Category Archives: Poetry

clued-in to ancient rites of passage


(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

to be literally clueless is to be
bereft of a ball of thread
for it was with such an aid that
Theseus did slay the half-man
half-bull housed in the labyrinth
Ariadne it was that gave the
Athenian hero a clue of his own
to navigate the maze and kill
the monster that fed exclusively
on youth, hence why of the young
even in these days barren of myth
the old are so ready to despair, “O,
if they only had a clue!”

dream catcher in the wry

today I chased a
dream to ground
it was none too grand
a simple longing more
I should have known
the result would be
less than thrilling
the dream I caught
it turned to dust
on touch and so
it left me feeling
chronically aware
of the emptiness
within me and how
with a certain irony
I suffer this urge to go
hunt another vision.

life in contrary motion

give me a life lived in
contrary motion
first things last and
last things first

one foot in the grave and
one foot in the cradle
death in life and
life in death

arrow of time, will you
spare this poor creature?
womb to tomb too
stark for me.


BTW For the non-musical readers of this blog, by way of background, let me explain that “contrary motion” is the term used to describe when two parts in a piece of music move in opposite directions, one ascending, the other descending. The fingerpicked guitar at the beginning of Stairway to Heaven employs contrary motion, for example.

…but nowadays you can judge a book by its blurb

the old dogs of literature have all been whipped
and their barking at the moon subdued
there’s a new breed of writer who leads the pack
gone the white-fanged authors of
muscular, lone-wolf poetry and prose
replaced by hacks churning out their
Hollywood-ready pap
“show, don’t tell” the mantra of this
the age of the thinly disguised screenplay
but rules are only for the openly broken
those tamed by the dictatorship of bad taste
because in time fresh, strong minds will rediscover
that a tusitala means a teller of tales

beard and loathsome in las vegas

how different might things have been if done over
should for instance the leather-panted lizard king have
forgone that fateful fatal bath (his last) in paris
in the summer of ’71
would he (hale and hearty) instead have begun
a resident party in vegas, baby!
these to be his sequined, white pant-suited
gone-to-pasture years — a dionysian rival
to flabby elvis? although more than likely passing
for another boozeded-up, bloated balladeer wooing
the ma & pa set fresh in from good ole okie
o, it’s just so loathsome at the top!
meanwhile popping uppers by the dozen
to kill the neon-lit whoredom of it all or is it rather
that jim saw this vision soaking in his lukewarm tub
while still yet wet behind his ears
under the watchful eye of his patron angels
— baudelaire and beer — (not yet thirty)
and doing so tragically chose to protect his cult of
youthful glory by orchestrating his own
unsung burial at sea?

a time for everything, and everything in its place

what would happen if all the things
we planned to get around to one day
were simply left resoundingly undone
either through apathy or laziness or
the inevitable coming of the final gong
how much difference literally would it make?
the long-discarded scarf half-knitted
those scrapbook pages left unglittered
what purpose does any of it serve?
the contents of spare rooms across the
globe are littered with the detritus of
“omg, I really must deal with that” piles of put-off
projects that if ever finished would only
momentarily clear some space I argue
for yet still more junk to take their place —
what wisdom can be learned from the patience
with which a river will polish a single stone?

Pre-ambulatory nostalgia

It’s always tantalizing to try and imagine
what it might be like to meet in person
one of one’s literary heroes outside the
dog-eared pages of a much loved book
to stumble upon a favorite poet on the
verge of a country laneway for instance
one magic, lazy midsummer afternoon
just as he or she — found in garrulous
good mood and happy for company —
stops to tie the laces of an undone shoe
nature-bound with an urge to ramble on
at length through the field and over hill
for what epiphanies might be shared like this!
In short, to take a lengthy lake walk with Messrs
Wordsworth & Coleridge is my idea of bliss.