Urunga Slice

A few years ago, I spend a couple of years with my ageing Mum. It was the best of times and the worst of times. My family was grateful for the support of the community in the small coastal town where she lived. This is a thank you to that community.

Now that I live in Urunga
Where two rivers meet the sea
I look around and feel younger
Than I really ought to be

The pace of life is not hurried
Plenty of time for a yarn
Nobody seems very worried
People are friendly and calm

One place I go to do washing
Like a good sick mother’s son
Can’t miss it unless you’re rushing
It’s run by Jo Brotherton

Stroke put our Mum in a wheelchair
Wet kylies, nighties and sheets
Each day, Jo would take real care
My angel of Bowra street

She handled the smell and my madness
With her cheerful cheeky smile
Respite from caring with sadness
Having a rest for a while

Now Ma’s party’s over at last
The old place is up for sale
My future dries tears for my past
My present is hitting the trail

I’ve enjoyed my time in Urunga
Where sickness helped me to see
This town has elders and younger
Whose kindness was brought to me

haiku one two three

trembling on a branch

shards of snow fading away

buds will soon appear

waves crest unboarded

sunlight disappears too soon

cold winds kiss the sea

years old tears burst free

southern highway winter rain

hearing sad love songs

More with voice and pictures

Reflections while sleepless and restless

Introspection in the Berlin night time.

Thoughts of home and comfort, travel and loneliness.

Poetry & photographing things
Serving as distractions of the shy
From participation in the life of others

Abstract data gathering of the now
For sometime future presentation
As observations from a past imperfect

Then what’s left
In the space between
The snapshots and the jottings?

Blissful enjoyment of the fleeting moment
Free of intellectual interface
Active engagement in shared ritual present

Shadows splashing the Tiergarten bike paths
Mad riding at night with no lights
Winding around the blurry tree trunks
Like ten year olds on speed

Walking home from a just-round-the-corner friend
European football telly everywhere for weeks
Roads a-roaring with discordant Turkish car horns
Fluttering red highlights glory to crescent and star

Buying vegies, fruit and memories
From the Dolly Parton of the Markthalle
Listening to my clumsy unfamiliar words
Helping me with my change

Family picnic Sundays
With a complexity of kin
Buzzing along the bike paths
Singing a song as we sailed along

Berlin Impressions

On my second visit to Berlin, I was based at a friend’s house in Kreuzberg.

From there I adventured forth into the unknown … back there I returned to rest and process.

These are some of my clumsily remembered impressions.

travelling through a data storm

places, streets, buildings, people
sounds, smells, shadow and light
bicycles, bicycles, bicycles

look left then look right

stories friends have told me
images I can’t forget
like a girl with false moustache
robbing banks as a man

trying to meet the moroccan
takes up several days
even with three shared tongues
communication has delays

aimless stoned cycling – lovely!

stumbled onto the footy fanmeile

brandenburg gate a coke ad
football fans a coloured swirl
ferris wheel, food stalls, souvenirs
big screen primed for germany v turkey

overcast friday in kreuzberg
melancholy september day
anniversaries of failure
memories of love gone sour

better days arrive, of course
bathed in synchronicity

“no one ever steps
in the same river twice”

read this well-known saying
three times in the same week
twice in books
once in a graveyard

sunny sunny daze are long
twilight glows ‘til nine or ten
breeze enough for comfort
cool as this fabulous town

Kreuzberg Summer 2008

What a fabulous summer it was!

I didn’t come here for buildings
Monuments to pain and grief
Shadow walls of delusion
That echo disbelief

I came here for the people
The street life and the food
For the novelty of living
As a new guy in the ‘hood

To struggle with a language
Outside my comfort zone
Learning like an immigrant
The meaning of alone

Black-topped girls on bicycles
Confident and serene
Dressing down like waitresses
Cool in the Kreuzberg scene

Scruffy streets and cosy bars
Where it’s okay not to booze
Where European football
Is the conversational news

Adult soft drinks are not sticky
Black coffee is always there
With free internet on offer
Bars are not too hard to bear

No racing, rugby or Foxtel
In banks around the room
No steroid junky bouncers
Designed from a cartoon

Dickheads from the suburbs
Are nowhere to be seen
Glass and chrome are absent
Replaced with aged beams

Relaxed and cool with alcohol
Because it’s everywhere
No sign of shit-faced drinkers
With a vibe that says beware

I like it here in Kreuzberg
Friendly without airs
Covered Turkish maidens
Poverty, flowers and stairs

Ode to the nipple

A couple of years ago a friend set up a night of burlesque and cabaret to raise funds to support a friend with breast cancer.
She asked me to write and perform a poem on the topic … an ode to the nipple.

This is what I came up with …

It is the first thing that we seek
Whence from the womb we peek.
Blinking from our nine month nap
We blindly grope towards the tap.

Fount of Mother’s nourishing milk
Providing lifeblood smooth as silk.
While we feed as innocent tots
We stroke and grasp it lots and lots.

Alas the time one day arrives
When of its joy we are deprived.
Growing up has many woes
Worst of which is “Nipple Closed”

So it’s no wonder as we age
Focus on nipples is all the rage.
Man or woman, worst or best,
We love the feel and taste of breast.

I leave you while you drink your tipple
Trying to avoid the obvious rhyme.
That will make your giggles ripple
Through this room at party time.

When we all had hair

Out of a stony breakfast conversation with some new German friends, this poem eventually made it to the light of day.

When we all had hair
Our souls were younger
Drugs were stronger
Days were longer
We thought we could change the world

When we all had hair
Women had hair all over
Equal rights for armpits
Eyebrows, legs and bushes
So we had beards and silly sideburns
Afros and bad moustaches

We believed in what we stood for
And we marched for our beliefs
We justified not working
And smoking dope all day
By discovering corporate criminals
With politicians in their pay

Hair was the real liberation
To rebel by growing it long
Barbers went out of business
Clippers were for skinheads
Scissors for chopping mull

When we all had hair
Our souls were younger
We lasted longer
Fed on hunger
We made loving all day long

Now our heads are balder
But our souls are bolder
If hearts are stronger
And minds stay younger
We chillin’ baldy Rastas
Still keep dancing beyond dawn


Dungog by accident

First draft of my experience waiting in Dungog for three days while my spare keys took 3 days by Express Post from Valla, only three hundred k’s away. Three days!
Oh, did I say that I’d lost the  keys at my annual favourite “Music Arts and Lifestyle” Festival in the glorious Barrington Tops? Disappeared down a wormhole in the time space continuum. Nuff said!

Three nights in Dungog
Penance for lost keys
After three days of fun
By the Subsonic river

Car NRMA’d from field of play
Tall Timbers motel awaits
After phone call to owner
On his dairy farm home

Key under pot plant
Round the back somewhere
On a chair maybe near the door
Got it have you?
Number 9? Rightio.
The missus’ll see you in the morning

Gotta love the rural ways

Waiting for spare keys
Thanks to darling daughter
Express Post from Valla
Three hundred clicks away

Patience tested and doing okay
Live in the moment
Live in the moment
There is only the Now

But so bloody hot
Hot hot hot

Shorts from the op shop
Replace groovy jeans
And Blundstones
That crippled in the heat

Where are the people?
Lovely architecture
Reflecting bygone glories
But where are the people?

Plenty of drinking holes
But not for me

Cryptics, aircon and telly
Rainy Mandela farewell
Nap, doze and sleep

Wasted words

New poem I’m working on … needs feedback to see if the rhythm and ideas make sense

So many wasted words,
still more struggle to be said.

Endless parade of repetition,
issues from the human condition.

We prise fears from our psyches,
turn them into marks on a page.
Catharsis in ink.

Discovering in the process,
if we’re lucky,
our tortured illuminations.
Common symptoms
of our race, our culture, and our kind.

But still, that doesn’t make you better
down where you are.
At the time.
Bruised, battered and brooding,
in the black dark of the existential pit.
No light, not even a fucking tunnel.

Weeks spent dreaming,
wrestling evanescence of thought.

Ideas in a hazy tantalizing whirl,
collide momentarily in the mind,
tease with near clarity,
then are gone.
Darting, spinning off at tangents.

New ones demand attention,
then as your mind’s eye looks,
drift away like eye worms.

Looking and seeing.
Still to find the difference.
To know it or feel it.

Seems to me
that if films are modern morality plays,
then the dilemma seems to be:

Safety in comfort,
stability in dull conformity,
risk the unfamiliar,
embrace adventure.

Look beyond the village,
further than family, house, or car.


As Chao Pingwen said;

Arise and take thy cane and bring thy pot,
Hunt out the hill and dale’s secluded spot.
I hear the cuckoos calling on the hills.
Business? What business? Oh, tarry not!