Private Neutral Secret

it’s true I heard that in the phase of the neutral mask
time is capable of no effective boundary
no limitation to what can be perceived
like the difference between private and secret

feel the call to push back, minute expansion
to inhale again after a long time beneath the river
growing privately

this journey involves witnessing countless iterations
sense interpretations mangled and put to work
by a corrupt general with much bombast
and little regard for succession planning to wit

there’s also that witheringly decrepit predilection for
emotion-centred reasoning
half the team have jobs that accentuate their weaknesses
the other half simply don’t trust authority

a revolution might be a celebration
a liberation from mortification

a transformation happens countless times every second
catch a few
we might find every turn of events deliciously funny
writing poems on the tablecloths
reciting pi to the eighty-second decimal place
following our intuition so faithfully that we
fall into the arms of the music of the world
where even the mess looks like art
and simple medicine to heal this and that ailment
is in abundant supply

for such a long time I wanted to help the world
by imagining it wasn’t already perfect
none of it makes any difference
I am still a fool on that kind of journey
carrying out decisions that literally arise from not knowing
believing in a future that is guaranteed to be better if I would just[…]

between private and secret
there is a good human and one who always thought they were
between astute and arrogant
there is showing respect and with all due respect
and so on down the list until it is utterly clear
a good human does not perform deeds nor utter words
that demand great secret-keeping

yielding to force is strength indeed
there is no honorable way to keep all the secrets

I gave up fighting every day over forty years ago
wanting to be a good person, wanting to be treated right
it made no difference to the secret White Australia Policy
which cannot be devised by a good human

obtuse and slothlike to comprehend simple things
it dawns

the state is there to protect against people like me, not keep me safe
loyal citizens and corrupt generals are doing their bit
to perpetuate this old bondage, welfare and domination act
a social contract
that keeps the world churning out perfectly denatured natives.

No. I don’t know what a native is.

I just know that in this particular phase of human lunacy
being considered native is not good

these days I wonder why I kept thinking it was temporary
surely everyone would return to their senses
there are huge gaping wounds in the earth
a lot of trees and animals and entire nations are gone
even our miraculous reef was too native for the White Australia policy
while I am still too native for the family photos

I say, do yourself a favour and keep that neutral mask ready at all times
keep your preconceptions small, track down the secrets
when you can see everything, how it travels
the revolution requires no motive power at all
it is always poised on the threshhold of commencement
as there are always people across the world who can’t abide
being represented by a corrupt general

it’s too much shame


Frill-necked lizard, Image: Jannico Kelk

don’t know how many times I have to keep repeating this:
stop fixing yourself

frilly and me hiding behind trees
so beautiful when he’s scared
I could learn a thing or two

always day and night
spinning on the spot
orbiting one centre

as if it was a fixed point in the universe
as though there was only one face that anyone could abide
as if there is only one way to be

made up of a trillion carefully selected special pearlescent moments
fashioned into the most intricately woven, stunningly-presented choker

I’ve been shown in countless ways
I don’t belong anywhere I have already been
these rituals for the old gods don’t belong either

it’s too much work: adornment
I am glad I got the wild hair that reaches it’s peak in movement
frilly would starve to death trying to be like me
his body knows things mine cannot
from another time

Keeping still

I’m going to call this the truth for now…
what you said
I know the truth changes in the moment before each breath
but for now it’s the truth
with every exhalation I see entire realities birthed
and eradicated
so many truths and gods live and die on the breath
since time eternal

Oh how the world (in fire, my soul) reignites when every utterance
wrung forth or received
is considered to be the truth in this moment
to reduce conflict
or to survive peacefully (the still mountain)
that I might hope to experience yet another truth
a new combination of feelings
before the next breath

and perhaps there will be another exhalation
after that
we don’t know

…the suspense is killing me

I imagine there is no response from me at all


the world turns without our intent
there is little we can really do

examine the blocks
stack the blocks
inspect the blocks
destroy everything
gather more blocks
and start again

are we racing towards zero or infinity?

the answer is surely here
in the blocks
with intent
we can diminish
we can act
we can wreak havoc
we can win

what kind of game is this?

we know exactly how to play
with impassioned dedication
with nonchalance
with fear and pain and love
with intent
that can neither create nor impede
_____ the flow of life,
__________ the circumstances,
our own existence

still every day without intent
we do exactly that

we realise no difference
between ourselves and everything (else)
without intending any such outcome at all


It’s all about the sun rising
the earth spinning it’s face to the sun
once — every day,
a little bit different each time,
a little bit of a skew.

I like to call myself the master of the skew
– in truth or reckoning
I haven’t come close to anything
resembling that particular symphony

or any other. Profoundly ordinary,
I’m just here for the show, which
suffice to say, is better at
5am than 5pm in these parts.

And the point I wanted to stick you with?
Nada. Life is cyclical,
let you and the cycles continue.

I can’t give you the words
I only have language
if you wake with the birds, before 5am,
then you already know

the life I have fallen in love with
despite everything that is society –
civilisation and commodification
be damned, we still get a sunrise.

In the time of small changes
no decree, governmental or otherwise,
can change what is fundamental
to living.

And while we’re on the subject,
I am yet to meet a single person
who has fallen in love with
the society that’s been built here.

I’m not attached to it. As though
a deep grief cannot be reconciled,
5am is not always joy, always truth,
not always vanilla, No. God!

Two days ago it was this simple.
“Where is our song?”
Our songs have been lost.
Not all of them for every nation
but enough for me to feel it like a ghost limb.

We are scattered to the twenty-seven realms
calling, no white man can ever cognise what he has done.
And we’ve still got the jump — we keep existing.
Sunrise and all that.

So the sorry business keeps repeating
and we are exasperated at your inability
to learn from experience.
I don’t relish the task of writing new songs.

It doesn’t even fall to me. I know a
poofteenth of a hair’s breadth of a percentage
of what could be known about this land
yet it is more than any book might ever convey.

Walk it. Start with the birds
who like to tell me when the sun will rise,
and the heavy between state, when I discover
how I am without categorisation.

In one world, I am broken
for crying about lost songs
instead of being alone.

In another, those lost songs
are the history of our people.

And in yet another world, my skin
is too light from all that raping
and breeding out that was done here.
For that sin, I lose an entire continent of relations.

In the only way that matters to me
I show my face to the rising sun and
it has no problem with any of how I came to be
or what you might think of me.
So it’s OK to look up

When it’s just me and the sun rising.


all I have
all is life making shapes
dash, crash, smash
the rocky shore is no more real
than the pain of feeling
tossed about
dressed in rags
of glorious shades

“I will” is lost
e x  p   l    o     d       e        d
into components
constituent distinctions
lightning-quick reactions
to oh, oh, oh
life just let me go

…but you know
no-one is listening to this
so stop it or I’ll slap you.
I’ll come over there
and SLAP you!

I wish you would

now you’re soothed
and I can’t find the glue

Immediate access code

I don’t know all the names
by which you are summoned.
Sensing the many-layered resonances
in the stillness between
this heart-beat and that nerve-pulse,
where the breath lies empty,
time is even weaker than gravity.

Wading through the torrential
outpouring of carefully cultivated
bits of data, coalescing into
a category we might call news,
I am becoming as one attuned –
the seer of mysteries and
the oracle of plutocratic expediency.

The keystone for every good joke
is misdirection, like that time
they drained the oceans and provided
desalination-in-a-box kits for arid lands,
quiescing the climate protectors
with seven generations of indenture
for the privilege of a drop of clean water.

The drunkard, drowning in a deluge
of his own illusions will do anything
to extract one last drink, ad nauseum,
spewing out slack-jawed solutions to
supply chain problems – fracks himself
some lubricant for the road to annihilation.
Mate, we’d better hide his bloody car keys
before he kills us all.

I don’t know all the names
by which you are summoned.
In this bottomless cycle of avarice,
the accretion of our histories is forged
in the bodies of children and tattooed
inside our eyelids. No matter how we’re
chained up, we have always been free.

Our immediate access code,
the soul-memory of our ancestors,
is written in the blood of love.