Sunday, September 19, 2010


A big shout out to Charles Pickett over at The Powerhouse Museum who has put up my poem Trolley Man (published online with Mascara Literary Review in 2008) about Sydney eccentric and homeless man, Joseph Cindric, on the Museum's website. You can access the poem, various people's memories of Joseph and an extended piece on him composed by Charles, if you go to the 'collection' and 'blog' links and find 'The Trolley Man Immortalised'.

LJ, September 21 2010.


Sitting between boxes and papers and boxes and papers as I'm about to move to glorious Bundanoon... digging new tunes by venerable Aussie musos Megan Washington, Little Red and John Butler Trio... very much looking forward to Mark Tredinnick's Fire Diary (Mark and I went birding at Fitzroy Falls and Kangaroo Valley recently; we also read our work at a gallery in Newtown a month or so back: he was the headliner), Peter Lach-Newinsky's new collection through Picaro and Delia Falconer's Sydney... reeling from Tobey Macguire's extraordinary, otherworldly performance in Brothers - I didn't realise Spiderman was such a splendid actor... working sporadically on assorted writing projects (free time is as hard to pin down as Osama bin Laden)... over Masterchef (if I see George eating once more I'll gnaw through my left arm like a coyote in a bear trap)... sending equanimity, fearlessness and ultimate recollection powers to my Yr 12 Standard English posse who leave for their pre-HSC weeks tomorrow (may they recall how to spell Peter Skryznecki's surname correctly and scream like Lola!)... praying that the trapped Chilean miners get through.

LJ, September 19 2010.

Monday, September 6, 2010


The New York Times described Cormac McCarthy's play The Sunset Limited as 'a poem in celebration of death'. I read the play in an hour and a half whilst sitting in a bookshop in Newtown last month. At first, I wasn't sure what McCarthy was getting at. Was it a statement against orthodox religion? Was he saying something about the ultimate loneliness of all men? Was it a take on narcissism? Was he preaching that life is hollow and there's no point in looking for meaning? I think, ultimately, McCarthy is offering up a meditation on self-determination and freewill. His work is saying that we have to give our brothers ultimate respect - this can only come from harnessing objectivity, divorcing yourself from your opinions and not telling someone how to live their life.

The Sunset Limited brought to mind a week I spent in Balgo Hills in Western Australia back in 2003. Balgo is a mission, near where the Great Sandy and Tanami Deserts converge, run by the De la Salle Brothers. I was there with two other teachers and twenty-five kids from Oakhill College in Sydney's north-west. At night, some Aboriginal teenagers would drift about with soft drink bottles filled with petrol attached to their faces. A colleague and good mate of mine would tell these young people they were messing up their brains when sniffing and they should give it up. They paid him little attention. I said nothing to these drifters. I didn't want my silence to condone the petrol abuse, but I was well aware of self-determination and freewill; who wants to hear a fortunate, spoilt know-it-all from Sydney on a soapbox?

LJ, September 7 2010.


The other day I hit one of a pair of Eastern Rosellas as it sped over Old South Road at Mittagong. Framed in my shaky rearview mirror was an explosion of feathers and a struggling bird. I did a u-turn and drove back to find the bird bent, broken, almost still. Knowing the rosella was beyond help, I killed it. I plucked a striking emerald and turquoise tail feather and carried it back to the car. The feather sits below my car stereo - I felt I had to keep some of the bird's beauty with me.

LJ, September 6 2010.