Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The Imperial Pilgrimage of Yuan ShiKai

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 millennia,
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!

*Note* Yuan ShiKai was military governor of Beijing at the fall of the Qing dynasty. He assumed the presidency of the first Republic, then attempted to proclaim himself Emperor through an 'imperial pilgrimage'. He died in 1916 after completing three of the four traditional pilgrimage stages.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

American Rally 2018

Crowds screamed love
as a toxic eruption burst through
his intestinal walls,
toxic person poison man.

He loved a swirling symbol at the
end of the hall,
half crosses flipping endlessly
his cross, his creed.

A river bubbling with sealed lies
fled beneath a tattooed bridge,
he swam with skeletons and
blood and pastiche of flesh.

Stars cuckolded by lies
spat dark matter venom,
half crosses linked and swirled
around his ankles, cold.

Light in the White House
extinguished,
our world sighs with the
frozen lies dark truth.

The crowd screamed love
as vultures swallowed hope.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Valentine's Poem

Why does love consume you
when you consume love?
Love is your breath
your blanket
the tears you shed
as you sleep with your one,
sharing pain.

Come to the bleak crossroad
where crows pluck your heart,
say it isn't a place you've been
and you lie,
or are confuddled by a
mirage of clowns
juggling mirrors.

I love
like galaxies swirl,
like stars explode,
like your smile is
my universe.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Sunset

When I wrote about love
it rose like the sun above
blue misty mountains,
a glowing tapestry blinding
in the brilliance of your smile.

When I saw your smile
I thought of love,
how it crossed the sky
lighting my life,
warming our hearts.

When my heart warmed
I caressed you,
bathed in your smile,
as we watched stars sparkle
and the sun set across our plains.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Inauguration Day, 2017

 If he was a better person

we would not live in fear,

if he was kinder we would

live in hope,

if he was brighter 

we would be confident,

if he was not president

the world would not end.


There are too many what ifs

for us to make sense,

of a world where insanity

is truth everyday,

eaten with cereal and

your news with toast,

serial mania and

presidential boasts.


The drones will fly

where ever he decrees,

friends and enemies will

come to see,

the final flash of death

as fire rains down,

your last sight that of

a manic grinning clown.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Love is a Sea

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.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

They Came

 I heard a cry from a leaden sky

but there was no-one there

I stood for a while and felt nothing 

a drifting cloud

the cries were muted, muffled

gagged with silk scarves

while kittens mewled and

puppies snuffled

nowhere could I see the harpies

screeching

people shuffling awkwardly

life paths lined with dripping tears

eyes in clouds judging

ears in trees hearing

your confession

your collaboration,

as they came for us and

we knew, we knew

but what could we do

as leeches sucked our blood?

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Silence of Poetry

When poetry is silent
you can't hear it with your ears,
you don't hear it when you're kind,
you never hear it with your philosophy,
you can't hear it with your mind.

You won't hear it in a song,
or find it in a breeze,
it will hide from your sight
like an eel in the sea.

It will flee from your sight
a cloud across your brow,
then confound your expectations
with flopping whimsy flight.

When words are waifs in the wind
then your poems are fine,
far better than dusty dreams,
like mine.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Bronchial Asthma

I forgot my life
left it in some bargain bin,
a flitter of glitter
little old ladies ignore
in their endless opportunity quest.

I note each breath you take
watching the mist seep from your mask,
somewhere the falcon soars
but not with me this night.

High voices chatter
deep voices command
a party envelopes the street.
What is their essence?
What the fuck am I doing?
Why do I question the
ruckus and rousting of
folk following their lives?

There is a rhythm I follow
a melody syncopated,
when true it's good but
I dread the deadly offbeat.

As you breathe deeply
I worry every second,
perhaps the snores will stop,
the rhythm will falter
and I'll only hear the chatter
of parties.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Sing the Silence

Sing the bees
with lemon blossom
finding the sun,
deepest blue sky
quietest days,
with only the cockatoos
making their usual racket.

Sing the silence
of humanity in our street,
apart from the kids who scoot
up and down outside their houses...
well behaved, good kids,
no back yards.

Sing the togetherness
as we isolate and vegetate and
bake and love,
we make our lives count
on the couch.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Reactor in the Shed


Chapter 2

I was about three when I began to suspect my family were a bit peculiar. Not that I had much to compare them with, after all, my cousins and aunt were peculiar too. The neighbours were distant figures, but those I met seemed quite nice and somehow different to my family. But I was only a little girl, a toddler, so what did I know? Well, quite a lot really, since I could read their minds. Most of the neighbours thought my family were peculiar, but couldn’t understand why. After all, the house and garden were neat, the nature strip regularly mowed. Dad went to work at some important secret laboratory, and mum stayed home and did mum things like cooking, cleaning, and fine-tuning the vortex generator.

It’s all so long ago now, over a century, but occasionally I still feel the tingle of apprehension when I discovered dad had a nuclear reactor in the back shed. It was a beauty, a cold-fusion reactor, so it was quite safe. But I’m jumping ahead. I should give you some context to the story, starting with how I came by my name, Lightwings Freestar.

This is not the name I was given, that old moniker is long gone, used now only for legal documents and presented to people who can’t handle Lightwings. Yes, there are people like that, heaven only knows what type of lives they lead. Boring I expect. I won’t bother you with it. Suffice to say the people in my life who count all know me as Lightwings, and that is how I like it. My family name is irrelevant as it wasn’t their real name. I heard mum say it once, a gargle of consonants and chirps. She was usually very guarded but they’d had a few glasses of sherry, at least I thought it was sherry, it was in a decanter so I couldn’t tell what it really was. It was red, and smelled strange. Dad brought it out from the shed and it sparkled and fizzed for a while until it settled into a red sherry-like liquid. They never offered it to guests, but did enjoy imbibing on the odd occasion, and there were lots of odd occasions, mostly after I was packed off to bed.

Thinking about my childhood bed, it was disconcerting mum insisted on tucking the sheets so tightly around me I could barely move. The chain attached via a padlock to the bed frame made it even more difficult, and although I could squeeze out the rattling and clanking invariably brought dad into the room to scold me. I thought all little girls lived in a locked, windowless bedroom and slept in a chained bed.

Starpainter


Chapter 1



Miko Jōre stared at the canvas and wondered what the hell she’d just painted? She knew what she’d intended to paint, a portrait of her beloved husband and best friend Prog, but somehow a starscape had flowed from her brushes. This was not unusual. Much of Miko’s art had stellar themes, after all her daughter was a famous astronaut, but rarely did she deviate from her intended subject.
‘What is my unconscious trying to tell me’, she thought. Perhaps it was concern for Sandra and her husband William, 4.2 light years from Earth, and busy establishing a base on a moon of Proxima Centauri B. The planet itself was too dangerous to semi-permanently occupy, but the moon, recently named Gagarin, was like a giant honeycomb and with some effort habitation could be established in its voluminous caverns. A red dwarf star, Proxima was erratic, and likely to unpredictably emit deadly solar flares. The mission had to be continuously on high alert.

The propensity for extreme solar flares was what rendered Proxima B, nicknamed ‘Smoky’, uninhabitable. Although it was only slightly more massive than Earth, whatever breathable atmosphere it may have once possessed had long been blasted away. It was extremely volcanic, so acrid clouds of smoke drifted from countless locations on the planet, the result of an intensely hot iron core and thin rocky crust. Despite the vulcanism, and proximity to its sun, Smoky was still extremely cold.

Miko’s painting depicted a scene of Smoky viewed from Gagarin, with a blaze of Milky Way stars forming a halo around the turbulent planet. She’d beatified Smoky, though once again, she had no conscious clue why. It was like she was viewing the scene through Sandra’s eyes, which was utterly ridiculous. Countless images and films had been transmitted to Earth from the mission, but none to her knowledge resembled this.

She mentally shrugged and turned from the canvas, leaving her studio to make a cup of tea. She was alone in the house, her husband Prog visiting his old friend Wayne down the street. At their age, a home visit is quite the expedition. Once you’re over a hundred a short walk is a little like running a half marathon. A few years younger than Prog, Miko was approaching her centenary, and although painting was more difficult and slower than in her youth, it was still intensely fulfilling. She made a pot of her favourite strong black tea, brought it back to the studio, and settled into a comfortable armchair overlooking the stunning Lake Geneva.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Social Distance Recipe #1 - You Beaut Bread (gluten free)

Dry Ingredients

400 g White Rice Flour
60 g (1/3 cup) Brown Rice Flour
60 g (1/3 cup) Polenta
60 g (1/3 cup) Potato Flour
1 tbsp Guar Gum
2 teasp. Gluten-free Baking Powder
1 teasp. Salt
3 tbsp Raw Sugar
3 tbsp Soy Drink Powder (or full cream dairy milk powder)
2 teasp. Dry Yeast
½ teasp. Caraway Seeds
2 tbsp Linseeds
1 ½ tbsp L.S.A.
1 tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 tbsp Sunflower Seeds

Mix dry ingredients well.

Liquid Ingredients

450 ml (2 imp. Cups) Water
3 Free Range (60g) eggs (or equivalent egg substitute)
1 teasp. White Vinegar
3 tbsp Olive Oil

Whisk liquid ingredients lightly but thoroughly, trying not to aerate too much.

Mix wet and dry ingredients well, and when using a Bread Machine, place a handful at time into the bread tin and compact well with a spatula or spoon to eliminate air bubbles.
Set the Bread Machine to 1kg (1,000gram), Basic setting. Yum!

Mixture can be used to create rolls or oven baked bread. If not using a Bread Machine, continue to mix and roll the dough for several minutes then allow to sit and rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Place in oven either as rolls or in a bread tin and cook at 180 c for approximately 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Name Game. By Whitefeather Light

When a babe is born
you know that it's true,
that the fairies must name it
when the babe's gifts are new.

The parents to be could not find the name,
so they asked their friends for help in the game.
They looked under pots and pans to see,
in cupboards, tins, and jars of strawberry,
they checked the pillows and under the TV,
behind the curtains and the settee,
around the bushes and flower beds too,
in the letterbox to see if there was news,
then put their heads together that night
to find a name that would be just right.

The Atlas and Encyclopaedia they read,
tried Gods and Goddesses until some one said,
"Call out some names surely one must be true,
might pop from our heads right out of the blue".

There's
Bonny and Otto, Ted and Talbrook,
Kerad and Sharod, Sinaed and Shanook,
Harry and Tao, Ninoo and Shi,
Tirra and Tonlar, Kerrin and Ki,
Kiboor and Carter, Talan and Tess,
Rinald and Robik, Borin and Bess,
Berrin and Brais, Daisy and Doa,
Oh heaven knows!
Shola or Sprigs, Aldro or Annette,
Enzo or Elright, Kinto or Kent,
Lauren or Leesha, Miro or Mitch,
Pam or Primrose, Perry or Prince,
Ula or Arie, Aran or Ram,
Dahlia and Driko, Kerra or San,
Sharra and Prenroe, Garth or Jem,
Jedda or Janine, Teemo or Tim,
Preta or Prama, Inu or Illees,
Lara or Lindon, Sharn or Anadees,
Tabbra or Tark, Vreshta or Vorn,
Zerra or Zak, Tirran or Rawn.

They thought of the elves and fairies' names too,
there's sure to be one they can think of soon.
Well there's
Sprite and Spin, Tribbles and Finn,
Blossom or Tinkles, Tipsin or Twing,
Dipple or Glips, Prip or Glow,
Sprassle and Sky, Jonquil and Snow,
Moondust and Sunglide, Flips and Swit,
Cherrylite and chort, Trickle and Slip,
Sparklet and Belltime and Buttercup Blue,
Swich and Robinsong or Petticoat Moon,
Starlett Dew and Dreaming Ray Rain,
Rainbow Twill or Prism Sain,
Dainty Filly and Dancing Light Bee,
Crickety Toll and Skipping Tree,
Cumquot Jip and Singing Wings,
Mirror Moonbeams and Fiddlety Thrings,
Twinkletoes and Satellite Hue,
and that was just to name a few.

Well the list went on with the party till dawn,
but alas, no name for the babe to be born,
they shook their heads and departed in despair,
had the Fairies forgotten and Elves not care?

My heart was pounding, I could say no more,
when I heard Tinkerbell knock at the door,
she said,
"At the end of the garden a bell will be heard,
and your babe will be named by the early morning bird",
...and her name is Bella.

(c) 2020 Whitefeather Light

Monday, February 10, 2020

Burning world

When summer was consumed
by flames
she froze
in the gum tree,
blackened paws.

As smoke choked the sky
wind whipped searing wind,
choking hell
limping through
smouldering debris.

Then the end came to her
as it came to so many others,
alone in an orange nightmare,
and we taste the ash
of her blackened world.

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Deepest Night

The deepest night closes in
across a sterile land
vacuumed of love and
shredded by hate,
where dogs howl
and birds fall from the sky.

Autumn settles over the south
while the north is incandescent,
a torpor of indifference
of apathy,
carpet fields of lies
and wizened evil grins.

You thought
you hoped
you wished
people would care,
but not enough,
there's never enough care.

The deepest night closes in
across a land with a dark heart
swept clear of grace
despoiled by people
failing history,
failing themselves.

Surprise is not an emotion
sadness is a state of being.

Friday, April 12, 2019

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.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

First novel - LIFELINERS

I self published my first novel, a sort of science fiction, horror, romance, fantasy last week on Amazon. It was fun writing, and from chats with a couple of folk, an entertaining read. I don't like going through the motions of chasing literary agents and publishers, although a proofreader and editor would've picked up obvious errors and undoubtedly vastly improved the book. It was supposed to be three chapters longer, however I decided what I intended was simply padding and dropped them in favour of resolving the plot. Anyway, see below for details, and beneath that Chapter 1.

Chapter 1

Doppelganger

I despise jackhammers. In my hierarchy of detestation, they rank second to chainsaws and only marginally above angle grinders. The fact that all three of my most hated sounds were currently performing a post-modern opera inside my head reinforced this opinion. Another irksome detail of existence I would gladly abolish if the power was presented is bright light, particularly the incandescent globe variety. This too confronted me, providing an exceedingly unwelcome sight to the pustules I laughingly called eyes.

I think the sound oozing from my mouth was a groan, but perhaps it was more a moan. Hazy memories of the final night after party clawed their way to the front of my head and flopped exhausted on a lobe. Even that hurt. The expression ‘painful memories’ might be literal truth. Now only one more excruciating detail of my current state remained to be examined at leisure – where the hell am I?

I know who I am. That at least is still clear, lamentable but clear. Prognathous Jōre. Yes, yes, I know, a damned stupid name I can only blame on a bipolar father with the surname Jōre and a blindingly ridiculous obsession with Neanderthals. Or was it Pithecanthropus? Anthropology documentaries on obscure cable TV channels tended to soothe him. Doesn’t really matter, I was his little Proggy and in between manic episodes he loved me in a fashion. Often 17th century fashion, don’t spoil the whip or leave the cane idle lest Demons occupy my stick thin kiddy frame. I sort of came to like my forename but very few people with whom I came into contact could tolerate it, hence I’m usually called Prog. I tell people it’s short for ‘Progressive’, since my family were the Fabian equivalent of Quakers. Utter bullshit of course. My father was so reactionary he made Genghis Khan look like a Kindergarten teacher, and my mother was so far under his thumb you could barely make out her splayed limbs. I could go all Ned Kelly cliched and utter ‘such is life’ except it makes absolutely no difference and the thought of it is currently raising decidedly unwanted bile.

There’s that sound again, yep, a moan, but this time not coming from my mouth. I raise the tree stump masquerading as my head and peer around. The surroundings are unfamiliar and utterly disquieting.

I’m lying on a filthy mattress on a concrete floor. I can feel the cold of concrete seeping through the mattress adding another dimension of pleasure to my already delightful circumstance. Directly above me the incandescent light globe desultorily hangs from a sagging plaster ceiling crisscrossed with rusty pipes and rotting timber beams. A factory? Warehouse? A previously unknown circle of Hell? Probably all of the above. Looking around I can see wooden crates and unidentifiable pieces of metal lit by the small circle of light. Past this comforting sight are shadows, and someone or something moaning. Do rats moan? I’m sure this place plays host to hordes of rats, probably mutated six-foot rodents with radioactive fangs and electrified tails. Imagination can be a boon for an actor but too much of a good thing makes for dyspeptic visions. Do giant mutated radioactive rats enjoy munching on washed out actors? Doubtful. Even they would have to have standards, a beautiful leading lady or lantern-jawed leading man would be far preferable.

I roll off the mattress and fail to climb to my feet. Crawling is an option however several million years of evolution tweak the bipedal instinct and I manage to stagger to my feet. The extraordinary biped benefits kick in as I blurrily survey an especially unsavoury environment. There are no lions so I’m not in a sub-Saharan veldt. The light bulb is not the African sun. Tick two for the good guy. Now where the hell am I?

“Hello” I squeak, not feeling particularly hairy chested, “is anyone here?”. I stagger around, away from the mattress. The moaning groan seems to drift from all corners of the room, from everywhere, but my senses focus on a shadowy corner in what seems to be a basement service area. An old building, I think, probably built in the 1930s or 40s. I hear the faint drip of water along with a slight clang indicative of antique plumbing. The floor is littered with the accumulated detritus of decades; plaster, bricks, glass, mouldering cardboard boxes, pieces of rusted metal. The cacophonous opera in my head is slowly conceding soundscape rights and more ambient noises filter through my ears. Scurrying of small furry legs – probably not six-foot radioactive mutant rats just the mundane variety. I examine the shadowy corner. Nothing, only more debris. I search for the source of the moans across the basement, stubbing my toe on a brick. The sound strangely seems to be coming from where I awoke on the grubby mattress.

Hmm, I’ve somehow lost my shoes and socks. Come to think of it, I’m not wearing my usual shabby jeans and moth-eaten jumper. No wonder the concrete was cold, I’m stark naked. I didn’t go to the party commando, although my usual attire wouldn’t win awards at the Fashion Festival, at least I don’t try to frighten stray children. Starkers is a different proposition. Even I couldn’t tolerate the sight of my naked torso. “Where are you?” I ask, “are you OK?” Another groan adequately answers the latter and confirms the directional clue. I carefully navigate my bare feet across the concrete floor back toward the source, guided by the light globe.

The moaning groans emanate from a pale bundle curled on the filthy mattress. This is truly, scarily weird. I’d just risen from that same disgusting mattress. As tension heightens my senses and my befuddled brain climbs from the swamp I notice a foul stench. The basement could never be considered a field of lavender but this scent is more than background aroma. Old graveyard mixed with a hint of rotten egg prodded my gagging reflex, but remarkably I managed to keep the previous night’s excesses in my stomach. Reluctance is an inadequate noun to describe my unwillingness to approach Mr. or Ms. Pongy, but a long-ossified sense of obligation rears its annoying head.

There are no windows so the only light source was the bulb hanging over the mattress. From what I can dimly see Pongy is in a similar state of undress to myself, excruciatingly naked. How he came to be sprawled on the mattress I’d just vacated is a conundrum my brain can’t process. I’m concluding he’s probably male when he shouts “RUN”, moan groans weakly, then says faintly “get away, now…”. He rolls over and I see skin hanging from the side of his face, raw flesh faintly visible where cheeks should be. His eyes are pus, weeping some poisonous ichor and his mouth is drooling yellow phlegm. He has no nose, only a gash. I glimpse rotting flesh stripped from his chest and limbs. How did I see this so clearly? A flashlight from a door which had opened behind Pongy swept across his pox riddled near-corpse. I stagger backwards, stepping on a rusty nail, but the pain is overwhelmed by disgust, potent fear and a White Rabbit level of disorientated absurdity and confusion. Mr Pongy is me.

“Prog! What on Earth are you doing down here?” I recognise the voice of the shadowy figure in the door as Georgia ‘Gee’ Gvazava, one of the members of our theatre company ‘Red Square’. She hadn’t been in the just finished production being busy having a baby but I knew her well. We liked each other, although she justly considered me a complete idiot. The flashlight was trained directly on my face. I raised my arm to shield my eyes from the glare and said “I haven’t the faintest idea Gee, all I can remember is the party last night and waking up here, wherever ‘here’ is.” She pointed the torch down at the rotting, stinking imitation of my unimpressive body and gasped “that looks like you Prog. What the fuck is going on?” My thoughts to a tee.

“This is the Lower Ground floor of Building 6” said Gee, “a cleaner smelled something funny in the stairwell and reported it to us.” She stared at the figure on the mattress. Green goo was coming from the gash where its nose should be. A blackened ear seemed about to drop off. Gee was a security guard for the private firm which guarded the university’s City campus. In her spare time she was a mother, partner, actor and a pretty decent painter. She was also an ex-cop and tough as nails, nothing ever fazed her. Except perhaps seeing two of me, one of whom appeared to be a rotting ghoul lying on the floor of a creepy basement in the middle of the university. It most assuredly fazed me.

Ghoul me then spoke, although the gurgle croak issuing from his ruined mouth barely met the definition of speech, “the Editor…the Editor is coming. Run you fool” then the gurgle croaking ceased. Before our eyes, lit by Gee’s flashlight Ghoul Prog began to melt. Limbs oozed into slimy green puddles and dripped from the edge of the mattress onto the concrete floor, spreading in a noxious puddle towards our feet. The torso began to melt, and finally the head. “The Editor” it croaked one last time, “Run!”, then there was only a small pool of ichor soaking the mattress and fouling the floor.

Gee yelped, fumbling and nearly dropping her flashlight as she backed into the doorway. Shadows leapt across the room. I squealed in fear and disgust, then ignoring all sharp and dangerous debris leapt across the mattress and barrelled into Gee. We both tumbled out the doorway, Gee having the presence of mind to slam shut the old wooden door behind us. We both fell to our knees breathing heavily. Gee was shaking, but I was too petrified to bother with such nonsense as shock. What in the name of everything sacred was The Editor? And how had I just melted into a pool of slime in the basement of an old uni building? I ran my hands across my torso, good, still intact.

The door we had exited banged loudly, as if an iron clad boot had kicked it. Another kick, more powerful this time followed, and the rusty hinges began to creak. Another kick, and I could hear wood splintering.

“Run” I screamed, and we scrambled to our feet and began clawing our way up the rickety metal staircase at the end of a short, dank hall. I briefly wondered why whatever was coming after us hadn’t bothered to use the door handle but guessed monstrous Editors preferred a dramatic exit. The door shattered as we were half way up the stairs. I glanced over my shoulder and instantly regretted the action.

A black, oily cloud was slithering over the ruins of the wooden door. It may as well had flashing neon signs pointing to it and a heavy metal soundtrack screeching “EVIL”. Gee is younger and far fitter than me, so reached the top of the staircase well in the lead. I was breathless when I reached the top, another hall, more used and less dilapidated. Several doors lined it and a glass door at the end revealed daylight and street trees. We raced toward the daylight, Gee several lengths ahead. Neither looked back as we bounded through the door into the street. Gee grabbed the walkie talkie from a holster on her shoulder and began frantically babbling to the security centre. I don’t think she had any idea what she was saying, I sure as hell had no words to describe what had just happened. It was semester break so there were few students around to stare critically at my flabby torso, nevertheless I was suddenly, acutely aware of my nudity. “We have to keep moving” I said to Gee, “and I desperately need to find some clothes”. She nodded and we began running toward the security centre at the entrance off Franklin Street. There was no sign of The Editor, black cloud, or slimy ghouls, only a couple of curious academics watching this strange procession. You have to love universities.

By the time we staggered into the security office I had crashed into a near semblance of sobriety. Someone mercifully passed me a jacket. The power tools buzzing in my head had subsided to a dulled explosion and I realised I probably wasn’t actually pissed or stoned. Memories of the previous night’s party were slowly filtering through my synapses and I recalled I drank very little, a few light beers and a glass of cheap red plonk. Not nearly enough to pass out and awaken with an armageddon of a hangover. A responsible driver in my old age the pleasures of raging till dawn had become a fond memory. I suffered all the pain but still couldn’t remember any preceding pleasure. What was my last memory of the night?

Talking. I was talking a lot. I’m usually a fairly reticent fella but the high of a last night performance and a few drinks made me more voluble than normal. I’m characterised as a ‘character actor’, a loose phrase applying to someone who doesn’t possess any significant skills or outstanding appearance but can fill a one-dimensional role. A Rosencrantz if you will, the classic ‘attendant Lord’. My speciality was an ‘irascible old man’. I’ve become an old man playing an ‘irascible old man’. Not highly in demand but I can fill in for other minor roles, usually vaguely comic and slightly obnoxious. Strangely I’m mostly considered a pretty mild mannered, easy going bloke. Reasonably erudite and fairly well-educated for a mediocre Arts graduate. Creative too. I write, sing, and can even paint a bit. Sadly, though unsurprisingly, none of these talents have led to financial success and I survive pushing a book trolley and helping on the service desk at Yarra Plenty Libraries. Alicia Fields is the library manager who helped me score the job 25 years ago, one of the actors in our company and an old uni friend from back in the day. I was chatting with her last night before…before when? What happened after talking with Alicia?

It was around 10:30 when seven of us tumbled in to the Sleaze Bar in Swanston Street. The play had run for 10 days at the Barley Theatre in Southbank and was a great success. The small theatre was packed for every performance and on the final night we had people standing at the back and sitting on the stairs. The director, Ivan, was expostulating wildly to the producer Liz, a huge grin on his face. Liz was mellow, responsibility slipping from her shoulders like a silken shawl. Alicia, myself, leading actors Spencer and Colleen, and lighting come sound guru Natasha made up the after-party group. Costumier Sally had classes in the morning and in her sensible manner had absconded safely home to bed. I was talking with Alicia about how hilarious her ancient nanna character had been that night when a stranger slipped beside me. Alicia smiled and nodded farewell as she merged into the rest of the group. Happily married for decades with three kids, she recognised an opportunity for intimate socialising materialising for her single friend and colleague.

The stranger was a raven haired, green-eyed woman apparently in her late 30s or early 40s. Nearly as tall as my six-foot two-inch frame she would be striking in any company. Exquisitely attired in a black evening dress and astonishingly beautiful, in this crowded bar she exuded a presence rarely found. Tongue-tied at the best of times when meeting a new person, this woman not only tied my tongue but left it flopping on my lips. After that, nothing. I couldn’t remember a thing until waking up on that stinking mattress. Had the strange, beautiful woman drugged me? I felt she was hauntingly familiar, like distant faint notes from a forgotten song, or lines from a poem read at school. Almost a nostalgic familiarity.

I was distracted from my musings by Gee shaking my bare shoulder.
“Bob and Ian went down to the room in building 6” she said. “They reckon the door had been blown out by a gas explosion…the smell was still hanging around and they thought it might’ve been something from the labs above. It looked like someone had broken into the lab and messed around, the lights were still on but nothing was damaged. The old mattress was down there, but no sign of anything else, and your clothes were next to it. Here.” She handed me a plastic garbage bag containing my clothes and shoes. I turned away to preserve whatever modesty I still possessed and quickly dressed.

“I’ve got no idea what we saw down there” she continued softly, “maybe it was a hallucination brought on by the gas or whatever.” She looked like she didn’t really believe that, and neither did I. For a few moments I’d been confronted by my decomposing doppelganger, and it had been the most frightening experience of my life. Something damned strange had gone on in that scungy basement but exactly what I wasn’t sure I wanted to find out. I do want to know what happened to the missing hours after I’d encountered the mystery woman. I also wouldn’t mind seeing the mystery woman once more. She was spectacular, a scene stealer in any play, but was she dangerous? Probably. Given my luck she is a demonic serial killer toying with her prey. To hell with all that, I’m tired, hungry, scared, confused and embarrassed. I just want to go home and hide under my blankets.

 


Monday, March 04, 2019

Songs at the end of the world

Somewhere over the horizon
you might glimpse
a prospect darker than those
thousand suns which left
us cold.

Take the hand offered and kiss
her lips,
stars spin with delight in
our capsule
light in heart
dark in dread.

You know where it leads
you've seen the butterfly fall
you've felt the final beats
of a selfless heart,
you can cry as the rain calls.

He walked down a dark track
listening to that crazy dude in his head,
a night filled with old songs
looped forever in vinyl scratches
punishing the right.

So the seas sighed
choked with debris, and
we danced on the beach
to melodies of songs
at the end of the world.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The walking leaf


Where is my faith?
It floats on a breeze
butterfly wings,
purple tinged belief.

Where is my thought?
It digs in the blackest of mines
burying dreams,
darkness loves relief.

Where is my hate?
It slithers along a branch of despair
killing sympathy,
empathy is a thief.

Where is your hope?
It dissolves in the sea
shark fins,
life is brief.

In the park I caress the breeze
and watch the walking leaf.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Mallee Sunset

She knew the tide burned emerald ripples
when clouds froze diamond thought,
rivers harmonised distant moonscapes
and forests hummed futures bought.

He lost a fancy in his haste
and dazzled a cobblestoned alley,
then splashed through bowtied streams
all the way to the dusty Mallee.

They met under a ruby moon
somewhere east of the end of nowhere,
their hearts softly braided with
starlit threads lit ruby fair.

Now when sunset seas blaze
and night fields laze in the breeze,
they stroll past memories hanging
in sapphire galleries of dreams.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Temptation

I fight the temptation
to be all things to
myself.

I lie to myself that
I'm all things to
myself.

I love the thought that
I'm all things to
myself.

I drift through a universe where
I'm all things to
myself.

I don't think
I'm all things to
myself.

I know it's foolish to state
I'm all things to
myself.

I'm a fool.

In perpetuity

In perpetuity is too much to ask
when all I can give is ephemeral,
as the gardenia blooms and is
plucked
all that drifts is fragrance.

Aroma lasts as long as we feel
the blaze of a flower blooming,
time is an essential error
luck
flying through wisps of favour.

Circumstance is an excuse denied
as reality gnashes her teeth,
I stand bare revealed
stark
beneath your feet.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Napoleon's Hat

The emperor sits upon his rearing horse
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
passionless
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

Moreland Road



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
for clothes.

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,
seaman's chests
cylinder phonograms,
boxes of cylinder recordings,
old bikes,
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
cheap townhouses,
the front verandah bulldozed and
privet hedges razed.

Memories float into the clouds with the asbestos
dust of loss.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Midnight



Midnight
a new day blooms
as lightening splits the sky

my lover sleeps through
thunder
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

Logic of Love

When he thought about syllogisms
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.

Her Necklace Glistening

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
then touched a tear drop
and moistened his lips,
then kissed her eyelids
as the night closed.

Her Lover

Her lover vanished in velvet
soft lips
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.

Establishment

Establishment
is a polysyllabic word
too long to use in casual
conversation.

Establishment
is mostly defined as
an existing power structure,
'The Man'.

Establishment
enables entrenched interests
to maintain authority over
opinion.

Establishment
can be a subtle influence
on perceptions and values,
consciousness.

Establishment
dictates opinion but
opinion is not determined by
establishment.

Establishment
is opposed to opinion
and opinion reinforces establishment
so we become

Establishment
in my opinion.

So I cut Establishment and
let loose the cats of wail
blow the walls of agate
scream the screed of shadow.

The break
is
made
when
rules
are
turned into muddy flowers...
ellipsis
follows an incomplete
opinion
established
by a bespectacled frog
the true brain of
the swamp.

Look to the skies for
missile trails
but forget our love of
sunsets,
mottled blazing shades of red
could well be nuclear debris.

Shut up!
There's nothing more to say
when butterflies cry and
seeds fail to climb
to a dying sun
in her coruscating pyramid of

Establishment.

New Year

Cheers to the new year
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.

Christmas Day

Christmas is a series of freeways
with traffic forever changing lanes

Wrapping paper blows across
the road

I grip the steering wheel
and think of pudding

as the bay seduces me with
blue beauty

and the vineyards clamber
across festive hillsides

someone has left bags of rubbish
outside the gates of their farm

Wrapping paper blows across
the road.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Rose Wept Dew


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
to make.

When you danced
upon my grave of dreams
and saw the rose wilt,
all hope left
our reflected lake
too late.

Lost faces laughed
without care
as you smiled at
at an inner joke
so true, fair and cruel.

But I made peace
with your yoke
neck stretched
across that failed pew,
beauty fled while
the rose wept dew.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Dandelion

Suburban flower
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
twisted tram-tracks.

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 every 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
another world
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.

Why!?



Why!
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.
why?

So why do I exclaim?

Is it because the question is both
an appeal and a declaration?!

Do we have
to be
concrete
in
the
way
we see?

Or perhaps we should fly
and somehow defy
the intransigent
gravity of defecation.

Why?!?!
Damned if I know, and
I know a helluva of a lot.

Do you want to know?
Really?

The swan never feeds
on halal fish.

A galaxy is painted
in watercolour

Death is a colour.

Light is waves and particles.

Mass is a mathematical illusion.

Poetry is truth
and I'm a liar.

!?

Seamus Heaney



When great poets die
there should be a wake.
Irish poets should be
celebrated
with pints raised and
songs sung
words wrapped with green
meaning
our thoughts turned to
the world we share,
dewdrops in the morning sun.


August 31st 2013

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Dark Side

My dark side snidely remarked
"you're not the man you thought you were"
and he was right,
I'm worse.

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.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Afterthought


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

Bridge Road Blues

Well I remember inner city life
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
overpriced drinks...
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,
cheaper,
and doesn't come with a
side serve of snobbery.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Darkness Rolls

So hatred is the norm
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

Day Off


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
timeless.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Dewdrops

When the dove died
we heard the final flutters
of her heart.

Her last thoughts were
of clear blue skies
and dewdrops.

When cities died we
heard anguished screams,
saw visions of blood.

When the world died
no-one heard her cries,
only silence of hate.

The Slipped Mask


When he felt that sad slide
into darkness
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


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

I refuse to accept this
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

Loss

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

In silence all
she hears is a rose scream,
but vacuum sucks love;
so sad...
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

Carnations and Angels

Visiting the City of the Dead
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.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Massacre

He was alone in a purple desert
littered with indigo outcrops of
razor quartz,
the desert wind was light as a butterfly's sigh,
but hot as a forge in summer
smelting dreams.
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,
sheets drenched,
to news of slaughter in Paris,
and the desert was red
and the stars fled
and butterfly sighs became tears.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Turtle

The turtle slowly releases her head,
looks around and searches...
searches
like we all search
to solve the enigma,
that cryptic puzzle without answers,
a swaying head searching
instinctively
for continuation
to just keep living.

The hospital is anonymous
like all hospitals have to be,
corridors and meaningless machines,
a world where life is
absence of tears,
where masks are the
uniform,
and eyes can't seep for
fear of the void,
knowledge of that dark.

Birds scatter from the road
as our car devours sorrow,
and our hearts scour depths
beyond laughter,
despair without dreams.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Grey

I'm alone in a grey place
of pain and fear,
terrified
for my son whom
I will never see
through my eyes
never touch
never hear his laughter,
never caress,
no more gazes of love
between us
all gone
as I lie between
worlds.

(for Alison)

The Groaning Forest

The forest groans
mature pine
corpses in strange soil
friendless
waiting to be cut.

Tracks rip and gash
creeks turn brown
soil weeps along runnels
trickles
dew drops crying.

Insects blur
sunlight filters leaves
pine cones litter
leaf rubble
plantation cemetery.

Tourist roads lined with
tree ferns a
dismal façade,
we camp by the creek
logging trucks slice the night.

The pine forest rustles
hate and pain
there are no flowers
no birds
only loss.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Quartet

1.
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.


2.
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 his moon swim among the stars,
elegant as a white swan gliding across a lake.



                   3.
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,

and her lovers rolled in fields of delight,
caressed by petals and lost in moss.



                   4.
The Man who Found His Song

As a boy there were no songs in his house,
no music,
no tuneful laughter lighting the sky,
only decay,
only death.

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

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


Saturday, September 13, 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.

Tuesday, August 12, 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.

Monday, July 28, 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.

Sunday, June 22, 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!

Sunday, April 13, 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.

Friday, March 07, 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,
a life in 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.

Saturday, January 11, 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.

Thursday, January 02, 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.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

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.

Tuesday, December 10, 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.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lies of allure

How did you learn to tell sweet jasmine lies?
listen to your sighs?
whisper words to melt his heart,
your 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.

Tuesday, November 12, 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.

Tuesday, October 15, 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.

Sunday, May 12, 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)