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 29 — meat & milk

I’ve saved writing this one till almost last because I know it’s going to be somewhat controversial or confrontational for many people. As mentioned in my pome plague species from last’s year’s pandemic suite, humans & the beasts we own as pets/property or product are somewhere/between 96-98% of the entire biomass of the planet. 

Even more unsustainable than the 8 billion humans on Starship Earth are the 1 billion cows, 1 billion sheep, 26 billion chickens, 700 million goats, 680 million pigs that exist at any one time, because, for example, while there’s only about 26 billion chickens alive at any one time, the world eats about 50 billion … every year.


meat & milk

setting aside the many moral 
& ethical considerations

as the world gets richer
it eats more meat & drinks more milk

without seemingly understanding
rearing cattle 

~ puts more heat-trapping gas into the air
than every car truck train boat & plane 

~ causes a tenth of CO2 derived
from human-related activities

~ two-thirds of human-related nitrous oxide
(300x the Global Warming Potential of CO2)

~ a third of all human-induced methane 
(23x as warming as CO2)

~ two-thirds of ammonia
a key factor in acid rain

~ uses a third of the earth’s entire land surface
a third of the global arable land to produce feed

~ about a fifth of all pastures are degraded 
through overgrazing, compaction, erosion

~ forests are cleared to create new pastures
& so is a major driver of deforestation 

~ threatens our scarce water resources 
through pollution from animal wastes antibiotics 

hormones chemicals from tanneries
fertilizers & the pesticides that spray crops

we may think we’re raising them 
to feed our appetite ~ but ultimately 

our hunger might kill us all as well

NB Humans kill 50 billion chickens, 3 billion ducks, 1.47 billion pigs, 545 million sheep, 444 million goats and 300 million cattle every year. All in all, 72 billion land animals & over 1.2 trillion aquatic animals are killed for food around the world every year.
We drink around 600 million tonnes of milk every year.
& these numbers continue to rise…

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 25 — the actual war to end all wars

As always, Anzac Day crops up as a potential topic during NaPoWriMo. I’ve written before how this day is a conflicted one for me (see previous Anzac Day poems for more, particularly last year’s addition to the oeuvre). And as with two days ago (Bill Shakey Day) having the theme of “climate change” superimposed over “Anzac Day” initially flummoxed me. Until this idea presented itself, which in my opinion, solved the conundrum perfectly.


the actual war to end all wars

sure we’ve trounced off to battle 
like it’s some sort of boy’s day out-
church picnic-gungho adventure-what!

just because the mother country demanded it
when her monarch couldn’t solve a tiff
with two of his cousins

yes we’ve fought proper wars against fascists 
& communists & nazis & people who believe 
different silly things to our silly things

& tragically, traditional custodians of our own nation 
— enemies real but more often fabricated 
to serve the current political narrative

wars which we endlessly celebrate 
in often mawkish, sometimes trite, 
occasionally deeply moving ways

but our biggest battle is all around us
yet most cannot see the war being waged
funded every day by billions of dollars

from multinational companies who believe
their right to profit outweighs a home
habitable by all — humans & animals alike

Day 22 — The Ark

Inspired by a line of Warren Buffet’s when he was pretending to be the billionaire Green Messiah who would save us all.


The Ark

let’s assume : just for a moment : that anthropomorphic climate change : is absolutely : fair dinkum : ’od’sblood : a serious thing : something : worth worrying about : & after all : the odds are looking : pretty good : or bad : depending on : your linguistic bent : that they are :: surely : if we’re going : to make a mistake : let’s err : on the side of caution : on the side : of the planet : of the only planet we have : y’know : just to be safe

to use a metaphor : that doesn’t entirely : hold water : but might be appealing : to more conservative minded : perusers of poetry : if you have : any common sense : you have to build : the ark :  before  : the rains come : no good : still hammering : it all together : even as : the flood waters : lap your thighs

but truthfully : we need : more than a single Ark : remember Noah’s : was built : not to hold : everyone : on earth : only the privileged : few

hmmmm : if only : there was something : big enough : that could : sustain : us : all

Day 20 — solastalgia

Playing with a word I learnt last year and thought might make a good poem title (& hopefully poem).



The homesickness you have when you are still at home.

word & definition coined by Glenn Albrecht
Australian philosopher & Professor of Sustainability

that peculiar 
form of distress 
that envelopes us 
in a misty kind 
of claustrophobic 
cling wrap
when we see our 
homelands both 
lived & idealised
lands which bring 
peace simply by being
give us tranquility
remind us to breath
to hope  to sit 
quietly   & still   & just

when we feel those lands
callously destroyed 
paddocks ploughed under
for another subdivision
megahardware store
or discount supermarket 
or cut open for coal
or fracked  set on fire  covered in oil  torn up by trucks

there is no solace

Day 19 — inconveniences

How useful are doing the little things when the biggest culprits are allowed to get away with not just doing nothing, but actually increasing emissions?



sometimes i’m overwhelmed by the futility
of me, you, anyone, but in my case — me

not eating meat
not using plastic drink bottles
not washing my car every day
(not washing me every day)
not using the AC till it’s truly necessary
recycling plastic bags & trying not 
to even buy them in the first place
not sucking stuff through straws

drinking tap water
switching lightbulbs 
unplugging gadgets
buying locally, op shopping 
& avoiding fast fashion
using cruise control 
for better fuel efficiency 
keeping tyres properly pumped 
& so on & tediously on

all these are but minor blips — mere inconveniences 
when compared to what really should be getting changed

Day 18 — frackwit

Pretty self-explanatory.



the same Prime Smirker 
who once gloated about
how good coal is on the floor
of the Australian parliament
is today raving about 
the multitude of climate saving
virtues (to hear him spout it)
of natural gas

the same guy who appointed 
a couple of natural gas wonks
to his COVID-19 recovery taskforce
which later (to no one’s surprise)
revealed that the way out of our
Covid-induced economic coma was … 
{ da-dah }
Nat. U. Ral.  Gas. &. Lots of it.

this fracking clown is relentlessly
smirking while the world burns

i only hope the pentecostal hell
he so fervently believes in is real
& he ends up sweating down there


Day 17 — Gran’s lifetime: under a century

Today would have been my Gran’s 97th birthday. I’ve used that as the impetus for this pome.

WARNING: it is quite long; probably the longest I’ve ever posted for NaPoWriMo (though my anti-Jazz rant was up there). If you choose to skip to the last stanza, I’ll quite understand, & you’ll still get the general gist hahaha.


Gran’s lifetime: under a century

1. Introduction
It infuriates me when people say
oh we can’t change things too much
think of our economy : et ceterablah!

2. Birth Year
In 1924 : the year after : the invention
of TV : the British Empire : is still 
gleefully : exploiting her colonies :
Australia has been an actual country 
for only 23 years : the USA only has
48 states : Adolf Hitler is still in prison :
the Winter Olympics begin : commercial 
radio is first broadcast : the first aerial 
circumnavigation of the world 
is completed : in only 175 days (today 
it takes a little over 2 days : 50 hours)
surrealism is born : movies are still 
silent : & Hubble blows up the universe
discovering : Andromeda is not
a nebula : as long thought : but another 
galaxy : & that the Milky Way : itself 
is only one : of many

3. The Not Quite 100 Years Following
in the succeeding : century
the twenties roar : jazz begins torturing 
eardrums everywhere : before causing
a great depression : nazis somehow
convince an enlightened society 
to eat itself : the USSR rises & falls
we fight a second World War : 
a Cold War : & a War on Terror 
we invent : drop : then are terrified 
by atomic bombs : stop drop & roll :
you’ll still die : but you’ll feel like 
you tried : bikinis make babes 
into bombshells : boomers are born : with a bang
& immediately begin : annoying everyone :
teenagers are invented : along with rock 
n roll : the Holocaust continues 
to horrify us : but later genocides 
get less attention : as ours grow ever shorter

Gandhi marches for salt : Mao takes 
a long one : we promise two new states 
but only officially make one : leading 
to years of unrest : dozens of countries 
shake off : shackles : declare independence

we orbit the earth : & bounce on the moon
pocket calculators : are briefly a big thing
scientists genetically engineer organisms 
(bacteria then mice) : a child is born 
via : in vitro fertilisation ; the culture counters 
revolts against war : conservatism : 
oppression : patriarchy : sexuality

Pong is considered cutting edge :
Commodore 64 wows the world 
with a massive 64K of memory :
the first Macintosh then smashes 
that paltry amount by : doubling it :
Gameboys : Rubik makes a cube

gramophones : give way : to record 
players : to cassette tapes : to compact 
discs : to mp3 : to online streaming 
from the cloud

computers shrink : from buildingesque
then : room-sized : to being : our personal 
playthings : then laptops : mobile phones : 
smart phones : tablets : iWatches
chips are implanted : in our bodies
hidden : in COVID vaccinations*

mobiles shrink : from the size 
of bricks : to fitting into pockets 
& are on their way : back up to brick

multinational corporations :
became the most important entities : on earth
free trade agreements : bloom
like mushrooms : from the dung 
of laissez faire economic policy :
stock markets crash numerous times 
& are salvaged : poor people are demonised
banks go bankrupt : & are bailed out : 
poor people are blamed : for being poor
supertanker container ships : begin 
impersonating small cities 
& pumping out : the equivalent in emissions
the assembly line : makes production 
massive : & turns men into machines
archaea are classified as a new : 
separate : domain of life

we survive Y2K … easily

we transplant hearts : break 
the sound barrier : genetically modify 
crops : map the human genome :
use X-rays see inside ourselves : 

we invent: satellites : Concorde : Skylab 
(even though it falls on us) : the ISS :
high-speed rail : container ships :
& buildings really start scraping the sky

as well as: Velcro : Tupperware : Frisbees : 
The Slinky : modern Solar cells : the pill : 
AstroTurf : ultrasound : the CDC 6600 
supercomputer : ATMs : MRIs : 
email : earlier than you think (’71)
face lifts : stainless steel : silicone : 
polystyrene : PVC : polyethylene
& nylon : & multiple other plastics : plus
thousands of chemicals : for industrial 
& domestic use (though whether these last
are good : or not : is debatable)

develop : radar : transistors : ballistic 
missiles : jet aircraft : commercial television : 
commercials (sadly) : microwave ovens : 
hydraulic fracturing : lasers : fibre optics : 
radiocarbon dating

discover : black holes : quasars : parallel 
universes : mechanics who can repair 
your quantum while you wait : that everything 
began in a Big Bang : (probably) : DNA’s
double-helix; the Cosmic microwave
background radiation : penicillin

scientists develop vaccines for : polio : 
measles : influenza : diphtheria : 
pertussis (whooping cough) : tetanus : 
measles : mumps : rubella (German
measles) : chickenpox : hepatitis A & B 
& eradicate smallpox in 1979 

we survive : eruptions : quaking earth : 
strong winds of a multitude of kinds : 
droughts : plane crashes : bridge collapses : 
train derailments : nuclear reactor 
meltdowns : space shuttle explosions : 
a litany of oil & energy crises : the rise 
& fall of Berlin’s Wall : toxic gas leaks : 
oil tankers spilling their guts 

we fight a lot of wars : a barrage 
of wars : police actions : emergencies : 
civil unrests : invasions : genocides : 
& miscellaneous conflicts of all ilks.
protests : separatist movements : 
revolutions : dictatorships : martial 
laws imposed & revoked : coups d’état : 
military coups : run of the mill coups 
& attempted coups : takeovers : insurrections : 
assassinations : uprisings both popular 
& not : riots : troubles : tensions : 
& detentes : aerial bombardments : 
battles : bombs : suicide bombers : 
terrorist attacks : incidents : 
massacres : boycotts : blockades : 
systems actively designed to 
discriminate (some were even 
abolished : well one)

even the occasional peace treaty

*one of these things is not like the others

4. Commonplace Things We Take for Granted
washing machines : clothes dryers : 
air-conditioners : exercise machines : 
refrigerators : freezers : electric 
stoves : vacuum cleaners : cars ;
& a handful of magic devices allow us 
to experience knowledge : gossip :
stupidity : & even extraordinary content
from around the world — so much great 
literature : artwork : music : dance : & cinema 
it’s impossible to list even a fraction of it

5. Technologies Which Have Become Obsolete Since Gran Was Born
8mm : Super 8 : Hi-8 : analog slides (along with slide projectors & hand-held slide viewers) : overhead projectors : analog film : including photo developing : film splicing : disposable film cameras : Kodak itself for that matter : photo albums : flash cubes : photo booths : one hour photo saloons : & (almost) printed photographs : 8 tracks : cassettes : DAT : walkmen : diskmen : vinyl records (except for DJs) : MP3 players : minidiscs : boomboxes : VCRs (VHS & Beta) : floppy disks : Zip drives : CDs : DVDs : Blu-rays : LaserDiscs (oh that’s right : they were a thing : briefly) : telegrams : dial up modems : phone books : rotary phones : landlines (almost) : answering machines : phone booths : cathode ray tvs : pagers/beepers : dot matrix printers : fax machines : typewriters : encyclopaedias : card catalogs : punch cards : classified ads : street directories : road maps : alarm clocks : calculator watches : pin ball machines : space invaders : pac man : 

6. Jobs Which Have Become Obsolete Since Gran Was Born
Breaker Boy : Cigarette Girl : Clock Winder : Copy Boy : Dictaphone Operator : Elevator Operator : Film Projectionist : Ice Cutter : Knocker-Upper : Lamplighter : Lector : Leech Collector : Log Driver : Manual Part Loading : Milkman : Mimeograph Operator : Pinsetter : Rag & Bone Man : Rat Catcher : Sandman : Sawyer : Street Sweeper : Switchboard Operator : Telegraph Operator : Typesetter : Typing Pool : VCR Repairman : Video Store Clerk : indeed entire industries devoted to record stores & videocassette/DVD rentals : not to mention entire industries related to horse-drawn transportation : not mention no doubt many others: i’ve failed to mention

7. The Argument
& if you haven’t read every single word
of this poem i quite understand
i was deliberately belabouring 
relabouring & overlabouring a point
by listing the many many many many things
we’ve changed in under a 100 years
& many in much less than that

so don’t fucking tell me we can’t change
now — & fast