Tuesday, February 27, 2018
stage draped with blood red curtains,
his face is wooden
a puppet's face
his horse a statue
a theatrical prop
lacking the grotesqueness of Guernica
lifeless as a five centime piece.
This world is closed as any
scene in high theatre,
frozen, stylised movement
action without consequence
remote as a suburban street.
Napoleon's hat drifts above the scene
removed from the stage,
a discarded relic
just another lonesome cowboy
his blood is cold,
cold as greasepaint when the curtain falls
the lights die
and the performance is over.
(From a painting by Fiona Jeffrey, 1994)
Friday, February 02, 2018
My great grandmother's California bungalow was
filled with dark corners and mystery,
Victorian tapestries of Arab scenes and
tall vases depicting Chinese landscapes,
bric-a-brac scattered across every surface
from every corner of the globe,
a Leipzig piano in the front lounge
serenaded by heavy couches,
a grandfather clock in the hall.
The stained glass windows in the
front double doors dimly lit the hall,
and the two bedrooms were dark,
places only for sleep with chamber pots
under the bed and dark wood wardrobes
The kitchen lived in an earlier century,
although a gas stove graced the the window
next to the sink and a formica 50s table
stood proudly on vinyl tiles.
The chair abutting the wall boasted a potty
The fireplace in the sitting room was modern
and burned briquettes,
magic castles of red and orange flame...
there was even a small black and white TV where I
was allowed to stay up late on a Friday night and watch
Deadly Ernest's B grade horror movies,
lying on an ancient chaise lounge while
my great grandmother
sat in her chair and smiled.
The back door led to a porch which hung over
a long backyard littered with sheds and outbuildings,
a double dunny and woodshed half way to the back fence
faced sheds housing treasures acquired and discarded over decades,
boxes of cylinder recordings,
rusted tools, saws and scythes,
dead hand mowers blades long dulled,
books eaten by silverfish and moths,
treasures to a young boy's imagination.
My great grandmother's California bungalow
in Moreland Road West Brunswick
was long ago knocked down and replaced by
the front verandah bulldozed and
privet hedges razed.
Memories float into the clouds with the asbestos
dust of loss.
Friday, January 26, 2018
a new day blooms
as lightening splits the sky
my lover sleeps through
but I feel a pale regret
for lips not kissed
for limbs not stroked
for breasts not caressed
for love not consumed.
She sleeps restless as
humidity steals breath,
breezes licking our skin
from the fan in the ceiling.
I lie and dream
of softness entered.
Sunday, January 14, 2018
he twisted the assumption and
didn't think about illogic.
All people are kind therefore we are
all kind of people,
but this is false since not all people are kind
nor are kind people therefore...
Something is wrong in the hills
where the trees die,
when butterfly wings flap in
a cold wind like defunct flags
if clowns smile promises.
You don't laugh like you used to
and grass seems paler,
streets are filled with suits and skirts
but you don't wear them.
You're not there,
a wisp flowing down tram tracks,
a taste of
cold logic hard love.
of justification denied red-headed lovers
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,
her tears a necklace
He stared with red-ribboned
then touched a tear drop
and moistened his lips,
then kissed her eyelids
as the night closed.
subsumed by silken hair
and tender fingers
consumed by eyes which
knew his depths.
Her lover lost himself
on a plateau of ecstatic regret
wandered along her limbs
until he faltered as her
gates opened and his
world spun madly across her valleys.
Her lover roamed her wilderness
a madman wrapped in
cloaks of brilliantine desire
stroking her cheeks
while stars whizzed around
her galaxies of love.
Then they slept together
in a bed of feather light.
is a polysyllabic word
too long to use in casual
is mostly defined as
an existing power structure,
enables entrenched interests
to maintain authority over
can be a subtle influence
on perceptions and values,
dictates opinion but
opinion is not determined by
is opposed to opinion
and opinion reinforces establishment
so we become
in my opinion.
So I cut Establishment and
let loose the cats of wail
blow the walls of agate
scream the screed of shadow.
turned into muddy flowers...
follows an incomplete
by a bespectacled frog
the true brain of
Look to the skies for
but forget our love of
mottled blazing shades of red
could well be nuclear debris.
There's nothing more to say
when butterflies cry and
seeds fail to climb
to a dying sun
in her coruscating pyramid of
as the old year fades
to well earned oblivion.
Brightness is our hope
but experience shrugs
with 20/20 hindsight vision.
Promise leads the way to
swishing waves on the beach,
light reftracts through the prism.
Truth is a whisky dream
but still flowers bloom in an
obscure life-giving mission.
So let's dance the Milky Way
and watch celestial fireworks,
may we be all love driven.
with traffic forever changing lanes
Wrapping paper blows across
I grip the steering wheel
and think of pudding
as the bay seduces me with
and the vineyards clamber
across festive hillsides
someone has left bags of rubbish
outside the gates of their farm
Wrapping paper blows across
Monday, October 23, 2017
When I plucked a rose
dappled with dew
I saw the face of
a lover I knew.
When I breathed
your perfume in
a boyish lark
there was no
possible smart remark
When you danced
upon my grave of dreams
and saw the rose wilt,
all hope left
our reflected lake
Lost faces laughed
as you smiled at
at an inner joke
so true, fair and cruel.
But I made peace
with your yoke
across that failed pew,
beauty fled while
the rose wept dew.
Friday, October 20, 2017
I see in your yellow teardrop petals a
universe sly as the glint in a magpie's eye
your flower symphony
epitome of beauty with a
hint of mortality
final encore beneath a rising tide
of marching antennae astride
housing estates of the future
razor wire and concrete walls
anomie of backyard bonhomie
hope abandoned among dead gums
barbecue of dreams
lifeless minds with TV screens.
She saw nothing special in orderly rows
brick by brick building a wall of solitude
mortared with guilt
watered with tears
demolished forests replaced with fear
longing for destiny
mystery of inner light
sewing holes in happy memories
singing to escape mundanity
to no place special
where sirens crush life from footpaths
windows are sightless eyes in
urban cemeteries of rusty gutters and
It's always five to midnight in the cell where
his 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 scarecrows found
somehow to awake and
gaze at a flower
see a place far from here
where reeds sway to a chorus of frogs
birds sing to the melting rain
far from power lines
far from smog
as 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 dandelion.
I wish I knew.
Socrates asked this damned
question as did
Julius Sumner Miller.
Why? Do you see it is now a question?
It's the biggest, most fabulousistantic question of all.
So why do I exclaim?
Is it because the question is both
an appeal and a declaration?!
Do we have
Or perhaps we should fly
and somehow defy
gravity of defecation.
Damned if I know, and
I know a helluva of a lot.
Do you want to know?
The swan never feeds
on halal fish.
A galaxy is painted
Death is a colour.
Light is waves and particles.
Mass is a mathematical illusion.
Poetry is truth
and I'm a liar.
Tuesday, September 05, 2017
"you're not the man you thought you were"
and he was right,
I thought I cared for all
I thought love gave meaning to life
I thought truth was stronger than lies
I thought art illuminated the world.
My dark side snickered
"well you were a naive sort, weren't you?"
and he was right,
I was stupid.
I thought people are fundamentally good
I thought ideas really mattered
I thought reason would win an argument
I thought compassion would win in the end.
My dark side laughed
"how stupid can you be?"
and he was right
I am a fool.
My dark side sneered
"see, there's nothing left but me"
but my dark side is wrong
because I'm right
and my dark side slithers back
into the slime of mind.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
No poem is capable of expressing life,
no lyrical phrases adequate to the task,
no bleak aphorisms suited to the tears,
no adjectives alive to expressions of joy,
no metric rhythm sufficient.
So we have to try another angle,
weep like babes torn from a mother,
laugh like kids playing hopscotch in the street,
frown like scholars pondering Sartre,
make love as if death is ruffling your sheets.
See how simple it becomes?
Love and Death dance around
autumn blown leaves,
soft lips brush your cheek
as doors close on starlings.
But, and there's always a but,
you peer around the corner of
desire and find only mist,
then touch the stars and cry
for lost words.
Monday, May 09, 2016
but the inner city doesn't remember me -
or perhaps the chic eateries and boutique bars
are too recent,
blow-ins from some weird new world
of patisserie and ennui.
Bridge Road Richmond used to be hard core,
an iron bar brandished against
the toffs across the river,
but now? Merde!
Too many posies of posers and
give me the 'burbs,
at least out here we know when
we're being ripped off.
The factories are now apartment blocks,
oh so trendy, oh so cool,
but goddamn how good it is to get outta there,
out to the 'burbs where philosophy
hinges on the next pay day,
and kids skip along the streets after school
protected by lollipop people,
and the takeaway food is better,
and doesn't come with a
side serve of snobbery.
Sunday, March 06, 2016
and decency is hated.
So honesty is dead
and liars are delighted.
So bigots enjoy free speech
but honest speech is hated.
So truth is false
and lies are feted.
So science is rubbish
and reasoned thought dated.
Let the darkness roll.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
On my day off
we drove through peak hour traffic
for over an hour.
On my day off
we sat in hospital waiting rooms
for over two hours.
On my day off
we sorted house moving rubbish
for far too long.
On my day off
the temperature soared and wind bit
for hours and hours.
On my day off
we went supermarket shopping
till the end of time.
On my day off
I finally sat in my chair
Saturday, January 23, 2016
we heard the final flutters
of her heart.
Her last thoughts were
of clear blue skies
When cities died we
heard anguished screams,
saw visions of blood.
When the world died
no-one heard her cries,
only silence of hate.
When he felt that sad slide
he remembered her mask.
A mask of laughter
A mask of pain
A mask of tragedy
A mask of dreams.
So he listened to
the rustle of leaves
shuffle across the footpath
and touched blue night.
If light could sing
her song would wound,
your heart would hurt...
He couldn't listen to
the glissando as it
rose to meet his blue
lyrics dredged from her depths.
Then a V8 screamed defiance
but he twisted the dream,
and softly flowed lovers
naked in a stream.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
I wonder why
life is cheap
water is pure
space is vast
trees are tall
mice are small
mist is cool.
I wonder why
music moves me
words are ambiguous
wealth is worthless
love is priceless
thought is hard
grass is soft.
I wonder why
art is good
dogs are friendly
cats are aloof
philosophy is dead
books are unread
hearts turn cold.
I wonder why.
Friday, June 26, 2015
I refuse to submit to fear
I refuse to be a victim
I refuse to be a bigot.
I refuse to succumb to hate
I refuse to reject compassion
I refuse to reject reason
I refuse to lose hope.
I refuse to accept injustice
I refuse to accept oppression
I refuse to accept deception
I refuse to fall for lies.
I refuse to lose my humanity
I refuse to lose our freedoms
I refuse to lose democracy
I refuse to become refuse.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
we hear is pain,
mellifluous in agony
each note a needle,
a forlorn chord as
sadness licks her
In silence all
she hears is a rose scream,
but vacuum sucks love;
loss levers hope,
an exquisite equilibrium
in her satin night.
So she drinks the little death
and luxuriates in his arms,
and why should she wake
when hope lingers
amidst the lingerie of
her better world?
Dreams drift like mist
through her screaming sky,
never again fulfilled,
pregnant and bereft,
gone with wisps.
Monday, April 13, 2015
is an odyssey of traffic lights
dissecting nondescript suburbs,
children sucking lollipops on
footpaths outside shopping malls,
churchgoers fulfilling obligations
on Autumnal Sunday,
and obscure folk singers on the
CD player in the jeep.
Springvale Road is legendary for its length,
cutting the Eastern suburbs like
a cut throat razor until the chaos
of Princes Highway messes everything up,
an ugly blotch of roads, traffic lights and cars.
Somehow Police Road is comforting even
knowing where it leads,
the bone yard
the ash grove
the vale of lost love
the farm of tears
and wilted flowers,
a parade of plaques portraying the
perfection of death,
the smiles of the lost.
Clipped lawns conceal
our despond as
carnations and angels
grace the grave.
Monday, January 12, 2015
littered with indigo outcrops of
the desert wind was light as a butterfly's sigh,
but hot as a forge in summer
Moonlight slapped sand and rock
as he wandered through knee high gorse,
another pinpoint of thought
amid stars and dunes,
a nomad of the mist.
Then he woke in a sweat,
to news of slaughter in Paris,
and the desert was red
and the stars fled
and butterfly sighs became tears.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
Thursday, December 11, 2014
corpses in strange soil
waiting to be cut.
Tracks rip and gash
creeks turn brown
soil weeps along runnels
dew drops crying.
sunlight filters leaves
pine cones litter
Tourist roads lined with
tree ferns a
we camp by the creek
logging trucks slice the night.
The pine forest rustles
hate and pain
there are no flowers
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Friday, September 12, 2014
Monday, August 11, 2014
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
Perhaps the search for truth.
Asimov drew him in to
Galactic empires but
really it was the Roman Empire.
Robert Heinlein took him to
strange people in strange lands,
and he learnt about free thought.
Thomas Disch taught him
about why we still
strive to achieve freedom.
Philip K. Dick showed him how
the world we see is not
the world in which we live.
Robert Sheckley made him laugh
at the twisted possibilities
of multiple universes.
By the age of 16 he was educated
but the world still had to catch up.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
the fathers, brothers and sisters,
the friends and workmates.
We cry as smoke rises through
through rubble and twisted metal,
from twisted toys and melted dreams.
We cry as rockets scream and
as guns rule the lives of innocence
in Gaza and Ukraine.
We cry in vain.
Monday, July 14, 2014
is listless apathy,
forget your woes for
they are worms
gnawing into your inner
He couldn't forget
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,
Pictures of other times,
sound tracks of other lives,
not you nor me.
Saturday, July 05, 2014
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
Did you see it?
I missed it but
wish I'd been there.
There was a bloke
made a killing I heard,
the wings, the Light.
Who knew what would come?
Children played and grown men
hugged their mates,
Goal, goal, goal,
as another kid is
kicked into the gutter.
Saturday, April 12, 2014
when the sun split
I thought of butterflies,
but a car hurrumphed by
and a jogger padded past.
the air breathed gum tree
and clouds toyed
with my dreams,
the silence of leaves
rippled like breakers
on your freshly born beach,
and I was alive like
Thursday, March 06, 2014
I didn't want to hear
it is bad
that word we all fear to hear.
Not me but
but it may as well be me.
To try to express in poetry
is a failure by definition,
there is no lyricism here
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,
Saturday, February 01, 2014
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
He tried to find his music,
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
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
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
Monday, December 09, 2013
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
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
Where is Peter the paranoid poet?
does he ever step across
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
mapping the human genome
all the better to twist you with
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
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
Monday, November 11, 2013
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
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?
When the boy became dust he
never thought about beauty,
he was beauty in
a dream on the breeze
a flash of colour in the clouds
a wisp of fragrance in
but somewhere drifting in his melody
tears watering his bones
and raising an orchid.
Sunday, August 04, 2013
She sings but all
we hear is pain,
mellifluous in your agony
each note a needle,
a forlorn chord,
sadness licks your
In my silence all
I hear is a rose's scream,
but a vacuum sucks love,
loss levers hope,
an exquisite equilibrium,
her satin night.
we came by boat,
death followed but
my love kept us
no love awaits
Taken by a breeze
I turn and whisper
in her hair.
awash with memory,
Circle of gum trees
memory of love
I water nearby
we lose our hearts
we lose our minds
emptiness is a friend
as the light
I blew up the world
it was cool
the seas boiled
steam fizzed from
a rosella shrieked
just another day...
drink wine and
you can lose it all
with a whim
Saturday, May 11, 2013
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
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
I remember her as
an artist blazing fire,
hands freeing visions
always hard and soft and true;
soft lips full.
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.
while time works her weary spell,
gasping for breath,
musical chuckles and
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.
innocent and shy,
you nineteen and far more worldly wise;
we talked at a party about masks,
people and disguises,
reality and meaning,
liked each other,
found an affinity,
but there was more,
and I was too naive to know.
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.
not flashes flicking through a rear view mirror,
laughing and dancing down the middle of
deserted Chapel street at 3 AM,
a restaurant in Lygon Street with your friends...
workmates were all beautiful women,
the catering business appeared staffed with
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.
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
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
you could barely contain the amusement,
but innocence as appeal has an expiry date.
recriminations and angry letters,
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.
you married with two kids,
me married with two cats,
but not even your family or close friends
knew how your means were met.
in front of the kids
then went to the pub.
The defence screamed "Provocation".
"Prostitute!" they screamed,
and he got three years for manslaughter.
while canvases are blank and
some say time heals hurt
but that's a lie,
part of me also died.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
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,
expensive clothes dishevelled
he says “Take me to St. Kilda"
and lights a smoke,
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,
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 meanders along
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
Saturday, April 06, 2013
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
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,
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,
but my land is poisoned
and I'm alone.
Saturday, March 09, 2013
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.
of justification denied red-headed lovers
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,
her tears a necklace glistening.
He stared with red-ribboned eyes
touched a tear drop and moistened his lips,
then kissed her eyelids as the night closed.
they were university people
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,
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
But we know,
and you know now.
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
and added the 'Gadget' to the blog.
Can see how this might become addictive! Not sure about the content on this pipe though...
|From I didn't really say that, did I?|
|From I didn't really say that, did I?|
Completed the survey and contributed some further thoughts about the program. Surprised myself by noting Mashups was the area I was least familiar with.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
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.
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.
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
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
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
Monday, June 30, 2008
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
Monday, May 05, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
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
Dalang, Dalang, whose strings do you pull?
Dalang, Dalang, whose lands do you steal?
Dalang, Dalang, whose shadows do you cast?
Dalang, Dalang, whose face is 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,
A young boy stands over him,
pours water between his parched lips.
The boy speaks in faltering English,
says he will get help.
Voices, voices speaking a language he doesn't understand
occasionally an English word,
he hears "Australian".
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."
Dalang, Dalang, whose plays do you perform?
Dalang, Dalang, whose children do you kill?
Dalang, Dalang, whose wars do you fight?
Dalang, Dalang, 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,
“I 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.
Xanana’s ghost sits next to me
and I feel guilty,
think of all that was done
and all that should have been done.
Dalang, Dalang, whose trust have you broken?
Dalang, Dalang, whose wealth have you stolen?
Dalang, Dalang, how can you atone?
Dalang, Dalang, is your face my own?