Inside out

Some poems and reflections on life

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Going home

If I had it all over again, what would I do?

I stand in front on the house where I played,
My older, future self looking in
How could I ever have imagined my life to be,
way back then?

I remember a time that I cannot return to.

Lying on the floor listening to records
Riding my bike across to the next town
Mucking around in Dad’s workshop.

I struggle to remember what once was.

The main street is now paved with brick
Chewing gum covered asphalt is gone
So too the seat where we ate hot chips after school.

Some things still remain, frozen in time.

The paint on the old church peels away at exactly the same spots
The town hall remains unchanged but no longer shows movies
The school, the park, the pool are just like when I left

And yet it has all changed

New shops, cafes on the high street
Houses fill in the paddocks I once crossed to school
The pub, where fathers got drunk on a Friday night,
is now a boutique hotel.

If I had it all over again, what would I do?
Would anything really be different?


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I see you

In the distance, a fleeting shadow
between the trees,

Deep leafy undergrowth
covers rotting leaves

In the corner of my eye
I see movement

But when I look – you are gone.

I search for signs of your existence
Footprints in the soft mud
Excrement carelessly dropped

I stand still, waiting,
holding my breath.

I see you standing, waiting
there silently

Looking intensely through
the thick growth

I move cautiously behind the trees
Camouflaged in shadows

But you still stare straight at me

A dangerous invader of my territory
Your scent wafts over the breeze
A rancid stench of unwashed clothes

I stand still, waiting
holding my breath.


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Distractions from writing a single poem

The front porch sags in one corner
Needing repair before someone
Rolls off to ankle turning disaster

The back deck rail is almost
Rotten through and must be
Replaced before total collapse

Black, slick mold covers
The entire deck inviting
A fast slide to the emergency room

Damp still rises to in the corner
Of the bedroom rotting the
Carpet away to nothing

And the back of the garage
Is entirely blocked off with junk,
May have lost a cat in there

And then there is the dust
Behind the TV, the bookshelf
On top of the fridge

A house repaired and clean
We could sell it tomorrow
but not a word written … until now.



Clouds rain dark shadows
Causing mist to blanket the hills
Light breaks through briefly
Illuminating the broken;

Mist swirls in the palm
Of my outstretched hand
Contained in a globe
to be shaken;

Snow falls on a miniature village
People unseen scurry from home to work
Unseen and unknown
Going nowhere;

We look for the hand of God
Discerning patterns in the chaos
Form within void
The imprint of meaning on our lives

Event without cause
Action without reaction
Confuses our senses
And leaves us adrift in a sea of random non-sense

Trees whisper soft meaning to each other
Through mycochondrial networks
Connecting a forest
of multi-species conflict and cooperation

I sit
alone in my room
this poem.


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The gate

The silent sentinel
Entrance abandoned to
a forgotten destination

Rust binds metal to post
barricaded against the onset
of rampant growth

Who was it that once lived here?
running excitedly to check the mail
collecting fresh morning milk
cream clotting on the top
trudging home weary from the day
glad to see the sight of home

Now coprosma and hebe crowd the path
Burying it under a litter of leaves
Fantails swoop in the cooling evening
People drive by unseeing

No one will come this way again
But still you stand
the silent sentinel


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Pray for me

Pray for me? – if you like
Prey on my loss, my guilt, my hurt
if that will make you feel better
closer to your god …
who is so far from me

But do it on your own time

For now
just sit
and be
in the darkness

Join me in the pit
as I cry out to the universe
in rage
in terror
in abandonment

Lost to all feeling
poured out on the ground
grieving for what is lost forever

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Owed to perfection

Inspired by reading “The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Writer’s Block”  by Hillary Rettig


Perfectly you stand, in glory
Astride the sea-wall gates
A colossus guarding all who enter

No one can ever measure up
Nothing will ever compare
All will fail under your shadow

We wait in dread silence
For the muse to strike
For that amazing inspiration we need
To propel ourselves over your wall

Faint praise damns us to hell
Good enough is never good enough

We lie stuck in the stench of our own self loathing
As giants stroll by not realising
That all we have to do is
stand up

So get up
Strut your stuff
Damn the critics
Damn the reviewers
Damn that voice inside that tells you you are not worthy

Run naked down the street
in all your flabby glory
Get out of where you are
And tell everyone your story

Not because it will be the ‘next big thing’
Not because it will get applause
Not because it will bring fame and fortune
Or not even because it will make this sorry world a little brighter

Tell it because it is yours to tell
Tell it because it is our story

Rough and ready – full of wholes
Written badly is better
than not written at all.