FUNERAL GAMES

•July 5, 2015 • Leave a Comment

funeral angel

FUNERAL GAMES*

grave yard cheery

We found the Crematorium at last, tucked away in a hidden valley

in the outer suburbs, an unsuspected Oasis of Peace

surrounded by Freeways and Arterial Roads.

It was a lovely morning amongst the tombstones.

Gee-gaws glittered and glistened, wet with dew on children’s graves.

Butcher birds and magpies filled the air with song,

oblivious to human preoccupations like Death and Progress.

I crumbled some of the red dirt between my fingers. Good volcanic soil, and well mulched with human blood and bone. It would make good farming land, but land prices being what they are, if the cemetery wasn’t here they’d probably put up a housing estate.

A typical Chapel & Monument to Modernism..

“A typical Chapel & Monument to Modernism..”

The Chapel itself, as is always the case these days

with such secular civic shrines,

was a monument to Modernism.

Untouched by Classicism, every architectural device/feature or conceit associated with religion or spirituality had been banished, there were no naves, no arches or architraves, no stained glass, no columns,

no statue or altar,

no Medieval Gothic taint remained.

The building was essentially anonymous. It could have been anything, a car show-room or a lawyer’s office or a Holiday Villa.

The best feature of these sort of structures is that typically they have a large glass feature wall, allowing them to replace the usual religious iconography with “the cheap showiness of nature”. And indeed, being able to stare at the trees at such times is a definite plus

and you can ignore the buildings lack of personality.

Typical modern chapel surrounded by the cheap showiness of Nature.

Typical modern chapel surrounded by the cheap showiness of Nature.

The female Funeral Attendants from “Valkyrie Funeral Service“, dressed like dour Russian flight attendants from the Eighties,

monitor the proceedings thru the latest video-surveillance equipment.

Strategically placed cameras cover every angle of the chapel

with KGB-like efficiency.

The Head Valkyrie draws the attention of one of her colleagues to something on the screen and they zoom in to Quadrant 3. She whispers instructions thru her head-set’s microphone

to some unseen Agent. Have they moved to seal some gap in the perimeter, I wonder? The Security aspects seem a bit disturbing. What are they expecting? Gatecrashers?

An Display of unseemly Weeping in Sector 7?

Swiftly an Operative is despatched with a box of tissues

to contain the Outbreak..

Valkyrie

The Cut-and-Paste Celebrant, pirating somebody else’s unacknowledged Intellectual Property, tells us to let the Deceased’s

death inspire us to make the World a better place,

or words to that effect. I can’t help but feel that they’re expecting too much. I mean, the Deceased was ok and will be remembered fondly, but it’s not like they were Gandhi or Spartacus or something.

But I suppose the State Certified Celebrant must say something

to justify their fee and the time annexed

by the droning of their bland platitudes

at least gives people a chance to compose themselves

for the real Ordeal; the harrowing Speeches

delivered by those closest to the Deceased.

*

Grief-wracked words wrenched from the Heart, desperate strugglings to explain, to encompass, to acknowledge the sum of someone’s Existence. Sincerity and Diplomacy battle to find a balance

in the scales and do it in 5 minutes

because Valkyrie’s clock is ticking.

(Lest a feather-weight of bitterness find tongue to tip the scales.

Now not the time for old rancours. Wait for the Wake!)

*

Fortunately for me at least, this time I am not down in the front row,

my grieving shoulders on public show,

nor am I speaking on the Departed’s behalf.

Instead I merely join the Rabble standing down the back, the Outer Circle of well-wishers and fellow-travllers who have come as much

to support the Living as to bear witness to the Passing.

Not Family perhaps, but Tribe at least.

Community is a boring word that’s used these days a lot, but I still prefer to call it Tribe.

The word seems more Primal somehow,

more archtypal, closer to the Essence

of why we were all there.

The Speakers bravely battle thru to the end of their Herculean task.

The Celebrant slides smoothly back into the spotlight,

like a snake into a warm patch of sun

and brings the show to a close

with a well practised line of glib patter.

The curtains come together and hide the coffin, but strangely without any sense of closure accompanying the act. An anti-climactic gesture.

Why is that, I wonder?

I don’t know. Music plays. We wait respectfully for the Family to pass, uncertain whether to make eye-contact or to look at the ground.

graveyard sunny

Outside, as is always the case at these events, the crowd relaxes and there is a minor explosion of conviviality. The Weight of the Ceremony has been lifted from them, the smokers light up and for a moment the Deceased is forgotten and the crowd socialises and catches up with old Faces.

It reminds me of a Primary School playground when the kids have just been let out of class. All that repressed emotional energy and behavioural etiquette in class is for the moment put aside and briefly they escape to be just kids again.

So also for adults when escaping the ritual solemnities of the funeral ceremony. They have been reminded that it is good to be alive. We chat and smoke amongst the gravestones in the morning sun.

Too soon though it seems the dour Russian flight attendants and part-time KGB operatives are telling us to move along, there’s another funeral scheduled and we are taking too long.

“Miss Aerofloat” Competition, 1982, Leningrad.

As always I am offended by the brutally efficient haste with which these Establishments move you off the premises so the next paying customer can be processed. It gives a bit of a conveyor belt feel to the whole operation. Simple human decency, I would have thought,

would have them schedule the funerals at decent intervals.

But Time is Money, and so Valkyrie run their operations

on the same principles as the McDonalds drive-thru.

We’re talking Volume. Order served in three minutes or your money back..Want Fries with that?

!

***

*Authors note: This is a composite funeral experience drawn from a number of occasions & exposure to a variety of “Celebrants”

and their ilk.

***

famailjpig

***

reverend profile red

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.

He’d go to your Funeral.

***

Feeding Time at the Tortoise Pond

•June 28, 2015 • Leave a Comment

tortoise in shade sharpened

Feeding Time at the Tortoise Pond

Somewhere deep within the murk,

There the cautious Tortoise lurks.

Out of shadows and the gloom

Suddenly two bright eyes loom!

A pause..

A snap of yellow jaws!

A glimpse of webbed claws

and then..

Just as quickly

He withdraws.

tortoise foot and mealy worm

***

Brand-Aid

***

June KP HandbillJPIG with border

***

reverend profile red

The Reverend Hellfire is..

..ahh you know the rest!

***

SURFACE TENSION

•June 21, 2015 • 1 Comment

Whilst the Reverend dances in Celebration round the Solstice Fires,

we resurrect from the vaults this classic poem of existential angst and redemption.

Fishing_spider3

SURFACE TENSION

*

“It’s Surface Tension“,

I told my co-dependent friend

and only ally in the World.

“That’s the only thing that prevents us

from sinking into the deep, dark depths of Disaster,

Debt, Despair and Despond,

those Dark Waters, that, by any reasonable expectations,

should have swallowed us up long ago.”

stock-footage-water-spiders-have-fun

“Yet we continue merrily skating over thin ice

that melted back in Spring!

No. We’re like those insignificant insects

that skim the surface of creeks and ponds.

Their mass is so slight

that they can’t break the Surface Tension

created by the pond’s molecular bonds.

The water merely dips and bends beneath their feet.

Similarly with us. Our Sufferings are too light-weight

to make an impression on the Universe.

There is no Grandeur or Gravitas in our tiny struggles

to weigh us down, and so, unnoticed, we stay afloat.”

water spider

“Saved by our own Insignificance”,

she shrugged, and handed me a joint.

“Saved by our own Insignificance”, I agreed,

and took another toke.

water spider2

***

the Qickening

***

June KP HandbillJPIG with border

***

reverend profile red

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.

“Solstice Blessings to all my loyal Friends & Followers.”

***

MUTAPE

•June 14, 2015 • Leave a Comment

MUTAPE

MUTAPE

*

Never trust a mutated Ape I say.

Which is, after all, the basic human status,

though many are apt to forget that fact.

Anyone around you starts giving themselves airs

like they’re the Lords of Creation or like

their shit smells better than any other animal, you just tell them;

“Never trust anything thats more Virus than Ape”,

which, according to the latest available

up-to-the moment research,

could be said to be precisely where Humanity hangs

from the Evolutionary Tree.

220px-Pioneer10-plaque

Yes we live in exciting times, scientifically speaking,

and many new discoveries bring light each day

on what and who we are and our place in the Universe.

For example, look at the person next to you; 10% of their body weight is made up of bacteria, skin mites, hookworm, amoeba and assorted fellow passengers. Kind of makes you look at them different, don’t you think?

We’re used to thinking about ourselves as a discrete organism, but really we’re more akin to a coral reef. To be fair, they’re not really just passengers. Like the Barrier Reef, the human ecosystem is a complex and delicate web of interdependence we’re only just beginning to understand. The Bacteria in your Gut ain’t Happy, then Serotonin levels start plummeting and You ain’t Happy either.

Parasitic Infestation adds considerably to total body weight.

Parasitic Infestation adds considerably to total body weight.

Indeed, recently, cutting-edge doctors have taken to deliberately infesting their patients with hookworm in a bold attempt to cure such unpleasant conditions as Crohns Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

But the happy flora and fauna of the Human eco-system are ultimately still but fellow travellers, like the moss that grows on a turtle’s back. It’s when you get to the Viral Level that things get really interesting and incestuous.

Far smaller than your average bacteria (which it also infests) the Virus is barely alive, a few strands of DNA in a shell

looking for a home. Yet they interact with all other living organisms and affect the course of evolution in ways which

until recently have never been suspected.

For as they hop and skip between hosts, mutating wildly the whole time, Virii like to “cut and paste” bits of DNA in the process, incorporating and swapping pieces of genetic code as they leap between host species.

So Evolution, as it were, is not merely vertical but horizontal, and how all this genetic cutting and pasting and snipping and swapping has affected Life’s development we are only just beginning to speculate.

Already we know of a number of cases of parasitic organisms that change their Host’s behaviour in ways that facilitate their own reproduction cycle. Eggs hatching in the brain, fungi growing out of the eyesockets of doomed grasshoppers, sufferers seeking waterholes where the spores spread..these things are known.

MUTAPE

Language is a Virus“, William Burroughs famously declared and the crazy old junkie may yet be proved right. Myself I have at times suspected that Love itself may have a viral origin, a side-effect of something like Syphilis.

Why not? Latest Genetic Research has discovered that vast swathes of the Human Genome,

previously dismissed as “inert” DNA, shucked off stuff that didn’t really do anything, are actually a vital part of our species’ Development. Rather than being inert, this genetic material exists in a sort of Hibernation, waiting to be activated should circumstance call for it.

In fact we are heirs to a vast Genetic library accumulated over the Millenia.

Following closely behind this realisation was the discovery that something like 10% of our genetic make-up is of viral origin.

Yes, the virus your ancestors suffered from back in the Stone Age is part of your genetic makeup.

Now, seeing as how only something like 4-5% of our genetic content is shared in common with the Neanderthal, our nearest, though sadly extinct, mammalian relative, looked at from a certain perspective, that makes Humans more closely related to certain types of virus than the earlier proto-humans. Possibly the same virus that wiped out the Neanderthal caused “Humans” to mutate.

MUTAPE

Actually this Viral Heritage may well explain some of Humanity’s more unpleasant characteristics, which have been concerning me of late.

*

Homo Sapiens Indeed!

More like Homo Infestatus– the Virus Mutated Ape.

monkey and i pad in bath

For more info on virus human interaction go to http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajpa.10384/pdf

***

innocence

***

reverend profile red

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”

“All houses are built on shifting sands.”

***

A MODERN HOUSE-HUSBAND’S COMPLAINT

•June 7, 2015 • 1 Comment

And what of the Fate of we Men, in an Age where Women are increasingly going off into the World to carve themselves out exciting, rewarding careers? The Reverend explains..

*

A Reverend's work is never done..

A Reverend’s work is never done..

*

A Modern House-Husband’s Complaint

*

Oh,

the Mopping, the Shopping,

the Dropping of Children,

off at the School or the Pool.

*

The Cleaning, (Demeaning),

and the Tasks I am Meaning

to do in the Time. (Minuscule)

*

The Washing, the Sloshing,

the Cat that needs Watching,

and the Chickens Escape. (As a Rule)

*

The Cooking, the Looking

at Calender Bookings,

The Phone calls from Scammers and Fools!

*

To my Daughter, I am Chauffeur,

to my Neighbour, “a Loafer”,

to my Partner, a Convenient Tool.

*

But at Night when at Rest,

She will some times Confess,

at my Best I’m a Romantic Fool!

*

on table

That Cat definitely needs watching..

***

blak attak jpig

***

face you can trust

The Reverend Hellfire is a practicing 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 may be the Last Crazy Man

in a World turned terrifyingly Sane!”

***

THE NEIGHBOUR

•May 31, 2015 • Leave a Comment
goat man

meanwhile on Ramsay Street..

THE NEIGHBOUR

*

Looks down

Looks away

Doesn’t smile

or say “Good day!”

Never looks you in the eyes,

Unless you catch him by surprise!

*

Acts like he is better than

the sort of person that I am!

Acts as though his shit don’t stink,

or something else like, that I think.

*

I don’t know what the Problem is

or why he gets in such a tizz,

but now there’s nothing left to do,

except pretend he’s not there too.

*

freak outwith patterns

And here’s some mood music to go with the poem..

***

hackedJPIG

***

And if you’re in or near Brisbane today don’t miss this major Poetry Event! It’s on Nowish!

May KP Handbill w Mad MaidsJPIG

***

Reverend Redrum

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.

Will validate parking tokens.

***

Reflections by the Tortoise Pond Pt.2

•May 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Reflections by the Tortoise Pond

tortoise ponf reflections green border

Pt 2. Oasis

I was feeding strips of red, raw flesh

to the Tortoise Pond’s ancient inhabitant

the other morning, and reflecting,

as I like to do for a minute or three,

on the peace and tranquillity

of my humble back yard garden,

an untidy Oasis in the suburban Landscaping,

a Feral Eden in the Cultural Desert.

*

Above, the Sky wore her winter-robe

of deep azure blue

The Trees in keeping with Tradition,

were garbed in the green and gold livery of their Tribe.

Below, the sun-dappled ground was a shifting mosaic

of jet and gold, through which there stalked

a scattering of bush-turkeys,

solemnly engaged in their ancestral pursuits.

A bright-eyed Butcher bird, a quick female plumed

in grey and brown,

perched on a wooden stake nearby,

eagerly awaiting the occasional bloody gobbets

I tossed her way.

Above me a raucous murder of Crows

voiced their disapproval

of the whole tortoise-feeding process

and what was clearly a wanton waste

of the Food of Crows, owed them

by Ancestral Privilege due to the Nobility of their Line.

Unlike the opportunistic Butcher-birds though,

they are far too cautious to ever approach

any human, even me,

and thus they must wait until I leave

before they can flap down and retrieve

the Offerings I carefully place

on branches and in the sacred forks of trees.

*

Meantime the Crows register their disapprobation

of the delay by dropping sticks and twigs upon me.

In the pond’s mirror surface

I can see these glossy cynics hop and dance

far above me, silhouetted high against the sky,

each crow a villain straight from Shakespeare

in their black stockinged leg,

like a Richard or Macbeth

for Life too proud to beg.

tortoise in shade sharpened

Lounging nearby the pond,

lying indolently in the sun,

a scarred, orange Tomcat ignores the activity.

A former stray and savage hunter of birds,

he has been taken in, fed and “civilized”

for the sake of the local wild-life.

Now no longer a mere “feral” cat,

hissing and skulking at human approach,

but now aware of his status of Companion,

and assured of his food

he forbears to hunt anything,

other than the occasional rat, for sport.

*

Still, it is early days in his rehabilitation,

I wouldn’t trust him too much out of my sight,

So I take care he is fed regularly and well,

so that most of the time

he’s busy sleeping off his last meal.

Yes, the Peace of my little Eden is bought,

subsidised you might say,

much as the PAX ROMANA of the mighty Roman Empire

was bought, that is; not so much by force of arms,

but by the regular feeding of the Hungry “Barbarian” tribes,

perched on their borders, with donatives and pay-outs

bribes and incentives.

tortoise foot and mealy worm

Indeed, most of the “Barbarian Invaders” of those Centuries,

ie., Those who are held to hold much of the responsibility for

the “Downfall of the Roman Empire“, were not so much

“Invaders” intent on looting and burning, but more like what some Politicians would today call,

“Economic Refugees”

who were merely looking for somewhere to live.

No, these Invaders didn’t want to overthrow

the Roman system. They just wanted to be a part

of it’s Prosperity and shelter within in it’s relative Security.

Much like, for example, the many Mexicans and South Americans

today tunneling under the USA borders, or the multitude of Africans/Afghanis/Indians/ etc., desperately crowding onto rusty hulks/junks/dinghies to take a gamble at crossing the Mediterranean/Indian/Pacific/etc Sea/Ocean/River, or where ever the arbitrary Line in the sand is drawn, the Line that defines

 the Invisible Economic Boundary between what is known as the First World nations and the Third World nations, or if you prefer, the Rich countries and the Poor Countries.

Roman Hi-definition Entertainment was second to none in the ancient world

Roman Hi-definition Entertainment was second to none in the ancient world

Things were muchly the same in Roman times. Constructions like Hadrian’s Wall were built as much to regulate Trade, Tax and Migration as they were to “stop the rampaging Barbarian Armies”.

The Roman immigration policies were so sophisticated they could even handle “mass migrations” of whole tribal groups at once,

moving them en masse to areas depopulated by plague or war

or to open up new land for development.

romeslaves2

The system started to break down when King Theodoric wanted to move something like two hundred thousand or so fellow Goths, (basically his whole kingdom), across the Danube and into the safe, prosperous Roman Empire and as far away as possible from the ever growing menace of the Huns.

The Huns it should be noted, were real raping/burning/pillaging/eating raw meat style Barbarians, with a fondness for scarification and skull deformation, unlike the Goths who had been living next door to the Romans for a couple of hundred years by now and had picked up some table manners in the meantime. They were also by this stage some denomination or other of Christian, apparently not the right sort, according to Orthodox types, but still..

The Roman Emperor of the time, a non-entity whose name escapes me,

was not at first against this mass migration plan of Theodoric. Plague had ravaged the Balkans so the Goths could be used to quickly repopulate the ravaged provinces, and it was agreed the young men would be drafted into the Roman Army, (split up and spread out amongst the Legions so they don’t become a problem), and be granted citizenship upon discharge. It was a win/win situation.

Science Magazine

Roman soldiers forming the “Testudo” or “tortoise” whilst storming barbarian stronghold.

Alas, the deal broke down. The Roman Governor in charge of supplying the migrating Goths was corrupt and in debt, embezzling much of the denarii supplied for feeding the Hungry Horde,

and charging extortionate sums for the little grain he did provide,

seizing property, selling Gothic children into slavery,

and in general, robbing the lowly, contemptible barbarians blind,

whilst writing letters to the Emperor complaining how ungrateful and troublesome these Goths were.

There was much grumbling and it was only with difficulty that Theodoric maintained control over his people.

But matters deteriorated further when it became apparent that many of the young Gothic men had not turned in all their weapons at the border as agreed, and retaliated by killing an obnoxious Roman functionary or two and looting a grain Warehouse while they were at it.

Next thing you know there’s a rampaging Gothic Horde on the loose

within the Empires borders, leading to a series of pitched bloody battles and Unfortunate Events that changed the course of European History forever.

Soon the Western half of the Roman Empire was the Gothic Empire,and several other promising, emerging Tribal Confederations

are thinking of pursuing a similarly aggressive business plan. The Vandals will begin their long trek to find somewhere warm under an African sun, the Franks are already starting to act snooty and french and about the only thing everyone in Europe agrees on is how barbaric the Huns are.

tortoise ponf reflections green border

But these turbulent reflections are a world away

from the placid waters of my pond,

on whose mirror surface I can see myself reflected,

and through which now pokes the pig-like snout

and the curious, calm, yet somehow smiling,

jet & golden eyes of my gentle, reptile companion.

tortoise waiting below surface

***

a square peg Jpig

***

May KP Handbill w Mad MaidsJPIG

***

rev one eye

The Reverend Hellfire is a practised Performance Poet,

strangely 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 is but a  Jellyfish upon the Tides of Life.

***

 
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