Saturday, October 31, 2009

compared to another poet

i am a sheet metal worker
she is a fine silk lace maker


Looking now
I see myself
as you see me.

Friday, October 30, 2009

[was broken]

wonder woman turns her phone to silent
sends spider man out to play
a figure is chalked on pavement
soft skin slides away
silk thread turns to wire
sex slaves suck off their days
find the calendar is in disarray
wombs never bear monsters
grief is a mathematical equation
death of love has no solution
graves gorge daily
flesh is sweet for eating
release the poisonous gases
clean the filtration systems
Because the message [was broken]
[was broken]
and meaning drained away.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


The dog asleep in her bed
the dove crooning to the leafless tree
incense smoulders to the last milimetre
Buddha wears the silent garden smile
agate chimes
nodding violet dies
clock is obscured by washing
when the shakuhachi master calls
the wind arrives to play the bamboo
birds wings stroke the air.
The phantom of my fantasy is with me
laying down a larval flow of smoking words.

I have spent a long night in prayer
the hours fell like bags of black soot
as I whispered into the flat screen of the dark
There was no other way to spend night.
There is no other way to spend day.
there is
no other way.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nothing Much

I teach
myself poetry
copying poems
counting syllables

The road is long like
a ribbon cast on the sand,
my small steps are slow.

“That’s really good Mum,”
daughter encourages.

Son says,
“Mum’s nothing much
Dad’s an engineer.”
as I weld words
fit a blue print.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Roadrunner

In his armoury stocked from the “Love 4 Less”
mail order catalogue
Beat Her With Words
Eradicate Love - FAST!

He has stored his nightstick “I”
which he loved to fondle
knowing it will deliver blows
guaranteed to drive out
self love and self worth.

He could deploy “HATE”
a heart seeking missile
when aimed with precision
will grind to mince meat
a loving heart’s beat.

A favourite is “YOU”
an empty word weapon
filled with your choice poison or gas
more effective and toxic
if launched from a pinnacle
Mt Despise on the horizon.
Give it a go!

Rolled is a blueprint of the “I HATE YOU” warhead
he can weld, bolt or wire this word weapon together
then prime for accidental explosion that is never his fault.

She side steps, quick dashes,
with her look behind you surprises
avoiding blows, explosions, detonations.
He is left black faced, burned and broken
smashed in the canyon
or ignominiously glued to the road.

But she is going, going, gone
beep! beep!
into the infinite distance
her love unconditional,
100% stronger,
and at no extra cost!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Joylene was roused.
Her heart hasn’t had a work out since 1974.
I left her sitting on the bare floor of the side
veranda catching the last rays of autumn.
no knickers
drinking tea
warmed cement
warmed her cunt
too hot.

quote from The Revenger's Tragedy

"Surely we are all mad people, and they
Whom we think are, are not"

Saturday, October 24, 2009


There is ash
around the chair
where he sat
had burned

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wet Days

I could not
wring one
out of
my tears
as they
welled up
fell down
ran away.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

23 July 2008

On a recent trip to China a broken axle gave me a heavenly experience.

We cruise through the cornfields as high as an elephant’s eye, van Gogh sunflower fields, down poplar and willow lined roads past the broken down trucks, cars, vans. One white van is parked at right angles across the road a row of stones neatly placed across the road as a warning to other motorists. What a Wonderful World is being sung in accented English on the CD player when the car lurches and we are thrown into the world of the roadside breakdowns. I put my head out of the car and see the axle is broken and has been spun out of its housing.

“These Japanese cars” Steed hissed centuries of animosity surfacing, “Why do they make these axles so badly? “

Apparently it is a problem with Land Cruisers in China their back axels are always falling off. Steed has managed to almost pull off the road. Megan gets out.

Years of roadside mechanics in the Australian outback have taught me a thing or two about vehicles.
“He cannot fix it” I say to Megan.
“Yes he can fix it.” she replies obviously oblivious to the seriousness of the collapsing vehicle.

She is dispatched to put out the jack and a cardboard box with a rock in it as the breakdown ahead warning.

I make myself comfortable in the shade of a willow growing next to a dry irrigation ditch, “You sit there and write,” I am instructed.

A truck is broken down fifty meters away. The drivers with oil blackened hands and faces arrive to inspect our predicament. They tell us this straight stretch of road is bad for breakdowns, it is too straight, two of their wheels have fallen off and they are waiting for someone they have rung to help them. Steed is on the mobile. Thank China Mobile for almost total mobile cover. A police truck will come for the car to be taken for repairs. A taxi for Megan and I has been ordered to be take us back to the Xining Tian Nian Ge Hotel without air conditioning “to relax.” It is hot humid and I doubt my ability to relax in a room where a sign on the window warned:
“Harass for making you avert a mosquito saying or asking again to make sure when being ventilated ioen the right hand edge sash and cose a screen window please.”

While I wait scribbling in my journal and sending text messages to family and traveling friends who are having their own travel crisis in Saigon. It is comforting to know I am not the only one in a predicament.

The traffic streams by all indulging in the national sport of horn tooting. Big potatoes (Chinese term for VIP’s) in black Mercs with darkened windows and their police escorts zoom by trucks, 4WD’s, sedans, motorbikes, tractors all whiz by in a barrage of horns. Just as I begin to wonder if my ears will ever be the same again a young man arrives with the taxi. His black tie undone, shirt hanging out and the taxi driver smoking, his shirt rolled up to his nipples. They look at the damage. They light up and look at the damage. Steed remains on the mobile. I sit in the shade.

I am summoned by my guides. Grottoes which this morning had been deemed too damaged during the cultural revolution to be worthy of a visit now assume a whole new dimension. I will find them “very interesting for you”. We are going to the Matisi grottoes, in the Yugu minority area. Relieved that I have been saved from relaxation in the hotel, Megan and I are piled into the green taxi. The taxi takes off in what feels like an attempt on the land speed record as we sweep through a verdant agricultural landscape. I am in the front. The seat belt which was specially cleaned, probably because no-one has ever used it before is firmly done up. We are in an oasis created by Han people 2000 years ago. Poplar, willow, corn, wheat, beans, hemp, potatoes, sunflower are all in full summer growth. Women in coloured headscarves harvest wheat with sickles in the small fields stack the cut wheat into stooks. In the afternoon they will load up a donkey or three wheeled truck or tractor with dry grain to be taken to be thrashed either on the road by passing traffic or by a tractor or beast pulling a stone roller. The grain will be winnowed by hand and wind, thrown into the air from large flat woven baskets. Debris from this process hangs in the air like a small local fog and I have to reach for the hayfever medication.

As we fly, as I am sure all four wheels are off the ground at times, through this abundant landscape the taxi driver tells about a nearby village when on arrival you are given a bottle of wine, the hosts begin singing, the guests must finish the wine at the same time as the song if not they are given another bottle and so on until they get it right. Sounds like a good way to get your visitors drunk before they cause any problems while everyone else remains sober and singing. We burst out of the oasis into desert with a backdrop of snow capped mountains. For some mysterious taxi driver reason we slow down, we pass Muslim graves in the stony ground, most simple post markers others walls and small mausoleums. We drive slowly around curves and up inclines but when we plunge back into a village we speed up and our fearless driver assumes his city driving style over taking all vehicles including a vehicle in the process of overtaking another vehicle as well as animals and pedestrians on the road with a Toot! Toot!
Past the melon farmers pulling their wooden carts to market Toot! Toot!
To the woman pushing her bike carefully balancing a large cardboard box, Toot! Toot!
At the three wheeler loaded with bricks from the brick factory where bricks are hand made. Toot! Toot!
To a cart so overloaded with fresh cut hay it looks like a mobile haystack. Toot! Toot!
At two men on a motorbike the passenger firmly holding a disgruntled sheep. Toot! Toot!
To the roadsweeper chatting on her mobile and leaning on her brush broom. Toot! Toot!
Past the truck laden with capsicums bulging from their plastic packing cases like green pimples Toot! Toot!
Past the docile steer being led to pasture Toot! Toot!

But when we hit the open road again we slow down. After so many death defying overtaking moves in small villages with human, vehicle and animal obstacles to overcome now on open road our driver seems totally intimidated by open space. Finally my curiosity leads me to ask Megan to inquire about this unique driving style. His reply like so many answers in China is even more mystifying. In the country on the open road the wind is strong and we must slow down. Seems calm to me. Also the gradient of the road is steep. Seems particularly flat to me. While I am trying to figure this riddle out we approach another village and Toot! Toot! flock of sheep Toot! Toot! old woman doubled over with a load of corn stalks on he back. I wind down the window and bucolic aroma of human and animal waste waft in. We pass a grove of marijuana plants with leaves as big as dinner plates Toot! Toot!

The Matisi grottoes were built in the eastern Jin dynasty 317 – 420. Buddha and his acolytes were carved into the red sandstone cliff faces in 21 grottoes seven stories high arranged in the shape of a pagoda. Thirty three layers of heaven are represented in the 100 metres of carved niches. It is a neck craning sight and Megan and I set our sights on the highest grotto.

As we approach the number of police cars increase. A big potato is visiting I am told. Police direct us to our parking area one officious policeman with glowing white shirt , startling white gloves and smart precise hand signals, the next sitting on rock waving his cigarette vaguely in the direction of the car park his tie askew and shirt hanging out. Megan and I set off on foot leaving the taxi driver to socialize and gamble with cards with the other drivers. We by pass the Chinese Disney world of tourism and cut through a vacant land to reach the road to the grottoes.

We climb stairs to the foot of the sandstone caves crane our necks upward before entering the enormous grotto at ground level. It once housed a huge Buddha in the centre of the cave but he fell foul of the Red Guard during the cultural revolution who after smashing as much as possible thought it would be fun to camp in the grotto preparing food on open fires and smoking the murals of one thousand Buddhas and causing further damage. His acolytes carved into the walls continue to look benign although they have had their hands and feet smashed off and their eyes gouged out. I find this disquieting.

A family of Yugu people in traditional dress long dark del with large hot pink sashes and long black plaited hair decorated with strips of colourful fabric are carrying yak fat for the lamps. They make their way clockwise around the broken grotto murmuring prayers and making offerings, teaching their children how to pray. After visiting the lower grottoes Megan and I begin our ascension to the highest. We have to climb and crawl through tunnels dug out of the cliff face. It is narrow and dark, the walls polished smooth by centuries of pilgrims bodies, hand holds carved into the walls to help heave yourself up uneven stairs. Occasionally a window is carved to give a glimpse of a distant stupa as well as provide light in the gloom. Half way up and we are in a passage open to the air and a veranda built of wood which hangs out from the face of the cliff. We look out at the police below eating noodles in a lean-to.

We continue pulling ourselves through the rock. At the next grotto I ask “Is this the highest?”
“Yes,” says Megan but then we enter the labyrinth again, going up, up, up. We come into a square grotto with a picture of the Chinese panchon lama on an alter surrounded by silk flowers. This must be the highest we stand on a little veranda where incense burns and prayer flags wave. A bell suspended from the eaves tings gently on the mountain breeze.
“Is this the highest ?”
“Yes,” says Megan. We can see the family of Yugu people below heading for a stupa and a police car making dust as it makes its way up the road. Megan finds another stair case and we squeeze our way up into a grotto with Buddha and yak fat lamps burning, white khadags of the Tibetan people are tied in various locations.
“Megan you said we have been at the highest twice before so tell me Megan is this the highest?”
We go out onto a tiny veranda where the wind ruffles prayer flags and a soft bell sounds. Everything below is very small but we can still see the Yugu people circling the oovoo we did not notice before. Some Chinese are taking photos of each other in front of the stupa. The police are smoking at their post and a rooster struts across the car park. In the distance are clouds in a dense blue sky, mountains capped with snow. There is no sound, except for and the ting of a bell. The touch of the wind is cool on our faces. A waft of incense is in the air. In the corner of the small verandah is a chair covered in cloth. We both look at it and without speaking know that a monk has sat in this spot high above the world and meditated. For centuries monks have been here in all weathers hearing only the wind, the bell and the flap of prayer flags, fingering beads and praying om mani pad ma hum sending prayers up to the heaven which surely must not be that far away. Both of us feel the presence of good, prayer, devotion and love.
We are silent so close to heaven.
“This is the highest,” whispers Megan. My eyes fill up I cannnot speak I can only nod to agree.

We descend, squeezing our way through the birth canal of dark stair cases until we tumble back to earth. The light is bright. We are newborns. Dogs bark, birds cry, children shout, food is cooking. Everything looks new, smells new, sounds new. I feel new. We clamber down a slippery dirt path to the car park. I know today I have experienced heaven.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

after all

This week
been sitting sadhu
in a cave watching
my friend, the butterfly,
fly away.
It’s been fun
listening to 96FM
kind favour
of the fucken brickies next door.
They swear.
Indulged in a bit of cyber flagellation -
see me privately for further details.
Read “One From None”
bought at the Save the Children’s Fund
annual second hand book sale.
$1 on half price day.
Bargain Betty!
Hand written inscription on the front inside cover:
News was:
Ms Gilllard saved the day.
Tony wants to have a go.
Ted went to explain to Mary Jo.
The crops are gonna fail
if rain don’t come
we’ll all be rooned.
The mighty game
received another body blow
and Ben came home.
In the trenches on the emotional front,
I cried.
My friend the deconstructed post modernist said:
“You cry when you see the Truth.”

That’s it really.
oh and I wrote a poem…….

what makes me so
fucken unlucky
in fucken life
in fucken love
jesus i hate it
when the pathetics hit
the problem is
the problem is
the problem is
i have been bobbing up and down in the same spot not swimming not drowning
for fuck i dont know how long
fucken years
the same
the same
the same
fucken mistakes
saying the same words
over and over afuckengen
the psychobabble
is right
its a pattern
but the pattern has to hit me in the face
with a dead fish
fifteen fucken times before I get it
fucken non stop slow learner
at least the train tracks have lost their gleam
that route no longer appeals
no cunt notices isolation
so that’s a waste of fucken lonely time
too old to do a da levy
now everyone is poncing around being artists and poets and fucken anarchists
filling each others pockets with piss
out-quoting each fucken other
armed with their fucken non stop genius
i hope the revolution comes soon
i hope they string me up first
maybe i could be fucken lucky
after all

Monday, October 19, 2009

compassionate heart

at the party
we all see
scott is back
fallen rock star
lean - silver roots
betray black hair
scott is back
from the dance
at the edge
change partners
and fall over
one too many times
scott is back
no smokes
no drink
eyes clear
blood opiate free
with only his motor bike
helmet as a shield
alone in the room
friend through years
runs her hand over him
"scott is back
he's still here"
takes his palm
holds it on her breast
so he can feel the heat

Sunday, October 18, 2009

bodily fluid exchange

a lick of spit
on her finger tips he kissed
she wiped across her lips
as she drove away

Friday, October 16, 2009

weeks forecast

beautiful day
beautiful day
beautiful day
beautiful day
beautiful day
beautiful day

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Surrender to Poets Past

I surrender to poets past
lay down my quill
drink my ink
burn my page
strangle my dictionary
stab my writing hand
submerge my brain
I surrender

for penance I read Yeats
say fifty d.a.levys
and one hundred hail bolanos

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

afraid, angry, blistered

are you afraid?
i am afraid so...
are you angry?
fuck off!
are you blistered?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Evening view, Bold Hill.

mauve light fills templates
baby girl pink
gold for curls and hearts
turn my back on black for warships
ocean grey disrepair
open to kookaburra sunset calls
tree trunks one hundred years strong
bury my toes fingers into earth
and hold on

Monday, October 12, 2009

my masculine side

i want
to grow
a cock
i want
to be
the one
who says
suck on this
i want
to be
the one
who says
take me
to a park
and blow me
i want
to feel
i want
to write
my name
with a
hot yellow
lemon tree

this is
how i
would be
i exposed
the man
in me

Saturday, October 10, 2009


"From the troubles of the world I turn to ducks,
Beautiful comical things..."
FW Harney (1888)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The New Frowning

We have crisis.
Daughter discovers
A Wrinkle.
In the mirror she smooths
the skin between her eyebrows.
As mother I offer,
"You could stop frowning."
She decides from now on
when she gets angry
she is going to smile.
“Smiling is the new frowning.”
Plan B is to live
in a less harsh climate.

Daughter leaves for a jog
to take her mind off The Wrinkle.
Door slam and a yell -
"Stop emailing people about my wrinkles!
Put quotation marks around
smiling is the new frowning.
I made that up.
You thief!"

Monday, October 5, 2009

for Natasha

When you danced topless,
skirt swirling,
gold bangles jingling,
bare feet turning,
black hair flying,
blue eyes flashing
red mouth laughing,
shouting at the midnight sky -
“Thank the stars
I found you!
I thought
I was alone in this town!”

That was when I loved you best
my friend.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A man of words and not of deeds

A man of words and not of deeds
Is like a garden full of weeds
And when the weeds begin to grow
It's like a garden full of snow
And when the snow begins to fall
It's like a bird upon the wall
And when the bird away does fly
It's like an eagle in the sky
And when the sky begins to roar
It's like a lion at the door
And when the door begins to crack
It's like a stick across your back
And when your back begins to smart
It's like a penknife in your heart
And when your heart begins to bleed
You're dead, and dead, and dead indeed.

Elizabethan Rhyme

Thursday, October 1, 2009

two am

at two am
hot milk goes down
television christians
hug children
promise shoes
a place in heaven
guaranteed by jesus

those who give
get shares in happiness
bonus payment
brown children shod
and saved

i hug myself
i’ve seen insomnia off
pad my own bare feet
to bed