Tuesday, November 27, 2007

~ poor slowly

Nikki, during her few spare moments, may often be seen with a cigarette and a coffee observing her chickens with a small beatific smile. In such a state, shortly after I arrived from Melbourne, she pointed out a large red hen – Caroline – and her fresh brood of chicks, born that morning.

Already, Nikki had decided which one to keep, ‘if it wasn’t a rooster’. It was the smallest and she called it Slowly because it was always a little behind the rest. Caroline – a very handsome chicken, I must say; like some sophisticated gallus from a classical Nineteenth Century painting – was always backtracking for Slowly. The straggler. The runt.

Days later, Nikki bemoaned the devastation in her garden. ‘They show off when they have chicks. They strut with self-importance. But it’s not just pride; they have to stress their essential chickeness so the babies will understand what they are. They scratch and dig twice as much - to dislodge sufficient food for all, and to teach.’ Some of Nikki’s garden plants have been near to completely uprooted.

But poor Slowly. Over the last few weeks, her siblings have doubled, tripled in size, but she is not much larger than when she was born. She trails further and further behind. And it appears now that something is wrong with her legs.

Often, she can’t reach the rim of the water dish, or nudge out her peers for food. On hot days she struggles to move at all through the dust and leaves. In such a state I worry that even the ants – which are currently in plague numbers - might overpower her. And if not the ants, then the ever lurking crows.

Though Caroline has five other healthy offspring, she has not given up on Slowly. She speeds in to defend her – an awesome spectacle, feathers ruffled, beak targeting – despite Slowly’s limited hopes of survival. Nikki too has not given up.

Yesterday afternoon, she found the little chick far from her mother, marooned in a pile of leaves, plainly in distress, and decided time was up. Now Slowly is in a box in the kitchen with her own water and feed supply.

I have learned that the healthy chicks are leaving today. I wonder if Slowly can then be returned to her mother? Or will she require ongoing intensive care? Nikki will know. If there’s one thing she knows about, it’s chickens.


Princess is in her dotage now; she is grizzled about the jowls and walks with the wide gait of a crocodile. Somehow she has made it this far despite her terrible greed; she’s blind and can at last be fed in the manner of a normal dog, in a dish, rather than having her pal scattered as widely as possible across the yard to prevent her raiding the dinners of other animals fed at the same time. Princess shows little discrimination between what we would think of as food and other materials. She will automatically steal nutriments from humans and cats. She will also eat birdseed, chicken feed, dirty green lumps of bread dug up by other dogs, limp lettuce leaves, sheets of paper and anything vaguely tasty which she has snuffled out of the dust. Recently, after a particularly eclectic binge, she wound up on a drip at a veterinary hospital on the mainland. As Nikki would put it, Princess does not have a full button.

When I first encountered this dog, her immediate reaction was to cower and take shelter behind her owners. At this time, she was a svelte black and white puppy only a couple of months old, who seemed to believe I was the devil incarnate. All through that first night, she circled the house barking in confusion and fear. The following night too, and the next. No one could sleep.

I remember how embarrassing it was for me. I was a guest, but I couldn’t offer to leave. I was too far from home. And my pride made me baulk at being evicted by a dog. And we all thought she would get used to me.

Eventually, she disappeared and did not return until my departure. This was some relief, but I was mortified by the whole affair. Would people suspect I was abusing her in secret somehow, either psychologically or in some clever physical manner that left no mark? Nikki said it was because I was tall; Princess had, she said, reacted similarly to Cheyenne.

Cheyenne was one of the more desperate and feckless of Nikki’s boyfriends. He was a reasonably nice guy, but far too doomed for my liking. He is gone now, of course. He broke into a vet’s premises in Rockhampton, withdrew with his spoils into the crawlspace beneath a scout hall and never emerged. His brother, Psycho Pig, succumbed in similar circumstances. His other brother, Lloyd, endures on the island and is a good father to Sidonie. The salient point here, I suppose, is that Princess has never in all her years reacted thus to any one but Cheyenne and I.

The dog’s attitude improved only marginally with my subsequent visits. Usually, she would greet me fairly normally, but as the days passed her attitude would change. A shiftiness entered her manner and she would back out of any room I occupied, banging into things along the way. If surprised, she would scuttle madly out the door as if death himself was on her tail. And – perhaps most disconcertingly of all – she would peer at me through gaps in curtains, through bushes, through cracks – her eyes fearful, yet somehow drawn to that thing that most terrified her.

With the passing years, it would take longer for her to regress into this paranoid state, but eventually, inevitably, the strangeness would come. What was in this animal’s mind? What danger did she see in me? Did she perceive an evil in my heart of which I have no knowledge? Or did something happen to her in those few weeks before Nikki and Sid acquired her as a puppy? These, of course, are questions to which the answers will never be known.

Over my current stay, she has behaved like a reasonably normal dog. With old age and the dulling of her senses she seems to have at last come to accept me …

Unless, of course, in the next few days, she turns …

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

~ happy day

happy happy happy very hungover day

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Friday, November 23, 2007

~ intelligence community edition

Yesterday, I was doing a little after-the-fact editing on the Cane Toads of Cthulhu post. This was, I think, between five and fifteen minutes after I originally posted it. I was trying to find out more about the North Carolina teachers busted for toad farming, when Google directed me back to my own post. It was not far down the search results page, just after the original Sunday Mail article I found pinned up in Nikki's toilet.

Was it five minutes? Fifteen? Even if it was half an hour, it’s still sensational.

I am no tech head, but I’m interested in how Google searched every page on the Internet within such a time frame. It had to have, didn’t it? It found the relevant text string nowhere but on the originating site and on Sails of Oblivion …but it must have checked every other page first. Mustn’t it? Or is there something Boolean and algorithmic I’m missing?

Now, I was a little potted at the time. The day I arrived in Point Lookout, I was doing something in the front yard when a notorious looking murri poked his head over the fence and inquired if I had any mull. I wonder how he pegged me? I found him a couple of small buds, he was grateful, offered to pay, but I refused. Well, yesterday, while I was out, he dropped back and left me something similar in return. I was kind of moved when Nikki told me. After all, I was a complete stranger to this guy. He had said, ‘What goes around comes around.’

Anyway, I was labouring under the effects of his gift when this Google thing came up.

I’m pretty sure I tested a couple of other search strings from my post with the same results. It’s amazing, isn’t it? But what power!

And what about the signals intelligence molemen at ASIS or the NSA? With their high level access to classified next generation search engines – for instance, Google Intelligence Community Edition 0.9? How quickly would the red flags be raised by a sentence like I am going to break into Malcolm Turnbull’s palatial mansion, vacuum his Iranian rugs and assassinate his dust mites? Am I already doomed? Have they already vacuum-sealed a response team in rubberized thermoplastic, punched in some Google Earth data and blasted it my way? What’s that now? The door crashing in…?


Wentworth dog owners have got behind Malcolm Turnbull in the seat of Wentworth. Do they know of Conrad Black’s assertion that he is a pet-killer? That, in a fit of jealously and pique, he disappeared a woman’s cat? Do they care? See Dysthymiac for more of Conrad Black on Turnbull.


To follow up on a thread from an earlier post…

In the Courier Mail yesterday there was an article on a school stabbing in Mooloolaba. Scan down a little and it reads:

The alleged attack came days after the same school’s principal, Greg Peach, suspended five students for sucking potentially toxic beads at the school.

The Bindeez beads were at the centre of a major medical scare this month after it was found they contained an adhesive solvent that could turn into the drug GHB or fantasy.”

This would be a good example to use when defining the phrase ‘with an air of inevitability’.

Now, cheers. Vote well.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

~ the cane toads of cthulhu

Perhaps it’s time to ignore Saturday and concentrate for a little while on something altogether more wholesome…

After Nikki, the second item of interest I discovered in Queensland was the toad. [The third was probably the stomach of deputy premier Russ Hinze.] I saw something alluring in the universally reviled bufo marinus. It was like something which had lurched, whole and entire, from the pages of H P Lovecraft.

I was fascinated by the many tales of its extraordinary durability… A fat toad which survived overnight and then indefinitely whilst impaled and writhing on a pitchfork tine … on cracker nights, the stuffing and detonation of toads with explosives, and the toads’ subsequent return to their normal daily lives… An even fatter toad which Nikki would find at the dog-food bowl, wolfing the dog's dinner… and which she would shoo away with a broom ...

Nikki and her brother Chopper shot a toad nine times with an air rifle before it – Nikki recalls with a shudder – just hopped away.

And only yesterday, a man with a hideous welding injury to his eye recounted tales of a childhood in which he and his mates would douse toads with petrol by night, light them up, and watch the flaming lumps leap about randomly in the dark. It’s awkward, I know, but when it comes to toads the issue of animal cruelty seems to instantly disqualify itself.

Way back when, Nikki would post dried out toads to me in Melbourne; frozen in their death agonies after hopping into her parents’ empty pool and dessicating in the merciless Queensland sun. I would free the eye sockets of biological matter and insert plastic jewels. It was the closest I ever came to realising my ambitions as a taxidermist. I’d even purchased books on the subject, and listed it as my primary interest in one of those short biographical boxes they had in Smash Hits – but when it came to the crunch ... the handling of dead animal flesh and acquisition of the same ... well, I didn’t make the cut. Tinkering with mummified toads was the whole of my flirtation with the art of taxidermy.

I was, and still am, fascinated by the myths that surround them. And by their slow, inexorable conquest of the Australian continent. It’s scary, isn’t it? And is it true that when a toad is squashed on the road and it rains, the gut-pool will turn an opaque white?

I recall being told that some birds - crows, I think – had developed an immunity to the creature’s poisons, a taste for their flesh, and an efficient method of killing them. That was cause for hope, but it was a long time ago. I think the toads won that particular evolutionary struggle.

I should give a nod to the documentary – Cane Toads: An Unnatural History – and the shadowy figure of the terminal bufotenine addict it portrays. And no, I have never licked a toad. Yet I believe I know what it would be like…

I see ancient walls and spires and ramps. Ruins, far beyond the human scale, beneath the dim light of a baneful star… abandoned for aeons, yet presided over still by a formless, nameless horror… Upon the walls, a fell alien script and with it crumbling images of noisome tentacled creatures - at their hub, always, a single leering eye, contemplating something forever unknown, something I could only describe as evil. Surely, these were the terrible beings who built this nightmare city…?

Now I feel a breath of wind… and with it the odour of decay, and something … else … has something opened? A door? I spin wildly about, but there is nothing … I listen. A dead silence. Or is that the faint sound of moiling jelly, wet movements upon the broken stone … hulking beasts lubricated by slime as they climb and descend the ancient ramps … Cold horror mounts in my soul… these creatures, these grotesque malignant creatures … they live.…

Once I swallowed a tab of Japanese acid. The whole night all I saw were circuit boards and pulsing LEDs … in chair, in carpet, in sky. Anyway, it’s much the same thing

When I arrived at Point Lookout this time, I found the following article [archived, from the Sunday Mail] pinned above the toilet [along with the words to Emo Kid, an image of Captain Fat and another article titled ‘Glitter’s Cuban Bolthole’ (‘bolthole’ had been changed to ‘butthole’ with a texta. )

I have to say, this is the kind of stuff that really turns me on. I couldn’t see the date but, wary of disappointment, I assumed it was April first. Nikki assures me not.

This ‘notorious’ sulawesi macaque has an ‘unsocial’ addiction to ‘poisonous bufo toxin’. He is ‘hooked on the high generated by licking cane toads.’ Apparently, he carries one around habitually, [I guess like a tinnie.] ‘He just sits in his tree, gets stoned and looks at the sky.’ So why doesn’t this welfare recipient have his handouts quarantined?

“Despite [zoo keeper] Mr Husband’s best efforts, Picassa refuses to kick the habit. ‘He’s got a taste for it now,’ he said.”

Sadly, I couldn’t access the whole of this article from the Cairns Post.

“It’s all about right of choice. His glazed eyes staring into the sky, Picassa the junkie monkey is off his face. Hooked on his unusual habit, the stoned three-year-old macaque is riding high on the toad's back. "I call him the junkie monkey," says handler Tim Husband of the Mareeba Wild Animal Park… Licking the hallucinogenic poison, known as bufotenine, off the back of a cane toad seems to spin the big monkey's wheel.”

His home - the Mareeba Wild Animal Park - is, sensibly, using his notoriety as a tourist attraction. And they appear to have changed his name to Moon Rider. Much snappier.

“Look out for the notorious toad-licking Japanese Macaque. He is easily spotted as he usually carries a cane toad around in one hand! For those who don't know, cane toads have a toxin in their skins, which produces an unwholesome hallucinogenic high if ingested. The degenerate Moon Rider must have figured this out and consequently has become addicted to toad-licking.

"Despite the zookeepers efforts to prevent any toads getting into his enclosure, unfortunately he still manages to catch himself a toad once every few days.”

But isn't it Moon Rider's business if he licks toads or not? Are these zoo-keepers transposing their human morality on a monkey...?

My interest has also been piqued by a Sunday Mail mention of two teachers who were ‘jailed for farming large numbers of cane toads in their back yard for the specific purpose of licking them’. Couldn't learn much on the net, save that North Carolina has a related environmental problem with armadillos [or Texas speed bumps].

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

~ in our dry cellar

Let me apologise for harping on the federal election, but the whole thing is looming like a big black cloud over everything at present. Hanging, indeed, like the Sword of Damocles.

I know what the pollsters and the bookmakers say, but there is still a chance that the reptilian fiend will be returned to power. Or should I say the grotesque misshapen puppet who jiggles hideously with his hideous fellows to the whims of his hideous, hideous wife.

Or ought I say - with apologies to T S Eliot - the hollow man, the stuffed man, headpiece filled with straw, whose dried voice is quiet and meaningless as wind in dry grass, or rats’ feet over broken glass in our dry cellar.

I hate it that this… vile, heartless, uncompassionate individual is still in a position to stress me out like this.

I hate it that in all probability, there are people out there who pay no heed to the legal travails of Mohammad Haneef. To the legal travails of Mamdouh Habib who at the hands of ‘Australian servants’ was ‘the victim of atrocities fit for a concentration camp, including being tied to the ground while a prostitute menstruated on him’.

And to the skein of cowardly lies that was the children overboard affair. To the man who today said he would allow nuclear power in Australia ‘if the economy demanded it’. The economy. The economy. Excuse me, but shouldn’t that be 'the imminent catastrophe of global warming'?

And to the architects of the GST that taxes rich and poor alike. To the architects of Work Choices. To the greedy plutocrats from the leafy suburbs who revile the union leaders whose calling is to speak for those who only have a voice if they speak together, for the masses disenfranchised by those very plutocrats. To the fatuous Chris Corrigan who, with the support of leading liberals, tried to break the MUA with his hired goons.

And to Tony Abbott who bulldozed a planned safe injecting room in Sydney by calling on his friends in the Catholic mafia. Archbishop George Pell spoke to future pope Joseph Ratzinger, [who at that stage was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,] who obediently threatened to expel from the Church the dignified order of nuns who had planned to operate the room.

And to Kevin Andrews who trod out the euthanasia laws in the Northern Territory, who fought against stem-cell research and RU-486. To the men who aborted the heroin trials in Canberra with extreme prejudice. To the Prime Minister’s advisory panel on drugs, headed by the ignorant and intolerant Major Brian Watters, possibly the most calcified and backward looking voice on the subject available.

And to Kevin Ruddock. And to Amanda Vanstone.

And to the arsehole whose twee vision of Australia in the fifties – with no drug addicts, no homosexuals, no sophistication and governed by the regiphiliac Menzies - led him to fatally and arrogantly sabotage the referendum on the republic …

I’m sorry to regurgitate all this stuff. It’s sickening, I know, but it frightens me that there are people out there who will offer their vote to this… man.

And, well, just shoot me, please, if he gets reelected.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

~ the horror

the horror ...

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~ the flaneur

What is it that falls from me when I reach this place? What discoloured coating? Day by day, I find less of it mouldering in the grease trap with the bacterial mats and the slippery hair.

What clinging plastic film dissociates in the beach wind to leave me restored?

What clicks in my head when I begin to focus on the distance, rather than the close at hand? On the expanding worlds of sky and sea and scrub covered headland - rather than the muted hopes, the crabbed notes, the tangled priorities, the dusty things screwed into corners and the low-pitched electrical hum in my bones.

At first, the scenery seems flat, two-dimensional, but after a few days I begin to see perspective; details reveal themselves - as if something has physically shifted in my brain in order to gauge these new surroundings.

But what are the secret triggers? The mysterious traps I stumble on as I wander. The sleeping sentinels I trip into awareness. The hidden things that consider me calmly, deliberately, then are driven to act…

What coded transmissions from the translucent blue caterpillar with the crimson notochord, the neat mustard-coloured kidneys, the head that is indistinguishable from a sunflower seed? What cryptic pulsations are steered by the yellow ladybird that lands on the root of my thumb? The ladybird with more spots than the red one I know from home.

What beams are directed by the leaping froglets - which wet grains are dislodged by their tiny pads upon the sand? What meaning in the clattering of pumice stones in the surf? What cipher in the soft tattoo of feelers against the glass of the aquarium?

What is written by the scritching of the curlew’s feet on warm cement at twilight? And what forewarning in its ghoulish cry? What tranquil policies are enacted in the sweet chirping of the geckos in the woodwork? What dreamy conventions are adhered to by the clear gelatinous masses on the tideline, faintly blue, faintly rose or grey?

What, at last, gives me the bewildering power to roam the streets and beaches with no particular goal in mind … pausing to peer in rockpools, to inspect queer beetles, peculiar leaves… to feel no constraints, nor the need to use the time productively … to live for a little while with the simple sufficiency of a sun-warmed plant …

After a long wearying journey, l lay myself down and submit to its authority. Whatever it may be, I debase myself before its rocks and sands.


ps: Kate, thanks for your note. Haven’t really got a way of replying, but how connected we are all…

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Monday, November 19, 2007

~ complaint to the australian ombudsman

Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to express serious concerns regarding a television advertisement placed by the Australian Federal Police which encourages Australians to report suspicious activity in the community.

The phone-voices of Australians are heard communicating their fears to the AFP, so providing examples to the viewer of what may be considered questionable behaviour or speech. The spoken words are transcribed on screen, superimposed, moved about, and ultimately gathered together into a map of Australia composed entirely of the fear, uncertainty and suspicions of the callers.

To my sensibilities this is an unnecessarily extreme image which - if effective - would have the potential to degrade the general wellbeing of our society. It appears to urge the dissolution of trust and solidarity in a community which defines itself as open and content. How the image sits with regard to the typical Australian opinion of the 'dobber', I could only speculate.

The concerns of the AFP may be real, and the assistance of the community may be helpful in addressing them, but this advertisement employs imagery that is well beyond the pale. It seems to encourage the kind of behaviour we associate with communist East Germany, in which neighbour is pitted against neighbour in their fear of the secret police. At least that was my first reaction.

I hope that by drawing your attention to this advertisement, some reassessment of the AFP's approach may occur.

Additionally, I would ask that the timing of their campaign be considered. During the lead up to an election, the incitement of fear in a community is often used as a tactic by certain political blocs. With this in mind, the AFP advertisement would seem dangerously close to being political in itself.


Sam Sejavka

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

~ the twilight of the vilp

Usually, when I visit here, I sleep on the back porch beneath a slap-dash roof which has collapsed on me at least once in my memory. This time, however, I’m in the shed. It’s been cleared out, finally, and I have a very pleasant place in which to lurk – and it’s easy to avoid getting in the way of Nikki and Sid’s daily life. The chickens and the dogs wander in and out. At night, the porcine grunts and senseless giggles of the schoolies carry from the park across the street.

I generally fall into some kind of mindless routine after a few days here. I wake, walk to the Point, buy coffee, read the paper - the Courier Mail has gone from broadsheet to tabloid in my absence - swim, read on the beach… Though this time, it’s taking me a little longer to find a rhythm. I’m walking a lot, that’s for certain, and I’m fruitlessly attempting to take photos of very small things…. Crabs, barnacles, beautiful micro-fish darting in rock pools… I counted five species this morning, all lavishly coloured or patterned… I really have to get a better camera…

I’ve been going to the pub too, [where I am writing this]. The Straddie pub has metamorphosed from a typical and slightly dangerous Queensland hotel into a hulking complex with restaurants, accommodation, etc. that might easily have been transported whole from the Brisbane CBD. But there’s still the panoramic view of Moreton Bay out over Cylinder Beach…

I’ll walk back along the beach soon, as the sun sets, maybe watch some television, sleep…

Nikki has a bookcase dedicated to old science-fiction. All the books are dusty, the pages yellow, brittle, the bindings loose. She buys many of them for the covers alone, but there’s good reading too. She is a Philip K Dick aficionado and has a half dozen of his novels. There’s a lot of Clifford D Simak, some Badger Books and five treasured copies of The Twilight of The Vilp. I myself have at least ten. This is a hangover from a period during the Eighties when our Vilp Libraries vied for supremacy. I am certain I possessed at least forty copies at one stage…

I recall throwing out the page-blocks and keeping the covers, then later throwing out the covers… I don’t remember why… But almost immediately I started collecting them again. And of course they’re a lot harder to find these days…

I haven’t actually read the book, but Nikki claims it’s extraordinary. I have my doubts …

Andre Norton was a favourite writer of my childhood. I found a novel of hers in the bookcase and have just finished reading it. ‘Voorloper’. Quite enchanting …

With the walking, the swimming, the sea air, I’m already feeling healthier and have been able to steadily reduce my daily dosage of Spasmo-Nemigron. One senses the occasional breath of Spore activity… shreds of evil drifting over from the mainland… But for the most part this zone is clean.

One last thought on the election… from Tony Wright of The Age …

Aunty’s floral prints, which once saw sunny days, have all gone drab now in the musty dark of the wardrobe

The trepidation mounts as we enter, one hopes, the real twilight of the Vilp

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

~ I am the lorax. I speak for the trees

Thoughts on the looming election.

We are exceedingly complex organisms, evolved from an exceedingly complex biological system. It is said the human brain is the most complicated thing in the universe, but the brain itself is a component of a thing far more intricate and vast: nature, the totality of life on this planet considered as a whole - on which we remain entirely dependent for our continued survival.

As we have proliferated and developed as a civilisation, we have increasingly isolated ourselves from our ecological matrix, from nature. We have acquired tastes, desires, needs that exist in a place apart from nature, and which are sometimes directly at odds with it. Consider electricity, computational power, mechanical assistance, recreational assistance, medical technology. We are so deeply immersed in this artificial superstructure that we frequently forget that we are, as ever, as always, wholly, of the Earth.

When we travel off-world in our magnificent machines, however briefly, we must take a portion of our atmosphere, food from the soil, the bacterial flora in our gut, the microscopic monsters that tend our eyelashes….

Some of the instincts that served us in pre-history have found new focus in a civilised world. They have transmuted into such things as greed, the urge to acquire far beyond one’s actual need. Many of us consume simply to be seen consuming more than our neighbour. We expect, almost as a right, a standard of living which would have astonished our forbears. In a world of gross unrestrained consumption, the pack instinct, refocused, can lead to the rape of the Earth.

The urge to power leads to ultra-violence - against each other, against other animals, against the fabric of nature herself. And it can lead to slavery in everything but name. And discrimination. Prejudice. The loss of contact with the fundamentals of our existence can lead to the perversions of torture and the tools of mega-death …

In the last decade, we have acquired sufficient evidence to know, without doubt, that our civilisation is destroying its foundation. Nature is no longer swinging with the punches. Soon, our planet, our mother, will be a hostile place that will no longer abide our excesses. Of course, I am speaking of climate change here, the greenhouse effect, the mass extinction of species... Humanity, we have learnt, is literally a plague upon the Earth.

I ask the reader to keep the above in mind, if you are voting in the upcoming [Australian] federal election.

The SBS programme Insight, in a recent episode, corralled an audience of undecided voters. I did not see it all, but over the period I watched not one of them counted environmental degradation among their concerns. They spoke of house prices, interest rates, taxes, the economy … they spoke for themselves, for themselves only, not for the community, and not for the ultimate provider of the air they breathe, the food they eat, the body and the mind they inhabit - though that provider is under dire threat. To my mind, hip-pocket voting is an abomination. The act of indulging the hip pocket voter is an abomination. [Certainly the suffering of many people could be eased by better government policy in the economic realm, but not at the cost of the planet]

We have come to a time in which only one issue counts - and beneath its rubric, the sub-issues of social equity, education, research/development which may give us the ability as a community to save ourselves.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

~ the smiling ghosts

My regular visits to Queensland began during the early 1980s when my band began touring. The first thing I found there was Nikki Lambert. She worked for CBS records, decorating record shop windows with posters and album artwork - though she also painted beautiful lavish canvases of her pets, and led a secret life of crime.

She was older than me, but looked sixteen. She was tan and lithe and spirited, and spoke with the broadest strine I had ever heard from a woman. She became my window into the outlandish northern regions, and remains so twenty-five years later.

Her house in Mullet St, Kenmore was a tumbledown queenslander, haunted by lazy, smiling ghosts and held together with pink-flowering bougainvillea. You could lie in bed there and watch the coming and goings of paper wasps from their nest in the ruin of the ceiling. Downstairs there was a gargantuan children’s python in the bathroom walls. Called Clancy [of The Overflow], sections of it were always visible, here and there, among wires and pipes and beams, but never its head. The toilet cistern had a broken lid and in it lived green tree frogs - sometimes, on entering, you would see as many as three lined along the front, forelegs hooked over the rim, their sweet eyes delving.

Mullet St was an idyll, but it’s all suburban now. It evaporated with the inexorable expansion of Brisbane.

Nikki became a solid friend and occasional lover. In time, she was to descend into various hells, but ultimately floated to the surface on Stradbroke Island with her daughter Sidonie. In the years I’ve known her, I have never seen her less than enthusiastic about anything - except drudgery - and she is a genuine seer through of projects. Nikki will almost always ignore a person’s given name and replace it with one of her own devising. In her company I have met Dead Tom, Snapper, Kaptain Kronk, Graderhead, Twenny, Brasso, Lizard, ad infinitum … As you enter her universe, you are renamed, as Adam did the beasts.

Nikki is also the author of one of my favourite quotes - “There’s something deeply relaxing about chickens, don‘t you think?

As I write, in her yard on the island, there are at least four full-grown hens with a dozen chicks scrabbling in the mulch, clucking peaceably to themselves. Nikki will never be without chickens - or, indeed, a menagerie of dogs, cats, horses, birds, guinea pigs… In that past she has told me she judges people by their interactions with animals.

I have a lovely table beneath a blazing poinsettia tree at which to work. The drums of doom are fading already, the fear abates, the paranoia withers into the breeze. I just hope I have enough time here to really reset my spirit … before I lurch once more into the breach.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

* 14 February 1981 11.50pm

One more time, before I leave…


It’s a very murky, humid night – my mind is very hazy – I keep drifting off to other things, other places.

Since my last entry, I have not been in any state to write. I did score the heroin. It was average. Rushed off to the recording studio. It was a relative success, I cannot say for sure as yet. The next afternoon me and Christine set off for the city – we visited Missing Link to find out the limitations on the record cover [which must be got under way very soon]. Then we went to the Australia Hotel and drank for some hours – then we ate – I consumed two meals, through sheer gluttony – Veal Cordon Bleu, Veal Parmigiana. The tab was nearly $17 – [am I reading this right?] – so we caught a cab to Craig [McGee] and Lauras’ – A fellow named Dud had some LSD, which we promptly bought – then we drank and smoked – can I tell you everything, my diary? LSD can make me lose control …

[If only I could remember what I was referring to here …]

At about six we went to Wellington St – we bathed – I drank three sachets of Vincent’s Powders – TV – and finally slept – missed a practice – and Cathy Denny’s 21st – most ashamed – acid still frolicking round in my system – Practised today – not long now before we play – prepared ‘The Freighter’ [of dubious quality] – visited my mother – she keeps talking about my father – on and on …

It is a sultry night and I only want to sleep.


Transcribing these diaries is beginning to make me nervous … I myself have not read ahead … but I know what is to come.

Vincent’s Powders … I recall them clearly - pink grainy stuff that came in paper folds like heroin… don’t know what was in it, but it’s been banned now. All I remember about the LSD trip was Christine crying because [she thought] her ice-cream was falling off its stick … and her horror at a piece of fairly normal rubbish she saw on the ground. I think she was hallucinating something Lovecraftian.

“The Freighter.” A song which never made it to the Ears’ playlist, though it had a strange and obtuse melody which I recall to this day. The song was a kind of sequel to one of our signature tunes: ‘The Crater’.

The Laura I mention ran a second hand clothes shop in Barkey St St Kilda for years. It was called Junkarucci.

The father I mention was my recently deceased progenitor.

Diary of 1981 - index

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~ sublime prismatic skin

The rain god Tlaloc disgorged his bounty right on time. Every child got in a few solid thwacks before he gave up its guts. Good guts, too. Save, perhaps, the Asian ‘corn-flavoured’ lollies, many of which were instantly spat out …

A five year old’s party is usually a brief affair, but this one stretched through a long languid afternoon. The reptile handlers were wonderful and so were their reptiles. Turtles, lizards, frogs - pythons slithering over every second guest. Beautiful creatures – including the rainbow serpent of legend with its sublime prismatic skin. One kid even scored some sheddings...

Lemon, whom I have mentioned before – darkly - resembled an eldritch Bianca Jagger, pontificating on some dreadful subject, as Aleister Crowley’s reincarnation writhed on her upper body - as her cuckoo crazy daughter, Cumquat, menaced beast and man alike with a plastic ‘Robot Arm’

[Let me give the handlers a plug – Animal Tracks]

Joy, Polly’s great grandmother of 85 years, was far from at ease with these creatures, wouldn’t let the handlers near her, not even with a small tree froglet. She’s of a reptile-loathing generation which remembers a time when snakes were a far more common and deadly menace than today.

The kids, however, had no trouble – at one point about ten of them were lined up, holding a huge serpent stretched out end to end … a kind of mosh-diving image… weird for the snake, I think…

People have changed in their attitude to snakes. At least in the cities. A snake’s dark symbolism – derived from its alien form and its deadliness – draws the imagination more so than ever, but its roots are long-forgotten.

I wonder what the crèche-mothers thought of it all? There were lots of adults, many friends of ours, all of a Bohemian ilk - but also many local suburban parents. I am afraid of being judged here, but I wonder if I’m guilty of the same crime … As a nutjob living in the middle suburbs, I worry about becoming a well-known eccentric, or warlock, or psychokiller in their imaginations… not for my sake, of course, but for Polly’s … dreadful pressure to appear normal … must resist…

It was a lovely party, everyone had fun, I think, and I am just being paranoid.

Afterwards, Lemon shared an idea she’d had, ‘for a story or film, or whatever…”. A virus plagues the Earth. All are killed, but those given immunity by Hep C. Interesting scenario. Perhaps Lemon & I could become rulers of this tired, foggy-headed world. [‘Don’t you dare steal it,” says Lemon – and, trust me, you don’t want this dangerous little number on your case]

Today, I prepare for my long-awaited trip to Queensland.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

~ something wicked this way comes...

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Friday, November 9, 2007

Ω the starman is summoned to elixesse quaternary

The shadows are oppressive tonight. The spiders move with caution – one eye on the bundling of the prey, seven alert for danger… The air itself portends the coming of the Spores.

At times like these - with Polly’s big party on Sunday, and two days later my departure for Queensland - when change is afoot, when time wrinkles - cracks will sometimes open into the country of the Spores.

Disruption serves them well. In periods of flux they mount their challenges. In their deepest nature they are opportunistic and willset upon their victims with the smooth reliability of German engineering...

Compare the bull-sharks that loiter in the drowned cars that lie scattered, half buried in sand, between Morton and Stradbroke Islands. At the changing of the tides, water flows at fantastic speeds through this narrow channel, and the sharks lie in wait, their black eyes cold and expressionless - to lurch out and seize whatever flashes by.

The tide is changing tonight … Who felt it first? She? I? Does it matter? Polly is five today. When she falls asleep and we slump before the television, then the current quickens


From time to time, the Ørn will sense trouble brewing in a distant system, and request our assistance.

Tonight, the vast mineral intelligence of Elixesse Quaternary lies on the brink of annihilation. The roughly earth-sized planet orbits the K4 supergiant Elixesse, and such is its peril that The Ørn has urged me to abandon my negotiations with the ever-obstinate Dilobites and leave immediately.

In rough translation, the Dilobites refer to themselves as Those Who Would Gorge Upon The Universe. As their moniker suggests, they are a wolfish, squamous race - though not without cunning and an advanced physics-to-technology ratio.

I have sat through many long, tedious sessions with these gastropods, and I am certain that if it were not for my time-displacement field and the balloon that floats at my shoulder emanating lethal potential, they would have attempted to destroy me on first contact.

When I announced my imminent departure, their stubborn demeanour shifted to one of relief.

I warned them that the Terran system and its surrounding volume is held in indefinite escrow for the future use of humanity - when and if it chooses to redefine itself as a space-faring civilisation.

Mastocrease, their charge d’affaires, burbled humorously at this possibility. “Before that happens, you will despoil your planet and die starving in its festering corpse.”

The conference pod was filled with the loathsome, glutinous sounds of Dilobite laughter. Not for the first time, I explained that Earth’s property was defended - down to the last tumbling pebble in the Kuiper Belt.

I harboured no doubt that with our departure they would begin mining operations – so blind is the arrogance of Those Who Would Gorge Upon The Universe. Before we left, I made certain their every act would be recorded. Their doom was inevitable, but perhaps the data will be of use when the next set of invaders seek to pillage the birthright of humanity.

With the miraculous technologies available to The Ørn, our journey of 1.3 gigaparsecs would take less than a week. I make no claims to full understanding, but I believe its propulsion system involves the rapid-fire creation and destruction of micro-universes in a virtual cascade of folded dimensions.

The Ørn used the time to brief us on our mission.

The entity we were to encounter was without name. It was an inorganic intelligence that occupied – or rather, comprised – Elixesse Quaternary. Over the mega-years, harnessing the energy of its molten core and the radiation of Elixesse, this ‘being’ had redistributed the constituents of the planet into a matrix of exceeding complexity - achieving a vast, but somewhat naïve sentience.

Veins of copper, sheathed in sodium, web its interior like the circulatory system of a human being. Deviously blended alloys are layered from crust to core, indexed with zircon and emerald, moist with the condensation of iodine… Heat sinks of glossy hematite breach the rocky surface like towering weather vanes… Mysterious dodecahedrons of refined osmium rise and fall from bottomless shafts, seemingly impervious to gravity… Sublime star-like forms - like dandelion clocks of braided tin, uranium and mica - travel with obscure purpose through the deep molten regions: mineral synapses contributing to the planetary consciousness, A mind of native wisdom, says The Ørn. A singularity of innocence. A galactic citizen of immeasurable beauty under dire and imminent threat.

“In order to communicate - explained the Ørn - you must learn a language of breath. Short breaths and long. Deep breaths and shallow.”

With limitless patience, The Ørn instructed us. Expire. Inspire. Expire. Inspire.

The deck was perfused with the sounds of breathing

And soon, I slept.

To wake. To Polly. Standing on the end of the bed in her pink pajamas, declaring she was five.


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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

~ the bleeding wounds of the pomegranate

It was difficult for Sîan to explain the death of her mother to Lucas, her three year old son. Respite came in the form of a close relative, well-versed in the nomenclature of new-age spiritualism.

"Your grandma," she explained to Lucas, "has left us for a better place. She has moved into the light."

Some weeks later, they were on holiday in the country. It was night, crickets and frogs were singing from the darkness, and Lucas was lingering on the porch. When Sîan called him to bed, he begged for time. A little while later, she ventured out to find him sitting, staring upwards through the moths and beetles, attentive to an electric globe hanging from its cord.

Sîan was curious. "What are you doing, Lucas?"

"Looking for grandma."

His mother was non-plussed. Lucas pointed upwards.

"Could that be the light? The light she lives in now?


I love this story, but have never had occasion to commit it to words. From a purely selfish viewpoint, Sails of Oblivion is giving me a chance to communicate, finally, all the stuff I've stored away as mental notes for plays or novels that may never materialise. Since I started the blog, I've not done much other writing, save for a fifteen hundred word precis for an article on my colleague and ex-lover, Lynne Ellis. It's with The Age at present and hopefully they'll give me the green light. If not? I'll just pin it to the Sails.

Sîan, of whom I spoke above, was at a small Melbourne Cup Day barbeque hosted by the painter, Zöe Ellenberg - a member of Jenny's closest circle of friends. The dryad Emely McCord was also present, with her clean swishy energies, her lean deer-like body clothed in colours of bush and paddock ... her ex, the jeweller, Kane; Shanti, mother of Polly's best friend Mia... But, no, too many names...

We sat in the mild sunshine, in a soothing beautiful arbour of succulents, epiphytes and espaliered walls. I drank light beer, took sensible tokes from joints of unknown provenance and absorbed the ambience as if I myself was a plant. It was a halcyon day. When race-time came, we cheered and shouted, and then subsided back into dreamy somnolence.

On the way in, we'd heard an extraordinary news article on the radio. Australian Toy-of-the-Year, the craft activity-beads called Bindeez had been banned. After the near death of a toddler, it was discovered that 'a drug with the effects of GHB forms in the stomach if the beads are swallowed'. GHB is an hallucinogenic, party-drug said to be used in date rape.

Apart from the people out there who'll inevitably have some bright ideas, think of those wretched mothers, wringing their hands. Already fear-struck by sharp corners, electrical sockets, stairs, multiplying paedophiles, terrorists, interest-rate rises, pitbull terriers and vengeful gods - now all their baby has to do is swallow a bead and - zap! - the little darling is on drugs!

I'd noticed that Zöe's region was targeted for hard-rubbish collection. When I commented, Jenny sighed - just more junk for our junk-constricted yard. Owing to my packrat-like habits, Jenny fears that one day A Current Affair or Today Tonight will arrive on our doorstep, researching for one of their occasional pieces on Australia's most shambolic properties ...

But I do find good stuff sometimes and I am trying to limit what I bring home. Most of our furniture was acquired this way, I remind Jenny... And she gives me her long suffering smile. Anyway, I excused myself from the party a few times and trawled the streets - without haste, without guilt - savouring the experience - and coming away with a nice little Indian lamp... or censer...

Tell me it's nice. Please.

Now - given my recent post regarding Di Gameson's talents as a hostess - I don't want to seem like a purveyor of profligate feasting, but Zöe, I have to say, really turned it on. The photo might give you some idea...

" ... some Pomegranate, which if cut deep down the middle, shows a heart within blood-tinctured, of a veined humanity..."

Of all the fruits of Earth, none carries the intrinsic poetry of the the pomegranate. To my mind, it is a primary symbol of decadence, the most licentious and indulgent of all fruits: favoured by the Old Masters of the still life; swallowed by Persephone to gain access to the Underworld; invariably present in Peter Greenaway's tableaux of gluttony...

Once contained in the liqueur grenadine, it is also the source of the word grenade.

I asked Zöe what the red things in the cous-cous salad were... the sweet little ellipsoids that burst wetly, sweetly in the mouth.... to discover that I had tasted of the mythical pomegranate for the first time in my life.


And her sweet red lips on these lips of mine
Burned like the ruby fire set
In the swinging lamp of a crimson shrine,
Or the bleeding wounds of the pomegranate,
Or the heart of the lotus drenched and wet
With the spilt-out blood of the rose-red wine.

~ Oscar Wilde

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Monday, November 5, 2007

∆ george + the decrepitude of the chairs

George and I shared a house on Stephenson St, Richmond - a street made famous by the Cherry Tree Hotel, the brothels and the residencies of the Pettingills, [one of Melbourne's most notorious crime families.] [A friend of mine has recently written a play set in this very street. Called Talking Bone, it centres around the matriarch: Kath Pettingill.]

Many and various were our adventures there. We backed onto about seven train lines, so perhaps noise was a factor in diverting our good judgement, but I prefer to think it was the dangerous electricity that arced between us.

Having persuaded the real estate agent into renting us the house, our first act was to organise a house-warming. In our innocence, we wanted it to be the biggest, craziest party Melbourne had ever seen. Having few friends, we photocopied handbills and pasted them around town, then set our minds to a theme..

Over the next few weeks we collected kitchen chairs from hard rubbish piles and wherever else we could find them. Mouldy, filth-encrusted, disintegrating chairs on which only a drunken or decerebrated person would consider setting himself. We cleared the small back yard of a vegetable patch which the previous occupant must have lovingly cared for, and sorted the chairs around a circular space - to give the impression of an arena.

But what was to be the entertainment?

Early one Sunday morning we went to Victoria Market and somehow managed to purchase a medium sized pig from a dealer for forty dollars. My memory grows hazy here, but we succeeded in forcing the beast into George's car and got it home in time for the revelry. The pig would stand in our arena and the guests would seat themselves and observe in fascination.

Here my memory blurs even further. I know that many extremely undesirable types turned up. Large threatening people who - when I briefly peeked into my bedroom - I saw urgently tearing apart my wardrobe in the vigorous spirit of wholesale destruction. And of the pig? I don't think many were satisfied to just sit and watch it. George said he saw an obese bikie making off with it down the back lane at about six in the morning.

It must have been an awful party. And to make matters worse, someone stole a doona which my mother had bought me the week before. She was quietly furious. Just as she was when I returned her beloved blender...

"When you bring things back, they look like they're a thousand years years old. How is that even possible?"

Once, I returned her car with the wipers sticking out at ninety degrees from the windshield. I avoided her questions, blaming it on my current girlfriend, [which was usually enough to satisfy her.] Truth was, this girlfriend had been parasitically clamped to the bonnet of my car and I had been sharply accelerating and braking in order to dislodge her. I woke in jail the next morning, but that's another story. [Luckily, I just made it to an early interview at 3RRR, just round the corner.]

Regarding the party: I never again trusted the general public to be interesting.

But here's the point I've been trying to get to...

We were left with about fifty kitchen chairs and owed it to ourselves to think of something appropriate to do with them. I don't recall who finally came up with the idea, but it was a good one.

At 4 am one weekday morning, we starting making trips down the railway line to South Yarra station, each carrying as many of the soiled chairs as we could handle. South Yarra is a large, neat old fashioned station in a salubrious part of town, and just over the river from Richmond.

Well before the first train, we had transported all the chairs to the city-bound platforms and lined them up with great care beside the legitimate passenger benches.

Rotten, moist, stinking old chairs, bursting with earwigs and slaters, perfectly arranged in groups of five. As official looking as we could manage. If only we had photos... Perhaps we do, I must ask George.

We giggled for weeks about that. What did the passengers think? Had they assumed the railways were attempting to offer them extra comfort in the crowded peak hours? Did the stationmasters think their superiors had imported the seats as a stop gap measure - to temporarily ease a platform crowding issue...?

We would never know. A few days later, George performed a reconnaissance and there was no sign of our fifty chairs ...

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* 11 February 1981

I’ve had the most agonising pain in my right eye. For days now. And, lord, have I been irritable. These new contact lenses. They’re brilliant vision-wise, but merciless if you fall asleep in them…

Again, we return to the distant past …


My nerve endings are raw. This heroin thing is a real nuisance. Still waiting. Still going over every so often. I hope it comes before I have to go to the studio.

All day. Whole day wasted. [And how many to come?] I was pottering again, between walks at hour intervals – in the kitchen, the bathroom – I’m getting into some extraordinary detail. I cleaned the art nouveau tiles in the living room with excessive care. Didn’t Lenny Bruce, before he died, go paranoid on speed and wind up spending so much time on detail he made no progress at all?

I’m really anxious. Can’t control it. Will go again soon. My need is building. Why? I’ll dwell upon it later – when I have some clarity of mind.

Seven minutes to go before my next trip. They are stringently timed.

There’s a nice looking man waiting there too, on the step, reading a paper, eating a pizza, each time I call around …

Since then, events have transpired to make it seem to my mind unlikely … I don’t care now, anyway… Thank God I’ve got the recording studio tonight – and Mark to take me there in a taxi.

We are mixing down Scarecrow,


I actually remember the house I was visiting. It was around the corner in Tennyson St. A beautiful wooden mansion with gables and trellises, painted in gay colours and set back from the street. Today it would be worth a fortune, back then it was in charming disrepair and populated by hippies. My connection with the occupants was extremely tenuous, through Leigh Hooper I believe, and it wasn’t until they’d seen me drain every last drop of gear from a spoon that they fully trusted me.

“No cop would ever do that,” I heard one of them say.

If only it was still that hard to get your hands on drugs.

Diary of 1981 - index

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

~ the piñata will not build itself

For those of you interested in the progress of my piñata - here's the straight word

After hearing an extraordinary number of horror stories, I decided to blaze my own trail to organised children's party violence. So many unlucky revelers, old and young, have been deeply frustrated by indestructible piñatae.

First, the children try. The line cycles twice, thrice. Then the adults lend a hand. Then better weapons are chosen. Then the piñata falls to the ground and an exasperated mob gathers around the pig, donkey, love-heart - or, in ancient times, an image of the rain god Tlaloc - and beat the living bejesus out of it.

Yet even then there may be no satisfaction.

I warn you now: commercially acquired piñatae are a risk. And over-enthusiastic home papier-mâché artists can, unbeknownst to themselves, be paving the way for disappointment. I, however, am building an exemplar of the ancient Aztec art.

From the outset, we thought a single-balloon form was too common, and decided to make it a double. But what could double spheres represent? Someone suggested a pair of tits. The kids would love it, I know - but there will be unknown parents at the party and people can be embarrassed by the mildest things. If we moved to a tri-spherical form, we could have an insect - head/thorax/abdomen - but to me this seemed like overkill, [and too much work.] Then came the suggestion of a spider. They do have a thorax, but it's sort of integrated with the abdomen, and so the idea was adopted - until the question of legs came into play ...

To cut an interminable story short, Polly's piñata will resemble a bullant from a parallel universe.

To establish the correct level of whacking-resistance, we have brought the spheres into the house - so they do not acquire moisture from the atmosphere and become soft. If this does not work, I may use a little vinegar in order to degrade the paper. [An idea borrowed from the cryptex in The Da Vinci Code, [if it works for papyrus, it should work for newspaper, non?]]

We narrowly avoided the trap of putting unwrapped sweets inside. [When they fall, they fall on germy ground.] Today, Jenny brought home an alluring selection of lollies - and an abundant one. There are few things worse, I would guess, than a miserly piñata.

The party will be in the park a few doors down. Several weeks ago we identified a perfect branch from which to hang the piñata. Last week, the council came and chopped it off. There is another useable branch, but it borders a six foot drop into thick blackberries. On this point we still need help. I shall integrate a new harness into the design, as the weight of confectionary has changed the centre of gravity, but there is still nothing to hang it from. Ideas? Anyone? If ever you feel like commenting, now is the time.

The final issue is the thwacker. Mick Lewis suggested a long pole with a sharpened scythe on the end, [but then he also advocated the use of 2-stroke petrol]. It needs to be something kids can use. A cricket bat...? I have one of those things you open/close high windows with... Someone else suggested the legs be detachable thwackers... a great design idea, but the image of six over-stimulated five year olds thronging around something and beating it to a pulp suggests a level of sophistication which I'd like to think our civilisation has transcended.

Anyway, here is a photo of what I have achieved so far. In a week, you will see these same elements transformed into a bona fide wonder.

[this post dedicated to Marc Raszewski]

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Friday, November 2, 2007

§ the junky dream


I was lured, in a dream.
To that dark webbed territory
where pale, seeking fingers
offer sticky grey honeycomb
from the shadows.

Where sweet honey oozes
From the teat-like glands
Of vast slave creatures
in the shadows.

There I wandered.
Endlessly t
hrough the Devil's Hexagons,
Marveling at the abundance
And then was torn away,

Before I could taste.

To be be there again
To be torn away
And once again.

Each time more despairing,
More agonising than the last.
Each time my lips a little closer
to that atramental cup -
That poisoned mead
a little closer to my lips.

To wake, in sweat
From a dream peculiar to those
Devilled by their deadly master

A dream of wild goose chases,
Through striated city-scapes,
With treacherous collaborators,
And eyes staring from the ditches.
Slithering without limbs or hair,
Through a brown, hazy chaos,
Deprived of senses
Shrinking with panic.

Centipedes are milling on the powerlines
Polishing the copper with mucilage,
Bitter pearly drops, fattening
On the wires...

Rarely, do I have this dream today.
It is replaced by another,
Which wakes me as remorselessly,
Crabbed, in knotty sheets.

I am a powerless onlooker,
As she washes, barely conscious,
Upon those reasonless shores;
As she ventures without will,
Or strength,
Into those same starving marshes,
Into those same lethal mists;
Returning changed
And defiant:
Outwardly vigorous, inwardly helpless.

There is damage to her feet
From stumbling there,
From the stinging insects of the waste ground.
Crusts and lesions, bites and stings.
Wounds that become scabs,
Then falling leaves,
Which evaporate to sewer gas.

My paralysis is a nail through the heart.
And I feel the future dithering,
Truncating. Before me,
The beautiful machine in which her soul resides,
Spits and crackles
Shudders to a halt.
And by its slow ruination
Returns to the earth.

When the horizontal hold is lost,
Her body flattens to a slash of light.
When the vertical hold is lost,
She is a mote,
that will take time to fade.

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