Sunday, October 20, 2013

When bad things happen to good people

About 20 or 30 years ago someone wrote a well intentioned book titled "when bad things happen to good people." Right from the outset the clumsiness of this title, and the enormous assumptions which underpin it, irked me, but tonight while lying in a hot bath it suddenly struck me how I might highlight these more lightly than with some outraged, and probably boring, polemic. So here goes an attempt to render my reservations in slightly more poetic form: 

When bad things happen to good people
when good things happen to bad people
when bad things happen to bad people
when good things happen to good people

when good people turn out to be a bit bad
when bad people turn out to be a bit good
when the categorising mind takes a  lunch break
when most people turn out to be bad and good

when bad things turn out to be not so bad
when good things turn out to be not so good
when everything is in transition
and labels fall off like leaves in Autumn

when good people eat good animals
when nameless animals eat other nameless animals
when trending to good people make judgement calls other good people judge as bad
when bad people unwhittingly or knowingly do good perhaps because
they're having  the afternoon off

when green things push up through the cracks 
when the mind's circus stops whirling hither and thither
when everything begins in something else
like a great chain of clasped hands across the universe that slowly let go
'cos they've traced themselves back to the same body

when the burning question falls away


(then I see that what I dislike and fear I call bad
and what I like and embrace I call good
and what threatens what I am attached to I call bad
and what seems to support it I call good

when I am completely suspect
when people turn out not to be people
when things turn out not to be things)

Uncle Dick
with plutonium rods up his arse
had a torrid time of it
on the medical
not so merry
go round
confirmed he was
with many afflictions
(but not because of any one of them)

the tight-lipped doctors couldn't quite
put their fingers on the pulse
of what was wrong and
at night the obscure terms
specialists afflicted him with
chased themselves
around his brain
until sleep came
at 4am
in front of the television sprawled on the floor
waking bleary and blurry
a pool of drool
gathered at his chin

or made love to an assemblage of pixels on his
smart phone
(at least that still worked)
I moaned my moans
and wrote a few poems

I am always ready to be anything
a permaculture farmer
a dog walker
a gag writer for a tv satire show
a technician or tradesman
with a useful skill
a guru
a lecturer
a counsellor
a radio personality
a quiz show kid
constantly beginning again
like a spreading puddle
I flow from nowhere
to nowhere
looking for a large pair
of cupping hands

I am wanting to have an affair
with a large breasted
wasp waisted being
to compliment my hairy pot belly
and greying hair
and she will not mind
how I wish to play with her body
will be easy being Chava
to the secret stirrings of my every Adam
and most importantly to the fantasy
from our joinings and partings
no suffering
will be born

Despite my best efforts
to corrupt my spinifex hoppers
with free handouts
of easy food
they still after four years
bolt from my hand
remaining true to their
G-dly mouse

G-d made everything in two colours:
red and white
I try to keep them separate
but inconveniently
they keep on coming together again
I open the cupboard
looking for milk
but find blood

G-d made everything in 3 colours:
black, white
and red
pulsing underneath
only held in check by a layer thin
as skin

Psychoillogical Stories

There was a ghost
called inadequacy
living in my house
I tried to avoid it
but kept on bumping into it
I tried not to think about it
but the thoughts returned
like familiar friends
so one day i sat down with inadequacy
over a cup of tea
and invited him to tell me his story
and this is what he said (to me):
I am your friend
when I sometimes worry
or tell you you're not enough
it keeps you from
not knowing
and that's much worse than me
this way you don't
have to take risks


To a tuna 

Once you swam in the sea
then you became part of my body
if ever one day the cemetery
lies submerged under a rising sea
perhaps your descendants will sup on me
thus favours returned


A school hat with a name in it
of a child who has long since left the school
a small photograph of a woman who
has long since left this world
a pigeon flying overhead
carrying the DNA
for a thousand future generations of pigeons
all cross my path


yesterday I received a promotional offer from an insurance company
to win $25 000  so that "you can wake up anywhere in the world."
Ok then, I choose to wake up
right now
right here


Its eleven o clock
at night
we're all tired
I'm rounding soft and crumbly walnuts and dates
into coconut coated balls
and wondering how we're going to pay the bills
and slow to a trickle
the changes in my body
and how instead of
lethargic and sombre and heavy 
I can become
vital and youthful again
just for long enough to
get us to somewhere 

Different kinds of robots: Jewbots; Islamobots; Bhuddistbots; Pub-bots;
progressivebots, conservobots; coparatebots; sportsbots; 

I tried to speak to the girl
I watched in the playground
and held in my mind
on my bed
but was too afraid
my voice and leg would shake
or my face go red
so that great emotion
remained unsaid
The sonic landscape of Jimi Hendrix
a wall of scrap metal
arranged in inventive

protean sculptures
Bach on steroids

with a flattened fourth note

A Love Letter

Dear Immanuel

I will not with hold my love from you any more

Love and respect


My next poetry collection, G-d willing, will either be called

A Way with Words

Skipping in the House of G-d

something else. 

It may just be a collection of titles with no poems.

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