The Scorpion Centipede

“Yes, centipedes the size of sausage dogs.
My eyes don’t lie.
Why does it have a tail like a scorpion
and a snail like head,
I don’t know, ask a biologist.”

“It’s so preoccupied with drinking pus,
from gangrenous goats,
I feel safe videoing it.
Hopefully the wind
carries the stench of rotting flesh westward.
When I press play, will anything be there
besides Melaleuca shadows?
The chameleon dolphin,
peeking from the dam,
assures me the creature is real.
Some say he’s less trustworthy,
than a serial killer leading a murder investigation,
but they don’t know him like I do.
Why would I question my sanity?
What do giant Scorpion Centipede’s sound like?
Dogs bark, cats meow, cows moo.
and centipede scorpions blerk and blork.
Blerking is a happy medium between hiccups and burps.
Blorking is what growling would sound like,
if it was as mellow as piccolo.
Do I mean a high pitched screech, except smoother?
Can’t you hear it?
Are you going to ask me what a duck sounds like too?”

“Sir, please remove yourself from the football field,
this ground has been booked
by the Draper Hill Dragons
and the Wiley Valley Wombats.
Only players and officials
are authorized to set foot on the field
before full time”

“Football, what are you blabbering about.
Ouch, an obese pterodactyl just collided with me.
You’re acting like nothing happened”

“There are no pterodactyls here sir,
you were struck by a football”

“A football match you say,
you’re psychotic.
I’m watching four scorpion centipedes,
with snail like heads,
They’re feeding on the hindquarters,
of gangrenous goats.
Can’t you smell their rotting flesh?
There’s a Melaleuca lined dam over there,
with a chameleon dolphin
frolicking in the shallows.
He doesn’t doubt me”

“Probably not sir”

“Probably not you say?”

“yes, probably not,
in the sense the Earth probably isn’t a cube,
resting on the back,
of an interstellar Pegasus,
that level of probably not”

“Do you have evidence,
to support your denial?
Why can I hear sirens?”

Body Spray Dismay

Since dusk, my manly musk
has been as rancid as ancient prawns,
hiding in an equatorial bean bag.

My deodorant has sprouted limbs.
It has the audacity to flee Master?
I was ordained its aerosol leach.
Outrageously it strives to maintain
its reservoir of fragrant blood.

Apparently it’s read Orwell,
for it shuns the electronic homing devices
happily worn by those obedient zombies,
my keys and phone.

Aromatic rebel,
are you lurking at the bottom of the pond,
or hiding in those cockroach apartments,
the wall cavities?
I will hunt thee down!


He hails from Freezeburn Swamps,
a place where rock bottom
is just another ledge,
on the way to another nameless bog hole.

He’s not granted death.
He drowns again,
in the flood of his own
rising and raining blood.

He lives in the cold,
a cold where sheets of ice
as hammer proof as granite
are sought like thermal blankets.

Black dogs roam freely,
across withered tundra,
their fetid breathe asphyxiating the weak.
Anthrax powder in mother’s milk,
is the most benign wish of their ilk.

Corpse Creek Connection

Chase Chandler swiped the virtual cards left, right and up, during his insufferable search for female company, on The super like option had recently been added to the original like and dislike choices. Chase occasionally had the urge to swipe straight down, to super dislike. He’d mentioned that in a questionnaire. For some mysterious reason, the app designers ignored his suggestion.

It was those whose passions were limited to eating, drinking, fucking, sleeping and shopping, that Chase wished to slam with a super dislike. The way they gazed adoringly at their own butts, boobs and abs, in nightclub restroom selfies, appalled him. In his bitter eyes they were as uninspiring as toxic waste dumps in school playgrounds. “Surely bird attractant gardens, sunset painted beaches and forest valley vistas are worthier backdrops than toilet cubicles” he mused.

Minimum height specifiers made Chase’s blood simmer too. His dip from one hundred and seventy five centimetres short, to one hundred and sixty centimetres short, after someone stole his fish tank platform boots, intensified his fury.  The fish within the soles looked remarkably real. Those boots were one of a kind, Chase cherished them more than the 1974 Lamborghini Countach, he’d inherited from his grandfather. Not even stilts could have made him feel as tall as those wonders of the fashion world.

Everyone who has met Chase, via the smorgasbord of single delights known as, either considers him too intense, too sedate, too educated, too uneducated, a workaholic, too lazy, too adventurous or too boring. Chase Chandler and boring in the same sentence? That’s like the serene firebombing of hospitals, or oil painting classes for blind cave dwellers, twenty thousand leagues under the sea, it just doesn’t make sense. It’s as contradictory as the sluggishness of warp speed yoga. Nobody has persisted long enough to solve the inscrutable riddle that is Chase Chandler. Most women don’t persevere long enough to discover there’s a riddle to solve.

Stella Mckenzie, Chase’s twenty year old work mate, at Nature Restoration International, couldn’t understand why Chase so rarely meets his matches. She relied on a database to jog her memory, when potential partners invited her to everything from Fleetwood Mac concerts to Caribbean cruises. One woman swiped right on Chase’s profile per week. Stella was blessed with a match a minute and that was just during the early hours of Monday morning. Whether it was voluptuous good looks, genius, a thrill seeking spirit, stamina or awe inspiring empathy that suitors sought, they found it in Stella Mckenzie. Chase was in awe of her too, but the age gap was a whopping seventeen years. He didn’t quite have the lungs or the balance to keep up with her insatiable appetite for acrobatic love making, sightseeing and every conceivable combination of the two.

In the next eight years, Chase went on dozens of first dates, half a dozen second dates and one third date. During that time, Stella experienced six lengthy casual relationships, three short lived engagements and finally one marriage, which was showing no signs of wear and tear after eighteen months. Chase could no longer bring himself to believe there was a woman in the world who found him more attractive than bleeding eyeballs or more intriguing than watching varnish dry, while listening to elevator music. He’d had enough.

Late, one Saturday night, he jogged the short distance from his home to Corpse Creek and performed a graceful swan dive from the bridge railing, towards the concrete cycling path below. There was no time to contemplate his mistake, as he struck a deep river pool palms first. The slender rock ledges, that would have obliterated him, had finally been dislodged and sunk to the bottom, just hours earlier. Chase barely had time to think the words “I’m alive” as he desperately thrust his way to the surface.

There was someone else on the bridge, peering down at the concrete cycling track. They climbed on to the railing. Chase accelerated across the path and leapt up the steps, to the top of the gorge, four at a time. He could only hope the figure he’d seen silhouetted on top pf the railing would still be there when he arrived.

“It’s not worth jumping. Stay still while I come and get you down from there” he pleaded with the petite young woman.

“Why is it not worth jumping” she asked. Her voice was harsh and lifeless but her hesitation bred hope.

“How about we discuss why in the nearest café” Chase offered. He’d brought his wallet with him, to make identifying his broken body easier. He’d been too focussed on self annihilation to consider the affect that discovering his torn flesh, smashed skeleton and splattered brains might have had on an inexperienced police officer.

“Please, err on the side of leaning back towards me.” Chase sounded as calm as the lapping of harbour waves.

“I’ve got you” he confirmed.

Lonnie and her saviour’s cafe conversation continued until long after dawn. Chase was surprised to learn she was twenty nine. The discovery that her interest in him extended beyond gratitude surprised him more than news reports of the Lochness Monster being shipped to Sea World would have.

It wasn’t until Chase and Lonnie were living together, that he discovered the fish tank platform boots, in her wardrobe, along with her Sasquatch slippers.

Strenuous Sleep

I fought exhaustion like a gladiator,
before drifting into dreams with no colosseums in sight.
“Why dry July?” asked the bus stop graffiti.
“Are your droughts broken with floods?”
was scribbled on the weeping fig fractured footpath.
“Happy to collect locusts with the Baptists,
or trekking to the land of vodka rain”
was scrawled across the toothpaste ad
on the side of the bus.

“Fluoride is an industrial waste product”
said the chemistry encyclopedia beneath my seat.
The stench of tobacco and last night’s bourbon
hung in the air, like fumes from a volatile factory.
Owen’s breath was the keys to freedom,
for the contents of my stomach.
I painted the bullet proof glass
with something resembling the latest
Museum of Contemporary Art masterpiece.

A blue collar philosopher snapped a photo
of that chunky ticket to the visual art community.
The dazzling array of berries
in my vegan ice cream
had done a pretty face justice.
My one in a billion chunder,
looked like a gymnast riding a unicorn,
in what the ladies from Pride and Prejudice
might call a most improper manner.

As I departed,
the driver shook his mop in rage.
The getaway car
raced to Burrogorang Road.
In a forest gully,

Tawny Frog Mouths flocked
to the bottle orchestra man’s treehouse.
A cloud of red browed finches
obscured his dreadlocks.
He nodded with approval
at the poisoning of African Olive regrowth.
The oil on canvas version
of my vomit on window,
hung on his wall.

“Did you know there’s a lack of independent research
into the safe level of fluoride?” he whispered.
“Colgate’s spies walk among us” he continued.
“Is four parts per million too much?”
a sulfur crested cockatoo probed.

The bus featuring my one in a billion art work
flew from an unfinished bridge,
scattering my skull in eighty two directions.
It’s lucky his ghost loves jigsaw puzzles,
the funeral director whispered.

I thought I was dead, as I woke up in bed.
until I felt the intact portions of my head.

I felt like a ghost as I wandered to the bus stop.
My fellow pedestrians
appeared to peer right through me.

“Why dry July” asked the bus stop graffiti.
“Are your droughts broken with floods”
was scribbled on the weeping fig fractured footpath.
“Happy to collect locusts with the Baptists,
or trekking to the land of vodka rain”
was scrawled across the toothpaste ad
on the side of the bus.
The driver assured me I wasn’t hallucinating.
Owen’s bourbon and tobacco breathe made me gag,
I felt ill as I reached beneath the seat
and grabbed a book.
Cold sweat threatened to drown me
as I hauled the industrial chemistry enyclopaedia,
on to my lap.
A tsunami of relief washed over me,
as I remembered there’s no bridge on the farm.

The driver turned to me and said.
“I had this crazy dream last night.
You chundered a masterpiece on to the window,
depicting a mermaid riding a unicorn,
in an x rated fashion.”

“A mermaid?
Are you sure it wasn’t a gymnast?”

“Maybe it was a gymnast mermaid”

Horace Henley

On the downside,
Horace was an arrogant, ignorant, argumentative,
callous, remorseless, dishonest, manipulative,
tantrum prone, domineering, violent, adulterous,
greedy, middle class snob.
Ridicule, threats and lies were his teaching tools.
When he was cheerful he could be lenient,
until your suffering become inconvenient.
His calculated generosity, was a lever for manoeuvring
excruciating boulders of condescension and pomposity.
“How dare you defy me”
he roared, like an emperor to a slave.
“you’re useless” he repeated
until he was as hoarse as a desperate punter.

The underemployed, unemployed and unemployable
traded rations of cigarettes, lighters and coupons,
as they filed into Centrelink,
opposite Henley’s Camping Supplies.
Work was Horace’s drug of choice.
He imagined everyone had it on tap,
but some were too lazy to twist the faucet.
In front of customers he was a lovable larrikin.
The great white shark t-shirt, from his staff,
went over his head like a pole vaulter.

“Without me, you lot would be the dregs of society,
lining up for a handout across the road”
he reminded his wife Sharona
and sister in law Lonnie.
Horace hired the best psychiatrist in the region,
to treat his family’s “mysterious” anxiety and mood disorders.
Like him, these conditions weren’t prey seeking missiles,
that killed as swiftly as falcons.

Horace didn’t have a personality disorder.
He was merely the carrier of misery and fear.
Growing up, the barrel of a shotgun
was as familiar to him as cornflakes.
He dealt in throws, kicks, slaps and backhanders.
“I’m a model of restraint” he boasted.
There was no walking away from his marathon tirades.
He was Fuhrer, educator and soother,
his role as unpredictable as mountain weather.

Horace taught his sons how to kick drop goals
and threw baseballs so high
they turned black in the twilight.
Catching fly balls became as natural as walking.
His lessons on romance involved
hiring eighteen year old back packers,
who looked like they’d stepped straight from the pages
of lingerie catalogues.
The interviews were camping trips.

Horace didn’t care who blitzed maths tests.
100% effort was a pass in his eyes.
A lack of enthusiasm
was akin to burning down the mint.
Jarrod always felt like 99.9% effort
was a crime worthy of being hung, drawn and quartered.

When he became as reclusive as a Himalayan mystic
and ate like he was preparing for a sumo tournament,
not an eleven kilometre fun run,
he finished miles behind his best.
Horace chipped away at his self esteem like an auger.
“If I sliced open that ice cream gut,
I could feed an army on dripping sandwiches.
You call yourself a jogger,
you make a penguin look like a springbok.”

Horace sold his camping store,
so he could spend all day woodworking, fishing
and listening to conservative shock jocks.
“Abolishing excess franking credits,
it’s a Labor Party commie plot.”
he roared at his local MP.
With only 1.2 million dollars to his name,
since the divorce,
how would he cope without profiting
from the Australian Tax Office?
All that Greens nonsense about tortured refugees
and the climate emergency,
had him reaching for a bucket.
What about the suffering of middle class retirees?

Alcohol, the Only Drug we Have to Explain not Using

From an early age my stubborn streak has rendered me immune to peer pressure. In primary school, if we were painting during art and I wanted to use textas, that’s what I did. During highschool, if the other kids were using Bunsen burners and I wanted to use a flame thrower, that’s what I did. At tech, if the other students went hangliding on the weekend and I wanted to hitch a ride on an eagle, that’s what I did. Possibly, I’m exaggerating a little. The point is, go your own way.

My way is not for the faint hearted. If I’m at the pub and someone repeatedly asks me why I’m not drinking, first I soften them up with copious detail about NYE 2000. In the early hours of the new millennium, my projectile vomiting spree melted a hole in the mirror and flash flooded the bathroom. Funnily enough, as I tell that story the puzzlement over my sobriety ceases; like the appetite of a sumo wrestler after the seventeenth watermelon. Everyone has their limit.

If they reflexively ask me one more time if I’d like a gin and tonic, before they lapse into a catatonic state, I just hold up my glass of water and ask them “what in hell do you think this is? You’ve just witnessed me pour half of it down my throat and seen the resulting gasp of relief. Then watched me massage my tongue with the upteenth ice cube and you would have me believe you don’t know I’ve already got a drink. Oh of course, it’s not a real drink, only drinks that damage the brain, punish the liver and k.o the kidneys are real. Water must be such an inferior beverage that to call it a drink is laughable because it’s not as toxic as the anxiety you seek to spread like the Black Death, whenever someone reveals the contrast between your alcoholism and their good health.”

I don’t say it too loudly though, otherwise the words “that bloke could do with a drink” are likely to ripple from one side of the bar to the other, with the echoes intermingling until one is not entirely sure if they’re merely in a room with too many conversations or suffering from auditory hallucinations.

If I’d of been sober in the early hours of January 1 2000, I would’ve realized it was still the 20th century because there was no year zero. As it was, if I had been aware of that, I wouldn’t have been able to tell anyone. My vocal ability had regressed by decades. Any thoughts that did escape made the barking and grunting of baboons sound as eloquent as Oscar Wilde.

During my mid teens, back in the early 1990’s, I had the same healthy paranoia about alcohol as I did about every other drug. I could be in the kind of mood where leaping from a bridge seems like the most splendid idea since Leonardo Da-Vinci designed the hellicopter but if someone had of put a glass of beer in front of me and told me this will make you feel better, I’d have been too consumed by visions of brain cells shrivelling and dying enmasse to take a cautious sip.

My propensity for thinking the worst is why I never jumped off a bridge. I’d use my suicide fantasy to make school days bearable. By the time I reached the bridge though, I’d be thinking what if I don’t die, what if I go from being a severely depressed able bodied boy, constantly on the verge of a panic attack, to a severely depressed quadriplegic, constantly on the verge of a panic attack? That fear was diminished in late 1993, after I was prescribed Lithium carbonate.

Lithium carbonate, the mood stabilizer that dulled my depression, anxiety, paranoia and mania worked too well. Lithium eliminates extremes but it’s not selective in which extremes it eliminates. My intense fear of alcohol was among the traits it banished. After I’d been on Lithium for a while, I got drunk about once a month, to make the real world disappear. Some people made fun of me for drinking a glass of water between beers. Obviously I should’ve toughened up and let dehydration cause the concentration of Lithium in my blood to rise to fatal levels.

Despiting consuming a potentially fatal dose of alcohol, I remember a surprising amount about NYE 2000. Advertising obviously works, I thought as I poured myself the first glass of Jim Beam and Coke. I hadn’t drunk a drop and I was feeling more witty already. By the time I was struggling to speak a word of English, I didn’t feel so sophisticated anymore. Instead of hiding the bottle my friends poured more bourbon into my cola. At about 3AM, the murky geysers of vomit that briefly gained on Halley’s Comet hit my reflection for a home run. 

The two day hangover that followed was enough to convince me it’s better to sample alcoholic beverages than suck them up like an irrigation hose. I haven’t had a hangover since. It was a close call after the 20 year reunion for the class of 95, at St Gregory’s College. We gave the Responsible Service of Alcohol Officers something to do that night. Without us they would’ve had more time to play cards than the Antarctic Forest Fire Brigade. The former National Rugby League players were wise enough to leave before any unwanted publicity arrived. Not being famous for anything, it was easier for me to keep a low profile.

I discovered that standing as still as a statue is good for more than making videos look like photos. Once the R.S.A officers attention was diverted by a decoy stumbler, I hit the gap at about three km per hour. By the time they looked around I was at the bar and as still as a statue once more. The bips of the cash register substituted for the referee signalling a try. If you’re American, that roughly translates as the proverbial touch down. “Air swing averted”, I mumbled as I raised my glass without missing my mouth. I drained it without spilling a drop, so you could say I converted my own try in a bounce on top of the cross bar and shave the inside of the uprights kind of way.

After stopping at Adam Cass’s room, with Mark Wyrzykowski, for mining industry anecdotes and more beers, I finally left the venue. In my inebriated state I felt like I was strolling along the sea floor. I picked a Bird of Paradise flower, from near the old Town Hall and looked around for a mermaid to give it to. Unfortunately there aren’t any mermaids in the shallow, murkiness of the Alcohol Sea. Alcohol, it has the dubious distinction of rotting the living and preserving the dead. Alcohol, what a blessing it seems until it causes lives to come apart at the seams.

This mostly biographical article was triggered by a Celeste Yvonne Facebook post of virtually the same name. The title and the topic is where the similarity ends.

Delusions of Grandeur

Some common causes of delusions of grandeur are stupidity, narcissism, mood disorders, psychosis and drugs, such as amphetamines. Stupidity shortens the odds of someone being ludicrously overconfident but not everyone with delusions of grandeur is remotely stupid. Every narcissist has grandiose delusions but not everyone with grandiose delusions is a narcissist.

I have been known to overestimate the significance of my words but not myself. The belief that every member of the human race is of equal importance is deeply ingrained in me. My delusions of grandeur were triggered by the manic phase of bipolar disorder. At times, being in a socially isolated bubble caused me to overestimate the standard of my writing but not to the extent bipolar mania did. 

Manic episodes are times of unnatural intensity during which colors are unbelievably vivid, music is more beautiful than ever and lame jokes trigger explosive laughter. The world of someone in the grips of a manic episode is surreal. Cyclones of symbolism soar from scenes more mundane than a geological age of cleaning toilets. Every observation, every moment of contemplation, is blended with such extreme feelings of profundity, it’s impossible to avoid the belief you’re expressing paradigm shattering wisdom, with every flourish of the pen.

The reasonably realistic self assessments of the recent past could be replaced by the belief you’re destined to be mentioned in the same sentence as Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and Samuel Coleridge. As your fingers dance across the keyboard, launching a riot of rubbish on to the screen, your sense of accomplishment is akin to Jimi Hendrix’s, as his magic hands reinvented rock and roll. The most boring and garbled statements you’ve ever uttered feel so overladen with wisdom, that if tangible they’d surely drag an air craft carrier to Davy Jones locker. 

Eventually you plunge back to reality, sometimes rapidly enough to make Icarus and his detached wings look like they’re still rising. What looked like the makings of a best seller, looks more like word salad soon enough. 

One in three hundred thousand people make a living from fiction writing. When I’m sane, which is most of the time, I’m not an aspiring full time writer. I prefer to perform repetitive tasks for a living. They’re a means of meditation, of recharging the creative batteries; especially if you work in forests like I do. Building sediment fences and injecting herbicide into weed trees is unlikely to land anyone on the cover of Time Magazine but it does improve biodiversity and can lead to a vibrant, tranquil state of mind. 

Probably all of us have met people whose delusions of grandeur are a regular feature of their personality, like wannabe singers who’ve never hit a note in their life, yet their belief they are the king of karaoke is as unwavering as a base jumper’s thirst for adrenaline. Sometimes the same people who think they’re destined to be the next Frank Sinatra are also convinced they should be the C.E.O of a major company, despite being fired from every lowly position they’ve ever attempted to fill. How terrible it would be to spend one’s entire life lost in self glorifying fiction. I’m glad that my delusions of grandeur were a symptom of an episodic illness which can be suppressed with medication. 

The majority of those with bipolar disorder experience delusions of grandeur and about half of those with schizophrenia do. While someone with bipolar mania is likely to overrate one or more of their abilities and might feel more important than usual, they’re not as likely to think they’re Jesus Christ, a C.I.A operative or a wizard as someone suffering from Schizophrenia.  

Unfortunately the pharmaceutical treatments for schizophrenia and schizo-effective disorder (a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar symptoms) tend to be less effective and more hazardous than pharmaceutical treatments for bipolar disorder.

For more information on the symptoms of and treatments for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder and other mental illnesses, I recommend using the following link

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(posted by Amanda Rakenwith, on the 12th of June 2015)