Help me make it through the night

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“Come and lay down by my side
Till the early morning light
All am taking is your time.
Help me make it through the night.”
– Kris Kristofferson

Night is a state of mind.

Like an emotion that gently blankets the soul and leaves the hapless stranded midst muddy days and lonely nights. The daylight hours distract. They take away attention from the obvious…that we will end up alone on our backs in the dark watching the fan blades dance lazily in the hot humid air to the buzzing sound of mosquitoes, someone snoring or croaking of frogs. But then does it really matter when thoughts are the subterfuge in the merry go round of existence?

The doleful, melancholic and syrupy song of Help me make it through the Night reflects the pack instinct that resides in each of us. Afraid to be alone. To curl up foetus like on a double bed distraught with “aloneness”. Why does this mean so much to so many of us. To feel a warm pulsating body…to cling to…to share…is it the ‘back to the womb syndrome’? Or is it merely a sense of wanting to belong… to be wanted…afraid of dying alone.

The string of everyday gymnastics seem to wind up that dynamo that spurs us on to believing that the next day would be better, more fruitful and maybe profitable. Usually it is just another day followed by just another night. The cycle continues. And madness takes hold and makes sense out of all this.

I believed once that the world would change into a better place, a place where one could frolic in fantasy and nestle in the creases of karma, an accepted proven formula for all things bright and beautiful. Years on the belief has changed to one of exhausted illusions, with the word ‘love’ run threadbare.

New generations rise and fall like the tide of a river, while eddies are the brief moments of ecstasy set to befuddle even the most astute of us.

When the sun sets on yet another day to the raucous refrain of ducks wading through a rice field, I contemplate the meaning of living and end up coming to naught, which in essence is the Universe.

Everything exists in the zero.

Like echoes of sadness that always resonate in the dark.

And as these thoughts take flight into the land of Nod, I patiently wait my turn to die.

For what is life when there so much to die for?

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Pineapple upside down cake and caresses in the kitchen

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(This is not pineapple upside down cake…its been eaten.).

He still tastes it after all these years trampling across life as a hobo believing that all good things remain forever.  Her name is irrelevant. But she did make a great pineapple upside down cake.

The story goes that on a day when biorhythms seemed to be in tune with the self, he chanced upon a slice of cake lying unattended on a kitchen table like the forbidden apple tree in Eden. The path of least resistance led straight to the plate and then moments later the vision became a sweet memory, of course the after taste lingering like the tingling feeling of emptying one’s passion into another.

But the intruder paid the price of beginning to love the cook. Wet hands and oil stains mingling with the aroma of sweat and spices. Colours of turmeric and shades of saffron played across their bodies… two psychedelic concocters conducting an opera of whims and fancies sautéed by passion and a dash of Heinz tomato ketchup.

Yes…yes…those were the days of wine and poses…of sudden clutching and kissing while washing the dishes or wiping the plates. The tell tale signs of broken crockery and bent spoons only gave rise to more nocturnal thoughts resulting in actions that personified mindless sharing…there were no boundaries except when it came to the pineapple upside down cake…it stopped here. The image of it lying unattended then became a sepia print of all that existed in their universe. Ennui opened the sluice gates of their lives and it was over just as soon as the cake was baked and eaten ad nausea.

Rancidness, envy and possessiveness overwhelmed the two to the tipping point of anger and hate. The crumbs of the cake dried up and were carried away by the tiny critters who had been witness to floorshows in the kitchen… Often stamped upon, sat upon or slept upon. Now they carted trophies of diluted lust to another corner of the kitchen that was their home.

Often they would see him enter the kitchen fidgeting nervously and looking around to see it anyone was there…then walk away with drooping shoulders and a sigh. Her panacea had lost its bite. Now the pineapple upside down cake resembled the futility of lust and like fairies existed only in the realms of a fertile mind.

What is hope or love or passion or possession…nothing more than a brief encounter in a dream and then lost forever in the drabness of daily life soaked in tepid emotions.

And as the sun sets across the yellowing rice fields he takes a deep breath and sniffs the air as if to chance upon another enticing pastry…and he stands there as dusk falls…waiting.

Butterfly in the rain

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IMG_1478The rain, incessant and irritating
Wetting him to the soul
Monday, funny Monday
Began and ended
Like a rag wet with petrol
But never lit

It could have been
Another day in eternity
But something stirred
Beneath the eyelids

Ask the lonely, pleaded the four tops
They know the hurt and pain
The pain of being
In the likeness of a rag
Drenched with petrol
On the verge of igniting

But the rain, the rain
Held everything in its grasp
Lock jawed onto reality

Nothing could be released
Not his soul, not his mind and not his love
A beautiful ethereal creature
Like a butterfly caught in the rain

Ubud  21.09.2009

Are we the Gods themselves?

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monkey

If this is a flight of fantasy or tripping the light fantastic with historical events, so be it. Amen.

On New Year Eve 2008 while praying at my favorite shrine in Amed, Bali, I recalled a novel, The Gods Themselves, by the famous science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov, which prompted me to pen this essay.

After paying obeisance, walking down to the shore and laying flowers and incense at the feet of the mighty Pacific and genuflecting before the vastness of the Universe, I returned to my Arak on the rocks resting next to the rippling waters of the infinity swimming pool to contemplate the question whether we are the Gods themselves. I took a swig of reality that flowed between the ice cubes clinking in the glass. The ensuing warmth trickling through my body comforted my restless soul. The moment was perfect in this solitary existence. Peace had descended with a vengeance but inspiration, the bitch of invention, played spoilsport and prodded the soul lying curled up within. Suddenly, questions cropped up like a bad hair day for Medusa – Is there a God, or Gods? Or, are we the Gods themselves?

Many religious aficionados may term these questions sacrilegious or worse, heretical. In reply to these blinkered blokes, I shall quote the protagonist Red from the immortal film, Gone with the Wind – ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’.

Isn’t this an opportune time, at the dawn of another artificial year, to question our existence on this planet; the why fors and where fors?

Surely there are many among us who believe that we are the only living beings on earth that can do all these things; create, manufacture, pre-empt, foresee, destroy, mindlessly use weapons for mass murder, protect, love and more.

Is it conceivable that we are the Gods that ventured out one Saturday night in the Universe and inadvertently overstayed the night out on earth, awakening from a long hangover with no recollection of our place in the firmament?

From this stupor we awoke and created advanced civilizations like the Minoans, builders of temples, whose engineering feats without modern machinery have flummoxed present day historians and their ilk. The Minoans lived one thousand years before the pyramids were built.

Advanced city planning, water ways, architecture, astronomy, mathematics etc. in ancient times when modern technology was not prevalent should be enough evidence to prove the hypothesis that it was the nascent years of the Gods, our ancestors’ stay on earth.

As time dragged its feet across eons, we the Gods became lazy and self destructive; often resorting to violence to achieve a semblance of control over perceived dominions like animals marking their territory. Added to this was an infusion of avarice and egoism that, when ingested through a process of osmosis, morphed us from Gods into ‘human beings’ with all the frailties of animals.

Our memories gently faded into oblivion leaving us stranded with stories, legends and miracles carefully chronicled by word of mouth and script. Over centuries these fragments of thought cemented into a ‘story’ fueled by Chinese whispers that became the foundation for future organized religion.

Religious laws, tenets, commandments, places of worship, days of worship left us impotent for we had finally succumbed to our own delusions thereby cutting the umbilical cord to the root cause of Truth beyond atmospherics, beyond the very essence of physical life on earth. We had severed ourselves from our beginnings thus making ourselves orphans of the Universe.

So how do we retrace our steps cross the dust eddies of history that blurs our past and distorts our sensory perceptions?

Some one suggested to me that the miracle of man on earth lies hidden in the ancient Hindu texts and that the Master Key could be found in the everyday religious performances that we re-enact like exercising at a gym e.g. praying to our ancestors.

What if we could communicate with our ancestors through prayers? (Prayers are in fact a form of speaking to our ancestors/Gods). What if through prayer we discovered the bridge back to Godhood? How many of us would be qualified to attain eternal life on earth? Probably none, for we have digressed too far into the physical world and unwittingly permitted animal instincts to imprison us. We are drunk on worldly pleasures and addicted to its bio-rhythms.

We have, in our haste to relocate our lost Godhood, sown the seeds of religion that sprouted teachers of all hues who had and still do, attempted/attempt, to reach out and touch eternity with prayer, yoga, meditation, fasting, penance, ceremonies and sacrifices animal and otherwise.

All these methods, in reality are too diluted, too impure for they are perpetuated by ‘human beings’ not Gods. The physical world taints all that comes in contact with it.

Nothing is sacred or unsullied.

So where do we go from here after accidentally being marooned on Planet Earth as Gods and then morphing into Human Beings with all the trappings of the infidelities of the Circle of Life and Death?

Admittedly, people have been searching for the answer that could, hopefully, reveal the elusive Ultimate Truth through the process of half-heartedly following the well trodden path to unfettered Love, though never actually reaching the desired destination; which is one of True Love without boundaries, without social stigmas of sex, religion, caste, color or regional affiliations.

True Love could be the Master key to open the celestial doors that lead back to our Godhood: The portal through which we could traverse to take our rightful place in the Universe.

How many among us are brave and unselfish enough to follow this path by transcending all the seductions of a material world, thereby cheating a mortal death?

Only time will tell, hopefully.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Esoteric Enemas and Clash of Clichés

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slipperIn Bali many ‘long stay’ visitors aka derelicts are bereft of common sense for they succumb to the cliche – ‘Let’s not rock the boat’, a euphemism probably for ‘ Let’s not draw attention to ourselves for fear we may be found out for who we really are’.

These unbridled skeptics tip toe around the isle afraid even of their own utterances being misconstrued and thereby attracting the wrath of unknown entities. They remind one of Barking Deer, which are so skittish that they bolt at the sound of their own droppings. One has had the pleasure and privilege of being ticked off by these self-serving people for brazenly questioning the goings on in paradise.

‘You can’t say this, you can’t do that,’ or, ‘You will be thrown off the island if you write this or that’.

The litany of dos and don’ts goes on to the soundtrack of clicking tongues. No, I’m not suggesting these hapless souls speak in tongues; they just suffer from the enormity of anonymity: Faceless wonders in co-habitation with hallucinations that prompt one to surmise that humanity could be evolving in an oblong fashion, thereby creating a wedge between the Haves (those that draw on their cerebral assets) and Have Not’s (lobotomized folk).

‘Excuse me sir, have you reserved a dichotomy?’

‘Yes but please don’t seat me next to a conundrum.’

‘Oh well, do follow me then to your place in the scheme of things’.

Have you ever navigated the tables of diners lost in a make shift world of cocktails and culinary delights to a corner of the eye which is all seeing…all seeing through the spuriousness of an imaginary social set up like Barnabide’s feast?

The derelicts are the watchers in a paradise festooned with religious tributes. They dwell, procreate and congregate as a group that is akin to a herd of Wildebeest; Acceptance and enlightenment being the exception rather than the rule.

It is well known in some circles that their dodgy knowledge is acquired by dredging society and lovingly collecting, collating, rehashing and serving piping hot flotsam and jetsam at warungs frequented by their ilk.

Culture is the conundrum here for it plays a dual role in assisting in the preferences of the Natives on one hand; and on the other, tickling the appetites, extending the elasticity of sexual synergies and enhancing the delusions of those afflicted by a self induced paralysis in paradise.

Could these derelicts be hamstrung by Nature to prevent them from smothering the prevailing fragile culture with their predatory intentions.

Or, are they paradoxes deliberately planted like weeds to balance the forces in paradise?

The answer to all these questions probably lies with the unseen forces that emerge from the darkness to taunt the derelicts in their dreams with nightmares of the past replete with all the angst of love, hate and belonging to the meter of the Gamelan and Clash of Clichés.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Poem – Eight Degrees – Love Poems

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fishfish1

This is a fragmentation of thoughts poorly disguised as poems. Humor me and read them. Then if you so desire consign them to the recycle bin.

Oh Radha!

Visions of love and passion

Drifting ashore at dusk

Announcing the night to lust

On crumpled sheets of lost thoughts

She sat on the beach

As darkness crept up her feet

And covered her in a cloak

Of twilight madness, eating her soul

Krishna had left with the tide

Leaving her forlorn on the shore

Holding her spent dreams

Afraid of them being washed to sea

The moonlit charcoal waters

Raced between her toes

Flowing up her legs

And drowning her sorrows

She waited long through the night

For Krishna to dance into sight

But there was only music to behold

Mermaids serenading him in the depths below

Wayfarers

I came in sheltering from the storm

Cloaked in loneliness

Carrying the pain and sorrow of a lifetime

Soulless, loveless and barren of thought

I called out to the wilderness surrounding me

You heard my wailing in the hills

And came to my door holding out your lips

For me to caress and your arms to rest

You left behind a warm home of love and children

Opening your self for me to enter

To hide my aching heart and dry my tears on your lips

You too cried in joy as we became one

Days have passed and with it many joys

Lying in each other’s arms resting our souls

Hiding from realities of living

Clutching desperately to the belief that things will work out

Sadly nothing remains the same

Time changes and so do people

Are we just wayfarers meeting between lives?

Or lovers destined to be apart?

Kuta Blues

Watching Kuta sunset, hues across the sky

Cascading like his thoughts fading into twilight

He had come to know the wonders of paradise

That could destroy his soul instead of giving it life.

Sunrises and sunsets, blessings in the cosmic trance

Of memories and joys dissolving into the dark

He frantically reached out to grasp the love

Waiting in the clouds above and wonders of a childhood’s end.

But he found to his dismay spirits riding the waves

Sending messages of farewell of goodbye kisses and reminiscences

He strode the shore through the night gasping for breath, a hint of life

Hiding beneath the foreboding waves

Beckoning him to another hell.

She saw him walking by the sea entranced by the lonely scene

She held him by the hand and asked, stranger what make thee

He looked at her and saw himself through the darkness and torment.

She placed her palms on his face

To calm the rising anguish

Whispering thoughts of belonging

Of love and longing, and yes pain again.

The night began to day bringing with it all the joys of yesterdays

But for them there was no sign

Except for the bloody knife.

Farewell

She said good bye today

Wiping away his joys and hope

A small message by her phone

Passing through the ether waves.

He looked to the sky and wondered why

The love she brought and took away

Made him feel so sad once more

Of being deserted again and again.

Mother, he cried, carry me away

From all this sorrow and pain

To a quiet haven faraway

Where joy and love were alive again.

The night descended across the sea

Darkening the land and he

To the sound of temple bells

On the shores of Gethsemane.

He quietly left to search the land

For love and lust and hope again

He found it in a gutter by

Whimpering, hurt and a terrible fright.

Now she has become a part of him

A little creature called sin

Licking pawing and whining for joy

Bringing him back to life again.

Sisters of Mercy

(A dedication to Gwen and Nia)

I came into your life like an abscess on your gums.
Bringing a host of uncertainties
of love, life and whatchamaycallit
the cigar smoke, the whisky and
complaints of a lifetime.

I stayed in your home
bitching and crying

weeping and laughing
to the tune of my own voice.

The change of seasons, the rain
and the wind howling outside
brought with it a joy of belonging
of being accepted with all the iniquities
carried from Bardez to Wales.

The food smelt of love,
the writing of hope
and the wine of forbidden
sex to the sound of Cohen.

Nothing, nothing was more pure
than the sisters who showed their mercy,
placing their soothing palms on my troubled soul.

I shall carry this wherever I go,
remembrance of the joy of having
been loved and cared for and
never being forsaken by true friends.

Wherever you are today
nestling between someone’s thighs
yearning for the ultimate joy
keep this blessing close to your heart
for your karma can do you no wrong.

Life Sentence

She was marooned

Eight degrees south of the Equator

In a life devoid of love

Scampering between beds

And men and hell

Furiously searching for herself.

She had come to this isle

Thinking it was paradise

To absolve her from the past

And start a life anew.

In days she found a man to hold

In innocence to make a whole

And children did she tried to beget

To the silence of dying hopes.

Years have gone by with the tides

Now she sits by the riverside

Crying for her lost soul

Floating down to sea.

She wants to begin her life once more

To the sound of what she knows

For though she was born free

Still she imprisons herself.

Strangers on the Shore

He held her close so she could feel

The fears and tears on the stranger’s cheeks

He swallowed hard and spoke aloud

To the quiet rippling waters

and the moonlit dhows.

She looked at him for she could feel

The fading beats in his breast

She kissed his lips and tasted life

Ebbing from his side.

Stranger, she said, I will love you forever

While gently stroking his thighs

Forever, he said in a dying breath

No, there is no forever.

He kissed her forehead and bade farewell

Turned his back and went.

Alone she stood on the moonlit shore

Gazing at the stars afloat

And with a heavy sigh

Walked into the waters by.

Full Moon

She called him to say goodbye

Nonchalantly uttering the words

The passing traffic drowning out her voice

Trembling he put down the phone

In the distance drums are beating

Cries and shouts in the air

Of ceremonies of the lunatics

Maidens dancing to rhythm of the night

The full moon is up readying itself

Casting shadows in darkened doorways

Waking up the slumbering souls

To another twist of fate

She was the big little woman

The goodbye girl lost within herself

Tasting the moonbeams on his lips

Then moving on to another life

The ethereal light wrapped him in joy

Returning the wayward spirits of the past

Igniting the night with fireflies

That carried his soul away

Neo-colonials – the new birds of prey

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fishbirdI dedicate this column to the Balinese and other citizens of this great country – Indonesia, who have in the past struggled against the Dutch and Japanese only to be confronted today by a new breed of invaders – neo-colonialists. These hi-bred specimens do not abide by any rules except that of self-profit.


In my inaugural column in The Bali Times dated Friday, August 10-16, 2007, I noted the words of my Landlord Wayan who referred to the act of foreigners buying land in Bali as ‘ekenomic colonisation’. He couldn’t have been closer to the truth.


One year later the scenario seems to have remained unchanged – the open season on Bali – just like the good old days when hunting season was declared in some countries allowing people to indiscriminately kill animals. Here in Bali the difference being that islanders are seduced with money in exchange for the land of their ancestors. If this carries on unabated there could come a time when the Balinese will become coolies and labourers on their land. I beg to ask the question – How many Balinese live in villas? And how many Balinese who have sold their land are working on them as labourers? The results of a census are a forgone conclusion.

As the Devil’s Advocate I have jotted down sixteen basic rules to follow to enable all prospective colonisers to successfully enslave the Balinese through a painless process called neo colonisation.


01. When you arrive on the island please do not bring a spouse. All you need to do is ask a resident coloniser who has married a person well below their age: the disparity and the children born from this connubial joy would be unacceptable in most western countries from whence these colonisers originated. But this should not worry you, as this is paradise, anything goes.

02. Once you have done the deed so to speak ensure you register the marriage. If you were previously married etc. you would need to present documents of divorce etc. before marrying a local lass. However, some colonisers have simply got around this by converting to Islam. You can convert if you don’t have the correct documents but continue to pretend to honour the Balinese and their culture by wearing their clothes, eating their food and going to their temples, while dishonouring two great religions of Hinduism and Islam.

03. With a little money and a bank account in your wife’s name you can start plying your trade. Some may talk of acquiring a Kitas, please ignore this advice. A business visa works better as one only needs to travel out of the country every six months. It helps one get a breather from family responsibilities and anything else lurking in the shadows. If in doubt ask any long time resident coloniser who is well versed in this field. There are quite a few floating around. It is heard in local watering holes that a Kitas is more expensive than a business visa for it has to be renewed every year. Further, after five years one can automatically attain citizenship – This is a frightening prospect for self-respecting long time resident coloniser who clings to his or her country’s passport.

04. Now if marriage is not on your mind and you are birds of another feather no worries, the island does not discriminate. It welcomes all who live within the law.

05. Buying land is a safer bet than leasing land in your name. As you cannot buy land in your name please do so in any Balinese’s name. You will have to give a percentage of the value to the person concerned. This is how you can own land that will never belong to you. If problems related to land acquisition arise, throw a few dollars and see things magically fall back into place – this advice you will receive from many an experienced coloniser.

06. If you want to do business always think in dollars but pay in Rupiah, preferably well below the minimum wage.

07. Another option is to be an English teacher. In the past, backpackers have taken it upon themselves to educate the masses, for a fee of course.

08. The essential dress code varies from place to place. It is imperative that you blend into the community by wearing thongs, shorts and a singlet. A tattoo strategically placed could add to the mystery. There are many permutations and combinations but under no circumstance wear a Balinese dress. Unless of course you are going to the temple to pray where there are a sprinkling of colonisers in attendance. You wouldn’t want anyone to see you honouring the culture, would you?

09. Do in Rome as the Romans do – hire a motorcycle and drive around without a helmet or driving licence on the roads and sometimes on the pavements during traffic jams. When caught cry foul and blame it on the police. Also, do not advise underage bikers not to drive carelessly. Though you wouldn’t want to instruct the locals on road sense, you are qualified to advise them on how to run their country.

10. Always visit restaurants and bars frequented by your ilk so that you can feel comfortable talking about the laws of Indonesia and other important things like sports and women.

11. You don’t have to learn Balinese. Bahasa is simple and easy to pick up. You can dress and ape the Balinese but speaking their language that represents their culture and all that they stand for is not required.

12. Joining a local hang out for colonisers is vital to one’s survival. Necessary information can be gleaned from any coloniser reclining with a draught.

13. When in need of spiritual healing please consult any self styled resident coloniser. For a few hundred Rupiah cash you can check your aura, have your fortune told and be shown ways to clear your bad karma. The Balinese do not know anything about these matters.

14. Dogs versus children. I suggest forget the poor children concentrate on the mangy street dogs. Fight for their rights to spread their communicable skin diseases. Feed them not the poor children. Do not follow the system in your home country where such animals are humanely put to sleep. This is good for your karma.

15. If you have a death wish or have no money or place to stay in paradise the law will be provide you with a lifetime of free board and lodging if you can present them with a few grams of banned substance as proof of your lack of understanding of the country’s stringent laws. Many before you are partaking of this unique hospitality.

16. Never consult the locals. They do not know anything about their country. The long time resident colonisers know better. Sit in any Warung frequented by these experts and you will get unsolicited free advice that should help you understand how to ‘deal’ with the locals.


Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

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