Two poems from SOFDOLREADIC MEDITATIONS ON THE PSALMS
He now has a new song to sing--
The ambient fire that blinded him
Is no longer part of his memory.
God is making a cup of tea
But he has no sugar.
Other things are there, too numerous
To list: grey clouds, engines,
Secret codes - such things
Trouble list compilers, but
Where is the sugar?
God goes into the goldmine,
And when he re-surfaces to heaven
He leaves behind our planet's
Blind copulation in the dark
Nights bereft of love.
A thousand bibles on street corners,
Ten thousand bibles in schools.
Jim Morrison no longer breaks
Wind, no longer fears needles.
Elvis and Oscar Wilde look
At the fort. They have exchanged
Their greying hair for haloes,
Bad habits for certainty, for hope.
God is good, and his unfailing love
And faithfulness work miracles.
Several cubes of sugar have
Ben conjured up.
All those premature ejaculators who say,
"Aha! We've got him now!" are really
At heart, decent souls who would benefit
From the serenity of a day's fishing. Their wives
And girlfriends cook muffins in the colder months,
And their recourse to blonde tints and streaks
Isn't disgraceful, but it is a bit sad.
The delay in ending this poem has to do with
Reverence, and sincerity. I am a committed
Believer in the Father, Jesus, the Holy ghost, and
Jim Morrison, Elvis, and Oscar Wilde. My
Premature ejaculations drip over an army of
Ants, and yes, I am neither poor, nor
Needy, but rather warm in my bedroom. Finis.
Welshmen deliver milk as mountains become pebbles--
In the laboratory quarks sing their strangeness like divas,
And Poseidon and God play scrabble,
Both claiming unquestionable as the longest
Seven letter word imaginable. And so
The oceans roar and foam, and so a small,
Costumed boy throws pebbles into the sea.
Go to a river bank to seek refuge from eternity--
See how the city's water supply is polluted
By ghosts of Welsh shepherds who can ethereally
Tip muck in from earthenware jars. Philadelphia
Is where God has his east coast base, and
All the baseball bats in all the houses
Cannot destroy it. A native American offers
A passer-by a sweet thing on a stick--
God is our fortress, no matter what Zeus and Cronus say.
Two vagrants set fire to a rubbish bin.
This is destruction equivalent to the loss
Of love at twenty-two, the dim bestiality
Of our planet. As John Lennon
Said, "Perfection is counted only by tossers,"
And God has fire extinguishers aplenty.
A wax sculpture of a butterfly is placed
Near the exit of the Gallery. It hardly moves.
A native American offers a passer-by a
Sweet thing on a stick - God
Is our fortress, no matter what Zeus and Cronus say.
[NOTE: In essence, Sofdolreadic Meditations on the Psalms involves writing a poem for each of the 150 Psalms in the Holy Bible. I have begun writing in the order that I pull slips of paper out of a box, believing as I do in the purposeful nature of chance. Number 46 was the first slip of paper I drew out, so two poems written and 148 to go. Though I'm still way behind William Shakespeare in this respect, since 1989 I have coined some words, and sofdolreadic is my latest. The dictionary entry will go as follows:
sofdolreadic / sof'dol'reed'ic/ a. poetically unique
The etymology of the word is: "sof" from The Doors song The Soft Parade,arguably Jim Morrison's finest moment; "dol" from 'dolmen', a megalithic tomb (nothing can be poetically unique without it being cognisant of its past); and "readic" from 'read' (a little less esoteric).
a broken computer rotting
graffiti stains the fence
the neighbour's cat
descends a tree branch
the barbecue rusted
like a hulk long washed up
weeds press their claim
possums and rats
along the fence after dark
saturday night goths
drop a port bottle
from the laneway alongside
the dog three doors down
barks like a chainsaw
choking to start
an old concrete bench
protects a patch of grass
like a doting mother
last year's tomatoes
hunched like tumbleweeds
yet to be set free
a metal pipe wedges
the Hills Hoist upright
a cracked path
leads its way
out on fold-up chairs
the knee high grass
tickles our calves
the mosquitos moving in
EXCLUDE THE ASPIRANTS
A new Michael Ondaatje hardback
is something to savour
like a good op shop
rarer these days
seconds a boutique
like a council sapling
edged in concrete
you skirt around
like a bruise
commerce doubles up
like birthday cards
stood up next to the tele
chiming media doctrine
my hawaiian shirt
wilts off the line
a page one rendezvous
scores the next decade
he stands over the fire
cooking souls in a frypan
prodding them with a knife
an attempt to discover their names
a thought has been found
a philosopher will be called in
to determine the cause of its death
a white horse rests in a paddock
wet green safely coloured in around him
accompanying grey sheets squeeze from discarded eyes
a white horse is resting in a paddock
as far away from George Stubbs as he can get
FROM OUT OF NOWHERE
I won't think about where it all begins or ends
each grain of sand, blade of grass, drop of rain
I'll disregard the minutiae, even though it all starts
with a single gene, cell, idea -- on the molecular
level it's all waves anyway, all interconnected,
therefore I'll let myself forget the singular
blade, grain, drop, besides these days no one
much remembers rain, so I let go of rainy days,
even months when it must have poured
I'll allow them all to subside,
only this momentary pause--
where experience might endure beyond itself
instead I'll just accept my limitations
and let one stand for each and every
like that day walking back from the park
when I misjudged the weather, a mother
with her two children, both overshadow her now--
but then that rain, it came from out of nowhere
heavy drenching rain, with children running
sopping, running, laughing, soaking, laughing
as though nothing existed, but us and that rain,
that would stand for each and every drop.
MICHAEL FITZGERALD-CLARKE, born in England, lived in Melbourne (where he participated in Poor Tom's street poetry a couple of decades ago), & for many years in Canberra. Has published two chapbooks of poetry, S-h-h-hidelplonk (Pudding House, USA, '02), & Deep Wings (White Heron Press, USA, '04). Numerous poems have appeared in magazines here & overseas including Blast, Hobo, The Adirondack Review, The Wormwood Review. Has written poetry since he was "captivated as a teenager by a biography of John Keats", & also includes Shelley, Rilke, Lorca, Bunting, Dransfield & Olds amongst his influences.
CHRIS GRIERSON, lives in Melbourne. Has written songs, poems, short-stories & novels, some of which have been published, won awards, been performed. Publisher of poetry chapbook series, Soup, in the 1990s, whose authors included Kierran Carroll, Claire Gaskin & Cassie Lewis. Currently working on a long piece based on the life & times of Melbourne gangster, Squizzy Taylor.
ANN SHENFIELD, lives in Melbourne, recent residency at Varuna (Blue Mountains); see Poems & Pieces #8, and Poems & Pieces #2 for previous contributions.
NATHAN SHEPHERDSON, lives in the Glass House Mountains in Queensland. The son of painter Gordon Shepherdson, he is a poet & writer on visual art. Has published Sweeping the Light Back Into the Mirror (UQP, '06); What Marian Drew Never Told Me About Light (Small Change Press, Qld.,'08). Has won the prestigious Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize twice, in 2004 & '06, & same year won the Newcastle Poetry Prize. When not scooping prizes he follows the cricket.
It's been a fascinating leg of the journey... finding your blogspot and having contact with old mates from the Melbourne push... and what a buzz to see our poems/freeverse published....! What I envisage as a worthy project would be to gather absolutely everything still accessible from that time... the broadsheets, mags, posters, pics, etc., and bring it all together in one magnificent book... paintings, sculptures... I won't do it... but putting the idea out there might spark someone else... You've started something... how do we broadcast your blogspot to a larger audience? John Yule (not a relly), John Tranter, Geoff Eggleston, Adrian Rawlins, all have references on the net... that's a start... and some of the living may still have memorabilia...
It bowled me over that you would devote an issue to devotional/beat poets of Melbourne and Meher Baba, it just seemed so out of the blue, a left field sort of thing. I was also impressed with the 40 year thing, because 40 is a significant number in Sufi tradition. Hafiz especially mentions 40 in connection with a couple of significant events in his life. I have a strong feeling about this year because it's 40 years since Baba dropped His body.
But when I thought about it, the devotional or spiritual aspect was very strong with the Beats, it was obvious. And it was what attracted me to Kerouac et al all those years ago...before I got connected to Baba. But the way you have focussed on that characteristic of the Beats strikes me as something not really stated by other writers. But Kerouac, Cassady & the others were very drawn to the spiritual/sacred...despite all their character defects...
12th May, '09
(....) I'm sure it has been said by others [spiritual/religious characteristics of the Beats, ed] but I don't recall that it was given more than a passing notation...it was other things about the Beat characters & writers that were given more significance. But a large part of Kerouac's alcoholism was due to disenchantment, disillusionment with the world...his path through existentialism, drugs, Buddhism, and return to Catholic (mysticism) faith of childhood, and of course his withdrawal from his old friends and social network, and his own statement prefacing last publication about being lonely, solitary, Catholic mystic madman.
And of course Neal was wired bigtime for the connection to God... "now we know TIME man"... and was in the habit of prayer and meditative reflection... His karma was also high wired to the physical domain and driven sexually and drugs too...sort of complicated things a bit. But then that's the hero's path aint it, strewn with obstacles, challenges, failures, tragedy. I think they were both tragic figures.
Finally published this partly sunny now nippy but dry Melbourne winter's day, June 28th, 2009