THERAPEUTIC MODEL

•June 25, 2017 • Leave a Comment

THERAPEUTIC MODEL

*

As a Psychiatric Nurse I found

my job was not to Cure or Care

but to Contain,

Manage, Control & of course Restrain,

with the tongue-numb drugs

and electrodes strapped

and zapped to the twitching brain,

use Science to beat down bad behaviour

& punish patients for being Insane.

*

Today they don’t call it Punishment,

that doesn’t sound at all Humane!

Experts speak in language therapeutic,

use terms like “Aversion Therapy”

or something in that strain..

*

Gone the bad old brutal days of boots and clubs

today we can reduce their brain down to a stub

with surgical precision,

insert electrodes into the incision,

hack, jack & piggy-back the neural network

to operate by remote control

the perfect model citizen.

No need now for anxiety

no need to hyper-ventilate

soon all of your decisions

will be made by the Welfare State.

***

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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.

He also ran.

***

Jabbo is Only Here to Help

•June 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Jabbo is Only Here to Help

*

Jabbo is only here to help.

He told me so.

It’s just an unfortunate side effect

of his Personality (or possibly his Medication)

that everywhere that Jabbo goes he leaves

behind him Chaos in his wake; raised voices &

angry interchanges, the clenched fist

& the knotted jaw, soon

the collective blood pressure starts to soar/

and all eyes turn as if by magnets drawn

to the centre of  his Dischord ..

*

Not of course that it’s his intention

to be the centre of attention,

remember, Jabbo is just here to help,

he doesn’t mean to suck up like a vampire

all that time and energy you expend

to explain to him or defend,

or deal with the petty issues he’s created.

*

Jabbo comes, bearing stolen gifts,

laden like a Trojan Horse.

It only seems as though

he uses them like some sort of sleazy passport

to get away with obnoxious behaviour.

Trading off his “generosity” as if

it were a get-out-of jail-free card.

“But I brought gifts!” cries Jabbo,

as he acts hurt and then surprised

that you would turn upon him so.

*

Jabbo is just here to help,

it’s only your Paranoia

that makes it seems as though

he’s constantly dripping poisoned honey

in your ear. Drip..drip..drip..

like some villain from Shakespeare,

undermining Confidence and Trust,

insidious as Fear

or Rust.

*

But don’t worry, he’s on your side..

or possibly standing there,

just behind you,

right now.

Not making a sound.

*

Don’t turn around.

*

****

***

***

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 Humanists

AND the Church of the Universe.

Currently applying for a position as “Innocent Bystander”.

***

CAKE

•June 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Going out for a bitter-sweet stroll down Memory Lane, the Reverend  first takes a short detour along Ackland Street in the 1980’s, for coffee and a poppy seed strudel.

CAKE

Let them eat cake!“- Marie Antoinette

It’s a strange thing, isn’t it, the way that a stray comment,

a single overheard sentence, casually uttered by a stranger, can lodge itself in your memory for decades.

The reasons for this phenomena vary of course,

from case to case,

but ultimately I think, it’s because thru some Act of Grace,

that simple utterance encapsulates (for lack of better words) a Greater Something, and thru the Perfection of the words, the Timing, the Place, the Context, etcetera, etc.,

ignites one of those incandescent Flashbulb moments

of Understanding without Explanation, one of those numinous, ambiguous moments of Clarity, when, Metaphorically speaking, you lift your gaze up from your shoes scuffling through the dust, to see unfolding before you the Vast and Ultimate Horizon towards which you journey.

*

Be that as it may, dear reader, all this Philosophising is merely by way of Introduction, to the story of how I once over-heard such a sentence that has by some quirk, remained with me for the rest of my Life.

It’s hardly a story at all, really, more of a reminiscence, or an anecdote of sorts, but let me set the scene anyway, put a frame around the tableau so that you might properly appreciate the nuances of this brief Parable concerning Cake.

Ah yes, Melbourne in the 1980’s. I was living in a very nice Squat by the beach in St Kilda. This was no dank dive with holes in the roof and infested by rats. No, it was a very nice Edwardian establishment with a marble fire-place in every bedroom, a rose garden and only five minutes walk along the beach to the action and grit of Fitzroy Street.

It was occupied by fugitive Brisbane Anarchists who, with their usual paramilitary efficiency honed by years of surviving Joh’s Qld, had promptly connected the electricity and water, set up a food co-op and negotiated an “understanding” with the Owner.

St Kilda in 1987 was infested with young people dressed in black. It was like living in the City of the Goths. They all seemed to be unemployed or students and every second person was in a band. So was I. All around me ephemeral bands formed and faded before you could remember their name. It was like watching flowers bud, bloom and die in moments through the Miracle of stop-motion photography.

Prostitution and heroin were also part of the St Kilda ambiance at the time, as were the cheap Markets, the “All Night” bars and obscure Delicatessens.

But one of the true joys of living in St Kilda back then was the Ackland Street cake shops. (Sadly, I’m told that, in this Age of Yuppification of former Bohemian enclaves, no more than three or four such establishments remain.) Ah, the Ackland Street cake shops in their hey-day! Founded by Polish and Jewish immigrants (some, like the Monarch, founded as long ago as the 1930’s), they were a cornucopia of European confectionery such as you’d imagine you’d only find in some Old World Cosmopolitan centre like Vienna or Paris. Fantastic mirages of sugar and cream were created every day. Towering confections of chocolate & pastry arose, gaudily decorated Babels of Delight..The eye glazes over in diabetic shock just in contemplation of those forbidden pastries displaying themselves with such lascivious abandon in the Front Windows of the Ackland Street Cake Shops..

It wasn’t just the cakes and sweeties, poppy seed strudels, rum babas, savouries, bagels & buns, et al. that they sold. There was also the bread. MMmm, the bread! REAL black breads glossed over with a delicate skin-like layer, tasty and tangy. I particularly liked the ones garnished with caraway seeds. Rye bread actually made with Rye! Black bread that’s black. Bread with Substance. Bread with Weight. You got a good swing up you could sink a submarine with one of those loaves. Ah, you can’t get bread like that in today’s pre-packaged, partially-processed, sliced, gluten-free, multi-grain, quinoa infested, dough-balls-that-gag-you-to-think-about Supermarkets. Bread they call it! HA!

This was many years ago, but even now as I type, my madly drooling taste-buds, overcome with nostalgia, are urging me to stop writing, get on the first plane available, fly to Melbourne and commandeer a taxi for a white-knuckle drive across town to St Kilda and the Cake Shops that call like Sirens!

Hmm.. if I left now I could probably just make it before closing time..

But no! Duty calls, and today’s Sermon is moving slowly, but inexorably to its climax..

The Sunday Crush.

The weekends, especially Sunday afternoon were always a busy time for the Cake Shops of  Ackland Street. People streamed in from everywhere to get their sweet and savoury treats, their black bread and bitter fresh-ground coffee, and the queues of those yet to be served could often extend far out into the street.

So one Sunday afternoon on Ackland street around sunset, and I am queueing with the usual cosmopolitan mix of aging bohemians, punk rockers, East European matrons, orthodox jews, prostitutes and others, all crammed together in the tiny interior, packed counter to wall with the Devotees of Cake. I use Queueing in the loosest sense of the word, it was more like a shuffling swarm with occasional surges to the front whenever a gap appeared. Nonetheless, the crowd was amiable and a certain sense of decorum still prevailed. There was no shoving. The crowd parted courteously as those served performed the delicate operation of transporting their delicate confections to the door undamaged.

In front of me are two little old European ladies dressed in black, carrying identical straw baskets and chatting away in some dialect I do not know as they wait in line. They chat, we wait, the line slowly creeps closer. “It really is crowded today”, one of the women says to the other. The other nods, is silent for a moment, then turns to her friend and says:

“Who would have ever thought back when we were girls queuing for Bread in Poland, that one day we’d be queuing for Cake in St Kilda.”

They both laughed then, helplessly leaning in against each other. One placed her hand on her friend’s arm and the other placed her hand on top of hers, sharing in their Laughter the Absurdity of it All, the Luck of Surviving,and the Heartbreak of Loss, and Adventure of their Lives. So much of their lives revealed in that simple sentence, and so much History.

What had those women seen? What had they survived ? Which of Europe’s nightmares had they escaped from? Pogroms? Death Camps? Wars? Famine?

I didn’t know, but I was glad that they survived to become respected grandmothers, living a comfortable life in a friendly country, and were able to queue for Cake on Sunday in peace.

Then it was their turn to get served at the counter, and they shuffled forward together to place their orders for KugelHupf and Cheesecake.

***

***

The Reverend Hellfire is a practised Performance Poet,

President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity

and an Ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanism

AND the Church of the Universe.

Sweet Tooth and a Bitter Tongue.

***

Far from the Mushroom Fields, Lost Before Dawn

•June 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Escaping through a waste-water pipe from the Reverend Hellfire’s heavily fortified Historical Archives Division, today’s Sermon was first published in 1977*

Far From the Mushroom Fields, Lost Before Dawn

*

Wandering, I find myself

alone and lost in an empty City,

where there is nothing in the streets

but the cold wind rushing nowhere

(there is nowhere to rush to

in a World without horizons)

The people have all gone now.

Fled as though from some

disaster-struck Mayan City

being eaten by a predatory Jungle.

(We have a Jungle of our own

called Concrete..or is it Asphalt..

where Marilyn Monroe is worshipped

as a White Goddess by savage tribes)

Empty tin cans kicked in boredom

send echoes of rattling empty tin cans,

send echoes of/

echoes of empty tin cans

ricocheting endlessly

from empty walls.

The buildings are empty too.

All the lights have gone

from their windows

and left them standing

with the vacant, burned out eyes

of Halloween pumpkin lanterns.

Across the bare, steel girder-bones

of one unfinished, labyrinthine tower

Hessian sheets are draped

and flap in the wind like

so many shrouds or

crucified midnight Prophets

shrieking with the wind

and staring eyeless at the empty streets

and the empty people filling them.

*

*This poem was first published in 1977 in a little Melbourne poetry magazine (manual typewriter & photocopy job) put out by the Brunswick Poetry Workshop, an outfit run by an enthusiastic chap called Fonda Zenophon. No idea what became of him, but the BPW had disappeared by the time I moved to Brunswick myself a few years later. As for the poem I still quite like some of the lines and images in it. Some promising work from a young poet, ey what?

***

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The Reverend Hellfire is a Shell Company trading, for entrepreneurial purposes, as a Special Purpose Entity, with it’s Head Office conveniently located in the balmy Cayman Islands. Created for the purpose of protecting the Intellectual Property and other Intangible Assets of the above named entity, the Reverend is currently under investigation by tax officials in 17 jurisdictions.

***

FRagments

•May 28, 2017 • 2 Comments

FRagments..

*

Time carves the hollow, fluted bone

and leaves it standing on it’s own

a testament to that which lasts

after Times running sands have passed.

*

See how little there remains,

the flesh scoured clean by granite grains,

like ancient poets, whose works fragment,

..lines are lost..the meaning meant?

*

***

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The Reverend Hellfire..

gets paid for being himself

***

THREE TRICK LIMMERICK (with introduction)

•May 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

SOME PRELIMINARY COMMENTS ON THE LIMERICK FORM.

Ah, is there any form of Poetry easier for a lazy Poet to spout out on a laid-back Sunday afternoon than the humble Limerick? Perhaps it’s just the diluted Irish Blood trickling through my veins, but that old 5 Line/AABBA rhyme scheme just seems to write itself once you’ve introduced your Subject Matter into the First Line, reduced, of course, to the sing-song 8 or 9 syllables required by Tradition.

The Second Line is generally a further development of the Subject Matter introduced in the First Line, forming a rhythmic & Rhymic Couplet. A classic example is the old favourite; “There was a young man from Nantucket/ Who married a girl with a bucket..” etc.

Going all Hegelian here, if the opening couplet is the Thesis, then lines 3 & 4 are Antithesis, and it is here that complications, logical corollaries and plot developments from the initial Proposition arise. By shortening these two lines length to 5 – 6 syllables each, a sense of Urgency is engendered that propels the Limerick to the inevitable Synthesis of the Fifth Line where the plot lines come together and resolve. The return in the Fifth to the longer line length of the opening lines, also gives the Listener a satisfactory sensation of both rhythmic and thematic closure. The humour of the Fifth often takes the form of wry understatement, or an Anti-Climactic Conclusion, perhaps undermining the pretensions of the protagonists, an in-joke shared between Reader & Limericist at their expense. The revolutionary potential of this form of seditious subtext is obvious and was often exploited by Feudal Poets to undermine the Medieval Paradigm.  Feudal Tyrants as a result greatly feared the Power of Satiric Poetry, and at times the Limerick was banned. Such Prohibitions, naturally enough, only made the Limerick more popular

From these few preliminary words, the thoughtful reader will no doubt swiftly come to the realisation that the much despised and disparaged Limerick, is as complex and disciplined a minimalist poetic form as the much over-rated Haiku.

Indeed, the Limerick may prove to be more versatile, for example, how often have you heard a Haiku that made you laugh?

No, Haiku are always full of themselves, pompous and Po-faced,

while the Limerick, tho generally light-hearted, is also a comfortable vessel for Satire, and the Laughter of Satire, is after all, naught but a Shield against the Tears of Tragedy.

THREE TRICK LIMERICK

*

There was a young soldier called Stan,

Who went to Afghanistan,

He took so much Smak

That when he got back,

He went straight on the Methadone plan.

*

Stan thought about things for awhile,

And then with a shrug and a smile,

He used his contacts

To import lots more Smak,

(Well, that’s what they said at his Trial).

*

So Stan hired a Lawyer from Hell,

His court case was going real well,

Till the Cops played the Tapes,

And now he gets raped

Every night in his Prison Cell.

Afghani Opium Fields next to Britain’s “Camp Bastion”

***

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***

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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.

Cheap at the Price.

***

MOTHER’s DAY POEM

•May 14, 2017 • Leave a Comment

MOTHER’s DAY POEM

*

This one’s for the Bad Seeds.

*

This one’s for the Motherless Sons

and Daughters.

Yeah, this Poem’s for the Disinherited,

the Despised and Rejected,

all the Outcasts from a Hearth

that gave no warmth.

This poem’s for the kids

whose mother never wanted them,

dumped in an Institution

or kept but never loved.

This poem’s for the kids

whose mother blamed them for

the Failures in their own Life,

always projecting their Disappointment

and Frustrated Ambitions in a thousand insidious ways.

*

This poem’s for the kids who spent their childhood

in Boarding School, frightened, alone and brutalised.

This poem’s for everyone on Mother’s Day

who suffers thru the cloying, pastel coloured

marketing ritual, while wondering what’s wrong with them

when really it’s just that their mother

was a cold-hearted, unfeeling Bitch

who left them damaged.

This poem’s for Grendel, alone and misunderstood.

This poem’s for Woody Allen

and every other Jewish/Irish/Italian/

Matriarchal-Peasant Mother’s Son,

whose self-Esteem suffers Death by a Thousand Cuts

in the Movies for our amusement.

Laugh till you Weep,

or Vice Versa.

 I’ll laugh with you, Brother,

Sister..

*

This poem’s for the Stoned,

that the Builders rejected.

Go now. Show them,

that you are to be Respected.

Build a Mighty Temple out of Spite.

Polar Bear eats own young in Zoo. Click photo to link to article. Happy Mothers’ Day.

***

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REVEREND NOMINATED 4 AWARD!!!

Hey there Friends and Followers. Yer ole pal the Rev has been nominated for an award in recognition of his many years of selfless labours in the service of the Muse! Gosh!

In fact it’s the 2017 Paul Sherman Community Poetry Award, no less, “in recognition of individuals who have significantly contributed to Queensland’s current poetry culture.”

The Rev’s nomination it appears, is due mainly to his work with Community Arts group KICI (Kurilpa Institute of Creativity Inc) & the Kurilpa Poets, whose activities can be followed at..

https://kurilpapoetry.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/KurilpaPoets

The Prize is decided by Public Acclaim, apparently, so if you want to show your support for the Rev’s work, go to the link below to register your vote. The Reverend thanks you. 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PaulSherman2017

***

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.

You really get your moneys’ worth.

***