Thursday, August 4, 2011

For Walt Whitman

See also sulam-yaakov

Studies in Being

Above the village of Koke
sits Moimango
watching over his people
sometimes his son
now also old
comes to pay his respects
in Moimango's abdominal cavity
rodents have made their nests
on his toes and fingers
lichen goes
his head nods forward
around his people
the jungle grows

Poems come up in the night
if I don't write them down
they dive beneath the surface again

The theory of relativity

If I were alone on the moon
then coming across
even the filthiest public loo
... that stank of urine
and shit stains on the bowl
would be like finding
a long lost and dearly loved friend

(see also The General Theory of Ephemerality)



Imagine if wheat got a warning:
now hear this
in 10 hours you will be cut off at the roots
taken from your moist earth fields of gold
and baked to brown in ovens

imagine if cows got a warning:
now hear this
in 10 hours men with prods
that sting like wasps
will bother you to crowd together
for a long thirsty journey
in a cattle truck
to a place that smell of blood and dung
where shuddering one by one
what's done is done

Imagine if the Jews got a warning
now hear this
in 10 hours you will be cut off at the roots
taken from the muddy streets and thin lipped forests
and cathedral cut throat towns
crowded together
for a long thirsty journey
in a cattle truck
to a place where something smells wrong
men and women
with guns and dogs
will crowd you together
one after one
bake you in ovens
and what's done is done

Some thoughts make me feel small
and some thoughts make me feel big
some thoughts are bullies
that push me around and beat me up
some thoughts make me laugh


No purpose can survive the sea
which is why people go there with a fishing line
to hold onto

I squeeze my latest poems out of me
like toothpaste out of a near empty tube


the dessicated overproduced thoughts
of old poets past their prime
desperate to retain
their imaginary sage ship

Second World War Memorabilia for avid collectors
a Mauser pistolA pregnant peasant woman with a bayonet through her bellyA lampshade made from a Jewish youth's skin
A pile of eyeglasses without eyes
A canister of Zyklon B


Does a person
falling into a mass grave
like the tree in the earless forest
make a sound so feint
that after six decades
it cannot be heard at all?

The Big Bluff

I pretended I was confident
(trying fake it til you make it)
I pretended I learnt from experience how not to make new mistakes
I pretended I was both strong and sensitive
I pretended I wasn't scared or sad
and sometimes I pretended I was unhappy
I pretended I was otherwordly when I craved sweet flesh
and pretended I was earthy when the world repelled me
I pretended when there was no need to pretend
I pretended when almost everyone saw through my pretence, but me
I feigned contentment and I feigned
I feigned interest so it wouldn't look like I was alone
I feigned uniqueness
I feigned sameness
I feigned acceptance when I felt anger
and I feigned anger when I was hurt
I pretended to be invincible for my children
and to be helpless for my parents
I pretended yesterday's courage could dispel today's terror
I pretended I was unflappable and cool
I pretended I was one of those
who act on their conviction
(Perhaps I pretended I was convinced)
I bluffed my way through life
often anxious I would be called out
like shaka's witch sniffing
to be dealt with at the side
but I shall have my recompense
when at my funeral
I shall only pretend
to die


Signs of life:
traces of margarine in the jam jar
a to do list that always recedes into the unreachable distance
ants eating a worm on the concrete driveway
bird shit on the brand new car


male supremacy is a

I love me
without any "buts"
without any "because"
not even "because I am"
without I love me
without love
without me
in the hollow curve
from which the last thought
has gone

Goverment Gazette

be safe
don't swing on the branches
don't feel the wind in your hair
don't lie in the sun
don't inhale
be safe
dob on your neighbours
get your cervix and prostate palpitated
don't leave your car
report any suspicious activity
excluding call centres, washing powder ads, reality shows, workaholism and intrafamilial violence
be safe
watch out for exotic species and crumbling cliffs
be confident and assertive
be two metres tall and weigh 300kgs
don't leave your belongings unattended
don't talk to strangers
rather sorry than unsafe
consult your physician
or mental health professional
make sure you live til 90
and die of advanced


You sexy bitch
with your breasts and your ovaries
your lungs and your kidneys
your stomach that burps in the night

you sexy bitch
with your warm wet vagina
sticky with blood every month
how I stuffed you back into your skin
only to have your stubble and breath
trouble me again

"I trust nobody, including myself" Joseph Stalin

In the morning
I lock myself up
in case I escape

like an unblemished etrog
her hand upon the steering wheel
her nipples
two spears that pierce my eyes
and from between her pearl teeth
and plumped lips
the vapours that hint
of body's end
For Walt Whitman

thank you for the letter you sent me
I read the words thirstily

with great sobs of laughter

then threw it away
knowing your next

is already on its way

I am my own factory farmed cow
prodding my tired fattened body
mercilessly on to where freedom awaits
at the abbatoir gates


I don't even know how it is
let alone how it will be
and its not that I have courage
its sometimes that courage has me

if I can't sing then I will write
and if I can't write then I will paint
and if I can't paint then I will act
and if I can't act or paint or write
then I'll get a job selling bogus holiday deals
from a call centre in the Phillipines or Mumbai
on commission
and I'll lovingly craft every phone call I make
to angry people interrupted at their dinner
or to a pensioner glad of the voice puncturing the stillness
as if they were my legacy
for G-d makes no mistakes

dragged apart by heaven and earth
I want to rise
and sink to my knees
at the same time


sitting next to you in the car
feeling safe and warm
a good times song on the radio
wind in my hair
steaming coffee in the holder
battery chickens in their hovels
sex-slaves in their brothels

this is as G-d as it gets/
it don get much G-dder than this


Sometimes I watch the news
hoping to see suffering and general mayhem
and then I might flick channels
and land on an image of an Afghan boy
holding on to parallel bars
long jalabiya wrapping around the stumps
left by a Taliban or NATO bomb
and it slices through the brittle casing
resentment and fear have placed round my heart
and as sadness comes flooding I stop pretending
their hurt can diminish mine


As the human beast grows older
they keep more files
and boxes in dusty storerooms
begin to shuffle at night in slippers
keep track of their investments
if middle class, or if not
sit on a beer crate
and stare at the dust


Teenage girls
their bodies bursting out of their clothes
middle aged men
their eyes bursting out of their sockets

Haiku with Dan

The giraffe eating
accacia leaves what a
journey to travel

The giraffe eating
leaves of the acacia
a long way to go


To Sylvia Plath and HaShem

Love set the universe ticking
like a well made gold watch

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