Life comes in a whisper

Trapesing around the flat

Coffee in hand

I scuff my foot

And set off the trill rattle of a nursery rhyme

contained in the garish plastic of another toy strewn

across the floor

I pause.

I sit down

I have just stumbled across a relatable moment.

I think of all those who have gone before me

Who have negotiated similar territory


I reflect on last night when I watched them sleep

It had occurred to me then

The multitude of mysteries a baby contains

That we all are, ultimately unknown

Despite the thousand intimacies that surrounded us

as we grew

Our parents never fully held the all of us

Or mapped the landscape of our minds

Some secrets remain

Between the smiles and knowing eyes.


Only the source of all knows us inside out

As I gazed upon my child in wonder

And thought how precious

How unutterably precious

I gained a new sense of being held

Of despite my own loneliness

Despite the relentless expeditions into my own brain

Somehow all is contained

Accounted for

And honoured

I have always been deeply known.


Before me now

This fresh being

Holds so much

And is loved beyond my own limitations

A core of love

Bundled up in that soft flesh

Coiled, life sprung and

Still springing forth



Last orders

This is the end of a massive bender

The sun is up on our excess

We can’t stand up any longer

We have not talked straight for thirty years or so

Since the active perversion of science and policy

Walking? that went awry on our way to howl at the moon

Now a sludgy substance lines our stomachs and the bottom of discarded barrels

Scattered in disarray they litter the scene like death stars


What happened last night?

Did you get their number?

All I remember is hiding in a graveyard from the police

We feel asleep, heads on the tombstone of an elder

That’s where I had that dream

Imagined it all


Death upon death

Bidding time

Under heat and pressure

The goodness of life consolidates

Waiting to give its energy through fire

A huge power we couldn’t wield

Our demise rushing towards us in exponential acceleration


Back in that bar

Another slick suited man tried to whisper to me over the noise

I remember his smoking languor and rank breath

He slurred something about how we get through 100 billion barrels a day

So we must need him

Enthralled to massive macho money

We grease their loins for them

And watch them thrust into natures harmony

Watch them oil the machinery of war

Spill their filth over everything

Compromise the very water of this world

Our life blood

A toxic grip constricts every dam breath we take

It is right in there clutching at our lungs

And we long for a perfect world


Just a liveable one


Thinking about our next fix even as we downed what was in reach

We can’t conceal this addiction in a paper bag

Its bursting out the seams of our world

We can’t keep lying

Or pretending

We have to raise our heads

Imagine at new heights

Say yes to the other ways

Get up

Cope with the hangover and tidy up

And this is where I completely break down with the analogy

Millions around the world suffering as I write

Too soon the normal human experience will be one of



Heat exhaustion

Violence and death  

We have to stop oil

And embrace a new day 


Humus Words

Deep the humus words that seek essential sense

Your dark riches evade language

Lock in meaning with nutrients

Pierce the faded flesh of thought

Write hope on the taut wings of a moth

Stretch human longing over the bark of a tree

Reveal the fissures and burs of ancient knowing

A Knowing before knowledge

A being that we see with the heart


Tears track the violence of a face

I am mindful of the many stumps

Of the slashed at and burnt

We have not always worn a mask of greed

Veins that carry sap for healing

Reach to redeem what has been lost

Right relationship, some seamless way

Decay the siren call of life renewed

Underground though not forgotten


Like trying to speak

Crack a shell into many pieces and toss the salt stained flesh to the sea light

The debris gathers on the sand waiting for high tide to tidy the violence up

Swirling patterns tornado the mind’s eye

I look for fissures on the film of the calcified armour

to apply pressure with my crooked fingers and rip them apart.

All this because I wanted to open with the word crack

then these words followed,

came out of the chaos of my void like brain

to rest on the white page as though it were deliberate.

A long drawn out discordant organ sound purges the atmosphere of nonsense

a desperate antenna searches for something to settle on.

Many moths rest on the floor

How long does anything last.

Keep going

Insist on something

For something is everything that struggles to exist

To live in the suffocating smog of the city

The squeeze and the speed and the concrete horizons

Indifference permeates everything and takes the yells from my mouth

We are sleepwalking

We are sleepwalking and talking about the football again

The world won’t end it will just get much worse

Harder, crueller, scarier unless more people start creating and converging

And leading

And boy they had better be better than me

Only that isn’t it, is it

There are no heroes

We just have each other

So let’s not settle for gibberish or time wasting

Let us chant the truth

Temperatures are rising

Species are dying

Ice caps are melting

Lets not stay with classroom science

For this is happening too fast and it is so much more than I am bothering to capture

I’m too panicked to do a good job

Imagining a future looking for food

Fighting for food

Old wounds enraged

Warmongering and lies reign

Picking out make do shelters from the debris of our homes

Picking out dead bodies

Having to move house to escape the water

and join the throng of marching homeless

Through the heat and embers of our dreams


And I guess this is to my daughter now she has arrived

And cracked the shell of my heart open

Discarding me on the beach of meaning

Longing to make everything right for her

So she can breathe the air and kiss the light

Not hide from it


Yes, my daughter you were born just as the world leaders parted ways

And the commentary intensified

Some leaders returned to oil the wheels of a suicidal kind of progress

Other leaders went back to shed tears and shake with rage

Along with the people of their betrayed countries.

Onslaught after onslaught, a terrible kind of waiting

You waited for the meetings to end and my trust in power to receive its death blow

Tracing it back that happened about the same time Bezos took the podium

And I saw he spoke an alien’s language

You waited for it to all finish and the leaders to fly home

As if you knew our hope was not to be found in what they would vomit out

But somehow instead by us coming together and entering the flow

Those endless words left me numb

The most beautiful and truthful were ignored

So you emerging sleek and wailing was a timely lesson in wonder

And the most profound challenge

Can I hold your gaze?

I am not the person to write about the shortcoming of another climate conference

All I know is that in the first month of your life

The weather is unseasonably warm  

In some places dangerously so

Enough to stop food growing and kill

And Thwaite’s glacier is cracking open  

Is all this too abstract to galvanise anything other than feverish writing?


And listen, who is this to? I said its to my daughter yet I want people to read this and engage now

Before she even learns to read. Please.

And when should I show her this kind of outpouring anyway

I am supposed to protect her not burden her

I have to say it

I am no oracle

But our civilisation might not outlast my daughter

And this spells untold trouble, great loss and pain.

Still we subside the fossil fuel industry

Look after powerful companies like they are babies

Whilst in the first month of her life an actual baby cries

And I pace the night-time corridor, patting her back

And crying too.


So I look again for fissures

For the shapes that tessellate

I am going to insist

That we already have the solutions

You will find them as you look

And shout for the chance to try them out

We don’t have the silent billionaires on side

Nor the political will to tame them

So let us spread the word

You know, take on the press and cause good trouble

The work of reimagining has been happening for decades

The work is to bring more into the fold

Out of the nourishing wombs of darkness

Let us birth more creativity, togetherness and resolve

Out of nonsense and obscurity may we get to what really matters


How to start a fire

If there is no heat in your heart

and each breath is brittle

If passion has dwindled

and all causes feel lost

Ask yourself

what can I break on the altar of my life?

For there in the gap left behind

waits the first spark to a larger fire