Friday Poem: Brotherhood

The politics of this country is a sore point with me, more so than usual, as it is, I’m sure, for every disgruntled idealist, so I’m sharing a sort-of political poem this week. (I just typed “plotical” for “political’, which may well be a Freudian slip…) Please note that I use the term”anarchists” in the ancient sense that humans are able to behave decently (with peace, love and empathy) without needing rules imposed on them to do so. The more modern bomb-lobbing type misused the word to put themselves outside of the law and also the common decency originally implied…rainbow heart (Large)

Transcendental misfit poets
Wild softhearted anarchists
Strike a blow and strike a chord
With a paradox absurd.
what’s the point and what’s the matter?
Smug complacency must shatter.DSCF4507 (Large)

I suspect that creativity and art are the way to go in countering dominator culture. “Fighting” it is just joining in, so that doesn’t work.

“Ah, the dreamers  ride against the men of action, Oh see the men of action falling back…”

Leonard Cohen

may 2011 038 (Large)

The images I’ve used are from mixed-media artists books I’ve made.

Dominator Culture

A social chat at the gallery soon came around to politics. The arts community tends to be left-leaning, from my experience, and no one was impressed by the current government’s policies or budget plans. The director commented that he doesn’t want to hate them, and that he thinks they believe they are doing what is right. Which set me thinking…KDC

Dominator Culture operates from a paradigm of fear, giving rise to wars and rumours of wars, spikes in doorways to deter rough sleepers, economic “rationalism”. Fear of change, fear of the ‘other’, fear that the poor will take advantage of the wealthy, fear of women in power. So we have isis wanting to bring back a caliphate in the Middle East, and the Australian Liberal Party wanting to deny economic support to unemployed youth, for example. No one can believe that reducing a jobless young person to utter poverty is a sensible way to get them into paid work, unless they are mired in Dominator Culture and really need to get out a lot more…

I could go on about the obvious, and vast, flaws in this policy. Bizarrely, the Government is aware of the flaws. Whilst “saving tax payer’s money” by not providing welfare to unemployed youth for six months at a time,(welfare that is barely enough to get by at  best ), a large sum of tax payers money has been put aside in the Budget to cover the inevitable problems. Community Welfare agencies are stretched to the limit already and consumer confidence has sunk. Is that policy rational? I don’t think so.

We have been told that there is a debt crisis, and that everyone has to share in “heavy lifting” – a story created by wealthy men who lift no more than the pen that signs the story. Our “enormous debt” is less than the personal fortunes of a few individuals who have control of our country’s mineral wealth – helped along with subsidies and tax breaks funded by struggling working and middle class tax payers…Is that rational? Is that the Fair Go we Australians are so fond of?the key

Our “Leaders” – under-parented, unempathic, strongly sociopathic, product of a bullying culture, dishonest, wealthy and triumphantly and smugly on top of the heap. What if the democratic process included extensive independent psychological testing of would-be candidates, allowing only the fittest to stand?

That’s psychologically fit,not “able to ride a bike and can swim” fit.

There are only two feelings.
Love and fear.
There are only two languages.
Love and fear.
There are only two activities.
Love and fear.
There are only two motives,
two procedures, two frameworks,
two results.
Love and fear.
Love and fear.

Michael Leunig

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (sic) to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 15

Another week has whizzed past, and here I am with some more pages from Sukie’s Lifes Journey, a handmade artist scrapbook filled with bits and pieces that I saved for their significance to me. The journal became a place to gather them together in some sort of order.

as49There is a quote pasted on this page, from Scottish psychiatrist R D Laing – “We are effectively destroying ourselves by violence masquerading as love”, which sits alongside a wrenching image of a young Iranian protester, who is holding up the blood-stained t-shirt of a friend who was beaten. Authority, in Dominator Culture, excuses such violence on the grounds that is for the victims own good, and often claims that “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” Yeah, right…The fake Chinese fortune is amusing and also good advice, I think, something that reading both widely and deeply can help with. Martin Flanagan is an eminent Australian journalist with profound things to say about Indigenous issues and AFL football, amongst other matters. My daughter asked him for his autograph on my behalf, much to his surprise!as50

Sea Horse, affirmations, and an ancient inscription on life, death and connection – and god. There’s a connection there somewhere! I have highlighted the words “the male carries and broods the young.” on the card about sea horses. What a wonderful fish is the sea horse! The flowers are a South African bulb, a species of Ixia with startling bright aqua flowers.as51

Another half-page, from a bed-side notebook, complete with a nocturnal note. The image paper-clipped to the page is from an exhibition that was at Melbourne’s Australian Centre for the Moving Image some years ago. The installation was in a narrow, dark corridor, with red laser light “thresholds” at intervals, making it very eerie – a red lit “door” was at the far end. Viewers were invited to go into this space, but it was very strange and disorientating – which was the point, I guess.



The “autograph” came from a booklet attached to one of those teen magazines – the sort aimed at helping teens spend the money they earn by working in fast food “restaurants”. Tom Moore is the American writer, not the Irish song writer. I like that he asserts the validity of melancholy. The horoscope, with it’s advice to express your feelings, ties in with that.as53

On this purple card page there is a photo of Pat Smear, guitarist of the Germs, Nirvana and Foo Fighters, another horoscope with the words “you have to remain alive” highlighted. The red pic is of Silverchair’s Daniel Johns. There’s also my poem “Statement” about the red tulips in my garden, and a photo of them. The Kit-Kat packet was in my pocket the first time I saw Foo Fighters at a Big Day Out in Melbourne – and it’s red! Also I am very fond of red and purple together. More next week!


Weekly Photography Challenge: Work of Art

This weeks photography challenge theme is “a work of art“, which can mean all sorts of things to different people, as the weekly themes generally do. That’s where the fun lies! Thinking up your own take on the subject, then looking at what other bloggers did with it.

I’ve been thinking about it, and then this morning I found some plastic figures in a drawer ( I was searching for the Allen keys – no luck on that yet!). I arranged them in front of a tiny painting I found in an op shop/thrift store – and got inspired on the Work of Art question. So I went around the house with the camera, and took pics of (some of) the vignettes that just grow in my house. Please ignore the dust – it also just grows in my house!

There are “art works” in the conventional sense in most of these pictures, but it’s the arrangement and juxtaposition* of disparate objects that I am attempting to portray here. In one, Big Bird is having a discourse on Dominator versus Cooperator Culture with a aggresive little knight in armour, in front of a small watercolour of Seattle I did whilst in that fair city in 2011. Also I notice there’s an earplug – souvenir of the Melvins show at the HI-Fi Bar in Melbourne last December. The yellow glass tumbler is the work of Moyston glass blower, David Herbert. I have a thing for flying pigs, as a symbol of infinite possibilities and that things need not stay as they are (see Big Bird and friend).

*”juxtaposition” is an excellent arty word, and if it is missing form an artist statement…they weren’t really trying. LOL.

Friday Poem: Anzac

shadowI woke up quite early this morning, before dawn, and wrote this poem by the scarce moonlight. I confess that I then drifted back to sleep, thinking of  the farm boys and shop boys, dressed up in khaki and carrying rifles, who innocently disembarked as they were told to, on a lonely Turkish beach…99 years ago. All of the survivors, even those who lied about their age and were only fifteen at the time are now dead, and the tenor of the day, once a reminder to never do it again, is subtly changing to something rather different…

5.56 am
A fingernail paring
of moon
Bright in the window.

This is the morning
For early rising
A day of remembrance
And dawn services.

But I am afraid
of what is forgotten –
The futility
of war.

positiveI took the two photos after I and the sun were well and truly “up”. I find shadows fascinating and often photograph them – this time I decided to get the things casting the shadow as well.  They are, I think, appropriate for this post, because the unfortunate Anzac campaign cast a very long shadow in Australian society, not least by the absence of a generation of men.

Let’s not forget that there was no good reason, none at all.

Memoria ( Kurt Cobain)

I wrote this in a note book, a stream of consciousness, and I’ve just edited it a bit… a pencil portraitIt’s coming up to twenty years after Kurt Cobain died. Twenty years ago he was trying to pretend that there was nothing wrong, while everyone around him panicked for  various reasons. Even the ones who saw him as a cash-cow on some level must have had concern for the man he was. Most of them loved him at least a little bit. However, no one could salve his terminal sadness, not even Frances. (She’d be better off without him, he believed). Courtney was no more self-aware than he was, so not much help in the crisis. I’m pretty sure that he wanted/expected her to come and rescue him after he fled back to Seattle, but she didn’t get his calls (he forgot the secret code she’d given him), so she stayed in LA. And he gave up, and died alone.

Everyone has to make the final exit fundamentally alone, but a witness or two is a comfort on the journey. A witness or two might have anchored him in this life. Who knows?

Their nanny, Cali, thought he was a dream, Courtney didn’t get his calls. He must have felt as invisible, unwanted and irrelevant as when he was a little boy and his parents divorced – not at all amicably. Just because so many people suffer these wounds doesn’t make them any less dangerous. “Is yours a sad story?” asked Michael Azzerad. “……..No…….” said Kurt. Lots of people have the same story. But, Kurt, they all have a sad story, they are all suffering, many of them will medicate away the gnawing sadness at the core of their being; many will die, like you, too young. Or just stagger through life in a haze of alcohol and misery. That sadness needs to be acknowledged and addressed if the wound is to heal. Not enough people seem to be managing that, if the great plague of anxiety and drugs is any thing to go by. Maybe childhood wounds are what drive all the paranoia and fear in the media? And that feeds into the anxieties of the public, so that it is magnified in a feedback loop.

A few years ago, the news in Victoria was full of report of people carrying knives – and guess what?- more people started carrying knives to “protect” themselves from the other people whom they believed to be carrying knives. Hence more problems with knives as anxious, fearful people “protected” themselves from each other. Frightened people with weapons are always dangerous. Police who are required to carry guns should also be required to learn to live without fear – Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Naht Hanh teaches mindfulness courses for police and other emergency workers. Then they might be able to calm the frightened child with the knife instead of killing him. I wandered a bit there, but that is what Kurt Cobain has done for me. I see the world differently. And for that I am grateful, even as I wish fervently that he didn’t feel the need to do it, that he was still with us, an old fart having reunions and exhibiting his paintings, maybe selling the recordings of outsider artists out of the boot of his car in little towns that don’t care who he was or know what “insider art” implies. They are all outsiders…a pastel portrait

Is that it?  King of Grunge, Top of the Pops, known, imitated, desired by millions, in his head was he still the little kid whose parents betrayed his love and need, the boy who didn’t really feel wanted anywhere and didn’t fit in. Whether he ever slept under the Young St Bridge  or not, he couch surfed for much of his adolescence, sleeping in a cardboard box in someones porch at one stage. All the money and adulation in the world couldn’t make up for those years as the undesired rat-kid, a role that itself went back to the great divorce. Did no one ever say – we’re so sorry Kurt, it’s not your fault, we just don’t get along but we still love you and Kimmy, and we’ll look after you both, just not us together. Too late now. It didn’t help either that Wendy fought for custody of both children, but passed Kurt on to his father when the little boy was hard to manage.He only needed love and reassurance (don’t we all!), but Wendy had her own issues. As did Don. As do most of us.

There’s our problem.The issues of the parents are visited on the children, even unto the umpteenth generation, unless someone is able to break the chain. Some folks prevent the passing on of issues by having no issue. Drastic but effective. Most of us barely know we have issues, and our unconsciously driven behaviour causes us endless trouble and grief. Becoming conscious is the only proper solution. So simple, yet so difficult.a stencil portrait
Kurt Cobain is my “Favourite Subject” in more ways than one – here are three of the art works I’ve made over the years. Capturing a person’s facial expression, and something of the essence of their personality is a constant and provoking challenge.

Daily Prompt: The Big Moment

Today’s Prompt is – you have fifteen minutes to address the world and have your say, or for the artist’s, poets and photographers, to show the big moment…here are four images of mixed media art by me, which add up to my message to the world – not fifteen minutes worth, but I’ll keep repeating it all…