What I said to the other animal on my journey to the end of the world

 
I think you might eat me
I‘m scared that you will
If I run you beat me
No light on the hill
In the hope of appeasement
Still desperate to run
I appeal for lenience
For my trashing your home
So I’ll say I’m sorry
That we humans are dumb
I’ll say we forgot
Where we’ve been and come from
You don’t need to eat me
Because we’ll eat ourselves
Let me go quietly
From the home where you dwell
Humans all will be leaving
It’s our destiny
There will be no grieving
And your world will be free

Pressing the accelerator

 
  
 Flying into Melbourne 
 On a private jet
 Bouncing off ideas
 With the business jet set
  
 Closing every deal
 No matter what it takes
 Ethical or shonky
 As long as the world quakes
  
 Driven by ambition
 Minister or CEO
 Really only two choices 
 About which way to go
  
 Pressing the accelerator 
 When I should have touched the brake
 How fast am I going to go
 How much more can I take
  
 Slamming down the spirits
 Soaking up the wine
 Things are a little beery
 But everything will work out fine
  
 Climbing the hardest rock face
 Dodging the greatest fall
 Pushing to the limit
 And giving it my all
  
 Burning the midnight oil
 Up until all hours
 Burning both ends of candles
 To see how much time devours
  
 Shooting a little heroin
 For all the joy it brings
 Snorting a little cocaine
 It’s coke that makes me zing
  
 Then I lost my partner
 I leaned on her I admit
 Then I lost my friends
 Who won’t see me in a fit
  
 Wondering why I need her
 Wondering why I need it
 Wondering who l am
 Any why I’m called a shit
  
 A few dodgy deals later
 I’m sure that I’ll be rich
 But a punch up with a waiter
 Left me in a legal stitch
  
 I crashed the car last Wednesday
 Into six or so I’m told
 Realised I couldn’t pay
 Forgot insurance in the cold 
  
 Sick with hepatitis
 Broke from drugs and booze
 Living the high life baby
 Sure can make you lose
  
 Eating throwing up
 Hearing voices in my head
 Where are my friends and family
 I might be better off dead
  
 Claiming every benefit 
 Sponging every favour
 Grabbing every freebie
 Before my resolve wavers
  
 Sitting on this pavement
 Holding up my sign
 I didn’t plan to be here
 It just came in time
  
  
   

The reality / truth paradox

The only reality is in one place, at one time,
as a fleeting perception of what a truth may be.
That is to say, no reality at all.
Reality is a thought of a truth in the here and now,
only ever understood by one mind in one instant,
only internalised by one heart for less than one heartbeat.
Then lost forever, to ever evolving interrogation, explanation and dissertation.

External attempts at understanding another’s reality and truths are just that, attempts.
Interpretations of another’s reality are creative, transient similitudes at best.
Knowing of another’s truths can only be attempted by association.
Association by its very nature denies the accuracy reality and truth demand.

History is a barely valid interpretation of past reality and its truths.
Yesterday is reappraisal of reality, mere perception of memorable truths.
The future has no reality where truth is elusive and aloof.
Tomorrow is simply anticipation based upon expectation come proof.
Proof is a contextual misnomer ignoring the reality question, what is truth?

Strathbogie poetry
#strathbogiepoetry

A response to this week’s d’verse challenge regarding the Hemingway quote, “There is nothing else but now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there tomorrow.” - For whom the bell tolls (1940). https://dversepoets.com/2021/06/22/dverse-poetics-one-true-sentence/

These first two lines of the quote cited immediately drew me back to a repeated personal exploration of what I call “The Reality / Truth Paradox”. If the word “certainly“ had been “certainty” it would have been a perfect fit.

I think this is a discussion Hemingway would have willingly engaged in with me if we had met. I would start with the question, “Do you apply fundamental realities and truths to your characters at the time of their creation?”

The Risk

I cheat, I lie
I backtrack, deny
I obfuscate and complicate
anything to hide the truth

Misinformation 
I cowardly
spread forwardly as ordinary
as conspiracy to larceny
as policy to conspiracy
I function in complicity 
in social media anonymity
Where I apply to truth misuse

The risk to me individually
that I can see
is virtually
small enough to be risk free
to spread hurt mischievously
to revel in power disproportionately

Vengeful at my oversight
my insignificance 
my empty nights
my blighted existence, my trampled rights
my lack of insight
into doing what’s right

I have devolved 
to taking what’s mine
no responsibility, my time to shine.
Basking in screen light I refine
my hatred of others 
for having what isn’t mine

No obligation to the social contract
I make my way with abuse and hack
I twist words and views - take that back!
Take that back!
Attack, attack, attack, attack!

Deep, deep, deep down, do I know this is wrong?
This never ending destructive ultra-self-interested song
this perpetual wallow in despair 
this unrequited desire to belong 
begetting this relentless desire to bring everyone else down
to my level
My oppressed throng.

Do I dare the admission?
Will I take the risk?

Aargh!
The shame of it
The pain of it
The wrenching, gutting bane of it
The creep, the dragging chain of it
The cowering, snivelling, 
ever repeating refrain of it
I am disdain, the disdain of it.
Will I take the risk?

The d'verse prompt for this week came from Tricia, a challenge to explore risk. Join us at 
https://dversepoets.com/2021/06/08/poetics-take-a-risk/

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Sunshower

 
Today I saw the sun come out
From behind a veil of rain
But still the drops
Fell all about
As rain fell just the same

The sunlight formed
Into golden shafts
Vapour lit illumination
The earth shattered the falling drops
I watched with fascination


Strathbogie poetry
#strathbogiepoetry

Every day is an orange day

there are many shades of orange
there are many shapes of orange
there are many types of orange 
there are many flavours of orange
every day is an orange day

the routine is largely the same
my wife, who is always up before me
puts out the half blood pressure tablet
and magnesium for the terrible cramps
maybe she worries I won't remember
and she will suffer once again 
for my negligence

it is the half tablet I cling to 
that half tablet as a perverse 
talisman of health
ho ho only half I guffaw and say
plenty of life in the old dog yet
I hope but don't pray

I grind to mill groats
while the kettle goes on
for 80 degrees of green tea
to be taken from a thin light
porcelain cup
well, mug really
beautifully decorated 
delightful indigenous flora
always a pleasure to see
to raise to my lips
ah the little things .....

there is skim milk 
to get from the fridge
and sultanas come from 
the cupboard under the bench
to add to the oated groats
oats sultanas and water 
to add to the microwave
120 seconds then stir
120 seconds once again

while oats and tea rearrange 
molecular speed and structure 
on my behalf
I transfer everything else 
from kitchen to table
I set up for reading
news, photography, email, poetry
whatever takes my fancy 
on a given day

I look out the windows
across garden and creek 
across craggy old swamp gums 
and wattles
to hillside pasture
and hilltop sky
to sunshine or rain or fog or frost
occasionally to snow
and I say to myself, "Ah, there it is".

then I walk 
back to the fridge
transfer an orange 
from the bottom drawer
to face cutting board and knife

every day is an orange day
but not all orange days are the same

valencias available in the warmer months
can be quite unreliable
anything from sweet and juicy 
to horribly dry and pithy
I top and tail
slice smoothly into quarters or sixths 
depending on what I can get my mouth around
evaluating the internal quality of the fruit 
giving rise to the first 
pleasure or disappointment of the coming day

the navels of the cooler months
are more consistent
at their best oozing sticky zesty tart 
juice across the cutting board
following skilful bladed removal 
of the sometimes uncannily human like navel bulk
usually in promise of a very good breakfast finale

I look forward to my orange start to every day
Full of all the goodness 
orange juice alone will always leave behind
full of the possibility of each new day
some days have their disappointments
to be relegated to the compost bin
some days have their nuisances 
with more seeds and pith 
to deal with than is preferable
most start sweet and juicy
and stay sweet and juicy
all day long 


strathbogie poetry
#strathbogiepoetry

Today’s d’verse poetic prompt came from Kim. She introduced us / me to Imtiaz Dharker’s poem “How to cut a pomegranate”.I loved it! See the link below. The challenge was to think of a fruit, how it looks before and after it has been cut open, and how it tastes. Think about where and how it grows, and what it makes you think of. You may choose to write a poem in the style of Imtiaz Dharker, or you can explore the fruit in another way and in any form you wish. Whichever you choose, your poem should appeal to the senses.

https://dversepoets.com/2021/06/01/poetics-how-to-cut-a-pomegranate/

https://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/poems/how-to-cut-a-pomegranate/

Fledglings of fear

The dawning was a slow one
we were fledglings of fear
victims of illness,
Children of Lir

Number 1 was long strong.
Her job to protect.
Strong for a long while,
until proven imperfect.

Number 2 was a mess,
times hard as hard
for that little girl,
our fractured shard.

Number 3 was me.
Death to the fiddle!
Hate for love.
None in the middle.

Number 4 was Baby,
always our most precious.
Watching and suffering,
the indiscriminate malice.

Mother was mad
as mad could be.
Inside we knew,
outside, 
none could see.

House to school
school to house
all running scared
each quiet as a mouse.

Freezing bath water,
heads held down.
Gasping for breath.
No sound,
lest you drown.

Smothered in cereal, 
honey as glue,
naked on the floor
kicked black and blue.
 
We lost our only friend.
Older sister on the verge.
Took flight literally.
Our life and death dirge.

To young to know.
To young to do.
I first noticed the down
while cowering, we few.

Necks stealthily extended,
to get a better view
of punishment to come,
forewarned by cue.

Heads tucked under wings,
to avoid each other’s pain.
Our wings were getting stronger
unobserved by our bane.

Three remaining cygnets
together finding voice
seeking strength together,
a transformative choice.

Reddened eyes were normal,
the feathers came next.
Black, as our experience
lengthened our graceful necks.

Then came time to speak
with red bloodied beaks
making plaintive warning sounds
ugly ducklings began to sneak.

Eventually, we broke out of bounds,
braved an outside world,
the hurt, the rage, the hopelessness,
to unravel and unfurl

And when we told our story,
of years of abuse and neglect,
no one knew a thing
out of privacy respect.

Together we remain fragile.
Together we remain strong.
Together we mourn our sister.
Grief upon hope upon wrong upon wrong.


For Sinead O’Connor.


Strathbogie poetry #strathbogiepoetry

Mountains old

Strathbogie Ranges
 
 Mountains old
 worn down
 by time and weather 
 Peaks 
 smoothed
 Summits 
 rounded
 Rocks  
 broken to
 new
 beginnings

 Stones to gravel
 sand to granules
 dust to mud
 growth to decay
 decay to soil
 
 Inclined to 
 slippage
 Declined to
 fertility

 Treacherous
 nurturing
 home of the 
 tenacious

 Boon to the
 potency 
 of flood plains 

 Mountains old 
 are so much more alive 
 than the hard 
 sharp ridges 
 and strewn 
 craggy defiles 
 of the young

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strathbogie photography #strathbogiephotography

You complete me

When I’m suffering you are comfort
When I’m gross you are delicate
When I’m angry you defuse
When I falsely accept you refuse
When I’m tired you are energy
When I’m stupid you think for me
When I’m injured you like to treat
When I’m messy you are neat
When I’m hard metal you are gossamer soft
When I’m the basement you are the loft
When I’m cold you wrap around
When I’m noisy you make no sound
When I’m down you cheer me up
When I’m timid you play rough
When my boat is sinking you bail me out
When my voice is weak I hear you shout
When I’m dull you are sharp
When I’m empty you fill my heart
When I fight you patch my wounds
When I’m near reefs you take sounds
When I’m defenceless you fortify
When I am passive you defy
When I make sense you mark my words
When I don’t you shoot barbs
When I sketch you paint our world
When I'm straight you are curled
When I’m at bottom you are the tops
When I am crime you call the cops
When I’m sweet you are sour as lemon
When I’m sour you are sweet as heaven
When there's rocks in my head you are sphagnum moss
When I am matt finish you are gloss
When I’m woodwork you are craft
When we struggle you find a raft
"You complete me"

seanmathews.blog
strathbogie poetry #strathbogiepoetry

“You complete me” from Jerry Maguire1966, is my chosen quote to write to for this week’s d’verse prompt. Mish challenged d’verse poets to select a movie quote and incorporate it into a poem. https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/25/poetics-go-ahead-make-my-day/

The shallow of looking deep

 

I’m still drowning in the water of you
My feet can’t find the bottom
I don’t know what to do
It’s like all we’ve done’s forgotten

I know it was a blind step
A leap into the dark
When straight after we met
I let you leave your mark

Now I wonder what that time was worth
Those years since spent together
Now I give a wide berth
To your dark and stormy weather

I still don’t know you, I never did
What is it that I was missing?
Disappointment of which I’m never rid
A deflating balloon, ever hissing

When I reflect on you as a person
You’re surrounded by a wall
As I watched our relationship worsen
You never heard my drowning call

Was your silence about making a choice?
Or were you incapable and you couldn’t?
Could you not hear my pleading voice?
Everything about you said you wouldn’t

Did I simply miss you’re shallow?
Because I was always looking for the deep
Is it there was nothing to really know?
The wasted years make me want to weep

strathbogie poetry

strathbogie photography

Les Murray, an absolutely ordinary poet.

At the restaurants and footpath cafes diners drop what they are eating, push back their chairs and stand.
Football supporters pour out of the MCG and troop up Batman’s Hill to the CBD in club colours, with streamers streaming, flags waving and an uneasy uncertainty about their walking out on the game.
Blue singlet wearing drinkers abandon their beers to the yeasty, hop scented countertops, as pubs empty, spewing pot-bellied, stick legged staggerers and nicotine stained, leather skinned, emaciated smoker drunks into the gutters, the lanes, the roads and splashing back up onto the kerbs.
Elegant wives, trophy wives and mistresses, high heeled, blow waved, coiffed, dyed and exquisitely buffed, pull down the hems of their brushed silk and linen form fitted shopping outfits as they rise from chaise lounges. 
They collect hand bags and shopping bags, then step into security guarded vestibules, before finally emerging from exclusive tailoring appointments to join a glamour procession down from the Collins St summit.

Word has got around, curiosity brings out the inquisitive, the spruikers, the scavengers and those determined to report every experience to their co-dwellers in the virtual world.
There is an irresistible pull on the minds of those interested in whatever might be happening and those interested in being able to say they were there regardless – something is going on.
Whispers, tweets, messages and emails, texts, phone calls, video calls, even word of mouth, demand the attention of everyone in town. 
An unknown known compels complicity and participation.

Worshippers abandon their God in the expectation of a religious experience, churches evacuate with pious clergy in tow fully expecting a miracle.
Tourists disembark the free City Circuit tram, desert galleries and museums in droves, call taxis and Ubers for immediate pick up, sparing no expense on transport in an unfamiliar city, as long as they can get there ASAP. 
The toy shops spill small children out of their doorways, dragging parents bemused by this sudden passion for the outdoors, as the pitter patter of little feet turns into hard rain.
Teenagers leave park benches and love bites half sucked, holding hands they cross the don’t walk on the grass lawns of springy spring greenery, hoping for a seminally significant event on which to reflect many years later in their relationship.
Office staff lean out of windows. 
Those who have no window they can open press their faces against the glass to display flat fat cheeks and puckered lips full of teeth to the upturned faces of the ever swelling mass of onlookers below. 
As spectacles teeter on the ends of noses, computers whir away unattended while algorithms and AI action every last input before going to sleep in their very own digital dreamland.
Politicians self-importantly stride down Bourke St from Parliament House looking like they know what is going on.
And journalists wave mobile phones in the air, switched to record, in the hope of catching a bite for the evening news or the immediacy of online media, over the speculative hum and bustle of the real-world real-time growing multitude.

There’s a poet reciting in Federation Square and they can’t stop him.
He looks like an ordinary poet, but he hasn’t drawn breath for three hours and the laughter in the front rows has turned to weeping.
His words and each inflection are overwhelmingly evocative, striking the perfect notes for heart felt emotion or humour, eliciting cries of fear, gasps of wonder, moans of misery or whimpering terror at any given moment. 
Listeners who can hear him are mesmerised as if by Sirens and someone calls the police for fear they might be losing their minds.

There’s a poet reciting in Fed Square and they don’t want to stop him. 
The bookies are marking up a book on him and the TAB has various odds at when he will pause or cease. 
Gambling apps are rushing to find novelty angles to bet on like when will he make his first mispronunciation?
The souvenir shops can’t understand why they aren’t doing a roaring trade in clip on koalas and water filled snow domes of the Melbourne Town Hall – where it never snows – and polyester tea towels depicting the coastal 12 Apostles that are hundreds of kilometres away. 
The police arrive in paddy wagons and on crowd control horses to find no crime has been committed. There is no disturbance. The city has simply come to a standstill. 

There is a poet reciting in Fed Square and they want to help him. 
They remove helmets, bullet proof vests and utility belts, down truncheons, scratch armpits, backsides and chins, gather in small groups, heads bowed toward each other and murmur speculatively about what to do.
A police cordon forms organically around the poet so he can continue his recital without being crushed or disturbed by the ever increasing throng. They sit cross legged on the pavers in quiet communion with the people.
The Commissioner offers his megaphone so everyone present can hear the phrasing waft through the air above their heads and feel it penetrate their very souls. 
Each stanza drops like a stone, soars like an eagle or infuses each being present with loving, soothing peace. 
Police disperse through the crowd to make sure everyone can hear. 
Hushing those too noisy, asking the more excited to please calm down. 
People up the back, hanging from light poles or too short to see are assisted by police to positions of access and comfort, reorganising the crowd into a tiered human amphitheatre of enthralled faces, ranked human shoulders  and chests so full of heart each one feels it could burst.

There is a poet reciting in Fed Square and he is finished. 
The poet bows his head once to the stilled crowd, gives them a smile of thanks, takes the one step necessary down from his reciting stool, picks it up and folds it flat against his knee. 
With stool gripped in his right hand he raises his left toward the east and the crowd parts before him as he walks, untouched, through silent lines that close behind him. 
A police officer raises an eyebrow in his direction, but he shakes his head. 
He is an ordinary poet who needs no escort to safely leave the place of his work and his work is done.
The absolutely ordinary poet blends into the crowd, many see him fade, they try to follow, but he completely disappears.

strathbogie poetry

Laura’s d’verse challenge was to select a favourite poet and write a poem either about them (indirect voice) or addressing them (direct voice). Here is the link if you want to give it a try: https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/18/poetics-poems-to-a-poet/

I chose to write a poem about the remarkable Australian poet Les Murray. I hope I honour him by adopting something of his style. Sadly, Les died last year.

The blue sadness of enduring grief

I was asked to read the letters
With my father and my sisters
Written by my long dead mother
Lost words faint as whispers

He will struggle to see and read
So sharing seems a good idea
I will struggle to read and see
There's hurt combined with fear

Her pony tail her loving arms
My sisters in her face - and me
What will I learn of her aspirations
All the things she wanted to be

Sad blue of the paper blue of the pen
Blue in each letter written back then
There's blue in thinking about her again
When will I recover I don't know when

51 years later grief can rise be real
Camouflaged it waits in ambush
The loss the pain once more I feel
I have no trust in life

Maybe one day I'll let this blue sadness go
Release it to an infinitely clear blue sky
I'll stand tall throw back my arms and head
And no longer suffer what if or why

A response to a d’verse challenge from Sarah that coincides with an often unexpected recurring sadness / blueness https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/11/blue-tuesday/

The victim

 
I knew fear
When the bully turned his attention to me
When his sneer settled into a satisfied smirk
Accompanied by a condescending glare
Comprised of evil glints behind the blackest of eyes
and a palpably hot internal furnace of anger

He knowingly appraised me
He looked into my very soul
He asked himself the unspoken questions
only I should have known the answers to,
but he determined in a instant
What vulnerability lies here?
What weakness can I exploit
to the point of causing immediate pain
and then
terrible ongoing hurt?

Thus
I became a victim
I let him use my own low self esteem
as the leverage necessary to do me harm
To render me powerless to resist
To enable me to damage myself even further
To punish myself for allowing
the damage to be done

I became complicit
in my own degradation and misery

With no one to blame but myself

Lover’s touch

The curve and swing of shapely hip 
Inclines my eye to stray aslip
Invites a touch a lover’s grip
That pulls you in for ear lobe nip

My hand upon your rising chest
Tells me how deep you are at rest
The rate and depth of rise and fall
Is enough to tell a lover all

The fingertips that stroke my back
Are fingertips with lover’s knack
For tantalising or powerful pressure
To change a mood for love or leisure

My lips upon your upraised mouth
As tongues flicker lightly about
Full and soft moist and wet
I cannot forgo I’ll ne’er forget

The foot that strokes my leg in bed
Before we sleep each night has said
With this caress I love you each night
A touch confirming love’s delight

The cheek that absorbs teardrops weight
Is the cheek I brush for comfort’s sake
At the pleasure of our love’s great joy
At grief’s sadness when loss employs