Sunday 11 March 2018

Once all reports

Once all reports,
and files
are submitted
and the last lecture delivered,
once the final scholar
completes their notes
and the final textbook has its boast,
once all theories
and methods
are keenly noted down
and all the conference comes to town,
the same conclusion shall remain:

to live by love

for nothing’s changed.

It's 5am

It's 5am
and light has already
stretched across the plains of Kazakhstan.

I trip out a double bed I’ve shared with two
into a living room now furnished by a
chorus of rising snores
from a Kazakh, Uzbek and Russian circle
that’s brought me in.

Two are still awake
and we share a laugh about the night we’ve just
torn through.

Those that have crashed here,
who lie sleeping in this apartment,
are couch surfers, hitchhikers,

It’s like I’ve just stumbled through
my old sharehouse
—like we’ve all just made a night in Adelaide.

the best thing about home
is feeling like you’re travelling
and the best thing about travelling
is being reminded
of home.

It'll get me too

It'll get me too
like it gets us all.

I might get old
or just unlucky
but when the blackness finally does
come flooding in
and my breath begins to wane

I suspect I’ll remember
the nights as a kid
when mum would scratch my back
—her nails marking the path
to sleep;

I’ll remember running out with you to lunch
in years 8, 9 and 10
—my life feeling fresh
as the light ideas
floating in and out our eyes;

I’ll remember my first kiss
in the room I’d nabbed that night from my mate
—the darkness, her softness, the posters
and everything still
bar the motion of her hand across my knee;

I’ll remember New Zealand
when we’d chuck the ball along
the highway to each other,
awaiting our next ride
—no one was around
and when I’d throw the ball to you,
it’d feel like I’d thrown it across
the entire country;

I’ll remember the nights we’d pack the car
with the whole sharehouse
to nail Mount Osmond
or Lofty
just to get a look
on the city we ruled.

In short,
when the blackness finally does
come flooding in
and my breath begins to wane

I suspect I won’t be remembering
my life
so much as remembering


a total mess

where the more we try to get
that perfect partner,
perfect job
or hold that perfect conversation,
the more life unravels;

where the best approach
seems giving life a hug
and saying,
“That’s ok life.
I accept you for being a mess;
in fact

I kind of like it.”

Perhaps there is no clear path

Perhaps there is no clear path.  
So get married
or stay single,
have kids or don’t,
go meditate for 30 years up some mountain
or head to the pub.
Perhaps it’s all bullshit
and all wrong.

Perhaps being truly awakened has nothing to do
with how much gluten you refuse to eat
like it’s nothing to do
with how much money you make
and all to do
with accepting the tragedy of life itself
yet choosing to live life anyway.

For no matter the extent
of your readings of Eckhart Tolle,
you’ll always be fighting that feeling
that something is missing
and the reality that death is just around the

So perhaps our greatest battle
is not with any government
or illness
but with the intrinsic futility of our lives

and enlightenment is a measure of
how happily you can
sing and dance your way to the grave
—how well you can laugh at it all

Saturday 3 March 2018


When I spent two nights
on Grandad’s couch,
in Grandad’s village,
in Grandad’s language,

he and I were a drive from Warsaw
and at least
two lifetimes
from Australia.

He’d raised mum in that place.
The seas had been high
—crashing east from Germany
then swamping west from Russia—
but he and nan had raised four kids
in their dinghy made of grit
and magic.

Since then,
mum had flown to Australia and
made a mostly-functioning family.
Really, it’s been as if she’s
seized a tonne of pearl with pocket nets
dipped in on feel
and intuition.
Poland, meanwhile,
broke the shackles of Russia
to fall within the chains of freedom,
but by then Grandad was weary
of the old chorus of change.
He stroked his cat, had the odd visit,
pissed in the outhouse and fell in love
once more.
In the swelter of Aussie Xmases,
we’d sit around the polish food
and through landlines speak with him
and the myth he represented in my child’s heart.

here was I the adult on Grandad’s couch
in a village
that mightn’t recall that thirty years before
mum had felt the urge to set the wings
of her whim on a flight to

I tied my shoes
in likely the room
mum had learnt to tie her own.
I felt the thread of time
come flutter through my fingers
as I worked the laces.

Grandad rested on his seat.

Mum thinks he keeps his story to himself.
Or maybe we ourselves are Grandad’s story
—a story of a love he bore
that threads throughout our lives,
that’s thundered through Poland to Oz
and throughout his children’s children,
whilst he himself has hardly left his village home.

Grandad’s tale is of a love
that lives on
like the wind

and in that way

Grandad is immortal.

You sang the body electric

You sang the body electric;
we sing the body sinful.

O greybeard, O Walt,
to talk of the white-blow and delirious juice,
the jets of love hot and enormous,
the woman and man,

would at one time cause storm,

now it causes politics.

O father of America, O poet of the body,
how would you observe us?
We who’ve turned flesh to words
and words to wars between
woman and man, between
body and soul, between
history and culture, between
sight and desire.

O Walt, O song of the fires and rains,
the black and the white,
the organ and spirit,
what flag would you raise in the culture war?
I’d think the flag of a Taoist Americana;
a lucid flag
—no, a translucent towel of a Taoist Americana
you’d set upon the sands of the Golden State
to get brown on;
sunbathing, naked, your beard, your masculinity,
the air, the animals, the women and men,
singing the body electric
and soul electric
whilst beyond the world destroys itself
with words
and politics.

O greybeard, O Whitman,
uniting the states of being
in our world of severance.

The world would likely reject you now
with that beard and masculinity,
your body electric,
your body alive
and unapologetically free,
in brazen love-grip with a soul in love with life.

O Walt, O rugged individual,
accountable as much in love as in hatred,
loving love as much as hating hatred.
O wind and rain and surf and saliva,
O sun-bleached body,
O woman, O man, O human soul,
O joy of love-grip and the juices of life.
Your redwood, Walt, my red gum;
your moose, Walt,
my dead dry blazing sky;
your deserts, your canyons,
my Banksia, Walt,

as we all embark on that numinous path

that none can wander for us.