Returning to the root

Tao is the way
trees curve
their branches, twigs,
and hang, with
gravity and
     against it, with
     the wind and

     resisting it, bodying
     its blow and
     the pull of earth,
the strength of xylem
and pith,
making their green love

Tao is the way
trees turn,
     away from gravity,
     the sun, their star,
     its photons:
     the bosons its bits

as their holds on each other

Tao is the way trees, deep in dirt and light,
compose a form too fine for the I to see.

From A coat of ashes
First published in The Canberra Times, 30 June 2018

A dumb Daoist


     to lose


     and see

the butterfly


opening his letterbox

     the odd man from Unit 3

who could be anyone


each red

     bottlebrush flower

its particular angle


morning sun


every new leaf

     a dumb Daoist



From A coat of ashes

Open an eye at the surface

In virtual reality
     my son told me
you can now move a ball
     with your mind
A helmet with electrodes
     gathered the waves
An experimental subject
     gradually learned
A digital exoskeleton
     slowly adapted
In a matrix within the Matrix
     a sphere rose and fell

In a dream I tele the lights on and off
     by focusing
     my head

A wink of radiance reflects from a puddle,
     blings through the slits
     of my eyes
A ripple appears: an ocean echoes
     as something falls at random from nowhere
as someone’s roof
     chaotically drips

Open an eye at the surface
     and think in the imperative voice
     sync your mind to a ball
     rethink a cafe to contain a Pokemon
     hyperlink your thoughts to a dream
     blink on and off the lights
While I worked on this,
     gravity waves were detected

I lit a candle
     for a friend in rehab
He had to crash because this, this matrix, is
     our world
Before it rises, it bottoms
     That is its nature
He had to deep
     cycle the battery

In this world the next the last
     in dreams we all can fly
Neuroscience I expect
     knows why

I and eye are still
     at the water’s rim
From here we can’t see far
     so the world looks flat and straight
The ocean has no curvature, the arrow
     no parabola

In India by focusing the mind
     a yogi stopped
     a train
In Jamaica by touching it with his staff
     an obeah started
     an engine
I didn’t add
     to my database
     the unreliable sources

Two black holes a billion years ago
     slammed, are slamming, slam together
To feel space shift
     we need a long long laser
When the black hole crash tsunami
     finally touches the shore
it’s so nothing it has no anything
     until another nothing asks
A fine coherent beam
     of nothing
The laser twitches as the ripple passes

From A coat of ashes

The tiny echo

February 2016

Gravitational waves
were detected last week, I said.

What are they? she asked.

It’s Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, I said.
Think of space (spacetime, I should have said)
as a rubber sheet.
Where there are heavy things on it,
like stars and planets, it bends
downwards. That’s gravity.

Oh! she said. Of course!

Yes, like ripples, I said. Einstein predicted it
years ago, and now he’s been proved correct. Of course.

But gravity is very weak.
It takes something huge
to make a tiny echo.
They detected the tiny echo
of two black holes whomping together
(my two fists punched each other)
a billion years ago.

A billion years, she said.

Yes, I said. It’s all over the web.
Everyone knows.

I didn’t know, she said.

From A coat of ashes