At Tio’s

Burrito’s and chips
at Tio’s outside diningimage
under the songs
of MeH~He~KoH
and the gaze of giants
made of wire mesh
stuffed with plastic bottles
and metal caps.

A girl whispers in her father’s ear.
I wonder at the open family secret.
And the memory of an excited woman
so imminent by Skype,
our ages fading away
to a younger coyness
and wanting her,
breezes through my mind
from so far away,
clashing with an ancient threat,
an irate disappointed parent,
a confused, querulous child,
my religious community,
in the background, now.
Yet, soon enough,
asking questions,
turning a blind eye
to the entanglement of arms and legs
showing that they saw it all the same
and not yet asking whether
I will marry this woman
who no longer wants marriage
as her badge,
that I am left wondering who
I am to her and who we are
as she opens her heart and
mind and body
and I like it all as I flounder,
weighing the balance
of my life:
she and companionship;
they and an aspirational community;
beautiful delightful love;
a loneliness of vague possibility;
energetic risk;
plodding safety.

My gaze rises from the thought
on the book, to an empty place,
alighting on the boy riding
his tricycle on the roof,
frozen in time and space
against hurtling down,
a mild mannered smile on his
doll-face, as if the consequencesimage
of gravity don’t exist,
while I notice my imbalance
and my hurtling down
is a sense of something
contrived of a physics I
don’t know.

… in no answer for my life
I give up forcing as if I live in a 3 dimensional world,
and, turning, turning, turning,
trying to see out of the corner of my mind
the access to that other dimension
to the essence
to as it is
to what I need to see
and where I need to stand
and how is my humility
and what is my contribution
and how is my leadership
and does the will of God
move through the awkward,
messy, yearning, striving state
of me.

I could tell myself any story
and I know the one I choose
for now, and no one
is wrong about it.

Placental

EmbryoShe noted, “You seem happy and buoyant this evening”

I replied, “Perhaps I decided to be an adult.”

She retorted, “Whatever that is.”

“Perhaps”, I gathered as quickly and cleverly as i could, “it is being happy and buoyant.”

I woke the next morning with the soul on my mind,
the query of a philosopher,
“There is so much wonder in the universe,
why ask that there has to be something else?”.

Death.

The desire to lift the fear of gone
with a belief there is something
within us that can live forever.

My teacher, Baha’u’llah, had another take,
that life is vastly beyond time and space.
The universe is wonderful, contingent, a womb.
A womb is wonderful,
an embryonic exaltation
in its universe.

A fantastic germ catalyses
the ooze of a root
in its warm, watery womb,
growing a fascination
until the day of realization,
the womb cannot contain it,
the child being is expelled,
freedom preceded by one last constraint,
one last reassuring connection with the womb,
then the root separates,
the placenta dies.

Through infinite dimensions
the fascination reflects
or maybe a reflection of the whole
ancient, imperishable, everlasting
dominion.
In one domain oozing
base elements.
In another, oozing,
from the placental born one,
elements of consciousness,
outside of physicality,
outside of time and space,
the fascination grows
until uncontained,
released onto that imperishable domain,
the placenta dies.

AFTER YASI – A Review

Tully has one of the highest rainfalls in Australia so built a giant gumboot with a frog as its icon.
Tully has one of the highest rainfalls in Australia so built a giant gumboot with a frog as its icon.

In the immediate aftermath of the devastating Cyclone Yasi in the Tully area, North Queensland, June Perkins took to documenting the story of resilience of the people around her. In the process of this documentation, June was one of the people activating resilience-building activities for the community.

The stories she tells in “After Yasi – Finding the Smile Within” are simple, almost pedestrian, and so are, in style, a commentary on the paradox of an ordinariness of the community spirit that seems quite extraordinary. These straightforward stories shine a light on the vulnerability of people who have had their lives turned on their heads in one day of environmental violence.

The poems that people wrote for the book are similarly simple and authentic, a sharing of lives finding their way out of the struggle to making it work again.

Throughout June’s photography captures both the devastation and the recovery, and, in the recovery, the beauty and the friendships.

Having an interest in contemporary dance, I particularly appreciated that one of the recovery events that June documented was a dance workshop run by local dancer Danielle Wilson. Contemporary dance is still a less well-developed community art form in Australia, so it was great to see it working for the community in resilience building. When the world shows us that, rather than being stable and faithful, it can be unstable and fickle, it often attacks the very core of our identity. In that attack, the body and mind can need the experience of revisiting the feeling of the event and the aftermath. Often it can be difficult to express in words what is showing up for the body. Facilitated contemporary dance can allow the mind to honor what the body is expressing and then generating a new story, a new future as a reconstituted identity and self-assurance. Contemporary dance also brings bodies and minds together, so that the sharing of experience and a new future with others, restores faith in that our true stability and support and our tomorrow is in the people around us.

Community Personal Development Workshop

Worksho-at_Waynes_0005A few weeks ago I had the benefit of joining a weekend workshop on relationships, organised by several local people, none with any particular expertise, most coming from following various schools of personal growth. The hallmark of that weekend was, not the professionalism but the adult communication and vulnerable nature of the work. The group might be defined as people who want to make a different world, a new world, a peaceful world, a respectful world, in praxis more than oration. And this waa amply achieved. Myself, I put aside intellectual arguments I might have thought of about certain techniques of understanding our health. And, even if my argument was right, perhaps the health of all is achieved by not resisting the exploration of something unusual, just because it is unusual. I wonder, ‘Is this love?’, allowing that everything is unusual, and that it is okay that something seems unusual, and okay for that something to exist as unusual and exist as a relationship, as acceptable.

The workshop provided an opportunity to write a poem through a facilitation of a word web about relationship and human reality. My poem constructed itself from a reverie of observations by a creek that ran through the property.

I am a River

The water gurgles with a splash and a groan
over the basalt rocks,
while the leaves of the branch above
sway playfully in the gentle breeze,
disinterested in the stem of grass that
bobs and weaves in the rush
of the cascading stream.

Farm Workshop
Farm Workshop

I imagine that I am a small river,
the water rushing through and spreading
over a vast flood plain and
gathering to rush out again.
All the time moving on,
forward, faster, slower, still.
Yet jostled then, and then, and then,
as if small river, Me,
is bobbing and weaving
down a vaster river
that I cannot see
from withing each cascading moment.