Thursday, November 28, 2013

Paper Poem

I have no paper to pen my poem
so no paper poem gets written

Instead with straightened back I sit
to tap
fingertips sore and bitten.

The mental pen on mental page
flourishes fast regardless

A lyrical ballad is silently spun
while my tips
tap dance so artless.

I cannot work in these conditions
my fingers seem to say

Hand me a pen,
tear me a page
I'll write a paper poem today!

And so I did, and here it is
transposed for the screen

A paperless, penless, bloodless work
as deceptive as a dream.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


It's probably just as well my mother doesn't blog...

My little (secret) warriors
I like them lined up in their box like soldiers in their platoon, or inmates in their concentration camp bunks, branded with their own serial number and all (not to make light of that inhuman atrocity, I hope).

My little warriors they are, for the time being at least. My compromised peace in the unfunny pantomime that is, or can be, life for the politically aware.

I blame the government - all the governments. Better than blaming Mum (or Me).

Monday, November 25, 2013


Banner 25 November 2013 In Focus package

I have spent a fair amount of my time researching and writing about this cause: of understanding in order to do much more to prevent and effectively punish violence against women, especially domestic violence where the vast majority of it starts and continues.

Today, White Ribbon Day, I went on my first protest march for this cause. I found it interesting but not altogether empowering. I wonder how effective this annual march can be when nine out of ten people marching in the searing sun were women, but the reverse gender ratio applied to the people leading us, giving speeches before and after the march, and holding the news cameras. The people, in short, who were getting some kind of financial pay-back from being there. Most of the cops were men too.

We need men to get involved - and how! - but not like this. Not forever taking the positions of authority with the women doing the mainly voluntary, all too often dirty work. We need women to empower women, and men to humbly and honestly help us.

Still a bloody looooooooooooooong way to go to this end, me thinks, sadly, but I'm glad I went on the march.

Friday, November 22, 2013

True Blue

A square of sky
I do like my blue...

This is a square of sky snapped and snatched up on a late-spring morning in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand.

I think Bob Dylan once remarked, when asked, after a rare visit here, to give his impressions of this faraway land at the edge of the world, that 'The sky is very blue'. He might have used a better adverb. And, being Bob, he might have been damning with faint praise in meaning there's not much else to recommend it. Indeed, much rests on the integrity of the adverb.

Still, blue sky, very blue sky, is not to be sniffed at. And we Kiwis take our compliments where we can get them, even if we have to twist the truth to do so. Twist away, I say.

I do love my blue

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Flying Solo

Courtesy of Jeanie Tomanek
If only I could taste my trepidation,

bend my boredom,

love my loneliness -

I might then feel the freedom of flying solo

through this vast, fast world...

The essence of this little lament came to me when I was flying home to Aussie recently - a mere three hours in the air. And it has returned to me now with my husband and trusty confidant a mere three days away on a work conference (also in Aussie). 
As tempting as it is to blame that bleak if beautiful desert continent for my lame lamentations, I believe it might rather have something to do with the book I am currently battling (yesterday referred to here with nail-biting reference to my leaf-blowing neighbour). 

So if these somewhat regrettable expressions of woe seem at all pathetic to you, dear and valued reader, please understand that I cannot help myself, though I try, and that once done with that bruising book - which happens to have more than a little bit to do with the perils and possibilities of flying solo - I hope to be a much changed woman, better able to fly my own kite in the sturdy fashion this woman seems to be managing it.      

Monday, November 18, 2013

Blow me

I'm sitting here feverishly trying to write, write, write, while I bite, bite, bite my non-existent nails, working on what I hope to be the penultimate draft of a lengthy work of bloody art, no less, my first such make-or-break work, indeed, and a gruelling enough exercise it is, to be sure, while my neighbour is... bloooooooooooooooooooowing in my ear on her bloody leaf-blower - again! And it's not even autumn!

This is my neighbour, except without the leaves
As far as I'm concerned, she might as well be blowing me (and not in a friendly, neighbourly way, either) for all the bloody leaves there are out there on this pristine, clear and otherwise windless spring morn.

Now I know it's a First World kind of complaint. And I may even have expressed it once or twice before on this very blog. But... and it's a very big BUT I believe, she goes on with her blowing of invisible leaves for HOURS, regardless of the season and so frequently I think she must be using it as some kind of new age blow therapy, or perhaps she sees leaves where others simply see. The other, all too real possibility, is that her purpose is to drive me to distraction, which at least would give the task some sense, though that hardly helps my purpose as she succeeds so admirably in achieving this end.

I have taken myself off to other rooms in the house further from the blower to escape the incessant drone, even locked myself in a walk-in closet, all to no avail. The sound seeps in everywhere, like nerve gas. So now I have resorted to wearing my son's high-powered headphones, which do not remove the drone entirely - nothing would achieve that except removal of the neighbour, I am sure - but do reduce the volume by perhaps a third, while doing fabulous things for hair style and overall image as a serious writer of literature.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dream On (weirdness alert)

Another dream the night before last
Has stuck in my head, like a pain in the arse.

An Indian man in a tent coloured red
Likened me and my ilk to - wait for it - caramel, he said.

Caramel! say what? my dream self replied
We get everywhere, make a sticky sweet mess, the red tent man cried.

Now I don't know what to make of it, I wonder do you
I've always been quite partial to caramel, some of my best friends are too.

If it's sexual I'll need Sigmund to come back from the grave
To find the proof in that pudding the red tent man made.

In the meantime I'm left pondering the pain in my arse
Thinking perhaps it's my diet given rise to this farce.

Sugar is shit, Al Pacino once said
Maybe Al is my man in the red tent instead.

We'll never know, and I doubt ever care
Unless I write a poem about it for the whole world to share.

Now I've gone and done it, like Coleridge and his albatross
Forever more you'll be stuck with caramel, red tents, Al and my arse.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Colour Red II

Okay, so this is colour with a capital C and a 'u', (as we have it here in NZ), and with red in the more literal sense, in celebration of our superb springtime bottle-brush, and until my next embarrassing dream colours my cheeks that shade...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Color Red

After watching The Color Purple last night I had an embarrassing dream about Eleanor Catton -  the brilliant, beautiful, young Kiwi woman who recently won the Booker Prize for her book The Luminaries...

View image on Twitter

Now, don't get the wrong idea from this photo, my embarrassing dream was not a bedroom dream, as such, though it did take place in a bed. Nor, indeed, is this me with that brilliant, beautiful young Kiwi on the right there (for I am a bottle blonde, but otherwise understand the confusion), who may or may not be smiling at her phone on account of a funny message I sent her about my dream. That all depends on how real dreams are; I'll let you be the judge...

I don't normally discuss my dreams on my blog or anywhere else where millions are likely to be listening in. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to keep the deepest secrets of my deranged mind - where possible - to myself. But in this case, I'm prepared to make an exception...

In my post-Purple dream, Eleanor and I (what a ring that has to it!) were working for the same powerful woman, who shall remain faceless, and knew each other let's just say... well (me and Eleanor, that is, not the faceless woman). I wasn't sure in the dream exactly in what capacity Eleanor was working for the woman (she was possibly her personal author), but I was, obviously, looking after her young child, because that's what I DO these days, even in my dreams (sigh). Nonetheless, it occurred to me that the faceless woman was taking Eleanor for granted and not fully appreciating her greatness. So without asking Eleanor, I took it upon myself to tell that woman, in front of Eleanor, about Eleanor's recent achievement. And this is where The Color Purple comes in. Because instead of announcing that Eleanor had won the mighty Booker Prize for fiction, I stumbled in my dream confusion and all-round awe of the woman and said instead that she'd won the slightly mightier Pulitzer (as Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, did), to which Eleanor rightly reeled back in mortification having to quickly amend the accolade in a downward direction: 'No. It wasn't the Pulitzer I won it was the Booker'. If only I might ever utter that sentence. In the process, our relationship was quite ruined and I woke up (to find myself in bed with a mere man).

Apology: I can't recommend The Color Purple enough for a film and story that totally stands the test of time, and apologise genuinely to those who might think my lame, white-red dream a sad appropriation of that classic story. And to my mere man not, who says that we watched the film back in 1986 before we got together. I don't remember that, exactly, but the fields of purple flowers have stayed with me happily all these years, along with the man.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Nature Knows

I'm afraid that my camera (photography and gardening) does not do justice to this exquisite apple blossom tree. Nonetheless her beauty is such that she looks good in any light, at any angle, with any fool behind the lens and spade (actually, that would be my husband, and he be no fool). But how short her season! The shortest of any of the flowering plants in our garden. In which case, I can't help marvelling at nature's knowing, in granting but a glimpse of her most exquisite work, lest we (and the bees) become complacent. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Home Down Under

Some visual and poetic snaps (except for the borrowed bandicoot) from my recent trip home to Sydney in the Springtime, staying with my dear old mum, who continues to keep on keeping on in the Frenchs Forest house I grew up - and uttered my first word - in. 

A room with a view in zoom, from the Frenchs Forest house

My first word (Mum reminds)

The easiest and the hardest
The shortest and the sharpest

The boldest and the dumbest
The oldest and the youngest

I've been saying Yes ever since
Until tonight...

Gum tree making way for the wires

Of my childhood -                                             

The sound of Time 
Moaning, tunnelling, tantruming 

A lonely, looking, 
Left-behind sound

Portending, remembering, travelling
Backwards and forwards

Time: forever wired on the wind 

A borrowed bandicoot

Between a rat and a soft toy              
A busy bandit in the night
Flashes marble-eyed
Dashes underfoot
Our clinking, chinking drinks
An old ornamental owl ignores
Too stiff and wise to blink

Now urgently out onto the grass
The soft bandit sneaks
Sniffing the secrets of the deep 
Digging holes for her magic marble maze
Frantic to finish before midnight 
When she turns back into 
A bandicoot

An ornamental owl


Thick rumbling thunder rolls
Cackling, crumbling
Crackling, mumbling

A trembling wind shivers and shakes
Agitating the helpless washing
Into flinging fits as if
To ease its own anxiety

An angry army approaches
Doors bat and rattle and squeak
Not knowing what else to do

A small-sounding dog
Braves a bark or two
Too few for a proper protest

Nature darkens her brows
Hunkering down against 
The blustering, bravado beast    

Before the rain finally falls
A gentle, cool release
Hardly the horror the thunder foretold
A storm oversold

A priceless, storm-free beach (Manly)