29 April 2011

This here Friday

"This Lindt Easter Bunny tastes like love."

Ten minutes later: "My tummy hurts."

***

Dissapointing amount of daleks. There really was umpteen amounts of room to incorporate a tardis landing tastefully in that Abbey. Much costuming and millinery abounds. Why didn't they get the guy from The Princess Bride to do the vows? My, what a big pipe organ you have.
That is my impression after watching ten minutes of the British Royal Wedding. I can only give it one star.

***


Say: “If the Ocean were ink (wherewith to write out) the words of My Lord,

Sooner would the ocean be exhausted than the words of My Lord,

Even if we added another ocean like it for its aid.”


These are the words I found in the Qur’an,

Say it out loud, in front of George Foreman and a big crowd,

Like my brother, Muhammad Ali, making all of Africa proud.


The first verse, not the second verse,

Makes universes small as earth rolls around

Over age, epoch and the thousand faces of man.


It was quite painful, the trees were bare

Orange flowers blazing in the lake

Prayers floating in the still waters of grief


Waiting for rain.

It just felt sad, like arrows of sad

Were flowing into my heart.




***


I see
O seed of the universe
Before me,
The lover's dance,
Where opposites romance,
'Neath the banner
Of cosmic chance;
Heaven our rest -
In God's Love
We nest.



21 April 2011

Slamming


Time for a quick post afore work.


Last night I read poetry at The Phoenix slam. It was not in my plan, but I have wanted to see it since December and choir practice has clashed with my attendance. With choir in hiatus, I could go. Poetry is definitely not a competition to me, but I feel I am getting better at 'performing'. I have decided that I can own a microphone. Speed, timing, modulation, feeling and fluctation. Just like singing really. Probably not the most receptive audience, but I quite enjoyed the challenge of claiming some ears. I read the following:


I am an ordinary man
If the grass is ordinary,
The pebble, the tree and the sky,
I am an ordinary man.
The ripe fragrance of the hill
Which flows through my veins
At sunset,
One great big
...beautiful breath.

I tell you, the sky is living in my
throat; I can't walk down
the street without tripping
over twelve miracles.


Followed by:


The love that gives,
The love that receives,
These are not love.
The love that is,
The love that knows,
The love that goes,
What are these loves?
Who is this love?
Where is this love?
In knowledge not,
But love is knowing
Nothing known.
Why am I telling
What cannot be told?
What better words
Than already writ
In the stars bold?
Go away.
Go pluck them for yourself.
I am tired of words, words, words,
And the stars are waiting.
Now the night is long,
But life is short.
Don’t forget.


Today I would gladly sit at home and spend seven hours writing an essay on love, but it is not the best idea, even if it were possible. Craving some distance, distance, distance and space, space, space for appreciation, appreciation, appreciation. Plenty of time to write over the Easter break. I have decided not to go to the National Folk Festival and feel ambivalent about flying to Adelaide, but it will be fun.


(Apologies for the odd font sizes and random formatting, I didn't have time to fix the html after copying and pasting bits in.)

20 April 2011

Morning


Early rise. Publish post about my dream written at 1am. Writing dreams down is excellent writing exercise, because you recall more and more detail as you go, something about painting a personal landscape. Will think about this more later.

Meditate for maybe seven minutes.

Plans for fried haloumi with scrambled eggs with rich buttery toast collapse under wieght of wasted moments. Toast only.

Notice shoulders tense as a cat on a razor fence.

Wash shirt on quick cycle and wait for it to finish so I can put it in the dryer while I shower.

No time to shave.

Will head to work and maintain simulacra of commitment and punctuality.

0840

Compose letter to God over coffee. Between me and the Lord and all of you, it simply says, "I trust You."

Write this in car:

O love that seeks
Not to confine
Or be confined,
How fare you
In mortal clime?

You paint the
Freedom-sky in
Colours mine;
You are a tale
Of infinite goodness.

So this is my new thing, iterative posts, although I won't go back to a post once I start the next one. Have always been hopeless with keeping a journal. Said it before. At least if I keep all my poems here then I will know where to find them. I have lots of catching up to do and then it will be time for my second collection.



1100

O fun, feeling eight types of freaked out, precisely the feelings I was trying to avoid. Can only laugh at myself and the burden of self-created woes. I think that is enough for today.

whoa

Just woke up from the strangest dream. (Hello? When are they ever normal?)

I was by a disused railroad and there was a fence parallel to it. All quite overgrown with shrubs and the like. Children were playing in small bunker-like cubbyhouses. A green field of grass separated my location from the presence of the nearby town I could sense. Hearing the roar of planes, I noticed a series of Australian Army C-130 Hercules flying past quite low. The aircraft climebd into the sky and then many soldiers jumped out with parachutes. The design on one of the parachutes was reminiscent of the Union Jack, so I figured this for a joint military exercise. Except the moment they landed it turned out the soldiers were actually all foreigners. Indeed, they were aliens of some sort, attempting to blend in with the rest of the human race.

Never have I seen a stranger assortment of beings so vividly. An amalgam of costumes and forms from various epochs and species; including a miniature pony, wearing Napoleonic regalia and a plumed helmet, while the pony itself sat in a buggy pulled by a stranger shaped horse. Bizarrely misconstrued uniforms were pretty popular. There was even a white camel whose dimesions were all wrong, too tall, too thin and lacking humps. I started making sarcastic comments along the lines, of, "Oh, you will be sure to blend right in...yeah, you got that one right."

As I had earlier called a few children out of a cubbyhouse to watch the parachutists falling and it quickly became obvious that these beings were about to chase me, I grabbed a child under each arm and started to run. Moving in the opposite direction of the landing site and town, I climbed into a yard. Suddenly and quite handily playground equipment was everywhere and as I got closer to a house, I began to wonder why the plants were giraffes that had tentacles for heads. They were part of the invasion too! Jumping on some bushes, they cushioned our landing into the next yard and we forced our way through somebody's backdoor.

There we were met by an old couple who were a little spooked as they told me, "Oh, there is a photographer here." I think I would recognise them both if I saw them again, their features were so present and they looked so normal. I hid in my grandmother's laundry (according to the layout of this house - it was a dream!) and begged the couple not to let the photographer in the front door. They seemed to acquiesce, but then turned to invite them in. I knew they had fallen under the spell of another alien. I forced my way past them and the photographer coming up the hall, who was a very tall feminine-like form draped with a sheet-like gown and wearing a veil tailored to her head. The old man got busy trying to look the door for some reason as I frantically worked to open it and let us all out.

I told the kids, "Look, we need to run and we will go faster if we run together instead of me carrying you." I was trying to make a game out of it, so they could cope and we would get away.

Then I woke up.

Motto: Don't go to sleep with the heater on! That was very, very, creepy, not exactly scary, but lots of shiver down the spine and cold tears upon immediate recall. Gone now, but I wish I could draw the beings I saw.

Footnote: If I tried to analyse this I would probably go mad, but I suspect the animals were emotions, my own and they were new ones. Maybe the photographer was an angel. See, can't work it out.

19 April 2011

Travelling



A lately rare solitudinous eve finds me ensconced early in my bed surrounded by memories. There is a lot to cover, so this will be quite a long post. I doubt very much the phone will disturb me and while I write my evening will pass constructively. (Correction - brother texts to check that I still like Haigh's Chocolate.)

Having managed to break my recent Facebook habit, in fact, addiction, I have decided to focus on this blog for the time being. Whether this means I will post poetry, pictures and stories more frequently remains to be seen. I find this whole exercise a balance between truth, hope, overtly mawkish sentiments and outright idiocy. It is after all my story! Anyone who cares to read it or knows me may find it as they will. God knows how long my Facebook fast will last.

Lately I have felt the need to draw inward, much like the sap of a tree must feel as winter approaches. This is probably not an actual biological process. Trees don’t have a heart, or a core, but if they did, I imagine that when it is really cold and conditions do not provoke growth, all the sap, or energy, that would normally fuel growth and fill flowers and furnish fruits gathers instead to nourish the centre and keep it safe. In other words, I have not been meditating a lot lately, and yes, autumn is leading us inexorably to winter. (As an aside, it seems that ‘inoreaxable’ is a common substitution for inexorable and certainly it took me a while to work out the word I wanted; perhaps inexorable sounds too close to execrable for comfort.)

It is possible too that given all of the above, blogging is contraindicated and I will live in a silent forest not much frequented by birds, branches weighted only with chill snow. Who knows? The inward life does not mandate solitude and lack of self-expression. As much as anything, I am talking of the need to conserve and reserve my energy a little more.

Much leave coming, after 24 June this year, I will not return to the public service until January next year. Some have advised me to plan, plan, plan. Others say make no plans. I am only trying to save, save, save at this point. To a large extent, this involves curtailing my expenditure on cheese, but I am beginning to enjoy my parsimony. There is so little of worth that I spend my money on that it is not too difficult to stop and ask, “Do I really need this?”

It is with reluctance that I declare my next step will be to buy an espresso maker and make my own coffee in the morning. I do enjoy the social occasion of visiting Lonsdale Street Roasters, although I do it alone most often. They sell beans and I can get them there, visiting for an occasional treat I guess. Given I will probably need a grinder, I have some sums to do, but the transplant of this ritual from hip local locale to home and hearth is inevitable. Of course, when I looked online to buy one, I was immediately drawn to the Alessi version and gave myself a smart slap up the side of the head. There is an interesting article about where I live available here that mentions my favourite coffee shop.

Catching the bus from the airport to the city yesterday -see, I am taking this saving thing seriously- the following poem came to me:

The leaves catch fire as they fall
And leave the tree stark naked:
Hearken then to winter’s call.

A few other snippets of poetry have had this theme, although rhyming couplets seem to occupy my thought processes in general of late:

Alas, the sting of winter's lance,
Chasing my autumn romance.

This couplet would combine quite well with the preceding lines, even if it was composed to represent the tragedy of not having time to buy a coffee before work a few weeks ago. In retrospect, they seem the umbra of some prescient dream.

*

Leaves freed
Dancing in the
Final blaze
Of light's glory
To wake
Coat soon
With some
Frost hoary.

*

Well, I don't really know what winter will be like, even if it is the first time I have faced that season without familiar company for many years. Shelley instructs:

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

(See The Sensitive Plant)

Whatever happens, spring will come and in the round all the seasons sing as preparation for The One, nay, in celebration, even. This is the difference between the square mind and the round heart. You can see four individual sides or else know the cycle as a web of being, grand.

I read a bit of Shelley today and really am in awe of anyone who can write 700 lines upon a singular theme. I must devote more attention to the Romantic Poets in general.

Went on a trip to Melbourne with CC over the weekend and saw three Comedy Festival shows amidst many meals and much lazing. I had never done anything like it before. The first show I mostly slept through, but the theatre does that to me at times and I had a very emotional day. During the other performances I attended, consciousness was maintained throughout. Melbourne is a vision of terrace housing and funky cafe eateries that always seem to be packed, because they are often too small. By comparison, Canberra seems lacking in spunk. If I lived in Melbourne, I might become devoted to the pursuit of the perfect breakfast experience. Melbourne does great graffiti as the pictures that top and tail this tale illustrate.

The hardenbergia I planted a few weeks ago is going okay, sporadically manifesting prolific growth and on other days appearing to be too busy with photosynthesis to bother extending itself overmuch. Something is eating the leaves, but it does not seem to have disease. Therefore, I will watch a while before deciding if it needs treatment. It strikes me as a fair contribution for a plant to make to the great circle of life – a few holes in a few leaves. I understand it stimulates the production of certain chemicals in a plant to be attacked thus, but perhaps this is more relevant to esculent species, given this response apparently increases nutritional value for the human consumer. Anyway, I am looking forward to the day that it has grown to cover my entire balcony rail so I can walk around naked in the mornings, more often than I do now anyway.

As above, I am not so fortunate that my poems emerge finished or perfect all the time anymore, but I do find a flow of imagery that I can sculpt to some level of satisfaction at times. The making of melodies adds another element of challenge. If I can make the universal accessible I am happy. Well, right now, there are just too many fragments, nascent visions and inchoate offerings to the altar of existence for me to harvest much more poetry tonight.

Today, on matters of love, a friend advised, “You don’t have a great track record of late.” I have to agree and I don’t actually know that success in the field will be forthcoming anytime soon, nor even what success might look like. This is probably a major factor in the confusion, but clinging to ideas is probably worse and I am a little stuck with some right now, but I will work through them. Still, it is quite roundly depressing to be honest. Misalignment of circumstances or needs and wants seems to be the rule and not the exception. Any appearance of synchronicity is difficult to nurture. The mystery only deepens. I recognise the need to guard against my heart becoming indifferent for that would be horrible. Knowing that is something good.

There are five days of holidays coming up over Easter and Anzac Day. Two of these I will spend in Adelaide with the family. Perhaps driving to the beach is a good idea at some other point on this break, seeing I have only ventured to the coast once since I moved to Canberra many years ago.

It's not Leonard Cohen, but:

I woke to find a secret solace in the night
On the pillow where your head once lay.
I gather to this place in accord
With the scar that forms when
For perfect love a perfect tear falls
Upon your holy leaving.

*

O Love, the poets have not exhausted you yet...we, the endless poets of an endless poem claim our right to compose endlessly.

01 April 2011

Fool's Day

I take refuge in the Great Silence.

Yesterday morning, which seems a long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far away, while I was waiting for coffee, I read the following, "...although it is a fact He cannot be found by seeking, only those who seek can find Him." This was in a novel about Shams and Rumi. I am reading it so slow slowly, probably the slowest I have read anything in my life. (I will tell you later if it is good.) Anyway, these words are like a warm jacket on a cold night to me.

Later, I write a little poem:

The melody of a wounded heart
Is like the rain that never starts
Can I build my love in the
Comfort of another?

I am not overly impressed with my writing ability. It seems like I am collecting lines for seven songs at once and I only have three melodies.

Then at lunch I read from Passage to India by Walt Whitman:

Swiftly I shrivel at the thought of God,
At Nature and its wonders, Time and Space and Death,
But that I, turning, call to thee, O soul, thou actual Me,
And lo! thou gently masterest the orbs, 210
Thou matest Time, smilest content at Death,
And fillest, swellest full, the vastnesses of Space.


Greater than stars or suns,
Bounding, O soul, thou journeyest forth;
—What love, than thine and ours could wider amplify? 215
What aspirations, wishes, outvie thine and ours, O soul?
What dreams of the ideal? what plans of purity, perfection, strength?
What cheerful willingness, for others’ sake, to give up all?
For others’ sake to suffer all?


Reckoning ahead, O soul, when thou, the time achiev’d,
220
(The seas all cross’d, weather’d the capes, the voyage done,)
Surrounded, copest, frontest God, yieldest, the aim attain’d,
As, fill’d with friendship, love complete, the Elder Brother found,
The Younger melts in fondness in his arms.




Late alone, "Did I do that?", finding someone has written my name on arrows of cynicism and cowardice, trying to understand what I want, I open Hafiz at random and find:

Surely
There is something wrong
With your ideas of
God.

O, surely there is something wrong
With your ideas of
God

If you think
Our Beloved would not be so
Tender.

Is there my problem? I go backwards to the start and read.

You Were Brave in that Holy War

You have done well
In the contest of madness.

You were brave in that holy war.

You have all the honorable wounds
Of one who has tried to find love
Where the Beautiful Bird
Does not drink.

May I speak to you
Like we are close
And locked away together?
Once I found a stray kitten
And I used to soak my fingers
In warm milk;

It came to think I was five mothers
On one hand.

Wayfarer,
Why not rest your tired body?
Lean back and close your eyes.

Come morning
I will kneel by your side and feed you.
I will so gently
Spread open your mouth
And let you taste something of my
Sacred mind and life.

Surely
There is something wrong
With your ideas of
God

O, surely there is something wrong
With your ideas of
God

If you think
Our Beloved would not be so
Tender.