaked,
but it whimpered to an end,
a world sterile,
old.

Pictures of other times,
sound tracks of other lives,
better forgotten
better gone,
not you nor me.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Foreign Investment


Our representative James found a passable
piece of real estate back in 1770,
however it took a few years to
convince the Board to invest.


The failure of our significant American
investments led us to send Arthur
with an advance team to scout prospects,
the French were also sniffing around.

The locals weren't very cooperative but
we were able to use our most advanced
corporate techniques to ensure the
success of our venture.

Cheap labour helped develop the
abundant natural resources,
and of course our stockholders were
rewarded with prime shares.

It has been a tiresome exercise keeping
the shareholders satisfied,
but our current CEO Tony seems to be
just the man for the job.

We're banking on it.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Goal

Did you see it?
The miracle?
I missed it but
wish I'd been there.

There was a bloke
selling pies,
made a killing I heard,
the wings, the Light.

Who knew what would come?
Children played and grown men
hugged their mates,
rainbows laughed.

Goal, goal, goal,
as another kid is
kicked into the gutter.
Goal!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Silence of Leaves

Today
when the sun split
the clouds
I thought of butterflies,
but a car hurrumphed by
and a jogger padded past.

Still
the air breathed gum tree
and clouds toyed
with my dreams,
dancing fancies.

But
the silence of leaves
rippled like breakers
on your freshly born beach,
and I was alive like
children squabbling,
heartfully new.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

The Call

The telephone call was one
I didn't want to hear
bad news
it is bad
cancer
that word we all fear to hear.

Not me but
my beloved
her cancer
her trial
her torment
her fear
but it may as well be me.

To try to express in poetry
is a failure by definition,
to me
there is no lyricism here
no beauty
just an ugly truth we all know
but hate to consider.

So we live with the shadow
and fight it tooth and nail,
the bastard will win some day
but not now,
not now.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Too late for regret

When we turned back the boats
and left children drowning
I made love to my wife
and slept in a soft, warm bed.

When we destroyed the reef
cut down the virgin forests
I sipped fine wine
and made love to my mistress.

When the end came and I
looked mortality in the eye
fear was my nurse and I was
alone as she spat in my face.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Man who Found His Song

He tried to find his music,
his song,
but all he heard was laments,
the wails of the lost,
the groans of despair.

He heard the faint whispers,
he heard the remote melody,
but elusive as a summer butterfly
his song danced away,
a hidden thread in his tapestry.

He grew into a man but still his song hid.
He lived a life of thought and words,
but his song remained a mystery,
a closed flower petals folded
waiting for him to pluck.

it came to him unexpectedly one day
casually strolling by the river,
he listened to the wind, the birds,
absorbed the stillness of light,
and then found his song.

It had always been with him
but he had never listened.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Woman Who Sang Flowers

It was found when young that
she possessed a voice of ultimate beauty.
When she sang Celtic folk songs
wildflowers would blossom forth on stage,
daisies and kangaroo paw dance around her head.

Sultry, evocative blues would cause
gardenias, magnolia and honeysuckle
to float honey-like about her,
settling slowly about her feet and
hammering the audience with heady perfume.

Songs of loss and longing would create
melancholy wreaths of lilly and iris,
songs of love and pleasure would
burst with yellow blooms of wattle joy,
carpeting the stage with orchids and roses.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The Boy Who Stole the Moon

The boy took the moon and hid it
in his secret box under the bed.

The Moon sat in cold radiance among
magpie feathers, cats-eye marbles, coins and twigs.

Late at night the boy would play with the moon,
his eyes glowing with milky light, his face shadowed.

One night his sister caught him and grabbed the moon,
taking it outside and tossing it into the inky sky.

The boy watched the moon swim among the stars,
elegant as a white pelican gliding through the clouds.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Girl Who Caught The Sun

When she caught the sun
it felt like the flutter of
butterfly wings in her hands.

She laughed as the sun
spun from her hands and
whirled like mist around her head.

Then darkness fell as
she blew the sun outside,
into the night.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Lost faces

What happened to the
lost faces?
the forgotten faces
those wisps of memory and
slyly probing misty tendrils
as modern times rush
along the road to Damascus
escorted by tanks and
grim-faced infantry.

A hippopotamus ejaculates for
the zoologist's syringe
as another species becomes extinct
did you hear it cry?
There will be no tombstone
just a tattered monograph on
some dusty library shelf
the White Rhino footnote
powdered horn.

Where is Peter the paranoid poet?
does he ever step across
his threshold?
The outside world is ugly
far better viewed from
foetal position head space
Damascus safely on TV
Velvet Underground on the stereo.

Lost faces of legendary days
a canticle to innocence
melody an advertising jingle
while the thousand-eyed beast
watches sitcoms
mapping the human genome
all the better to twist you with
hyperthalmic reaction
blunted cortex
moral disorder.

Forget lost faces and
watch the particle accelerator
tick tock tick tock the nuclear clock
as a madman screams
it's not real, it's not true!
just the seven o’clock Baghdad
market-place news
Himalayas of hate.

Glenn became a PE teacher
Brian a smack freak
some are dead
some may as well be.
Does the smelting plant
still spews acrid black clouds
across the schoolyard?
Perhaps the factories are lost
like those forgotten faces.

Does John still go to brothels?
Did Anna ever find love?
Will she dress in black to lament
the death of past lives?
See the faces are truly lost
and there will be no
late night B grade re-runs as
another Cambodian steps on a mine.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Lies of allure

How did he learn to tell sweet jasmine lies?
listen to your sighs?
whisper words to melt your heart,
his part in your game.

And how did he learn to pass you by?
resist the allure of your mahogany eyes,
stop the beat of his traitorous heart,
forget your face in hard velvet dark?

And when he tramples through your dreams at night
do you pull down the shutters and bolt the door?
curl into your cosy cul-de-sac,
reassure yourself you’ve been here before,
silently whisper “please god, no more...”

Did you piece together your jigsaw heart?
Hell, you know the story,
been there before,
have a cry,
smash something,
drink the pub dry.
Why not lure someone to bed?
casual sex is good for the head,
a tourniquet for self-esteem.

When you see him in
another drenched sheet night,
another shattered dream,
you’re just a cymbal-clash
citizen of a sideshow city
in a tinpan alley world.

So when you lie do you dress it in
tinsel and frippery?
watch the stars in case his eyes
lose sparkle through your tears,
scintillate your fear with 
desire swept along his river,
to that dark lake
where nothing is given
and all is lost in
those lies of allure.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Old dog

The old dog is unsteady
legs splaying
rickety gait
an old man with fur.

The old dog groans
as he struggles to rest,
but he licks my hand as
I pat him,
a loving furry old man.

The old dog overbalances
and falls while shitting on a hill,
then rises and continues sniffing,
an incontinent old man.

The old dog needs injections,
pills, and receives too many treats,
cranky when denied he can be
an irascible old man.

Some day we have to make a decision,
how far should the little furry man go?

Meanwhile there are treats and short walks,
unsteady, creaky, often painful,
but sometimes the young dog emerges
and scurries around,
barking at life.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Nightcap


When you drink the little death
Do you think sleep is truly your friend?
Do you luxuriate in her arms wondering
why you so treasure consciousness?
As your body nestles into the mattress and
your limbs sup on sweet sheets,
why should you wake?
why shouldn't dreams linger
amidst the lingerie of
your better world?
Sleep well.

Dust


When the boy became dust he
never thought about beauty,
he was beauty in
iridescence,
a dream on the breeze
a flash of colour in the clouds
a wisp of fragrance in
your hair,
but somewhere drifting in his melody
you cried,
tears watering his bones
and raising an orchid.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Twitter Poems

The tweet poses interesting challenges. How to create a reasonably meaningful, aesthetically pleasing poem within the constraint of 140 characters. Here's a few of mine...

She sings but all
we hear is pain,
mellifluous in your agony
each note a needle,
melancholy inserts
a forlorn chord,
sadness licks your
sun.

In my silence all
I hear is a rose's scream,
but a vacuum sucks love,
so sad,
loss levers hope,
an exquisite equilibrium,
her satin night.

My child
we came by boat,
death followed but
my love kept us
afloat,
no love awaits
no friends
my child
we're flotsam
drowned in
cruel seas.


Taken by a breeze
afloat with
soft smiles
I turn and whisper
in her hair.
Rose-scented
drifting liaison
awash with memory,
shattered
shards.


Circle of gum trees
framing stars
backyard thoughts
drift skyward
memory of love
entwined
with relief
I water nearby
bushes
relieved
alone.


Looks like
meaning
sounds like
crap
eyes closed
ears shut
we lose our hearts
we lose our minds
emptiness is a friend
as the light
flickers.


I blew up the world
it was cool
the seas boiled
mountains popped
like corks
steam fizzed from
vast crevices
a rosella shrieked
wattles died.


Infantile
wishes
filled
manna
lust
just another day...
drink wine and
reminisce
you can lose it all
with a whim
tokens
trinkets
good night.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Wounds of Beauty


I made love to a woman last week
she's been here since the beginning of time,

looking in your eyes I felt so weak
helpless to do justice in rhyme.

Through your openness of heart
and gentle strength of spirit

I knew we couldn't be apart
nor our love ever be illicit.

I saw the butterfly in your eyes
wings afire in Autumn light,

mountains bled on frivolous ferns
as we laughed into the night.

So let's follow dreams up garden paths
along tracks littered with traps,

Wisdom and love are are your epitaph,
compassion and truth our priceless map.

So fly high bright bird and
seek the heavens splendid,

In life and love you do affirm
through beauty wounds are mended.

(c) 1991, 2013 (for Whitefeather)

Friday, May 03, 2013

Black Beach

Walking on that black beach
sand sifts through my toes,
a gull shrieks,
clouds lick your sky,
waves darkly lap
against her lips,
washing worlds.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Christine


I remember her as
an artist blazing fire,
hands freeing visions
sometimes twisted,
often grotesque,
always hard and soft and true;
blue-eyed beauty
soft lips full.

Now deconstructed in that
junkyard of dreams
where post-modernist memories
leak like Autumn leaves,
fluttering words fail
dancing across a field of hearts,
eyes laughing glistening
agony and tears.

Watch rear-vision landscapes zoom
while time works her weary spell,
then plunge,
nearly drowned,
beached,
gasping for breath,
while
musical chuckles and
misty dreams
roam barren nights
lit by sparkling wit,
eyes bright and warm,
blond hair flowing...
but as a single tear can kill
a million germs
no flood can cure your death.

I was twenty-one,
innocent and shy,
you nineteen and far more worldly wise;
we talked at a party about masks,
people and disguises,
reality and meaning,
we clicked,
liked each other,
found an affinity,
but there was more,
always more,
and I was too naive to know.

At your door I said goodnight
but you paused,
lit by the hallway light,
glowing, bright, beautiful,
as I turned to go you asked
"do you want to come in?"
time freezes at these moments -
shyness always trembles before beauty,
it's a curse, but
you held out your hand and I took it,
next morning waking to a dream.

If only life was fixed in formaldehyde,
not flashes flicking through a rear view mirror,
laughing and dancing down the middle of
deserted Chapel street at 3 AM,
then
a restaurant in Lygon Street with your friends...

It puzzled me why your friends and
workmates were all beautiful women,
the catering business appeared staffed with
voluptuous models,
how the conversation confused me,
me with my bookish introversion and
oh so serious philosophies;
but the flower seller appeared and I
bought you a red rose,
and suddenly all chatter ceased,
your voice broke as you said
"nobody has ever done that for me",
then inserting the rose in your hair you
placed your hand on my leg.

Another rear vision flash,
a sixties-themed party,
me dressed in my biker gear with a
homemade badge proclaiming
'Hell's Angel c. 1966',
you dressed as a hippy chick riding
pillion on the Suzuki GS 400.
I was puzzled to be the only man at
the party,
and again why all your friends and
catering colleagues were so abnormally beautiful;
you said you had to leave on business for a while,
that the girls would look after me,
and so I danced with mini skirted women
some of whom wanted to play more
intimately with your
boyfriend...

When you reappeared and rescued me it seemed
you could barely contain the amusement,
but innocence as appeal has an expiry date.

Reminiscence once bitter now blurred by decades,
recriminations and angry letters,
coldness,
how I cried when you retrieved the painting
you'd given me,
'Psychological Realism' you called the style,
a woman facing away from the viewer,
her hand on a man's shoulder,
his face twisted and grotesque with anguish.

Years passed and friendship revived,
you married with two kids,
me married with two cats,
but not even your family or close friends
knew how your means were met.

He shot you the kitchen one November
in front of the kids
then went to the pub.
The defence screamed "Provocation".
"Prostitute!" they screamed,
and he got three years for manslaughter.

So killers laugh while lovers cry,
while canvases are blank and
songs unwritten,
some say time heals hurt
but that's a lie,
part of me also died.

(c) 2013

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tough Luck


Just another cabbie night,
customers faceless and
prospects not bright,
I curse my luck at
being interred in a metal coffin
within a shadow world.

I'm hailed outside a King St. nightclub
pissed and loud,
staggeringly drunk,
expensive clothes dishevelled
he says “Take me to St. Kilda"
and lights a smoke,
“Fitzroy St”.
I flip the meter and screech a u turn,
glance at him in the mirror,
he says “I want to drink and never stop!"
I say nothing
just gun the cab,
silently curse the city,
the road,
nightclubs,
drunks,
and myself for the tough luck
the night has dealt me.

He says “You must think I'm a real arsehole"
"I'm not, you know",
he coughs and sobs,
I worry he might spew,
then gathering his wits says
“on Monday my car was stolen,
on Tuesday, my wife left me,
on Wednesday, my mother died,
on Thursday I lost my job.
Tonight I'm getting pissed senseless!"
I pull up outside the
Prince of Wales Hotel,
he tosses me some money,
includes a tip,
then staggers off into that
cruel streetlight night.

I gun the cab and cut like a shark
through the lights and despair of St. Kilda,
a hooker cruising for my next job.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Solipsist



The solipsist meanders along
drizzly streets
absorbed in the clear cut stars
piercing his personal sky.

The solipsist watches clouds
performing pirouettes across the moon
feeling the pressure of
his crystal dark.

The solipsist knows a cathedral
of bleakness as joyous insight
worlds within his velvet case
a song without melody.

The solipsist finds meaning
in a wisp of mist
then wanders through his
forgotten streets.

Alone.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Piranesi's Tower


The lamp hangs from a curling wrought
iron pole at the end of a mossy pier,
its flames cast no light on black ripples below.

A drawbridge baptises fleeting shadows,
shepherding masonry through
cobblestoned courtyards dripping disquiet.

Silence hangs a heavy quilt,
disturbed only by mouthess moans of bound
figures faintly visible in cold sulphurous light.

 Massive doorknobs protrude from bestial heads.
Deep in a shadowy background stone
staircases twist away in inconceivable directions.

An arch linking fluted columns frames dark figures
dimly seen leaning across a balustrade;
they appear to be waiting for something…

Emptiness erupts from the prison vaults,
in the mausoleum mirrors reflect disease,
the architect is a vacant chamber of pale regret.

Naked and bound to crumbling pylons,
lost in grim recesses of arches, doors and memory
he fades into architectural depths.

A chill mist slithers across flagstone,
shadows linger under a vast gateway but
finding no egress, forever faceless turn away.

(c) Tony foley 2010 (revised 2013)

Monday, April 01, 2013

Raindrops in a bucket

Autumn.
Change winds blow
where they will,
fragmentary thoughts
are wisps,
clouds on the horizon
glowering.


Raindrops in a bucket
through a leaky roof,
counterpoint
staccato
mellifluous
drip drop drip drop
damp thoughts and
mossy tendrils
wet.

Bubbles In the River

When I saw the bubbles rising
from the river
I thought "what the hell",
although not in those words.

Then the slick suited men told
me everything was fine,
everything was cool,
my farm wasn't gunna die,
no way.

So they dug their wells
and laid their pipes,
took the rights we had
and laughed to the bank,
we're their people, right?

Now I'm livin' in town on the dole,
but I'm not a bludger,
I want to work but there's nothin'
I can do...

The Frackers have taken my world
and now I know what it's like
to be nobody and nothing
in this slick world of suits,
and it hurts me to the core,
split like a gas seam,
bursting,
but my land is poisoned 

and I'm alone.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

The Boy

The boy doesn't remember his mother
not like you remember yours
he sees fuzzy images
faint like 19th century photographs
blurred around the edges.

He remembers red hair and cigarettes
lipstick and makeup
sharp cheekbones and
wide clever eyes
he knew she was smart.

The boy recalls playing in mud
and a mongrel dog named Easter
a new housing estate with
timber skeletons to play with,
an orchard with a tractor which
came to life and rumbled towards him.

The boy remembers the day everything changed
walking with his father
along a new street to a different house,
but then he turned four and
couldn't remember his mother.

The Necklace

Inspiration is not worth the perspiration
of justification denied red-headed lovers
licking wax,
turned into candlesticks flickered flame flashing.

She had flowing dark hair tied back with a red ribbon
luck was her fancy
but he was not home when she was found,
laughing,
her tears a necklace glistening.

He stared with red-ribboned eyes
vacant inside
touched a tear drop and moistened his lips,
then kissed her eyelids as the night closed.

11:30 PM

To the dreaming grave
if sleep permits that velvet oblivion
where light becomes mist
and my wine-soaked lips
kiss your eyelids.

The Gentleman

She felt safe with her friends
they were university people
educated
they performed in plays together
how could anything go wrong?

But the psychopath had ideas,
what pleasure to be had from torture,
oh, nothing serious,
nothing which would leave scars.

Let's blindfold her
let's bind her
let's threaten her,
touch her,
pinch her,
slap her,
play the psychological games in which he was so skilled,
make her feel like she will die painfully,
for hours, hours...

Of course nobody said anything,
fine upstanding members of
the upper middle class,
there were careers at stake
and who would believe *her*?

So nothing happened
it vanished in a police report
conveniently lost.
But we know,
we know,
and you know now.

Saints

Is sin wrapped in marshmallow
blessed by a cardinal
light sockets plugged with dead bulbs
smoke and whispers
Anubis with robes
but less direct,
coy with guilt.

Gray Cloud

So maybe I'm a gray cloud in a humid sky,
my sweat is real like fool's gold in a fountain,
bob for it and rise with
water dribbling from your beard,
wipe away sorrow as if it's rainbow drops,
glistening with insight gleaned
from supermarket gossip,
pure shock jock clean.

Is that lettuce fresh?
If I knew I'd tell you,
not flinch from your query
like some outcast casually
asked the time of day,
so why do you ask?

The sun is relentless in
pursuing your eyes,
you can shade them but never hide,
perhaps you find the light disturbing?
like revealing your nakedness to the street
and wildly laughing,
beauty perhaps,
but more twisted limbs and feckless abandon;
good for some.

So I list to starboard taking on tears,
a gray cloud in humid sky.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sadness of Light

In the sadness of light
we return to what we lost,
go back to that which deserted us,
hide our eyes from sunsets across
a thousand lands
only to see doors without keys,
closets without secrets.

We lash out at ephemera
that phantom at the centre of being,
but our laughter is a dry chuckle in a
sterile void
while words hang in the air,
there is no-one left to impress
no-one left to sigh,
dreams fall like dust
and we are gone forever,
only the mist remains.

(c) 2007 Tony Foley

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bookshelf in Collingwood

With Willard and his bowling trophies
I took a journey to the East,
where at the place of dead roads
I found a child of all nations.


In the autumn of the patriarch
I saw iron in the soul,
and through windows of the mind
mourned the victims of Yalta.


I awoke in the morning of the magicians
as a golden ass sailed the glass canoe,
on the road spoke Zarathustra
of magic and mystery in Tibet.


Through hunger I studied the power elite
seeking the mythical future,
used the electric cool-aid acid test
to open the doors of perception.


Red star over China lights up the Inner Chapters
beyond the turning point,
with the getting of wisdom
the affluent society's thrown into the inferno.


Through philosophical investigations
and critique of pure reason,
Demian and the glass bead game
introduced a man for all seasons

(c) 1992 Tony Foley

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Man From Ferntree Gully

(apologies to A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson)

There was horror in the restaurant
when the booking passed around,
for the man from Ferntree Gully
was coming down to town.
From concierge to waiter
from chef to kitchen hand,
despair and consternation for
without exaggeration he weighed 500 pounds.

As he eased his heaving bulk
into a puny creaking chair,
the chef tore up his diploma,
a waiter whispered a prayer,
the owner collapsed into a coma,
well heeled patrons sat and stared,
for the rumble of his stomach
could be heard down Lygon street,
he was starvin' for the nose bag,
hungry as a mare on heat.

He said "I like my steak charcoal black
with lots of spud for filler,
so send me in a slab of beer
and fire up your griller."
They served him this,
they served him that,
waiters staggered under the load,
but the man from Ferntree gully
just chomped 'n chewed 'n swallowed.

The finale came suddenly like
an intestinal flash flood,
one foundation shaking fart and
he sat contentedly chewing his cud.
A shell-shocked waiter presented the bill,
a figure just short of the natonal debt,
but the man from Ferntree Gully said
"hang on mate, I haven't had dessert yet."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Silent Spring

In the silent spring after the storm
no birds can sing, no clouds can form,
water is acrid and bitter to taste
farms are barren 'n forests laid waste.

In dying cities where hungry dogs howl
along car strewn streets feral children prowl,
seas suffocate under algal bloom
desert winds whistle a tune of doom.

My skin is blistered red
and family all walking dead,
in that silent spring after the storm.

(After Rachel Carson)

(c) 2010 Tony Foley

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ruthless rhyme

You gotta be aggressive boy
the old man said with a grin,
you've gotta be a bastard
it's the only way you'll win.

You gotta believe you're right boy
even when yer full of shit,
ya gotta talk fast boy
'n learn how to use your fists.

You gotta be arrogant boy
let 'em know you're the best,
don't let honesty bother you
remember conscience is a pest.

You gotta be a killer boy
don't ever get sucked in,
so I murdered that old man
and stuffed his body in a bin.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lunge 21 Final thoughts

Where to begin? Initially I thought the program was a simple run-through of web technologies. Blogs, Podcasts, RSS feeds, and social networking with which I was already very familiar, and I was also aware of 'wikis' through Wikipedia. I found Delicious useful, and still use it, and have become enamoured with my Google account once I discovered the breadth it offered. The surprise for me was "Pipes" and "mashups" which I found useful and will continue to explore. I think pipes delivering snippets of content could well be incorporated into the library homepage. Wikis and podcasts are already being used, but I'm not sure how effective they are.

Much of my thought relates to how far one wishes to become involved with the online world of the web. Social networking can begin to absorb one's time to an unacceptable degree, and if one also pursues sites such as Diggit and 43 then the material world begins to fade into the background.

How can the library select and use the available technologies? Are YouTube videos are a good way of disseminating information, or does it simply encourage aimless browsing and a loss of focus on core principles?

As with any new technology there are both prizes and pitfalls. I suspect that the best technologies will find their way into everyday use through force of numbers using them. This has already happened with social networking, and will ultimately influence how organisations such as the library adopt web technology.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lunge 20 - Web 3 ?

I remember reading about a pioneer of hypertext who in the early 1960s, years before Tim Berners-Lee, created an intricate system of hypertextual links which he hoped would allow the creation of a network which could ultimately encompass all human knowledge. The necessary computing power was not then available. His name escapes me, but I think a quick google search might bring it up, in which case I will be very much performing a web 3 act. Ted Nelson. He called his system 'Xanadu'. He was also the author of a book "Computer lib" which advocated people understand and learn about computing as it was becoming a powerful force for change in the world.

In a way Nelson was an early exponent of the "Semantic web", well before the web existed. He argued for a tapestry of interconnected knowledge which would empower the average person by allowing access to information previously held by the technical 'priesthood', the engineers and computer systems administrators who controlled the mainframe computers of his time.

It has been noted that the development of everyday computing and the web has far exceeded the wildest speculation of visionaries such as Nelson. Reaching deep into the home, workplace and school, the web has become integral to the life experience of a significant portion of the world's population. For some it has, worryingly, become a substitute for real world experience - those addicted to "Second Life" for example, or even the surfers in constant communication with friends they may never meet in the flesh.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lunge 18 Chatting the day away

I must admit I've always been wary of internet chat applications. I found early IRC to be irrelevent to my needs, and several years ago had some problems with AIM, it was difficult to remove from my system and at the time posed significant security problems. I've turned off the chat facility in Facebook as I find being available at any time for casual chat quite intimidating. Irrational perhaps, but drawing a line in the adoption of new communication technology gives me a sense of control. Riding the wave rather than being swamped.

I installed the Google Talk gadget on my Google homepage, which is not terrible threatening as I have to invite people to chat, and I'm somewhat disinclined to do so :-)

I think that the enhancement of talk and video to Gmail might prove to be a real killer application, but not for me...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lunge 16 Playing the Pipes

Started playing with some of the online image editors. I've already used one with Facebook to manipulate some images, can't remember the name of the app, and like the look of picnik. Will explore more thoroughly when time permits. Checked out Yahoo Pipes and found it interesting. Ran one random pipe:

http://pipes.yahoo.com/premasagar/socialnetwork

and added the 'Gadget' to the blog.

Can see how this might become addictive! Not sure about the content on this pipe though...

Lunge 15 - The wonderful world of images

I've done quite a bit of this in the past, so it is not really new. I have a Picassa account with my google account, but tend to keep online images in Facebook. For purposes of this exercise I have uploaded two images to picassa from my blog.

From I didn't really say that, did I?


From I didn't really say that, did I?

Lunge 14

The points I've considered whilst completing the lunges roughly fall into 3 categories. First, why are they organised the way they are. For example, social networking is possibly the first area people are exploring these days, but it is quite some way into the program. Youtube, flickr and Picassa also are too far into the program.

Completed the survey and contributed some further thoughts about the program. Surprised myself by noting Mashups was the area I was least familiar with.

More on mashups

Tried looking at Google Mashup editor but it is currently restricted to beta testers, which is a bit of a shame as it looks interesting. Skimmed the article "Mashups: The new breed of Web app" and find myself regretting I've let my reading on the latest web technologies slip. I'm still stuck at an earlier stage of web page creation, circa 1996/97 where javascript and animated gifs were still a big deal. But then I remember creating web pages in text editors pre XHMTL and CSS. The integration of different sources into web pages is an exciting development for knowledge industries.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bibliographic Tools Presentation

Lunge 13 Maps and Mashups

Didn't have time to thoroughly explore this area, but i think I've managed to embed a map of my home suburb here:


View Larger Map

Lunge 12 - Buzz on Buzzle

Buzzle reminds me of an old style news magazine, sort of like the late "Bulletin" or "Time". However given the vast amount of information and stories within the site, categories ranging from 'Animals & Pets' to 'Travel & Tourism', it is more encyclopaedic in its scope. How authoritative it might be is debatable, as is the case with many web-based resources. One good aspect is the speed of loading, and the absence of intrusive advertisements.

Lunge 11 - Youtube video

This is a cute little video I discovered some time back - a version of Xavier Rudd's "Let me be".

Monday, October 20, 2008

More on Technorati

Checking my blog on Technorati I found it only brought up my entries from July. None of the October entries appeared. Does it work perhaps as a worm, trawling the blogsphere and not returning to my little corner of the universe?

Lunge 10 -Technorati

Claimed my blog on Technorati. Hope not too many people come and laugh at me :-)

http://www.technorati.com/

Tried to play with it a little bit, but the technorati technical monster bit me.

Went back and checked, and was still logged in. Looks interesting. I've noticed in Blogger that it can be difficult to find certain blogs I know exist, so this will proved useful.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Lunge 9 revisited

Started using del.icio.us some months back, but had a problem with my firefox browser update and the del.icio.us plugin. We can't install the plugin at work, so it is of little use here, and without the bookmark/tagging plugin it is fairly awkward to use.

See url:
http://delicious.com/poetfoley

Nevertheless I added my work bookmarks and then proceeded to edit them. The process is pretty cumbersome due to the large number of old bookmarks. I can understand the use of a site such as this for people who use mobile computing, and frequent internet cafes, for travelers etc.

Lunge 7 revisited

Read the "Multitasking generation" (see url)
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1174696,00.html

The analogy drawn with earlier generations who couldn't live without the latest technological gadget, e.g. cd players is valid, and the picture drawn through the anthropological study of a number of US families over 4 years is vivid in the depiction of contemporary teenage behaviour. The fears of earlier era (e.g Plato worrying about books destroying oral tradition) is briefly examined, as are the concerns of neurolscientists who consider the increasing tendency of youngsters to slice their experiences into ever smaller technological pieces, multitasking, could result in less capacity for deeper, considered intellectual experiences.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Picassa & YouTube

As a lover of images great and small I'm surprised I hadn't checked out Picassa until recently. I've uploaded albums to sites such as facebook, but never indulged myself with a site dedicated to the image in all its glory. Uploaded one image from my blog just for the heck of it, but haven't really played with the site. I don't have a spare month or two. Similar to my experience with YouTube. I checked out videos of Xavier Rudd and found several h ours had disappeared.

Stumbleupon

Checked out an unusual site which brings up random websites according to your pre-specified interests. Stumbleupon. Just the thing to waste countless hours pursuing curiousities and chimerae...

Google and yet more google...

Uploaded a powerpoint presentation to Google documents, and actually presented it from the web. It was a bit of a buzz considering the same presentation could involve people not physically present - as one participant described it, a bit like a teleconference with slides. Initially I thought I might have some size limitations given the presentation had 26 slides, but the file ended up only 1.2 mbytes in size, well within the 10 mbyte limit.

Not really using google reader - I've found no great use for it as I tend to go directly to any sites in which i'm interested.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Diggit and Facebook integration

Just signed up for diggit, but had some problems when trying to 'dig' some stories. Looks interesting if one considers popularity to be a criterion for newsworthiness. There is, as one would expect, a predisposition toward 'geek' stories. Fine by me; geekiness is next to, well, nerdiness, so I feel right at home...

Played around with integrating my blog, google reader, and del.icio.us bookmarks with Facebook. At this rate FB will turn out to be the millennial e-communications hub, with everything else orbitting around it.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Link to article

Forgot to include a link for the AFR article "The D Generation"

Monday, June 30, 2008

Lunge 7 - The D generation

Digital natives. What a wonderful term! In Beverley Head's article in The Australian Financial Review she cites a number of different people dealing with the extremely computer savvy, highly networked generation born since the internet exploded in size, complexity and reach. Tailoring library services to 18 - 20 year olds is only one problem discussed, and how to harness their unique skills and outlook in the workforce is examined in some depth. There is also a timely reminder that not all young people are computer literate.

21 lunges continued...

Finally returned to work after a long illness and several bouts of surgery. What was initially a personal blog has turned into a professional one, but the beauty of blogging is that one can delete entries when no longer required.

Having played with all the various delights on the 21 lunges up to number 6 - Social Networking, I thought it would be a good time to look at a few of the earlier lunges.

Podcasts are all well and good, but in a time-poor world who can listen to everything of interest? The intriguing aspect for me with podcasts is which player pops up - Quicktime or Windows Media Player. At home it tends to be Media Player as I've standardised with this on my PC.

RSS feeds are familiar from home use, however I set up Google Reader at work and added Yasmin Dineen's blog, and an ABC and The Age news feed. There are too few hours in the day to pursue all the possibilities, and life exists beyond the keyboard.

A useful item is http://del.icio.us for online bookmarks. Unfortunately because of the restrictions on installing software on our work PCs this can't be fully utilised, however it is a powerful bookmarking tool with features I've only begun to explore. The Facebook integration is interesting, and provides a glimpse of future online communication and information sharing.

Which leads me to Social Networking. Ah Facebook! Is it the end of civilisation as we know it, or the greatest development in communications technology in human history? Probably the answer lies in between. About 3 years ago I decided to check out MySpace, but found it to be of little interest to me. In 2007 I thought I'd have a look at Facebook and found something completely different. The ability to form interest groups and update activities is FB's great advantage as a communication tool. The news feed allows one to keep up to date with various activities, and the instant messaging of The Wall is a quick and simple alternative to email. Just don't become addicted to the time-wasting pursuits, silly quizzes, and Scrabulous and you'll be fine! Well, maybe Scrabulous, as long as you let me win! I created a group for Document Services which now has the huge total of 4 members (thanks guys, you know who you are).

I've kept the MySpace account as the blog is superior to Facebook's offerings, but I've not bothered to make "Friends" and have only responded to a couple of "friend" requests. The contrast with FB is striking, as a great number of people I know from the Melbourne (and international) poetry world are active users. Younger poets and musicians in particular use it matter-of-factly for routine socialising.

A type of offshoot of Facebook is Twitter, which develops and expands on FB's Status Updates. Ideal for the Generation Y racing around town being very social. I started an account, but find I have no need for it.

Still struggling to find a good wiki site for creating a DS wiki. I've found the creation of pages cumbersome, and a 'regular' website in most cases a better option. Nevertheless, the collaborative aspect of wiki makes the pursuit worthwhile and I'll persist.

To be continued...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Work related blogging - Again!

Well, here we go with the wonderful world of Wiki. Started this with the Library 21 lunges wiki, hopefully as a presentation relating to bibliographic tools used in Document Services. I'm trying to transfer a powerpoint presentation I've done into the wiki. Powerpoint is easily the most tedious way to present a talk the universe of Microsoft has ever thrown up, and the dot point method has been shown to be extremely ineffective in conveying information. I have until the end of june to complete the presentation, so what is in the wiki is only the first hesistant step...
http://21lunges.pbwiki.com/Bibliographic+Tools+Demonstration

Monday, May 05, 2008

More work related blogging...

Well, I've done podcasts and RSS feeds, twiddled with Twitter and got a wiki going through the Lunges wiki. Now it's off into uncharted territory...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Chelsea Sunset


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Lunges

We all lunge here
we all parry there
these lunges follow us everywhere
is it a course?
or is it play?
these damned elusive web 2 ways.

P.S. Apologies to the Scarlett Pimpernell.
P.P.S. This is strictly work related and has no relevence whatsoever to anything every posted on this blog or ever thought of in my most fevered nightmares of poetry.
P.P.P.S. Hello! to my work colleagues playing with their 'lunges'

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Timor Wayang

(After Rendra)

Dalatar, Dalatar, whose strings do you pull?
Dalatar, Dalatar, whose lands do you steal?
Dalatar, Dalatar, whose shadows do you cast?
Dalatar, Dalatar, whose face is behind your mask?

The old man sways with the train
barrelling through the South Australian night,
I can't sit for long" he says,
“an old war wound, shot down over Timor in 1942."

He tells me his story as the night lights flick on,
taking me back to a Japanese zero attacking
from the sun,
guns chattering, his bomber hit,
crashing into the jungle,
fire, explosions, crawling from the wreckage,
fire, pain, blood, agony,
blackness.

A young boy stands over him,
pours water between his parched lips.
The boy speaks in faltering English,
says he will get help.

Blackness.

Voices, voices speaking a language he doesn't understand
occasionally an English word,
he hears "Australian".
looks around,
the crashed bomber is still burning in the distance,
the boy is nearby talking with several men,
hears "Japanese" and "Australian"
but doesn't understand the context.
The men look worried,
hurriedly they build a stretcher out of vines and leaves.
The boy smiles and says, "we take you to Aussies, they fix."

Dalatar, Dalatar, whose plays do you perform?
Dalatar, Dalatar, whose children do you kill?
Dalatar, Dalatar, whose wars do you fight?
Dalatar, Dalatar, is might always right?

They carry him through the jungle moving silently and swift.
The boy says his name is Xanana,
that he is the only one in the village who speaks English,
that he is nine years old,
that Australians are friends,
that the Japanese army is near,
that they are taking him to some Australian commandos,
that he is going to be alright,
“we look after you”.

They stop for a rest,
one of the men changes his bandages,
he is given water and fruit,
the jungle is alive with birds and insects,
the stars are bright.
They continue into the mountains
along nearly invisible tracks
then stop beneath a rocky outcrop.

Xanana disappears into the night then returns with
a tall figure dressed in combat fatigues.
“Sergeant Murphy" he says, offering a hand,
“we'll get you out of here, mate."
The soldiers carry him to a cove where an Australian ship is moored.
Young Xanana smiles and wishes him well.

The ship sails immediately for enemy patrols are near.

He is hospitalised in Darwin for several months,
the war for him is over.

A few days before he is to be discharged a commando from Timor
is admitted to his ward.
He is anxious for news of his friends.
Yes, says the soldier, he knows Murphy,
but of Xanana he is reluctant to speak.

The Japanese discovered the villagers had been helping Australians.
Xanana had been shot,
his body thrown into a mass grave,
his village destroyed.

The Overlander rumbles through the early morning,
the other passengers are all listening intently,
I hear sobs, a hard fisted miner passes me a stubby.

The old man stands swaying in the dim light.
I think of friends dying,
of honour and obligation,
of the strong devouring the weak,
of courage and loyalty.
I feel Xanana’s ghost sitting next to me,
and feel guilty,
think of all that was done,
and all that should have been done.

Dalatar, Dalatar, whose trust have you broken?
Dalatar, Dalatar, whose wealth have you stolen?
Dalatar, Dalatar, whose lives have you martyred?
Dalatar, Dalatar, is your face my own?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Free love

At first it seemed every day was my lover,
every morning a new seduction,
nights filled with satin arms and
sleek velvet legs,
curtains billowing with
a breeze soft and hung with fragrance.

A world filled with breasts
soft like peaches,
every size,
every shape,
for the dimensions of love knew
no bounds.

But names of phantom lovers are soon forgotten
and faces recede into the mist,
not even photographs record the passing of
another love,
another laugh,
voices faint and hollow,
thin like a golden thread leading no-where,
where emptiness grows like cancer,
another ideal perverted,
twisted like a termite infested trunk,
transmuted into an ephemeral thrill
of cheap sex,
the barren landscape
which love forgot.

Bright pleasure

An innocent mind recalls
bright pleasure,
like a child exploring forgotten boxes of
bric-a-brac
in a dusty garden shed
on a steel-grey
wintry day.

Buying a book

Buying a book is an act of beauty,
it makes your spirit soar,
the touch of another’s mind
is like feeling the beat of
another’s heart.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Westword Mother's Day Gig

On May 13th (Mother's Day) I'll be performing at "Westword" at Dancing Dog Cafe in Albert St Footscray, along with music and poetry by Whitefeather Light. Should be interesting as I've never read with backing before - so I guess we'll have to do a few rehearsals. The session is from 5 - 7 PM with an open section. Great old building with wonderful acoustics and a friendly clientelle.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hall of Mirrors

My ego hangs in a hall of mirrors
sometimes expanded
an overblown portrait
a blossoming obscenity
falling, shifting
becoming an occasional anorexic
a pathetic skeleton fading to a winter twig.

Little changes through summer persistence
light reflects from burnished surfaces
from every angle a different perspective
effervescent with possibility but words are
slow to rise...

A thousand selves are startled by the
crash of broken glass
is it the mirror or the reflection?
champagne flutes filled with ground glass
I sweep shards into a corner
lick blood from a toe
listen to the drumbeat of a distant fancy
as if hearing the revolution in Spring was lost
the dams burst and the land drowned in mirrored
fragments...

How long will this trial continue,
is the torment interminable?
how can redemption be true when the day is
confused with the pigment of expectation?
the cavalcade of illusion
a shadow pretending stability not truly felt
holds out a hand,
grasps a coil of mist
then departs as if normal
the kind of happening expected in today’s Australia
inflicted with glaucoma of spirit.

Dare to curse through the crack of a whip
while below the street pulses with its game
but the next move is mine as
I take lightly the mantle and throw it gently
into the air
nothing but the north wind and burning sun can
sweep the world
lick sand from my face
tongue in cheek rattling shackles until my
jaw aches
throbbing tooth chipped away by
sculptors to reveal a raw nerve
pulsating to the rhythm of the pause between breaths
speaking softly in a tongue not mine
another voice whispering
"this is the summer of your life" as
the sunflower opens its face to the sky
my face wrenched from the mirror to see
reflected a visage of corrugated iron
a veteran of disdain somewhere far from mercy
parted from innocence
compressed into a coiled spring
mouth agape
impatient to explode.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Perfume of Love

If there was a perfume of love it would be jasmine,
branches of delicate snowflake flowers,
wafting fragrance more haunting than pheremones;
but if bottled,
withers and dies like plucked petals,
becomes a skeleton of love,
a leer fit for a disco.

And if there was a vision of love
it would be sunset on the beach,
holding hands in a timeless moment,
as the world waits breathless for the stars
to arrive,
but if ignored fades
like an ancient painting exposed to air,
colours dying and faces dropping
until only a hint of beauty survives.

And if there was music of love
it would be your laughter,
ringing through parks and ruffling leaves,
the culmination of every symphony,
melting my heart,
for of course
music can never die.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Sadness of Light

In the sadness of light
we return to what we lost,
go back to that which deserted us,
hide our eyes from sunsets across
a thousand lands,
only to see doors without keys,
closets without secrets.

We lash out at ephemera,
that phantom at the centre of being,
but our laughter is a dry chuckle in a sterile void
while words hang in the air,
for there is no-one left to impress,
no-one left to sigh,
our dreams fall like dust
and we are gone forever,
only the mist remains

The Imperial Pilgrimage of Yuan Shi Kai

If you stare long enough at another's face
it shifts,
changes,
flows like melting wax,
becomes another face,
another person,
you feel an itch at the base of your skull,
there is something wrong.

You are not yourself!

You feel inconstant desire,
a tidal surge ruled by the moon
like your face is ruled by eyes,
eyes gazing across a plaza littered with bleeding statues
see completion in rubble,
totality in entropy.

Can you ever understand another's emotions?
ever know the deepest content of another's thought?
You grasp at symbols as a drunkard grasps the bottle,
hunt for archetypes in bewildering fecundity
under the canopy of world jungle.

You awake as Yuan Shi Kai on a cherry blossom morning,
but the Imperial pilgrimage has ended
and you will never occupy the Dragon Throne,
you are the skeleton of a warlord,
with vacant eye sockets which never see the lotus;
an insect skimming across a stagnant pond,
separated by surface tension from the muddy depths,
above divided from below,
the face in the mirror is not yours.

You pluck pieces from a mosaic created by unknown hands,
your fingers bleed,
cut by splinters of worthless glass,
a window closed to that distant world,
once so near,
now lost to your mind,
you are not me,
I am not myself,
not yet,
not in this fragment of feeling.

Perhaps you are Akhenaton replying to the mayor of Byblos,
Eternity waits for you to die the true death,
misunderstood,
forgotten even by the pale rays of dawn.
But no!
you are not Akhenaton,
he has long become one with the dust of millenia,
you are not Akhenaton.
You are not yourself!

The vine hangs heavy with sorrow,
your instinct is to hack and slash,
money is your machete,
your structure is a complex problem in organic chemistry,
your creed an open-cut mine,
a containment pond overflowing with the last flood of misery,
your tears are sulphuric acid,
your saliva strontium 90,
your heart is public property,
there is leprosy in your soul.

Your life is a flowchart with branches always leading to the negative,
avenues of negatives lined with crucified dreams,
the no, no, no, of yourself,
endless denial of yourself,
infinite reflection of infinite regress,
bottomless pit of Being.

Is it ignorance or complicity which attracts punishment?
If despair has many faces can innocence sleep in peace?
You, me, and a song on the breeze,
a name called from dreams,
is this a foretaste of pain or the lick of astringent pleasure?

If the promise of the future is a poisoned apple,
can you identify with a grape?

You must stay in a difficult equilibrium,
buoyed by the minor victory of life
and the absence of personal death,
then slink back to that unearned solitude,
relieved of responsibility,
free to be nothing but the scent of a rose,
the hum of a bee.

You are the winds of change,
the mind of God,
a journey without purpose,
the destination without substance.

If you stare long enough at another's face
it shifts,
changes,
flows like melting wax,
becomes another face,
another person.

You are not yourself!

(c) Tony Foley 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Raw Lungs

...to the tune of the theme from “Raw Hide”

Smokin’ smokin’ smokin’,
keep those lips a tokin’
even though yer chokin’
Raw Lungs

Stuff wowser disapproval
you know yer in big trouble
dyin’ a little more each time

Yeah

Light ‘em up butt ‘em out
Light ‘em up butt ‘em out
Light ‘em up butt ‘em out
Raw Lungs

If’n you get cancer
you know they got no answer
yer smokin’ that poison all the time

Yeah

Light ‘em up butt ‘em out
Light ‘em up butt ‘em out
Light ‘em up butt ‘em out
Raw Lungs

‘Cos heart disease’ll get yer
if emphysema will let yer
light up a fag just one more time

Yeah

Light ‘em up butt ‘em out
Light ‘em up butt ‘em out
Light ‘em up butt ‘em out
Raw Lungs

Despite all the warnin’
yer coughin’ up each mornin’
blood from yer shrivelled lungs inside

Yeah

Light ‘em up butt ‘em out
Light ‘em up butt ‘em out
Light ‘em up butt ‘em out
Raw Lungs

Stuff wowser disapproval
you know yer in big trouble
dyin’... a ... little ... more ... each ... time

RAW LUNGS!

Monday, December 25, 2006

From The Bottom Of An Empty Pot

You won't find God Almighty in the
bottom of an empty pot,
God is too classy for beer.

God dines in fashionable restaurants
and orders escargot for entrée,
God's Grange Hermitage must breathe
for exactly one hour,
and the atmosphere must be
Latin ambient,
non-smoking of course.

God wears a well-cut Italian suit and issues
orders to archangels over his mobile phone.

God's organiser is crammed with
important information,
such as the exact time and date
of the last judgement,
the location of innumerable fallen sparrows,
the price of ox-bladders on the
Chicago futures market,
and the name of the winner of the
fourth race at Flemington next Saturday.

God had one son at Scotch College
who used to be head prefect
before he discovered Nirvana and hash,
bloody no-hoper now wears black
and lives in a Fitzroy slum,
Oh well, says God,
I send these things to try myself!

God lives in a double-storey mock
Georgian home in Brighton.

His partner, Goddess,
works out three times a week
at the Pilates centre in Church St,
wears silk leotards and Italian stilettos which
somehow never get caught in tram tracks
or storm-water grates.

At night, before putting the mahabindu to rest,
they discuss exhibitions and ballet,
listen to Bach and Handel on the stereo,
watch the Home Show for tips on
doing up the holiday house at Portsea,
then retire to the softest bed in the universe
where they make perfect, tireless, tantric love.

God is superbly endowed and Goddess enjoys
infinite orgasms.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Cocteau

Jean Cocteau,
your life was a canvass,
a tapestry of hanging threads,
a poem whose spirit infected
the blood of poets,
an artist of mirrors
wandering the outer wastes of hell,
sifting through urban debris in
pursuit of modern myth.

Cocteau, were you Cegeste?
Or Cagliostro?

In your surreal villa
conjuring a testament,
a celluloid limbo
where Orpheus wept,
then became Jean Cocteau.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Political Stakes

They’re off in the political stakes, a race run over three years.

Howard’s Ego takes the early lead, but Costello’s Ambition has fallen back and it looks like he’s no longer in the race. Coming up fast on the outside is Global Warming, with Iraq War running wildly across the track and troubling the leaders.

Oh! A sensation! Bribery and Corruption has charged through the field and caught Iraq War, they’re running neck and neck followed by Concentration Camps, with Human Rights and Social Justice sadly well back in the field.

Oh no! Democracy is down, Rule of Law has fallen, Oh the horror! Beazley’s Hope has been put down right there on the track, Backbench Revolt is gaining ground while Religious Right is running a strong race on the inside.

Coming round the hard right bend and Howard’s Ego is challenged for the lead by Clever Kevin and Workers’ Rights, with The Mad Monk nowhere to be seen.

Into the straight and Education has gone, Environment is stuffed, Manufacturing has collapsed, and Foreign Debt is running wild…

but don’t worry punters, there’s a new race coming later this year.

Napoleon's Hat

The emperor sits upon his rearing horse
the stage is draped with blood red curtains
his face is wooden
a puppet's face
his horse a statue
a theatrical prop
lacking even the grotesquerie of Guernica
lifeless as a ten franc piece.

This world is closed to us
a scene from high theatre
frozen, stylised movement
action without consequence
passionless
remote as a suburban street.

Napoleon's hat drifts above the scene
removed from the stage
a discarded relic
for he is just another lonesome cowboy
and his blood is cold,
cold as greasepaint when the curtain falls
the lights die
and the performance is over.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Little Things

I notice things
little things
insignificant and irrelevent
a wisp of mist
a mote of dust
your wry smile
a white mare and brown stallion
standing side by side
heads lovingly nuzzling.

The little things
of no cosmic importance
no earth shaking worth
when perception is unclouded
self-absorption held at bay
a woman's knees
a grey factory door ajar
an old man's wrinkled neck
the dimple in a child's cheek.

I always notice you
camped in my heart
stoking my fires
then think…

perhaps some things are not
so little after all.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Man of good fortune

Couldn't do better
couldn't do worse
turned his brother into a
pig's ear purse,
ran down the street
climbed a tree
made a mint out of selling debris,
cure all
free fall
come in spinner,
turned his head and
was done like a dinner,
lock the door
lay down the cards
picked his nose with a
cuban cigar,
just can't hack it
just can't win
put out the cat in a
garbage bin,
didn't see the shark
only saw the fin
locked up his mother and
lived in sin,
hailed a taxi
climbed in a hearse
lived his life with a prayer
and a curse,
finally,
thankfully,
the dice rolled his way,
met the woman of his dreams
on this lucky day.

The Major's wife

Once she must have throbbed
the widow over the road,
imprisoned behind tall fence isolation
she shuffles to her gate,
looks across at me
sitting on my porch,
captures me like a mouse in a snake's frozen stare,
disapproving of the way the world turns,
disliking autumn’s falling leaves.

But I can’t avoid careless thoughts
speculating on the wild years of her youth,
readying herself for the major's military probe,
occupying a holding position,
parrying his forward thrust
then exploding in blazing shards.

Did she look at him through sultry eyes
daring him into a flanking manoeuvre?
Did she yearn to be swept into his arms,
fearing the war which brought them together
could gratuitously rip them apart forever?

I see her swirl through the dance floor minefield,
listen to Vera Lyne and the Andrews Sisters
spin her through a dark-edged romantic cloud,
watch her sit intimately,
devotedly,
fondling a long-stemmed wine glass meaningfully,
waiting for his shell to burst.

Now she scowls at me from her front gate,
turning her back on young lovers walking hand in hand
down her lonely, bitter-sweet street.

Lost faces

What ever happened to those faces?
the faces of old friends
who drift through memory,
gently probing
stirring names as modern times rush
along the road to Damascus,
escorted by tanks and
grim-faced infantry.

A hippopotamus ejaculates for
the zoologist's syringe,
but another species just became extinct,
did you hear it's cry?
there will be no tombstone,
just a mouldy monograph in
some forgotten archive;
Do you long for the womb
when life was so much simpler?

Where is Peter the paranoid poet?
does he ever step across
his threshold,
the outside world is ugly
far better to be distant in
foetal position head space
Beirut safely on TV
smoke from a joint gently curling,
Velvet Underground on the stereo.

Lost faces of legendary days
a canticle to innocence,
melody an advertising jingle,
while the thousand-eyed beast watches sitcoms,
mapping the human genome,
all the better to twist you with
hyperthalmic reaction
blunted cortex
moral disorder.

Forget lost faces and
watch the particle accelerator
tick tock tick tock the nuclear clock
as a madman screams,
it's not real, it's not true!
just the seven o’clock Baghdad
market-place news
Himalayas of hate.

Glenn became a PE teacher
Theo a smack freak
some are dead
some may as well be.

Does the smelting plant still spew acrid
black clouds across the schoolyard,
or is it closed like the school
as industry and hope die in Brunswick?
Does John still go to brothels?
will Anna ever find love?

I dress in black to lament the
death of past lives,
for the faces are lost,
and there will be no late night B grade re-runs
as another Cambodian steps on a mine.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Poetry Wars - The Open Section Strikes Back

The track beside the road leading to Mount Salvation
is festooned with wildflowers,
white, pink and purple,
they are invisible to the
Gods in their chariots.

In the Chapel at Mount Salvation
the Gods gathered to defend orthodoxy,
and to ensure the potency of their prayers.

An aura of authority hung over proceedings,
for the Gods were secure in their power and wisdom.

And lo! The Gods looked upon the lesser angels
and saw that the quality of their prayer inadequate,
they decreed that workshop was the mantra
which should be uttered,
for prayer came not from inner being
but from the training and patronage of the Gods.

The Gods were jealous of their power.
They saw that the great mass of angels
ignored their exquisitely crafted prayers,
that their prayers were considered irrelevent and boring,
that their hallowed words would be drowned
in a sea of unauthorised prayer,
and yea verily,
they may even be divorced from the life-giving manna
of the Australia Council Tree,
and with this the Gods were sorely troubled,
for how could they be divine
if all were divine?

So the Gods gathered their attributes,
raised their aspects,
and thundered from the heights of Salvation Mount;

"Whosoever challengeth the wisdom and infinitely greater
artistic merit of the Godss hall be cast
from the hallowed precincts of Penguin,
and languish forever in the purgatory of self-publishing."

And the lesser angels trembled before the wrath of the Gods
and paid homage to their might,
for they remembered the fate of the Circle Ratio Angel,
and the loss of the Great Earl Angel;
even the Southern Angel was silent,
she who had once defied the Gods,
for she had one day caught fire and now feared Divine retribution.

But from the congregation of lesser angels
some brave voices challenged the Gods.

Mark Poemwriter said,
"if it were not for the Open Section Heresy
I would not be here today to witness the glory of the Gods."

And the Feather Angel spoke,
"if it were not for the Open Section Heresy
multitudes of angels would never see heaven,
would never be introduced to the power and majesty of prayer."

And amongst the lesser angels there were murmurings of agreement,
for the pride of the Gods could be insufferable,
and some thought the prayers of the angels cast from heaven
greater than the prayer of those who stayed to sneer.

The abyss of insignificance began to appear preferable
to the hypocrisy of heaven,
a democracy of demons more attractive
than a tyranny of Gods.

Things began to go poorly for the Gods
until the balding, bespectacled,
Verse Vader God proclaimed;
"the construction of True Prayer is akin
to the training of a concert cellist,
involving a solid theoretical foundation and eons of practice."

And so the battle lines were drawn between
popular prayer and elite prayer,
for Verse Vader was claiming popular prayer
was not prayer at all.

But on earth mere mortals continued to
ignore the prayers of the Gods,
preferring the prayers of minstrels
who spoke directly to their hearts;
and from the heights of Mount Salvation,
in their arrogance and pride,
the Gods could not understand why.

Then infused with the spirit of the fallen angel
William McGonagall
a lesser angel prayed;

"Sometimes in a fit of fancy
I wonder what the immortal bard would think,
if through an act of necromancy
he enrolled at University.

Would he learn that poetry is a refined art,
fit only for intellectuals and scholars?
That the hoi polloi have no part,
and detract from aesthetic values?

Would he be puzzled by post-modern critique?
Would his lecturer be displeased?
And where would the world of literature be
if Shakespeare scored an "E"?

But the lesser angel prayed alone,
for the Gods had all gone home.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Mayakovsky's Niece

How the words rush like a delerious torrent
cutting with the icy crisp of a Moscow winter,
but it's Spring in Melbourne
and my head spins from
a fermented monologue,
demented lines of years gone
dredged from the Slavonic Review,
hurled to the end of the earth with
the cynical
caustic voice of an old man
with black cats.

I leap from the wheelchair and shout
"Stop!
You shake babies' rattles to entertain sages!
Why?
I'm old
a thousand years old
but I see that in you an anguished cry
has been crucified on a cross of laughter."

I stumble through post-revolutionary streets
cigarette hanging from my lips,
drunk on words
intoxicated with the times,
but no!
I am not Mayakovsky
just an actor in "A Tragedy"
for it is seventy years since the revolution
and though glasnost and perestroika are sweeping the streets
the Futurist vision still lives,
still screams,
still slaps public taste in the face.

In a satori
epitomising the nexus of life and art
an exhibition of Mayakovsky's posters has
come to the gallery,
we are premiering that night
so with the 'Women with Tears’
I hurry to St Kilda Road,
pursuing inspiration
hoping to look deeper into the heart of the poet.

I stare into the photo of a young
unbelievably intense man,
his eyes stares back
lips curled in a sardonic smile,
I swear his expression changed
just for an instant
but no,
it's still Melbourne in Spring,
I'm still in love
outside the traffic growls
flowers are in bloom.

I notice an elderly grey haired woman
sitting on a stool
sketching a poster,
intrigued we approach her
for Mayakovsky is obscure in Australia
and there are no others browsing the exhibition,
waving her hand she dismisses us,
absorbed in her work.

I'm surrounded by images of revolution
then look more deeply to see idealism perverted,
exhortations to improve public health
transformed into Stalinist diatribes
against wreckers,
against traitors,
graphic appeals to improve education
twisted into paranoid polemnics against capitalists and spies.

The old woman approaches us and apologises,
in fine English she explains
she is with the exhibition,
that she is a Russian poet and artist,
then to our surprise
that she is Mayakovsky's niece,
that she remembers him from her childhood,
an enormous bear of a man with
a huge booming voice,
how he used to sit her on his knee,
she remembers the sadness in his eyes.

The circle closes,
I tell her we are staging her uncle's play
and she is delighted,
she wishes us well and
we are blessed,
but I am haunted by the tragedy of Russia
echoing the tragedy of Mayakovsky,
feel the despair of the poet
hounded by the dark forces he hoped
revolution would dispel,
I see the poet crushed within his prophecy
but hear his words resounding through my mind;

"Don't let hate pierce your hearts!
For you, my children, the lesson is hard and relentless.
People, you are all bells on the dunce cap of God."

Vladimir Mayakovsky shot himself on April 14th, 1930.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Funeral

We don't laugh at funerals
supposedly to show respect for the dead

Tears are acceptable
even from men,
but standing by the coffin,
remembering the body inside alive,
seeing through polished wooden panels
a shrunken, twisted, empty bag,
listening to the sepulchral organ,
the scent of flowers
that perfume of the dead,
feeling laughter bubbling within,
how do you feel?
what do you do?

Would my grandmother understand?
say "don't fret dear, it's better this way"
understanding the cosmic absurdity,
the misty unreality of standing
in an unfamiliar suit
waiting for the droning minister to finish.

Remember that interminable wait
as a life is reduced to platitudes?
other mourners appearing as caricatures,
then looking at the expression on your
brother's face -
how can convention be observed?
how can laughter be properly suppressed?

When you lift the coffin and carry it
in procession to the hearse
do you fear you may drop it?
that you will curl into a ball
laughing through tears as the corpse spills
on to the cold slate floor?
that people will faint and scream?
that perhaps you will spoil the funeral?

So you don't laugh
tears spilling from your eyes instead,
and as you stand outside the chapel
accepting the commiseration of friends

do you think laughter might have been
more meaningful than tears?

The Slave

The slave hammers the king with a knowing glance,
in the tower a child dreams of freedom.
The jester shuffles with impatience,
the feast is poisoned with despair.

The knife is rusty but effective,
it carves a slice from the queens heart,
the knave chuckles,
the bishop frowns,
the ostler dreams of a pure white mare.

The hag climbs a spiral staircase,
the wind hides in darkened hills,
servants clean an unused room,
candles flicker in a cobwebbed crypt,
the scholar shudders with a premonition of doom.

The king yawns,
the minstrel plays out of key,
mice scurry through rotted walls,
the moon casts a dismal light.

How the chuckle of a stream is lost
in the flicker of a dream,
for words are wraiths,
wisps which bind root to soil,
the past to now.

The slave is naked but for chains,
she remembers earlier, better days,
when butterflies rode on a free breeze,
and clouds belonged to all.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Gentle Fingers

In the touch of gentle fingers
I embrace soft wisps of cloud,

in the fragrance of a flower
cool scent of untouched moon,

in bird song outside window morning
a paradise of mystical past,

in the laughter of old friends
dancing leaves in the park,

in the glory of freshly blooming flowers
skipping ropes and slender pig-tails,

in satin arms of the sun
moist pinkness of probing tongue,

in the garden of earthly pleasure
we walk between the stars at night together,

then.....
in the pulchritude of your smile,

universe within universe
of unplumbed love.

Suburban Flower

Suburban flower,
I see in your yellow teardrop petals a
universe subtle as the glint in a magpies eye,
a flower symphony,
epitome of beauty with a
hint of mortality,
the final encore beneath a rising tide
of marching antennae astride
housing estates of the future,
razor wire and concrete walls,
the anomie of backyard bonhomie,
with courage lost among dead trees,
barbecue of dreams,
lifeless minds and TV screens.

I see nothing special in orderly rows,
brick by brick building a wall of solitude,
mortared with guilt,
watered with tears,
demolished forests replaced with fears,
left longing for destiny,
the mystery of inner light,
patching holes in happy memories,
singing to escape mundanity,
to no place special
where sirens crush life from the footpaths,
windows are sightless eyes in
the urban cemetary of gutters and
rusted tram-tracks.

Where it's always five to midnight in the cell where
my body hangs,
where each elegy is a suicide on the track,
where the street is drunk and each house an untapped keg,
where dreams are lost and nightmares found,
Somehow to awake and
gaze at a flower,
see a place far from here,
another world,
where reeds sway to a chorus of frogs,
birds sing to the healing rain,
far from power lines,
far from smog,
where a blizzard of petals obscures the street,
and a yellow flower stands alone.

I walk home from the station,
glance over my shoulder at a stranger following,
she smiles and hands me a flower.