Nice to see you.

Gimme some Truth - John Lennon.
An edict I aim for in my poetry, fiction and video poems.

Nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize. (more)

Debut poetry collection Caged Without Walls out now.

Novella Bottomless River (2012). Trailer and reviews here.

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She was much more than 'that'

As regular readers will be aware I occasionally use the theme of violence in my poetry (& stories), particularly assaults, rape, king hits etc, the notion of 'unexpected' violence in lieu of a better phrase, visited upon the undeserving, a state of affairs often witnessed that fills me with rage, (no doubt having arisen from the face that I've been assaulted twice). There's quite a lot of violence in my novels too, with realistic ramifications to victims and flow on effects. Unfortunately, these works are still yet to be published.

Below is one such poem, the crux of it being that the victim, if deceased, is often remembered for the way they died. Sometimes they are overlooked almost entirely, the focus going to the perpetrator. What about the person as an individual and not purely the 'victim'? What about the life lived?

The poem is about a bit more than that, as you will see.


They forgot about her
The focus on the perpetrator
Became priority
As it’s always been.

She had existed
For 24 years
And yet her demise
The struggle
Such as it was
For seven long minutes
Became the entirety
Of her existence
A media story sensation
A slap in the face
With the bulk of her life
Washed over.

It is difficult to comprehend
What happened
It is too terrible
I don’t want to contemplate
The black
Beneath the clouds
But it exists
With or without awareness
So we say farewell
To the gorge of lies
And clutch at vacancies
Wherever they scatter
Though treachery
Hungers close.

Lies are near from those
Whom we should trust
Friends, lovers and enemies yet 
Divide, sniff, deny, bodies separate
Keep an eye out
Here comes the reality
Saturated fat
Ready to smother.

So laugh and scatter
Amongst the fleeting frivolity
And self-imposed distractions
While neglecting to prepare
For something worse
The shock awaits.

Image source and history.


Published in India and the U.S.


Three poems, two publications, two continents, one happy chappy.

After a fairly quiet couple of months I have two publications this week.
One is a poem called To belong...  published in the Spring edition of Vayavya from India.
It can be read on line. If you're time strapped, my poem is right here.


The Stray Branch, accepted two poems a year ago.

Unfortunately it cannot be read online but is available to order in print for $10 U.S, quite reasonable considering the cost of new books. It has many great stories and poems and is a healthy 138 pages long.

I don't expect anyone to buy it on my account but if interested email me and I'll ensure you get a discount. If ordering outside of the States, the shipping is more affordable if you buy more than one; a decent birthday present.


Coming soon,
A new video poem, The Moat, a self imposed exile.

Next month,
A special book offer to celebrate the one year anniversary of Caged Without Walls.

Until then,
Stay sane.


What's in your Foxhole?

How big is your foxhole? I'll show you mine if you show me yours.
Do you have a flag? How much territory do you possess? What are your boundaries? Are they in dispute? Are you a proud territorian
What's your story?
What the hell am I talking about?

Read the poem below and decipher for yourself. 
There is no wrong answer. You can take from it what you will.

I can assure you though, it has nothing to do with actual foxholes, though thought it prudent to share a few images on the subject.

(Any ideas, feedback, discussion points welcomed).

This is MY Foxhole

The very flavour
In your favour
Is now your cross to bear
(sleeping dogs lie if bears will)
Hibernation arrives
If you hide away inside
And toss salvation to the pack.

Tell a story
Or stand firm
Rather than offer the heart
As flaws with embarrassment
Leave nasty welts
Red, tainted, impressions
To make a statement
A story
Of loss, pain, joy
What may be
The paragraphs are at least visible
Like black beneath the eyes
As persecution is drama
And without either
There’s no hook
To hang the hat
Or pity the self.

So slay the wanderers
And the Peacekeepers
And persist with charge and retreat
As crying foul never hurt you at least.
Make as much noise as possible
While the smoke trails
And the banners fly
As you prop up the mast
And claim your territory
With a purpose

And a wry all-knowing grin.

The poem was written in April 2013. I wrote over 300 poems that year. There's no particular reason I'm sharing this one with you now. Many will never see the light of day. The very best are saved for submissions. Then there are some that just need to get out there, and fuck waiting for publications to get back to me.


Famous After Death #2 - Nick Drake

     Nick Drake is almost as well remembered now as his peers of the time, such as Cream, Led Zeppelin and Crosby, Stills and Nash and singer songwriters such as James Taylor, Carole King and Bob Dylan.

The problem was, in the late sixties and early seventies, very few knew who he was. Certainly by the time of his premature death in 1974 at the age of 26, he had been forgotten.

Making those sorts of comparisons is a big call, but certainly many people have discovered Nick Drake in the past two decades and have fallen in love with his guitar playing and mellow tunes. It's also impossible to separate the personal nature of his music with the quiet loner who struggled with mental health issues. His third and final album, Pink Moon, was recorded in a hotel room with only one other person present, the sound engineer and friend, John Wood. It's a beautiful intimate recording and in my view, his strongest work.

Nick was born in 1949 to a upper middle class family who provided a musical upbringing. He was a bright student with an interest in sports, but by the time he went to Cambridge university he began to dissociate from education, especially after travelling to Europe and Morocco in 1967 where he experimented with drugs. Ultimately he chose to spend more time alone in his room,  listening to music and smoking cannabis.

He began performing in coffee houses and small bars and through a contact, met a producer who ultimately signed him to Island Records at the age of 20. The following year he released his first album, Five Leaves Left. Production was difficult however and reviews lukewarm.

He dropped out of his degree, moved to London and began work on a followup, Bryter Layter, 1970.

However his music did not gel with audiences of the time, despite Nick taking advice and going for a more commercial sounding album.

Disappointed he began to withdraw more and more. His producer friend moved to Los Angeles and Nick found performing live almost unbearable, such was his shyness, ultimately walking off stage mid song. He never went back.

His disillusionment with his lack of success soon lead to depression and he was hospitalised in 1971.

Though depressed and smoking too much dope, he wanted to make a third album but the Island label weren't interested. He decided to go it alone and with John Wood, recorded Pink Moon over two nights in October, 1971. He delivered the final result to Island who published it anyway, and though it sold less than the previous albums, garnered better reviews.

Nick's decline continued and he became completely isolated. He moved back in with his parents who tried to help him. He was hospitalised again for five weeks in 1972 and though did show improvement, continued to fluctuate with his moods. At times morose, he wanted to make a new album. In 1974, he contacted John Wood. They began work and some recordings were completed.

Wood said of this time that Drake was angry and bitter as so many people had told him he was a genius, (Wood being one of them) yet Nick couldn't correlate that with the fact that he had no success.

Whether deliberate or not, Nick died of an anti depressant overdose on the night of 24/25 November 1974 in his parents house. There was no suicide note and some believe it was accidental, much in a similar vein to Heath Ledger.

An retrospective compile of the three albums was released in 1979 but with limited sales, was deleted from the catalogue. However as the eighties progressed, many emerging artists cited Nick Drake as an influence and by the late eighties, the man and his music finally began to find its footing. By the nineties, Nick Drake had solidified his position in music lore.

All too late of course, for the young depressed man who died in his bedroom.

Previous Famous After Death

From Youth to the Void

Road Way Blisters

I was young
All that mattered
Were dreams and raised middle fingers
Tearing down all that existed
Without respect or understanding
Until there was escape.
It’s simply the path you’re on
The direction that the road takes
Is the life you make
The etchings state
Footprints on paper
Ink spots fading
And digital traces lost
Editing is only possible
After tracks are laid down
Wrinkles in the sand
The teacher was only reciting
I/we discovered
And though I never listened
The only lessons that counted
Were the ones where I fell hard on my face
Yet I grew to seek answers
And wisdom
Expecting to find it in elders
And lyrics threading through sages documented
Buried below concrete
Trodden on within view
Yet the black falls
Before the day is full
And I’m left shouting into the void
Searching for …
(if only I knew …)

The same echo returns
Which shouldn’t surprise me
But it makes me feel tired and old
And realisation is a slow gut surge betrayal
Who knew it would come around this fast
Blisters full
With red popping valley sunrise
Bursting hopes
Dispersing liberty.

And here we are.

Earlier poems found here

(Poem AJL 2012)

Image 2 
Image 4 


Beyond the razing


Source: The Guardian

           The New South Wales bush fires of October 2013 were the worst the state has seen since 1960's. Fortunately there were only two fatalities (unlike the horrific Victorian bush fires of 2009). Dry fuel loads coupled with hot windy weather caused the problems, mostly started by lightening though as usual, there were some human interference. Many homes were destroyed in addition to thousands of kilometres of bushland (and no doubt many animals).

Source: Gary Hayes

        It's not all bad, particularly for the bush, as it can assist in a healthy growth cycle. I was in the Blue Mountains in December 2013 and made a trip to shoot footage of part of the burnt out areas. While far from the worst area, it remained interesting.

        I returned in January to take more footage of an area untouched to fulfill the following video's purpose of documenting the cycle in an artistic way.

       I hope you find it engaging in some form. 

Source: SMH

Next post,

I have no idea.
I'm keeping it fluid this year.
Tell me what interests you and let's see what happens.



Valentine's Day - Seven Pillars of Love

A short series of 7 videos.

The Full Playlist



Next post,

A brand new Video Poem/Art Video shot in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales in the aftermath of the bushfires.

Born me Again


Topical - yet not new - based on an actual event.

Last Orders and Broken Rules 

There's been a lot of talk in Australia lately, especially New South Wales about the problems of alcohol related violence. In particular, the tameness of the sentencing. Of course, this is not a local problem but a global one. It's also a very personal one. I've been assaulted twice, both involving alcohol. The first one occurred not in the inner city but in rural Victoria.
The second was in Ireland. Without going into detail, I'm probably lucky to be alive. I spent time in hospital and suffered post traumatic stress. Given situations faced by others, I suppose I am quite lucky. 

It's a subject clearly close to me. There has always been this issue, so why is it worse today? Are young people so disengaged from the world thanks to the barrier of social media/video games etc that they lack communication skills? Is it over reporting by the media or is it something else?

All I can do is present to you a poem I wrote over a year ago in the first week of January 2013. I had hoped that it would have been published but its too topical to wait around for rejections (there were three). This is based on a story I read about that occurred here in Australia. Of course, it could be anywhere. As in much of my writing, I built upon existing truth without exposing what is real and what isn't. 

Last Orders and Broken Rules

He was looking forward to that first beer
Though for an reason he could not explain
Believed if he began drinking
Before 6 pm
It made you an alcoholic
Unlike his three friends
Who had begun
Some 80 minutes previously
And had called him pussy
He probably could have gotten away with it
Being New Year’s Eve
And 20 years old
Yet was determined to hang on for another 30 minutes
Easy enough
As they had already left the pub
And were at a 2 bit pizzeria
(Though you wouldn’t expect more
In a small coastal tourist town).

Feeling the full force
Of the sinking sun’s rays
Enough to bring on a sweat
In turn, enough to initiate a yearning
For that first beer
The irony being, that he had to wait
Until they finished eating
By which time it would be after 6
Even though he was prepared to break his own rule
This once
When they suddenly arrived
Lugging attitude
And aggression
Evident in their faces
And postures
Before they said,
‘What they fuck youse lookin' at?’

He counted 5 of them
Before turning away
And had not said a word
Though the unofficial leader of his group
Had already begun to temper
The situation
Which was already nasty
For no real reason at all
That he could think of.

He briefly fantasised
About the nearby beach
(an opposing state to his city living)
And that ice cold beer
Which abruptly seemed
So far away
When the nearest intruder lunged
(sort of fell)
onto him
And something hit him in the face
And he went back in his chair
And knew that he was going to hit the concrete
Was already destined to
His body not of his control.

His perception ceased.
Chaos followed
Though one was left

Statements, frowns and tears
67 hours later
Life support turned off.
4 days after that
Arrests made
And while a 26 second battle
Became a lifetime struggle
For all
It’s difficult to determine
What was the point.

Famous After Death - #1 John Kennedy Toole

Artists, singers, actors, poets, authors – many endure, few make it. There are many factors that contribute to success, talent not always being one of them. There are those that go their entire lives without being recognised, despite producing incredible work. Even after death, it takes someone to champion the cause and a whole lot of luck.

Here then, are some of the stories of the neglected. 


 John Kennedy Toole

John Kennedy Toole published literally nothing during his lifetime. He was born in 1937 and would be dead before his 32nd birthday. He was the only child of a middle class family from New Orleans. He had a complicated though close relationship with his mother who taught him an appreciation of culture. She also said he was born with a light in his eyes.

He tried the stage at 10. He was good at comic impressions. He wrote his first novel at 16, The Neon Bible (unpublished) which he later tried to forget. He studied English and became a teacher, noted for his wit but was soon drafted into the army.

At sixteen with friend.
He received a promotion and began writing his next and final novel, 
A Confederacy of Dunces in his quiet private office (see photo below). The novel centres around a roly-poly lazy figure, Ignatius J. Reilly who lives with his mother and is a cart vendor, something Toole had done while at university. It’s a satirical novel yet perhaps imbued with the overtones of the rebellious sixties when it was written. It's also quite autobiographical. Looking at John and the cover of his book its hard to not draw similarities. 

John attempted to get the novel published and received encouragement and a lot of hope with the editor from Simon & Shuster, Robert Gottilieb. He suggested changes which Toole made. After some further discussion and edits, Gottilieb wanted more revisions. Toole felt he could not keep changing the novel as many characters were based on real people. Gottilieb eventually opted not to take on the novel, sending Toole into a depression. 

John left home and went on a trip around the country. Little is known of these three months. There is suggestion that perhaps he was gay which may have contributed to his feelings of persecution. 

Toole in Washington, DC. May 1954. Courtesy of Louisiana Research Collection, Tulane University.  Edited by Joseph Sanford.

Nevertheless, on March 26, 1969 he gassed himself in his car.

It was some years later (1976) that his mother contacted a novelist at a university to see if he would look at her son’s only major work. She had tried with others numerous times, only to be rejected. Begrudgingly, perhaps feeling sorry for her, Walker Percy decided to look at it and was surprised. Eventually Dunces made it into print. Not only that, it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1981. All of cold comfort to Toole of course, but not doubt, a reassurance of sorts to his mother Thelma.

Hollywood has tried to turn it into a movie so many times that Steven Soderburgh quipped in 2010 that the project was cursed. (Read of one such attempt here). Perhaps John had the last laugh.

Thelma Toole died in 1984, aged 83.

There are a lot of failed writers. More than every author who is published. Many for good reason yet the emotion beneath the disappointment is legitimate. You can understand the devastation. Some take it harder than others. What makes John different is that he was within view of publication, as about as close as you can get, yet denied the platform. It must be said that it was some years between the time Dunces was finished and his suicide. He found it hard to get past it. 

Like others, John believed in his work yet he had actually received professional feedback. He knew it was good. And he listened to Gottilieb. John made many changes. Yet he had to draw the line. He simply didn't want to compromise. He stuck to his vision like a good artist should. And the world soon discovered that he was right to do so. Tragically it took his death before anyone would review the work as it stood.

How many John Kennedy Toole's are out there, their manuscripts having never made it into print? 

Have we possibly missed some of the best novels ever written? 

There must be hundreds if not thousands. 

I suppose we’ll never know.

What a fickle chaotic universe.

More in this series to come. 


My work dumped at The Literary Yard

I have four poems up at The Literary Yard, out of India.
This is my first acceptance for the year. Usually there's a grace period but they've put them up straight away.

They all have accompanying photos (which I didn't source), to match the poem.
One is about a relationship, another about online behaviour... ah, you can figure it out yourself.
If you could leave a little comment on their site, it would be fantastic.






Thank you if you got through them all or left a comment. It's good for them too.

Have a great week.



The 2013 Published List

How was 2013 for you? 

Could have been better? Could always be worse...

Easily my most prominent year in terms of published works.

All are poems except where noted.
These are acceptance dates, not publication dates. (eg some still yet to be published).
Most were online though some were also in print form.
Too many to link to though a simply search should reveal most.

Peaks and troughs – Gloom Cupboard
Alone not home –  Decades Review
The Flow
The Long Wick Loathing - The Stray Branch  
Reminisce-zero – Bluestem

Trail blazers – Full of Crow Poetry
One down to another - Red Ochre LiT
Enough - Foliate Oak
Her Teenage Universe (video)
The final result (video)
Blue Moon - Misjudge Your Limits
She was slim once (story) – a tribute to a tornado victim - Microliterature 
This Tiny fortune (video) -  Otioliths

The Fat City Review
Not me for Dinner! (Children’s story) – Brumbles
Past catching up and overtaking – Fat City Review

No sense nonsense – Subterranean Quarterly
How much is that future in the window - Leaves of Ink

Shut for business - Mad Swirl

I cook the sausages (story) - Forge Journal

Bookstore in Glebe, Sydney. Sharing the table with Nabokov (Upper left). About as good as it gets. I'll take it. 

Caged without Walls (Poetry collection) - Ginninderra Press
Seminars of success – Five Poetry Magazine
Scum of Antiquity
Crown of Razor Blades
Turning Point
Words, spheres and the essence

Drunk Monkeys - Original Fiction, Poetry, TV Recaps, Film Reviews, and Essays since 2011I remember the day – Aperion
Treachery (video) -  Glass Coin
This tiny fortune (video)
The Imposter    
Prefer the Well
It’s not always there, where you hope

Sound State Statement - Clutching at Straws


The fleeting - Linden Avenue
In Memoriam (Story)  – Drunk Monkeys

Alienation Prevails (Video)
Everything Old is New (Video) – Red FEz
The past is only today, faded – Nazar Look (Romania)
(The Really Important stuff from 2012 – Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal 2013).

Human Spiking  - EgoPhobia (Romania).
Pointed Down
Thirst for a dead label
Improve on original
Well planned foundations

(City of Great Large published in January nominated for Pushcart Prize)

A Marriage Made in Haste – Dead Snakes
An ingrained grainy institution
Bar flying 

May slow down a little in 2014; attempt to concentrate on other things. See what transpires.
Hope you have a great year ahead.