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.

Friday Poem: Life

IMG_4471 (Large)

A lot of terrible things seem to have happened lately, the earthquake in Nepal being the biggest. There is no one to blame in the case of such natural disasters, and it is natural to feel helpless in the face of it – especially watching it on a screen from far away…

Life is suffering –
Empathy is painful
Love is hard
Peace  is impossible.

Once you’ve understood
all that
Dearest Chela
The rest is easy.IMG_4306 (Large)

If you didn’t know, “Chela’ is a student of a spiritual teacher.

If you can, you could make a donation to Oxfam, UNHCR or one of the other charities working to assist the thousands made homeless and without access to clean water and food in Nepal.

Or one of the other places on our shared earth where suffering is sharper than for many of us…

Every little bit helps.IMG_4216 (Large)

Friday Poem: Question Everything

The poem came first. Then somehow I had some Time Alone this week, with pen and paper, and thinking of the poem and all that has been going on in the world of late (what’s new?), I wrote a little rant…question everything

Nothing is certain,
Not even this:
I don’t want to be certain-
I want to wonder
And to exercise curiosity.

I don’t want to be
Like a man who is sure what is true;
Such men are dangerous
For sure.
There have been a few.

Let me instead
Always question everything,
And keep ‘if’ and ‘maybe’
Firmly in my vocabulary.question everything 2

I don’t like Dominator Culture, however it is expressed. But, because we are immersed in it, it can be difficult to see – but once one is aware, it’s everywhere. Misogyny, abuse of children, spousal violence, unequal pay scales for men and women, cheap, illegal Mexican labour used for dirty, dangerous and underpaid work, 1% of the world’s population “owning” as much as the other 99% put together, violent struggles for control, whether for families, neighbourhoods or whole countries or religions. Keeping up with the Joneses and other extringent goals, playground bullies trying to assuage their own miserable self-worth by destroying someone else’s….Dominator Culture surrounds us every day, in ways both large and small, with the seemingly insignificant feeding on and into the blindingly obvious.

No one can beat Dominator Culture, because beating is joining it…So how to counter it?

Mohondas Gandhi taught non-violent non-cooperation, and one form of non-violent non-cooperation that anybody can participate in is to ask questions, maintain curiosity and to live an actively creative life. To be widely read, and go into the wild without wanting to tame it, to regard all persons as the equal of oneself (am I sounding like Walt Whitman? Don’t mind if I do…). To draw in the margins, and colour outside the lines. To love one another, and cultivate compassion, even towards those who seem to be the very worst…All this is deeply radical behavior,
and utterly contrary to Dominator Culture.question everything 3

Weekly Photography Challenge: Dialogue

Another challenging challenge…it’s an intriguing idea that two pictures can be seen to be in dialogue with each other. Without  the examples given by Frédéric Biver  I think I would be struggling with this one!

In 2005, I joined the Long March in Melbourne, before which a representative of the traditional owners of the land we were on invited everyone to take a gum leaf as a token of friendship. I still have my leaf. On Sunday, I was waiting  to take part in the March in Melbourne, when a fabulously coloured gum leaf drifted down and settled on my hand. I have kept it as a memento of the day, which was also my daughter’s birthday. We ate cake.

I don’t know why I find laneways so appealing, but I do…These two are in Brunswick, Victoria, and Aberdeen, Washington. They are the same, only different…

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!


Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 12

Week 12 – I seem to be roughly halfway through the book, on another brown paper page. I’m very fond of plain brown paper – I generally use it for Christmas wrap, tied up with coloured string or embellished with stickers…Anyway, this weeks pages –as extra 3The mysterious script in the middle of the page is the autograph of a Gyuto monk, which my daughter brought home from a school camp for me. They went to see the monks making their famous sand mandala, and got to meet them. They are regular visitors to Australia, raising awareness of Tibetan Buddhism as well as the situation in their homeland. as extra 4

The lengthy interview with Tibetan monk and teacher, Sogyal Rinpoche, had to be folded concertina-style to fit on the page. I circled a quote that seemed particularly pertinent –

“At the end of the day, you may be successful, but what really remains is if you’ve helped others.”

By that measure, many “successful” people have failed utterly…

I coloured in the rinpoches robe, too, though perhaps not quite the traditional extra 5

Facetiously I turned Kurt’s cigarette into an exploding cigar – don’t remember why…

That yellow scrap is from a box of Tibetan incense – herby and woody and quite different from the more floral Indian ones.as39 The following half-page is from a bedside note book, and has vague recollections of dreams scrawled on it, which include hearing a Nirvana song. Pasted below that, a piece of flocked and sparkly paper, and a deep and meaningful quote, from Leonardo da Vinci. The Age newspaper used to feature a Quote of the Day, which I often thought worth cutting out and keeping. I’ts cut out using a pair of scissors with a fancy edge – I bought three pairs in a pack with different patterns, but this is my favourite. I guess they are meant for more conventional scrapbooking, but, hey, you can do whatever you want with them!

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…

Weekly Photography Challenge: Layers

I had a busy day today, attending the Perth National Day of Climate Action  with a goodly crowd of other people, many of whom wore “heat wave’ colours as suggested by the organisers. The many rallies around the country were called to convey to our government the grave concerns many people have about the increasing effects of climate change (major bushfires in NSW in October, massive cyclone in the Pacific last week). I’m taking time to make a post for the Weekly Photography Challenge: Layers

Climate Action, Perth


See all those layers and layers of people? Families, Socialists, Get-Up members, Greens, old blokes, women-of-a-certain-age wearing Indian clothing and determined expressions all piled into the park to stand up and be counted as people who are aware of just how many planets we have to live on…

On my way to the gathering in the park, I stopped a moment to take a couple of photos of fine old buildings reflected in the windows of a funky new one – more layers.

In the interest of making a post every day this month, I’ll find some more ‘layers’ in a day or two.