•January 30, 2017 • Leave a Comment


My White Trash Heaven


Not for me the comfort of

some superannuated scheme,

a Yuppy’s mortgaged youth to pay the price

for a privileged place in a Retirement Village

with a residential theme.


my Dream is to become a Beach Bum,

and let the layers of Ambition peel off me

like old paint in the Sun.

I’ll watch my Work-Ethic corroded by the Sea Air

as I rusticate in a lean-to shack

made of salt and driftwood.

All the windows will be made

out of gin bottles,

and I’ll have an old AM radio

and a Black & White TV

jammed on Channel 2

for company. I’ll let Goannas browse

in my midden heap and a big carpet snake

will take to drowsing in the rafters

whenever he’s digesting rats.

And I’ll only go into town on Cheque Days

while I leave a couple of mongrel dogs

who don’t like strangers sleeping

in the dust out the front,

in the shade of a big Mango tree.


Periodically, of course, someone will complain

about me and my White Trash Heaven

(it’s the Way of the World)

and Council Officials and Social-Work

Professionals pretending to care

will parachute in like stormtroopers,

keen to rebuke or remonstrate or reason with me.

I’ll just smile slow and stupid and nod vaguely

like maybe I understand or

maybe I just have brain damage.

(I’ll be like that Landlord I had,

who lost his ability to speak the English language

whenever Fire Dept. officials came around

to try to get him to install smoke detectors*)


In the end I’ll probably smile

and pretend to agree,

but really I’ll just be stalling

till they go and I can get back to my Life,

content in the knowledge I’ll have the Last Laugh,

because, by the time they can get

all my fine legal sand-grit out of their gears

and get the Bureaucratic Wheels a’grinding,

I’ll be long dead.


Fooled them one last time.



* Yes, I learnt a lot about dealing with petty officialdom

from watching my Landlord, old Ricardo, at work.

Of course, he never did fix that big hole in my ceiling but on the plus side he never complained about the constant clouds of cannabis

billowing from every flat in the building either.





The Late Reverend Hellfire

is chronically, chronologically challenged

and surely a Man out of his Time

if not his Depth.


Australia/ Invasion/ Survival Day Poem; THE LAND

•January 22, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I wrote this poem on Australia Day on Australia’s Bi-centenary,

It is, as you will come to see, a kind of Prophecy,

Now some decades later, you may judge as to its accuracy..


The Land


They would not curse the Land

Though we pushed them to the edges of Extinction

in our frantic exploitation..

They loved it far too much for that.

They would not lay down trapdoor, tripwire Curses

Or poison waterholes,

Just told us in words

We would not learn to hear

For at least Two Hundred years,

That the Land will hate you if you won’t listen..

Bad Luck to try and harm the Land.

The Land will hate you if you try!”


It WAS the Land itself that rose up,

Long after the Others had been led away,

in neck irons to prisons, graveyards,

shanty-towns & slums.

It turned against us when we tried to tame it,

Grains would not grow

where once were plains of waving grasses.

Cattle starved where once the native animals

prospered. Where trees were razed,

and cities raised the rain no longer fell.

The old paintings were not renewed

And the seasons fell apart.

We remembered nothing of the Others knowledge,

Disdained and forgot what “Savages” knew,

We went and made the Land a jail

Of rectangles and cubes,

And prison farms

To be worked behind barbed wire.


Unloved the Land curled in upon itself

And showed us only its Indifference.

Hostile as we blundered sweating

Through a landscape made of heat and dreams,

Cursing in our desperation

A Land we never tried to understand.

We ignored its Warnings, its Mysteries,

Its Beauty and were glad

to be content with a vision bland

One vast, unending suburban plan.

murris-in-chainsRose up against us.

Would suffer no more Indignities.

Shook the poisons from the air

with the Wind Wings of Storm,

Washed our filth from the rivers

With cleansing floods

and swept the whole Land clean

of all our petty flod-plain clutterings whilst we cried,


and cursed

the un-naturalness of Nature…


And elsewhere sheep and cattle swarmed

like lice over the denuded hillsides,

‘Til the Land withdrew its blessing

And shriveled hot and dry the hills,

Now wrinkled like the hide of some

Vast Beast of Earth and Drought.


And elsewhere ice fell

Where it never fell before,

Or sun grew hotter than white skins

could bear.

And so it went all across the Land

It seemed all of Nature

Had turned against our hand

As tidal waters washed away

Tall buildings built on sand,

(And where we’d damn a river storing

Water for ONE million souls,

We would increase with little thought

Until our numbers equaled THREE,

then puzzled at our thirst.)


So on and on and on it went,

The Land’s wealth wasted, squandered, spent,

Two hundred years of Arrogance,

Stupidity and Greed,

That finds us gathered here at last

Beneath this flag, a drunken mob of thieves,

Boastful and cruel.

Back slapping, blowing trumpets,

Celebrating, drinking beer,

We march blindfolded backwards

Towards the next two hundred years.

-26th. January, 1988.






The Reverend Hellfire.

Say no more!



•January 15, 2017 • 1 Comment




“Gad! What a lovely morning”, I thought, as I walked out the door, “the Sun is shining, the birds are singing, the sky is blue”.

Glancing up at the sky for a moment to re-assure myself that yes, the sky was still actually blue, I immediately observed

a lone light-aircraft above me, drawing a graceful arc in the air with a billowing plume of noxious, white gases.

There were no flames and the smoke was white not black so I judged that, rather than an imminent apocalypse, I was witnessing a skywriter going about their traditional trade.


Surely, I thought, in this modern Age of micro-chips and bottled water, the demise of the SkyWriter cannot be too far into the future. Soon the Guild of SkyWriters will be a thing of the Past, like mustache wax and side-saddles for women. The Skywriting Craft will be forgotten, their proud traditions and heritage, automated out of existence. Probably replaced by Drones.

So I paused for awhile to watch this relic from a bygone era

as the plane lazily scrawled its graffito across the blue canvas of the sky.

The original arc was swiftly conjoined to another, revealing itself to have been but the first half of a Heart. Clearly what I was witnessing was some sort of giant Valentine, or Birthday or Anniversary card being posted up against the sky. Somewhere, some unseen Romeo had decided to fork out with the “Big Romantic Gesture” to impress an unknown Juliette. he could have just taken an ad out in the Personal column, but no, our man had decided to pull out all the stops. Was Juliette leaning out of a window somewhere, watching the Sky for Signs and Visions,

or was she in the shower, washing her hair, oblivious to the declaration of Love and Devotion being broadcast through the aether. Surely even now her phone is ringing so she might be told to watch the Skies?!


The Heart now completed, the plane like a busy bee droned it’s way onto the next part of it message..

..which swiftly revealed itself to be a large U.

This U was followed in time by a large X,

then followed by another, and another, etx,

so the message was basically,

“I Love You, kiss, kiss, etc..”

You could see where the unknown Romeo paying for the message was going with his missive, so I thought it time for intermission.


So, leaving the sky pilot to continue scrawling his enormous Valentine, I popped back inside to make a cup of tea. My Personal Assistant was lounging around the kitchen browsing thru travel magazines, and as the tea brewed I informed her about all the romantic activity taking place in the skies above us.

She sniffed cynically, but quarter of an hour later she followed me out to witness this “Big Romantic Declaration” in the Heavens above our house.

The Winds had already blown away the Message of Love I have previously described, now only the faintest wisps betrayed the faded icons to the searching eye.

But in my absence a second section had been added to the text that had initially caught my attention. This text certainly gave the first part context.

This second, brief sentence read,

“I’m Sorry”


so the whole thing would have read, had the winds not erased the earlier part;

“I Love You, kiss, kiss, kiss. I’m Sorry”.

“Ho ho Ho!”, scoffed my Assistant,

“A typical Man. His promises weigh less than the wind

and the first gust blows them away!”

I really don’t know how my PA got to be so cynical,

but I decided at that moment that it was best not to joke around by claiming that it was from me all along.

She might believe me.






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’s cheap but not easy.



•January 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment


Good Year for a War


It’s a good year for a WAR,

the Astrologers tell me.

All the Stars are lined up right and

Plague is definitely on the Cards as well,

See.. you can tell,

all the TRUMP cards, like



are upside down

and that’s always a bad sign.


Fortunately, the Television Psychics assure me


is just around the corner

and advise me to focus

on my Personal Development.

Lucky Numbers are 9 and 11. Orange

is also apparently Lucky for me

and if I just dial the number

at the bottom of the screen in the next half hour,

then I can have my own Personal Consultation

with one of their highly skilled Psychics

for only $3.40 per 60 seconds.


It worries me though that

the Television Psychics all look like

the fading, former Trophy Wives

(now divorced) of dodgy Gold Coast

Real Estate Speculators.

They wear too much jewellery

and make-up. Their hair looks dry

and brittle from too many bleach jobs

and all those decades at the tanning salon.

In fact they look like they could

just as easily be selling Tupperware®

on the Shopping Channel

if Destiny hadn’t called them

to provide spiritual guidance

to the lost and lonely.


If this were ROME circa 308 C.E.,

I could join a Mystery Cult,

rattle sistrums for ISIS,

drink Bull’s blood with MITHRA.

But the Mystery Cults are disappeared,

as enigmatically as they appeared,

and subsequently swept

under Christianity’s mouldy, motheaten carpet.


Maybe next time the Mormons turn up

I’ll let them in for a prayer session

in my living room,

although, come to think of it,

they haven’t been back for awhile,

not since that argument last time. They seemed

quite upset when I told them

that God was a Girl

and I was her chosen Consort and Minister.

I probably shouldn’t have slipped them

that Acid either, but

they looked lost and

it was only a small dose

really, and besides,

how often do you get a chance like that?


CHANGE is coming!” I called out after them

as they went pedalling angrily away.

“Probably in about forty-five minutes”,

I added, thoughtfully to myself.


Meanwhile the Astrologers are still telling me

that its a good year for a War,

but so what, their star charts are 2,000 years

out of date and besides,

you don’t have to be a Prophet

to know that.

It’s always a good year for a War.






The Reverend Hellfire..

Burning the candle at every end.



•January 2, 2017 • Leave a Comment


Secrets of the Chutney

And so this is Christmas,

or the Saturnalia

or the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun,

or whatever,

and as the Sun wheels thru the Summer sky towards its appointment with the Solstice, the Reverend Hellfire retires to the kitchen to perform his annual gastronomical tribute to the Summer Festive Season, which is to say,

it’s time to cook up the Annual batch of his legendary,

mouth-watering Mango Chutney.

Sourcing his luscious, sun-ripened mangoes from the feral Mango Trees that infest every other backyard and vacant lot

in his sub-tropical suburb, the Reverend uses an old Queensland recipe that he has been refining and tweaking for over thirty years. Now he proudly boasts that his secret recipe produces the World’s Greatest Chutney! Those who have tasted of this precious elixir seldom disagree, and those that do are usually struck by the Gods with a disfiguring disease for their impiety.


Be that as it may, after gathering the Harvest the Rev then spends the next 48 hours prepping, slow-cooking and bottling the mysterious brew to perfection in his secret laboratory. With the addition of an endearingly naive label,

the jars of sun-ripened goodness are ready to be distributed to friends and family, followers and folks in general who have helped the Rev on his path over the previous year. But to tell the Truth, those who have shown kindness and friendship are usually so numerous, that there are alas, never enough jars, it seems, to go around. (Be patient, perhaps next year you’ll make the list!)

Indeed, it often seems a small thing to pay people back for all their help, with a mere jar of chutney. But it is made with Love and Care, and shared with a simple Sincerity, so perhaps that gives it some worth after all. Plus it tastes like the Heavens’ Own Condiment!

“If the Gods made anything that tastes better, “

boasts the Rev in his unguarded moments,

“They kept it for themselves”.

Sunday Sermons are now proud to present the actual lab notes from this years “cook”. Feel free to take notes.


Lab notes:

3.03.33pm..the Chutney brew is simmering as I add the “seeding agent”- the last dollop of 2015’s chutney (carefully preserved in a jar at the back of the fridge) to activate the process, rather in the way yogurt makers will keep a yogurt culture alive from batch to batch.

I stir and croon, croon and stir..

“Who’s a good little chutney? Who’s going to be perfect??,” I coo and murmur in reassuring tones,

cajoling the spirit of the Chutney..

(oh yes, if the Chutney had toes I’d be down on the floor

tickling the plump, sticky, little digits right this moment).

“Are you coddling the Chutney again!!” my Personal Assistant demanded severely, interrupting my reverie.

“You’ll make it too sweet again, like you did in ‘Ought Eight’!”,

she warned, referring to the unfortunate occasion when she felt impelled to add an “heroic” emergency dose of Vinegar to the brew, in an effort to, as she put it, “prevent serious cloying”.

The result satisfied no-one and generally speaking we don’t speak of that year’s Mango Chutney, or as it has sometimes

been called, “the Black Batch”.


“Fear not gentle maiden!” I assured her, “this batch will stand on its own legs! It may even, to use a rather hirstute figure of speech, grow hairs on your chest. (I added an extra chilly to each jar)”.

Somewhat alarmed, my PA stepped back to observe with folded arms as I added the final Mystery IngredientSugar!

Soon the brew starts to change colour, becoming darker, richer as swirls of caramelisation gyrate and gimble, blending subtly and surrealistically  to perfection in the pot.

Slowly I sift the sweet, sweet sugar in, sugar both raw and refined, with just a dollop of honey, bit by bit it trickles in , that I might judge to a nicety that perfect balance betwixt sweet and sour, the ancient alchemical Yin and Yang of the Great Chutney Cycle!…


Midnight. I stir and sweat, sweat and stir,

beads of perspiration run down my face and plop gently

into the brew,adding a lick of salt

and a tincture of the authors’ DNA to the Mix.. A strange alchemy is occurring here- deep within the ingredients are busy networking throughout their social swirl; swapping phone numbers, trading make-up secrets, exchanging genetic material in nightclubs..

A Happy Blending is occurring wherein each ingredient remains true to its own substance while it yet becomes a part of the GreaterWhole.

Each contributes to the Sum that is Greater than its Parts yet maintains its unique Identity in the process. The result is a substance at one with itself, yet far from homogeneous.

The hard edges dissolve in a warm wash of good feeling.


Indeed, it occurs to me that my humble Chutney might be in fact a Mighty Metaphor, the End result being hopefully like what you’d like to achieve in the social engineering field when trying to create the perfect “Multi-Cultural Society”.

Could my Chutney promote greater Social Harmony, I speculated, by providing, by analogy, a recipe for a better Cosmopolitan Society, where citizens know how to

interact with the other Ingredients

while keeping their own cultural identity as a discrete element,

developing the Cosmopolite’s ability

to mind their own business

without losing their curiosity?

Mango Chutney. Saving the World, one jar at a time.



SPECIAL THANKS to our number one fan, “Big Dave” for sourcing this year’s mangoes!



Authors Note; At the insistence of my PA and

local Health Officials, I must officially state that I don’t literally add sweat to my chutney-that was mere artistic license. In reality this condiment contains no human by-products.





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.

(Still looks good in fishnet stockings.)


Human Aquarium. Part Three

•December 18, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Once again the Reverend gets into the social swim

at his local shopping centre, and dips his toes in at the deep end of..


The Human Aquarium

Part 3


And lo! As the traditional, horrible, humid, Summer swelter envelopes the town once more, the Human Aquarium that is the Boodumba Shopping Centre, provides a pleasant, climate-controlled Habitat Refuge for all the heat-stressed human casualties of Global Warming. (Well as long as they have money to spend that is. The miserly Boodumba Management have provided no more than 3 (three) benches for the public to sit on in the entire shopping centre.)

Clearly if you’re not shopping or sitting in a cafe or otherwise spending money, there is no place for you in the air-conditioned comfort of the Aquarium. But this is nothing new. Urban Planners and their ilk have for some decades been transforming the concept of Public Space, from being somewhere you could hang out for free, to a kind of interzone which is basically no more than a transport corridor to allow you to proceed to your next commercial destination. No loitering is encouraged of course, nonetheless, despite the best efforts of social engineers, vestigial traces of Community still manage to survive in the odd, forgotten corner or two.


I push these thoughts aside and quickly lay claim to the only vacant seat in the establishment, as Desert people with the thin ankles of nomads parade in caravanserai before me, swathed in shawls and scarves and sandals. I wonder what they think of air-conditioning. An Aboriginal woman with a face from the Stone Age and a Sci-Fi haircut from the not-too-distant-Future shuffles by after them. The long planes of her archaic cheekbones look like they’ve been hacked out of teak by a stone axe…

An interestingly dimorphic couple stroll by with a pram. She is a tiny Thai/Burmese looking girl, no more than five feet high. She wears a long Summer dress with an open

back, which exposes a writhing, full-length Dragon tattoo

clambering ferociously up her spine.

Her partner, a gangling Westerner with a crew cut and no apparent dress sense, would, by contrast, stand around the six foot four mark. He pushes the pram while she consults her list.

Their baby surveys the world with wide, dark eyes,

as she chews thoughtfully on a toy, stuffed rabbit.


The diminutive Mushroom Woman, on the other hand, would only reach about four foot nine inches at best. Both she and I have been coming to Boodumba for many years

but despite this I have never seen her face.

This is mainly because she always wears a giant, old-fashioned “sun hat” with a wide brim, that almost entirely envelopes her. Further obscuring her face is the terrible curvature of the spine she suffers from, causing her neck and head to be angled down towards the ground rather than ‘face forward’. She shuffles slowly forward with the aid of a walking frame and both of her legs are encased in old-fashioned metal calipers as well.

Each day this frail, tiny woman in the shape of a question mark makes the journey to Boodumba and hobbles painfully into the chemist. There they dose her with whatever mysterious potion it is that helps her continue living. She waits in a chair while the young chemist staff fuss over her and prepare her medications.


Then she hobbles out to the Taxi Rank for the journey home.

I have a good view of the Rank from my usual table in the Coffee Shop, so I have seen the ritual of getting her into a taxi many times. She’s so frail she can’t enter the vehicle herself and requires some assistance.

Usually it takes two people to manoeuvre her into a taxi, the taxi driver and the assistance of whatever Good Samaritan happens to be standing at the rank that day. (Happily there always seems to be someone willing to take the time to help. Indeed, I suppose that one day it will be my turn to carefully guide those thin, fragile limbs.) Then, with the Samaritan and the Driver each supporting a frail shoulder, she is lifted and fitted awkwardly into the front seat. Her legs are lifted in next and her walking frame stowed away in the back. A few words and that day’s Samaritan wanders off while the Taxi takes her to wherever the lonely, hole-in-the-wall bedsit is that she ekes her fragile existence out in. Not sure how the driver gets her out of the Taxi at the other end.

All in all, her daily pilgrimage to the Chemist seems like a major operation, and I have sometimes wondered why they don’t just send someone out to deliver her medications each day. But perhaps she has reasons of her own for making this arduous Odyssey each day. Perhaps she needs to get out the front door, despite the difficulty and discomfort of the journey, to stop the walls from closing in, and to stay in touch with the Pulse of Life or merely to preserve her sense of independance.

Or maybe she’s just one of those tough, old birds you get, you know the type, raised poor in the Country, grew up during the Depression and WW2, etc, etc, the type who doesn’t even notice if things are a bit tough, because Life’s always been a bit tough and you don’t grumble about it, you just get on with what needs to be done.


At the bus-stop outside Boodumba, I get to talking to Rebekah, the aged Transsexual. To be frank, the poor old dear is probably the worst looking Trannie I’ve seen. Certainly she’s the most decrepit. Despite sporting a pair of hormone induced breasts the size of golf balls, she basically looks like a wrinkled, skinny old man with long, greasy, straggly hair, that had been crudely dyed red sometime ago but now a couple of inches of silvery roots show.

Wrinkled and toothless, the thickly applied make-up runs down her ravaged face, as she sweats profusely in the relentless heat and humidity.

We bitch about the Heat, the infrequency of the buses and the high bastardry of the CentreLink Officials who are trying to bully poor old Rebekah off the Disability Pension..

“I’m a sixty year old transgender with AIDS“, she spits out in disgust, “Who’s going to give ME a fucking job??!”


Yes, she has a point; her prospects of employment are pretty much Nil, even if she was well enough to work. Unless, of course, she could luck into one of those phony “Window Dressing” type of jobs, you know, where the government or some big company hires someone who is clearly disabled for a high visibility (if basically pointless) position, so that the Suits can boast about their great sense of Corporate Compassion.

Really if there was any justice in life, old Rebekah should have been awarded a Pension purely as a reward for making it this far, what with Life and the Odds stacked up against her as they are.

The bus comes eventually and we go and sit in separate seats to soak up the air-conditioned comfort.

It’s way too hot for further talk.

Still I wave sociably and call out to her, “Take care!” as I get off at my stop. The bus lurches off into the heat haze.

But I never do see Rebekah again.

Later on Rumour tells me that she’s dead.

“Pills”, somebody said.






The Reverend Hellfire is..

well, you know..he’s that guy!



•December 11, 2016 • 2 Comments


Late Shift


I like the Late Shift,

the long, lonely hours,

the silence, the darkness

spreading over the sleeping city,

broken in patches by the

the pools of orange light

spilt beneath the street lamps.

I like to listen for

the familiar rattle of the chainlink fence,

the click of the padlock across the road

as the security guard working his rounds

checks a gate and waves to me.

I wave back he gets in his car and drives off,

three years and we have never spoken, still

the secret Fellowship of the Late Shift

unites us. A patrol car prowls past

ignoring me as I open a fire escape door,

in my worker’s uniform

I’m just part of the landscape.


Yes when you work with the Midnight Crew,

a strange bond is shared

by the band of professional insomniacs

who keep the city running at night,

like some shadowy secret society

the day crowd hears rumours of/

the Indian guy behind the counter at the seven eleven

smiles when I walk in for my usual 2am coffee

we chat, ask after each other’s family,

the Taxi Drivers on their folding armchairs

outside the all night petrol station nod at me/

Doctor and nurse conferring in hospital corridor

As I drive from job to job

in the space and loneliness of the long night

the fellowship of the late shift expands

in the vacuum/ takes in Nurses

and Ambulance Drivers/sullen Waitresses in all night Diners/

Road-Workers furiously excavating

beneath flashing yellow lights,

as the blue strobe of the Ambulance

wails past in counterpoint/ Cleaners mopping/

the Night Clerks nodding over their desks,

television voices muttering softly in the background/

somewhere now the Bakers arise like yeast

to warm their ovens and knead the dough/


The Prostitutes yawn

and file their nails waiting for the dawn,

whilst their Dealers surf the channels

awaiting their end-of-shift call/

meanwhile the Water Police fish

another body out of the river

and somewhere a lone Technician

flicks a switch.


I drive from job to job

thru vast industrial estates.

Far away in the distance

beneath enormous hangars of concrete and steel

tiny workers like aliens dressed in orange jumpsuits

and breathing apparatus

work in clusters of frantic activity

operating incomprehensible machines

for mysterious Combines

with unknown goals,

who hide their true Identity behind

bland, anonymous acronymns.

In daylight the answer is probably

depressingly prosaic but by the moonlight

Mystery adheres to the most concrete realities.


At the Service Station on my way home

the concrete has been washed clean

by a passing shower, the Sky

is shifting thru soft shades of grey and pink,

the day birds are waking up

and starting to sing & crarrk,

and the whole world is reborn anew once more,

while gentle waves of exhaustion

are lapping at my mental shore.

“How was your night?” the Attendant

and I ask each other, like two Survivors

sharing stories no-one else could understand

unless they’d been there.

And as I drive home everyone-else

is heading the other way.





reverend profile red

The Reverend Hellfire is a practised Performance Poet,

President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity Inc.,

a proud blue-collar worker,

and an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanism

AND the Church of the Universe.

A solitary, nocturnal species that forages over a wide range.