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Poet. Author. Videomaker.


Debut Poetry Collection Caged Without Walls and Fiction Novella Bottomless River on sale. 75% Off


Nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize. (more)

Sunday

Dr. Bale has some serious issues


Warning: Not for the easily offended.



http://www.earthtimes.org/conservation/antarctic-penguins-trouble-due-climate-change




Perihelion Science Fiction
Click to go to Perihelion


After some considerable time, my story, It's the Last Great Ice Shelf! is finally available for people to read. They've shortened the title. As you can ascertain, it was more relevant some years back. I first wrote the story in 2006. It's been through quite a few drafts. Yes it was rejected numerous times but it's also sat forgotten on my computer so it's great to see it out in the world. It's up to you now to read it and share it and give it life. Without you, it's still dead.



Jesse Jennings
From the Front Cover of the Nov 14 issue


More Stories.


Thursday

Berlin Wall and I - 25 Years

November, 1989




In 1989 I was a young chap making my way overseas for the first time when the Soviet Union collapsed. It was November and I was in London. A friend and I caught a plane to Berlin to witness history in the making. It was an incredible experience.




The joy is evident. The atmosphere was incredible. It was like New Year's Eve. Not possessing a chisel I was unable to snare a piece of it. People were going crazy trying to garner a souvenir and every little crumb of it was scooped from the ground. There was only a couple of holes in it at that stage.



I went through Checkpoint Charlie to East Berlin and literally went back in time some thirty plus years. Advertising on walls was faded and long out of date. Everything I saw was drab, dreary and depressing. Poverty appeared universal. It was also cold, as you can see with ice on the bonnets.


I have other photos but they are in an album somewhere. These were scanned, hence the streak marks. I have shots of Checkpoint Charlie too as we had to pass through there to get in. I've never put these online before, so thought it was time to share them.

This was one of the albums I was listening to at the time. Street Fighting Years by Simple Minds. It bore the No.1 song Belfast Child. The song Mandela Day pre-empted the release of Mandela two years later. It was a time of change, no doubt.




Saturday

Famous After Death #5 - The Rambling Guy


Robert Johnson



One of only three verified photographs


The actual life of Robert is somewhat a mystery. For the last six years of his life, he traveled from city to town along America's Mississippi Delta, often changing his name along the way. Even his death, at the young age of 27 in 1938, is open to conjecture, as is the location of his grave.



Robert sung and played the blues, basically on street corners and juke joints. He became famous decades after his death thanks to the skill of his songwriting and guitar playing . In 1936 and 1937, Johnson recorded 29 songs in Texas and that was the extent of his recording career. Eleven 78 records were released during his lifetime. Fortunately the original recordings survive along with multiple takes. It wasn't until a compilation reissue was released in 1961 did his fame take hold.








We've all heard the story, that Johnson made a pact with the devil to secure his fame, apparently documented in the song Crossroads. It's certainly central to the Johnson mythology, of which there is much discussion.


You may be aware of the 1986 movie Crossroads, based on a search for Johnson's missing 30th song. The film wasn't a hit, but Ry Cooder's soundtrack was.









The reality of Johnson's life is that he was a poor black man in thirties American South. Fate dealt a tough hand from the outset. He also had a reputation as a womaniser. He fathered a child with one woman and married another, Caletta. She died in childbirth and he hit the road again. His early demise is a mystery. Some say syphilis. There is also a real possibility that he was murdered, perhaps by fraternising with the wrong woman.




We do know that Robert was a blues itinerant, a travelling man, a rambling man. He had talent and gave the world 29 songs. There's much more to the story, open to debate, more than can be covered here. I suggest you do your own digging. What we can be certain of, it that others have been profiting from his music and legend, long after he left this earth.


Official site




Previous Famous After Death




Thursday

the featureless prevail

Distressed Poet - William Hogarth



Them vs. Us

Why is it that the featureless
Academic poets
The middle to upper classes
Professors, teachers and other
Unmoving particles
Inside the swirling dust bowl
Profess to love the classics
Both writers and poets
When many of the admired
Though far from all
Came from nothing?

The bourgeoisie know nothing of the endless struggle

The artistic urge
Like blood flow
Pushed down
Below the need
For sustenance
And the methods to reach it
To pay their rent
Among other things
Creative luxuries less affordable
As they had no one else
To cover for them (Mummy Syndrome).

They merely wish to be well read
To tick the boxes
Van Gogh
To be cultivated
Like Van Gogh’s perfect sunflower
Years after the severed flesh
Lost its atoms
And vomit stains
Faded into fabric.

I never knew these artists
Yet know what it’s like to yearn
And to go without
While occasionally pondering
The value of my own contribution.

I guarantee one thing
That those artist's work
Was never for Them.




Bukowski

Friday

Sex, Mates, the Comet and the Banker's Daughter

Heavenly and Earthly bodies


We went to her house at night
She was the bank manager’s daughter
And therefore of a higher class
My best mate
Was fucking her
It was a victory for the working class
Though I could only cheer
From the grandstand.


I was 18
He 17
She 16
She had long flowing blonde hair
Pleasant, blemish free skin
But we both knew
She had the personality of river trout
Though she wasn’t a bad person
And that counts for something.

We stood on her back doorstep
To observe the stars
With her dad’s binoculars
For this once in a lifetime event
‘Can you see it?’
‘No.’
‘I can see it.’
‘Where?’
‘Bullshit.’
‘Look dickhead.’
‘Ah ok. There it is.’
‘You mean, that’s all?’
‘It’s not E.T.’
It was small but strong
White end proudly
Leaving  a faint trail
Across the bottom of the night sky
Halley’s Comet
It didn’t seem that impressive
As I’d seen
Many a shooting star
Growing up in the country
Halley's Comet - 1986
But we were told it was special
So there we were.

We watched it for awhile
I did appreciate that I wouldn’t see it again
(Though it’s feasible
I’ll be almost 100)
Yet I didn’t mind
Getting out of there
Returning my friend
To my car
And the night
And a little joint I was saving
Kicking back by the river
Listening to the ethereal
1984
Electronic voices
Within Jean Michel Jarre’s                                                            
Zoolook
Which seemed further out into space
Than some steady white blip.

That comet’s burning somewhere now
And will keep going around and around
But people do not
And though I could not know
That my best friend only had four years left to live
That night,
I enjoyed the company more.




Thursday

Cock conquers all




A player's market


Through time
And experience
She realised
That the way to his heart
Was not through his stomach.

She worked that knob
Like mud on a lathe
Like a plumber with a spanner
Like an architect with a T-Square.

She got this
Which led to that
In simple terms                                                                         
And quite simply
She achieved results.
She saw it as her strength
Rather than her weakness
Which, in time
Became her downfall
As placing faith in one notion
Leads to shortcomings
(So to speak).

She took the lesson
And rewarded the next
While the first was left
Wishing
He hadn’t been so scrupulous.







 More Poetry.


Wednesday

Afraid of no emotion



Meeting ends


Death is eternal
It waits for us
Composed
Sometimes impatiently
Yet will not be denied.

I am not afraid of death
The option is to never have existed
To have been without
Emotion of any kind.

I am afraid of dying languidly
Of obstinate pain
And much time to think.

I am afraid of being afraid
I am not strong
I don’t want to be scared.

I am afraid to leave my daughter behind
Before she has grown up
She needs a father
She needs me.

I can say goodbye to the world
But I cannot say goodbye to her.


Dance of Death - a woodcut by Hans Holbein, 1538





Tuesday

I fell for her - Hard




Belief is drought


I fell in affection
For her face
And her confidence
And her body
Without really knowing
Who she was.
Common amongst the young
But I thought
I knew better.

I guess I was hoping for something different
This time around
Though experience had taught me otherwise
It’s nice to pretend
As we like to believe
In a prime-time outcome
A core that believes
In sunsets
And soothing credit rolls
And breakfast croissants on fluffy pillows.

Yet she was an asshole
Who would fuck her benefactor over
If it meant a tiny step up
Closer to the silver grinning tinsel.

Belief is a long dry creek bed.



















Monday

Three little words - Shared by many









Lane locked


Is it better to ask questions
Or provide answers?
You can lead someone to the truth
But you can’t make them contemplate it
Stubborn is the horse that bit the feeder
Bold in print
Still requires a reader.

It’s hard to envisage the distant future
When we are stuck in the present
It’s impossible to embrace new ideologies
If what we know is so ingrained
That we clutch it - hell-bent.

When the option preferred is to blame everyone else
Than to consider decisions made prior
Squinting one way through Perspex walls
Dig in
Rather than inquire.

The prospect of contemplation
Surely equates to no small amount of perspiration
Easier with three little words
No fuck given.













Hope, in the path not chosen


Chaos in beauty


Nowhere to go









Proverbial light



More Video Poetry



Is downloading music illegal? Well...


(This article written in 2011 - yet still relevant, given Pirate Bay co-founder was arrested 31st May, 2014. See News story.)



It works like this.


An employee of a cigarette company learns of a way to steal a truckload of cigarettes. He contacts a friend to arrange the theft and they agree on a percentage cut. The friend hires two guys to actually do the thieving. The cigarettes are then given to a bunch of other, less important people to distribute them, mainly to people who can't afford them who want the cheaper cigarettes, but really anyone willing to take them. That's thousands of people.
The cigarette company discovers the theft. They decide to then sue. Not the people who did the theft, or the distribution, but Joe up the road who smoked one of their cigarettes.
This is the ridiculous situation that eventuated on the 5th November, 2010 when a US federal court ordered a single mom pay 1.5 million dollars for downloading 24 songs, (or about $750,000 per CD had she stolen it from a shop).
Would Joe being rapped on the knuckles, albeit with a gigantic rap, prevent every single person from smoking a cigarette? I don't think so.
If they really want to do something about illegal downloading, they have to do much better than this. While it's on offer, people will take it, no matter how much you enforce cheap, bullying tactics.





Clearly the music (and film) industries are at a complete loss as to how to stop file sharing. They've had over ten years now. And this is the best they can come up with?
In 2009, the Pirate Bay was successfully sued in Europe. Yet every time one of these sites is shut down, anther two open. There are so many sites on offer it’s impossible to stop them all. We are bombarded relentlessly (at least in Australia) by how much money the entertainment industry is losing and particularly trying to make us feel guilty by stressing how much the artists are suffering. If they really cared about the artists they would up the pitiful percentage they receive from their record labels. Most music artists receive between 8% to 15% share.  The reality is, these industries are making record profits, with DVD and cinema profits sales increasing every year.


from 2012














  
           Here's the real deal. If something is offered for free, most people will take it, even if they don't really want it. If you ask them to pay full price for the same thing, most won't. For example, a 100 people download an album. The music industry times that by the cost, say $20 and then claim they have lost $2000. I say bullshit. I say perhaps 5 people really wanted it, but only 2 would have actually gone out and bought it. Therefore the reality is the industry lost $40. I'm not saying it's right. It isn't. But they need to stop with the propaganda. And while they're there, restructure the industry so that there's a more of an even distribution of wealth, especially in the digital age.

You can't shoot all the smokers in order to stop people from smoking. The onus belongs with the manufactures. The debate continues.




(This article does not necessarily represent my own viewing/purchasing habits.)


Some sources:

http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2010/07/the_root_investigates_who_really_gets_paid_in_the_music_industry.html

http://if.com.au/2014/03/31/article/Revenues-down-up-profits-up-at-Oz-cinemas/RDEEFDUFUA.html

http://www.afr.com/p/business/marketing_media/suing_illegal_downloaders_not_effective_PbIiXyA1g9VNFOxzdW8vOP




Sunday

Vivian had an amazing secret


Famous After Death

 #4 - Vivian Maier 




1953



Vivian Maier was a Nanny.


That was literally the extent of her professional life. The work that she was paid for at least. In her spare time, and even when working with children under her care in tow, Vivian took photographs of street life, mostly in New York. She was particularly interested in people. They were often unaware that they were being photographed, at least not until after the shot had been taken. 



Sept. 29, 1959




She held her box camera at stomach height and did not draw attention to the fact, even though she was close to the subject. Often her subjects are looking directly at her but not the camera (as evidenced right). 



















Sometimes the subjects seem annoyed. Sometimes they are posing. Perhaps it depended upon Vivian's mood or the potential mood of the subject. Either way, her work is incredible.














1954





She was obsessed with documenting the street and the times. She took over 150,000 photographs. She also shot a lot of Super 8 mm and kept boxes upon boxes of newspaper clippings. She seemed attracted to the dark side of human nature and often kept stories of crimes like rape and murder. She then visited the site where they took place and photographed it.














In one instance, the child she was minding was hit by a car. The boy wasn’t seriously hurt but it was enough for the police and ambulance to arrive. Vivian meticulously photographed the scene. She didn’t mind the odd selfie either, often reflected in windows or mirrors.










It’s unclear if she showed her photographs to others but it was certainly a secret to her employers that she lived with. None of her amazing shots were published in her lifetime, nor exhibited anywhere. It’s not simply the amount of photographs she took but the artistry contained within them. They are beautifully framed and she selected fascinating subjects. She had a great eye, which is evident.








































Vivian died alone, an eccentric pauper in 2009, aged 83. 
Her reputation grows every year and her work is exhibited all over the world.
  


1976





There’s much more to discover about the enigmatic woman in the documentary Finding Vivian Maier, which I highly recommend. The official website of her photographic work is here

















You should ask the big questions


http://rrn-erosia.deviantart.com/art/Perfectly-Flawed-397891714


Inside out is not the way to live


You pose the big questions
Receive few answers.

Those who commit
Make it stick
While those who need (daresay deserve) it most
Slip into the trough
Of insecurity
Tumbling, languishing
Brilliant yet flawed.

Masks have their place
No need to strip everything back
Facing fears is a T-shirt slogan
Salvation does not always wait
Under agony stripped layers
Merely exposes more flesh
And pulsing vulnerability.

Leave me now
And dripping
A squirming, spiralling cocoon
As long as there is opportunity
To create

More Mistakes.






Comments, thoughts, always welcomed. (Unless by trolls. You guys need counselling)

More Poetry