The newspaper said his skeleton

was hanging in the trees

for over sixty years before they found it.

Cradled in its creaking leather harness,

suspended swaying in the dense canopy of leaves.

Giant butterflies would rest upon the skull,

bird calls echoed in the hollow sockets,

the breeze rattled the dull bones

like an ancient wooden xylophone.

Time passed slow as sap or syrup

dripping, here it is always raining

or just this moment stopped.

Here it is always late afternoon,

or maybe dawn

or night

each in slow succession.

the droplets always dripping

from the leaves,

illuminated by the stalking, golden beams

traversing the cathedral green.


The sky pilot flew so high

but he never touched the heavens,

crashed instead like Icarus

down to this forgotten Eden.

Now the jaws are grinning spread

as if amused to find himself,

some wandering son of Adam back

in Gods primeval Garden.





Book Review: “SMACK EXPRESS- How organised crime got hooked on drugs”

by Clive Small & Tom Gilling (Allen & Unwin, 2009)

As McPherson, Freeman and Smith bullied, stole and cheated their way to the top, they made sure police and politicians shared in the profits. MacPherson and allies also understood the need to manage political and police concerns and community fears”


Here the cop/ journalist team of Small and Gilling give us a fascinating review of the relationship between ‘organised crime’ and drug trafficking in Australia over the last thirty years or so.

Much of this information has been available to the public before. Indeed, much of it, for example the shennanigans of Neddy Smith & Roger Rogerson, might be described as ‘common knowledge’. In fact this is one of the things which has always impressed me about political and police Corruption in Australia, is just how open it is. From my own experience in Queensland back in the bad old Bjelke Peterson days I can recall that everyone was pretty much aware of the situation even if they didn’t know all the details.

Certainly everyone knew where Bubbles bath-house was and what went on there.

Similarly, when I visited Cabramatta in the mid-nineties the street dealing scene was more blatant than anything I’d ever seen in Asia, and everyone knew the 5T were running it. But perhaps this is the story of official corruption everywhere.

So yes, much of this has been covered before in other books, and many of the personalities are well known to the Australian Public. Among the usual suspects whose careers are examined here we find Terry ‘Mr Asia’ Clark, Robert Trimbole, Donald Mackay, Chris Flannery. Some names are not so well known, and some are not named at all, for example “Aunty”, who has masterminded cocaine importations for over 20 years without a bust and apparently continues to operate to this day.


Indeed, if a moral can be drawn from this book, it would have to be that, by and large, a lot of the time Crimes does Pay, and pay extremely well. Yes, many of the major players in this book were either never convicted of anything, or only ended up serving small sentances for minor crimes. Many of them got to keep their illgotten gains, or a considerable proportion thereof. You can’t help suspecting also that many drug syndicates just fly beneath the radar and are barely suspected and only the most flamboyant figures, the cowboys like Rent-a-kill and neddy Smith draw attention to themselves. A second lesson drawn from this book would perhaps be that, time and time again these “crime figures” brought themselves undone through their own greed. If they’d just been satisfied with, say, the first $7 million or so and then retired, most of the professional criminals named in this book would have got off scot free. But no, those flashy lifestyles they insisted on living just ate up the profits and so they kept going till eventually even the police couldn’t ignore them.

For the most part this book doesn’t take us in to the 21St Century, so there is no mention of the current “Bikie” groups and their activities or the extremely dubious legislation various state parliaments are knee-jerking into existence. Likewise the politics of Prohibition, which created these fertile fields for organised criminals to graze on, is never discussed. No, none of the wider social issues are ever discussed in this book. With typical cop mentality, the focus is narrowly set on the mere mechanics of “Enforcement.” To the authors, institutional corruption is just one of those things, like human nature. Also, there is no analysis of the role of the everburgeoning profusion of semi-anonymous law enforcement agencies with an alphabet soup of acronyms, and strange, vaguely defined powers.

Still, anyone interested in learning about where their drugs come from will be fascinated with this book.





Way down deep in Cabramatta,

Needs were meat, our hopes were shattered,

And our dreams, dispersed & scattered,

Never see you anymore.


Way down deep in Cabramatta,

Now it seemed like nothing Matters,

Lives like ashes they were scattered,

The Rain it falls, it starts to patter,

Like my tears there on the floor.


Needle deep in Cabramatta,

Rich men kept on getting fatter,

Friends, their eyes were all around,

But you never made a sound,

As we put you in the ground,

Never felt so low before.


-(for Kamala & Bruce)


The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet and an Ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists.

Can you dig it?



~ by reverendhellfire on December 5, 2010.

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