Look Up

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Concealed in the sameness
the faded blue suit
Clark Kent by day
Who cares, who cares to look?

But out there
when darkness falls
it’s kite-flying breathtaking riddles
out of dayshadows, an infinite teasing
of zetetic minds
unphysics exploding:

The Universe
ultimate mystery man.

Migrations In Memoriam

Autumn, we lay lines,
unfurling across alpine waters,
to flycatch a trout’s eye

we are copper lizards
on rocks trailing
the flowered creases
of Crackenback

Autumns and summers,
we zigzag
to the summit,
always a marking of sorts –
birthdays, deaths, waiting out
open-heart surgery –
from afar

A lifetime of seasons
ago – before I left –
you said
the mountain came down
and swallowed lives,
wanted me to know
that bad things happen elsewhere

as if somehow that would make
me see,

Now, it’s winter –
we’re making virgin
in snow
when the eye
of a raven catches
a gelid reminder
of these invisible scars –

the ley lines
that connect this place
to your passing

Dad IV

I glimpse

your ghost


the sure hands

of a carpenter,

the polished grain

of Oregon pine,

the automatic way I

switch off the light when leaving a room,

the geometric folding of

a newspaper

on the train,


those who talk to


as if they were human,

to humans

as if they were

joy itself,

the cheerful scatting

of a man in his shed,


exasperation when someone goes right

to turn left,

sliced tomato on toast,

and – every morning –

in the shapes

of my


BBC – Horizon – The Ghost in Your Genes

No Jacket Required


draw, paint, sculpt,
create symphonies, move to
mirth or action,
sing with the voice of angels
(or the sublime Ms Fitzgerald),
cure with digitalis,
build to withstand
the aftershocks of a billion


in an instant,

locate true north
of a moral compass,
see the colour of a

beating heart

City Style


it’s lunching,

suited in boardroom sociopathy

By 3pm, its black sartorial

boredom hangs

in downtown coffee bars

The city, at 6, loosens silk ties, casts lustful

stares across crowded pubs

Its throaty, pashmina’d laughs drift

over footlights at 8,

Around 10, it’s sporting fusion-cuisined

energy and scent of MSG

Overtimed road-crew neon reflects

stumbling stillettoes,

come midnight

And at 2am, it’s pyjama-shuffling

its drug-coma’d streets,

mad-haired, in the darkness

But you’ll find it

just before sunup,

reposed against periwinkle sky,

at its naked





Sky Wars

Storm ions mass,

stir up old injuries,

swelling cats’ paws,

silencing cockatoos mid-screech.

In the particle zoo,

darker the light

settles stillness unsettling

like a spine tingle…


an electric spear is thrown,

punctures the tension.

Fat clouds, slow on the uptake,

grumble to rain

to wash it away.

Liquid art

We descend
from the incinerating heat above
through the cool water,
speckled with sunlight,
and then drift
weighted, but weightless
in the silence…

Sculptures of ancient rock conceal
and reveal
an extraordinary profusion of life—
I move closer…a pair of feelers
shrinks back into a dark crevice,
a clownfish nibbles
on a strand of my sunlit hair, the shadow
of a stingray passing overhead…

Suspended in a living art gallery
of creatures, bizarre and magical,
we breathe in a vaudevillean kaleidoscope
of parrotfish, chocolate dips,
Picasso triggerfish, coral trout, pineapple fish,
swarming shoals of baitfish—the exhibition is endless…

Life’s tensions
are expelled through the bubbles
of the deep,
pace of breathing;
my senses are heightened,
but I am completely

Above the brain
coral, a horseshoe leatherjacket
on its side in a cleaning station, enjoys the nibbling
of the cleaner wrasse
in its mouth and gills…

A cuttlefish sashays past,
eyeing me coyly,
displaying its fabulous
Mardi gras costume as I wave
my hand in its direction.

A saucy, painted red-lipped
morwong flicks past,
while a dugong smilingly lopes along—
an underwater burlesque
and Carnivale all rolled into one.
I marvel
at the phantasmagoria of the deep…

The enormous,
gregarious Maori wrasse engages,
while the Neanderthal of the sea—
the prehistoric stonefish—sits unseen
and deadly on the bottom,
camouflaged as a rock.

The dark side is right here—
Look but don’t touch!
Don’t peer too closely into the nooks and crannies!
Don’t dive too long or stay too deep!
And always there,
on the fringes
of my consciousness, lurk
the sharks. Thrilling!
Inhale, exhale,
perhaps a little faster.

Low on air,
time to go, but we will be back
to explore the endless
and search for the elusive
weedy sea dragon.

Look up,
and exhale,
surface slowly…
from my favourite place.

The Brother

Ancient Bijin dolls
smile in polite approval
as she paints in the dim light of a Chinese lantern –
a little piece of the Orient in African suburbia.

At 3pm she serves her handmade guests tea,
positioning them in their miniature chairs
so they can admire her handiwork.

Teddy loves its fiery breath,
Polly nods uncontrollably in agreement,
her eyes blinded by the Brother a long time ago,
but Humpty Dumpty is scared of its horns.

At 6pm, on the way back from her bath,
the Brother pounces,
twisting her arm behind her back,
“I have srayed the dragon,” he menaces. Tell on pain of tickring death!”

In her room,
she finds her exhibition guests in contorted poses,
the graffiti spray still wet
across her masterpiece:

On pain of death or not, this time she will tell.