Day 30 — the second, & worst, species of phoenix

I’ve been considering this idea for the final poem of the month almost since the first day (I’d love to say Day 1, but it wasn’t, so, truth). I’ve had nothing more than the title (phoenix, you see how well that turned out) & the basic vibe of the thing. I also knew I want it to be a bit less literal/sledgehammery than some of stat/fact based pomes have been (usually stat based pomes are that way because I haven’t had enough time to find a way to “hide the facts”/tell the story in a poetical way.)

That said, I knew I wanted it to be a positive hopeful type message after a month of almost unrelenting desperation. Sadly I could not muster that outcome. Poems often take on lives of their own once you give them the initial kickstart & this little brumby definitely roared off towards a far different horizon than the one intended. Almost everything about this was unexpected …


the second, & worst, species of phoenix

so the myth goes there are three 
species of Phoenix
two of them 
do not really concern us

Phoinix immortalis
resides in the temple of every sun
predominately goldenfire
shines with a star’s brightness 
shatters darkness cos it can
& when she dies the universe folds
completely in upon itself & is re-banged

Phoinix communis
equal parts red & gold
rosecoloured wing feathers
tufts of iridescence
spot fires of sunshine
lives 500 years & dies ablazing
yet born from the same ashes
just days later

but Phoinix conflagrare
is to be feared — feathers so red 
they are as living flame
neck a gleam of gold 
golden crest crowns its head
lavaflow with each movement
lives 10,000 years — but beware
when he burns, he burns the world
consumes it almost entirely 

the earth recovers, for that is her way
but we humans, will no longer be around 
to witness to meddle nor to play god

Day 28 – there’s a word for this, but i can’t remember what

A quick one cos it’s been a long day & I’m very tired.

NB I didn’t get to post it last night because when I found myself waking up from being asleep in my computer chair I realised I’d run out of puff & so took myself off to bed.


there’s a word for this, but i can’t remember what

first we warm the earth so much
we melt the arctic & the permafrost
then we start drilling right there
yep, in the arctic & the permafrost

Ms Morissette, this is your 1 minute call

Day 27 – techno fixes: otherwise known as plans B, C, D, E & Z

By this late stage of the month, I had hoped to move on to a few more “positive” poems. Some Good News Poems (of which there are, unquestionably, some). But I keep getting drawn back to things I want to share with people who possibly don’t know, some of the crazy shit that’s going on.


techno fixes: otherwise known as plans B, C, G, Q & Z 

fertilizing oceans with iron : supposedly : to get sea plants : photosynthesising phytoplankton : thus growing faster : thus pulling CO2 : out : of the air : trouble is : small scale tests of this : have been tried : to no known benefit 

covering deserts : with vast : white sheets : a la Christo : thereby reflecting sunlight : back to space : you know : what the ice caps : used to do : before we : melted them : like giant : dripping down our hands : ice-creams

building some form of : superdooper : whizz bang : machine : that can suck carbon : clean out the sky : there’s been limited success : trialling these : odorous particle eaters : just in no way : no way nearly no way : in enough quantities of scale : to be of any benefit : can you guess : what powers them

exchanging : very cold : deep ocean water : for much warmer : surface water : the top 200 metres : only exchanges : with the deep : every : 10,000 years or so : therefore : by artificially encouraging them to swap : the oceans : can be a heat sink : while we : find a permanent solution : haha you know i’m kidding : we’ll do nothing proactive : always ever only : reactive

some of the : sun-dimming : options which have been suggested : & remember : this is not comedy i’m writing here 

space mirrors : that’s right : big mirrors in space to bounce : the sun’s rays away : thus potentially : running the risk : of inadvertently flashing it : into a passing alien hyperdrive’s eyes : thereby really pissing : our FTL neighbours off

cloud brightening : spraying seawater skywards : from specially coopted : fleets of boats : or tall towers on shore : supposedly to create more cloud cover : or to make the clouds we have : more reflective : longer lasting : or something 

the most popular option : revolves round : spraying sulphate aerosols : high into our stratosphere : via retrofitted planes : or cannons : or even : & this is genuine : a really long hose suspended by helium balloons : acting like : an artificial volcano : spewing forth : ash & debris : which floats around : reflecting sunlight : up up & away

even a small scale : “nothing too big” : local : nuclear war : between Pakistan & India perhaps : could work : would be easy : to orchestrate : the results : should probably bring : a mini ice age : though who knows : what other : pesky side-effects besides

or, you know, we could : properly fund renewables R&D : eat less meat : plant some trees : even : & here’s a thought : leaping out of left field : actually : curb : fossil : fuel : emissions

Day 16 — desperation

Today’s poem (ironically) is an offshoot of the one I was working on yesterday. This is more like the poem I had in my head when I began yesterday; even if it didn’t end up there.


the more i read
about what we need to change
if we are to change
climate change’s worst potential
the more desperate & depressed 
i become

to the point where i am glad 
i haven’t brought kids
into the world we are daily

but thankfully
that madness passes
to be replaced
by the old ongoing

Day 14 – drought

A topic of key concern for the driest continent on earth.


Drought has been the dominant historical cause of hunger, starvation, and consequent death.

Paddy Morrow, Body Count

i. earth
in our new 2-4 degree*
warmer nearly-now world
droughts will range further
be more intense 
be more frequent
start sooner  end later
food supplies will be challenged
crops will fail
water will become a reason
we wage war

ii. other
the breeding seasons of 
pesky infectious diseases 
seeking to use us 
as habitat 
will lengthen 
because both bugs 
& bacteria 
breed faster 
in heat


Day 24 – glory (& well, more glory)

24 climate-and-seasons-bgwa.jpg

Thoughts which have been broiling round in my brain while driving round the Barossa these past few weeks as Vintage wraps up, have finally coalesced into a reasonable poem. (After a bit of a biological brush up on the process of leaf colour changing.)



with the arrival of mechanical harvesters
the Valley lost much of its vivid autumnal charm.
over violent shaking of the vines strips a quarter
or more of the leaf cover & startles the remainder
into a state of shock. though improved technology
has recently reduced the trauma & restored slightly
the brilliant explosions, breathtaking feast-your-eyes
yellow-golds, gorgeous scarlets, cheekblushing-crimsons,
redhued-rubies, winedark-purples, outrageous-oranges.
but still, slowly, the old ways die.

a smilier malaise is affecting the less prevalent,
but still present, deciduous population. normally
as daylight declines & the nights grow long & cold,
chlorophyll production slows as plants recycle
& ship to storage those molecules ready for next season.
the domineering chlorophyll, no longer in the ascendancy
allows the always-present but lushly masked
complex chemistry compounds called carotenoids,
yellows & oranges, to have their moment in the sun
(as it were); before the red, pink, & purple pigments
responsible for sunscreen, light protection & pest prevention
kick in to complete the slow motion fireworks display.

but this year’s long dry summer means unhealthy
water-stressed trees seem to be cutting their losses
carte blanche by snap-drying then rapidly dumping
instabrown dry paperwisps; terraforming the sky
to the same dusty brown as the droughtbaked dirt
                                                                                          it mirrors


BONUS POEM: April 24, 2018

A place Mum & I had to visit. & somewhere I think I’d love to live.

2019 EDIT: minor tweaks to improve flow, rejambed enjambment, & various images given extra bite. All in all, at least a 50% better poem than previous incarnation.


sitting on the Doc’s step

after driftwalking
half in the world
the rest in my own head ;
limbo rambling in
artfully framed narrative ;
& the much messier
more inconveniently laid
out reality ; I sit on
his fake slate step —
wanting ; wishing ; hoping
to someday leave
such a through
looking-glass legacy
for other daytrip

24b doc martin's house.jpg

Day 6 – 2016 Miles Franklin Longlist

dry-salt-creek-murchison-western-australia-DJ7R9X copy

Whichever way you spin it, today was a good day. As an earlier post stated, it was the first day of my Poets Residency at Adelaide City Library. For three hours I was paid to be a poet, paid to interact with the public and talk poeting, and paid to write poems.

Today I am spoiled for choice (I wrote several title poems today). Today is also the day of my first truly solid poem.

I chose, as the clever among you may have worked out, to use the 2016 Miles Franklin Longlist titles as the basis for my Title Poem today. The longlist was announced yesterday and the titles are all glorious. I defy anyone not to write a good poem using them. However, to be fair, I was the most lax/playful/non-rule-bound today of any Word Game so far this NaPoWriMo. & so …


Australian pastoral

the hands that work the earth
know the natural way of things

of the never coming rain
of the hope we farm

this burnt black rock
so far from the white city

the river’s a ghost, the creek salt
where fish no longer leap

these dirty hands know
the world will go on, without us

So yeah! Pleased with that. That is pretty much an archetypal roi jones kinda poem.

Tomorrow will be a new game for a new week.

Here for those interested, is the full list. Look forward to reading them…

Tony Birch for Ghost River (UQP)
Stephen Daisley for Coming Rain (Text)
Peggy Frew for Hope Farm (Scribe)
Myfanwy Jones for Leap (Allen & Unwin)
Mireille Juchau for The World Without Us (Bloomsbury)
Stephen Orr for The Hands: an Australian pastoral (Wakefield Press)
A.S. Patric for Black Rock White City (Transit Lounge)
Lucy Treloar for Salt Creek (Pan Macmillan)
Charlotte Wood for The Natural Way of Things (Allen & Unwin)

& a link to a Sydney Morning Herald article about the announcement.

dry-salt-creek CROP flip.jpg