Seek and Ye Shall Find?

.

I’d been looking for a career back in the late sixties but it found me.

I went looking for God for a few years in the early seventies but found what I really wanted was to have kids so God went out the window.

I had another shot at finding God or Transcendence a little later on but ended up in a cult so I had to get out but I found Rhonda who was very spiritual and inspirational. I used to say to her, ‘Help Me Rhonda’ and she would smile and help me anyway.

For a few years from 2010 everyone went looking for Bin Laden. I would track all over the streets of Adelaide because Adelaide would be a perfect place to hide. I mean who would think of looking for him there?

Then I went looking for Milton but I found him.

I know a journalist who was sent to write an article for a top American magazine on J D Salinger who proved elusive as God but he wrote the article anyway on NOT finding J D Salinger and still got it published.

Lately I’ve been searching for Equanimity but that’s harder to find, except in snatches, as Bin Laden or J D Salinger.

Barry

This is Barry.

Say hello to Barry.

He runs the Central Market Books in Adelaide.

I had a chat to him last Friday night.

Apart from who he reads — Jo Nesbo, Robert Ludlum and Lee Childs —and what he’s into: Magic, Militaria, Espionage and Angels —the most remarkable thing about Barry is that he’s a man happy in his own skin.

And isn’t that the goal, the purpose, the station we want to arrive at?

And o, don’t mention Stephen King. His inner echidna comes out then.

I Have a Problem with Mary Oliver

I have a problem with Mary Oliver.

Much as I like her

and I do have a book of hers

all of her poems after a while

seem the same.

It may seem harsh but it’s a judgment

people could make of my poems

or, for that matter, any one’s poems.

Each poet has a voice, just as each singer has,

each artist, and that voice inhabits each of their poems.

You can recognize a Billy Collins poem,

a Charles Simic poem, a Lewis Carrol poem,

or, for that matter, a Shakespeare or Ben Jonson poem.

Each poem within a poet’s work is, of course, different,

but the song, to use  Led Zeppelin phrase, remains the same.

There is no way out of it. No way around it.

Maybe familiarity does breed contempt.

But many of us find comfort in familiarity too,

Swings and Roundabouts.

But is it poetry, John?

But is it poetry, John?

You mean, is it like Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’

you know the one, ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’

or ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’?

Probably not.

Well, How about Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost?

Come on, we’re talking 2020 here.

Then what?

A little bit of Billy Collins, I say, and Billy Connelly,

a sort of mad mix, the demotic and demonic.

We let our dirty laundry hang out. moon the pious,

but always in an Aussie accent. Your country first.

Does it have to rhyme? you ask. Probably not.

It’s not like Aussie Rules. There are no rules.

Though it’s a game anyone can play.

Just let it rattle off the tongue, roll off the mind,

Ignore the referees.

Have fun.

the Well-Read Salmon

I was idling by the brook fishing for tranquility

when the phrase leapt into my head.

What was I to do with it?

Toss it back?

Nah.

It had me hooked. It wriggled and flashed.

What texts would the well-read salmon have tackled?

Isaac Walton’s ‘The Compleat Angler’, of course.

that old chestnut, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’

and ‘Cloudstreet’ where poor old Fish Lamb almost drowned

& was revived but ‘not all of Fish had come back’,

‘Moby Dick, perhaps though as everyone knows a whale is a mammal

not a fish

though the well-read salmon would have known that.

He would have been well-versed in sea poems too,

knowing by heart ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ being one up

on me.

& a hearty singer of sea shanties going up and down

the scales

When I Come Back

When I come back

I want to come back as a book.

No matter how rambunctious, vitriolic,

passionate the life within,

I can’t get over how composed

each one looks.

  • if you could come back as a book, which character would you choose to be?

The Problem of Stephen King

Stephen King wrote a lot.

If God were as busy as Stephen King

He would not have rested on that seventh day.

Stephen King wrote as many books almost

as God put up stars

but not all of them were good.

None of them were duds

but only a few shine — you know them:

‘The Shining’, for instance, ‘Misery’,

the first third of ‘It’, the novella ‘Stand by Me’.

Maybe that’s all we can hope for —-

in a long and busy life only a few of our works

will shine.

*have I left any good ones out?

*what’s your favourite King book?

*which have you read over and over?

Do You Do That?

20200515_113527

Do you find that? That you are lying on the bed, buried in a book when suddenly you come across a passage that is so striking, so delightful you must write it down? And then you dash to your laptop and keyboard your excitement so others can read when you post it to your blog? Do you do that?

Here is the passage I found quite early into my voyage of ‘The Last Voyage of Mrs. Henry Parker’: ‘on the shelf above the clothes rail were two identical life jackets lying side by side like a canoodling couple …’ Even more apt when you learn she is waiting for her beloved husband to board.

It was an extra pleasure to be able to GO INTO the library, roam around the new book shelves, and strike up conversation with the librarians whom I had not seen for over seven weeks.

 

Do you do that? Do you copy out passages? What’s the last book you were really excited about, particularly regarding the quality of writing?

Fragile Dennis

400px-Zipper

I think of fragile Dennis when someone needles me,

and toughen up.

He let the jibes get to him;

He closed down the fun house of his world view,

changed his clown shoes for cement boots.

He was heavy as Hamlet,

became prickly

& wouldn’t read his wonderfully quirky poems out any more

because people were telling him,

they were weak.

They were a little childish but

they weren’t weak.

Poets are supposed to care for each other.

I wish some people would close up like zippers.

I Just Can’t Help Myself

istockphoto-507272482-612x612

I try writing a serious poem about a relationship break-up

About how gutted I feel

I even get in a few good metaphors

But then it starts going off the rails

The clown in the closet wants to come out and play.

I try to shut him out

But he plants his foot in the door

And before I know it

He’s taken over

pouring out puns, profanities,

double and triple entendres

A real word-acrobat.

The poem’s a mess but he’s having fun.

and so am I.

What the heck!

We horse around a little then get into it.

I just can’t help myself.