Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Jesus, Palestinian children and women killed by Israeli rockets while asleep in UN shelters. They'd already evacuated their homes to take shelter there. What a travesty. I'm reading that a Palestinian child is dying every hour. Where does it end? How does one come to grips with this? LJ, July 31

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


An English teaching colleague and I were DJs last Tuesday for an event at our school. Great set list inc. The Chemical Brothers, Leftfield and The Prodigy. Dubstep-obsessed Yr 12s didn't get it, left the room early. Hilarious. Moral of the story - English teachers should just teach English. LJ, 24 July 2014.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


I have so much respect for the saintly doctors working in Gaza's Shifa Hospital under horrendous conditions. Looking at photos of the dead and maimed is hard enough -  imagine working there. Norweigan doctor at Shifa, Mads Gilbert, just wrote a report of what he's doing whilst Gaza is under constant bombardment from F16s, Apaches, navy boats and drones. He invited Barack Obama to visit Shifa (in disguise as a cleaner) so he could see the blood and agony first hand, be moved and maybe change history by rethinking what Israel's doing. Mads also says so many of Israel's weapons are made in America. Heartbreaking stuff. LJ, 21 July 2014.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Man, what does one say, what does one say? What a miserable day. On top of Israel's ground offensive targeting Gaza (after so many recent Palestinian deaths inc. 4 teenage boys playing soccer on a beach), this Malaysian Airline flight downed by a rocket in The Ukraine. 298 people dead - 28 of them Australian. Man o man. Why the hell would a Russian separatist down a passenger plane? Some soulless thug with a missile system mistaking the MA plane for an enemy craft? Some soulless thug taking the plane out regardless? Jesus, I hope those responsible are brought to justice. I wonder whether that will happen. What will Putin do? What will be Obama's next move? LJ, July 18 2014.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

POEM #32


Linda cannot choose
between Kincoppal
and Kambala
for her daughter.

Badria cannot believe
a US drone
is staring
at her daughter.

LJ, July 17 2014.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


In 2003, when I was teaching at Oakhill College in Castle Hill, Sydney, two teachers, twenty-five boys and I ventured out in a Snowy Mountains coach to Balgo Hills (aka Wirrimanu) in WA (7 hrs north-west of Alice Springs), where De la Salle Brothers operated a primary school.

We were there for only 3 or 4 days. It was an illuminating, enthralling time. The indigenous people in Balgo Hills were having to contend with many things: youth suicide, alcoholism, petrol sniffing, domestic violence, dropping school attendance rates etc. While we were there a man was cut up badly by another man and flown to hospital, the school was broken into, a man set his wife's car on fire so she couldn't never drive away from him and a spinifex plain was lit up during the night. Teenage kids would drift around after dark sniffing petrol from modified 1.25 litre soft drink bottles.

On the flip side of all this, many indigenous people were coping. Older women were the backbone of the community, setting rules in place, pushing their wayward and desperate menfolk to get it together. Balgo had a thriving art scene: vibrant, startling works, often incorporating oranges and pinks, made big money internationally; I met Helicopter, a relatively famous painter, when he and others were out gathering bush onions.

Two poems now published with WA's online poetry blog Uneven Floor stem from that trip in 2003 and feature towns nearby to Balgo. The first, Yaka Yaka, is almost entirely drawn from reality. Lake Gregory (what a stunning spot - there were brolgas, yellow chats and pratincoles!) is fictitious, yet believable.

Many thanks to Jackson, Uneven Floor's editor.

LJ, July 9 2014.