Sunday, February 16, 2014

What if a truth serum / anti-inhibitory agent

What if a truth serum / anti-inhibitory agent suddenly escaped from a secret government laboratory, and made its way into the atmosphere, where jet streams carried it all over the planet, till every single human being - except one - had inhaled it.

How would our world look then? Would politicians say straight out they wanted influence and validation and to remake the world in their own image? Would corporations dispense with all the nonsense about service and core values at their staff inductions, and tell the staff that it was all about making money for the executive team, the board and the shareholders, and that they could even keep a tiny bit for themselves. Would advertisers insist on creating split screen commercials where, on one side where the usual happy staff dancing at Kentucky McDoanlds Nandos, and on the other were the debeaked chickens and pigs in sowing crates waiting to be industrially processed?

Would people in the office, at school, on the bus, scratch their butt itch unashamedly and vocalise the relief with long moans of pleasure? Would people dig ear buds into their ears, eat their snot, and sigh with pleasure or pain while standing in a queue at the bank? Would priests voluntarily raise their hand to say yes, I did ask that child to touch my penis, and it was thrilling for a moment, but since then I've lived in terrible fear of being caught out and thank G-d its finally over.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Poems 2014

Just to lie on beach sand fingers buried in the warm grains
just to lie on thick grass and inhale the scent
just to feel the heaviness and tiredness and know I have come to the right place
not black or white, but nevertheless simple
_____________

 I am doing my best
to check out the assumption
that effort is incompatible
with feeling complete

 ___________
 Everyone places themselves
in orbit
at a distance comfortable for them
from the heart of things
presidents, singers and special forces
seem to me to be quite close
while I hold journalists and academics

and myself
as once removed
but at the end of the day
everyone falls into the
heart of the sun
which need not beat or burn
to be

_________________________
There is a man
in a purple gown
I drive past every day
who is bent over
on the pavement 
outside his abode
earnestly and endlessly
picking up invisible objects
scattered around a tree
and the only difference
between him and I
is that he is already
in the purple gown

 _______________

 I'm lying on the garage floor
one hand on Ella the dog's paw
one ear listening to the birds in the tree
between calls for depression and anxiety
I'm so content
I didn't even need to write this poem


________________________

Sometimes I want to explode on a bus
not like a suicide bomber
whose carefully nurtured resentment
can no longer be contained in their body
but from love
so that even the coughing spluttering man
flashing past my window
pushing his trolley and cursing passersby
is caught up in the blast
and blown to kingdom come
_______________________


Neither adult nor child
neither Jew or Goy
neither minority or majority
neither silenced or heard
neither white or black
neither South African or Israeli
neither male or female
neither success or failure
neither enlightened or ignorant
neither mind or body
then what remains?
what is?
______________________

______________________
Like the boy with
his fingers in the dyke
so many births and deaths
could make you sad
or mad
if you tried to hold them all
and if I hold your body
does it mean I can hold onto you? / it does not mean I can hold onto you

Welcome sadness
you are no worse
or better than joy
but I seek rest
in the Eternal's
embrace
_______

Notes from my childhood

When my sister in her nighty
bent forward
her breasts popped out
and I looked away
because I wanted to look so much

_________________

Don't worry
if you don't say it
someone else will
_________________

Self portrait Friday 3:57 pm

A crazed man
of slightening build
with dyed dishevelled thinning hair
in paint stained shirt and shorts
manure under his fingernails
urgently jotting down notes
in the air conditioned library
for a slightly dysthemic poem


______________________

My perfect love
has tresses bright
that span the day
and darkest night

a river flows
between her breasts
down her belly
to where it rests

like dew the tidings on her lips
to all name and form
she whispers that which never dies
is that which was not born
___________
 
My perfect lover
has tresses bright
which stretch from the sun
to the edge of the night

a river flows
between her thighs
bearing sweet water
to the field where she lies

her lips are comfort
at the end of name and form
knowing what will never die
is that which was not born
_______________

My perfect woman
has long blonde hair
which reaches from the sun to the
edges of the solar system
a gentle river flows
between her thighs
bringing sweet water
to the orchards where she lies
comfort is on her red lips
at the end of name and form
she knows that that will never die
which was not ever born

__________


MY FELLOW CITIZENS

My dear fellow ________________

(Insert as appropriate: South Koreans, Minnesotans, Israelis, Argentinians, South Africans, Mexicans, Indonesians, Danes, Australians, Serbians, Taiwanese etc etc)

We are a hard working and industrious people, essentially forward looking and optimistic. We are entrepreneurial and creative, willing to take calculated risks, with a capacity both for self discipline and to think out of the box. We punch above our weight in the cultural/sporting/business/research / arenas. We are always ready to defend our liberty, and the liberty of friends, but we are also always ready to extend the hand of friendship to former enemies who now wish to treat us with dignity.
It is these unique characteristics which make us so different from the

______________________________
(Insert as appropriate: South Koreans, Minnesotans, Israelis, Argentinians, South Africans, Mexicans, Indonesians, Danes, Australians, Serbians, Taiwanese etc etc)

___________________

daddy what can I be when I grow tall?
a copy writer selling lies to all
an abbatoir worker adjusting the gas
to ensure the pigs go unconscious fast
 

____________________________
Cliche

Yesterday in the sociology class
we discussed gender relations
and power imbalances
and I nodded my head in agreement
with almost every point
not wanting to appear crass or insensitive
and honestly accepted
I too was complicit in


"the erasure of female experience it being a matter of historical record that white males have constructed accounts of `human’ experience which reflected a clear masculinist bias"
 

and
a reformed human in a desert
licked my dry lips
and stole furtive glances

at the faces and breasts
of the young women
a few seats down from me 
________________

I  met this woman in the park
her dog was serious and I fancied he took a liking to me
a cross between a Jack Russell and a Pug,
mistakenly I called him a Puggle
she explained it was more correct to say Jug
we began to talk
as people do
she told me about her 39 year old
gay son
who is making a lot of money in New Zealand
with FIFO work
and I told her how my one son
has my face
and the other
my baby toe
and she told me how she looks after the Jug
for some other people who separated
and how she too separated from her partner
when their boy was still young
and how this ex died last year
and the little Jug
had softened a little by this stage, although
still refusing to smile, and he and Ella
our love ball in a dog suit
chased each other around and around
in intersecting and diverging lines
on the green green grass
spelling out the letters
to remind the sadness which is my default
Eloheem, the Lord of Limits

hoo Adonai, 
the never ending G-d.

______________

Very occasionally, maybe twice a year,
I go to a massage parlour
for what's known here
as a 'rub and tug'
to find a little relief from it all
and then go back to the ones I love
those needs at least partially addressed
and the last time two women offered themselves
for a certain amount plus 10% on amex
and not in the least bit reluctantly
i said yes
one was from thailand, the other from taiwan
the thai women rubbed my feet ineffectually
but I felt too sorry for her to murmur anything but
how wonderful it was
the taiwanese women was more effective
and her english was better
and her act generally slicker
and her makeup thicker
when I turned over from stomach to back she took charge
she had a strange bony protrusion just above her coccyx
perhaps her sacrum
(congenital or childhood accident?)
she said other clients had also commented upon it
and stopped for a moment to examine herself
and feel the area above the buttocks
of the thai woman to compare,
then continued, wanting to get it over with, but I asked her to wait a moment longer
now sorry I'd paid the Thai to come along as she was
really rather absent
as often happens I popped in and out of a strange disembodiedness
watching it all unfold from a distance
my body responding in its habitual arc
the Taiwanese whispered expletives in my ear and
I was like an actor determined to play my role and support her in hers
but I also wanted my money's worth, these visits and moments beingrare,
I asked the siamese to sit behind me and hold me
so that I and the other women could be more together
(you see how men really are monagamous)  
and I held her and they held me tight
til the work was done, and she whispered
crude words perhaps some clients had liked
and I said I don't want fuck I want love
which is true, and bowed to them
the bhuddha on the massage table
they, instantly rehumanised
I, too awkward with phony ness to jump into
mr sensitive but the sweet melancholy
I felt was genuine enough
for them and me and all creation
so far away from home

______________________
Emigration

It felt
like there was a war going on
I ducked my head low
to avoid the shouts, whistles
bombs and bullets
there was a bang and blinding flash
and then I could not see
I crawled on my belly
crawled and crawled
my eyes tightly shut
til I seemed to enter
some kind of tunnel
I crawled on further
til the explosions and shouting
were only a vague rumble in the distance
then I lay there in the quiet.
panting, not moving,
my fingers stroking the earth beneath them
so glad to be
safe
after what seemed like ages, when my breathing had
stilled, I raised my head, it bumped
against something.
I tried to move my foot but it
struck some sort of barrier
I tried the other leg -
something held it fast
I dared to open my eyes a little

gradually my sight returned
and I was able to glance around.
I was in a suburban house
in a Sydney suburb
with a mortgage disappearing into the future
and
stamped on my forehead
a sell by date
receding into the past.


______________
on their way to the slaughter houses
in Indonesia
cows raised in Australia
lick each other
to remind we who have forgotten
that their is love in the world
______________________

As if shot from a circus canon
life propels us into middle age
some continue unblinkingly onwards
others seem to find themselves temporarily suspended
many miles from the ground
neither here nor there
but perhaps with a lot of baggage
that has mysteriously manifested along the way
and wondering where the energy has gone
and if it will ever return


_____________

 
If love means
friendship
solidarity
faith and unknown surprising strengths
(both yours and mine)
 

across many years of incident and accident and
converging emerging histories
 

becoming evident

shared laughter
and tears
pleasure in the abiding shifting presence of the other
delight in and embrace of their idiosyncratic uniqueness
as you and they are revealed to each other
and to yourselves


if love is the willingness to wipe bottoms
and wade through unglamerous boredom
in places and times where no one seems to know or recall
your name
or deeds
and still come back to yourself
humming the song of profound gratitude
for the gifts you have been given

If love is eyes to see
and ears to hear
the timbre and timing
of our notes as they mingle
sometimes near sometimes far
but underneath it all
the quiet appreciation
of all that you are

if love is the acknowledgement
sometimes vocal sometimes silent
of how my heart is moved by your movements
sometimes clumsy, often graceful
and elegant, so recognised as similar to mine, so
sweetly seen as already beyond my abilities and proclivities, unlike anything I might do
of me yet not of me
(how good to be bested by one's own)
if this is love
then the ground
In which our family
flourishes
and our home
arises
is love
 ______________________________

I wait for the phone to ring
The phone does not ring
I wait for the letter to come
The letter does not come
I wait for the wind to blow
The wind does not blow
I look at a mark on the wall
And listen in the silence
Which is already here
_______________________

How I squirmed like an eel
to earn a living
willing to pretend
to be anything to anyone
if they would ease my anxiety
with a regular paycheque
while all my heart wanted
was to make sweet play
with you for them
and us

and me
__________

My house
is like Masada
if they storm the picket fence
we still have the dog and front door
and if they breach those
there's always the loo

_______________

Some people say that
the moloch hamaves
is like a dark shadow
with seven eyes
that spit fire or blood
but perhaps
She's more of a teddy bear
whose soft embrace you suddenly recall
from not so long ago
________________
moloch hamaves - the angel of death


_____________________

NON RESISTANCE 1

I very very much want to live the life I live:
to drive the car I drive
to sleep and awake in the house I sleep and awake in
to have the enemies and friends I have
to have the thoughts I think
the family I was born into and the family I birthed
I love them all so much
every single one of them are my children
even when they or I smell of poo and have snot on their face
I embrace them with a planetary embrace
that does not move or falter

_____________________

NON RESISTANCE 2

"well done to Hamas for shooting missiles at Israelis
well done to Israel for bombing Gaza
well done to everyone who died for dying at exactly the appointed hour
well done to everyone who lived
well done to all the journalists who said what they said and who wrote what they wrote
well done to all the leaders and the followers
I look forward to more
of what ever happens next"


(I mean, do I have a choice?) 
_____________________________


Advice for Good Poetry

Don’t rush to redemption
stay awhile in despair
who knows what treasures
reveal themselves there?

_____________________

A Satisfying Answer

Out of nothing
popped something
rushing away from itself
at an ever increasing speed
for no particular reason
and that's what we call
a scientific explanation
_________________




At first sight
it looks like
launching myself off the stage
into a sea of hands
that carry me gently here and there
or it might be
flying off the edge
and discovering there's no floor
so that my falling turns to flying
for as long as I desire
and if I tire
of the sky's unfettered freedom
I can always return
to the feathered burrow's
warm embrace

_____________________



 
The ballad of Mitso the Alsatian

Mitso I am sad to see
you doing time in solitary
I wonder if on winter nights
you crave a little company
(you would if you're a bit like me)

A builder's yard's an honest space
But also quite a barren place
while others come and go each day
you're not allowed  to fetch or play
all you get to do 
is stay

 _______________


On Pesach we are told
while reciting the ten plagues
to take drops out from our cup of wine
to show our happiness cannot be complete
when those, even though they are our cruel enemies
are suffering
and at weddings we break a glass
so that in the midst of rejoicing
we do not forget the primal wound
of the world of name and form
but my problem is the opposite:
it is the suffering I cannot forget
so I need to keep the cup of wine
and drain it to its its dregs
then throw it away without worrying
whether it smashes or not
______________

suffering is like a ball
tossed from being to being
no sooner has one left the game
then a fresh pair of legs
comes on and runs with it
but no one gets to hold the ball
for ever

_____________________

Hard Lessons

 My son did a deal with a boy at his school:
100 Yugio card for 12 dollars;
"I'll give you three dollars now and bring the rest tomorrow"
said the other boy, "I promise" and my son handed over the 100 cards.
the next day the boy did not bring the money
nor the next day, nor the day after that, nor on the last day
my son was at that school; but did avoid him
on the playground, perhaps even averted his
gaze;
in  his new school my son worked hard
on a book presentation with PowerPoint
and due to a technical glitch the day he did it it all ran too fast;
"don't worry" said his teacher, "you can do it again tomorow"
so my son came home and worked very hard on the presentation
practicing and practicing
until it was perfect
but the next day the teacher said "sorry there's no time, 
don't worry about it"
so he never got to show what he could do
and I grieved, and prayed
that these first experiences of faith dishonoured
would not turn into fields of thorns
as they have in me
________________________

אחותי את
בשר מבשרי
ועצם
מעצמותי
אין קרבה
גדולה
מזו
_________________

_________________________
You can slip
and G-d will be the ice
that breaks the fall
and possibly some bones
if that is what is required 
at the time
___________________________

There are many kinds of faithfulness

________

Only kindness can give me courage

_______________________
I walked around Bondi Junction
getting poorer by the minute
looking for the perfect product
that never caused suffering
to no one
_______________

I walked around Bondi Junction
getting poorer by the minute
looking for the perfect product
that was born, lived and died
in joy

__________

G-d does not dissapear
when I turn my back
or shut my eyes
even when darkness is inside and out
I am still in G-d
and G-d is still in me
as it is written in the psalms:
הרפאו ודעו שאנוכי אלוהים
Let go and know
that I Am G-d
still
_______________

After all these years
of being
mother father
sister brother
partner lover
anchor bother
to each other
to have relations
with my wife
seems thoroughly
incestuous
___________

The reluctant vegan I

she stares miserably at the celery
on her plate, wishing it would transform
into sliced roast beef and gravy


The Reluctant Vegan II

He wags his tail
in anticipation
_______________
Just because I'm invisible
doesn't mean I don't get tooth decay

______________
When I am pregnant with words
I rush home
to give birth

__________
 Poetry, I imagine
is a bit like going fishing
(I wouldn't know)
sometimes
you catch a big one

____________

at the flea market:
love, peace and conspiracy theories
__________________________

My first act as president
will be to open the blinds
the second will be
the meeting of the waters
my third breach the wall of the silos:
citrus, grain, fruit and soya
my fourth:
to abdicate

____________

My body is a suit
that sometimes gets a little tight on me
pinching at the neck and shoulders
_______________________

You're seeing a single mother
and child
the mother (no longer black and blue her
ex's moved on but)
blue eyed & blond and
chubby, tells you she has a weight
problem, the little girl also
blond & blue eyed, all four years 
of her, a sweet little thing so doll like you can
hardly drag her eyes off her as she plays with
the miniature tea service in your rooms 
back to the mom who says "you see,
you see how impossible she is, she never listens to me,
now put the blocks away before you play with the
cups" and she leans across and moves
the small plastic service out of reach and the child slaps 
her mother's hand away in four year old annoyance."See," 
says the mother "she's got no impulse
control" and you're already part of their system, and
the mother wants to enroll you as quickly as possible
into her religion of the impossible child, and
you want to care but not collude, and as part of this system 
what you want to stay with is
curiosity
how come the mother can't see how absolutely
appropriately childish the four year old miniature person
is (perhaps because inside the mother who looks like an adult
is also a little girl who has no idea how to be a mommy?)
and how come you can't see the little girl the way the mother
sees her, try as you might, and how come you want the
mother to be able to see what you see - that now is the time for a 
four year old to be her childish self, so you abide in that
curiosity and without any smart-alec-I'm-the-expert agenda,
without any artifice or guile you ask:


_________________

I was sent to the headmaster
for misbehaving
I stood there,
looking down
at my scuffed shoe and
trying to stop my left leg
from trembling
stealing little glances at
Him
behind the desk
He seemed huge, He filled the entire
universe
I wanted to say
"You made me what I am"
but I was too afraid.
in the distance I could hear the buzz of a
lawnmower.

The clock on the wall
ticked into the silence
He shuffled some papers and rose.
"You come and sit in my chair" he said,
"then you'll see things the way I see them."
He made space for me to pass
helped me up onto his chair
fully adjustable, with a high
back and padded arms

the throne of glory
I span around and around and around in it
until I was old and a headmaster
waiting expectantly for a little boy
to enter and greet me.

______________________

Israel
how I love your stony ground
and the mounds
of your young women
___________________
  HIT & RUN

I read my poem
then run out of the room
_____________________

when people first meet me they think I'm soft
but when they really get to know me they discover I'm gooey

________________

allright then
if you don't want me to be
Jewish then I won't be
I'll become a Catholic
sign up for BDS
wave placards at rallys
in support of human rights
accusing Isreali of making matza
out of Palestinian children
and Israeli troops
of not raping Palestinian women
out of "racism" 
it may look like Jew hatred
and it may smell like Jew hatred
but its not; its just anti-Zionism
of course you don't see cartoons
of Iran or Saudia or the EU or
the UN's Islamic block as a tentacled monster
choking the world
or of Ahmanijad or Mugabe or 
as blood stained caricatures
like they did with Sharon and Netanyahu
because for a bully
any excuse is good enough
and they might gabble and babble and protest
but in the end
its very safe to attack the Jews
you become part of a comfortable club
and there's no price tag attached
either social or physical
______________ 

The UN: small crimes abhorred
  large crimes ignored

___________ 

WITH APOLOGIES TO YEHUDA AMICHAI Z"L

Facebook
on a page of a friend
pictures of smiling people
doing exciting interesting things
children growing bigger, the latest trip
the family pet
I click onto my page
pictures of family
doing exciting interesting things
children growing bigger, the latest trip
the family pet
unseen, beyond my monitor's glow, the cpu, the modem router, 

the fibre-optic or copper cable, the server farm
sits someone else staring at a monitor
they have put up many posts
I have put up many posts
to make me think they are happy
to make them think I am happy

____________________________

THE ORIGINAL CIRCA 1965

Jerusalem
On a roof in the Old City
Laundry hanging in the late afternoon sunlight:
The white sheet of a woman who is my enemy,
The towel of a man who is my enemy,
To wipe off the sweat of his brow.
In the sky of the Old City
A kite.
At the other end of the string,
A child
I can't see
Because of the wall.
We have put up many flags,
They have put up many flags.
To make us think that they're happy.
To make them think that we're happy

________________

 Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Factory Farmed Chickens

Problem solving: taking action is powerful, as the very act of planning and implimenting a strategy increases our sense of control and makes us feel better, so.....flap your wings.
Oh, ok you can't flap your wings becauase the cage is too small...well then when they let you out?
Oh they never let you out. Ok how about preening yourself then...
You can't? why not? You've been debeaked....all right then. Sometimes there is nothing we can do to change the situation, in which case we need to use other strategies, such as disputing catastrophic thoughts, Talmudic disputation or relaxation techniques to manage our stress and extreme discomfort. I'll write down some of your thoughts...
I'm never going to get out of here alive
You see that's not true. You will leave alive, and then you'll be taken to a place where you go through a big rotating machine and hopefully that will kill you so that you don't get dunked in the boiling water still alive. What other thoughts do you have?

acceptance (see pg 214)


____________

TRANCEFUSION

Once I was in a cinema
with a mosquito
which had also come
to watch the movie
she buzzed around me
I couldn't concentrate
we got into a struggle
that mosquioto and I.
I held her down
we made out
I kissed her
one arm around her delcate antennae
her proboscis deep in my mouth
she got into my blood
I got into hers
I grew a pair of gossamer wings
she grew a mustache and boots.
I flew out of there
but she was too heavy to move.


_________
Coming back
from not getting the job
I walked with a spring in my step
I had not had
on the way there.
____________

the beast of Jew-hatred
is rising again from its lair
six million fed it for a decade or two
but now it is hungry again

________________



Neither adult nor child
neither Jew or Goy
neither minority or majority
neither white or black
neither South African or Israeli
meither male or female
neither success or failure
neither mind or body
then what remains?
what is?
____________________

please don't bring the war here
leave it at the door
you think you want excitement
but you want peace much more

_________________ 

I sacrifice my pleasure
on the alter of sobriety
and responsibility.
May quiet joy
find me soon

________________
Challenging homogenisation:
Instead of socratic disputation try talmudic disputation
Instead of touch wood or fingers crossed try bli ayin hara (without the evil eye) or bezrat haShem (with the help of G-d)
Instead of Halloween try Purim
Instead of "the old testament" try "the Hebrew Bible"
Instead of BC and AD try BCE and ACE
Instead of nodding obligingly and saying "and a happy Easter to you too" wish the person - who has assumed without checking that you operate within exactly the same cultural framwork as they - a meaningful passover and may we all be freed from our personal mitzrayim's (Egypts) right now.
On this note, I remember in South Africa how many black people I knew were irritated by white people who could not correctly pronounce their (the black people's) names; they took this as an indicator of condescension, and of an unequal playing field....black people could operate in the conceptual and linguistic world of the whites, but the reverse was not true...whites had not bothered to make themselves literate in the most basic ways about the Simelokuhle and Bogotso they referred to as Mary and John...
when I taught at a Jewish school in Australia, Emanuel school, most of the staff were Gentile, and it always bothered me that, given the environment in which they were working, they never bothered to learn or even attempt to pronouce Jewish surnames and Hebrew first names "correctly" (of course there is no ultimately correct way of pronouncing anything, but I mean as has become normative amongs a particular linguistic-cultural or faith community) and indeed frequently mangled these names. I understand that English speakers from Australia and the UK stuggle with the guttaral "chet" (ch as in bach) so that Nechama became Nehama, and Bar-On became Baron etc, but I never witnessed even tokenistic attempts to step inside and pronounce the names in ways that did not sound strange to a native of that culture.

______________
which 
me 
to 
be
de

pends 
upon 
the 
company
__________
Now that 
mom and dad
have been resting awhile
they have shrunk 
to a good size
to carry around in my heart
and there they reside
peeping out now and then
through my eyes
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

and I too one day
will take my place
in the hidden heart of the world
and whenever someone stares at
a leaf or supernova instead of 
attending to some needless chore
or quietly does their duty
instead of doing something
they imagined they wanted more
I will be be there
but not as I or you imagined me
in fact as something I have never
encountered
and never will, the great unmet
that swallows up all
fear and regret

____________
I don't like the idea 
of working for money
(it just doesn't work for me)
but I love the idea
of working for love
do you think the bank
will allow me to repay our mortgage
in the latter currency?

___________

 'CAUSE

Viv is making supper
listening to Rodriguez's song
I'm mopping up the floor
where the rain came in
Dani is Rangar
attacking Dr Mundo
Guy ponders
"what has the past or present
government done to overcome
the changing environment"
finally I got it
this is my life
this is how it is
this one was made for me
cause

__________

Listen to his song here 
______________________
The void is my mother
the void is my father
the void will look after me
the void may look black to the mind
but it has no hue
and is every colour
_____________________

To Gerday Boyesen:

my peristaltic rythms testify
I am ripe
so harvest me
now
_____________________

 TO MY CHILDREN AND WIFE

I, who lingered in the shadows
waiting for an effortless sun to rise in me
I who allowed myself to dance for only five minutes
once every three years
before going back into my shell
I who cry and laugh so easily
unbidden
love you with a pure love
that celebrates your marvellous being
the suppleness of your coming into balance
your grace and reach
only an endlessly creative G-d
could arrange such gifts
 

yes you are my unfulfilled wishes
yes perhaps you will go where I couldn't
but you are as not me as me
and loving you for and as both
comes easily
and lingers long

____________________
THE TWIN SPEED REALITY

the one is the buzz of rapid thoughts
traffic jams, advertisments, shopping malls and landfill tips
office politics and defending our turf
each action begetting another reaction

the other is the rythm of the breath and pulse
peristalsis and menstruation
sunrise and moonset
the tides and avian 
migration 
slowing it down
to small deliberate movements
you can really feel
__________ 

Mr Phillip Berelowitz
now retired 
in the old aged home
with a faint touch of dementia about him
but very much the person
he had been for most of his adult life
was visited on his 70th birthday
by some year 11 students
doing their community service
by spending some time
with senior citizens
Micaela (16) and Maya (17)
listened to his stories
sang him happy birthday
and cut him sopme cake 
but what he wanted
what would really have  made his day

from the young woman in white blouses
was a blow job, or hand job
at the least
_____________________

I offer up my offerings
many do not get taken up
when or by whom I make up
my happiness depends upon
 

the tree offers up its blossoms
whether or not
someone stoops or stretches
to inhale the scent
 

the blossoms mature and turn to fruit
some are eaten by flies, some by birds
some by passing animals
some plucked by the human hand
 

some fall to the ground
to mature into trees
or be eaten by worms

provide substrate for fungus
 

and become fertile ground
for whatever comes next

nothing is wasted
rest in that, my friend


_______________________ 

My troubles are petty and insignificant
yet they are still huge and painful to me
my joys are poor and dull
yet while they last they completely absorb me
my challenges are much smaller than many other's
and yet I can't quite get on top of them 
I am a tiny and unimportant speck in the universe
yet the universe cannot exist without me
am I the most desperate of creatures pretending to be blessed?
or am I the most blessed of creatures pretending to be desperate
when you know
please tell me  

_______

SANDRINGHAM GARDENS

in the old aged home
black women
(gently I hope)

cleaned his incontinent bum
and the less my dad,
a nice man with alzheimers,
did
the more they fed him
three meals a day:
roast beef with gravy
veg, pudding, fried soles
tea and biscuits at 11:00 and 4:00
to plump him up nicely
like pillows
so that he would look healthy
for molach hamaves*
_____________
* = the angel of death
__________________

Often I think I'm not tough enough
and when I believe this I sometimes bluff
square my shoulders, try to make myself tall
to frighten away that blow that might fall


________________
I know a young man
who ages as we speak
his eyes are growing dimmer
his joints becoming weak
but it is not him
its You I seek

________

I constantly choose
to do the things I don't want to do
because I am afraid
of the cost
of doing 
what I do want to do
so what do I want 
to do?

____ 

Rest


Soon I will
arise
and fall
leap and
crawl
give and get
do and
regret
break and
mend
begin
and end
go and
come
but just for
now
I’m done

_____________
_______________

like a dog in a cage
in a research facility
alone all day and crying for company
but when he hears footsteps
she knows it's not love
they bring, but pain
so in my cubicle
in my faceless employ
I

and the bars that holds me
the expectations
I have of myself

_____________________

arfilei tohar*
the clouds of semen
released by sock-eye salmon
to fertilize their partner's eggs
shortly before they die
__________________
arfilei tohar = mists of purity

_____________________

Skipping in the House of G-d


I am always ready to be anything
a permaculture farmer
a dog walker
a gag writer for a satire show

a technician or tradesman

with a useful skill

a guru
a lecturer
a radio personality or

a quiz show kid.


Like a spreading puddle
always beginning again
I flow from nowhere
to nowhere
seeking a pair
of cupping hands
_____________
The transmogrification
of the caterpillar
into the much more socially acceptable
butterfly

___________________ 

zombie nation
lurching from the ashes to the winter olympics
from macmonogenous to the next cup of coffee
from headlines to gossip to polarised debates
from anti-depressants to over consumption
working when work has gone stale
and playing too long to avoid true work

what is it we don't want to meet?
what is it
we're trying to forget?
why do we carve out
a raft of achievements
to float upon over
the doubts down under?

Take the much overused word "spirituality"
positioned as the opposite of materiality, as if G-d is not in the world.
Like and dislike, good and bad, them and us...
are not bifurcations of the mind?

spirituality is the priest and her congregants discreetly farting

in a call and response; the return of the profane
and the burst of laughter-recognition this may evoke:
inescapable; us; ourselves; moment by moment

surely until we bring our attention also
to land fill and abbatoirs and sweat shops
our shadows weigh heavily, the worm in the rose
of green lawns and families with cosmetically whitened teeth
the lie of the palace walls into which suffering never steals

sexual predators are not by and large outsiders on the register  who come to your community
to be driven away by a mediaeval-like mob
most abuse happens in the family
bigots and racists are not identifiable buffoons with a sign on their back
all this cast lives in us
drop the pretence it is otherwise
stop taking our projections to be the world
bring all the exiled parts back home
we have met the enemy
and he is us
and as I belive it turns out
she is our friend.


Everything that is hidden awaits to be disgorged:
the opiates of sports results and share prices 
sex tourists buying children in the undeveloped world
sucking on take away coffees or pa'an to replace the absent breast
the terrible hunger for something real
that starts in the desolate abundance
of the supermarket checkout, the government queue, the
call centre agent reading their script;
the glassy eyed mantra’s of commodified relationships:

"this conversation may be recorded"
I'm feeling so lonely
how may I assist you
I was hoping to hear you
might feel the same way
for accounts press 9
somebody help me, somebody hold me
did I assist you with your query
I have no query, only a hunger

have a good day

now
watch my finger
your eyes are getting heavy
your body is relaxed
close your eyes
and I'm going to count
down from 3 to 1
and when I reach one
I will snap my fingers
you will be asleep
and do and believe whatever I tell you:
Three, two, one...
SNAP!

Now you will believe
you can all drive your own cars and not have traffic jams and gridlock
you can show love and connectedness by going on a 33 hour shopping spree at Christmas
that casino's can fight irresponsible gamboling and bars irresponsible drinking, 
that secret hungers can be legislated out of sight 
that people in over developed countries can resolve problems in other places by reading an article and clicking on a petition at sanctimonious.com
that a brave new world can be built on ancient prejudices
that people who say they want to keep you safe are concerned about you as a human being
that you can run infomercials and adverts 24/7 and expect children to value honesty and authenticity
that the blunt instruments of political correctness and do-it-by numbers policy can dissolve the unseen knots that lie at the heart of bigotry and dehumanisation
that cancer and environmental degradation and type II diabetes and sex trafficking and every  symptom whose roots go unnoticed 
can be fought with three minutes of attention. 

isn't it clear?
the universe is created
out of our habits
Adam was born from wholeness
when he gave creation names

emancipate language from the subjugation and colonisation
of commodification and media manipulation
move away from splitting and projection towards integration
leave tokenism behind, not mothers, fathers, valentine, cancer or earth day
but every day
like breathing, like walking, like brushing your teeth...

until that moment celebrate this one
compassion arises and sits on the throne 
dissolving all barriers in its way
nudges all stunted process back into flow
practicing  viveka
as in the rope from the snake
as in owning an impulse vs acting on it
as in telling benign from malign prejudice,
revealing itself to me and to you

and on this day
the body exhales
our doubts come galloping
over the hill
each one an ugly duckling transformed
and the mind's chatter
is a sweet serenade

therefore be not sad
O heart
the fire is yet bright
it warms the body-mind
the water is wet
it quenches the thirst
and everything calls
to begin again
now
____________________________



a flickering light:

zombie nation
lurching from the ashes to the winter olympics
from macmonogenous to the next cup of coffee 
from headlines to gossip to polarised debates
from anti-depressants to over consumption
working when work has gone stale
and playing too long to avoid true work

what is it we don't want to meet?
what is it
we're trying to forget?
why do we carve out 
a raft of achievements
to float upon over 
the doubts down under?

and what is this much overused word "spirituality"
the opposite of materiality, as if G-d is not in the world.
Like and dislikegood and bad
them and us
are not bifurcations of the mind?

spirituality is the priest and her congregants discreetly farting
and the burst of laughter-recognition this may evoke:
inescapable; us; ourselves; moment by moment
surely until we bring our attention also
to land fill and abbatoirs and sweat shops
our shadows weigh heavily, the worm in the rose
of green lawns and two car families with cosmetically whitened teeth
the lie of the palace walls into which suffering never steals

bring all the exiled parts back home
sexual predators are not by and large outsiders who come to your community
and then driven away by a mediaeval-like mob
most abuse happens in the family
bigots and racists are not identifiable buffoons with a sign on their back
all this cast lives in us
drop the pretence it is otherwise
stop painting the world with your projections
we have met the enemy
and he is us
and turns out
she is our friend.


Everything that is hidden awaits to be disgorged:
the opiates of sports results and share prices 
sex tourists buying children in the undeveloped world
sucking on take away coffees or pa'an to replace the absent breast
the terrible hunger for something real
that starts in the desolate abundance
of the supermarket checkout, the government queue, the
call centre agent reading their script;
the glassy eyed mantra’s of commodified relationships:

"this conversation may be recorded"
I'm feeling so lonely
how may I assist you
I was hoping to encounter
a similar acknowledgement of something in you
for assistance press 9
somebody help me, somebody hold me
did I assisst you with your query
I have no query, only a hunger

have a good day

now

watch my finger
your eyes are getting heavy
your body is relaxed
close your eyes
and I'm going to count
down from 3 to 1
and when I reach one
I will snap my fingers
you will be asleep
and do and believe whatever I tell you:
Three, two, one...
SNAP!

Now you will believe
you can all drive your own cars and not have traffic jams and gridlock
you can show love and connectedness by going on a 33 hour shopping spree at Christmas
that casino's can fight irresponsible gamboling and bars irresponsible drinking, 
dentists tooth decay and psychologists mental illness
that secret hungers can be legislated out of sight 
that people in Holland and Australia can resolve problems in the Congo or the rape of slaves in Saudia by reading an article in The Guardian and clicking on a petition at sanctimonious.com
that a brave new world can be built on ancient prejudices
that you can run infomercials and adverts 24/7 and expect children to value honesty and authenticity
that the blunt instruments of political correctness and do-it-by numbers policy can dissolve the unseen knots that lie at the heart of bigotry and exploitation
that cancer and environmental degradation and type II diabetes and sex trafficking and every  symptom whose roots go unnoticed  or ignored
can be fought with three minutes of attention. 

isn't it clear?
the universe is created
out of our habits
every label 
creates its nemesis
Adam emerged from wholeness
when he gave the creations names

emancipate language from the subjugation and colonisation
of commodification and media manipulation
move away from splitting and projection towards integration
leave tokenism behind, not mothers, fathers, valentine, cancer or earth day
but every day
like breathing, like walking, like brushing your teeth...

until that moment
let compassion rule as the sovereign force
may it annihilate all barriers in its way
nudge all stunted process back into flow
may it practice viveka
as in the rope from the snake
as in owning an impulse vs acting on it
as in telling benign from malign prejudice,
may It revealed itself as such to me and to you
 
and on that day
the body will exhale
our doubts will come galloping
over the hill like cavalry
each one an ugly duckling transformed
and the mind's chatter
will be a sweet serenade

therefore be not sad
O heart
the fire burns , the screen is not singed
the sea is salty, the screen does not rust
the lights comes up
everyone goes home

the projectionist leaves
the seats turn to dust
the cinema is empty
the fire is yet bright
it warms the heart
the water is wet
it quenches the thirst
and everything is calling
to begin again
now

the earth is the Lord's
and the fullness thereof:

a flickering light

_______________


letting us know
like on Yom Kippur 
surrounded by family

Adonai hu Elohim


if you don't like cant 
if you want to be of service
if you want to understand for whom or what suffering arises
before you rush to attempt to end the suffering
that endlessly recreates itself
then vote for a boundaried borderless poetry 

________________


The furniture of the mind
can be dusted off
rearranged
exchanged
or I can just go outside

___________________
The problem with
"first do no harm"
is that it assumes agency
and assumes we know what harms
in the end as at the beginning
the doing is done

________________
In terms of the causes tree
Israel/Palestine
is low lying fruit
while higher up
unseen and unpicked
Tibet, DR Congo, Kurdistan, Xinjiang, North Caucasus, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Syria, Iraq, Zimbabwe, North Korea, the Sahel...
quietly fester

________________
For me the best way to celebrate anything is with sex

______________
Sometimes
when I leave the house
I leave the internet radio on
The Voice of Israel
to coat the walls of the house
with Hebrew


_______________________

To find peace
in the midst of everything
that can be done
and everything
that cannot
be undone


_________________

Straya
land of the anonymous tip-off
and the polite punch in the face

____________

the kitchen clock says twent-five to three
I put on the kettle for afternoon tea:
islands in the storm

_________________

perhaps my life will be
like a body in a sluggish river
with layers of sedimentation
which is suddenly stirred and then swept up
by rapids or a flash flood
which carry it to where it is
born, away.
_____________

I was languidly languishing
staring at my phone
while eating a supernaturally
sweet mango   
seeing myself
surrounded by large breasted
wasp waisted pretty faced 
young woman
from whose inoffensive vaginas
honey dripped, 
and i was the only man
in town
_______

[fragment]

people danced naked on the tennis court
appendages soaring gloriously
(no one was ill or infirm, or if they were
were gracefully charmingly so)
and sexism was not a threat or a shadow
just a spice
_________________ 

neuroplasticity
reflects fantastic new elasticity
the brain can do gymnastics
even after fatal heart attacks
and epigentics demonstrates
history and genes don't decree our fates
because we are process, ever shifting in the now
reductive labels get less sticky somehow
which gives a bit more room in which to breathe
and confirms we become what we believe
_________________________  
THE DANCE OF THE GENERATIONS

My mom who died
in 1987
and my grandchildren
who have not yet been born
and my dad who died in 2012
and my wife and her dad
who died in 98
a few months before our eldest was conceived
we all met up
on the dance floor of a 
bar mitzva
and no one had any troubles
it was a joyful meeting
the first for some of us who missed each other
on the earthly plane

I got the call
when I was in the Israeli army
doing my last parachute jump
onto a beach and into the arms of my
girlfriend 
Yael
I got the news she was dying
and flew back to South Africa
now 27 years later
nearing the age when she died
I want to continue the conversation with her
where we left off
several years before
 
find out what we share
other than the past
if we have values and interests that connects us
or if we have grown apart
 my dad died in 2012
I got the long-distance call
late at night
I knew what it was straight away, I'd
dreamed about him in my flat in Sydney
overlooking the Pacific
a few nights before, we were dancing
at the Rand show grounds
in Millner park, now Wits
He was dressed as a chosid
wore a shtreimel
______________________
adorable, fuckable you
____________________
G-d bless us 
with heavy breasts
and albaster thighs
___________
our mantra for today: what a shapely, well padded arse
_________________

Grief & Loss

This morning
I lost a head of broccoli
I'd been growing for 3 months
to some small creatures that appeared overnight
I lost my temper
my keys
my glasses (temporarily)
I lost the life
I planned and never had

to be continued...

_________________

the chiropy of the mind...
i can see you had a trauma
when you were between 6 and 60 years old
so I'm going to gently manipulate and massage your psyche
_________________________________ 



I left my body

and went to a brothel

where I met a sex worker

who had left her body

when she was a child

and come to work there

both of us ghosts

in a sort of meeting

that got us through

some kind of narrow doorway
without touching

 ________________________-


 

see also: Poems 2013  and When Bad Things Happen to Good People
Poems 2012 and I hold me
Poems 2011 
Poems 2010 and malice aforethought 
and damm straight 
and Poems 2009
and
Poems 2008