Dear Jenn

Though conjured up from one writer’s imagination you’d since been dumped along with cinema’s greatest villains,
No, you never shared their dark intentions, never was bent on domination and mass murdering,
Rather, they deemed you guilty of manipulation and deception towards the one that loved you come hell or high water,
By all appearances you were the girl-next-door, the type guys take home to Mom,
On the surface beautiful and glowing, sadly, your journey nothing short of tragic,
Wounds may heal but scars never fade, if they only knew, if they walked in your shoes, how would they handle the pain?

Boy gets on school bus, an instant victim of hazing,
Girl offers him a seat, a godsend among bullies, brats and the indifferent,
Thus began a friendship, like peas and carrots as he put it,
Found out soon enough she was born into darkness,
Pops was bitter, drunk and a pervert, preyed upon her and her sisters,
His reign of terror blunted by coppers while she was saved by social services,
Should have been new beginnings but began a prolonged period of suffering,
Self-destruction, vices and toxic entanglements your main means of coping with the shame and self-loathing that comes with a childhood taken, by he who was supposed to keep you sheltered from the monsters and trappings life hurls large doses,
Feeling dirty day by day, no amount of washing can wipe away the shame,
If he should get a glimpse, what would he say?

Maybe he’s different, might still deem you a worthy companion,
But a closer look could send him off and running, his rejection akin to a death sentence,
Can’t risk that last rope, somewhere deep inside you remains a flickering hope,
With him the main source, his mere presence your own safe zone,
And so you build barriers, can’t let him get close,
Fearful of his rejection, for he’s too pure a soul,
And so they call you the villain and abuser, ironic given how you came up,
Can’t stop, won’t stop leaving him wanting, they’re saying, his heart you’re constantly breaking,
He took on the Vietcong, won the Medal of Honor, became a champ at ping pong, got rich off of shrimping, cleaned up thanks to Apple,
While you set out drifting, finding new synthetic ways to go flying, hooked up with one lowlife after another, ending up bruised and battered, even considered ending matters,
Reunited every once in a while, your paths at times intertwined, but whenever he made a play you somehow always slipped away,
Soon he popped the question, said he’d make a good hubby, you cautioned him against it, fearful that he’d regret it,
Came back for good only after you’d had his kid, never even called him, hit him with the news from out the damn blue, how messed-up are you?

He must be blinded or a simp to take you back, he always was naïve,
They claim to see the real you, their vitriol rather hard to believe.
But they can’t or won’t see your side of the story,
Yours was hardly sunshine and rainbows, a horror show even if not as gory,
Low self-worth and a fear of abandonment conspiring to leave you ill-equipped to open up, trust and truly love another
They say you played him like a fiddle, but in truth your heart been kicked and busted once too often,
Left battered and burned by former flames, Pops was far from the only culprit,
Later the film got you both running, but for different reasons,
He’s running to gain clarity and a search for answers, you’re running for self-preservation and a need to escape demons,
But not before you both popped the cherry, finally, from there created life,
A bouncing baby boy born to y’all, only, the father was out accruing miles,
And so you raised him alone, until he was five or four,
Daddy finally home, found your letter, off he went to your humble abode,
They say you should have called him sooner, but forget that he was lapping the country several times over,
Took him three years, in the 1980s, when connections were limited, no smartphones, social media, facetime or any advanced technologies,
At least you let him know, eventually, became a family, effortlessly,
Finally exchanged ‘I do’s’, a happy ending achieved, living and loving life together until you became a precious memory,
Best friends-turned-star-crossed lovers, a charmed life and a cursed one colliding, both paths eventually merging, Mr. Groom couldn’t have penned it better,
Spawned a classic film, one of the most iconic, a story of hope, fortitude and determination, and a simple box of chocolates.

So that’s about it, Dear Jenn, sorry they treated you this way,
Not sure if you were written to be the villain or the victim of a gross misunderstanding,
Shows the hazards of a wretched upbringing, how trauma leads to destruction,
The avoidant tendencies of the broken, even towards loved ones,
But in the end you’re merely fictional, conjured up from the mind of some writer,
Though yours is a story all too familiar for some real-life individuals,
Not all are privileged to have come up unscathed and injury-free,
To be born into love and stability, granted a childhood both complete and nostalgic,
If they only viewed it through the lenses you’re wearing, what would they say?
Walked a mile in your shoes, would they feel the same way?

TWICE KNOCKED

Scene is set, somehow back in the motherland, hardly alone, though, with me are the fam,

Unsure of the occasion, somehow, a house party is in order,

Might have been Unc’s, never did meet the owner,

Good time had by all, bonded with a select few at the ball,

Came from humble beginnings, the type that first-world dwellers couldn’t comprehend, a brand of desperation that would send the mind spinnin’,

So ends the first act, a brief intermission is in order before the next one, let’s see how it unfolds.

After a brief haze the picture clears, no static, just cut to the next scene,

The setting remains the same but there lies a soon-to-be-shocking change,

Still there with the fam, a few extended making an appearance,

But those street cats that I done chopped it with, some are missing in action,

Went out for a breather, from the corner spotted him a few yards,

Wondered why he ain’t inside, fuck it, went to see if he’d like to trade barbs,

Suddenly, from out his pocket, dude pulled out his piece,

Cocked and ready to roll, pointed it straight at me,

‘Gimme your money,’ said he, looked like a scene from a hood film,

Slowly reached for the wallet, slowly drew it out, hoping he’d soften his stance, alas he remained on guard,

Hurled it at his mug as a distraction tactic, before trying to kick that heater from his grip,

Didn’t go too far, the trigger finger proved too quick,

One shot was all it took, straight to the kisser,

A final vision of blue sky, quickly snapped into noir.

Woke up in bed, wide-eyed panting like a thirsty canine,

‘twas but a dream, shaken and stirred at what had transpired,

Found my legs eventually, slowly stood tall, feeling the earth move like Martika, not good at all,

Melted over to the sink, cold water ought to do the trick,

Staring blankly the mirror, suddenly feeling weaker,

Blood draining, eyes rolling, stiffened then hit the floor, the old boy knew no more, just like in that dream from the night before.

Woke up once more, this time in the present, had to pinch myself first, a new day has started,

A nightmare within another, definitely a first, questions and interpretations swirling, the mind fit to burst,

Struggling to comprehend the meaning, unsure if I want to proceed,

Hoping this ain’t some premonition of a grisly fate that awaits me,

Or perhaps the a product of watching one too many action and gangsta flicks,

Guess I got lost in ‘em, like it was part of someone else’s script,

So far, ain’t nothing happened to trigger a fight or flight,

Guess I’ll march on and see what happens, gotta keep that defense tight.

EDWARD

For so long, been travelling through the shadows alone,

Fear of the unknown, distrustful of most folks,

Got the fam by my side, but flying solo through these skies,

No applications for a co-pilot, been cruising smoothly so why change it?

Mingled with others previously, fell flat most of the time,

Their fangs came out at random, no escape once they bite,

So, for now, divorced from the masses, for sanity and self-preservation,

“Keep an open mind’, they say but, truthfully, never wanted anyone.

Gotta thank Zuck for the invention of that app, myspace is threatened, soon enough rendered irrelevant,

Reunited with a face from the past, one of few that wasn’t a fucking ass,

Got to talking from behind our screens, asked him how he’d been,

‘Seen better days’, said he, heartache is all too real,

By now jaded and hard-boiled, who am I to play master motivator,

I ain’t no Tony Robbins or Dr. Phil, sure as hell ain’t no therapist,

Nevertheless told him to man up and be strong,

She’d played her part, done him dirty then moved on, a real one wouldn’t string him along,

‘Twas a strange feeling, helping out a brother, butterflies swirling, unknown forces within surging, helping out is a beautiful thing,

Been quite some time, guess it feels unfamiliar,

Such is the life of a self-imposed loner.

That interaction being the key that opened doors, will it be for better or for worse?

We won’t always be in control, forces unknown may do all the work,

Either way, changes are inevitable, what was once comfortable quickly becoming unfamiliar,

But this was for the better and then some, feeling like I’d been rewarded,

Stayed in touch with him, found out later he’d found himself a new one,

Twelve years later, two little ones, still rock solid, safe to say that he’d won,

A new challenge suddenly arising, Pops the one who made it happen,

This art that we’re learning requires full concentration and some special type of relaxing,

Some new characters joining the main cast, the loner suddenly stepping out from behind the glass,

Knocking down walls, opening the gates, stepping out the darkness, clean air never felt better,

Thriving on the work front, trekking down a new path,

Pieces of the puzzle coming together, life can’t get better than that,

That old world in the rearview, finally, eyes forward, hitting the accelerator,

Top down with the radio turned up, headed towards a brighter future.

Cruising wearing rose-tinted glasses, soon the lenses were shattered,

Paradise suddenly threatened, six years later the bubble busted,

Thunderstruck just as momentum was firmly in my favour,

Came out victorious but the scars may last forever,

‘Twas but a speedbump, knocked off-kilter but still standing,

Still hanging with the crew, first real friends since forever,

Whether in person or online, the loner phase finally left behind,

Then the second decade of the third millennium arrived, here’s where the smooth path unwinds,

That big old pandemic locking the whole world down and that was just the starter,

One bad copper triggered a mass brawl, repercussions felt all around the world,

That NWA anthem once again front and centre while society’s big mad over vocations, opinions and differences,

Folks from all walks can no longer come together, unions once solid crumbling like The Towers,

For our former loner it came at a price, a long absence cost him that sanctuary away from home,

Quietly parted ways with fellow journeymen and women, they were heading down different directions,

Coming to a sad realisation, damn near making the skin crawl,

Ain’t nothing changed at all, life came full circle, the darkness of the shadows, truly, was where I’d always belonged.

Fast-forward to the present, that big old pandemic came to pass,

Not out and about celebrating, it’s back to the solitude of years’ past,

Been quite a blast, those years outside the proverbial shell, living the life of a lad-about-town, so many stories to tell,

Retained a few happy to tag along, perhaps all is not lost,

But for the most part back on the road alone, only Lord knows for how long,

Might be for the best, it’s a crazy world out there, sticks and stones still break bones while words act as weapons of mass destruction,

Bringing to mind that chap named Edward, created from scratch by some guy likely gone mad,

Passed before he could give the lad some mitts, left him with scissors at the end of his wrists,

And so he lives alone in that big and lonely home, discovered by some random lady, took him back to town, the townsfolk equally amazed and wary,

For a while he was one of them, a new life seemed in order, but several unfortunate events and misunderstandings later got him cast out like a fucking leper,

In the end, returned to where it all began, away from all others, accompanied only by memories from a brief period of acceptance,

Can’t say it ain’t the same, shit’s feeling kinda relatable,

Not as bleak, perhaps, but the trajectory somewhat similar,

Perhaps just a dip before the next round of ascendancy, never know what’s around the corner,

But if this is fate I’ll take it, already seen the flipside, I can say I’ve lived it.

Seeing Red

He retreats to his sanctuary, behind the door not far from the kitch,

‘Keep Out’ plastered on it, hides a lair fit for a misfit,

Slumps on a bed littered with contents from the closet, paraphernalia to connect to a different dimension where he rules as a king and a conqueror,

Gaming the drug of choice, screens big or small the magic portal, fuck interacting with real-life, he prefers reel-life,

Away from a setting where he’s the proverbial punching bag, can’t quite live up to certain standards, hazed by the guys and invisible to the gals,

But as time passes screen time got him broke, got him tired of being alone, of being a walking joke,

Tired of the crushing mediocrity, he believes greatness is his destiny,

Can’t just look the part, gonna need a mentor to help him start,

And that’s how he found y’all, desperate times calling for desperate measures,

Tired of the incel life, searching for answers and a guide to a top G life.

Meanwhile, here you are, found another lost soul from afar,

Battling the competition for his attention, gotta keep the clout and dollars rollin’,

Time to sell him courses for a hefty price, convince him the investment’s worthwhile,

Promising to build him up physically, mentally and financially, until he’s a virtual clone of yours truly,

Some of what you preach are facts, that of accountability, responsibility and purpose,

Leaving the comfort zone, expanding horizons, overcoming hurdles,

Self-improvement is the key, no ifs or maybes, only then will one win friends, live the life and get the ladies,

The key word is growth, maybe y’all are onto something, a worthy mentor for would-be heroes,

But soon the red flags are popping, ‘Houston, we have a problem,’

Deeper within the curriculum lie subjects and philosophies quite disturbing,

How society hates the bros, all females are 304’s, there’s a double standard in the air, the brothers ain’t being treated fair,

Talking about females being hypergamous, switching goalposts left and right, monkey-branching day and night, how the masses always take their side,

How she’s praised for having standards while fellas are condemned for shallowness, she’s a boss while guys are creeps, see what we mean, Bro? Shit cuts deep,

A fairytale style ending is nonexistent, it’s in works of fiction for a reason,

Truth is, life and love are but games, better stay on top ‘lest you come out lame.

Dump that bitch if she ever gets out of line, a king never takes lip from his subjects or his women,

Otherwise she deserves a whupping, and fuck monogamy, go ahead and build you a harem,

Brother, you’re the catch, a cool cat with the stacks, babes will be flocking from far and wide, they can’t get enough of that,

Be cold when you’re with ‘em, to stay ahead gotta keep ‘em guessing,

Can’t be up in your feels, Young’un, otherwise you’re simpin’,

Fuck getting married, that shit’s outdated, either you’ll stray out of boredom or she cheats ‘cuz it’s in her nature, the courts won’t ever back you so why even pursue it?

You’re the don, the top dog, the head honcho, the alpha,

Beholden to no-one, playing the game as you please, kick ‘em to the street if they can’t handle the heat,

Same goes for friends, no space for losers, they gotta be straight tens,

You’re only as good as the company you keep, something to think about before you sleep,

Chase the bag and build your kingdom, nothing screams triumph than rollin’ in millions,

Fuck the haters stuck in their lowly existence, they can only dream of the life that you’ll be living.

So that’s what you’re selling ‘em? That a high-value man’s about materialism?

Hedonism, hook-ups, cash and flexing? No room for honor, morals and compassion?

Feminism destroyed the ladies, according to y’all, turned them into entitled mouthy bitches, validated the very worst of their behavior, repelling guys more than ever,

Yet you call for gents to be greedy and manipulative, cold and indifferent, to view women as objects and a means for pleasure, does this type of hypocrisy help your fellow brothers?

Makes us wonder if y’all have had your hearts broken? Burned so bad someone had to call the fire department?

Were you all bullied as children? Even after the glow up still ain’t over it? Get you a therapist, Fool, and grow up while you’re at it,

The smart ones see right through it, y’all ain’t Top G’s, you’re just insecure little children,

Big promises at the expense of character while you swindle ‘em just to line your pockets,

Should’ve listened to Tyler, toxic though he was, you’re flaunting and flexing for others that won’t shed tears if you passed within 24 hours,

Such a way of life can’t be sustained, sooner or later the train gotta derail, the money dries up, the honeys get fed up, age takes its toll, you, too, could hit that wall, soon you’re left with fuck-all.

But hey, we know that y’all gotta earn a living, controversy in any form gets the masses talking,

It’s a highly-connected world we’re living in, gotta cast that net wide to the reel bigger fishes in,

Headlines guaranteed to trigger, content at once inflammatory and relatable, gotta play to their emotions, hate-watching, guilt-tripping and repeat-viewing the main objectives,

In a world trodden by the increasingly broken it ain’t hard to find targets, reel ‘em in hook-line-and-sinker, then go to work on their feelings,

Let ‘em know you hear ‘em in ways sycophantic and manipulative, validate the worst aspects of their behavior, reassure ‘em that the blame lies with the world around ‘em,

Never mind that this makes y’all enablers than mentors, feeding ‘em comforting lies over brutal truths,

Before you know it they’re addicted, consuming other similar content, got you rolling in the millions, so what if they end up damn near villainous?

But if you were for real you’d keep it one hundred, tell them cold hard facts,

That what might have happened to ‘em the fault may not lie with them, but how to deal with it is still on ‘em,

That they should leave their comfort zones, search long and hard for their calling, to your credit you’re also preaching it, a rare rose among thorn bushes,

That bank accounts and body counts aren’t true measure of success, if anything kinda overrated,

That they with a purpose and a plan go the furthest, risking failure, daily, but still they’re defying it,

To all you lonely boys out there, those are the keys to the kingdom,

Tired of being weak? Get off your ass and get your blood and muscles pumping,

Speak with confidence, stand on your principles, read more books and expand your knowledge,

Stay humble and be generous, a sociopath that hurts others is surely hated,

And for God’s sake stop stressing ‘bout the others, mow your own damn grass,

Everyone got their own lawns to tend to, believe it or not they could care less about you,

Fuck what you see on The Gram, most of it is fabricated, ran mostly narcissists,

Make shit happen if you feel inadequate, do it for you and not faceless strangers,

As for the gals, if she ain’t checking for you then she ain’t for you,

Everyone’s entitled to their preferences and that includes you,

Save yourself for someone that you vibe with, whose heart jumps at the thought of you,

Keep plugging along, one day you’ll find her, it’s happened for others, it can happen for you,

What’s worth it won’t come easy, but what don’t kill you makes you stronger,

Life’s a journey, Friend, you, too, can be a winner,

Get off the screen, out your cocoon and join the party, it’s free invitations for everybody,

Ain’t nothing happening if you stay in place, a lonely miserable life is what awaits,

Grab that proverbial bull and get going, don’t need to ask strangers online for their permission,

Least of all bitter, hate-filled, egotists high off of their supply to the sound of the collective’s laughter.

Written In The Stars

Boy meets girl, sparks are flying,

Got to know one another, then eventually coupling,

Declarations of love they’re soon exchanging, from here should be smooth sailing,

Life had other plans, the road to happily ever fraught with obstacles,

Least of all the doubters, thought blood was thicker than water,

How does love become so threatening? It ain’t anybody’s business,

Circumstances also played a part, oftentimes keeping ‘em separated,

For months or years at a time, for many would have been a deal-breaker,

Can only maintain long-distance for so long, one half may give in to temptation,

A true test of commitment, would they be up for it?

Love, it’s the key ingredient, the ties that bind,

So long as it’s strong ain’t nothing can go wrong,

And that’s what they’re leaning on to weather these storms,

Still keeping the fire burning, making time for one another,

Doubters close to home trying, cajoling, even threatening, somehow feel they know better, his shoes they’re forcibly wearing,

While she’s soldiering on and supporting, putting them on a hiding to nothing,

And when paths diverge, day after day they show up for one another, technology done made the world smaller, can get some face time despite living in opposite corners,

The story of the past five years, that loved-up façade hiding snags, frustrations and tears,

But the foundation remains unaffected, you could say that these two are built different.

Soon it’s time to make it official, boy asks for his best girl’s hand in marriage,

No more living in separate quarters, a shared space now for happy spouses,

Time and space can’t separate ‘em, to hell with detractors, can’t achieve goals without healthy doses of defiance, makes the victory that much sweeter,

All but made believers out of doubters, no more opposing time zones, gonna take on the world together from now and forevermore,

Passed all the tests, now here’s the reward,

Time to take on the world together, maybe have y’all some little rascals,

Here’s your reward for sticking it out in the face of adversity,

It was written in the stars, a happy ending was always your destiny.

2023

Pope Benny, Rest In Peace,

Anita Pointer and Fred Brown,

Meanwhile, up in Queensland, that chopper done crashed down,

Damar Hamlin’s heart attack, Israel reformed judiciary,

Prince Harry’s book leaked, further trashing on his family,

Meg and Harry interview, one big trainwreck as predicted,

Ash Barty pregnant, still thriving in retirement,

Indonesian earthquake, Darwin folks done felt it,

The passing of Australia’s most hated, that would be Cardinal Pell,

Jeff Beck passed away, Dom and that Nazi costume,

R.I.P, Lisa Marie, in Nepal that plane done met its doom,

Kyrgios fallin’ at the Open, as did that guy Rafa,

Renee Geyer and Jim Molan, iconic Aussies met their maker,

Velma is a ratings bomb, Alec Baldwin slapped with manslaughter,

Michael Clarke’s lady dramas, Jacinda Ardern is a goner,

Peter Bol and Kurtley Beale, two different accusations,

Lunar New Year shootings in L.A, more gun crime in the USA,

Tara Brumfitt Australia’s best, Novak’s daddy and that Russian flag,

Shooting in Jerusalem, riots out for Tyree Nichols.

Alec Baldwin fighting charges, back home inflation slowing,

For how long, can’t be certain, nothing lasts forever,

Tom Brady hit retirement, Cardinal Pell’s funeral,

Nick Kyrgios’ guilty plea, charges dropped following the true story,

Turkey, Syria and the earthquake, the NBA’s highest-scorer Lebron James,

Storms and floods in Sydney, battering towns a’plenty,

Burt Bacharach and Raquel Welch, both gone up into the sky,

Chiefs win the Superbowl, flying objects causin’ panic,

Schoolbus tragedy in Victoria, earthquake and floods in New Zealand,

Oil spill in Ohio, back home rising interest rates,

Drugs scandal at Collingwood, Biden visits Ukraine,

Harry, Megan, South Park, fuckin’ hell, what a laugh!

Public memorial for ONJ, Rajwinder Singh charged with murder,

Meg and Harry sent packing, played themselves royally,

Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles and BSB in Australia,

Alex Murdaugh gets life in prison, Sydney trains halted,

Hillsong Church in strife again, in NSW the heatwaves roaring,

Albo is in India, elections looming across the states,

AUKUS deal great success, in New Zealand another earthquake,

Brendan Fraser, Michelle Yeoh, EEAAO and the Oscars

Heatwave on the east coast, Blake Johnston’s surfing record,

Arrest warrant out for Putin, also one for Donnie Trump,

John Sattler passed away, Putin and Xi Jinping in Moscow,

School teachers under attack, trans activists in TAS, VIC and NSW,

Earthquake in Afghanistan, further protests in Paris,

Court date for Gwyneth Paltrow, NSW elections,

The Obamas in Australia, in Israel they’re rioting,

School shooting in the USA, Peter Bol finally cleared,

Gwyneth’s case is ending, Donnie’s is just beginning.

Andrew Tate released from prison, the scammer still has followers,

Tik Tok banned for politicians, they should scrap it altogether,

Finland has a new leader, joined NATO while they’re at it,

Malka Leifer guilty, The Hayne Plane crashing, finally,

Donald Trump arrested, jail awaits for Terrence Kelly,

Adesanya beats Pereira, dead body found on Easter,

Dalai Lama is in deep shit, turned out he just loves the kids,

Shootings in Kentucky, back home aged care’s in a crisis,

Ilsa smacks the west coast, Steven Tougher sadly murdered,

Lidia Thorpe being a fool again, self-destructive and attention-seeking,

Birthday shooting in Alabama, Ralph Yarl and Kaylin Gillis,

Shooters suspected trespassing, how the fuck did it come to this?

SpaceX launch explosion, back home Optus class action,

Alec Baldwin cleared of charges, Barry Humphries sadly passing,

Dean Holland killed on track, Jerry Springer meets his maker,

Kyle Sandilands’ wedding, soccer brawl in Western Sydney,

Drunk Aussies in Indonesia, should have kept ‘em behind the slammer,

Jock Zonfrillo passing on, will Masterchef still be rolling on?

Qantas has a new CEO, Alan Joyce went out sad,

Security scare at Buckingham, threats from a madman,

Interest rates on the rise again, drone attack over Moscow,

School shooting in Serbia, pay rise for aged care workers,

Coronation of King Charles, despite all the family dramas,

Jenny Craig in trouble, Telstra outage was a bummer,

Winter blast on the east coast, early taste of frost and snow,

The NSW budget, Imran Khan arrested,

Trump guilty of sexual abuse, he’s out here calling ‘fake news’,

Tram tragedy in Sydney, hostel fire in New Zealand,

School bus crash in Victoria, Biden bails on Australia,

Meg and Harry’s fake pursuit, Rafa crashes out of Roland Garros,

Claire Nowland tased by cops, now her family’s pissed off,

Albo, Biden, Zelenskyy at the G7, Space X crew finally launching,

Modi in Australia, Kristian White charged for tasing,

Claire Nowland passed away, as did Tina Turner,

School shooting over in Perth, in Surry Hills a building burning,

Security scare at Downing Street, damn these pests and pricks,

Earthquake in Victoria, for Danny Andrews might be karma,

Mark McGowan resigns as premier, got too hot in the kitchen.

Ben Roberts-Smith lost his case, Bruce Lehrman interview,

Dylan Brown charged with rape, Kathleen Folbigg released from jail,

Prince Harry and the press, a never-ending battle raging on,

Scott White gets 9 years, wedding bus crash at the Hunter,

David Van in trouble, shouldn’t have been a pervert,

Boris Johnson banned for life, liar liar pants on fire,

OceanGate tragedy, all occupants crushed to jelly,

Wagner Coup in Russia, the leader died by plane crash,

Simon Crean passed away, Gladys found guilty of corruption,

Rioting in Paris, Pensions and Nahel Merzouk.

Wests Tigers lost 74-0, Australia, England and The Ashes,

King Charles, King of Scots, back home Robodebt fallout,

Sound Of Freedom making waves, why the media want to censor it?

Dr. Teo found guilty, desperate patients the casualties,

Hollywood goes on strike, RBA boss got the sack,

Alcaraz beats Djokovic, Melbourne dumps the Comm. Games,

Women’s FIFA World Cup, Matildas becoming breakout stars,

Auckland CBD shooting, Tony Bennett’s passing,

Heatwave hitting Europe, fires burning in Greece,

Barbie and Oppenheimer, back in Sydney gang wars,

Death of Sinead O’Connor, loss of a rebel and icon,

Taipan chopper crash, tragic deaths meant discontinuation.

Sun bear controversy in China, is it some dude in a costume?

Trudeaus go their separate ways, ‘guess that it was too good to be true,

Trump headed off to trial, China lifts tariffs on barley,

The Voice quickly losing ground, bully tactics only go so far,

Fires burning in Hawaii, The Matildas they done beat the French,

Threats on Malaysian airlines, controversy shrouds The Blind Side,

Matildas lose to England, R.I.P to Michael Parkinson,

Spain wins The World Cup, shame about all the kissing,

Storms hitting California while Canada is burning,

Indian moon landing, Greek surrogate controversy,

Progozhin killed in a plane crash, was it an accident or set-up?

Trump turns himself in, US aircraft crash in Darwin,

Qantas is in deep shit, for Alan Joyce a fitting ending,

In Florida a hurricane, every year seems to happen.

Burning Man disaster, shit got a little muddy,

Qantas under new management, Alan splitting in a hurry,

Floods in Hong Kong and Europe, earthquake in Morocco,

Qantas hit with a big fine, an icon sadly lost its shine,

Danny Masterson sent to prison, divorce papers for the Jackmans,

Russell Brand accused of rape, still awaiting that court date,

Earthquake in New Zealand, covid lockdown investigations,

Ingham workers went on strike, Rupert Murdoch steps aside,

Resignation of Danny Andrews, Jacinta Allen sworn in,

Duane Davis charged with murder, was he really 2Pac’s killer?

Panthers and the three-peat, interest rates stay on hold,

Sydney sizzling in this heat, summer yet to unfold,

Kevin McCarthy fired while Hamas fires at Israel,

Will they ever squash the beef? Will there be peace in the Middle East?

Cheng Lei comes home, Australia resoundingly votes ‘NO’,

Britney Spears’ memoirs, Albanese in the USA,

Murder of Lillie James, death of Matthew Perry,

Bushfire season starting early, please don’t repeat early 2020.

War in the Middle East, mass calls for a cease fire,

RBA raises rates, Erin Patterson goes to trial,

Without A Fight wins the Melbourne Cup, Optus nationwide blackout,

Good luck to the CEO, how do you explain the fallout?

Hollywood strike is over, pending volcanic eruption in Iceland,

Detainees released to the public, despite criminal records horrifying,

One by one they’re re-offending, what the fuck were y’all thinking!?

Kelly Bayer Rosmarin resigns, Australia retains The Ashes,

Earthquake in Iceland, Space X rocket failing,

Ceasefire in Gaza, ain’t nothing permanent,

Hostages released but this shit ain’t over yet,

Bus explosion near Niagara Falls, Bruce Lehrmann defamation case,

Rozelle interchange, for motorists a pounding headache,

Ceasefire in Gaza extended, mine rescue in India,

Death of Henry Kissinger, hero or villain you decide.

Gaza ceasefire over, rockets once again exploding,

Peace talks go nowhere, the beef will likely last forever,

Earthquake strikes the Philippines and Indonesia, terrorist attack in the former,

Back home inflation hitting families, will Christmas still be merry?

Donald Day arrested, connections to the Wiembilla shooting,

Former detainees re-offending, calls for Claire O’Neill’s sacking,

Australian students down bad, Britt and Bruce throwing down,

Climate change activists, once again serial pests,

Annastacia Palaszczuk walks away, Steven Miles promoted,

Alan Jones slapped with charges, Kevin Spacey incarnate,

Cyclone Jasper making landfall, Queensland ‘bout to fucking cop it,

NRL hits Vegas, I wonder if they’ll like us?

James Ruse unseated, North Sydney Boys the HSC champs,

Heatwave striking Sydney, Lisa Wilkinson takes the stand,

Ukraine grenade incident, sure was weird and explosive,

In Westfield Penrith a sudden fire, the IDF, friendly fire,

Floods in Queensland terrorising, Westpac and St George online crashing,

Murder in Canberra Zoo, Penrith ‘beach’ opening,

Summer heat got bushfires blazing, El Nino truly mad and steaming,

Pope Francis greenlights same-sex blessings,

Storms on the east coast, Christmas sure was a wild one,

Weeks of scorchers led to this, Mother Nature sure is a funny one,

More pain in the Ukraine, will they ever know peace again?

Speak of which, still no peace in the Middle East, can we still say ‘Happy New Year?’

Old Stomping Grounds

That letter dropped in the mail, got me another summons,

Been ten years since the last, a return to the courthouse loomin’,

Same ol’ setting, in The ‘Riff, been a second home for a decade,

Had worked here previously, just down the road, hence the sense of familiarity,

Making my way, memories flooding back, the good and the bad,

Ten years a slave for the taxman but made me some serious bank,

Got me through tertiary, funded several trips abroad,

Wasn’t an exciting gig but on some days low-key kinda missing it,

Same sentiments thinking ‘bout the rest, of former stomping grounds from yesteryear,

The ‘Riff, Abbotsford, Ol’ Ash and the CBD, the site of many a good memory,

Back when troubles seemed far away like Sir Paul sang about, feeling free and on top as though among the clouds,

Forgive the cliché, but they were the best of times,

Better work-life-balance, far less worries, had me some friends, felt like the prime of life,

Before society began to hate over trivialities and differences, no fear of being canned,

Life aged in the late twenties and early thirties, couldn’t get better than that,

Old enough to do your own thing, young enough, still, to feel optimistic, seemed like the party was never-ending.

Forgive the cliché, but as they say, time brings about change,

Nothing lasts forever, we’re onto the next phase,

Off went that cushy gig at The ‘Riff, with it any semblance of steady employment,

Visits to Abbotsford and Ol’ Ash dwindling, the CBD the new place for hanging,

For working and training, too, socialising and the rest,

Then the decade turned, that all-powerful bug put the world to the test,

Brace yourself, here comes the crash, the glory era on the floor in smithereens,

So begins the next chapter, can’t say it’s all too appealing.

The world put on hold but somehow kept on turning,

Locked down for a year or two to keep the beast from spreading,

Yearning for normalcy upon release, of what had once been,

Sadly, it was never happening, gotta keep on moving,

Lost that gig in the city, extended absence was the cause,

Back on the road alone, friendships can only put up with for so long extended periods without contact, of feeling hazed, frozen out and ignored,

Of all the different crafts to be mastered, losing people just had to be it,

Everyone goes away, in the end, but the man in the mirror played his part in it,

And with ‘em went the good times once enjoyed with ‘em,

I guess it’s a fresh page we’re writing but goddamn, why didn’t they serve a fucking warning?

Back at The ‘Riff, in the present, after being away for some time,

Traipsing through familiar ground, towards the courthouse, nostalgia roaring back to mind,

Many changes made, physically, can’t expect it to stay the same,

Modernized to keep up with times, refurbished buildings, maybe a few knockdown-rebuilds,

Some hit hard by that mass lockdown, they just couldn’t keep up,

Adjust or be left behind, some chose the latter and got ate up,

Feeling a sense of melancholy over what had once been, was it real or just a dream?

But in truth time has an expiry, can’t hold on to ‘em for eternity,

The ‘Riff is history, Ol’ Ash and Abbotsford in the rear-view mirror,

Might still drop by the CBD, but for a whole new other purpose,

No more training, sparring and teaching, the best damn gig ever,

All good things come to an end, pain and change the only fucking constants,

But what’s it they say? Be like water and go with the flow?

The stubborn and fearful end up drownin’ while those that flow stay afloat,

Time to put it into practice, set a target and go for it,

Never know what you can get, like Forrest said, life’s a box of chocolates,

Can’t forget the past, they’re set in stone, look back on them fondly,

As you continue on the road ahead, go create bigger and better memories.

The Final Level pt. 4

It was all drawing to a close, still some last minute business but done with assessments and taking notes,

Bade farewell to peers and teachers alike, a fun day at the junior campus the prize,

A makeshift carnival the order of the day, inner children coming out to play,

Wasn’t feeling it at all, sadly, the previous weeks and months had taken their toll,

Treated like an outsider by the population so two middle fingers towards the fuckers,

The formal was up next, wore a white suit just like I did in year ten,

Sat on the sidelines watching the others, couples dancing, friends reminiscing, got me wondering if in ten years they’ll still be together?

Then came graduation, finally got my flowers for my efforts,

Couldn’t give two shits about it, just wanted to go home and be done with it,

Slim and pale in that photo, school blazer, tie and trousers fitting loosely,

Could’ve doubled as an alternative rocker and just as cynical and angsty,

The showdown is on, the final boss out there still smouldering,

Fourth term the battleground, time to put to test thirteen years of grinding.

Term three break no picnic, it was heads down and studying,

Eat, sleep and revise twenty-four-seven, weekends temporarily non-existent,

Expecting torture but truthfully found it strangely enjoyable,

Reading notes on my lonesome while the radio’s playing, quite the soothing experience,

Day one of testing finally arrived, initial confrontation with that final boss,

My specialty up first, feeling confident compared to most,

Still in the days of handwriting, putting pen to paper, of battling dominant hand cramping,

Regurgitating notes memorized onto paper, trying to sound coherent while the mind and heart are racing,

Day after day knocking ‘em over like bowling pins, strangely felt on top of things,

That strict routine paying dividends, felt that hitting the nineties was possible,

First week done and dusted, confidence rather high,

But the beast still lives, might have in store for me a big surprise,

Second and third weeks came and went, time away from the arena spent in my little room,

Took breaks when I could, not for long, Rocky soundtrack helping to set the mood,

That bus pass been gathering dust fast, P-plates ensure I can commute on my lonesome,

Still feeling strangely relaxed, pre-examination jitters had long passed,

The final week arrived, at last, two more hurdles before freedom,

‘Not long to go, Kiddo, go out guns blazing.’

Took care of the first before the second and last,

The final school exam ever, 13 years went by so fast,

Entered that great hall one last time, accompanied by the final group of peers and teachers I’d ever see,

Nothing but dry eyes here, won’t be exchanging hugs and kisses with ‘em, just want to get this over with, hop in my ride then leave ‘em,

Took a seat not far from the door, Rocky soundtrack pumping through my mind once more,

Plenty of writing will be involved, guaranteed that hand will be sore,

Pen to paper, jotting down responses while the hours are ticking,

Finished with half an hour to spare, finally, the final level completed,

Sat down in silence in a state of semi-meditation, taking in this winning feeling,

Dismissal arrived once three hours had elapsed, gathered my things then walked out the back,

Straight to the parking lot, two now-former classmates bade me farewell,

Grudgingly waved back, saw them off with a glare, hopped in my ride then drove off out of there,

Arrived home early, relief washes over, school’s out forever,

No blaze of glory as previously envisioned, student life ending without celebration,

The kid gloves are off, real life is about to begin,

Which way will you go? How far will you reach? Choice is yours, Kid, it’s yours for the taking.

Postscript:

Snail mail came knocking weeks later, moment of truth finally arrived,

Waiting for this a long time, let’s check out that UAI,

Fell short of the desired mark but still a passing grade,

Felt let down in way but a pass is still ok,

The next step is clearer, but that’s not to say it’s set in stone,

Still adrift at sea, sailing to nowhere on a dingy boat,

Much to their annoyance, their first-born seemingly on a hiding to nothing,

Failed to plan, planned to fail, thirteen years of schooling with nothing to show for it,

Then the Tax Office came calling, the work front taken care of,

As for further studying, signed up for a Cert IV TAFE course,

Seemingly back on track, feeling on top of the world,

Could only get better from here, sadly it just wasn’t to be,

Cut off from that nice-paying job, back to square one once more,

Good times, they never last, got me feeling gutted and ripped off,

Need to press on anyway, hoping for something better ‘round the corner,

In the distance a storm is brewing, thunderclouds are gathering.

FEARS

There you go, hitting another milestone,

From rocking and rolling then crawling, now you’re levelling up to walking,

Previously done under supervision, guided by Ma or Pa’s hands or some wheelie contraption,

Time to try it unassisted, took five steps before tripping, dusted yourself off before continuing, gotta keep the momentum going,

That tiny body packed with determination and perseverance, sadly both may fade with age,

You see, Kiddo, some grow up mastering the art of quitting, giving in to fear and useless opinions,

How the hell does it happen? Sure is mind-boggling,

Not lumping ‘em all in the same box, but it gets them, seemingly, more often than not,

Not trying to scare ya, Kid, you’re still too young to get any of this,

But as long as we’re here might as well give it to you straight before you go on with the rest of your day.

Here’s you; just over a year old, still travelling through life’s early morning,

But peep at those four or five years older than you wishing they were bigger,

Grown-ups have all the freedom, they’re thinking, no bedtimes, schoolwork or pushy parents,

But the future will say otherwise, when you yourself are older you’ll realize,

Youthful fantasies turning out to be fallacies, now you’re dealing with real responsibilities,

Least of all your actions, the ripple effects could mean the difference between peace and catastrophe,

You’ll have learned to deal with scrapes to the knee, it’ll be a flesh wound, literally, compared to life’s other maladies,

Think that being the runt in the litter is a downer? Grown-ups definitely have it rougher,

Choices could mean life or death, ain’t nobody coming to save you from them, either,

Truth is, that once unquenchable curiosity could be blunted, as is that once mighty sense of adventure

For now your peers fear monsters hiding under the bed, later on the voices of doubt within their heads,

Where they were once carefree they’re more aware of their surroundings which could act as breeding grounds for overthinking, got ‘em skittish like creatures looking out for predators,

Even others’ opinions become serious business, never was a barrier between others among youngsters,

But in the grown world they’re using ‘em as weapons of mass destruction, of hazing and other methods potentially dangerous,

While the kiddies a few years ahead of you are pretending to be superheroes and all-conquering beings, their parents’ peers are ramping up the narcissism or giving in to insecurities,

Even the act of selfie-taking a whole new battleground, filters needed to gain some sort of advantage,

Social media a curse and a blessing, depending on how you use it,

Always cognizant of others, looking for strengths and weaknesses, for some it dictates their every movement when they should be staying in their lane and minding their own business,

So they end up moving cautiously, the fear of losing got them chained,

Growing up doesn’t equal total freedom, they get misty-eyed recalling their early years for a reason.

Just some thoughts that came to mind, watching you try and try again,

Setbacks inconsequential, keeping at it until you’ve mastered it, moving on if it’s mission impossible,

No tears from those eyes when it’s the latter unless you scrape a limb, time to find another option, conquer new worlds while you’re at it, it really is that simple,

Contrast that to Mom and Pops’ peers, too many of them throw in the towel too easily,

Don’t come at the writer, Folks, not all are under the same brolly,

But is it not uncommon to watch one fold by way of rage-quitting?

Whether it’s some personal project gone awry or even their own relationships?

Sure, they’re bigger, stronger and smarter but are they really braver?

You might think so since they can handle scenarios that have you hollering but in the face of failure, the unknown, their own image and others’ opinions they’re more or less cowering,

But what you and your fellow kiddos need to realize is that time, once an ally, has become an adversary,

The further along the journey, you see, the greater the knowledge of one’s immortality, some feel empowered while others feel expendable,

One false move can end it all, literally and figuratively,

Some outcomes reversible but in other situations game over,

That’s why they proceed with caution, can’t blame youth on reckless decisions,

Mom and Pops aren’t around no more to rescue them, what happens next is all up to them,

But it really shouldn’t stop ‘em from living,

From trying new things, taking up new hobbies, meeting others dancing to a different tune, maybe shoot for the stars, the sky and the moon,

Can’t jump off the pier without first assessing the depth of that water,

But waiting for too long has its costs, time squandered is time forever lost.

You need not worry about that for a while, still getting to know the world around you with a smile,

But as you get older please don’t neglect your inner child,

The pluck you’re displaying now, trying to take your steps,

Hope you hold onto it for life, use it to overcome life’s many tests,

Whatever it is you aim for, chase after it with all your might,

Success may prove elusive but if it matters you will keep up the fight,

In a few short years you might join your older peers wishing they were bigger,

To be too cool for school and rules, no one can tell them where to go and what to do,

Before you know it you’ll be there, too, one of the grown-ups you once looked up to,

The next generation are where you were at, make sure you keep those youthful fantasies intact,

Live life to the full, be bold and take chances, never mind others’ opinions, to hell with the haters, why concern yourself with the languishing and envious?

Keep trying or find something else, keep it simple, be good and soldier on forward,

They say life’s a rollercoaster, full of twists and turns,

Ride it for as long as you can, got plenty of years to burn,

Seeing that ever-smiling face of yours, only looking forward to the future,

Take it with you, Kid, never stop believing there’s always good around the corner.

Poisoned Chalice

Chalice in hand, held by unsteady fingers,

Contents bubbling, smell is sickening, guaranteed to make a killing,

Tipped then forced down your gullet, by your hand at your command,

Down goes the poison and now your insides are corroded,

Yet you’re sitting, waiting, for they that vexed you to meet their maker,

Though you’re the one that swallowed it, the world around you quickly fading,

The script been flipped, they were supposed to take the punishment,

Should’ve listened to Buddha in matters of holding onto anger,

You think you’ve got ‘em poisoned but in the end it’s you that ends up suffering,

Bearing that weight to spite and remind them that they are bottom-feeding, no-good, foul little cretins while those joints of yours are straining,

To hell with lifting your feet up, you’re thinking, keep it pressed against their necks,

Choke the life out of ‘em, metaphorically, make sure they never forget,

Do tell, Dear Friend, why hold onto wounds from the past?

How do you expect to heal when you keep picking at the scabs?

You think they’re fretting over sins? They’ve likely moved on from that shit,

Forged new lives, perhaps redeemed themselves, it’s been and done and buried deep,

Maybe they never cared, if your description of them’s accurate then they must be sociopathic,

Those types never give a thought to the chaos they create, they’re a special breed indeed,

Why not go another direction? Turn that anger into kindness?

Forgive then let go instead, finally, belatedly, take your foot off their necks.

You’re likely aghast, wondering why show them any mercy? It’s akin to condoning what they did, miss you with that shit,

You’ve got it wrong, though, no one’s asking you to let it slide,

But are such folks worth the effort required to carry hatred with you all your life?

You got to this point intact but choose to stay mad at ‘em,

You’re not hurting ‘em or beating ‘em, if anything just empowering ‘em by choosing to stay their victim,

Forgive them, Friend, drop the load and catch your breath,

Your time on earth is limited, why waste it caught up in these feelings?

Gotta keep your eyes on the road, the only way is forward,

Can’t look at the rearview for too long ‘lest you get into an accident,

So go ahead, let them go and set yourself free,

Life will be so much better, you’ll see.