Thursday, January 12, 2017

Poems 2017 - 5777

After swallowing a bible, she went into apocalyptic shock

if your home seems cluttered and/ or too small, you may need to talk to a roomatologist
Once we realise the body-mind is mortal what can we do?
the dishes.

I don't know and I do care


I'd like to hire someone to do my suffering for me, but it seems like its not one of those tasks that are easy to delegate. Anyway, if you want something done properly, you have to do it yourself.

pain is a cleansing fire that strips us of our dramas and vanities....the more intense, the greater its power to help us drop our stories and habitual fictions

One of the biggest mysteries is why we are so often so unkind to ourselves

ברוך אתה ד' אלוקינו מלך העולם משלים חסרים


A poet sent me a book of her poems
with an inscription to me
and out of a misplaced sense of duty
I kept them on my shelf for a few years
but really had little use for them
so one day I took them to the library
and when no one was looking
abandoned them there


Where ever you go
there is a window
with a tree just beyond
even if you cannot see it
at the time

Oh come to me four walls, ceiling
and let me embrace you
oh come to me silence
and let me embrace you
oh come to me air
with your jasmine and myrrh
with your tender touch
and become my breath
fill me and empty me
into the beyond that is here


Today I took
a 79 year old man
with terminal Leukemia
to the hospital for
a blood transfusion
his face was thin
but kind
his wife kissed him
then I wheeled him to the car
he spoke very little English
and I no Russian
but we communicated well enough
I was the helmsman
and he was the captain
port he told me
indicating left with his hand
and then starboard
showing right into Avoca avenue
together we sailed our ship
between the good earth
and the stars


sits on a podium
giving satsang
I come before him
to ask his blessing
and to share his light
I mean
our light
I mean
my light


ברחתי מבדידותי
אבל בדיתותי ברחה עמי
ברחתי ממכאובי
אבל הם נלוו אלי
ברחתי מחסרונותי
אבל הם לא הרפאו ממני
אז הסתובבתי וחזרתי למעין באתי
ופתחתי את ביתי
לאורחי הלא רצוים
ומאז אנו ביחד



A meditation on suffering and its meaning

"Not even in our most devious dreams could we have designed a surrogate as evil as these real monkey mothers were", he wrote. But of course he was speaking of himself.

I want to sing a song
about something I read about
and how it squeezed my heart
like bellows of some hellish
icy fire that gives out neither
light nor warmth but sucks them in.
About a man who like all of us, is deserving of any spare
compassion you or I
may have in our pocket. His name? Not relevant,
he had already changed it from
fear of loss, but he called himself a
scientist and a psychologist, and indeed some of his work
served to underscore the importance of touch
and the physical expression of parental affection,
at a time when mothers were encouraged by men in white coats
to ignore their instincts and crying children, and shake hands
goodnight rather than have a hug or kiss.

As a man in a white coat he helped change all that,
providing "proof" of the opposite  -
which allowed dutiful 1950s wives and mothers
to do what they knew already was best,  
and any child or adult who is not touch deprived
because of that work must be credited in some part
to him.

Yet his intellectual curiosity, if that is what it was,  - so human, so inhuman - untempered by something we might call mercy or seeing one's self in the other - inflicted great damage on his
non-human primate subjects
cutting out sections of their brains, subjecting them to massive doses of radiation,
forcing cobalt into their cortex....nothing that other "researchers" were not doing at the time,
or were to do, but worse was to come.

A scientist is G-d in their laboratory, as we are all G-ds in our world - laboratories.
Sometimes low functioning people with distressing thoughts
and problems of human living end up in jails or locked wards or out on the streets
Sometimes high functioning people with distressing thoughts and problems of human living
end up as leaders and politicians and clergy and jailers
and psychiatrists and hackers and scientists

and at some point his second wife
who was very dear to him
got cancer and after struggling with the
disease died. He sank into a black depression, received
electro-convulsive therapy
and then continued with increasingly sadistic "experiments" on
rhesus monkeys, ostensibly to find out
what was obvious, but perhaps to push
the pain or heaviness in him
into other beings, to "act out" his own psychic distress
(he said as much),
to lighten his load, to punish women, to punish Life, who knows?

Now a disembodied curiosity,
detached or numbed from his own heart and hurt
he improved his devices designed to deprive and torture:   

"the hostile mother"
"iron maidens"
"the rape rack" and

 "the pit of despair"

and it was appropriate he named them for what they were,
rather than with some scientific euphemism,
like LD 50 tests where animals are poisoned for a better shampoo,
or "deafferentation*"- cutting sensory ganglia that supply nerves to the fingers, hands, arms, and legs of  monkeys so that they cannot feel their limbs.

perhaps it was a cry for help?
"I am in a pit of despair, someone help me, someone stop me,
I'm sick and I don't know how to stop myself" - how many addicts have silently or loudly screamed this prayer as they seem to fall beyond abasement,
in lightless concrete cellars of blood and vomit

but no one stopped him, instead
they gave him scientific medals and funding,
although there were critics who rang the alarm bell on what was being done in our name,
thus enabled he continued spiralling down, aided and abetted by doctoral fellows,
ostensibly to see if severe deprivation
could irreparably damage
sentient beings.
Surprise, it does.

He stopped
when age and Parkinsons
finished his blighted frame
Reading of it threw me
into the pit of despair
I joined him
and the monkeys

at first I wanted
he be resurrected from the grave, so that
I could strangle him with my own hands
before it could happen, to clean this stain
off our family
I wanted him slowly tortured
so that the pain in me and his monkeys
would become his again,
followed by thoughts of more subtly sadistic
 and devastating forms of "justice"
where he would be endlessly exposed to the suffering he caused
and presided over, til it cut through his denial and was perceived
til he understood and his heart
burst from remorse and regret

like a murderer who must meet the loving and weeping parents and children and siblings of the people they have killed, every day for the rest of their life, with no means to undo what they have done, (but how will that help the grieving kin?)
and then I wished a fiery end to alla cleansing fire, so that we could begin again,
untainted by human perversity,
but I already knew, and saw ever more clearly
then I as doing to him
and me, what he did to those monkeys,
righteous anger and revenge fantasies only go so far
and my heart broke once again, for double futility

both they and him long gone, borne away on the river of time
only reemerging now when attention turns to what it
says about us,
and what we already know:
that whatever is fed, grows

but still the wound in me
not cleaned out

I will not watch
footage of the helpless monkeys
in their tiny bleak beyond bleak
my identification with them
so strong
why haunt myself
it seems I cannot bear
my own helplessness

to reach across time
to bring comfort
(though what i see
is just an image -
they have been free
these 45 years)

nor can I bear to name him
(infamy be wiped out and leave no trace)
or hear his voice or see his likeness
from shame and sorrow, would that he
and all cruelty
were never born

but the day, the hour, the minute, the second  will come
when I will let both he and I go,
compelled by my
non-indifference to sorrow

and after I had ached for them, and me, and eventually him I thought
if he had known that he could not free himself 
like that, if he had found a way back to his heart, if he
could have left the prison of the lab and his career and his
imagined loss and found comfort he
would never have done that,
it would not have been a possibility for him
to seal a baby in a cold steel tin

so like Leonard Cohen
bringing flowers to a mass murderer
in the garden of my heart
I pick some fresh blooms
and take them to him
before it all began
for when we do not know
we do begin again



"In our study of psychopathology, we began as sadists trying to produce abnormality. Today, we are psychiatrists trying to achieve normality and equanimity." he wrote

He wanted to test how isolation would affect parenting skills, but the isolated monkeys were unable to mate. So he and his assisstants devised what he called a "rape rack", to which the damaged female monkeys  were tied in normal monkey mating posture. He found that, just as they were incapable of having sexual relations, they were also unable to parent their offspring, either abusing or neglecting them.  Having no social experience themselves, they were incapable of appropriate social interaction. One mother held her baby's face to the floor and chewed off his feet and fingers. Another crushed her baby's head. Most of them simply ignored their offspring.

* deafferentation -  While developing the new  constraint-induced movement therapy that helped, and helps, restore the use of affected limbs in stroke patients, psychologist Edward Taub used restraint and electric shock to force the monkeys to use the limbs they could not feel. He discovered that, when motivated by extreme hunger or the desire to avoid electric shock, they could be induced to use their deafferented limbs. The research led in part to the discovery of neuroplasticity within the primate motor system.

Some of this research in the 1990s parallels what was already known, or used, on shell shocked first world war soldiers who underwent lobotomies, or who were tortured  - literally - back into a degree of functionality.

"Mutism and speech disorders were the most common form of war neurosis. They were thought to be symptoms of a soldiers repressed aggression towards his superior officers. The rate of war neurosis, however, was four times higher among officers then among the regular soldiers. Their positions required them to continually repress their emotions in order to set an example for their men. The most severe cases of shellshock occurred in officers who had made a name for themselves as daredevils. These man were ashamed by their overwhelming fear and performed daredevil acts to show their men that they were not afraid.

The treatments of shellshock were many and varied. Disciplinary treatment was the most common at the time. The doctors involved with this form of treatment had harsh moral views of hysteria and stressed quick cures as the goal of wartime psychiatry was to keep men fighting. Shaming, physical re-education and the infliction of pain were the main methods used. Electric Shock Treatment was very popular. This involved an electric current being applied to various body parts to cure the symptoms of shellshock. For example, an electric current would be applied to the pharynx of a soldier suffering from mutism or to the spine of a man who had problems walking.
Another form of treatment consisted of "finding out the main likes and dislikes of patients and then ordering them to abstain from the former and apply themselves diligently to the latter". Patients who had a fear of noise were given rooms looking onto a main road, men who had been teachers or writers before the war were refused access to the library and men who feared being alone were put into isolation."


Finding a Cure for Scientific Curiosity

In memory of the kitten
whose eyelid was sown up
and became blind in that eye
in memory of the monkey
that had its finger amputated
and the one
that had its fingers sown together
and the one that had
its mother taken away
in memory of the mice

while I am grateful
for the discoveries
about neuroplasticity
and positive psychology
and managing cancers
I felt the need
to mention them
and apologise

Lord Shiva
the destroyer
also called Eloheem
the G-d of Justice
does not only slay demons
He also slays angels
every day

Evidently The Self
cares little for name and form
and this is a problem
while You take Yourself
to be
a name or form


Evidently The Self
cares little for name and form
and this is a problem
for all who experience themselves
as name or form


I was sitting at Westfield
lost in thought
typing a Facebook post on my mobile phone
when a passing Roman soldier
decapitated me.
It was not unpleasant
in its own way

but I was unable to finish
my coffee


I tenderly undress Immanuel
I remove his ancestors
I remove his children
I remove his hopes and desires
I remove his imaginary mistakes and
imaginary achievements
I remove his thoughts
I remove his roles
I remove his identities
I remove his name

leave them in a little heap by the door
stand there aching 
and crying 
and laughing
then look!
what remains?


In the glossy real estate magazine
well dressed interiors gleam invitingly, vacantly
the dustless kitchen has no food scraps in the sink
no dog hairs or people on the plumped up sofa
behind the placid pool, rooms glow with light
they've never known
divorce or decay
an alcoholic rage or disease
never smelt the odour from a blocked pipe
never heard harsh words and a door slam
never seen red eyes or a cockroach scuttle
across laminate floors to the crack in everything
like Gautama in his palace
they wait for their new owners
to discover



married man
with a hard working wife
and two preoccupied teenagers
one and a half dogs
two chickens
a voracious dishwasher
and a possible possum
some debts and assetts
is feeling lonely
and would like someone to talk to
coulde be male, female,
G?dlike or inorganic
for example
a fence post 

with good listening skills

My troubles are petty and insignificant
yet they are still huge and painful to me
my joys are poor and dull
yet while they last they completely absorb me
my challenges are much smaller than many other's
and yet I can't quite get on top of them
I am a tiny and unimportant speck in the universe
yet the universe cannot exist without me
am I the most desperate of creatures pretending to be blessed?
or am I the most blessed of creatures pretending to be desperate?
If I ever find out
I'll tell you



I expect the road to be hard
and the grass to be soft
it is


People are getting ready for their holidays
cows and sheep are lowing in the trucks
a great G-d presides

If you feel liike weeping at weddings then weep
if you feel like laughing at funerals then laugh
one of the widest gateways I ever went through:
"I don't know"

Let me untangle this with you
without taking any short cuts
without denying or overlooking anything
even if it takes all eternity
it will still save time

Letting go, Letting G-d

Some thoughts are like destructive tenants
you can't get rid of
and some are like birds you glimpse
for a moment and they're gone
I like the birds

O world
go back into your box
tomorrow I am taking you
straight back to G-d
and getting another

At the end of the day
some things are done
and some things were not
some things were said
some things went unsaid
something grows tired
and puts it all down
next to the bed
perhaps to be picked up
the following day
perhaps to
never return


For my matzeyvah

sitting in the sun
writing a poem
I look up
to the lemon tree
heavy with yellow orbs
Ella the dog snoozing nearby
and birdsong in the air:
"So shall be done to the man 

whom the king wishes to honour'
Sung to the tune of Rod Stewart's / Gavin Sutherland's " I am sailing"

I am age-ing
I am sage-ing
I am greying
I am ageing
getting wiser
I am sage-ing

"Can you hear me?
Can you hear me ?"
could you say that
once again...
I am slowing
bits are going
but thank G-d there
is no pain

Just for once
( and in your own way)
have tomorrow's coffee
Immanuel Suttner does not exist
but if he does please
let him be

Old faithful
favourite of adolescents
and anyone too busy or uncertain
about self nurture:
the peanut butter and jam sandwich


When the seeker is earnest
the teacher is true
even if the latter is a charlatan
wittingly or un
their compass needle turns and points
to the Beloved


When I awake
at 3am
my mouth is like the inside
of an Egyptian tomb 


Every day
I try to keep
death at bay

I try not to die, and to die
each day
I take a breath
and then give it away


The me I am
is this with you
and that with him
something else with her
and another with them.
The me I am
shrinks with criticism
and blossoms with support
witholds from one who demands
and gives to one who asks
just like the me's you are

I walk around Matraville
on Friday at dusk
wishing people
shabbat shalom
but no one I meet
knows what I'm talking about


Please G-d
let it be
because of Your beauty
not because of my fear
but either way
let it be


When time has run out
you want to run as fast as you can
and as far
but of course wherever you go
there you are

The world swirls
like some crazed wounded beast,
like a still writhing octupus tentacle on a plate
that delighted diners
in some hellish Korean resteraunt
on a tv food show
stuff into their gaping beaks. this so-called world,
when I give it my attention,
recreates itself endlessly,
like the boy with his finger in the dyke
through which, wherever his panicked gaze settles,
suffering seeps.
At first we do not choose
what catches our eye, our heart,
it happens unbidden
but later, we may begin to
watch where our attention goes.
Both weariness and pragmatism
tell me I cannot make my stand
anywhere in
this passing show
the contradictions too vast,
the smiling killers to many,
attention flitting from image to image
too fickle
strife and striving bounce
like ricocheting bullets
in the hollow solitude of what
moves us and what leaves us indifferent
I must look elsewhere
beyond name and form
for an unassailable mercy

Imagine if

at 2am
three drunken men
outside a bar
wounding each other
as best they can
over an ancient hurt
reignited by alcohol fumes

a dog has lunged at another dog
in the park
and being kicked hard in the ribs
and now the owners circle each other
intent on protecting and defending
what feels like their existence

the hooting aggressive driver
deranged by frustration or something else
who screeches to a halt and flies out
of his car with a baseball bat or knobkirie

or the man ripping open a woman’s blouse
not heeding her cries “please don’t”
or touching a woman he knows nothing about
in an unwanted way

and the policeman, unprepared, panicked, adrenalin pumping,
wanting to prove his mettle to his fellow cops
about to pull the trigger and kill someone's father, brother, son
imagine if
we could just hit pause
and order everyone
to breathe slowly, lie down, assume 
the foetal position; right arm extended
under the head, 
knees drawn into the taut belly
which softens a little with each exhalation
imagine if
those fists unfurl
before they break and regret
anda friend or bystander or the breeze
might gently stroke those boy men
and whisper to them words
that become a golden enveloping
spray of grace

"I find no lack
in the miracle that you are
so rest now
my beloved
do not be afraid
trouble each other
and yourself
no more "

imagine if

they heard

If I can't walk
I will crawl
and if I can't crawl
then I will swim
and if I can't swim
then I will float
in the ocean of G-d
and if I cannot
then ocean of G-d


I will meet you
where words dissolve
into laughter


welcome indigestion
lower back pain
welcome lower back pain
welcome hat removing breeze
pretty women
welcome pretty women
welcome desire
sharp shards of smashed beer bottle
welcome sharp shards of smashed beer bottle
welcome judgement
rubbish bin
welcome rubbish bin
welcome dogs
dog poo
welcome dog poo

peace be upon
all of you


My ambitions are, I believe, modest:
to finish rendering the house
to harmonise with my son
to hold a grandchild on my lap
to harvest what I sow
to put the last of my mess away
before I drop the body



Immanuel Suttner
is a work of fiction
I wish him no harm
but he does not cohere
memory is the glue
that binds the disparate chapters
and when that fades
what remains?

how light the hands
that do not tightly grip
the imaginary steering wheel
that weaves the ghostly person
between dangers and failures and temporary success
on the road to elusive completion

there is only now
although it is everybody 

it does not have a name
it does not have a body
 the body is an abstracted aggregate
pieced together from flashes of sensation;
often, in deep engagement:
writing, singing, playing the guitar,
an animated conversation,
helping, prayer, sex
there may come awareness of feelings,
but no awareness of a body
only pain or dysfunction
temporarily draws attention back to, say
teeth, elbow, colon
but when they function
they might as well not be there
and in deep dreamless sleep
neither body, mind nor world exist
- yet I do not dread
this seeming non-being
but long for sleep
at the end of the day

That which animates and knows
does not have a location
but makes location possible
it is not in my body or in my mind
but the experience of my body and mind
appear and disappear in It

it does not have duration
it precedes all beginnings and outlasts all endings
time and the planets, cells and stars
are utterly dependent
on Its unconditioned existence

tendencies must play themselves out
the arrow will stay its course
all things self correct and balance
but only the Changeless is a reliable friend

therefore I counsel myself
go quietly amidst the din
keep one eye looking out
but two eyes looking in

There is no Immanuel permanently
he comes and goes intermittently
had not been conceived of in March '63
and in dreamless sleep pray tell where is he?

but don't think I'm writing off only poor Mano
Ronald Reagan too, now where did he go?
one minute here, but come 6 June 2004
The Big Gipper was not as before

and so it is with every one of us
the personal is only dream stuff
but the universal which awaits in the heart
is always right here and shall never depart

They injected me with iodine
they injected me with soap
they measured me with metrics
they measured me with rope

Lying on the scanner bed
for the coronary angiogram
the radiologist was young and comely
I invited her to join me
but she politely declined explaining
she doesn't reveal her heart
to everybody


I love abundance
verdant fields
tables groaning with food
big breasts and big penises
ocean and sky
warm fires and hor drinks on a stormy day
the smell of a bakery
well equipped hospitals
skilled professionals
a spare heart
or two
"And you will choose life"

With some things
it matters a lot where you begin and end
like telling a story well
or indifferently
or magically transforming
the major scale to its relative minor
without changing any of its notes
so we may rearrange the ends
and beginnings of our histories
to hew from the self same events
failure or success
curse or blessing


As I was waiting at a traffic light
( I can't say robot as no longer in South Africa)
a man with one arm offered to wash my windscreen
I nodded yes
So he washed it
"Sorry, that's all I have" I said, 

handing him the change I keep in the little tray.
two dollars and fifty five cents
"No problem brother" he replied.

So now I have a brother in Australia.
The walls of our houses
are built from love

The old man and the bird: Wally Johnson and the Pacific Golden Plover (see Cosmos magazine Feb March issue 2016 )


Now the cow, the chicken, the pig and the sheep were the most cunning of the beasts of the field. Therefore G-d cursed them, saying: " you will be placed in factory farms. You will have your tails and teeth amputated without anaesthetic. You will be kept in cages so small you cannot move. You will conceive and bare young as all flesh, but your children will be taken from you before they can suckle, and be killed. And the milk your body makes for them will be given to another. And thus you will atone for the sin of not being able to stop what is done to you being done to you."

The doctors said
despair and false beliefs had accumulated
in her bones and joints, and that surgery
would be required to extract
the tired calcified thoughts which,
having been thought so many times,
had worked their way deep into the marrow

We are a team
the trees
the dogs
the ants
and I

What I need to know now
are the clouds in the sky
and the clouds in my heart
and the heart in my heart
and the sky of all skies
wherein they 

come and go

When Adam gave things names
he came into relationship with them
and that is why until today
when we kill we kill a part of ourselves
so rather than not killing
we try to ensure
they will have no name
if the chickens, cows, pigs and sheep
stacked on supermarket shelves
were sold by name, not weight:

"This is Rachel, this is Burt"
perhaps we might not buy them
at least, perhaps, today

the hand that shook the penis
shook the hand that sowed the hand that took
the hand that built the model which clasped
the hand that held the fruit which grasped
the hand that 
played the notes which patted the
hand that wore the ring which tugged
the hand that dirtied the hand
that cleaned the snot and put the stick
aside to stroke
the hand that did not move

Young man
go out and meet the dragons
of your fear
learn to ride their rugged backs
so that you and they may soar
in the places only fear knows how to reach


Equivalencies and adaptabilities

In the first half of my life
I learnt to like eating fish

I learnt to render video
I learnt to play arpeggios very fast and smoothly on the guitar

In the second half of my life
I learnt to render with plaster
I learnt to catch fish

Well why shouldn't I desire
your sweet young body
and it's sweet young ? inhabitant


Hobbies / habbits

Arguing with people I don't know on the internet
eating when I feel lonely or bored


Please move to the exit
in an orderly fashion
those of you who are in a fatal car crash or domestic stabbing
may leave now
don't take your popcorn cartons or mobile phones with you

the patrons who are coming in now
and those waiting outside
may be able to make use of them
if you have an aggressive cancer you may make your way to the aisle
and queue there with others from your party
those of you with slow degenerative conditions
remain in your seats or wheelchairs for now 
there is no need to panic
listen to the direction
and all will be well
you will find that
talking to your neighbour helps and
although the cinema is on fire
its flames will not burn the screen


some friends stopped talking to us
so we stopped talking to them
we'd rather die
than admit
we're secretly afraid
there's something wrong with us

the metaphorical limp
I've carried around
inside me for years
today manifested
as a physical one

this is not the life I imagined for myself
the energy is low
everything seems a hassle
the distances are uncrossable
the sadness deep

I thought we'd go off to shul together
on a Friday night
but instead each one retreats to his room
or electronic device

my circuit grows smaller
from the house to the garage
and back
everything I send out
is swallowed by the silence
enthusiasms toss me about
short lived and fickle
then dissappear
I defeat myself
on a near daily basis
although I fight back
with great cunning and resilience

the world does not seem to want me
or my tinny shrill contribution
my dog still shows a certain affection
and my chickens associate me with food
I try to do my duty by them
and by all
but for how long
how long?


Although my son
it interferes with shooting hoops
I find myself 

admiring the way 
the grass is reclaiming the concrete

I bent down to hear
what G-d has been
whispering in my ear:

3 metaphysical poems

Just as when we were sent to be caned
I wanted to go first
because I could not bear the anticipation
so I want to die to my story
before I die
as the ultimate insurance policy
against the pain
of having everything
taken away from me
so that I might resume
being what I always was
without delay
the Love that has no birth or death
the Love that has no face
that everything arises in
and which we may call gace /
in primordial grace


I love the weekends, I love the week
I love to find, I love to seek
I love the strong, I love the weak
I love the trough, I love the peak

I love the day, I love the night
I love to snuggle, I love to fight
I love the stand, I love the flight
I love what's wrong, I love what's right

I love what's born, I love what dies
I love what laughs, I love what cries
I love what limps, I love what flies
I love routine, I love surprise

I love the suggestion, I love the should / must ought / command

I love what's old, I love what's new

I love the short, I love the long
I love the right, I love the wrong
I love the the silence and the song
I love what's been here all along

I love what loves, I love what hates
for all of them are passing states
are passing states upon  the screen
of That which sees but is not seen

The prime minister in her office
the plumber in the traffic jam
the chicken in her A4 cage
the veal calf in his crate

lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu

the nurse assistant cleaning up shit
the cleric trapped in a lie
the elephant with chains on its legs
the widower lost and alone

lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu

the athlete taking dope
the anorexic model
the mother of six whose last goat died
the student sitting alone
all people believing their untrue thoughts

lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu

haadam vehabeheyma*
habeheyma vehaadam
ki mootar haadam min habehyma ayin

lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu

may all beings in all places
be happy and free
haadam vehabeheyma - the human and the animal, the animal and the human, they share the same destiny, for one is not more than the other , they die the same death and the same life force animates them, for all of manifestation is ephemeral. ( Kohelet / Ecclisiastes 3:19)
כִּי מִקְרֶה בְנֵי הָאָדָם וּמִקְרֶה הַבְּהֵמָה וּמִקְרֶה אֶחָד לָהֶם כְּמוֹת זֶה כֵּן מוֹת זֶה וְרוּחַ אֶחָד לַכֹּל וּמוֹתַר הָאָדָם מִן הַבְּהֵמָה אָיִן כִּי הַכֹּל הָבֶל.

marketeers are magicians
turning mediocrity into the marvellous
turning the unecessary into the essential
turning mendacity and manipulation into
marketeers don't just sell products
they sell ideas
they sell projects
they sell politicians
they sell wars
they sell selling
they turn a cow bellowing for her stolen calf into a bucolic romance
they turn a drunken driver or a loud staggering overgrown child vomiting in the lift into connection and belonging and good times
they turn comodification into community

The whole universe is question and answer
the passage of time is question and answer
every satisfying film or piece of theatre
is question and answer
and all great literature
is question and answer
the fifth chord is the questionthe root chord is the answer
every  experiment is a question
every theory an answer

question is the tension
answer the resolution

every question begets an answer
and every answer the next question
did she escape? did he complete the task?
did peace return to the valley?
the answer needs a question to come into being
the question needs an answer to die
birth is a beautiful question
and death is a beautiful answer

now show me the silence that roars

love me
because I do not yet know
how to love myself

 because the whole universe is question and answer
but That which has no questions
is That which needs no answers
and is in every question
and is in every answer

In hell
the patrons must watch endless cooking shows
listen all daynight to Optus call centre music which has not been changed for 50 years
write novel-length self reflective journals to achieve professional development points despite being in the plumbing trade
and wish each other "have a good day"
before disembowelling their victim


Decision making process when reading reader's reactive comments to issues I care about

resistance creates heat
and sometimes heat is useful
in the right conditions
the thinnest of filaments can light up the world
but if you are air
the knife will pass right through you


resistance is the arm that wants to knock the arm
of the dentist away when it gets close to the root. So too
the client might make a off-handed remark or joke
or pick a fight with the therapist
when certain topics are touched upon
because they are getting close to the source of anxiety and the root of the problem.
(do problems have roots, certainly they seem to branch out, can problems be taught to turn sticky sap
into air?)

resistance creates heat
and sometimes heat is useful
in the right conditions
the thinnest of filaments can light up the world

but if you are air
the knife will pass right through you


Calmer/ Midah keneged midah

At day break I give the chickens food
and shoo the pigeons away
and at dusk G-d will give some body a soul
and shoo this one's away

The ground is pushing up at me
The sky's a cloud grey dome
my thoughts are always with me so
I've never been alone

If I can jump into that sea
where thought was never seen
my heavy head will gently bob
upon its waves of being
If I can jump into that sea
where thoughts just come and go
the waves will take me where they will
and there by grace I'll go

The ground is pushing up at me
The sky's a cloud grey dome
my thoughts always accompany
I've never been alone

If I can find a verdant isle
where thought was never seen
I'll gently lay my heavy head
upon the lap of being

I see a headless rider
upon a nameless horse
ambling down
a weed-green road

they forded the river a little while back
maybe five minutes or a year ago
nothing pursues or beckons them
stopping whenever to browse or stretch
if anything moves it is the

the rooted trees
float like clouds
and in the nearness
you can hear
the roar 

of one leaf
clapping / applauding

I like redemption
to be served

in bite sized chunks
on a pretty plate
with sugar sprinkles

the seemingly undifferentiated
indigestible mass
of raw overwhelm
and complexity
in the kitchen

put it in a black plastic bag

in the rubbish bin out back
hopefully from there
the fumes will never reach me


In the middle of my life
I found myself in a barren desert
admittedly of my own making
but nevertheless
a rocky and arid desert
my limbs grew heavy
my tongue swole
but like a lizard
that clings to the under rock
I clung to life
waiting for
the night's dew


Once there was a sunny land
where people's shadows had all been banned
and tho they smiled brightly, and the skies were blue
Darker and darker this land of light grew

In praise of inertness
On death row with no escape
She smuggled me out beneath her cape
And when I could neither croak or sing
The Eternal gave me her wedding ring


I love women's bodies
I love their big heavy
transverse colon
and their soft wet
mucous membranes
I love the way their long
mediastinal nodes
hang down
I love the mysterious folds
of their cerebrum
and the petite modesty
of their pancreatic notch
I love their phagocytes and their leukocytes
so please don't be too harsh on me
should you find me gazing 

at a plate in Gray's 


When our descent begins
we try to mange it well
so that like a precision skydriver
we can land neatly and gracefully
in a small rectangular target area
about the size of a grave

Like a precision skydriver
we try to manage our descent
so that we can land neatly
and gracefully
in a small rectangular target
about the size of a grave


Rachashei HaLev*

Do not defend against that ache
let it in, and let your heart break__________

* Hebrew - the murmurings, stirrings, of the heart

I've done what I did, I do what I do
if I had some money I'd give it to you

I love women's bodies
I love their big heavy
transverse colon
and their soft wet
mucous membranes
I love the way their long
Mediastinal nodes
hang down
I love the mysterious folds
of their cerebrum
and the petite modesty
of the pancreatic notch
I love their phagocytes and their leukocytes
so please don't be too harsh on me
when you find me gazing wistfully
at a page of Gray's anatomy

Because the cow
does not look at me
from under the table
with her big brown eyes
I feed her bones
to my dog


The vagina is a mysterious place
lips it has, and yet no face

People are looking for redemption
In the supermarket aisle
This one will make me thin
This one will make us smile
This one will keep the children happy for an hour or two
Below the line advertising agencies know this well
and offer us small redemptions
in bite sized chunks:

"25% of your daily iron needs"


All night long
A wounded bird
Has been lying in my heart 


My heart is ready to burst
like a rotting sack
filled with fertile soil
that can hardly wait
for things to start growing from it

There are two kinds of people in this world:
Givers and receivers
Both are absolutely necessary
And both of them are you

Now that it is impossible to get lost
We don't have the pleasure of finding our way
Now that the fingertips are more and more replacing the arm and shoulder
We have to look down where before we could feel our way...


Out of Sight

Because the cow
does not look at me
from under the table
with her big brown eyes
I leave her to dangle
in the abbatoir
and feed her bones
to my dog


I am so blinded
By the beauty of the creations
That when they are disappearing
I begin to doubt
The beauty of the creator

When you've a puppy's body you bounce around
And as strength gathers in it you go out on the town
A few years pass and things slow down
A few years more and they lay it in the ground

The ocean depths they call to me
I chant the hymns of the galaxy
our pleasure and our misery
each one an axe that sets us free

the earthworms and the battery hen
the kindest and the cruelest men
beyond the mask/ pall of suffering
I bow to the eternal ringhear the still ______________ sing

I hope / long to hear the untouched sing

Farenheit 451

( the temperature at which
longing condenses
on the walls of the heart )

smouldering hair

its ululating waves
piercing my kidneys
like helium balloons
a face
full of moonlight

for you I come back into my body



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

at night obscure terms
specialists afflicted him with

rattled themselves
around his brain

until sleep came
at 4am

in front of the television 
sprawled on the floor

waking bleary blurry
a pool of drool

gathered at his chin

eventually having to communicate

via stethoscope 

he grew weaker and irrelevant

lighter and lighter

like a bird-beak his nose

protruding from sunken cheeks
and it was a great release

when his memory mind 

and body

flew their separate ways 

Don't keep jail's, abbatoirs,
psychiatric hospitals, factory farms, locked alzheimer's wards, women's shelters and cemeteries
on the edges of your heart
build them in its centre
in plain view
so that one hand may know what the
other is doing
and have nowhere
and no need
to hide


Melinda Ferguson posted this about an adiction of hers, and in response my pastiche:

"So here's a story about a girl who stopped smoking for ten years. She was the happiest ex smoker in the world. One day she packed her house to move to Cape Town. She felt overwhelmed by the chaos of boxes and claustrophobic disorder and new heart Love palpitations. She decided to take a drag . Not of a yucky smelly cigarette but of a sleek cigar. Two years later, she was smoking between 3-5 cigars a day, everyday , day and night ...from as early as 5am to when she went to bed. She tried to stop. She began to cough . But still she carried on. In between she had written a book in which she swore she would never smoke again. She felt ashamed . She smoked. And coughed. Three days ago I stopped for the umpteenth time in 2 years. I am struggling 🙄I am really trying to do the just for today on this, Just for this minute just for this hour on this thing. Jeez this demon is a Fucking viper. But just for today I am clean. Again . Sigh .

So this is me ...emerging from many many moons of Denial, lies, bargaining , smoke , denial , lies , bargaining, smoke. The thing that's been so hard about this is that I thought I had the whole "giving up thing " tapped. FFS I have kicked smack, crack, weed, booze, mood stabilizers and other pharma whore products . I conned myself that cigars aren't really smoking , but I've watched myself get more and more lost in the smoke over the last two years. I guess when you get sick and tired of being sick and tired , there's opportunity to change . I am terrified to say I've stopped cos I've told myself this countless times. I'm three days in. I feel much better , smell much better , taste much better I just got to collect the hours like I did when I got clean all those years ago. Thanks for the love and support my FB friendies sorry if I've been a bitch to any of you ...I don't mean it "

I'm still crafting my response but this is what arose in the park:

i swore to myself / i would quit breasts / and the eyes of their owners / but after a period / of not finding work / feelng disconnected and irrelevant / i began sucking on breasts again , once every two months / then monthly / then sometimes, wghen i could afford a fix ( and I could never afford it ) even weekly. my mouth began to reek of stale breast milk and my crotch of loveless pussy juice / at night, my chores done, i'd conjure up jelly flesh, and hunt through the classifieds for the right eyes and vests...then afterwards emptiness and regrets....

there were two mes: the breast me and the rest of me; the breast me was amoral, deaf and blind; the screams of innocents could hardly cut through its fog; the rest of me was the kindest politest most superegoish kind of responsible all round nice guy you'd ever want to meet, genuinely compassionate but with the apparent achilles heel of timidity and situational low self esteem...   "
 inbetween breasts were nothng to me; i didn't hate them or like them any more than streetlights or pigeons; i saw their owners; i didn't reduce them; i sympathised if they posed halth risks; i saw the struggles of life written on the faces of women too busy with surviving and caring for others to be sex objects; i saw suffering and nobility, both of which are not easily sexualised. "

the breasts needed to be detached from life; they existed in a narrow timeless zone of bliss, free from responsibilities, enemies friends; here man met women in a facsimile of completeion; i always thanked my partners profusely and sincerely...thank you fr lending me your young lips, skin, tummy, legs , hands, nipples...thnk you for suh sweetness, lwys the feeling for this i was created, all else grey humdrum, in these moments, these meetings i just feel, i just am, i just be....