Saturday, July 24, 2010

Malice Aforethought

See also Poems 2010 and poems-for-path and fathers-and-sons and damm-straight
One word poems:



I am all awash
thoughts like discarded plastic bottles
drift aimlessly
in the mind sea
far beneath
a whale glides
perhaps it will be killed
by a Japanese harpoon
perhaps it will be torn asunder
by killer whales
perhaps it will die peacefully
on the sea bed

It is absolutely necessary to know
that enlightenment will never come
to Immanuel Suttner
I was walking home from the shops just before shabat
and I sat down at Diamond Bay Reseve and lookd out across the sea
and just before I picked up my bags to continue home
and it occurred to me that kabbalat shabat - and in particular the psalms that make it up - could be seen as a review of creation, of all the wonders that were created in the six days
before the crowning act of creation is non-creation

there is no stopping us when we are shopping
forests may fall and species disappear
but there is no stopping us when we are shopping
when we are shopping
products glisten
disconnected from time and space
from a source and an end
suspended in their new wrapping
(putting our lives back into giftwrapping
the shimmy of women’s breasts
sends an answering tremor
of desire through me
crossing over realities
like when you come back from overseas
and the country you were in
slowly turns into dreamstuff
and the country you’ve returned to
again becomes your reality
wrapping itself around you
like a prayer shawl
with the irresistible force
of the G-d of now
slowly becoming present
so that one moment you were driving on the right side
with different trees and hills and accents
and then suddenly you’re back
in this suddenly temporarily strange
as it reasserts and reinsinuates itself
and the other strange which had become temporarily familiar
evaporates into the private dreamstuff of memory
as does everything outside of the now
as when you waken from a thick and turgid dream
where some inescapable condition
rendered you paralyseds
and you waken to your mixed bag of life
the bedroom and what lies beyond it rushing in
some people have secret lives
like pornography
or gambolling or drugs
or a mistress
mine is different.
(like a pet kept secretly in the basement
of a building that doesn't allow pets)
I work in English
but come home and worry
in Hebrew.

Gaza 1987
Nino Rodruigez
lies on the camp bed
white tea shirt, olive green pants
black boots
South American Indian
jet black eyes in his
olive skinned smooth
round moon face
closed now
to shut out the other
smelly sweating presences
and be alone
with the voice of sting
coming through the walkman headphones:
Cueca Solo
a hot dusty wind
blows through the tent flap
which dances
Ellas Danzan Solas
where are you now ?
how I wish to be present
when all the joy and peace
that hides amongst the stars
brings us together again
I was on the beach
on Australia day
playing cricket with the family
and some other young men
were playing cricket as well
and a ball came flying
and thwacked my wife on the head
“please be careful guys” I smiled, tossing them back the ball,
not wanting any trouble, any trouble at all
why don’t yous piss off back to where you came from mate
said one, and his mates hooted and jeered.
so the next day I sold our house
took my kids out of school
packed our bags
and went back to South Africa
for eighty years
and from there to Lithuania, Latvia, England and Russia
and from there to Poland and Germany and from
there to Alsace and Babylon
and from there to Israel and Judah
and from there to Mesopotamia
and from there we went back to sperm and egg
and from there to amoeba and algae
and from there to the centre of the big bang
not wanting any trouble, any trouble
at all
(boy o boy was I surprised)


What does the infinite know of me?
A small lump of misery
arrogance vanity
all of these

On the pillow lies a skull
covered with a thin layer of skin and hair
inside the skull thoughts chase each other
in endless succession
I am acustomed to think of this skull as "mine"
but am I in the skull
or is this story of my skull in me?

Is poetry mostly
the snail trail
of the desire for recognition?
If I can distill an essence
of a moment


I cannot get enough of quiet
I drink up silence like a starving man
ever mindful how it may end


Sometimes my dhirhea smells like
steam powered railways

sometimes I see someone
who looks exactly like someone I knew
but isn't

sometimes my


When people ask me “what do you do?”
I try to have a word ready at hand
I’m a writer
I’m a teacher
I’m a script writer


In response to MasterChef

to eat from hunger, not from boredom
to be with what is here
to thank G-d for gratitude
to met desire and fear

now that I'm in my later 40's, a night on the town means staying up 'til almost 11:00 to write a few poems

"I'm a breast man":
A man masturbating over a video
of a cow being milked

A devil as a mosquito

What gets in the way of poetry sweet poetry?
letters of demand
the desire to inhabit my roles as responsible provider
(after all, what have my children sinned?)
google analytics and ROI
language in suits
and the fear of imagination
how many times have I betrayed the one I love
to do my imagined duty
adequate might
let you sleep at night
but inside there is
so much more


Lord preserve us
from the terrible poverty of excess

Like salmon returning to their spawning grounds
the wandering wondering Jews
have returned to Zion
at least, some of them
and I too have returned
to my spawning ground
the unmanifest
or at least
some of me

A political poem

we stand for

This morning I had a telephonic conversation
with a rotund sex worker
who is doing her masters
in public health
and as she described her body
I stroked mine
then we parted amicably
with a promise from me
to make an appointment
I never kept

apologies for the way things are
a pity on her and on me


Royal Randwick Shopping Centre, Sunday Morning

Earnest Chinese Christians
discussing salvation
over bibles and boxes
of factory farmed chicken


Always I have wanted
to be that love itself
no matter how it looks

the quiet order of things
in their proper place
undisturbed by
the passing passions

Holding On

my son is playing the piano
for my dad
over the phone
invisible electromagnetic radiation of the wireless phone
the thin chariot facilitating our
tenuous yet irrevocable connection
and I encourage and acknowledge him
as a good father should
wanting to model for my 78 year old dad with Alzheimer's
how he could have been with us

Saba Ronnie

my son is playing the piano
for my dad
and I am showing him off:
"see... see the beautiful thing
that has come forth from me"
and it is all normal and natural
except that I am in Sydney
and my dad is in Sandringham Gardens
an old aged home in Johannesburg
"it sounds lovely" he says "very good."
and I, hyper aware of this constructed grandpa I build
for the boys, or perhaps for myself
from silences and absences
from a few words over the phone,
wanting there to be the solidity of dynasty
rather than the flimsiness of the orphanage
do my duty
and quietly grieve.

("How are Marcia and Jeff" he asks
though Jeff died in '99)


On some days my mind has me pinned down
by the short and curlies

Spring has Sprung

Its almost summer
suddenly someone’s turned the sun back on
and the breasts that have been hibernating all winter
are coming out again
the ghosts of cattle and sheep
cancer patients and octopii
that did not make it
cease to haunt us
as winter babies
and cautious spring flowers
raise their newborn heads

Rule of thumb:
wherever there is state sponsored anti-Semitism
there is poverty, corruption, and something to hide
poor people being ripped off
repression, torture, the controlling of the media
homophobia, the violent homogenisation of the individual
just look at Iran, Zimbabwe, Venezuela


I had just finished watching
this documentary about how
the holy crusaders had painted the town red
with the blood of any people
who happened to be Jews
on their way to liberate
the holy land
for the lord of compassion

when I got this phone call / the door bell rang
it was some Christians avoiding themselves
by selling the G-d of love

I am not one who was born to command
but neither am I one who was born to be commanded

Palestine will be free
from the river to the sea
as free as Gaza, the one party state
where to speak against Hamas is to seal your fate
as free as a woman of the Taliban
who can only breathe if her owner says she can
as free as a Bishop in Teheran
who can choose between a bullet or conversion to Islam
as free as Rafik Hariri was to crticize Hizballah
til they blew him and 21 others up to Allah
as free as a donkey, explosives strapped to its back
sent by Hamas in a donky-ish attack
as free as a cronies of Arafat or Abbas
to pocket billions of donor cash
Yes Palestine will be free
to spread around its bigotry
from the river to the sea

but Palestinians will live in slavery

free as ______________ held in the mukata

as free as a Kurd to speak Kurdish in his own land
Between 1982 and 1991 the performance or recording of songs in the Kurdish language was banned in Turkey, The European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance reported that "The public use by officials of the Kurdish language lays them open to prosecution, and public defence by individuals of Kurdish or minority interests frequently leads to prosecutions under the Turkish Criminal Code)
As free as a Fatach member in Hamas land
thrown from the rooftops to see if they would fly / where they would land

as free as Gilad Shalit held by Hamas for four years
though his family wept a river of tears

as free as Hamas to abduct journalists who won't report what they're shown

as free as a coptic Christian to go to church

money into their pockets / private accounts
as free as a Sunni Syrian to criticise Bashar Asad
Since its 1994 founding under the Oslo Accords, the PA’s credibility has been hit by allegations of rampant corruption. In early 2006, the PA Attorney-General Ahmad al-Meghanni reported that he was investigating no fewer than 52 cases of official corruption. These totaled hundreds of millions of dollars and involved numerous senior officials of the PA and affiliated companies.

once I watched a man drowning
in his own spit

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