Too Many Layers

Too many poems

Cannot choose

Too many photos






Too many layers

To my life

Is that what

getting old


So many layers

Lost the thread

How to find my way



Or don’t

If it’s past

Give it up

Go ahead

Yet I hesitate

People left behind

Names on a list

Names on my phone

Some forgotten

Some ignored

For years

For months

Can I reconnect

Can I remember

Should I remember

Too many layers

So many countries

Here I am

Rocky shore

A rocky shore

A place to share

With whales, wallabies, lizards

Not mine alone

Put aside thoughts of control

No limits of rocky shore

Lines of whales

Twisted gum trees

Yellow flower vines

No limits to sharing

Freedom of small children

Gleeful exchange with wallabies

Walking by twos low tide

Colourful hats on beach

Joyful seen from above


Trees surpass people

Beautiful reliable diverse

Providing food and living space

To birds and animals

Providing shade and inspiration

To humans

Trees give long lasting comfort and acceptance

The colours, the shapes, the textures

Always inspiring

More beautiful

Than anything made by humans

More beautiful than any sculpture

Any building, any vehicle

Especially eucalypts

Their variety their shapes

their colours, their textures





Homage to Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Canberra, Australia

The US did this

The US did this

The US did this

The tragedy of Afghanistan

Used the people of Afghanistan

as collateral damage

in their Cold War

against the Russians

The US did this

The pain of a poet

writing about his father

with Alzheimers

Compare the pain

of being born in

a country of Imperialism

A country of

death and destruction

Crisscrossing the world

like an all-powerful global tornado

creating a wide path

of death and destruction

The poet

trying and failing

to get his father

with Alzheimers

to use the toilet

The woman born

in the USA

trying and failing

to get her country

to respect human rights

to give up global hegemony

to give up militarism, war

and nuclear weapons

Watching Afghans trying

to escape the Taliban

created by the US

to attack the Russians

The pain becomes anger

shouting at the television

The US did this

Objects Around

Objects around

are not mundane

Each one is unique

Handmade by someone

I purchased them

Their provenance forgotten

Their creator unknown


The objects are here

Surround me


Do I see them?

Do I overlook them?

The strange polka-dotted beast

from South Africa

A gift from Gabriel

The soft sculpture of a woman


A craft shop visit with Pilar

in the Midwest USA

Once my best friend and confidante

who years later rejected our friendship

The horse and carriage

from recycled bits of metal

Made in Pakistan

The Kansas City ceramic cow

The Kibera 8 collage, a slum in Nairobi

The beachside print by Sheila

inspired by Tucacas

Emerald Suites Venezuela

The camel train oil painting

from a door-to-door salesman artist

in Islamabad Pakistan

The Faberge glass cat

from my aunt in Florida

How did it get to me?

Muddled past

All are here now

Objects around me

Unreality Check

Leaving the cinema at night

surprised I can still drive

I am not a character in a film

The streets are Canberra

not France

The lights are shining

on Lake Burley Griffin

Watching movies

brings another reality

a heightened unreality

of the real

Movies take me

in and out of reality

With more space

More options

Everything slightly off

Not quite right

Not quite normal

The reality of movies

More than real

Life worth living

Even if it’s not my life

I love movies!

Re-reading the Heart’s Garden

Rereading The Heart’s Garden

The Garden’s Heart

By Kenneth Rexroth

has sustained me

through decades

His words continue

Almost unknown

Almost forgotten

But they are there

And re reading

Tears of recognition

of thanks and also of sorrow

What else have I forgotten

What else have I left behind

What else is there

To think

To do

To write

To paint

To believe

To remember

What happens to the environment

the earth

the forest

the birds

the plants

the animals

encased in layers of concrete

glass and steel

overwhelming the natural

yet doomed to failure

to falling

Thank you Kenneth Rexroth

Why Move?

Yerrabi Track

Namadgi National Park

Australian Capital Territory

Why move

Just sit


Brindabella mountains

Toothy line to sky

View through burned

Gum trees


Only one bird

Forest burnt out

What now?


Write your way


Words leaving a trace

On the rock

Comfort zone



Winter day

Let go

Say no more

View of the Brindabellas, from the Yerrabi Track, Namadgi National Park, Australian Capital Territory

What Astonishes?


There is so much

we do not see

We watch the waves

Maybe the whales breaching

But what I want to see

is there


demanding I change

my frame of reference

from warmth to chill

from light to muted

Adjust your body

Adjust your eyes

Head down

Keep looking


in water environment

as you never are

in air

walking standing breathing

seeing objects colours

floating in the ocean



Lose track

So that


When you raise your head

out of the water

the world is still there

And you will return

Over the Moon

Have you heard that expression or did I make it up?

That’s how I felt when I read the positive feedback about my book Tracking the Human in an email from a friend in Kansas City, Missouri, who lives in the neighbourhood where my mother lived.

Here’s what Anne said about Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time:

“You did a fine job on your book Tracking the Human. What a great approach to telling your father’s story – your painstaking search for facts bring him to life through the device of fiction. Your biography is so readable and so poignant. I’m amazed and moved by what your father – and your mother – overcame. Your depiction of the hobo life is fascinating. What a story of survival.

Your book is a generous exercise in reaching out to the past to understand a man who in so many ways was not kind to you. You too are a survivor. Sending love to you and congratulations on completing this project and doing it so well.”

Many many thanks to Anne. Everyone’s feedback to Tracking the Human is much appreciated.

If you haven’t read Tracking the Human yet, you can purchase a copy on It’s also available on Barnes and Noble and Amazon websites, but they pay the author very little.

Thanks again for your interest!!

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