Sunday, 10 January 2021

The obituary of the megalomaniacal race

 "This doesn't bode well,"

we said. Alas,

"I told you so", they say,

is unhelpful.


Where, then, do we go from here?

Critical thought slain,

cretins at the helm

of this cartoon reality.


2016 was the year satire died

and mushrooms lost potency,

LSD the new BSc

and DMT the currency.


'A fleeting, intelligent speck,

but an unruly, ignorant mob,'

reads the obituary

of the megalomaniacal race.




Thursday, 7 January 2021

What makes me



I am the product of evolution,

the sum, no more, of three billion or so parts but never whole; a mirror of seven billion faces, minds, hearts, far flung places etched as faint traces, recalled as memories but never unchanged. I hear your words, I echo your thoughts, I see your smiles, I feel your joy. I touch your skin and a calcium wave courses through my finger to my brain; forever changed. I am the product of thirty one years, the sum, no more, of forty trillion or so cells but never whole; no picture reflects my troubled soul, as with the years I age each cellular replication is fraught with decay, my telomeres decline, my chromosomes fray. I will no longer recognise myself, one day. And who am I? The longest lived of all my cells, seven years, no more. What’s left of who I was before but the epigenetic imprints? Etched as faint traces, recalled as memories but never unchanged. I am amorphous; my cells merely obey what’s written in my DNA, the stimuli that pass their way, yet my brain is soft as clay. I was never born this way. I am the smell of sizzling fat, the thrilling sound of a thunder crash, the fixation of a lightning flash, the desolation of a grave. I am every laugh, every tear, each and every triumph and fear; the manifestation of all I see and hear; forever changed. I am the sands of time, the drift of mutations, epigenetic methylations, a vessel for each revolution’s chance situations, certain only that I will one day decline but heartened to understand: that’s fine.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Google it

Google it


The diminishing drought drains 

knowledge at my finger’s tip;

I once cherished the unpredictable rains,


held out my tongue to catch each drip,

wondered at the taste.

I can feel those flavours slip


past parched roots in streams of waste;

They leach into polluted pools,

rotten reservoirs on tap to haste,

and fill the brains of fools.




Friday, 18 December 2020

Vaccines (or what happens without them)

 Vaccines (or what happens without them)


The drizzle sits as bleakly suspended mist

on a backdrop of grim skies and damp, grey stones

where forgotten names begin to erode;

memories reduced to blank slate and rust.


The howling wind echoes the wailing ghosts

of mothers who mournfully trace each etched word

and sorrowfully watch as the wretched world

so quickly forgets the many children lost:


consumed and taken, snatched in a fleeting youth,

so commonly before what now is so rare.

To succumb, after all that, so unfair

to the victim who deserved, merely, the truth.






Praying for a cure - the world before vaccines

 Praying for a cure


In the tumult of a rain-lashed moor

a mother bleats her confused woe

in grief over a lifeless corpse,

gaunt with eyes hollowed out by crows.


Dead against the fast-shut door,

her wails consumed by thunder claps

whisper through long-rotten cracks

phantasmally along the floor


to land a chilling shiver

on the shoulders of a mother, poor,

who cradles her ailing litter

praying to God for something more.






Sunday, 22 November 2020

I have only known freedom (the coronavirus chronicles)

I have never known struggle, 
in this country, this life.

I have only known freedom.

I was never taken from my home
in a cold long-bladed night.

My dreams are unshackled.

I was never stopped and searched in the street
and rarely drew a flashing light.

I have been left alone.

I have never been crippled,
or fought a hard-won, perilous fight.

I have only known health.

I have never been asked for much
in this country, this life.

I cannot bemoan my freedom.

If all that I am asked
is to spend a while away, inside
and cover my face with a mask;

if that is all the strife I've known,
then freedom, truly,

is what I have.


Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay 


Friday, 6 November 2020

Lockdown is tough, but death is permanent

Let's all agree this year's been sent

down hell's handwoven clutch,

but for most not half as much:

lockdown's tough, death permanent. 




Tuesday, 20 October 2020

No New Normal

Thought For Food: The 2020 Challenge Finale

No New Normal


Where’s half a year just gone?


Remember when the desolation of Earth

was Bolsonaro’s inferno in the Amazon?

Australia scorched in wild scintillation.


6 months ago we still felt the lick of flames,

smelt the smoke,

and in fear of what that meant would come,

sick to the stomach, watched on.


It’s getting HOT in here.

In the sky, under the collar,

Chop a tree, make a dollar.

Holla!


Have we already forgotten?

Reeling, dizzy on the floor,

as we choke on yet another mess of our own making.


Scarred lungs hack up an ironic jeer

as the world succumbs on this, of all years,


To the plague of nature’s discontent,

the fires of our negligence,

the bomb blasts of hate,

cold-blooded murder sanctioned by the state,

refugees waiting in vain to escape, left callously at sea to drown.


As the pandemic accelerates the wide world round,

The inequalities are stark.


While the rich lockdown in luxury,

extra fast broadband, food on demand,

elsewhere many can’t rely on delivery,

or a supermarket on every street.

What good is a vaccine if you’ve fuck all to eat?

And who’ll be the first to receive it?

How many, through heinous misinformation, will refuse it?


There is No. New. Normal.

Just the same old injustices.


New normal means we accept pandemics,

and starving kids.

New normal means we ignore the fires raging in the Arctic,

and biodiversity on the brink.


There can be No. New. Normal.

We will not settle for this.

We will build a better world.


Where Black Lives Matter.

Where every child can enjoy a hearty platter.

Where we can thrive alongside nature.


Why settle for the status quo, when we can build a better tomorrow?

Through fires, viruses, genocides, bombs: to stand together, as a global community, through each and every woe.


Down under, six months ago,

the world could see that: even in the most desolate, burnt-out lands,

as the embers continue to glow,

before even the first raindrops begin to fall,

seedlings emerge and green shoots begin to sprawl.


And so for us, though Malaysia may have been put on hold,

our Thought For Food community, emboldened

with the hybrid vigour of diversity and youth, showed


How fresh young roots,

intertwined in a world wide web,

have the power to plant life

into any famished corner.


To nourish the whole.


Finally: for ten teams with a shared purpose. A common goal.

Years of dreaming, months of preparing, one five minute pitch to change the world.


To show us all that 2020 has not been cancelled, it’s an urgent call,

to reNature,

to replenish,

to flourish,

to grow.


There is No. New. Normal.

We’re here to uproot the status quo.





Gilgamesh

Since men were slain by Gilgamesh,

we've toiled in fields at his behest;

the Big Man, insecure, upon his nest.


We are the serially abused,

generations woefully misused;

by hoe, by sword, malnourished, confused


into deifying this beast, this tyrant,

obeying his petulant wants;

meek in the shadow of the absconce.




Thursday, 1 October 2020

Armchair statisticians in the time of COVID

The armchair statisticians are out in force,

fewer than 0.1% able to calculate a percentage,

p<0.05 the other 99.9% lie

far down the conspiratorial wormhole.


Yet I raise a wry smile,

as even with gibbons in charge,

at least gibbons have more gumption

than the graphically misaligned.