Sunday, December 09, 2007

Standing in the Secret & the Secret of Standing

The white paper kangaroo,
atop the grey stone is
ballast for Alice dressed in blue
and weight against perilous
Leviathan on leather wings
who slow flaps low the dark sky.
And all the stars sing softly
signing, sighing their dismay
as wayward dark
undoes the bright of day.
Long and slender the thread
deep dyed a blood red hue
that may by might of humble things
enigma’s night undo.

The painting is unfinished ... still finding its way. I will post it again when finished. It may become part of a series orbiting around enigmas and riddles.

The white paper kangaroo

atop the grey stone is

ballast for Alice dressed in blue

and weight against perilous

Leviathan on leather wings

who slow flaps low the dark sky.

And all the stars sing softly

signing, sighing their dismay

as wayward dark

undoes the bright of day.

Long and slender the thread

deep dyed a blood red hue

that may by might of humble things

enigma’s night undo.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Christ Lite

The long parade of our betrayal
would likely make a Judas pale.
Good Christ you're vulnerable to this
and we persist, the destination closed.
You're little missed.
Centuries of selling cheap the cross
we scarcely recognize our loss
the fault we proudly find
is not our own.
Blind our unmade eyes
despise the bleeding weakness
that inverts our fondest pose of power
that readies the world for rescue.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Imago Dei

(Response to Totally Optional Prompts)

In a dreamer's tale is a sack of coins unearthed from his own hearth.
This very hearth reveals surpassing treasure,
coin that breaths at the pine table on kitchen chairs
circled close
brewed in a silver teapot tarnished by season's neglect, by pain
burnished anew in transactions of soul sipped
from chipped cups, elixir that lingers long on memory's tongue.

Today again his gaze glances the soft gleam patina-ed by years of your
heart's tread across this threshold your reflection misted in steam
your word enfleshed fragrant as tea a wetness at the eye's edge.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


On a dusty street, dry sun
aslant a warehouse floor
where crinkle filament
particles hover in a long white shaft
and deep in the dim within
a small boy holds his father's hand.
There round manila barrels
stacked rim to rim with
whiff of spice in the stillness,
cinnamon, cardamom, cloves
dust of paradise.

Soft vinyl tops a tall stool
edged with wide chrome
screw heads a pattern of bumps
under his fingers, legs dangle and
round seat spins at the health food counter.
One final revolution ends at
a large fluted glass of carrot juice
with froth of foam to make an orange mustache.

He lies across the back seat
feels the motion, the highway dark sky
gaudy neon constellations
a big dipper lager empties light by light
and instantly refills.
There the long tail comet trucks
rocket past emitting gravitational sound suck
strung along orbits, ribbons arcing
far into the night.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Chief End of Man

(Response to Sunday Scribblings prompt, 'The End'.)

Back then was occasion
to unravel a tangle of twine.
'First find the end,' she'd suggest
and slowly she'd tease out the rest
knot by knot.

No place now for small ends.
Surround sound destiny
animates the wide wall screen.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sink Feeling

(Response to Sunday Scribblings prompt, 'I get that sinking feeling'.)

At sink I reach to turn the tap
my routine stance
with loud harangue by cat.
As frozen meat ball slips the tray,
new sun alights the awakened bay,
in far sheet glistening
bright, bird silence listening,
and I once more the expansive vista drink
from work day posture at the sink.
The microwave be-beeps the unfrozen meat
my carnivore cries out to eat.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Love Finds a Way

Qur'an readers find
And it is.
How can God be God
and stoop to that?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Food for the Road

I have topped my plate with fare
from Savannah to Bel Aire
and there are places that I know
I've yet to taste, but still
I have partaken well.

I have never sampled Rome
savoured frescoes under domes
perhaps one day I will.
But I've already broken bread
on another hill instead
in Jerusalem
ah, Jerusalem.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Past Perfect

Chapped fingers snag the fabric
as fold upon fold the future frays
imperfection in a watch tick twitch
predicts the stiffened past where a man's collar
maps perfect shoreline spread in
dried pretense, the sweaty stains
gray crust of quick-buck schemes
rosy tinted ass kiss
ground in, the yellow
pique of petty peeves
all perfectly preserved in
the perfectly delicious tabloid past.

Bolt upon bolt unwinds the lighted
sweatshop night dance, the fingers
blur all our loss in the needling whir
of this moment's obsession,
quaint relic Redeemer
assigned his half remembered slur
does not appear, we much prefer
this moistened moment as our own
with all it's juicy past foretold.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Singapore Sing

A hundred head scarves, maybe more
black among white pulled tight
carpet seated clustered, captivated
alongside Dior and other flashy
fleshy airport ads

they lean attentive

toward a group of youths and girls
who spontaneous, stand by
to sing and mime in language
they're quite drinking in.

Afterwards an animated girl
among the singers says
two dozen words about a God who
shows his love by death
and offers up his work
by life remade.
The head-scarves all attend, then
clap and wave their thanks,
make much of them.
And afterwards I tell the forthright girl
that she's been brave to speak.
"Not so brave as them," she says,
"To Saudi Arabia tonight they fly
to serve as maids."

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Australian animal art

I have been posting poems on Terse Verse for over a year. And I will continue as ideas surface, though probably less often because of energy and time going to a new project experiment.
Later in July my collaborator, Marion and I plan to start posting frequent (probably 5 days a week) original Australian animal art here on a new blog. (Paintings and hand-made prints.) If you would like to receive an email when the first piece goes up, please leave a comment below or send us an email:

BTW our books are available from Bandicoot Books. :-)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Peacock and Sparrow

Poetry is a peacock.
Poetry preens gawk-able form,
primps her position, her shape, her figure,




Poetry has designs on painting,
wants to be thick-as-icing wet colour,
3-D cool as marble Venus,
hot metal Moloch with outstretched arms,
the eternal stupefying Sphinx.
Poetry wants to play street side saxophone solo,
fragrant as a girl in heels
as she exits revolving doors.
Wants to be an art house movie with gritty city streets,
with jolts of altered consciousness.
Poetry wants to be the world
sucked from an ice cream stick.

Story, is a sparrow.
Story disappears, flits
to the landscape of another mind
nested forever in the hearer.
Story is a finger, bony and gnarled.
Story points away from herself,
points till the embers die
points till the last dull sheen
fades from the old clawed nail.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Things Not Being What They Seem

When real kitchen cupboards were carpentered
into place after years of makeshift
the little white fridge swung neatly into
a niche at 90 degrees to the original wall
where the door opens exactly
over the worn cork tiles, patina-ed by years
the sole shuffle that accompanies contemplative
gazing at illuminated left-overs.
And you'd swear by the evidence that the fridge
was first planted exactly where it sits.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Trouble with 'God is Love'

"A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead . . ." Luke 10:30

On roadside rock, invites collision.
On bumper sticker, begs derision.
Across the walls, lost as graffiti.
Spoken plainly, dies of abstraction.
Said repeatedly, blands to blather.
Framed with flowers, suffers triviality.
Celebrated in poem, we fall enamored of the form.
Told as story, maybe then, on occasion, finds a pathway to the heart.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


(response to Poetry Thursday prompt. 'river')

'Wistful, I gaze at the river's edge and hear the river's song.' Li Shangyin (812-858) from In Late Autumn Wandering Alone by a Bend in the River tr. by Ian Johnston.

Where dark sludge coats rusted carcasses
mucks unaccounted bones of Moloch's children
.......dredge me.

Where surface water rushes, feeble green light
gropes suspended sediment, out-wash of toxic cities
.......filter me.

Where night drops chill and roils the flat river
flecked with starlight and wing beat of warring angels
.......remember me.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Response to Sunday Scribblings prompt, 'simple'.

Tart apple sliced moist on the board
roasted oats, almonds in a white bowl
these few flavours old as orchards
sanctified from invisible frenzy within every crumb
carbon molecule's cake dance beneath simplicity's icing.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Does my unaffected self
peer from within the mask
I wear to spare the neighbours
my anxiety
or to cheer a child
when I too fear the dark?
And what of other assorted masks
that ease me through the day?
When I let them all drop
is my vision slit squinted still?
Can I tell?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Second Chance at Second Chance

Residual grit cast off by distant stars
coalesces to a quantum tome in bio script
with twist and tuck of human code
a second’s chance
in all these endless leagues of light
discrete, our tiny tick of time with
seventy times seven
second chances
time enough
ambitions lust to boast
to gloat be humbled and despair
forgive and be forgiven.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Second Chance

Oh dear, . . . after posting this, Marion my best critic, says the poem makes no sense. I am going to have another go. I often go back in and tweak poems after first posting them, which is part of the intended use of the blog, but this one needs a major overhaul.

(I need a second chance.) :-)

The billowing stars with beards alight
emit a moment's splurge in flight
to tuck and twist a human code
a second’s chance
in quantum corridors of script
discrete, this tiny tick of time with
seventy times seven
second chances
to forgive and be forgiven.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Feet push pogo
stirruped to the blade
I lift a square of spade-sliced
turf, uncover shallow loam
the lighter coloured clay beneath
I start to heap
where it accumulates
the rhythm,
lift and turn
a stubborn root, I've ragged cut
a rock that interrupts
the crowbar probes, the edge
to widen and to shift
the larger stones
the sides drop showers of dust
a metre down, a little more perhaps
the crowbar rings a sharper note
the rocky bed presents, exposed.

This satisfying empty space
so elemental simple
so soon resolved
in spade-work and in sweat
in crumbled debris cone, in whole.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Road Food

I have topped my plate with fare
from Savannah to Bel Aire
and there are specialities I know
I've yet to taste, but still,
I have partaken well.

I have never sampled Rome
savoured frescoes under domes
perhaps one day I will.
But I've already broken bread
on another hill instead
in Jerusalem
ah, Jerusalem.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Twice Made Fish

(Response to Sunday Scribblings prompt, 'Ocean')

God prepared me first to be
inhabitant of stream and sea.
The second time oh glory, see
what shore-side breakfast set me free
to nourish and remind all men
that God took flesh
and tastes with them
the food and drink that men enjoy
in body death does not destroy.

"...he showed them his hands and his feet.
And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, 'Have you anything here to eat?' They gave him a piece of broiled fish,and he took it and ate before them." Luke 24: 40-42

"When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, 'Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.'" John 21:9-10

Friday, May 04, 2007

hot new fantasy

Quid and Harmony - a page turner. This is a shameless plug for my brother-in-law's first fantasy fiction now at the printers. Read the first few chapters on his website. Better still he is donating profits to the Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Charity Check

We have full
circle round us creeds
that urge for selfless deeds
of hoops to jump, appeasement works
to do on earth to show our worth.

But I from birth am full of self
too crippled for the hoops and merit-poor
uncertain of my balance score.

Proud people turn down charity.
But what if in the end
charity is all we have? all there is?
What if available to me is
only bounteous, generous
love-of-God charity? What then?
Will I be taken in?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Among the Ruins

The crowbar fell across the wide lip bowl.
Something shattered when we got the call,
Clara Gregory has hung herself, poor soul.

A heft of dolorite too large to roll,
is sweated to a place up in the wall.
I dropped the crowbar on our wide lip bowl.

A much anticipated week unfolds:
Seth & Emily fly in to rest away from city sprawl.
Clara Gregory has hung herself, poor soul.

A native hen turns from her haste across the road
alarmed by the chick which flaps and flutters where it falls.
A crowbar fell across the wide lip bowl.

So swift afoot, so rarely road-kill toll.
Emily half turns a stifled cry, appalled.
Clara Gregory has hung herself, poor soul.

A broken wounded world cannot, thank God, forestall
embrace of friend & family though shadowed by the Fall.
A crowbar fell across the wide lip bowl.
Clara Gregory has hung herself, poor soul.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007


(response to Sunday Scribblings prompt, 'Rooted')

Words get pillaged.
Some get carried off
by Genghis Khan in full drag.
'Gay' went that way.
One day it frolicked at summer picnics
children's parties and merry Christmases.
Next day it was gone
abducted in the night.

I suspect 'rooted'
shifted ground more subtly.
A well-founded worthy word
it shunted noble elements
in deep osmotic transfer.
Building foundation for high
branching futures of all varieties.
But sometime in the decades after
the Americans shafted
their colonial lords,
the Australians, perhaps some
crudely cultivated convict mind,
first leered at penetration by
root of tree in moist forest soil
and found there an
excuse for prurience.
Whatever the source
it is regrettably hard
to say 'rooted' in the Antipodes
while maintaining much hold on dignity.

(Aussie joke: Wombat eats roots & leaves.)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Technological Dissonance

Long past the use-by-date
NASA's doughty little droid
sent us perfect pictures
from far surface Mars.

Why can't these same
American minds create
a toilet that does not
splash a sitter's bum
or gag at extra paper
strands as grand it
swirls a wide and
water-wasting churn?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Service Road Gems

My St Louis Super 8 motel
is a beige brick bead
strung among highway 70's
industrial diamonds:
Louie's Auto Sales
Mid America Peterbilt
ABC Billard Tables
Spectrum Glass
Cee Kay Welding Equipment & Gases.

Behind the sliding glass Mrs Patel
smiles up from her pocket size
lends me a laminated city map.
Food? she muses,
'Mexican restaurant half mile.'
She warns of trucks and splashes
from the traffic. I traverse the
sodden median stubble between puddled
customer parking now evening empty
my 'super-lite' umbrella pressed
against my skull.
It's a long half mile and
I eventually give it up -
puddle straddle back to
room 222, a bag of 'trail mix'
and the red wine
leaking among my clothes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

off again

I'll be working with some kids in schools in the Eastern USA for the next couple of weeks and staying mostly with friends in between times. My opportunites to contemplate poems-in-the-making at a keyboard are not predictable. I'll be blogging when I can.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Not in the News on Easter Sunday

Response to Sunday Scribblings prompt.

The story's old, the hero looks to lose.
Designer dull and dated on the op shop shelf, this
Good News for Modern Man does not enthuse.
Alive from the dead. How does that sit?
The empty tomb, the witnesses with stubborn clues.
Good God, how we have buried it.

Euaggelion is gospel Greek for news that's glad of print.
The word extends a wounded hand, eager for my assent.
A mere micro second we've had breath to be
among the sunsets and seas. The planet’s
small. It’s only what we cannot keep, we have
to lose and by that needle's eye be taken through
the tale that tumbles death and birth. New birth
to shed the pride that outs me in the cold.
Is there a place this Easter hope to hold?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Empty Seats at Easter

‘If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.’

Liberal theology Christians
gradually fade like an
old photograph with
no longer any

truth to

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Deepest, Darkest

'For you are all children of light, children of the day.
We are not of the night or of the darkness.'
l Thessalonians 5:5

(response to Sunday Scriblings prompt)

He cradles the dark secret
down long flights of steps
deep to his soul's cellar.
There it matures seeded
in a festy fungal bed.
The visits are frequent.
The pleasures piquant.
.....(Cancer cells reveal seductive
.....colours under the lens.)
The cauterizing sear of Light
would quick be death to these delights.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Poet: Asma
Condition: total loss of breath
Behest: 7th century prophet
Assassin’s absolution: ‘two goats will not butt their heads about her’

Smooth marble Venus
poetry of pleasure
stealer of hearts,
you lost your arms,
souvenirs to advancing hordes.
Wish, oh goddess
for these milder times.
A sharia thief would
only lose her hands.

A Jewish poet fared far worse.
She told the prophet’s tricks in verse:

....There was an old wit named Afak
....who suffered religious attack.
....He irked with his lines
....and might have been fined,
....but instead he was stabbed in the back.

The brave dark ink from off her pen
made red the prophet’s eye.
A man with a knife was promptly dispatched
to offer his curt reply.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Vegetarian Tolerance

Having no beef
with those that do.


Down spade in and up spade out,
tossing all the dirt about.

Down spade in and up spade worm,
among the tangled roots it squirms.

Down spade in and up spade shoe,
mouldy, mangled and unglued.

Down spade in and up spade bone,
one to which the dog was thrown.

Down spade in and up spade sand,
a shifty, squishy strand of land.

Down spade in and up spade clay
deep below the bright blue day.

Down spade in and up spade shock,
my shovel just hit solid rock!

Down spade in and up spade fossil,
imprint of a Rex colossal.

Down spade in and up comes water.
After this its getting hotter.

Down spade in and streaming lava,
for a volcano in Java.

Down spade in, I’m at the centre.
(Not too bad a place for winter.)

Then all the layers come round once more
as I shovel past the core:
.......lava, water, fossil, rock,
.......clay, sand, bone and shoe.
The worms of course are waiting too.

Down spade in and up I come
All grubby in the China sun.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

March Morning 43º South

Mellow stillness
and the slanting sun
and ah, blackberries, blackberries.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Pigeon Hunting

'...he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove...' Matthew 3:16

Sometimes the dove is lost among the pigeons,
though wingéd hints still glance the hourly grind.
For love of dove I want to ditch 'religion',
and search the pigeon landscape for his signs.
There see a symmetry in bond of friend,
the blessed exchange that's not unlike a dance.
In friendship we observe our destined end,
a parable of our significance
told there to halt the take-for-granted trend.
What better treasure than be friend of God?
If this is worship, teach my heart to bend,
to see his wounded wing and know his love.
When churchy 'worship' somehow Christ would bait,
I'll sing, not to evoke, but celebrate.

(...first go at a sonnet.)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Can't Shake Religion

Some people fled the church from
the finger-waggers in the pews,
shaking their arbitrary 'thou shalt nots'.
Outside the iron bound doors these
refugees drew a deep breath of free air.
Before they exhaled
that same ubiquitous personality type
moved down the street to
social services, public TV and the university.
The new finger-waggers catechise
from admin cathedrals,
church of the politically correct
shaking their revised list
of wash-your-mouth-out offences.

As years stumble on
the old miscreants whisper
"It ain't in the Book!"
and light finds a chink in the iron.
The new moralists
write their own book.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Poet Tree

A poet skips the plot.
Not for her the old growth
in a long tale's trunk
where bole thickens month by month
into the novel's knotted gnarl.
She touches tongue
directly to the flesh,
of succulent semantic fruit.
She cracks a shell -
where kernels waft
essential image oil.
Let others scale
the branching storied limbs
to prune their trees
and leaf by leaf make symmetry.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Slumped in a moist mound gleams
a large animal's fresh offal.
The bay beyond, bright blue between the trees.
Under my soles, 45 years of disgraced materials
peppered with long life double A's,
a leach of heavy metal spice
among abstractions in brittle foam, once
a flat screen monitor’s chrysalis casing.
Sea birds loud cloud clamorous,
long lone undulating 'aaaark', trailing.
The last of the flies evicted far down the road.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Marion Made

infatuation weight
soul freight
in fool's gold
even real gold.

I heft the letters
each by each.
Even the vowel weighs
several ounces.

30 years of my
lady's alchemy
transforming gold
to feathers
light as a lark. Wings
for my skylarking soul.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

LOL ... can't resist linking to my daughter's new cat cartoons.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Piece of Jesus

Everybody’s Jesus is
Everybody’ll have
a piece of Jesus.
Yum, yum.

Nobody’s Jesus is
rule breaker
lowlife associate
plain spoken
miracle maker
woman respecter
child praiser
dead raiser
bleeder on a cross
empty tomb man
hard word man
who said
‘Unless you eat my flesh
and drink my blood
you have no part with me. ’
Cannibal man?
Yum, yum.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

'Who have you had to say goodbye to?'

'Sunday Scribblings' topic for 4 February 2007

Synchronicity in the grand plan
has left another note for me.
What did
Meg and Laini know
the week my mother's pulse
fluttered to silence in the night?

Other such scribbled notes I've found
still legible though washed ashore,
the debris of another week's tides.

This very Wednesday
nurse Clare unlocked the room,
put tea in my hand and closed the door.
They'd laid a long rose
across the stillness of her chest
opened the large-print Psalms beside her bed:
'I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.'
A delusional Christ has led her to this fancy?

Or just perhaps...
commensurate in scale
to deepest bafflement at the stuff of being
hangs wild happiness to match her deepest longing.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Please pardon probable inattention and sparse, if any, entries in the next few weeks. A swell of biz and other mundane & deadlines have swamped my boat a bit ... as well as the death of my elderly mum on Wednesday. (She was looking forward to the embrace of the Christ she loves.)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sinus Serial

The pollen fight
a chronic ill.
Her misery writes
a chronicle.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


They call the dog black.
A perennial stealth that feeds
at the centre of my love's soul.

The lamb was black too
a spark eyed bounce of spirit that
fed from the joy of her hand.

We found the lamb alive
standing, leg shredded
and throat deeply torn.
The mother was already dead
flesh at centre gnawed and red.

The dog?
We have not learned the colour.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Feast Days

Collective noun for maggots?
Smother might cover it. Or dance.
A dance of maggots.
The outlier dancers dos-à-dos
scattered about before the smother
comes on the second day.
A seething sea and by the third
the pods of squirm have melded.
The sea, a seethe of maggots.

More mutton than a Greek wedding
in the old sheep after the dogs
had dropped her tangled in the wire fence.
She was swollen whole on Thursday,
all animation
and by Friday evening
remaining guests
revel in deep hollows among the bones
and rags of wool.

Oddly, very little smell
after the second day.
And I wonder too,
where do all the dancers go
when the feast is over?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Tale

...when all things are said, there is really only one story...

Three fireside travellers
sit transfixed at

...the birth
...the warrior
...the beauty
...the battle
...the brittle straw of hope
...the rescue
...the reward.

'Fantasy,' says the first. And it is.
'Trap,' says the second. And it is.
"Road home,' says the third. And it is.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fate of Ships

Sapphire Princess & SS Orcades

In '58 she was assaulted with blinding torches
stripped and beaten into razor blades
her final wake
a chevron of foam
28 Pacific days long
to the antipodes
where she bestowed the family yearnings
along with crates and baggage
of a thousand other
second chapter dreams.

Mid morning I watch them waddle from the belly
of this present decades' glamor of chandeliers
to be bussed for the two hour tinted glass
mediation of an Australian landscape
and, unfailingly back on board for lunch
to the clamor of the cheese cake buffet.

Their lady will be nudged
from her berth tonight
and stabilizer tethered
to a sea path worn
round a circuit of ports,
and the bars of a cage.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I must have been only five
when I first felt the urge
to shield mum & dad
so vested in their ideals
from the swearing swaggering kids I knew
from my nightmares, the crated bodies
dismembered, the incinerated infants,
from the world as it is.
Lest in their knowing
I must witness their pain.
Occasionally I still feel the same
toward other Americans.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


A little fence
(the path within it)
left the main road
for a minute.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


it nixes.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Thai Food

Fried pork with green chilli
'moo pad prik' on the menu.
Look across to
neighbouring restaurant
large sign
'Best Teste Kitchen'.
Genital reminders of
proud culinary tradition.