WHAM! SLAM! BAM! (redux)

•August 30, 2015 • Leave a Comment

INTRODUCTORY NOTES

Reverend Hellfire and panel

Reverend Hellfire, lurking in the shadows..(photo courtesy Tony Mutton)

The Reverend Hellfire made an appearance as panelist yesterday

at the Queensland Poetry Festival, with other distinguished luminaries of the Brisbane Live Poetic Scene, to discuss the Open Mic phenomena, its Culture, and etiquette, the role of Slams and so forth and so on. And ye Gods! At an ungodly hour of the morning as well. But happily the Reverend was let off his leash briefly and given the opportunity to do a couple of poems and clamber all over the furniture while he was there. (Wisely they’d bolted down the chairs before his performance so damage was minimal.)

Wandering on stage late (as always), with a couple of take-away coffees

and a bag of glazed donuts, the Reverend took a perch and happily munched through breakfast as he joined banter with debonair host Matt Hetherington and fellow poetic Auteurs, Angela Pieta, Des Skordilis and JdUB.

The Ladies of the Panel read some fine poems themselves and Speedpoet Supremo JdUB seemed very organised with his prepared notes.

In keeping with the occasion, the Rev read a poem dedicated to horrible Slams and then a poem concerning hideous Pub Gigs. Later audience members were given the opportunity to upbraid him for the lustful braggadocio displayed therein. (apparently)

More discussion followed. He who Must Not be Named (Graham Nunn) was named, and it was agreed that while he’d been

a very naughty boy,

he had nontheless generally been a force for good

in the Brisbane Poetry Scene in the Time before his Fall.

All on the panel agreed that the Brisbane Poetry Scene wasn’t at all incestuous, that the Open Mic scene was creating a sharing, nurturing Community and that all World Problems could be solved if only more people went to Open Mic Sessions and listened to Poetry.

On that stimulating note the session ended, and after handing out a couple of his fireproof, stainless steel business cards, the Reverend wandered off to find Clive Palmer, give him a donut and offer to run as a Palmer United Party Senate candidate at the next Federal Election..

The Reverend Hellfire, changing the World.. one poem at a time.

The Rev looks for the last donut as the panel discuss the Meaning of Poetry.

The Rev looks for the last donut as the panel discuss the Meaning of Poetry.(photo courtesy Tony Mutton)

WHAM SLAM BAM!*

*

Well, you know how it goes.

I wake up to discover

I’m at the Worst Poetry Slam ever.

Here I feel as comfortable

as Godzilla in a burkha.

Here the air is fouled

by jowled and jaded Art bureaucrats and

humourless hacks,

hunched scowling over their lattés and their

short blacks,

Snubbing the “lesser” poets, who,

seething with malice,

Glare/stare at the small-time Stars

sipping from Fame,

(their thrice-poisoned chalice)

while the cronies & sycophants

simper and chat

in cliques and claques

in booths at the back.

*

Down at the bar,

beer swilling bellies and bullies

bellow and belch

in the back ground.

Tonight’s judges, I’ll bet,

and mates of the Boss.

The bastards.

*

The sullen staff slouch and sneer,

convinced there’s some special significance

to being Queer,

occasionally deigning to pull you off..

a beer.

While you wait and you wait

to participate,

But a Methuselah madman

on the monotone microphone

is ranting & panting his forty-fifth canto..

(Wait a sec..is that Me

or My Optical Illusion up there?

Oh no, No!)

*

And meanwhile..

Management, mumbling morosely

at the cash register,

mentally starts putting chairs on tables

in their mind and wonders,

if the ‘Acoustic Jam Night‘ next Tuesday

will bring in a better crowd.

*****

*The Slam described is a Composite picture drawn

from the worst aspects of several, dismal dull occasions

in the past.

***

Xtreme GOURMET pt2

***

tai chi hand strawberry circle

The Reverend Hellfire is a practised Performance Poet,

President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity

and an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists

AND the Church of the Universe.

“Every honest enemy

is worth two lying friends.”

***

SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

•August 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment

In which the Reverend Hellfire visits an isolated mountain village..

greetings from Nimbin

Travelling Poetry Man 

Pt 2: Something Wicked this Way Comes..

Morning and the Reverend Hellfire is on the move again. This time he is hitching a lift with esteemed Ipswickian poet, Cameron Logan, towards the Rainbow Region’s capital, Nimbin and the 2015 “Nimbin World Performance Poetry Cup“.

Both are scheduled to appear in the Heats. Ahead Mount Warning seems to be wearing a hat, possibly a Sombrero.

Yes the Reverend is entering a Competition but he is under no illusions about “Winning”. The Reverend may be one of Australia’s finest Performance Poets, but he is an acquired taste, like Gorgonzola or ketamine.

Nimbinites like poems about things like Rainbows and White Light, and instead, to the Ominous sounds of shaking and rattling, here comes the Reverend Hellfire, swaggering out of the Shadows trailed by Spiders, Vampires, Poltergeists and nameless Minions firing compressed air-cannisters of non-biodegradable, fire-hazardous material at the Audience.

The Reverend taunts the Judges and prods and provokes his audiences. Don’t think you’re safe up the back either!

Worse still, this year the Reverend brought his “Horrors” set of “edu-taining” poems to town, guaranteed to terrify the arachnophobic. Indeed, it was gratifying to see the audience reel back in fear as the Reverend commenced his “spider-walk” down the aisle and at least one terrified audience member bolted from the Hall. (Much to the amusement of the street-people loitering outside, who, it seems, circulated the story all over town.)

______

“Along came a Spider

And sat down beside Her..”

_____spider groin____

No, the Reverend came not to compete but to demonstrate his Art on stage a couple of times, to terrify the locals and impress his peers. To Network and to watch quality poets from around the country. (In Nimbin at least, the poets are generally professional enough to actually learn their poems by Heart.)

***

Strangely perhaps, for an event billed as a performance poetry competition, there was little in the way of actual performance.

From my notes only the Reverend Hellfire himself, Brisburgh iconoclast Gerald Keaney and his hilarious attempts toget into” his poem, fine-feathered Ahliya Farebrother, the ever-vibrant & twirling Vasudha Harte and a curmudgeonly, drunken Len Martin, had an overt performance aspect to their presentation this year.

For the rest, the performance part was reduced to the bare minimum of Delivery and witnessing the Drama of the Poet’s Personality as they declaimed their Words. To this end, some will wear a hat or some other element of “costume” in their attire. (The Reverend also believes this is somehow all related to a growing tendency in modern poetry not to have a Topic so much as to have an Attitude.)

For some talented wordsmiths of the caliber of Tug Dumbly, David Hallett, and Cameron Logan the quality of their Work and their polished delivery allows them to successfully command the audiences attention. Poets like Lou Steer and Robert Conlon also managed to demonstrate a powerful onstage presence.

For other poets, 8 minutes is clearly stretching the uppermost limit of their ability to hold an audience with the “power of their words” alone. Especially when their style of delivery remains monotonously unvarying also, the combination is deadly. Thus, for several poets, I found myself inexorably nodding in my chair like an old junkie, and my only notes for each of those poets are the words:

Sleepy Time.

Which brings me to the Winner.

The historic Nimbin pub

The historic Nimbin pub

The Rev usually tries not to pay to much attention to the results at these things.

Talk was hot amongst the out-of-town poets gathered in the Nimbin pub that Saturday night, that the judging at the Nimbin Cup always favoured the locals.(Was this why there were only 26 competitors this year?) But all this was put in perspective when those gathered started swapping horror stories of Dodgy Slams and dubious judging from around Australia.

In Truth, the Judging at the Nimbin Cup is only as erratic

as any other Poetry competition or slam.

Thus while some decisions are no brainers,

other choices made by the Judges 

are often very strange indeed.

The winner of this year’s world performance-poetry cup, technically, didn’t actually read “a poem” or even perform.

Sadly I have to say Josh Holms, for all his painfully earnest sincerity, just sent me to sleep the first time I listened to him.

The second time, the moaning of pain from those sitting near me kept me awake long enough to make some notes. By an interesting co-incidence I had just written the words, This isn’t Poetry this is just a Political Polemic when Josh ended his speech with the statement,

This isn’t a poem/ This is a Call to Arms!”

Ok.

As for content; sorry but it struck me as insipid, pseudo-new-age drivel. Well intentioned pious platitudes

about the Soul and Truth, that mean Nothing and fail even in their stated aim of being a ‘Call to Arms’, for what it really amounts to, my Friends, is Preaching.

And the Reverend does not like being preached at.

The Reverend doesn’t preach himself,

he just tells his little stories and parables.

(Let those who have ears, listen.)

callme cruel,glove

Don’t think it’s a matter of me merely disagreeing with the content.

I like Peace and Love as much as the next person.

I mean, I didn’t agree with the text of Ahiya Farebrother‘s poem, (a tired old “Objectification/Beauty Myth” rave)

but I would have passed her through to Finals at least, because, unlike Josh,

her polemic was actually crafted into a poem, and she delivered it in the form of a beautifully minimalist piece of performance. She actually went to the trouble of thinking up a conceptual piece of physical theatre and putting it into practice, so kudos to Ahiya and indeed I believe she ended up getting the People’s Choice Award.

Otherwise the Cup was much as always.

The same general comments and criticisms I’ve made in previous years could well be made again. See;

https://reverendhellfire.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/2011-nimbin-world-performance-poetry-cup-review/

Final thought;

Nimbin burning

In the heart of Nimbin a fire burns.

In the centre of town, on the main street of Nimbin, there is now a vacant lot. Until the Winter of 2014, the world famous Rainbow Cafe and next to it the iconic Nimbin Museum & Hemp Store stood there, whilst in and around

these buildings and their little side lane,

the equally World-renowned street drug trade

had also centred itself and thrived.

In many ways these buildings were, if not the Heart of Nimbin at the very least an intrinsic part of its Soul.

Nimbin Museum

The olde Nimbin Museum should have been in a Museum itself.

 Love it or hate it, the open drug market was always part of the Janus-faced character of Nimbin.

But late at night last winter, a fire mysteriously broke out. The old timber buildings were quickly engulfed in flames, and by morning little but ashes and charred ruins remained.

Nimbin burnt

It was a devastating blow for the town’s residents.

But Life goes on my friends, and wounds heal. And Behold! The Reverend has witnessed strange signs of Hope and Renewal.

For example, the street drug trade continues unabated on the very same spot to this day. I’m not sure if all of them even remember that there was ever a building there. Talk about Resilience!

And there is more..

For each night in that vacant lot while I was there, the Homeless would light a big fire and gather around it for warmth and company. The Reverend joined them for awhile of course, and even there the Street People had heard of his Performance that day and were still laughing about the fear-struck audience member bolting from the Hall.

And so the Rev watched the big full Moon sail across the sky, while the boy with amphetamine eyes babbled on, insisting he wanted the Rev to Marry him and his sweetheart at Noon tomorrow, right here in the vacant lot in Nimbin. The Rev humoured the boy good-naturedly, tho he had his doubts about the plan’s reality. And indeed, the last the Rev saw him he was hitchhiking out of town just after dawn, heading to Melbourne and sadly without his Sweet-heart. They shook hands and the Reverend wished him luck.

Oh Nimbin! The Reverend thought, I love you!

Any other town in Australia..the Homeless gathering on the main street of town around an open fire? Without being moved on or hassled by the police or authorities about fire regulations or loitering?

Not in Byron Bay. Not in Ballina. Not in Brisbane.

No way. It just wouldn’t happen.

But in good old Nimbin enough of the Utopian Dream

lives on that the Homeless it seems, are allowed

to keep themselves from freezing to death in Winter.

That may sound like Sarcasm but I’m serious. The rest of Australia just isn’t that Enlightened.

Nimbin vacant lot

“Do you have somewhere to stay Reverend?”,

gentle Nimbin poet Vincent asked thoughtfully,

as the pub closed that Saturday,

“We like to make sure everyone’s got somewhere warm at night around here”, he added.

Bless you Nimbin.

The Fire that raged in your Heart did not Consume.

For the amongst the cinders are glowing coals

from which the Faith is rekindled anew.

That Hippie enough for you Folks?

!

The Rev thanks Gerry, Cam, Liz & Dean for their kind assistance as Minions on this occasion. When in Nimbin the Reverend Hellfire stays at the Grey Gums Lodge.

Breakfast is provided by “The Contented Tummy”

Fairy Cakes supplied by “Galadriel”

***

GOURMET JPig REDuced

***

tai chi hand strawberry circle

The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet,

President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity Inc.,

and an Ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanism

AND the Church of the Universe.

So what’s your excuse?

***

BOHEMIA BY BUS

•August 16, 2015 • Leave a Comment

In which the Reverend Hellfire takes his Act on the road. Field notes as follows..

australia

Travelling Poetry Man

Pt 1: Bohemia by Bus

The Pain of rising at the unaccustomed hour of 6AM hits the Reverend like a cold, wet slab of concrete. With a shock of disbelief it occurs to him that people do this every single day! “No wonder they’re so bad-tempered all the time”, he thinks.

The Siren song of his warm, rank bed calls him, but today he takes his Act on the Road and the Reverend Hellfire’s Commitment to his Art is Total. He has promised the charming Mz Riddhi, the red-haired, eclectic host of Bay FM 99.9‘s popular Bohemian Beat show, that he would manifest in her Studio at 11am this very day to discuss his Art. Duty calls! So loading up on strong Caffeine and pain-killing drugs the Reverend Hellfire strides forth into the rosy fingered dawn..

riddi

The Reverend’s charming host; Bohemian Beat’s Mz Riddhi

The sun is just peeking between the skyscrapers as the Reverend joins half a dozen wanna-be flower-children on the express shuttle-bus to Byron Bay. Making himself comfortable as possible on the lumpy, lop-sided, threadbare seat, the Rev easily resumes his REM state as sunlight and shadows flicker across his eyelids and the bus rolls smoothly out of town..

Waking to see the sun shining over green fields, khaki trees, and far away the wine dark sea itself. The bus stops briefly somewhere absurdly green and lush deep in the NSW countryside.

A sign declared “Watch for Snakes”!, but the Reverend was not fortunate enough to see one. Nevertheless, despite the absence of Serpents it was good to breathe the clean fresh air and he took the opportunity to Salute the Sun by running smoothly thru the timeless, liquid movements of his Tai Chi routine.

The sinuses and lungs begin to clear now free from the city’s constant pall and haze. Damn, but Brisbane is a great, greasy dustbowl of a town, the asthma capital of Australia..

relentlessly bohemian Byron Bay.

relentlessly bohemian Byron Bay.

The Bus rolls into upmarket but relentlessly Bohemian Byron Bay.

Here the air is redolent with the smell of sandalwood, sea air and money.

Byron bay is in fact the main shop-front of the Northern Rivers area.

Here the hipsters and alternatives play in bands in the Pub

or hold markets to sell pots of organic honey to the tourists.

Most of the staff employed in the shops tho seem to be backpackers or other blow-ins from somewhere-else. A Scandinavian Earth-child with perfect cheekbones and clothed in a carefully tattered and layered $500 Hippie ensemble, eventually deigns to serve me a coffee.

 She could have come off the cover of Vogue Magazine, circa 1972 and seems to exist in a constant State of Heightened Awareness of her own ethereal Beauty.

The Rev takes his Styrofoam cup of Caffeine and joins the Homeless in the park to have a quiet Joint.

It’s a fine day and he feels sleepy as a lizard in the sun but the grass is wet and as soon as he moves again the Rev is wracked with crampy aches from sitting on damp ground too long. The Rev walks it off, feeling sorry for the poor bastards crashed out in sleeping bags who, from the detritus scattered around them, clearly sleep there on a regular basis. They must be wracked with rheumatism..

There are more Street people at the Community Centre where the Radio Station is located. Here they queue for the Free Lunch and food parcels provided by a local community group. There’s a fair sized crowd gathered for the charity lunch. Clearly beneath Byron Bay’s Surface, the Upper Crust of Designer Boutiques and over-priced Cafes, there lies a substantial layer of local poverty.

The Rev is preoccupied with these thoughts when an elderly lady walking past tells him that, “you’re the Best-Dressed Man in Byron Bay“. He thanks her with a courteous sweep of the hat, but it leaves one to wonder. After all, while it is true that the Reverend affects a certain sartorial elegance, it has also to be said that, due to the inclemencies of Poetry and Poverty, his appearance can be somewhat on the ragged side. His velvet coat is badly worn at the collar, and his shirt, tho an Original “One-Off”, had seen better days, and in truth, the left cuff maintained its association with the rest of the sleeve by but a few tenuous threads! Nonetheless Friends, the Reverend was still the Best-Dressed man in Byron Bay.

Reverend Hellfire; the Best-Dressed Man in Byron Bay!

Reverend Hellfire; the Best-Dressed Man in Byron Bay!

Certainly he appeared to be the only one dressed in black, making it easy for his charming host, the apparently ever-effervescent Riddhi, to spot him.

The hour on radio passes quickly, the Reverend ruminates on his Art and reads judicious selections of his own poetry, as well as a moving rendition of Charles Baudelaire’s majestic epic, “Comes the Charming Evening“.

baudelaire commemorative stamp

Happily Ms Riddhi is a Baudelaire devotee also. The Reverend urges followers to check out her fabulous show sometime, either online or on the air itself. Cool music, unusual guests and interesting discussions.

Check here for further details..

http://www.thebohemianbeat.com.au/home.html

A podcast of this occasion is said to be in the works. Those desiring to hear such a thing should send nagging requests to the appropriate people to speed up the process.

riddhi_kimberley10

After lunch, courtesy of Ms Riddhi. and more eclectic chat 

the Reverend is set free to wander the streets once more.

A table of holidaying, Upper-Middle Class Divorcees eye him speculatively as he sips Coffee in a trendy Cafe. Is the Reverend being Objectified? Possibly, but people are addicted to window-shopping in Byron Bay.

Eventually he tires of the shops and boulevards and the Beautiful People and returns to the Park and His People,

the Dispossessed, the Homeless, the Down-and-Outs and Outcasts, in whose Company he always feels more comfortable.

He spends the rest of the afternoon in the Sun, rolling the occasional joint while listening to the birds and the wind, watching the multi-hued street parade pass by and thinking many thoughts. He doesn’t quite make it to the beach but he can smell the salt air and he feeds a seagull.

The Rev lays down the law at Byron Bays historic Rails Hotel

The Rev lays down the law at Byron Bays historic Rails Hotel

A strange place Byron Bay. Like the Reverend’s own inner-city enclave of Kurilpa, this once stolidly rural working-class, low income area became for awhile an area where Alternative Types lived. A node on the the counter-cultural Map, a niche where Outsiders of one sort or another could live the Bohemian Lifestyle.

Now Byron Bay is facing the usual pressures such enclaves undergo when the Forces of Yuppification, Progress, and Urban Development come to town. The Three Pigs of the Apocalypse as it were, who have already scarfed down most of the Rev’s own community and still seem hungry for the rest. Meanwhile, the Losers in the Urban Renewal stakes, as always, are left to queue for food parcels and sleep in the parks during the day.

But at sunset his bus rolls out of town and the Reverend is back on board. The bus heads towards the Darkening Mountains. The Western sky is a solid sheet of flaming orange. He makes himself as comfortable as possible on the lumpy, lopsided, threadbare seat, looks out the window and dreams..

baudelaire burning

“Comes the Charming Evening,

the Criminal’s friend.

Comes padding softly on wolf-paws

like a murderers apprentice,

while like some gigantic, alcove curtain

Night across the sky closes,

and Humanity undergoes

its bestial metamorphosis…”

-Charles Baudelaire

***

Travelling Poetry Man Part 2 to be continued Next Week;

***

The Suffering

***

reverend profile red

The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet,

President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity,

and an Ordained Minister of the Church of the Universe

AND the Church of Spiritual Humanism.

His name is Legend.

***

THE HUMAN AQUARIUM

•August 9, 2015 • 3 Comments

armless dummies

The Human Aquarium

*

I am sitting at my usual table in the Coffee shop

at my local Shopping Centre.

From my vantage point I can look through the large feature window

and watch the many varieties of humanity drift by in dribs and drabs, as I sip my coffee and dream. It is like looking at a particularly well-stocked Aquarium, and like any keen naturalist, I take many notes on the inhabitants I observe. Extracts from field-diary follows..

*

An Incongruous Couple?

An enormous Fat boy walks hand-in-hand with his cute, blond girl-friend. He is probably in his twenties, but his weight somehow

makes him seem like a big, tubby kid. His face is beaming with joy, you can see he almost squirms with delight

at having this beautiful girl by his side.

Given his girth and prevailing Societal standards of “Beauty” I’m guessing he hasn’t had too many girlfriends before this and now he’s overjoyed with his good fortune.

His comparatively diminutive girlfriend seems happy also. Perhaps she feels lucky too. Perhaps beneath all that blubber is a really nice guy; funny, intelligent, sensitive, etc., and now she’s delighted to have found him after meeting so many good-looking bastards.

*

An African Goddess

She sways and sashays across the Parking Lot,

a slender African Goddess.

In my mind’s eye I can see her walking thus over endless desert sands, graceful and grave, a great clay pot filled with grain or water balanced on her head, spilling not a drop on her journey.

A few years ago, perhaps, she was doing just that, but her family has fled that war-torn desert land and now here she is,

sailing serenely

through an Australian parking lot.

Her hair is dyed a metallic bronze that gleams

brightly in the midday sun.

*

A drunk and dishevelled man goes by limping on crutches,

his left leg entirely encased in a plaster cast. He wears on his head ornamental reindeer horns. It’s not Christmas.

tai chi hand strawberry circle

Fat People on the tide

Like a drifting swarm of jellyfish, a tide of fat people engulfs the Shopping Centre. Ungainly, unlovely, their pale, dough bellies spilling out everywhere, they stuff enormous wads of take-away food into their gaping maws, and wipe away the crumbs with grotesquely swollen paws.

I am the thinnest person for miles it seems. I slip amongst the Dough People, a skinny skeleton dressed in black, like Death at the Feast.

Two obese Islanders are waddling in front of me; She is tightly wrapped in a sarong, producing an effect like an overstuffed, bulging flour-bag about to burst at the seams. He is wearing shorts and thongs. His flabby thighs flap and slap against each other as he shambles along.

Both are fairly short, maybe about 5’4″-5’3″. Their lack of stature only goes to emphasise their bulk.

A typical example, I suppose, of Third World health and physique gone all to Hell after contact with the sugar/flour/alcohol fueled, sedentary modern Lifestyle..

*

A Sikh taxi-driver gets out of his “Yellow Cabs” vehicle. His

saffron dyed turban, a flaming, fluorescent orange, is exactly the same colour as his vehicle..

***

The Little Vietnamese guy with the hat

He’s been hovering in my field of vision and the edge of my consciousness for awhile now, as though to say, “What about me? You haven’t written about me yet”. So I suppose it’s his turn.

The little Vietnamese guy with the hat is one of the Shopping Centre’s permanent fixtures. He is always there and he is always wearing his uniform of Pork Pie Hat, bright blue short-sleeved sports shirt, with white shorts, socks and sandals. In Winter he adds a blue coat to his ensemble.

He is clearly mad and on a pension, but he is always smiling and knows all the security staff and shop assistants and talks to them all.

I have never actually seen him do any shopping. He just hangs around and talks to anyone who will listen. This is his Life. He has nothing else to do, is utterly harmless and without his presence the Centre would somehow be the emptier. He is an integral part of it’s Collective Soul.

Interestingly the one person he doesn’t seem to approach is me.

I sense I make him nervous and he avoids eye contact.

I don’t know why. Perhaps he senses me studying him.

Perhaps he’s afraid I’ll write about him, and by doing so somehow steal a bit of his soul, the way primitive peoples are said to be afraid of having their photo taken..

*

To be Continued…

cat and old man

***

The Rev has a touch of the flu, and so, has delayed

 his much  anticipated Nimbin WPPC 2015 review till next week

when he can do justice to the event.

***

Following Jpig

***

tai chi hand strawberry circle

The Reverend Hellfire

is President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity Inc., an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists

AND the Church of the Universe 

and Australia’s scariest poet.

Boo!

***

Book Review; COMB THE SKY

•July 27, 2015 • 2 Comments

The Reverend Hellfire presents this review of fellow-poet,

Cathoel Jorss‘s latest Volume of Verse

for your enjoyment and consideration.

Cathoel Jorss; the Moon and her Priestess

CATHOEL JORSS

Comb the Sky With Satellites

It’s Still a Wilderness

*

Many years ago, Cathoel made a little statuette

I was fond of.

On a little bit of plank serving as a plinth was mounted

a toy-sized, model wagon,

the sort of thing kids used to pull along by a piece of rope.

Only in this case the rope was frayed and broken,

the draggled pieces lying next to the wagon,

and one of the wheels had come off too. 

The title of this forlorn little masterpiece of whimsy,

was inscribed on a plaque attached to the plinth and read;

“If Poets Ruled the World”

Indeed.

Remembrance of that little statuette came to me the other day, 

as I was perusing the latest volume of verse

 from Australia’s larger than Life, unsung

High-Priestess of Poetry,

the fabulous Ms  Jorss.

cathoel winter muffin

Whimsy is never far from the surface in Cathoel’s work,

a gentle bemusement at the-way-things-are,

but there is a harder edge to her recent work than

was apparent in her earlier work “Going for the Eggs”.

This is as it should be. The world has moved on since then,

much blood has flowed under the bridge since those more

innocent times and we are all, perhaps, a little harder edged

than we used to be, wiser than we want to be.

cathoel

Funny to think of the late nineties as more innocent times,

but in a way it was true;

The Cold War was over, the Last Crusade against Islam hadn’t begun.

Perhaps the Next Century would be different from the Others,

we almost dared to hope, not some silly, hippie Age of Aquarius thing,

but some better paradigm arising from the lessons learnt

from the 20th Century’s madness.

It wasn’t to be,of course, and we have to deal

with that Reality every day.

*

One of the ways of dealing with that is Poetry.

Cathoel New yorkPizza

You can see this in Cathoel’s work. Poetry is the tool with which

she both records the world, capturing evidence and clues

in her travels and the tool with which she seeks

to understand it.

Through the algorithm of Verse she analyses the data,

and like a shaman of the Word she then seeks to re-order

the unbalanced system confronting her.

Her poetry becomes a kind of healing magic,

the process of understanding,

is as important as the conclusion reached.

Through her poetry the poet becomes a still centre of calm

while the Universe whirls around her.

Cathoel Jorss; the Moon and her Priestess

“inside a lit candle I am twelve

and everything is this.”

*

Don’t let the whimsy fool you into thinking

she’s a wuss or a wimp.

There’s a bitter barb to this gal’s tongue, her satiric venom

gets directed to some well deserving targets.

*

rivers of joan

I don’t choose to grow old, as it happens

though I’ll die

chin and cheekbones still intact

no garbage compactor can dent

the grinning roundness of my upright breasts

bouncing back from every attack

like clowns with concrete in the foot

even in death, I will not perish

like many foods

years later by excavator

I’ll be dug up, immortal in parts

and still fresh, like the curate’s egg

*

Eat hearty! There’s much meat on the bone here.

Dig deep! There are many little verbal jewels

lurking in the rich earth of her verse. Even the simplest poems

in this collection deserve re-reading and consideration.

*

You will find honesty, wisdom, humour and

the ability to capture in words

the essence of every situation.

This is after all, what Poetry should be.

*

so, there is a heaven:

the sky remembers everything we’ve said

every single call

every bulb of gas

the sky has eyes, the eyes of governments

twitching at the ends of stalks

missing the point yet seeing all

cathoel jorss comb the sky

Now buy the book.

***

memories Wtitle

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July KP Handbill VSN4 FIREJPIG

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reverend profile red

The Reverend Hellfire..

speaks for himself.

***

The Sanctuary for Unpopular Species

•July 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

detail

THE SANCTUARY FOR UNPOPULAR SPECIES

“If it moves shoot it. If it doesn’t chop it down”

-Traditional Australian saying,

(The Australian Dictionary of Folklore, 1970)

“Everything perishes, Nothing is Lost”-Ovid

*

I started a Sanctuary for Unpopular Species.

Someone had to do it.

Why undertake this thankless task, you ask?

Part of it is probably due to my Love of Lost Causes,

e.g. Anarchism, Poetry, the Environment et al..

Related to that also is my Sympathy for the Under-Dog,

a personality trait once said, like our “Larrikin Streak“, to be part of the Australian Character. Possibly there is also an empathy built on a romantic recognition of the similarity of our mutual conditions, for does not the Poet himself exist on the Margins of Society, a despised and misunderstood Outsider?

Whatever. I have declared my humble plot of Suburbia to be a Sanctuary for Unpopular Species, and by whatever mysterious”bush-telegraph” they use,

 word seems to have got around the Community of

 “wee, sleekit, cowerin’, timorous beasties”. Thus hence they come hopping, flapping, and scurrying,

like poor, harried Quasimodo himself

seeking the Bell-Towers of Notre Dame Cathedral.

Possibly a process of Elimination or Exclusion is occurring, and rather than being drawn to the Sanctuary, they are in fact being driven there by the General hostility of the Neighbourhood, my property being an island where they are neither chased off with a broom, set upon by a dog nor poisoned on the sly.

Here a bush turkey can build its mound unhindered and raise its young in peace. Here possums can sleep in the roof without fear of being kidnapped by some dubious “Wild-Life Relocation” specialist and sold to greyhound racers for bloody “Live-baiting” practices.

Here the flying-foxes may gather and squawk in the trees at night without being bombarded

 with loud-disco music and fog banks.

The Crows raucously announce the Dawn and a small flock of Sacred Ibis who have recently appeared in the Sanctuary, solemnly stalk the lawn seeking grubs.

Even my humble tortoise has been considered a “pest species” in the past and murdered in their hundreds by “keen anglers” for the crime of taking bait.

tortoise looking away in rain crop

The Myth of Australians loving their Wildlife

Australia has/had a unique ecosystem which evolved more or less in isolation for millennia. The occasional stray latecomer (the aborigines, the dingo) arrived at long intervals, allowing time for the Environment to adapt and find a place for them within the web of interdependence.

You would think that the unique status of the Australian environment would engender some sort of National pride in the current inhabitants,

and a desire to preserve this precious Heritage.

Far from it.

From the moment of European colonisation, official policy and the majority of popular sentiment tended to the opinion that it was a patriotic duty

to rip up trees and kill off the native wild-life and aborigines.

(The esteemed Dame Mary Gilmore‘s recollections of those days

provide a shocking eye-opener.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

An early attempt at terra-forming, the end result was to transform Australia into a simulacrum of the well-watered Land they left behind. Of course this attempt failed and the blasted, poisoned Land we are left grappling with today is the result. Still, they keep trying.

Newman and cronies

Newman and cronies

In Queensland, for example, under the recently deposed Newman Government, land clearing rates reached new highs, setting a planet wide record in fact, as earlier legislation to protect bushland was repealed or set aside. Nature reserves were opened up for prospecting, cattle grazing, shooting and “economic development”. Bats, crocodiles and other problems species could be dealt with in the Old Way again (see opening quote)

No, the only time Australians show concern for the native wildlife is when they’ve driven a species to the edge of Extinction. At which point they start feeling all sentimental

and not a little guilty and start setting up “Reserves” for the last few specimens, and storing their genetic material in case rich “extinct-exotic-animal” Collectors of the Future

should feel the whim to clone up a few Bilbies.

Why till the 1950‘s at least they were killing emus (you know, the national emblem? See it on coins and coats of arms and stuff) in the hundreds of thousands! Crows, Eagles, Wombats? Pests! Shoot ’em.

Truckload of koala skins, Clermont QLD, 1927

Truckload of koala skins, Clermont QLD, 1927

Even the Koala, a supposed National Ikon was hunted to the edge of extinction until recently. Even today it is afforded no special status if it gets in the way of progress. Recently for example, in Redland Bay, one of the last local pockets of surviving koalas were put further under threat when a local, Council-approved housing development cut down a vital row of trees (known as a “wildlife corridor”) in order to make a few more bucks. There was some community protest at this, but down that way they’d still vote for the Country Party if they could, and more residents seem interested in driving off the local flying-fox colony which is lowering house values so badly (sic).

Kangaroos? They’re still culling them in Canberra, gives the army something to do when they’re not meddling in Middle-Eastern politics, doncha know?

QLD-dontshootbats

The platypus? Woolworths recently built a supermarket over a platypus habitat at Maleny, despite pleas to maybe, you know, move the whole thing forward a couple of metres? But no, even in “alternative” Maleny, deep in the heart of the Hippie Hinterland,

Profit and Progress hold sway unhindered. Despite vows by locals to boycott Woolworths and run it out of town, Convenience won out over Conscience, and two years later Woolworths is still thriving in Maleny, though alas, the same cannot be said of the Platypus..

Kangaroo Cull

Kangaroo Cull

Domesticated, Endangered or Feral

Some years ago, indeed, in the very first Sermon to appear in this column,

I noted, somewhat facetiously some people may have thought, that future choices for other species are limited to Endangered, Domesticated or Feral.

( https://reverendhellfire.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/facing-a-feral-future/ )

Domestication of Emus. Well, at least they're not extinct, right?

Domestication of Emus. Well, at least they’re not extinct, right?

As Time has passed I am more and more struck by the Truth

contained in that simple, slightly awkward poem.

Any species that has managed to survive the European Onslaught, and successfully adapt to the Urban Environment inevitably attracts the distinction of being labelled as a “Problem” species.

Bush turkeys, possums, crows, Ibis, flying foxes,

have all in recent years

been labelled vermin by a sizeable segment of Suburbia, who believe they should be exterminated like the rats we brought with us. (Though generally advocates call it “culling” rather than “extermination” because it sounds more scientific and rational.)

Yet these species are neither a health risk nor a threat to Human Life. Neither are they, in the suburbs, any sort of economic threat. The sole cause for the frequent calls for their culling by animal haters is that they are, in some form or fashion, a “nuisance”

Oh, well! I mean.. a nuisance! Yes, that seems like perfectly adequate grounds to call for a species’ extinction.

bush turkey hard at work

bush turkey hard at work

The poor old bush-turkey is a classic victim here, guilty of no more than raking through garden soil & leaves with their powerful claws, yet they attract an hostility out of all proportion to their “crime”.

In this regard I note that 99% of all my hate mail is due to my

once expressing sympathy for bush turkeys.

( https://reverendhellfire.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/bush-turkey-wars-the-poison-king/ )

We should be admiring their ability to survive, adopting them as totems and mascots for football clubs. But no, they use foreign species: the lions, the rabbit-ohs, the tigers, the list goes on. The Cane Toads for god sake, the epitome of invasive, noxious species is the emblem for QLD Rugby League teams.

Only the solitary Adelaide Crows fly the flag for native species.

The Australian Raven has been falsely accused of being a

The Australian Raven has been falsely accused of being a “lamb-killer” and hunted accordingly

Long term the Unpopular Species Sanctuary‘s strategy is basically a holding action. A policy of last ditch desperation, to preserve as much as possible in whatever small pockets you can establish. The Reverend advises you, dear reader, to do likewise.

The Flood is coming and we need many Arks.

turkey shadow 2

***

nayba JPIG

***

July KP Handbill VSN4 FIREJPIG

***

tai chi hand strawberry circle

The Reverend Hellfire is a practised Performance Poet,

President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity Inc.,

and an Ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanism

AND the Church of the Universe.

Why Not?

***

THE SEA IS FULL OF MONSTERS (REDUX)

•July 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

AnglerFish-628

This classic screed from the Reverend is now presented in a remastered  delux edition. Enjoy monsters..

THE SEA IS FULL OF MONSTERS

*

The Sea is full of Monsters

who have never heard of Poetry

though Heroic Verse resounds in fact

with references to Them.

They provide a convenient antagonist

for every adolescent Argonaut or two-bit Beowulf

to build their reputation on.

Leviathan and Kraken both,

their numbers are sadly depleted,

entered on the Endangered list,

perhaps soon to be deleted.

angler fish civilized

Yes, from Scylla‘s point of view

Heroism is just another “Fishing Story”,

you know, like, the-one-that-got-away ?

And as for all those ferocious, fire-breathing Dragons?

Just harmless lizards every one,

ruthlessly hunted to Extinction,

by trophy-hunting, testosterone fuelled, medieval rich boys,

who liked to kill for Fun

and called it Sport.

Their inbred descendants devolved today

to blowing horns & bothering foxes.

_angler_fish_by_kelkis-d3i47qp

Still the Sea is full of Monsters

who have never seen a Cadillac

yet many there amongst them believes

that such a Thing exists.

“It makes sense,” they say, “We can’t be here

in the Universe all alone!”

And like ink in swirling water,

Rumour spreading darkly

speaks of Alien probes and hooks,

Mysterious Abductions

and weird lights in the Sky above.

angler fish wild

Opinion as to their future remains divided;

it is uncertain if Global Warming

will drive old Myths and Legends

to Surface once and for all,

or drive them deeper, ever deeper,

forever vanished from the Public Domain.

Poor Monsters.

One thing is for certain though,

we will create new Monsters to replace them,

more terrible by far,

who will not know their place

and will devour the Human race.

sea and rock sunset li8ghts

****

Squarey says drink&swim

***

tai chi hand strawberry circle

The Reverend Hellfire is a practised Performance Poet,

still President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity

and an Ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanism

AND the Church of the Universe.

What the hey!

***

 
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