04 February 2017


Twenty-five dollars a month.
Tax deductible?
Now you’re talking.
To put a face on a smile,
 yes, I did see it on TV,
in an African village.
A personal touch.
Yes, I’m sure we can afford it.

Oh, I have to write to them as well?
Maybe the kids can do that.
Good for show and tell.
A cheque will do?
Ah, direct debit from my account.
Excellent. That way,
I won’t even have to think about it

any more.

Animal logic

Does a bird think
I am bird
or a dog
I am dog?
Or does the bird
just live birdness,
the dog
Does Jasper think
I feel sad?
No, he just stands there
tail drooping,
until the next
good thing happens
and wags his tail.

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Doyle's maxims

Sing for your supper.  Howl for your dessert.

Always get up on the wrong side of the bed.

Don’t gossip.  Loose lips are too attractive.

Plant the seeds of discontent and water them daily.

Don’t grow up.  It stifles the imagination.

Try, try, then try to stop trying.

Don’t eat your heart out.  Become a vegetarian.

Don’t tell anyone about your worst habits.

Pretend not to notice the dirt.

Take one disaster at a time.

Don’t forgive bastards.

Never look a fascist in the muzzle.

Keep one foot in the grave.


Eduardo showed me photographs
of him in the Guardia Civil
with his handsome moustache
on a bridge in Peru
holding a mortar
aimed at distant terrorists.

Eduardo has spent the night
at Fairfield hospital
with his sleepless little girl.
I love her so much,
he says with a sad smile.

Eduardo is learning English
to get a job as a security guard.
I see him now
in front of a bank
with his handsome moustache
thinking of his daughter
safe in her suburban home
and the weight of the mortar

and the bridge.

30 March 2016


spatters of night rain
on Tue Tinh Street

a woman walks her bicycle
loaded with plastic bags

I watch her patiently sort
through rubbish

turn away from the streetlight
to pull out my money

find a suitable note
not too big

turn around
with inner generous smile

the woman and her bicycle
have dissolved into the dark rain

Long Reef in winter

You hear the roar half a mile away.
Giant rollers unfurl white banners on the reef. 
Closer in, fish-scale light on curving shimmers.

Ears back into the wind
Jasper does a mad run on the clifftop,
dream material for a twitching afternoon nap.

Two whales, mother and calf, loll in the swell.
Now a southerly churns the water sprites,
the horizon jagged with distant storms.