It all started at the restaurant

I sat
Table set
Her late 
for date

She came
Soup came
Talk flamed
Soup good

Entree
She said
Problem lies
in bed

Main meal
She reveals
I’m heel
Big deal 

Drinks round
Table pound
Curse slur
From her

For desert
Her hurt
Expressed curt
Wants shirt

Stands up
Stamps out
What’s all
this about?

I know
I’m great
Super man
Super mate

Get home
Her stuff
All gone
Enough’s enough

I call
Mobile phone
No answer
She’s done

Oh oh
Really gone?
This time
I’m alone

Misery me
Don’t deserve
This treatment
What nerve!

the natural state

Victoria is a beautiful state
big as the United Kingdom,
but in Australia rates
as quite small.

If you travel in any direction
from capital city Melbourne
there is pleasure and inspiration
in visiting the natural world.

1/2 hour short distances,
8 hour long distances,
extremes of snow or desert,
amazing bushland instances.

Every place I choose to go
provides a kind of joy.
No two places ever show
the same kinds of joy though.

But also losses are mounting.
I see it in most places now.
Degradation is a haunting.
Yet to fix it we know how.

Let’s do something about re-wilding
as Attenborough says we should.
Let’s stop the carping and the chiding
and talk about how we all could.

Written for the W3 on The Skeptic’s Kaddish Britta prompted for a poem that included the name of a city, town or village.

Translucence

She was translucent in that you could see her much as you could see anyone else in the reflected light of the sun. But even more so because that very light, the light of the sun, seemed to penetrate her flawless fair skin as if the silky smooth surface was entirely opaque. It gave her a subtle inner incandescence, slightly phosphorescent with those self emitting hints of blues and greens that warmly peaked in her eyes and the waves of cascading hair.  Her teeth showed it gently sparkling through in a radiant white smile, as did her fingernails and earlobes adorning hands and face with beckoning ripples of a delicate halo. Also, it appeared to come out the other side of her as a a soft white aura. One that flowed behind her like a short comet tail. Present, but never quite seen. Gently wavering before your eyes fully caught on. A ripple across space. In such a way you knew of its definitive presence despite its elusiveness. 

Everyone wanted to know her. Absolutely, and me more than most.  She gave me a feeling of desperate hunger - for what I could never be quite sure. It felt like I could be satisfied with just ..... a look from those penetrating eyes, a touch with those sensuous long fingers, any form of acknowledgement. However, I also recognised unreality when I saw it. In reality I wanted everything she would never give and that scared the shit out of me. 

For a long time I had longed for her from afar. Drained of other interests, preoccupied with dreams of passionate love and warm companionship. Yet whenever I got close I found I had only a faded shadow of myself to offer. Dulled.  Stultified by her imposing mien. 

Standing in a dark space she exuded a glowing presence.  Her very own unique light. Standing in a light space she somehow overcame the ambient lux with her very own lustre. She could not be unseen.

So, I watched from a distance instead. The best thing I could ever have done as I saw one friend, champion, lover, partner, suitor and sycophant after another get irreparably burned. Scorched to the point of disfigurement by a desirable body and a vital heart, a quick brain and a ruthless mind, an unsolvable enigma beyond anybody’s ken. Eventually, I understood that for all the attraction of that internally lit, beautiful, vibrant, illuminated woman, her translucence meant no matter how close you got, no matter how hard you tried, no matter what you applied - I and no one else could or would ever see into her, just right through to the other side. 

This was an infatuation I would survive, but even today, years later, the mystery, the hope, the longing, the anticipation and speculation have never fully subsided. 

Dead Calm

The dead are calm for a while
In complete stillness immediately after death
Whether lying at rest or contorted in pain at that last moment
Matters not
The dead are calm 
As they anticipate the gathering of themselves for the final stage
When the very very last tiny surge of remaining energy is harnessed 
Every wisp of spirit every tendril of soul every puff of being has to be marshalled together from all the distant peripheries
Centralised into a quiet holding pattern 
Somewhere deep within the dead heart

And stilled
This is necessary to ensure nothing is missed
Not a dream, not a belief, not a skerrick of moral fibre not an essence of being
It all has to be there

In one place quieted settled and at peace
Before the final ascent
Where a last breath of essence is expired into the void
Up through the chest
Into the nose and mouth
And outward to mix with the other floating souls 
That make up the ethereal worlds around us 
That quiet calm puff of elemental existence 
Dissipates into nonentity
As a becoming of everything once more
It serves the purpose of unity
Without serving any purpose at all

something in the water

immersed in water
luxuriously suspended in space
cut off from the entire breathing human race

reflecting on water
so much to consider
when water as commodity goes to the highest bidder

tumbling in water
battered by an abused life giving sea
will i survive this wave crunching of me?

drinking any water
found on a scorching day
too many of these are making the earth pay

freezing in water
a break in the ice
i pull myself up, but just fall in twice

drawing down water
bought for the farm
having to buy water represents harm

a well full of water
a sense of security
an empty well brings fear to my family

river bed water
evaporates into the air
when will i see it again? i can’t up there

everywhere water
after drought comes flooding rain
our homes went under last year, then again and again

methane in the water
turn the tap and it burns
fracking structural layers causes geological churn

water suspension
plastic on every scale
next on the weather agenda - plastic hail

toxic water
neutralises fishing skills
no good fisherman can live on massive fish kills

ocean water
systems anchor for the world
danger warning flags ignored although they’ve been unfurled

wars over water
beginning and the end
is your water consuming neighbour enemy or friend?

drowning in water issues
battling exhaustion
this marks the end of my allocated portion

My first attempt at responding to David’s W3 where PoW Sylvia Cognac’s prompt is “water”

I always try not to

I missed you from the many everyday and milestone events in the life of a child and mother’s son
Although I always tried not too
The other deaths in the family to come
I always tried to avoid them as well
The ailments, injuries and recoveries
The aspirations, failures and victories
The exploration of new learnings
The celebrating of new skills
The sharing of self discovery
The chore taught domestic fundamentals
The sharing of hopes and sadnesses
The soundings decision sharing
The turmoil of adolescence
The breakdown of family
The need to talk when there was no one at home
The anonymous housekeepers who worked on their own
The living with grandparents who couldn’t understand
The attempts to erase your death
The problems and joys of schoolboy life
The holidays in your absence
The welcoming of new friends and girlfriends to our empty home
The experimentation
The wonder of a loving wife who might have been your friend
The graduations and award ceremonies
The choices about where and how to live
The arrival of children you would never know and who would never know you
The financial advice and life counselling
The support during child raising
The new jobs and directions
The sadnesses and hopes
The welcoming of our children's partners
The arrival of grandchildren
The transition to retirement
All the things we could have enjoyed together, but never got the chance
I missed you in all these times
And every now and then I still do
Although I always try not too


August

the long grass dead brown
the short grass stunted green
faded blue skies
with no summer bright sheen

grey come the clouds
hanging low overhead
heavy with moisture
that will drop like lead

the air has a bite
bitter snaps each night
and each day frosted crisp
icy as any day has been

the cold sodden earth
awaits its rebirth
fresh food supplies
border on lean

as breath mists the air
those rugged up don't care
but the strugglers
blanch at the scene

winter cold eats budgets
of those who can’t afford it
where constant warmth
is but a seasonal dream

homeless under bridges
in doorways and niches
families living in cars
huddle away unseen

as others drive over bridges
secure in their riches
to homes warm inner glow
where no want has been

The dVerse prompt today came from Sanaa. She asked we poets to recognise August. We in the southern hemisphere may see it in a different seasonal light to that which Sanaa had in mind. However, one sad thing we do have in common around the world is the widening gap between the haves and have nots.

Fooled

 
I saw a creature in long shaded grass
Apparently brown and moving fast
It turned and twisted while trying to pass
Through slender grain of yellow cast

I looked some time at its bobbing head
At its swinging tail strange pointed red
The smooth curved back came round again
Fluidly rodent it looked up at me then

To my surprise it turned out to be
Not a snake or rodent looking at me
But of avian descent with full head to see
A juvenile rosella stared knowingly

Who’d have thought such bright disguise
Could cloud the vision of observer eyes
On the ground coloured plumage denied
Flashy brilliance so vivid in the sky

magpie

that magpie
has been
sitting on that bough
for half an hour
black and white
against the crying sky
it chortles and carols
from time to time
i watch and listen
biding my moment
despite the march of time
i look up and down
magpie looks left and right
we witness the crying sky
present and separate
each in place
some kind of joy
and the sky cries on

Lessons in love

 
Yearning
Devotion
Tenderness
Disturb your equilibrium
 
Ardour
Amorousness
Attachment
Just let them come
 
Endearment
Affection
Move in your direction
This movement can’t be smothered
 
Sweetheart
Dear heart
Give your far and near heart
Wherever to your beloved
 
Hold it
Extol it
Embrace, enfold it
The desire for your one and only other
 
Give it
Take it
Taste it
The passion for your lover
 
Freely love
Don’t measure love
Pleasure your love
Give no reason for redress
 
Miss your love
Kiss your love
Bliss your love
Speak your love, confess
Trust love
You can love
Appreciate love lost
The benefits you will see
 
In love
Of love
For love
Love was, is and will be

enclosed

today i am wrapped in a cloak of rain
enclosed in my own world
the smallest of human worlds
rain’s grey shawl renders me invisible
everything around me, invisible
the sky is invisible
the only thing i know to be true is that my feet are on the ground
i can almost believe
i am the only person
to ever have been here and now
then i realise i am
and it is kind of nice

I read poetry

I read poetry and that strikes me as something of a strange thing to do because I perceive the large majority of people don’t. Why would they when it is so often hard work? Finding the rhythm if there is one, gleaning the meaning, interpreting the language and often deliberately obscure references to matters of apparent yet not obvious significance. 

Poetry is where we can discover more than words alone can convey. Where more can be said than with words themselves by unconventionally contextualising their expression.

But without effort there is no reward. Oh my, I read poetry because it calls to me. Whether baldly belligerent or so subtle as to confound. I often thrill and marvel at meanings real and imagined, stimulated through another’s mind in the most pure yet ill defined form of communication I can follow. Where numerical patterns, rhyme, metre, syntax, verse and free form prose all rate as valid, where everyone who can write has an opportunity to write in their own unique way. Where understanding is so fluid you can literally read a passage as if it’s meaning is either explicit, implicit or complicit. Every which way will be different. Where poetry trumps language there will always be found adventure!

The art of deception

 
 To be deceived by art
 Is where the pleasure lies
 As Oscar Wilde said
 When the finished work dries
  
 Art unexplained
 Awaits reference in time
 For art to have context
 Someone must find
 An intrinsic meaning
 An enchantment or spell
 A hard fact or history 
 That explains it well
  
 So ethereal
 This imaginative bent
 Where art creates product
 But may not pay rent
  
 The elusive success
 Of an artist such as me
 Depends on the work
 And conveying what we see 
  
 To be reminded of something
 That may not be there
 Is the way we see art
 Reminiscent or bared
  
 The artist displays 
 What the artist portrays
 The observers creates
 What the observer says
  
 And the feeling is surreal
 This fraught disconnect
 Must artists defer 
 To the critics subject
  
 Is it in artist’s deceit
 Where the pleasure lies
 Taking the work 
 and working it wise
  
 Psychological or literal
 The interpretation applied
 Is anything worthy
 In a meaning belied
  
 With all the definition in 
 Every artists hand
 The lines of description
 Are at critics command
  
 The intensity of design
 Or depicting a glance
 For artist and critic
 It’s the art of chance
  
 Is ugly ugly
 Or is it brave and true
 Is beauty beauty
 Or a sop to me and you
  
 Only the artist knows
 Where the artist goes
 But as deception grows
 Across art shows
 The artist bows
 To the stories faux
 As the critics row
 And the sponsors crow
 And the buyers coo
 Gallery owners woo
 speculators too
 Attempt to choose
 The number 1 pick
 That makes art slick
 To turn a buck
 Art by the truck
 Instead of art refined
 As in the artist‘s mind
 But only the artist knows
 Where the artist goes

Kookaburra

Portrait of a Kookaburra
Ever watch a kookaburra
Sweep in from on high
In a perfect arc
Geometry made art
Beak as an arrowhead
Body flat as an arrow
Piercing the air
Fletched tail as rudder
Precision steering
A dart to the bullseye
Wings not moving a millimetre
Purposeful focussed targeted
Missile like glide
Ever watch a kookaburra?

Thoughts on art (from the NGV & me)

NGV escalator view
The artwork that changed me
Art in the time of pandemic
Let there be love
Making in isolation
Being in the vanguard of art and commerce brings depth and meaning and joy to the human experience
Art and engagement in times of change
Returning to unfinished works
Playful sessions
Return to simplicity
Art and design that speaks
Art and design that speaks to stories, preoccupations and traditions of our past, the moments of our times, the anticipations of various futures
With an intelligent eye
A familiar panoramic landscape
Bush walks highlands
Unconscious thoughts deigned to tease
Free form associations in response to amorphous
Deceiving the eye visual forms
Linear perspective
Questions of perspective, identity collective lack of knowledge
Reinvigorating textiles
Reworked to shift the original message
Monumental canvasses of vibrant colour
Markings in the sand with a bent stick
Monochrome drawings strike a chord
Audaciously different
Leaving their travels in the sand
A fluid state of synchronicity
A black and white stencil through a coloured door
Uncertainty fragility and unrest art calm connection and inspiration
Something unexpected
Reflect and expand
Shifts and transformations
Arts education is not a luxury
Day to day scenes of everyday life of regular people
Drink it all in
Bathe in it
Melted int the scene
The agonising process of resurrecting
An avid sketcher visually documents surroundings
Inspired by vibrant street life
Gravitation fought my attention as an invisible but omnipresent power
Nothing is simple, nothing is something, nothing is nothing
Everything is influenced by gravity
A force with a strong shaping effect
Th most important step is the mixture of the materials
A gathering of dear friends
Art compels us to reflect on our own uncertainty
Find the richness there
Artworks that provide intrigue and inspiration
This reminds me of
Calming and upsetting at the same time
The sadness in your eyes
Who is watching over you
The comfort and security this can bring
In dark times, when things seem absurd and surreal, companionship can bring us solace
Capture my imagination in a thousand ways
It is not a picture of something, the image is a character.
Are you a ghost or some sort of divine being?
Off kilter, uncertain.
Floating in space.
The space it inhabits is rich.
The textures are luminous and creamy.
The character maintains a clownish buoyancy in a transitional realm.
Awkward and serene at the same time
Printed, flocked and foiled
Beauty exists in paradoxes and puzzles.
Reflect on your own uncertainly and find richness there.
The quiet observer.
Meet the challenge, decipher the layers.
How to slow down and reengage with surroundings
Unravelling significance
A direct gaze, expressive hands conveying self assurance tinged by a light sense of uneasiness or tension
Hybridisation of life
Worlds based on symbiosis rather than exploitation and domination
Each person is lost in private thought about their own personal existence.
She now lives her life at the peak intensity the rest of us pretend too.
The images are figurative, liquid non realistic and strange
This work this artist this friend this moment change everything
Texture dapples depth and luminosity

Finding Middle Earth

	1. My father read Tolkien to me as a kid. It was the 1960s. 
2. Tolkien is still popular now. Sadly this fact more arises from movie reviews than book reads. Movies can be great, but also they lose so much. I wonder why people do not experience FOMO when they have only viewed the movie and there is a whole book waiting to be read?
3. A single book can change the world. Tolkien’s four books of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings created new worlds of imagination, changed the world of literature and the world of art would never be the same again.
4. My father’s copies had stiff cardboard covers encased in a red fabric fading to pinkish. The fabric was worn to threadbare in places such as the corners and finger grip sites. The spines were ragged and peeling.
5. The physical books themselves looked and felt to me as timeless as the story.
6. My father was in his late 20s or early 30s. He was full of energy. He loved to read.
7. I don’t know where those books went. I have owned other editions in paperback, but despite three rereads, they never read quite the same way.
8. Possibly one of my sisters still has those first Lord of the Rings books I inhabited.
9. In my teens, I met many people who read and reread Tolkien. Quite appropriately at the time, another thing we had in common was being permanently stoned.
10. Tolkien was interesting all over again in my teens while we smoked and toked like chimneys.
11. It didn’t matter who you mixed with when you were permanently stoned. Almost everyone was interesting in a pumped up, flattened out sort of way. So you could readily share Tolkien imagery in one way or another.
12. I met many people who thought they were connected to other worlds in that time. Middle Earth was often their gateway.
13. Middle Earth was my gateway to the other amazing worlds of sci fi and fantasy. They remain as close as I ever got to the more esoteric experiences though. Not for lack of trying.
14. Some people said they had mastered astral travelling. I liked the idea of watching my detached body from the ceiling while it lay on a bed or the floor or a couch below as I prepared to launch myself into otherworldly places.
15. I never mastered astral travelling. Although I did master tripping on several occasions.
16. As weird and wonderful as tripping could be, Tolkien’s Middle Earth was more real, coherent and creative. Eventually I decided I preferred the Middle Earths of this world.
17. Middle Earth has deep cultural experiences in which to partake. It is full of creativity, new beings, new languages, rituals, text based and oral histories, poetry and songs.
18. Every time a poem or song came along my father went into character such that he gave life to these many cultures so I could understand them better and live them through him.
19. As an adult I will never return to Middle Earth in quite the same way, so I am so grateful I went there first as a child.
20. I hope I have given some of the same experiences to my children as a father and I look forward to trying again as a grandfather.
21. To CRT Mathews and JRR Tolkien - I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the world of Middle Earth.

Brittle

Brittle branch breaks under weight of bird landing
Falls to ground
Alarmed bird flutters to new bough
Insects break down branch
All is right with the world

Butterfly lands on native flower head
Tongue extends for life giving nectar
Butterfly moves on
Flower is pollenated
All may be right with the world

Mountain Water flows over rock
Down toward the sea
Sediment forms floodplain soil
Landscapes bloom with new life
All was right with the world

Forests, grasslands, wetlands and ocean life
Breathe for and cleanse earth and sky
Working together
part of a whole
All is not right with the world

Broken branch is tidied up by gardener
Native flower is replaced by agricultural product
Mountain water is harvested for commercial gain
Land and ocean are raided
Diversity is diminished

Brittle the world breaks