The Story of a Brain: My life with Big O

As an school-aged child, I was very orderly. My family would say, immaculate. Everything had its place and I noticed it anything was out of place, even if it was only by a centimetre. I always kept my hair neat, patting it down with water to keep it from sticking up at the back. MyContinue reading “The Story of a Brain: My life with Big O”

Peace and the Thorn

“Mellow out,” they say. If I only could. Adolescent patient quoted by Dr Michael Piechowski Three times, the Apostle, says he cried,yet three times denied:within his side the unnamed thorn remained.To fester? To infect? No, to be the site of grace,for only this reply came: My grace is sufficient; in your weakness will my powerContinue reading “Peace and the Thorn”

Valedictions

Once the new year camein a traffic jam, at Borneo’s mouth,when the crowds who’d fled early to escape the rushnow bid each other a happy onebetween their cars across the street.Another time it came while Iand a friend were lost in the midst of things,driving from one house to another wherethe champagne was chilledand theContinue reading “Valedictions”

The other side to success

Year 12 results come out today in my state, after a year in which no-one would have chosen to sit their final high school exams. I live through Year 12 results every year as a teacher and this year because of people close to me receiving results I’m experiencing it more close to home. ThisContinue reading “The other side to success”

Ubi Caritas: For World Mental Health Day

What happens, he wonders,shattered by the mess, by the day,by the constancy of demands,by the ever-present lesson of patience,by the daily failure to learn this patience -What happens, he asks, when my love is broken?Nothing happens. The day goes on,all is reset as night arrives;all but the weight that pulls at his shoulders,that sags likeContinue reading “Ubi Caritas: For World Mental Health Day”

Birthday Gifts

My eldest gathers an ecosystem of treasureslike a store of botanical specimens for the apocalypse, ora nest for lockdown hibernation.And I, wandering with him and his brothers,viewing the world like they do, at ground level or just above,begin to spy jungles, mini-forests, whole worlds,grooves and knots, stalactites of sap,and breathe Thankyou with the air thatContinue reading “Birthday Gifts”

Frontline (For the pandemic teachers)

Check temperature before you leave;Second guess that winter sniffle.Hand-sanitiser with your markers,Enter the ever-shifting classroom space.Greet the students in masks.Watch attendance, but don’t be afraid.Be calm. Reassure. You may mention the warBut know how to read the faces before you.Keep life normalWhen nothing is normal.Plan.(Nothing will go to plan.)Admit when you are not okayBut faceContinue reading “Frontline (For the pandemic teachers)”

Conversation with my son

At the sink he perchesatop his two-stepped seat to watcha morning routine that’s utterprose for me, discovery for him:how I wetthe shaving brush, lather soap,then smooth the jawlineof my beard, and howI brush my teeth withoutprotest, without needingto eat the toothpaste with each brush.And then how I openthe mirrored cabinet and takemy pill-cutter, splitEscitalopram inContinue reading “Conversation with my son”

Letter to my children – a quarantine preview

I’m looking forward to sharing a number of videos of poems from my upcoming book Les Feuilles Mortes in the coming weeks, including several from my friends and readers across the world. Here is the first, a letter written in quarantine to my young children.

From “Autumn Leaves: Tanka for Isolation”

My twin boys turn onewithin our garden’s walled world,learn to navigateand negotiate space asleaves fall in entrancing swirls. This poem comes from my upcoming collection “Les Feuilles Mortes”. Stay tuned for more information about the launch, or contact me to join the mailing list.