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 26 – 10 billion dollar fossils

Saw an article which was published yesterday with the headline: Australian fossil fuel subsidies hit $10.3 billion in 2020-21. This number seems shocking, unless you know anything at all about anything. Given how tired I am from getting all the past 9 days poems up, I thought it’s low hanging fruit, but I’m gonna pick it anyway. (Some poet days are harder than others.)

NB still had issues uploading photo so it’s not completely solved: had to restart computer three times before it “took”.


10 billion dollar fossils 

Scummo & his LNP dinosaurs
are increasing fossil fuel subsides
as they’re being phased out worldwide

every minute of last year $19,686 
was given to coal oil & gas companies 
& major users of fossil fuels

they like to pretend 
they’re important players
giving back to the economy

instead of the socialist teat 
sucking velociraptors they are

— give em an indue card 
& be done with em

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 24 — the overview effect

Been wanting to write this poem (or a version of it) ever since hearing the term. Thankfully, once I started, it was surprisingly easy. Images taken from a range of astronauts who have spoken on the subject. It’s not the poem I thought I was going to write so I might have another crack at it one day.


the overview effect

when looked at 
with an astronaut’s eye 
the earth is not so very big

from a mere 250 miles up
exactly the distance 
between Athens to Istanbul

the sky that once went on forever
is actually as thin as 
a piece of paper

nature is everything 
clouds, mountains, forests
deserts, oceans, so much ocean

rivers like necklaces of pearls
& she glows day, night, sunrise, 
sunset, glowing in every colour

not all of man’s might can be seen
but too much can — erosion, degradation,
wounds, sprawling cities, oil slicks, scars

she disregards borders
for the foolish political fictions
she renders conflict ridiculous

not that the blue marble is big
she’s frighteningly mind-bogglingly
small      so  so  so  very small against 

the   ongoing     vast      silent       emptiness        of         space 

Day 21 – sacrifice zones

Big extractive companies don’t care where the goodies are; don’t care what has to be destroyed to get to them; just hope a new source of fossil fuels isn’t found near your place.


sacrifice zones

big mining, petrochemical companies
& heavy industry — that is: extractivists — 
are all compelled by their gross beliefs

there are places that don’t matter
there are people that don’t matter
they must think this so these matter

less  nothings can be strip-mined-open-pit 
mined-clear-felled-transformed into toxic
waste dumps-dug up-drained-destroyed 

so air can be poisoned
so effluent can be pumped into rivers
so soil can be contaminated with heavy metals

& they will to continue to extract
in order to continue making a profit
they will continue to sacrifice everything

even the   earth   herself

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