Monday, May 30, 2011

Buddha at Ayutthaya

Buddha at Ayutthaya

her god face is serene embraced by aerial roots
perhaps she is sleeping
or her open eyes can only see the inner sky
some human hand offered flowers stark against the black cage
of her holiness             in adoration
that will remain when the root swallows her face


Dear Bloggers

have you been experiencing strange traffic on your site?   Well, it might be me, attempting to leave a comment ....

I am unable to sign in to 'google accounts' - or when I do sign in, I get taken to my own dashboard.  If your comment box doesn't have an anonymous choice, or doesn't already recognise me (I have no idea why some blogs do and others don't) I can't seem to leave a message.  I go around and around verifying words and signing in again and still get no where.

Please don't feel offended if I don't comment - it is not intentional neglect on my part.

Any advice (if you can get past the censors) would be gratefully received.

And another thing - my spell check doesn't seem to work any more ...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Marvie's Day

when we buried Marvie it was hot

jacaranda dripped from the sky

the sunlight spoke of ghosts and horses

and drying fields and flowers

heavy black flies sheltered from the blowing air

while we waited

the ladies wearing bridge clothes exchanging golf scores and sanitised family history

the men hearty with sweating hands and akubras: smart casual, no black

what are you driving and what’s your handicap?

golf, but something else too

like a currawong striding across the lawn having spotted a small lizard

the hired minister flapped towards us

and out-of-work waiters nudged us into the marquee like cattle dogs

three men carried her but one could have tucked her under his arm

laid the little coffin on the luggage straps

chrome gleamed like a speedboat at a show

the preacher told us three times he hadn’t know Marvie

slipped and called her Gladys twice, distracted by the death certificate

he exhorted us to cry

I watched the wind lift the flowers and ribbons on her lid and shiver them

and as he spoke his homily the wind rocked the coffin on its bindings

rocked the coffin like a cradle

there was no earth for miles    a shopping centre cemetery

only green lawn    velvet astroturf

the sky escaping

and Marvie rocking in her box


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Absent Poet

He is back – maybe – with his muse, my muse

but shut up and silent in his singing

No conversation, no exchange, his words flung at my sky

my words drop to the dust, unspoken

And I am wracked with my unknowing misunderstandings mystified

Why why why

And then the knell what have I done wrong?

But his song has nothing to do with me

On one side of the globe he shoots his arrows of beauty, targetless to my knowledge:

On the other side of the globe I catch up withered leaves and dried twigs:

It is nearly hot enough for the birds to fall out of the sky dead

(they do each year flying and drop as stone)

On that side mists and lichen and looming clouds and dripping branches and every level of angel fecundity, and their own brand of violence

Here mystic dervishes twisted mad by thirst and heat

And still I hear the whispers through cracks in space

and I whisper back

expecting emptiness


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What do I think of blogging?

When I started my experiment I was quite uncertain what I would want to post - I have several handfuls of poems, short stories, the odd barely started/almost finished novel and shelf-loads of notebooks - and I began quite tentatively, and then enthusiastically.  My blog, and finding other blogs  to read, became a welcome distraction from illness and misery.  I was seduced by all the lovely comments I received on my poems and had lots of fun scribbling ditties in response to the various prompts I found.

I wonder if other bloggers have this feeling of failing themselves somehow?  I began to feel that I was only writing and posting as some sort of elaborate prostitution, of choosing what I thought were appealing, easy poems, and not wrestling with what really matters to me  (which is ...?) in order to continue to enjoy being read and appreciated.

I set up a separate blog to focus more on life in exile, thinking people might be interested in the bizarre lifestyle of this corner of the world, only to find that generally people weren't interested (save a few loyal ones) and that my squashed in and compromised life makes pretty boring writing:  how many posts can one make about a tiny scrap of garden, semi-feral cats and peacocks?  Well quite a few it turned out, but they hardly make compelling reading.  I can't write about the vivid cultural life here - the bars and nightclubs, the restaurants and concerts, because I don't go out, except to the hospital and back.

I don't want to write about being ill, I know there is a sub-genre  (well maybe a very big genre) of agony blogs and fora:  not interested in others' misery and not interested in sharing mine.   I could write about my obsession with the temperature (46 today), but if you really wanted to know, you could look that up, couldn't you?

I seem to be going further and further away from what feels authentic, which is why I have been so quiet lately.  I haven't figured out what it is I want to do - I could simply 'have fun', but that is not my nature, unfortunately.

I am interested to know if other bloggers have these doubts about masks and identities, about doing what they see as their 'writing work' or not, or whether you just carry on into the dark without thinking too much on't?


Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Large Crumb


I wonder where that pair of ants will go with their large crumb? 

Here is another crumb, or possibly the same one:
struggled over by one large ant and one small ant, 
now joined by another small ant: 
they won and are dragging away their prize. 
The large ant shrugs several shoulders and saunters off. 

The ants must be able to smell my banana bread leftovers:
they are doing a diddly dance on the pavers.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Statue to Physical Energy

'Physical Energy' GF Watts, Kensington Gardens, London

Statue to Physical Energy

How can a statue be physical energy?
That artist rearing in the saddle against the stallion rearing against the earth

How can bronze breathe and thrust?
That horse snort in fury?
The bare foot warrior on his mount
Flings words at the sky

'Physical Energy' GF Watts, Kensington Gardens, London


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In the Kanangra Boyd State Forest

you still haunt me after I’d forgotten you and the dream
I thought you were buried and at peace
but find you still live on, both of you, and me with you, in that last adventure

I do not have your courage would not have tried the feat you attempted
perhaps you were not brave either until you found you had no choice
and then the matter was resolved and contracted in a black hole fist
was it thirst that you last thought of or hunger
or did the blessed cold reduce your sensations so only the animal plodded on
until that part had to stop?

I know you felt elated at survival
winning the lottery of air crashes
I was with you, I was there
how excited we felt
unconquerable, on top of the world

I’d hurt my leg, the going was very rough
and the burns left us a bit shaky

perhaps it was shock rather than elation that leant us our wings to descend to the water
the cold crept on, and simple disorganised life became implacable
the cold   the wet, we began to panic
we can’t be that far away
the mist in the trees like porridge
false warmth, false nourishment
we are mates, we’re blooded now

when we’re in our forties, telling our teenage sons how we survived
walked out of the crash and they confess they’ve got their girlfriend pregnant
or have been expelled from school
we will laugh and ring each other up and say
“you haven’t forgotten have you, how great it is to be alive?”
our wives will shake their heads
we’re special you and me

you still haunt me boys, mates
I thought I’d buried you
but the journalist in his money-for-old-rope article brought you back

I can still feel you on the track in the stumbling root infested rock barrages city shoes
I didn’t want to read the colour supplement autopsy of your last days

our dream was enough

your lives came to me in news bulletins on the radio
your deaths were a shared experience
that flapped through the murky ether to my witness
perhaps I must challenge the morality of colour supplements and proclaim our truth
what really happened to us

what really happened
could I say we were happy?  thrilled, excited?
whichever one of you I was?
could I tell our parents the cold death was worth that feeling of winning?
or maybe it wasn’t
maybe their loss, or what they would’ve gained if only we’d done
if only they’d done
how could they give up so soon?

I knew we were alive

note from:

TYPE: Callout NOTIFIED BY: Insp. Dennis Rayner - Bathurst
DATE: October 27th, 1993 MAP USED: KANANGRA
PARK: Blue Mountains National Park
Search for missing airmen who crashed in Wheengee Whungee Creek, Kanangra.
After the first media reports of a missing Socata Trinidad plane being found, S&R rang Oberon Police
to offer assistance in the land search for the missing occupants.
Oberon police contacted S&R on Monday night at 7.10pm and asked for our assistance. The base
was to be Whalans Paddock just south of the Boyd Crossing Kanangra.
S&R were able to field approximately 35 members including base personnel and were able to field 8
search parties.
The search area was based around the crash site on grid 288290 down into Spinebender Creek,
Wheengee Whungee Creek, Christys Creek and ending at the Kowmung.
The first body, badly decomposed, was found at 10.35 am in Wheengee Whungee Creek at grid
309288. The second body was found in the creek approximately 40 minutes later 150 metres
downstream. Crisis incident debriefing was offered to all members who were with the bodies and
assisted the police.


Monday, May 2, 2011

804 Prayer to Phoebus for a happy retirement (Poems of Exile)

Smoldering Fires, Clarence Holbrook Carter, 1904-2000
Columbus Museum of Art

O Phoebus, favour my efforts which aim for nothing grand,
nothing that the envious crowd would want.
Keep riches away from me; let others seek leadership,
let others take pleasure in great influence:
that this one is named admiral, head of the fleet, and that one
is joyful at the returns of his anxious eagerness, who seeks to take
command of another army; that the province fears his two bundles of fasces;
and that he hears triple times applause.

As for me, can I devote myself to a poor plot and poems of love,
and not pass a day without my brothers?
Grant me retirement not touched by an indolent or sordid life,
that my mind fears nothing nor desires any thing;
and enjoying my ignorance, grant that I would be released after a long painless old age,
and that my brothers be near to collect my bones for burying.

Note on the poem:  this is one of my loose translations from a collection of 1st century Latin poems attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca, or pseudo-Seneca.  If you have been set it as a translation exercise, don't rely on my efforts as my Latin is pretty shaky ...  a full explanation for the collection is posted under 'The Madness of Exile (Exile II)'.

image from Tess Kincaid Mag 64

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Comments Invited

there is alway a tidy box, (some ornate, some plain)
an exhortation, invitation, request, or if you must add-your-two-bobs-worth
then the trick: find the word, make sense of the letters, prove you are human and not machine
but the part I like best is:

Choose an identity!
as if by selection one could slough off an unwelcome skin, personality, life history, complaint, language or mien
Choose an identity!  
today I will be carefree: on the beach with bucket and spade, egg sandwich and ice cream after,
or perhaps Yuri on that space flight,
or Marilyn the hot seductress,
perhaps I can be imbued with the wisdom of Desmond and the grace of HH the exiled,
or dance like Darcy or shoot like Ned,
save lives with love like Mother Teresa, adventure with Tin Tin,
or dream with Bottom in the garden

I have no profile for these identities:
me stuck with me, you stuck with you

inviting comments

image from