Thursday, January 12, 2017

Poems 2017 - 5777

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 )


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

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 we try to make sure
they will have no name


the hand that shook the penis
shook the hand that sowed the wound 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 pulled
the hand that got all sticky and wiped it on the hand
that cleaned the snot and gripped the stick that stroked
the hand that did not move

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 question
the root chord is the 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


 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....

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