Cash Stash

A beehive, in an abandoned lounge chair,
sits at the blackberry infested entrance
to the strangest stretch of suburban creek line in Australia.
The brambles conceal a Casuarina grove
decorated with tinsel, angels and strap on dildos.
Forest regeneration in Feral Valley
is more surreal than a blizzard in Tahiti.

In the centre of a Cestrum and Tobacco Bush infestation,
Kirk Mcdonald spots the rusting remains
of a flower power era bus.
The guitar stashed under the bonnet
is as unblemished as a music shop display.
The only instrument Kirk can play is the radio.
To him, music is merely auditory maths.
He thinks nothing of smashing the six stringed treasure,
to reach the wads of cash inside.
Despite the oven like heat,
Kirk empties his water bottle
and stuffs it with excess wads of one hundred dollar bills.

Sharing with the crew is unthinkable.
Bush Regen Jesus would spend it all on bibles,
to leave in the glove compartments
of atheists and pagans.
A man who thinks Methusaleh lived to be 969,
cannot be trusted with money.
The Crown of Thorns Parading Goat Fucker,
that slithering Janus,
he’d waste it on fighting defamation suits.
Princess Sheree, she’d squander it on cosmetic surgery.

The afternoon passes like a drag racer with a death wish.
It’s thirty seconds to beer o’clock.
Kirk looks as focused as a clay pigeon shooter,
on the verge of pulling the trigger,
that ring pull doesn’t stand a chance.
An entire case couldn’t have sickened him
like the sudden realization he’s lost his wallet.
He hasn’t seen it since he smashed the guitar,
to set a quarter of a million dollars free.
It was full of cards for his home bonsai business.
What if the cash stasher finds it?
Kirk’s heart rate accelerates,
like a jet powered car on a salt pan,
as his horror movie ring tone sounds.

‘I know what you did, you’re gonna pay’,
a bone marrow freezing voice promises’
Within seconds of Kirk dead locking the door,
and closing his bullet proof roller shutters,
a thunderous knock drowns out the television.
A bikie, built like King Kong, waits impatiently.
Why is he carrying a bucket?
Maybe it’s filled with hydrochloric acid.
Kirk’s fear subsides,
once he realizes the unkempt goliath
is raising money for charity.
Just in case a cash retrieving sniper
is hiding in nearby shrubbery,
he slides change beneath the door.

Kirk runs the gauntlet, to the convenience store,
for cigarettes.
On the way home,
a black panel van sidles up beside him.
As the door slides open, he flees
like he’s being pursued by a starving lioness.
“I’m lost, can you direct me to the motorway”
the driver pleads.
Kirk warily consults Google maps.

The cash scavenger’s bowels loosen
as he’s surrounded by gang members,
in a stray cat infested, laneway.
“Have you seen my guitar ancient man”
their leader menaces.
“Y-y-your guitar, w-w-what does it look like?”
“Have you seen my guitar ancient man,
I think it was stolen by a geriatric fan,
a tragic geezer in need of a busking ban”
“Y-y-you’re just singing a song?”
Their good natured laughter is like desert rain.

The stairs to Kirk’s ensuite creak and groan.
In his terror stricken state he can’t remember
if he’s hidden the cash beneath the floor,
or left it on the kitchen table.
“Yoohoo, Kirk, is that you?
I baked scones.
You look as worried as Uncle Freddie,
the day the police questioned him
about an armed robbery, are you ill?
I’ll make you some vegetable soup.”
“Knock next time mum”

“They don’t know what I did, it was a prank call,
Kirk repeats long into the night.
Screeching tyres shatter the early morning serenity.
“I know what you did” the driver roars,
before departing at rubber melting speed.

On Monday morning Kirk has two cups of coffee,
followed by coffee on his cocoa pops.
To calm his nerves for the journey
from the front door to the driveway
he dresses in riot squad gear
he purchased for a fancy dress party.
“Don’t ask” Kirk warns,
as he stops at a friend’s to change.

The bushland reserve,
where Kirk will be drilling and poisoning
Large Leaf Privets and Camphor Laurels,
is home to hundreds of foxes.
It offers perfect camouflage for snipers.
Maybe it’s time to move to Darwin.

“I know what you did” Bush Regen Jesus roars
as he holds up two charred bibles
and a few that have been defaced
with graffiti of Judas performing fellatio on Satan.
“I found the video of the bible burning
on a USB drive in your wallet.”

Eco Warriors, Part 7

If they’d watched the news
Dangerous and Jumping Giles would’ve seen
CCTV footage of Dangerous versus the Westvale Boys
and Jumping Giles standing idly by sipping a Frozen Coke.
Mirror Boy and his cohorts
had robbed two service stations in twenty minutes
before their stoush with the most feared weed sprayer
since Genghis Khan took a dislike to his palace garden.

Laura Bogan missed the news as well.
She was busy ringing Dangerous Dylan Donovan
to interrogate him about misuse of company vehicles.
“Speeding on two wheels is against company policy?
Since when?
I’m busy darlin, The Warlords are playin.
I’ve got five hundred riding on the first scorer.
We’ll talk about work at work.
Then again, I’ll probably be too busy then too.”
Dangerous turned the volume down,
knowing Laura would yell for ages
before pausing to discover he was gone.
He recorded every call from Laura Bogan
and sent the audio files to Ricardo
to summarize the death threats.

Not content with disturbing Dangerous Dylan Donovan
during a Western Sydney Warlords match,
Laura Bogan made the mistake
of offending Richard Johnson again.
“What do ya mean we can’t arm drones with herbocide cannins.
I could fly em by remote control from my car
during an extended lunch break.
I’d neva be more than two feet
from an ice cold six pack.”
“Garth Izzard just isn’t prepared to pay
for that kind of technology”
Within moments of Laura being out of sight
Richard had stolen her diary again
and sped off on another Office Works escapade.
There was a strong police presence in the shredder section
and Melanie Tulip’s new trousers
were as opaque as a fortress.
Had he driven to the shops for nothing?
An enraged Johnson
wreathed photo copier laden shelving
high into the air.
Each rep was more reckless than the last.

Exasperated with the local police’s refusal
to risk pepper spraying or tasering Richard Johnson
the manager tried a different tack.
“If I give you this state of the art shredder for free
will you promise to never come back?”
“I will consider your offa” Johnson replied
as he headed for the car park, shredder in hand.
It made short work of Laura Bogan’s
forty thousand words of meticulous fabrication.
Richard made a phone call to Oliver Oxford,
who he hoped has taken time out from bird watching
to fill up his herbicide spray pack.

Matt Rush rang Laura Bogan,
to request a copy of the diary she’d been discussing forever.
Richard Johnson listened intently.
Eight kookaburras and five goannas suffered from strokes
during his fits of maniacal laughter.
The electronic copy of Laura’s diary
had been mysteriously deleted from her laptop
and online back up.
Using her name for the password
had proved to be a bad idea.

Every member of the crew knew Lady Justice’s guillotine
was about to descend upon Laura Bogan, except her.
It was a guillotine they’d all had a hand in
building, sharpening and polishing.

“Closed circuit television footage will show
that since the beginning of the job
Laura has repeatedly left site during lunch
without returning until mid afternoon”
read an email from Ricardo to Matt Rush.
Garth Izzard openly agreed,
during a video conference call.
“It’s true Matt, it was quite cunning
how Miss Bogan avoided the regular trails
and built her own personal gates
but not as cunning as Dangerous Dylan Donovan’s
repositioning of the perimeter cameras.

Realizing she was destined for a long walk to the bus stop
Laura Bogan attempted to ring
her cousins for a lift and to organise a hit
on Ricardo Hohns and Dangerous Dylan Donovan.
In their current predicament
it was surprising they’d managed to keep their phones.
What was less surprising
was that they were in prison for the armed robbery
of two Westvale service stations
and conspiring to rob a third.


Eco Warriors, Part 6

Richard worked as hard as a lone tank
versus the United States air force.
“I am King Kong’s conqueror, Godzilla fears me.”
I dare you to unleash your fury upon me” he roared
as he sprinted towards a patch of Inkweed,
wearing a spray pack the size of a swimming pool.

Dexter Finkelstein wandered off
to share his supply of LSD with a wombat.
Laura Bogan took her usual three hour break,
to visit her dope dealer and attend
an orgy hosted by an extra terrestrial
from somewhere in Alpha Centauri.
It’s claim to fame was four breasts
and more penises than fingers.

Oliver Oxford spoke to everyone in earshot
about the superior ergonomics of his loppers
and his reclining camping chair.
He shifted every hour, to saw another tree.
He was one of those people who manages to do less work
than the long term unemployed,
without ever being out of a job.

Dangerous Dylan Donovan raised his middle finger
as a scowling, silver Lamborghini driving, gang leader
cut him off at the service station entrance.
Dangerous was searching his wallet for cash,
when something slammed into his cheek bone.
Had a wedge tailed eagle committed suicide on his face?
Dangerous whirled around
to see a shirtless body builder type
shadow boxing and kissing his own biceps in triumph.
Needless to say, he was not amused.
In his endeavor to give the narcissistic gym junkie
some insight into his personality
he grabbed his detachable driver’s side door
and used it for a shield as he advanced.
Luckily he was wearing his Kevlar body armour
and the door was reinforced with titanium
because a variety of stolen weapons
ranging from a crossbow to an AK-47
were trained on him.
All of them were fired simultaneously.
There was an eerie silence,
once mirror boy’s henchman
realised they’d exhausted their ammunition.

Jumping Giles Corkhill returned
from the pizza store across the street.
Dangerous Frisbee’d the ute door to him
and motioned for him to reinstall it.
He headed for the self kissing show pony,
with his right arm cocked.
A startled looking Mirror Boy took evasive action.
In his haste he crashed into the outhouse wall
Now he was cornered
his ailing bravado was re-inflated.
Donovan’s right arm was reminiscent
of a cobra poised to strike.
His left dangled by his side
as though it were partially paralysed.
As Mirror Boy prepared to counter a devastating right cross
he was knocked senseless by a left hook.
“Idiot” Dangerous remarked
as he strolled back to his vehicle and refueled.

“That’s Dangerous Dylan Donovan.
Some call him the twenty first century Arthur Fonzarelli”                                                   A bystander proclaimed.
“I call him dead meat” the gangsters roared in unison.
Jumping Giles Corkhill casually sipped his frozen Coke.
Dangerous had gotten them into
and out of situations more dire than this.
He looked bored by the ease
with which he flung his attackers into their vehicles.
Jumping Giles slashed their tyres
before they could disentangle themselves.
Two carloads of police officers pulled into the service station
to replenish their donut stockpile.

Nobody had reported the fight.
The service station attendants were preoccupied
with putting out a fire in the dumpster
and getting their lunch time exercise
chasing away graffiti vandals.
“Not again” Lawry, the owner, moaned
as he discovered the confectionery freezer had been stolen.


Eco Warriors, Part 5

Richard Johnson yearned to
spray an Asparagus Fern patch with Agent Orange
“Who is Agent Orange” he demanded to know,
after Laura Bogan invited Rowena Grey,
the site safety and morale officer, into the conversation
on the whereabouts of his illegal herbicide supply.

After terminating the interview,
Laura gazed at a pair of red belly black snakes
slithering into a hollow Grey Box stump.
Ms Bogan was nothing like red bellies,
the timid puppy dogs of the venomous serpent world.
She longed for a cup of their venom,
to add to the crew’s coffee,
in her quest for subservient replacements.
Her crew damning diary contained more fantasy material
than the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Ricardo Hohn was the main character.
She’d hated him ever since he’d informed her
the weeds she chastised him for ignoring
were native plants.
This diabolical humiliation occurred
at the now defunct At War With Weeds,
on the day 
the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded.
Laura had been plotting her revenge ever since.
Mother Nature’s Bodyguards CEO Matt Rush,
looked forward to reading her damning reports.

The moment Laura disappeared from view
“Richard Johnson rummaged through her bag.
He was desperately hungry.
The two litre bottle of Coke,
packet of Oreo’s and feral goat,
he’d had for morning tea weren’t enough.
He felt around for false compartments,
sniffing for anything that vaguely resembled food.
Eventually he pulled out an exercise book.
After reading the chapter entitled Richard Johnson,
he considered sending Laura Bogan’s van
falling end over end
into the broad, fast flowing creek,
that wound its way through the property.
The handbrake would be no use
against the one man scrum that is Richard Johnson.
He searched everyone’s vehicle in search of sustenance.
Oliver oxford was writing his memoirs.
Oxford claimed he’d taught Johnson
the art of simultaneous brush cutting
and knap sack spraying.
“That Mista Puniverse bludga
musta shown me howta do it with the Lego version
of a brush cutta and spraya.
Otherwise howda fuck coulde’ve lifted em?” he raged.

Richard Johnson went to lunch early,
leaving a cloud of dust in his wake.
He paid little attention
to the late model silver Lamborghini
he nearly ran off the road.
The driver got a good look
at the Mother Nature’s Bodyguards logo
on the side of his vehicle.

If Office Works had of been closed,
it might’ve been the victim of a ram raid,
for the sake of borrowing a shredder.
Johnson fed the life and times of Oliver Oxford
into the biggest, baddest document destroyer available.
“Are you going to buy that sir?
You’ve been testing it ever since I started working here”
sales assistant, Melanie Tulip challenged him.
He glared down at her,
as though she were trying to talk him into
paying five dollars a minute for the air he breathed.
Then he used his unbelievably good eyesight
to examine her sheer, lacy underwear.
Shoddy brain surgery,
after Johnson’s fight with a tractor,
had given him the ability to see through
any clothing less opaque than a leather jacket.
“Your panties are blue” he stated,
as proudly as if he’d just solved
one of quantum physics most baffling mysteries.
From that day forth,
Melanie wore six pairs of stockings
and yoga pants beneath her trousers.

Richard reread Laura Bogan’s diary
as he drove back to site
only twenty k’s over the speed limit.
He had one hand pressed firmly on the horn,
to drown out everyone who had a problem
with his latest multitasking feat.

Johnson almost side swiped Dangerous Dylan Donovan
at an intersection.
Dangerous’ own lunch time escapade
would prove to be more action packed than Richard’s,
but he didn’t know it yet.

Eco Warriors, Part 4

Laura rolled her eyes at Dexter Finklestein,
who was engrossed in a conversation with a non-existent koala.
Shock waves from Dangerous Dylan Donovan’s speakers
had more than Laura’s coffee cup vibrating,
to the tune of Uptown Funk.
“Too hot, hot damn, too hot for the Police and the Fireman,
too hot, hot damn, make a dragon want to retire man,
to hot, hot damn, say my name, know who I am……”
At first glance Dangerous Dylan Donovan looked like
the best equipped bush regenerater she’d ever seen,
then she realized his trailer
was merely the casing for gigantic speakers.
Laura decided to have a talk with Dangerous,
about the excessive noise
affecting the breeding patterns of local wildlife.
Upon noticing how incredibly good looking he was
she spoke of the wonders of a nearby cave instead,
a moist wonderland with countless satisfied visitors.

Jumping Giles Corkhill, somersaulted to Earth
from the lounge chair bolted to the floor of
Dangerous Dylan Donovan’s ute tray.
“The boy knows how to make an entrance”
Dangerous stated with pride;
before turning his attention to Oliver Oxford.
‘Give me the run down on Golden Whistlers Oxford.
That’s one there isn’t it?

“The scientific name is Pachycephala pectoralis, Mr Dangerous.
They’re distributed throughout eastern and southern Australia
as far north as Cairns and as far south as Tasmania.
They inhabit rainforest, scrub and open forest.
Usually solitary and deliberate in their movements,
they possess a sweet and ringing song.”
“Sorry, I wasn’t listening, can you repeat that Oxford?”

“Don’t annoy me by raving on about birds, I’m busy”
was Dangerous response to take four.
“It’s okay Oliver, it’s all good practice”
Rowena, the crew’s morale and safety officer consoled.
She would’ve reprimanded Dangerous Dylan Donovan
but his boulder pulverizing biceps
meteor shattering, manly jaw and larrikin grin
left her too dizzy to speak.

The news CEO Matt Rush was on site
prompted the crew to scurry
to the makeshift parking lot
for a discussion on weed targeting priorities,
the dangers of cutting down trees
in which crew members had taken up residence
and questions concerning how Richard Johnson
had acquired a dozen mining helmets since signing on.

Richard had a gripe of his own.
“I wanna know whose bin spreadin bullshit
bout me being connected to the Wussian Mafia.
Whoever it is I’m gonna knock im
inta the middle of next year.”
Oliver Oxford, who had been front and centre
poised to impart his knowledge
on everything from Work Health and Safety laws
to the likely date of the Apocalypse
had mysteriously disappeared.

“What do you mean rumours?
It’s true isn’t it” Ricardo Hohns piped up.
Johnson lurched forth like Frankenstein.
He swung and missed,
almost uprooting an African Olive.
Hohns looked as relieved
as a man who has successfully crossed Conrod Straight,
during the Bathurst One Thousand,
by a hairs breadth.
After regaining his composure, Ricardo sang
“Do ya, do ya, do ya wanna dance”
“I hate that song” Johnson bellowed.
As he covered his ears Riccardo lunged
and planted a leaping overhand left on the point of his chin.
It had less effect than a marble
clanging against the turret of a tank.
Dangerous Dylan Donovan barked instructions
‘Riccardo, use your speed, circle clockwise,
unload with a left
on his recently re-attached right ear’
“What speed?” Ricardo asked.
“Betta find some real quick
or I’m gonna havta step in for ya”
Dangerous removed his jacket faster
than a Spanish bull fighter shifts his capote
and flung it the length of a bowling alley
into the waiting arms of Jumping Giles Corkhill.
If he’d been any more accurate
Giles would’ve been wearing that jacket.
Hohn’s taunted his Godzilla dwarfing opponent
“Johnson, you look like a teletubby hybridised with a troll.
You’re so stupid
you’d crack open a
 coconut to make a cup of cocoa.”
Ricardo ducked beneath a haymaker
that might’ve decapitated him if it had landed.

“Grow up” Rowena screeched,
startling the combatants into statue stillness
and shocking the cheering mob into silence.
Any more of that and both of you can stand
in neutral naughty corners all day without pay.”
Matt Rush, who had bet Dangerous nine hundred dollars,
on the outcome gave Rowena a nod of approval.

Matt completely forgot about the coal miners helmets
Richard Johnson had mysteriously acquired.
It never occurred to management that Hohn’s vs Johnson
might’ve been staged as a diversionary tactic,
with the added bonus of $900 being split three ways. 

Large Leaf Privet massacring chainsaws
and Lantana annihilating brush cutters
destroyed the serene atmosphere
as shockingly as Dangerous Dylan Donovan’s sound system.
Knap sack herbicide sprayers blanketed
Moth Vine, Cape Ivy and Morning Glory patches,
which had spread so rapidly
time lapse photography was barely needed,
to watch their advance.

A chain saw wielding Richard Johnson,
drilled and poisoned the world’s biggest African Olive
with a jackhammer and a drum of diesel,
before charging at the next Olive infestation
like he was going over the top at Gallipoli.
Four former NFL players,
secondered from the landscape construction crew,
hauled the fallen weed trees from his path.
Rowena Grey ran around with the grace of a flamingo dancing,
in her bid to poison the stumps in time.
Ricardo Hohns stacked the butchered invaders remains,
between towering Eucalypts and Corymbias.

After morning tea, Ricardo and Rowena extricated Erharta
From a patch of Weeping Meadow Grass.
Riccardo was spellbound by her tales of everything
from mushroom farming
to entertaining hospitalised children with her ukulele.
Ricardo delighted in pointing out
every passing Rufus Fantail and Yellow Robin.
He named every rare native herb he spotted.
What magnificent specimens of Solenogyne bellioides
and Cymbonotus lawsonianus he proclaimed.
One could be forgiven for thinking
they were thought to be extinct
since whales ancestors first fished in coastal shallows.

“Out of the sun Ricardo” Laura Bogan barked
with the fury of a rabid Doberman.
“I’m perfectly comfortable” Ricardo answered.
“Get the fuck out of the sun now” Laura screamed,
as she aimed the nozzle of a Staraine laden sprayer at his eyes.
With his hands raised in the air Ricardo did as he was told.
“I’m just thinking of your safety Ricardo.”
Rowena looked ready to flip Laura
into an African Box Thorn thicket.

Laura made a note in her diary
“Ricardo always seeks the shadiest spots to work,
at the expense of the crews health”

Eco Warriors Part 3

Matt Rush, Billy Giant and HR manager Gaile Wilde
embarked on a mission to assemble
the greatest conservation and land management crew
ever to wear Mother Nature’s Body Guards
high vis orange and forest green.
Most in demand
was former Western Sydney Warlords prop forward Richard Johnson,
It was said that Lantana shrivelled and died
in terrified anticipation
of the first cloud of Round Up from his lethal weapon.
Johnson was most famous for
mistaking escaped serial killer Ivan Milat for a bunyip,
after he made the mistake of robbing a cosplay store,
in search of a disguise.
Johnson was half way through barbecuing
the notorious murderer for breakfast,
when he realized his error.
The revelation did nothing to diminish his appetite.

Once Johnson had been poached from Weed Busters,
Liverpool’s landscaping, amateur stunt car driving
and mixed martial arts legend Dangerous Dylan Donovan
was in Mat Rush’s sights.
The man could plant trees as fast
as he could get a hand bag snatcher in a headlock.
The unofficial reason for Dangerous Dylan Donovan’s employment
was putting Richard Johnson back in his cage,
if he insisted on using plutonium to kill Alligator weed,
like he’d allegedly done
during his stint at If it’s Noxious we Nuke It.
Richard was disturbingly prone to taking things literally.

It was rumoured Johnson was under investigation by ASIO
and the Federal Police,
concerning alleged links to the Russian mafia.
Many assumed that was how he’d ‘acquired
his long since confiscated stock pile of radioactive herbicides.
Johnson was still in denial concerning the illegality
of lacing Fluroxypyr with uranium.

Dangerous Dylan Donovan’s sidekick, Jumping Giles Corkhill,
was renowned for high volume Lantana spraying,
in places where a goat wouldn’t dare tread.

Then there was Dexter Finklestein,
a former botanist and master story teller.
The man was like a bizarre hybrid of Grandpa Simpson,
Robin Williams and Aussie TV presenter Don Burke.
You could never tell when his forty minute talk
on alternative methods of ironing would give way
to how he once robbed a Melbourne tram,
with a cap gun,
while dressed as a fifteenth century Japanese bandit.
Dexter’s hobbies included pressing weeds,
and telepathic communication with ducks.
With Dexter on board Plant File was obsolete.

Oliver Oxford,
the man who spoke of his heroics with the S.E.S,
as though they were unsurpassed
by the most daring exploits of the S.A.S,
joined the crew as some sort of consultant.
Precisely what his job description was nobody knew
but he seemed to enjoy polishing tools,
making sure the site boundaries had been marked,
listing his qualifications,
discussing the botanical dictionary
he’d been working on since he was four
and ranting and raving about what he’d do
if he were Prime Minister.
What Oxford loved most was giving orders.

Ricardo Hohns, the last recruit,
was renowned for cutting down
African Olives and privets in his sleep.
Some mornings he’d wake to find himself
poisoning a stump halfway down a cliff.
Matt Rush bought him a tent
and made him the site security guard.
After all, at 3am, how many things are scarier
than a guy with a zombie like stare
charging at you with two bow saws and a tube of weed killer?

Laura Bogan,
former member of the south western crew,
was appointed supervisor,
on the basis of Matt Rush’s belief evil people get the job done.

Aware Matt would be onsite, on the first day,
Laura marked the site boundaries at dawn.
A tennis ball skipped across the shallows
of a heavily polluted creek,
like it had been struck by Roger Federer
and splashed an evil looking puddle into her face.
The mouthful of water from Izzard Creek
was infinitely worse than raw sewage.
Laura looked about wildly for the culprit.
She imagined Ricardo Hohns was responsible
and wrote this down.
After a few dabs of liquid paper
the tennis ball became a rock.

Eco Warriors, Part 2

Whenever Matt Rush wandered on to site
productivity plummeted and suicide climbed.
He did the least damage when innovating from afar.
His morning musings led to the purchase of spy drones.
Rush daydreamed about arming his surveillance fleet
with low calibre weapons,
to shoot down Indian Mynas.
It was one of his more practical ideas.

Rush returned South Western Crew Supervisor Davo Davidson’s call,
more aggressively than Andrei Agassi ever returned serve.
“Davo we aint changing the company name
to The Weed Massacre Gurus.
It’s the perfect label for a heavy metal band
that advocates the use of hashish laced with crystal meth
but not for a conservation company.
Yes Davo, I know your Green Thumb Green Berets
start screaming threats of violence
at blackberry thickets before dawn,
between mumbling obscenities at tool thieving,
hairy extra-terrestrial goblins,
but it’s not something we want emblazoned,
on of our fleet of utes.
True, yesterday I said it’s your best idea ever
but that wasn’t a compliment Davo,
it was a comparison,
like comparing influenza with radiation poisoning.
What! You’re planning to leave the company
and beg me to be your referee?
If you leave in anything besides a body bag,
all I’ll reveal to prospective employers
is the true nature of your fixation
with the rare Cumberland Plain Land Snail!”

Davo Davidson’s elite line up of chain sawing lunatics
were yet to massacre a hectare of African Olives.
Assistant supervisor Laura Bogan’s treatment
of the jumping ant bite on Davo Davidson’s tackle
was unorthodox to say the least.
She was too focussed on her work
to notice Davo’s video link to his backyard
Cumberland Plain Land Snail farm.
These creatures are rare in the wild
but at Davo’s place they’re in plague proportions.

“For Chrissakes not now” Davo hissed,
as his phone vibrated in his pocket.
He struggled to speak normally
as Matt Rush’s voice tormented his ears
like a demonically possessed angle grinder.

“Davo, if your crew hasn’t smashed five hectares
of African Olives by midnight,
you can forget about recouping the cost of fuel.
Nathaniel Smoke and Mirrors Daniels,
our new accountant,
is more creative than Leonardo Da-Vinci.
Don’t even think about sabotaging the spotlights.
Penalty rates rofl?
Davo, if you approach the union,
you and the snails gonna be all over YouTube.

Oh, I nearly forgot, HR manager Gail Wilde
will be on site tomorrow to discuss
Mother Nature’s Body Guards anti-bullying policy.
Make sure ya ready for that loser,
or I’ll kick you up the arse so hard
you’ll be farting through your nostrils
and punch you in the nose so hard
you’ll be sneezing out your arse.
The CEO of Stratosphere Apartments,
is here to treat me to a gourmet lunch, bye Davo.”

“Yes Medusa, we’ve got that former wasteland,
near the National Park, looking like forest wilderness
and pretty signs
advertising Stratosphere Apartments sponsorship.
Nobody will suspect a thing until the bulldozers arrive.
That penthouse discount is huge.
Words can’t express my gratitude.
Sorry, I must take this call.”

“Jonathon, of course I’m happy to edit
that wind farm construction site, threatened species report.
Yes, a few commas are out of place,
of course that’s all you mean.
I’ve got to go, Medusa Crabtree,
the CEO of Stratosphere Apartments,
is here for an urgent meeting.

Matt Rush was still sampling
the six hundred dollar bottle of Champagne,
that had mysteriously found its way to his desk,
during Ms Crabtree’s visit,
when Garth Izzard strolled into Mother Nature’s Bodyguards HQ,
flanked by his most obsequious lawyers.
The dollar signs in Rush’s eyes
flew like fireflies in a cyclone.

The tender manager Billy Giant,
appeared from nowhere,
holding his pen like a flick knife,
in anticipation of ruthless negotiations.
The participants stared at each other
across the boardroom table
like rival gangsters in a game of high stakes poker.
By three A.M
the one hundred million dollar contract
was a done deal.
The tedium of re tendering charades
was years away.

“Get up ya mug” Matt roared,
as Billy Giant collapsed from exhaustion
on a crocodile hide door mat.
“It’s alright he’s out cold, he won’t feel a thing”
Matt explained to Rowena the cleaner,
as he used Billy for a door mat
on his way back inside, to get his keys.

Eco Warriors, Part 1

To quote Garth’s kindergarten teacher,
“That kid wouldn’t help an old lady
pick up her walking stick,
not unless she guaranteed him
two thirds of her pension cheque first.
Garth hadn’t grown kinder with age.
He greatly admired former U.S Secretary of State
and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Henry Kissinger.
Not surprisingly his favourite Kissinger quote was
“the illegal we do immediately,
the unconstitutional take a little longer”.
Garth’s shareholders trusted him
to apply this philosophy humanely.
His interest in the carbon trading scheme,
reluctantly implemented by Prime Minister Jock Waffle,
was thought to be as altruistic as God,
all of Rudolph Epoch’s newspapers said so.

On Izzard’s latest carbon sink acquisition,
in Western Sydney,
native plants protected rapidly advancing exotics
from bulldozers and boom sprayers
like human shields protect terrorists
from tanks and fighter planes.
Izzard was apoplectic with rage
when he learnt this weed imperilled wilderness
had to be regenerated manually.

He reluctantly provided his army of Sunday hippies
with free tools,
from the reject depot of his hardware chain
and permitted them to dumpster dive
for biscuits, at the back of his supermarkets,
providing they waived their right to insurance cover
for needle stick injuries.
Garth was astonished to discover his flood of generousity
wasn’t enough to inspire sixteen hour shifts
of hacking into seething masses
of Lantana and Morning Glory
with the ferocity of a Spartan warrior
in a fit of roid rage.

Impatient to discard his ageing eco-maniacs,
he fed their morning tea stockpile of stale biscuits
and use by nineteen eighty six lime cordial
to his pit bulls,
They herded the hordes of doddering pensioners
off his land once and for all.
Garth’s departure speech was brief and brutal.
“If you greenies are doing what you love
why do you need to be rewarded
for your Olympic swimming pool
of shirt saturating, eye stinging sweat?
Fuck off you fucking hordes of tree hugging lemmings”

Garth’s chief accountant Niles Cash
attempted to console his heartbroken employer
“Sir, unfortunately slavery is frowned upon
in twenty first century Australia.
It must be hard to accept the mighty injustice
your problems can no longer be solved
with your favourite stock whip or cattle prod.
Don’t fret, I’ve the utmost confidence
in Prime Minister Jock Waffle’s top secret plan
to abolish the minimum wage.”

“Nile’s, why do the criminal classes
expect their living handed to them on a platter?”
“Left wing lunatic propaganda makes them soft sir.
Should I rebook your pedicure
and four hands Hawaiian massage,
so your therapist can calm your Greenie mangled nerves?”

Ten days later,
Garth swallowed his pride and called Matt Rush,
his estranged half brother and CEO
of the conservation kings,
 Mother Nature’s Bodyguards.

Varnished and Vanished

Jade painstakingly sculpted Myrtle,
the bipedal, amphibious, octopoid,
from mottled marble.
The black garnet pupils of her green fluorite eyes
looked real enough to grow and shrink in light and shadow.
Mining magnate Martin Martyn paid more for this lifelike marvel
than his driverless Rolls.

Myrtle was Jade’s lover Opal’s preferred murder weapon,
in Art Museum Mayhem, her latest theatrical gem.
Jade wheeled the loan into her partner’s hallway.
The place was as chaotic as manic poetry.
Opal’s sister Helena was assembling kitchen cabinets
without instructions,
that alone was as ominous as a tsunami warning in the Maldives.
Their sibling Hugo had smoked enough weed
to believe a claw footed bathtub, in the lounge room,
surrounded by a fern jungle,
was a home decorating triumph.
The tub overflowed,
as Helena’s husband Darius bored holes for picture hooks,
with a drill that hadn’t been tested and tagged
since Reagan continued his acting career in the White House.

Between beers and bowls of ice cream,
Darius and Helena raced each other up the fire escape,
giggling like toddlers.
They’re in a competition to see who vomits first,
Hugo explained to the bath’s scuba diving gargoyle.
Jade meditated with the aid of a blind fold, ethereal jazz,
and a playful breeze, until her angel arrived.

Opal instantly noticed
the sculpture trolley was as empty as a politician’s promise.
Months of honing her search skills, for the Federal Police,
proved as useless as a granite dartboard.
Her one thousand litre pot plants had been toppled.
Nobody remembered a mini tornado invading the balcony
The wine glasses perched on the window sill
looked as stable as Olympic divers.

Opal once told her tower climbing, ex-girlfriend Jacqueline,
she buried cash in pot plants.
Had Jacqui taken her more seriously
than rumours of lunar rain forests?
Ecologists cameras ridiculed her crime time location claim.
Only an albino goanna and a graffitied turtle were recorded.
Opal’s radio was found in Jacqui’s back pack.
Detectives wondered if she’d
dropped Mrytle the amphibious bipedal octopoid
into a foam rubber lined dumpster.
A homeless man, camped in bus stop shrubbery,
was filmed rummaging through the industrial bin.
His explanation sounded as unconvincing as stories of
Mars being terraformed by Saturnian cyborgs,
but the damning evidence was circumstantial.
Rumours he was a pub salesman, of everything
from mobile phones to comic book tribute toilet paper,
lead nowhere.

Multimillionaire buyer Martin Martyn
had seen Jade’s masterpiece evolve from a slab
to the finished form. He waited for its twin to emerge
from beneath her chisels and lathes.
Myrtle the amphibious, bipedal, octopoid, mach two,
was more finely crafted than the original.

Jade returned from the book exchange to discover
Myrtle the Second had been swapped with Myrtle the first.
Martin Martyn was as oblivious as an oyster.

After observing Helena glancing nervously towards the kitchen cupboards,
Jade discovered the floor space had shrunk.
She found the false wall, behind the pots and pans.

The Woman with the Flame Robin Tattoo


Masquerade belly dancers flowed across sprung maple,
as effortlessly as mermaids swaying through aquamarine.
Bethany’s shimmering waxed crown
merely altered the flavour of her beauty,
nothing could detract from her radiant gateways
to alternate universes.
She recited my paper aeroplane poem
‘It’s an honour just to see her move.
Oh how I long to taste the rising tide of her nectar,
to inspire an ecstatic lullaby
that escalates into a climactic scream’
‘How bold’, the raised eyebrows
of the translucent robed fantasy weaver proclaimed.
Would you like to see our apartment,
her voluptuous, cocoa complexioned, girlfriend offered,
unaware of the magnitude of my obsession.
Polyamory seemed poisonous then.



That winter I spotted Bethany on
Her pale jacket was perfectly camouflaged
by a snowy backdrop.
Wayward strands of her wavy dark hair
reminded me of an old world forest,
its Autumn splendour buried beneath ice and snow.
Her serene gaze summoned thoughts of a stone cottage,
in the depths of blizzard ravaged woods;
the harsh glow of electricity
never to illuminate its bronze age walls.
Then she was seated at a grand piano.
Her strapless, emerald, satin dress,
revealed a perfect rendering of a Flame Robin in flight.
I imagined her to be on the verge
of playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
In a flooded valley,
she snorkelled to within reach
of a mediaeval cathedral spire.
The final photograph was a silhouette
framed in Kirlian colour.
By the time I’d composed a message
her profile had vanished.



Montages of Bethany’s magnificent performances
dominated my thoughts,
as waves thundered into rocks
a thousand rungs below my recliner.
Before I spoke in sentences
a fisherman was swept from the ladder,
in front of my uncomprehending eyes.
With Bethany on a virtual stage before me
I couldn’t finish the first paragraph
of bank heist, ritual murder
and courthouse graffiti articles.
The cabaret theatre finally faded
as a story pondering the disappearance of poets
seized my attention.
According to The Daily Reflection they’d received death threats,
in handwritten calligraphy, on human skin.
The eliminator vowed to throw her rivals
into box jellyfish infested waters.
‘Belly dancing and spoken verse wunderkind Bethany Trellis’
was rumoured to be the latest abductee.

From my cliff top hideaway I scanned the surf
with a powerful telescope,
in search of porpoises and dolphins.
On the tip of a sea ravaged headland,
a Flame Robin adorned woman gazed at the blazing horizon.
Remnants of a mighty wave concealed her.
Spray plummeted to Star Fish havens below.
She’d vanished!
Had the ocean claimed her
or had she departed from the storm whittled stage
as discreetly as a magician?
Was she was real,
or a radiant shard of a shattered mind?



I walked the winding cobblestone lane
from my cliff top village home
to the river mouth.
Trestle tables, laden with baskets of fruit,
lined the path to the shore.

In a vacant meadow,
the girl with the Flame Robin
emblazoned upon her shoulder blade
played a duet with the rising wind.
I waited for one of the villagers
to toss a coin into her barren instrument case,
to prove she was real.
“I feared you’d been abducted and murdered”
were the words imprisoned in my throat.

As I warned off a chihuaha stalking fox,
the enigmatic trobairitz vanished
as swiftly as that shifty canine.



The promotional posters, at Crystal Temple,
were the size of a swimming pool.
I would’ve recognized Bethany’s silhouette minus the aura.
The orchestral splendour of a grand piano
drifted down a spiral staircase,
washing over surreal landscapes
like surf caressing the beach.

The pianists tuxedo was as moulded
to her towering, curvaceous figure as her cocoa skin.
Exquisite lace, nestled beneath her regal ensemble,
was as pronounced as wrought iron wildflowers.
Ladies who’d thought themselves more immune
to the charms of womankind than a eunuch
found themselves in the thrall of her pan-romantic sorcery.
Her Goddess humbling form was upstaged
by the frantic ballet of her talented hands.

Ribbon twirling contortionists
accompanied the sultry musician’s miraculous voyages
into the possibilities of sound.

The most exquisitely proportioned Goddess of music ever deified
was overshadowed by the mystical aura of the host.
If she were an epic poem, the silky smooth thighs,
vanishing beneath her flared satin skirt
would’ve been the least meritorious detail.
It was easy to imagine her sleeveless, iridescent blouse
choreographing the opalescent lighting.

The raven haired, Flame Robin inked, compere
recited a poem from my anthology Phantom Pilgrimage.
Her melodic voice wrapped around the audience
like divine light.

It’s Time to soar beyond the Canopy

Every chrysalis has split asunder,
our wings cannot be overwhelmed
by the deluge following the thunder.’

Adorned by pendants of jade,
we dance in a Wattle glade,
admiring cherry grevilleas
and crimson bouganvilleas,
until the heat begins to fade.

Mauve dusk gives way to moonlight.
Awkwardness melts and passion rises,
expert hands spring intimate surprises.
Sensuous animals and souls embrace
as mouths caress and fingertips trace.
Hearts are healed with summit prizes.

We cross Poseidon Creek by lantern light.
I see word pictures of your soul in auburn eddies,
which I recite before the Sun God
reveals its blazing Cyclops eye.
Venturing back into graffiti defiled urban wild
fails to murder the magic.

At the culmination of that euphoric tale
I thought I saw the vividly hued Robin
inked on her shoulder blade,
fly above the crowd and vanish.
After the dimming and brightening of the lights
her back was a blank canvas no more.
An enigmatic smile graced her lush, blood red lips.
To this day I cannot say
if the flight of the plump, diminutive bird
was a hallucination, special effects or real.



After the show, Charlotte the piano wizard
sold memorabilia in the foyer.
I waited in vain for Bethany to appear.
The oil of her testing the narrative limits of a Spanish guitar,
was it there when I entered the auditorium?
The midnight haired beauty,
on the tip of a sundrenched headland,
hadn’t she been standing beneath a waterfall
before the show?
Her birth name is Bethany Trellis
but only the woman with The Flame Robin Tattoo
captures her layers of mystique.
She is the essence of Bubushka.
Since then I’ve been as close to her
and her piano virtuoso lover as their gourmet dessert,
but my probing questions are met with no more
than a twinkling of her sapphire gaze.



Charlotte was banished
from the realm of the Flame Robin Princess,
after succumbing to the wiles of an actress
who steals lovers with the zeal Stephen Hawking
explores the mysteries of astrophysics.
While Bethany walked the streets,
lamenting the death of the relationship,
a tranquilizer dart missed her
by the width of a violin string.
The gossip mags devoted more ink to pondering
Charlotte’s wary eye bordered jellyfish tattoo.

The anniversary of my paper aeroplane poem
interrupting Bethany’s belly dancing troupe
was as momentous as the moon landing.
I found a copy of Phantom pilgrimage,
with lipstick all over the dust jacket,
hiding beneath free samples and pizza vouchers.
In the evening, a dusty wooden crate
mysteriously appeared on my veranda.
My eyelids outweighed osmium.
I waited to dawn to prise open the lid
and remove three ornately framed canvases:
a telescopic view of a statuesque figure,
on a sun drenched headland;
a close up of the sender
wearing nothing but an enigmatic smile
and a painted enlargement of a poem,
in my handwriting.

The opening verses read,
“Street lights surf wavelets across the bay.
Moonlit Casuarinas stand sentinel over fragile soil.
Flying foxes surf the midnight breeze.
This symphony of movement,
is conducted by the swaying of the belly dancer’s hips.
Her gestures sculpt the clouds into an alien menagerie.
In contrast, the intricate portrait in my coffee
is as unimpressive as a toddlers stick figure.
She steps with the lightness of hoverflies,
as I gaze into the galaxies of her eyes.

It’s an honour just to see her move,
oh how I long to taste the rising tide of her nectar,
to inspire an ecstatic lullaby
that escalates into a climactic scream.



I heard footsteps on the stairs.
Bethany had the audacity
to stroll through my house unannounced.
In her hand was a series of sketches
I’d bought from a street artist a decade ago.
Pairs of Scarlet, Flame and Pink Robins
looked set to soar from the page.
‘That was you’
she laughed at my stunned expression.

I removed a velvet box
from the bottom of the dusty wooden crate.
Inside were Bethany’s annual self-portraits,
ranging from a toddler’s smiley face
to Archibald Prize entries.

Her mind was elsewhere.
‘Poet, how versatile is your tongue’,
was among her many questions.
By the time we collapsed into each other’s arms,
few fantasies remained unexplored.



Bethany selected her Saturday night outfit
from a suitcase the size of a coffin.
I watched in horror as calligraphy
in the style of the poetess death threats
protruded from the pocket
of her bouquet embroidered jeans.
She put on an exhibition
of ambidextrous mirror writing,
in more styles than the F.B.I’s forgery files.
‘Maybe the one in your handwriting is a suicide note’
she quipped, after setting it alight
and burying the charred remains in a pot plant.
“I copied the calligraphy of the poetess killer,
for a comp run by”
she insisted, as light heartedly as she’d
declared herself the better darts player.
“Let’s play Robin Hood,
I’ll tie you up at sword point
and give your stereo to the poor” Bethany pleaded,
as she played with my ornamental cross bow.
“Something wrong with my timing”
an impish grin spread across her angelic face.



There was a thunderous knock at the door.
Charlotte was as insistent as a wolf
starving a child from the safety of a tree.
Exasperated, we let her in.
Her eyes were wild with fury over unanswered calls.

Videos of missing poets, chained to each other,
inside a tunnel as anonymous as a composted corpse
and thrashing about in a human eyeball
and box jellyfish infested tank,
arrived in Bethany’s inbox.
“You’re next” the text bubble menaced.
Charlotte looked as unmoved as a snuff movie fan.
Her tattoo was beginning to look as ominous as a swastika.
Bethany trembled as she rang 000.
Charlotte snatched at her phone.
Holding her back was like wrestling Ronda Rousey.
Somehow I escaped with my shoulder sockets intact.
The videos were on YouTube,

A police car arrived.
Minutes into ‘protective custody’,
we were handcuffed,
herded into a warehouse at gunpoint
and confronted with a box jellyfish infested tank.
Lifeless bodies floated on the surface.
“You ignored my warning” Charlotte lamented,
as she pointed to her tattoo. 

The apparent victims were erotic android doubles.
Pseudo police officers fled the scene.
The abductees were found in a forest,
a mile from the scene of the prank,
looking as refreshed as meditation retreat residents.
Detectives suspected them of colluding
with the manufacturers of their sex toy lookalikes
but evidence remained as elusive as Bigfoot.





David Cook

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