Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday Poem: "Leaving my Mistress on a Sunny Sunday"


In the hospital of someone else's life,
the innocent lie waiting for her ministrations,
their crime no more than disobedience to Nature.
Children of Eve, every one,
impatient to taste the apple and so
breaking ranks with the womb before time.

We know about breaking ranks, she and I,
because we will not put on the straitjackets
so neatly laid out for us.
This is not forbidden fruit we share.
It is the windfall from the tree of longing.

I break into my mistress’ sleep because I want
to hear her voice, rolling like thick honey
down the telephone line.
Then, a homing pigeon, I rise,
wings beating furiously through the velvet night.

For hours we kiss,
letting our tongues take us to a place
beyond death and vanity.
I taste her topography,
sing the psalm of her flesh,
grow heady on the catalogue of her fragrances.
I want to unpick her locks
and set free the prisoners of desire.

In the morning, Sunday lives up to its name.
Insects chirrup in the terracotta haze
as slender shafts of light prise apart the venetians
to pluck at strands of my mistress’ hair,
playing her dreaming music like a concert pianist.

I love to study her when sleep
leaves her unguarded,
when I can brush aside the covers
to watch the porcelain world of her breast
rising and falling,
to cup it gently so she sighs but does not wake.
Awake, she will remind me that it is too small.
She never sees, as I do,
the perfection of her imperfections.

Unwilling to break the covenant of skin,
she lingers,
calling the hospital to say she will be late.
Coy about the grape of passion,
another fruit from Eden’s orchard showing above
the starched white collar.
I kiss her goodbye.
Pressed between her lips and the sun at my back,
the heat of contentment envelops me.
This is how it must be, in this moment,
in this embrace, in this sunlight.
Go, merciful angel, to those more helpless than I
that need your love.

POET'S NOTE: I have been extremely reticent to post this poem as my Tuesday Poem. It comes with a coda, so to speak. I don't want anyone thinking I'm some kind of terrible philanderer or that I am now or have ever been unfaithful to my present wife, (only Number Two, I'm not Liz Taylor) whom I adore.

This poem was written about the time when my first marriage broke down and my first wife had taken up with someone else. We had agreed to separate and I was moving back to New Zealand from Australia, but we had also agreed that I should finish the degree I was studying since I was only about six months from its completion.

It was a strange time (perhaps that is why it is called "estrangement") and we went from being husband and wife to kind of independent flatmates, living under the same roof but living separate lives. She was going out with her new love and I was feeling a bit lonely and overlooked. I ended up having a brief but intense relationship with a woman I met who was a bit heartbroken and lonely herself. We were kindred souls seeking the same wellspring of hope and optimism. We knew it was doomed, as I was leaving the country, but we threw caution to the wind. Sometimes you really do have to live for the moment, however brief, like the short but beautiful life a butterfly enjoys.

So, to reiterate, I was not "cheating" on my first wife and I believe in fidelity in relationships, but somehow the word "mistress" has a forbidden, exotic ring to it with its connotations of illicit pleasure and general naughtiness. Who among us has never been naughty or dreamed of being naughty?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday Poem: "Away" by Victoria Broome


At first the dead return
as if they have only been away
on holiday or a business trip.

They cannot help
but surreptitiously look
to see what you have changed.

The back door shoes are gone,
the wardrobe is leaner, certain possessions
have become artefacts.

Still, the comforts remain.
You look at the dead amazed, they evade
your questions; say - they’ve only been away

for a while, look pointedly
around the room, let the wine glass linger
at their translucent lips.

You lay the table, white plates, 
cutlery, linen napkins, salt and pepper, 
quartered lemons, olive oil, parmesan and a fresh salad;

give them a placemat
light the tapered candles,
bring out the cellared wine.

Victoria Broome


ANDREW'S APOLOGY: I was not able to get an image to post of Victoria, but if you would like to see what she looks like, go to:

http://www.facebook.com/victoria.broome.12?fref=ts

Victoria Broome works as a Mental Health Counsellor with Pegasus Health in Christchurch and writes when she can, not often enough! She has been a past poetry editor of Takahe, received the Louis Johnson Bursary from Creative NZ in 2005, attended Hagley Writers Institute in 2008 and 2009 and came second with Ian Wedde in the 2010 Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award. She has published in anthologies, and NZ-based journals and The Press, but not yet a book of her own.

ANDREW'S NOTE: If there is any justice in this world, Victoria deserves to have a book of her own work out and I'm sure the reality cannot be far away.

I read this poem in The Press recently and was captivated by it. I had noticed Victoria's work in The Press before and very much enjoyed it and so I approached her (thank you, Helen Lowe) to reproduce this wonderful poem. I felt it deserved a wider audience beyond Canterbury. I won't blather on about the poem as I think it speaks for itself in all its richness, its quirkiness and its lingering images. Thanks, Victoria.



Monday, October 22, 2012

Puttin the Power of We into Action: Help Save the Southern Oceans



Within days, governments could begin turning wide stretches of the Antarctic Ocean into the world's largest marine sanctuary, saving the habitat of whales, penguins, and thousands of other polar species from industrial fishing fleets. Unless, vested interests try to prevent this happening.

We, the ordinary (actual extraordinary) people of the world, are speaking out now. We know that most countries support the sanctuary, but Russia, South Korea and a few other selfish countries are threatening to vote it down so they can plunder these seas, now that so many other oceans have been fished to an exhausted death.

This week, a small group of negotiators will meet behind closed doors to make a decision.  We are organising a massive people-powered surge to break open the talks, isolate those attempting to block the sanctuary, and secure a deal to protect over 6 million square kilometres of the precious Antarctic ocean.

The whales, seals and penguins can't speak for themselves, so it's up to us to defend them. We hope to change the negotiators’ minds with a massive wave of public pressure. Together, we'll deliver our message to delegates via a deafening cry on social networks.

More than 10,000 species call these remote Antarctic waters their home, including blue whales, leopard seals, and emperor penguins, and many of these species are found nowhere else on Earth. Climate change has already taken a cruel toll on their fragile habitat, but they will come under further threat from the industrial fishing fleet's mile-long nets cast over these precious waters. Only a marine sanctuary will increase their odds for survival.

The 25-member governing body that regulates the Antarctic oceans has already committed to creating these marine protected areas. But the two plans being negotiated -- one to protect part of the fragile Ross Sea and one for East Antarctica -- are at risk of dilution or delay.

Shockingly and amazingly, these talks have been off the media’s radar and countries like Russia and South Korea are betting their opposition will go unnoticed. They are so very wrong!

We will cast a public spotlight on the talks so glaring that we will force Russia and South Korea to back off, and encourage Antarctic conservation champions like the US and EU to push for even stronger protections.

The future of the Southern Ocean is in our hands. We will unleash a massive surge of global pressure and ensure governments don’t put private profits before our planet's health and welfare.

Concerned citizens of our planet have already helped to win victories to create two of the largest marine reserves in the world. But the threats to our oceans continue, and one by one species are coming closer to the brink.

High-profile celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio support our cause. We will save the Antarctic Ocean before it’s too late. That is a promise!!!

Please join us in our fight to save Antarctica and the fragile Southern Oceans.

Sign this urgent petition and share it with everyone you know:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_southern_ocean_5/?blqvOab&v=18906


MORE INFORMATION can be found here:

Protect Antarctic waters before it's too late, says environment coalition (The Guardian)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/22/protect-antarctic-waters

Alliance Seeks Vast Marine Reserves in Antarctic (New York Times)
http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/alliance-seeks-vast-marine-reserves-in-antarctic/

Milestone discussions on marine protected areas in Antarctica scheduled for CCAMLR’s 31st annual meetings in Hobart (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources)
http://www.ccamlr.org/en/news/2012/milestone-discussions-marine-protected-areas-antarctica-scheduled-ccamlr%E2%80%99s-31st-annual

Antarctic oceans are under threat (Antarctic Ocean Alliance)
http://antarcticocean.org/whats-at-stake.php

Antarctic seas in the balance (Nature)
http://www.nature.com/news/antarctic-seas-in-the-balance-1.11600


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tuesday Poem: "Dreaming of Michael"



For decades you lay buried in earth and mind,
but last night you rolled away
the stone of my subconscious,
forsaking tombstone white
to emerge in three-dimensional colour and
speaking with the dynamism
of one frozen at nineteen.

As in life, you are small, dark and intense,
exploding across my nightscape,
your wicked sense of fun
unweighted by the years.
As though absolved,
I awake reassured
by your lack of envy for the living.

POET'S NOTE: The poet wishes to acknowledge The Press in whose pages this poem recently appeared.

Monday, October 15, 2012

BLOG ACTION DAY - 15 October 2012: "The Power of We" #powerofwe #BAD12


You need look no further than the technological marvel that enables you, the reader, to read this Blog Post whether you are from Poughkeepsie, New York state, USA or Pune, Maharashtra state, India.

The Internet, for all its dross and porn sites and hate blogs and other negative facets, is a great liberator of that much-hackneyed phrase, "the common people".

Never has the Power of We been more obviously demonstrated than by the Facebook and Twitter campaigns that fomented the people's revolution that overthrew the corrupt, military dictator, Hosni Mubarak. The so-called "Arab Spring" purportedly got rolling when a very much put-upon Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself alight in protest at corrupt practices which prevented him from continuing to eke out a meagre living.

Sadly, Mohamed's death and the Tunisian uprising got swept aside by the international media when the popular sentiment spread like wildfire to neighbours, Libya and Egypt. Egypt's popular revolution was, thankfully, largely non-violent and deaths and injuries to Egyptian citizens were minimal, although even one death of an innocent is unacceptable.

The same could not be said of Libya's uprising nor the ongoing conflict in Syria. Other grassroots uprisings in Middle Eastern countries have been met with swift and brutal quelling by the dictators and repressive regimes in power in those countries.

Other factions, which do not have the best interests of the communities at heart, have inserted themselves into what had been a People versus Regime battle. It is reported that al-Qaeda has been sneaking into Libya and Syria to take advantage of the chaos and advance their agenda.

The perception of Islam as a violent, anti-Western and backward religion has been fostered by those factions in world politics whose interests are served by setting up an ENEMY, an OTHER. The presence of the Taliban and al-Qaeda has served these anti-Islamic factions well and given hate-fodder to the likes of Anders Breivik and other Fascists of his ilk. All decent, moral, tolerant people of all races, religions and political persuasion give no credence or validity to any of these sociopaths and psychopaths, but see them for the pathetic individuals and organisations they are.

One of the most decent, kind, generous and compassionate human beings I have ever met was a simple fisherman who lived in the north of Bali, in the countryside just outside of Singaraja. He was a devout Muslim who prayed five times a day at his local mosque. He took my friend and myself out for a day's fishing in his boat and then later entertained us at his house. He had very little in the material sense, but he was rich in spirituality and generosity. He would not take any payment from us for his kind actions. To cultivate our friendship was payment enough for him. We later sneaked him some gifts for his wife and his children because if you live with an Open Heart as he did, you invoke an Open Heart in all with whom you interact.

This simple one-to-one cultural interaction should be the model for building a true global community, one that is peaceful, prosperous, just and moral. This is the way we need to eliminate poverty, pollution, injustice, inequality and war. By reaching out through cyberspace, through face-to-face exchanges and social media interaction, we can build the POWER OF WE. We owe it to ourselves and to our children and to our children's children.

Reach out to someone today and offer the hand of genuine friendship. Show them how the POWER OF WE can lift us all up to something higher in purpose and more fulfilling as we live out our lives on this beautiful, abundant planet where there is enough for all if we want it to be so.


#PowerOfWe, #BAD12 and #Blogactionday









Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday Poem: "The Legacy of Laughing Eyes"


Brenna, you are a small sweet potato
dropped into the lap of the gods.
The joy of being glistens in your dark eyes
like a diamond in a coal face.
Daily, your personality takes shape
from the wet clay of your baby heart.

Yours is the funbrightness legacy
of the love of adventure and 
the adventure of love.
Your heart beats in syncopation with
the quick, bright, generous hearts
of your mother and father.
Their love pumps your little lips to laughter.

And now you have a godfather,
elected by the dictatorship of devotion.
We have driven miles of smiles together
in the soft, Spring sunshine of Santa Barbara.
Your hand, a miracle in miniature,
curls in possum tail trust around my finger.

It’s lucky I don’t know how lucky I am.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday Poem: "Celebration"



Kookaburras start every morning with laughter.
Magpies are innately comic,
strutting about in waistcoats
like squires inspecting the estate.
Twenty-eights are flying surprises,
exploding from the trees like abstract art.
Willy wagtails cavort to unheard rhythms.

Up on the wire, a party of galahs
mock stony-faced people in serious cars.
Butcherbirds soft-shoe shuffle
for an unappreciative audience
of trouble-tranced commuters.
Wattlebirds limber up their throats
with unholy imitations of industrial noise.
Robins interpret the sun in miniature.


As I walk down to the dam,
lemon and peppermint fragrances
carry their aspirations on the rising dew.
Herons go lazily aloft like paper kites
while frogs taunt the swamp hens
with marshland gossip.

Surrounded by this joie de vivre
I wonder why our desires are many
when our needs are few.
Have we lost our invitation
to the celebration of the world?


POET'S NOTE: I wrote this poem several years ago when I lived on the eastern outskirts of Perth in a semi-rural area. I was always fascinated by how the Western Australian birds were different and yet bore many similarities to New Zealand birds. We have nothing quite so loud as a Kookaburra, but we have its smaller cousin, the Kingfisher. We have Magpies, but no parrots like the Twenty-eight, although we have Keas and other temperate-living parrots. And Willy-Wagtails are uncannily like a black-and-white version of our Fantail.

Anyway, I offer this poem as a Springtime rebuttal to all the gloomy stuff that flies around in the worldwide media like Syria, the Global Financial Crisis and a myriad of other woes. Sometimes, we need to appreciate the intangibles, the good and glorious things this Earth offers us.