Saturday, January 29, 2011


Kidneys, lungs and teeth. A straw
standing in frozen cola. Corneas
ducts and valves. Headaches.
Tubes, split veins and butterflies.
Toenails caught in worn coverings.
Nail tracks on velvet cushions. Veal
furred with fat and jelly. Zip locked
sandwiches crushed in backpacks.
Bicycle locks and fruit bowls.

Lying on my side, I watched the monitor,
as Annalies showed me the wobbling ventricles;
and valves flaying like barnacles. She plotted
lines measuring the thickness of the walls
and added color to the sonar to detect
calcium plaque. She echoed my neck
to sound out my carotid for sclerosis.
Then she ripped the pads from my chest
leaving two bald spots above each nipple.

Friday, January 28, 2011


When I attained Nirvana
last Saturday,
it couldn’t have come
at a worst time.
It was about 7 am. I was slowly
waking up
in my transformed state,
when Debbie
flew into the bedroom
to ask if I could
take her to the airport.
Her Subaru wouldn’t start
and the flight
was scheduled within the hour.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Meeting John Forrester in the stairwell
takes me back to the weeks
we camped out
along the shoreline
of the Beresford Park Lake.
That’s when Stacey
met her match as an addict
of cream buns; the ones
with the stripe of strawberry jam
in the fold. (What was her name?
Jan? Jennifer?) What I remember
about her
is her shock
of sun bleached hair,
her multicoloured toenails, and the small
Pleiades of glitter
painted below her left eye. She drove up
each morning
fresh from town with the groceries,
and an empty box
of cream buns. ‘Toodle-Oo’,
she sang
taking the brown paper bags
out of the boot. I think
I was falling in love. I hadn’t the heart
to tell her
that ‘Toodle-Oo’
meant goodbye. So when
I met John Forrester in the stairwell
I told him ‘Toodle-Oo’.

‘Toodle-Oo. What was her name?
Jan? Jennifer?’

‘Something like that’

Poem sent to Bernard in Coogee

Bernard, you’re probably sitting at home in Coogee,
but you aren’t.
Not really. This isn’t Coogee. This is a poem
in Coogee.

A poem which you have been visiting
for years, when it was sunny, when it was raining,
when it was stormy. And here you are now:
standing (or sitting), reading this.

Yes, there you are … and you’ll go away again, shortly.
This is how it’s going to be between us. In fact,
I’m no longer here either.

after Rutger Kopland

Monday, January 24, 2011


I went on this yoga thing recently.
The instructor talked about
the difference
between being a healthy person on paper
and being a healthy person.
The other extreme was
legal as opposed to actual
You can’t explain it just by language.
Try sticking out your tongue
when you’re on the road
to hypothermia.
The instructor was at a loss
for case studies
so she white labeled her life.
Her brother was a financial director
who last March was hired
by a chemical & plastics company.
At the executive retreat
they fed him until
he sank beneath the ice.
To us it seems so obvious
we overlook the one thing
that distracts us

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Half Marathon

Like a worn gravel; a white
gravely dust, stretching
to where the grass begins
at the foot of the hill. The bank sweeps
down to a scribble of plants,
and it smells. That’s
what’s left of where
I need to run. I’m focussing
on my breath, and the pain
trail branching into my lungs;
a sharp strap edging along the hip.
I stop here and look back, and see
figures bobbing out of the mirage.
Sweat stings my eyes. There’s a promise
here somewhere, it’s waiting
in the distance. It’s shaped
like an oil stain and hides
beneath the dried clay.
I’m off again; I see people
appear, screaming left
and right, with banners
and cars out over
the incline. I know
it will soon quieten
down and there won’t
be much more to it: this
vague track that tastes
like cement. I feel it through
the hairs on my arms.

Second Life

Amanda is turning ghostly as a line
inscribed in that wordy book.

Wretched tracks. She offers a thinly veiled

And serenely trims the message.
Lowing on those downloaded hills.

Bent to parks. Standing before turtles, where the conical
washes blank. Outworn

Amanda. She peddles and spins.
Selecting the plump boils

on the song’s enterprise. Amanda
doesn’t hope to tack

from dim until dark. A rout
shows her home.

She seethes in browns. She has shone
to a dilating shore.

But Amanda stays. Given, dull memories
fester enjoyably, but

she balks. Who is Amanda
playing with and leading

up to bedtime? Amanda
declines while vanishing.

Dowdy as always.
Amanda. Merely formed.

Comes up to the knee. Changed
outward and sees. Building

Amanda. One to play.
One to buy. A penny’s worth,

A piping wreck. She’s
brushed, and pinned to Amanda.


The stolen vote sinks into footnotes.
How many canisters?
How many inky fingers?
When will Bluetooth courtships become a threat?
The lesson expels
an age’s worth
like a wadi song
whistled at the weekend.
Weren’t you asking
about Eveline? And that short
scarab bracelet,
she wore at Philae? The tension
builds to dehydration. Deftly, Eveline
rummages for a moist pad
to dab away
the surface veneer. A damask
curtain emerges, a hotel room at Aswan.
I wanted to ask Omar when the souk
was open. He had just landed
a bundled
month of magazines
in the stairwell.
The sketch artist whipped
the Kolinsky round
through dry ink. Is that it?
“Wait, effendi. Look.
It floats to the surface. Medium.
Light. Sweet.”


He committed suicide in seventy-two.
He left a note saying he was bored; wished us luck.
He'd been living in Spain for many years.
He was Lord Henry Wotton in Dorian Gray.
He was Mr. Freeze in Batman on TV too.
He married two sisters (Magda and Zsa Zsa).
He overdosed on barbiturates in a hotel room.
He left a note saying he’d lived long enough.
He left Majorca just days before.
He was the voice of Shere Khan in the Jungle Book
He checked into a hotel at Castelldefels.
He married Benita. She was looking for fun.
She died of bone cancer in sixty-seven.
He would kill himself one day, he told David Niven.
He called Catalonia “this sweet cesspool”.
He was born in Saint Petersburg. But he was British.
He was the Saint before Roger Moore.

10 Years in Amsterdam

Three thousand mornings. Three thousand revolutions.
The faster you spin, the stiller the light.
After the storm, breakfast.
“Drink up. You need the vitamins”

This love is deep

Just give her what she wants
and no-one gets hurt.


I was hired last week to write terminal illness
declarations at St Vincent’s.

Last Saturday Barbara walked into the bathroom.

I was having a shower.

She showed me the ad through the Perspex.

“They’re looking for writers at the hospital”

I thought there had been a bombing.

“Who was there?”, I asked.

“Huh? No. Writers.

For cancer patients, and stuff”.

3 Koans

Tim was just finishing the ironing that he had put off for 3 weeks. When he got to his last handkerchief, he heard an SMS arrive on his mobile.

“Did I forget the Calgon?”

Sue asked Tim how he would know when she had attained the state of Bodhichitta?

“And?” replied Tim.

Sue was enlightened within the week.

Two retreat participants were watching the tumble dryer in the laundry shed.

One said to the other, “Is that my knitted wool jumper?”

The other replied, “Has your girlfriend left you?”

Tim overheard this. He said, “Not the jumper, not the girlfriend, but send me your CV.”

Commentary: The first participant has become addicted to a pain-body, as if trying to put on a shrunken woollen jumper. The second participant has stopped being and returned to the back-story. Tim sees this as a consignment to the flatlands. This koan demonstrates the realization that in deleting an object one may foreshorten one's understanding of the true nature of nature’s fabric by falling into externalization and believing that the true nature of the tumble dryer, the girlfirend, and the CV are different. Tim always taught the One Vehicle Buddhism of One Package which teaches that wisdom (sanskrit: prajna) comes from the Essence of Love-Organs and not from an exterior source.

Once Sue asked “Why have the peas been boiled?”

Tim answered, “Was that your question about the water?”

“Yes”, said Sue.

At another time, Sue asked, “Why have the peas been boiled?”

Master Tim answered “Was there water?”

“No”, said Sue.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Man who Woke-up Married

So, what you are saying is that I can have sex with you anytime …whenever I want. Right? I know I’d have to clear it with you first, but …  other than scheduling concerns, can I start the ball rolling when and as I wish? Yes, of course, I will always ask you beforehand. You know, verbalize it. That’s just plain courtesy. But tell me, are there any specific times when I can just spring it on you – when there are no other timetable clashes? Just get down to it on short notice? That’s fine. I can be flexible too.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Déjeuner sur l’herbe

Between me and God lies a well-loaded picnic blanket.

Between now and my death lies an Olympic pool of drinking water.

Take these two premises
with their “gated community” mind-set

and the road to Damascus
becomes mined
with water-melon stalls.

Like this morning,

I’m boiling
in my flak-jacket, sitting
in John’s Range Rover.

Up ahead
the Syrian guard
will surely

bum me
for a frozen Snickers
(plural noun, single candy)

from the cooler
I put
on the back seat.

Song for the End of Lisbon

The warm days run from west to east
in the new machine,
and time soaks up the first hard drink
we’ve had on Prata street.

The old machine may still complain
but we’ll keep it on the fridge,
when closing times and herbal teas
are options in this heat.

The final name we give ourselves
is playing near the swings.
A pen becomes a space-time ship
in its final weeks.

We woke at five on the beach today.
The kids had buried our feet.
At the night the waves still tickle our toes.
And laughter fills the deep.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Ballad of Jennifer Rollins

This one’s old. It dribbles its Cornflakes.
It mixes up slippers and buys lottery tickets.
But the story’s new. And it starts at the gate
in front of the house of Jennifer Rollins.

Where is my Jenny, boys? Where is my Jenny?
Come pickles and ice-cream! Come ads on the telly!

Saturday morning, and the breakfast plates
on the table lie wabi sabi .
A cell phone plays “My Favorite Things”
in the pocket of the jacket of Jennifer Rollins.

Where is that Rollins, boys? Where is that Rollins?
Come toilets and paper! Come blue orange bobbins!

The cell phone sings, and buzzes and jumps.
It flashes and winks in Jennifer’s pocket.
The cell phone hides, and peeks, and rings.
Calling “Come on, Jen!” out of the denim jacket.

Where is my Jenny, boys? Where is my Jenny?
Come pickles and ice-cream! Come ads on the telly!

The cell phone pauses, then starts again.
But Jennifer’s not wearing her denim jacket.
It’s Spring again. It’s the first warm day.
The jacket is hanging in Jennifer’s closet.

Where is that Rollins, boys? Where is that Rollins?
Come toilets and paper! Come blue orange bobbins!

The day’s got dogs, a sun and cars.
It’s dried out the lawns by eight o’clock.
It’s emptied the bars down by the docks.
Jennifer won’t need any denim jacket.

Where is my Jenny, boys? Where is my Jenny?
Come pickles and ice-cream! Come ads on the telly!

The sea’s gone hazy. The garbage stinks.
The ice-cream vendor’s made love to his wife.
The body of evidence is overwhelming:
Jennifer won’t need any jacket today.

Where is that Rollins, boys? Where is that Rollins?
Come toilets and paper! Come blue orange bobbins! 

In front of the house, down by the gate,
under the trees, next to her bike,
Jenny is quiet, and cool in the shade.
She cannot hear her cell phone playing.

Where is my Jenny, boys? Where is my Jenny?
Come pickles and ice-cream! Come ads on the telly!

Jennifer’s smiling, she’s looking up,
She really can’t smell the rotting garbage.
A breeze whistles through her small pink ears.
The grass stains her shirt, and she’s blocking the passage.

Where is my Jenny, boys? Where is that Rollins?
Come pickles and ice-cream! Come blue orange bobbins!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Remembering Ruby's

The short walk from the port
soaked Stilton to Suzette's on Sundays is just
platitude city.

Monday, January 10, 2011

By the Rivers of Babylon

The history of flight
is the history of crashes.
When the cleaning staff found
Bobby Farrell’s dead body,
in a hotel room in Saint Petersburg,
they whispered
Rasputin. Boney M
was the first Western group
to perform in the Soviet Union.
His flight for Rome
left without him
banking over the Neva
on New Year’s Eve.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Rome Poems

Rome 1a

2008. Evening. Piazza Navona.
An Irish student asks the street musician
if he could play along with him.
He brings out an old school desk
sits in it
and thumps along.

Rome 1b

2008. Afternoon.
Walked into the Hotel d'Inghilterra to have a look.
Went into the Japanese Bar and saw an old Brit in the library.
He was dressed to the nines and drinking scotch.
He smiled at me and said’ “It’s Tarzan.”
Johnny Weissmuller was on the flat screen.

Rome 2a

2009. Dream.
Space, 7010.
We found an abandoned Space Station. It was frozen.
We found a drop of solid sperm floating in the toilet facility.
The space station was from 2010.
I thought about Jurassic Park.

Rome 2b

2008. Dream.
The Charles River, 2007.
I was at the business school, or at the old family home.
I’ve never had an old family home.
A case study was in progress.
It was called The Life Machine.
You fed in various inputs like Cornetto wrappers or some spare change,
and whatever comes out
will be due on 08 July.
I caught the frizzbie to the library with two other passengers.
We were followed by tracer frizzbies.
I felt bad that I was late in starting the case study.

Rome 2c

2010. Afternoon.
I asked Nathalie what makes a Roman happy.
“AD or BC?”

Time Out

I looked out the window
and saw a city in my mouth:
“Fucked-up, guv!”, said the cabbie.
Your Hot ‘n Sour Soup. Your queuing.
Your weather like breathing a slice of salt beef.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


The mother did not so much walk
slowly, but
made each step
an event. Visits had become
this simple. Enjoying the sun.
Drinking tea. The daughter. The children. Together
quietly. Words returned to their objects.
The breeze in the leaves.
The afternoons getting longer. The lawn.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

At Lella’s Farm

In the pen
the young colt
pranced to a hand at the rail. He sniffed its palm
where the sugar cubes had been. They stood there,
not waiting. The damaged
wind drew back to its drip feed in the hills. One of them whistled
for the hand’s
owner to come back to the pickup. The colt snorted
and arched into a coiled
spring. The pickup’s engine
Further up, a white cloth
clacked like a freight train.
They were off, all of them. A point at the source of the dust column.
We heard the colt
alone in its skin, a wet
envelope, a wall.

The Insult

I laid an egg once and China hatched from it.
(Tibet too, but that was later).
I lay “BIG”.

But now, when an ant finds one of my eggs,
she hordes it with her own.
She can’t tell the difference…

I witness this
with a thinly disguised rage. How can I try
to explain
without exposing my shame?

“Haven’t you got anything better to do than quibble with a poor ant..?”

“Yes, sorry … “ and I bare the insult
in silence.

after Henri Michaux

Untold Story

The men and boys entered the van
like molecules
in a nostril becoming a scent.
Something there, thoughts
surge like gypsies,
crouching at the edge
of the pit. Matted
hair, teeth, bone, and sweat.
A crushed feather marks
the page. Charactery of flight:
chiseled dollops
of whipped-cream spread
across the glacier of light
with a three-volume wind; the paper
struts solidly
ambivalent as scripture. Stories shout
like cones of smoke blowing from the men; while the boys breathe
like bats curled to sleep
in the pavilion of your ear.

Oscar Bolts (Part 1) - 20 June 1971

The last time I took the cart to Castaseedie,
my old Clydesdale, Oscar, bolted
on seeing two water voles
log-running a plastic bottle in the Emmens Creek.
He was a tsunami of horse meat
dragging the cart like a comet. The broomsticks
rattled loose from their binding, and fanned-out
to disasters along the mossy granite.
Tilda’s antique brass pans and commode
in a botched cacophony as it blazed in the slipstream. In that instant I could see her face
puckering into disappointment.
I had lost over half my load.
Desperately, I leapt onto Oscar, but my take off was a fizzer,
and I fell between the horse
and the cart, only saving myself
from being ploughed under by grabbing
Oscar’s crupper.
I hung on with the strength of a mother, staring
into the horse’s palpitating arse muscle. I thought
any second now
I would be caught in the wheel’s metal rim
and dragged beneath the cart
But Oscar
stopped suddenly, ramming my nose up his ring.
A cathedral of silence heaved over the hillside. I was standing in the danger zone
with a foundation
of horse puck on my face. Up ahead, I saw why Oscar had come to a halt.
A mammoth Lawrentian pink foot
was standing in the middle of the track. It gaped wide at Oscar,
clattering its beak on the gravel
in a gesture of defence. But after a couple of minutes
I realized
it was in pain and going mad.
I saw something wedged in the side of its face.
The object was pink with black furuncles; small
and bizarrely angular. I couldn’t make out
what it was. When I approached
the bird,
it trilled like a socialist-built motorcycle
and drew a few donuts with its beak. I was worried
this would scare Oscar again, so I settled back . . .

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?