Bart Plunkett, Naturalist, Explorer, Educator Extraordinaire.

Windy Lakes resident Bart Plunkett has always been too busy demonising the Australian Greens to read their Bushfire Risk Management policy. How could it possibly reflect their views on hazard reduction burning and other fire hazard reduction strategies more accurately than Bart’s alcohol and cocaine fuelled rumour mongering?

When he’s not defaming the Greens on YouTube from the comfort of his loungeroom, Bart is busy traipsing through urban bushland margins, livestreaming his inane, profane, insane conservationist lampooning rants. The Greens have never been in government, but Bart assures me they’re solely responsible for everything that’s wrong with the world, from bushfires to unemployment, to the cyborg pixies that haunt his 1967 Holden Torana. Every Friday the thirteenth, they regale him with tales of the ballet jellyfish, employed to tickle the swamp slugs of Varboa and other true stories. The cyborg pixies that is, not the Greens. Please excuse my digression.

Like I said before, Bart Plunkett is not the most eloquent orator. As he waltzes through Windy Lakes Reserve, it’s difficult to follow the ravings racing from his ramshackle brain, but I’ve managed to catch a few snippets here and there. From what I can gather, he’s still furious about the evil environmentalists banning cattle from munching through all those critically endangered bushes and grasses.

“Them cows were doing a great job of stoppin the build up of bushfire fuel” apparently. Seriously, who needs less destructive methods of bushfire hazard reduction? Bart tells me those “diabolical greenies” have even installed gates and bollards. How will the Rural Fire Service get in? They’ve got water bombing helicopters at their disposal, but obviously nothing as advanced as keys.

I’ve asked Bart if he’s pleased about rubbish dumpers having to lug their broken furniture, pre loved potted environmental weeds and obsolete electronics into Windy Lakes Reserve now, instead of conveniently backing a tip truck right into the forest like they used to. Is he happy about the lack of hoons doing donuts and burnouts on the critically endangered shrubs holding the banks of Windy Lakes together? How does he feel about the absence of freshly burnt out cars, since the gates were installed? He just mumbles something about needing hearing aids. Below is a passage Bart has selected from the transcript of his video for me to read to you.

“The Greens are responsible for the build up of bushfire fuel in Windy Lakes Reserve. I’m not promotin some sort of tin foil hat, tree hugger bashing, conspiracy theory, this is as legit as the claims the royal family are reptilian shapeshifters.

Greta Thunberg, she’s one of them reptilian too. Just the other day, she triedta tell me me climate change increases the risk of forest fires. I said listen ere darlin, it’s got nuthin ta-do wit climate change, global warmin is as mythical as the moon landin.” When asked to produce a record of the text conversation between himself and Greta Thunberg, Bart Plunkett claimed it had been accidentally deleted at both ends.

Speaking of records, Bart holds the world record for the lowest marks in Conservation and Land Management, Certificate One. During the weed identification exam, Bart became the first non vision impaired person to confuse African Boxthorn, a sprawling shrub with spikes large enough to crucify a Tyrannosaurus Rex, with a benign looking succulent known as Mother of Millions. Clearly it wasn’t enough to rupture the gargantuan pimple of Bart’s arrogance.

Why hasn’t the popularity of Bart’s brilliant idea to permit cattle to roam Windy Lakes Reserve, to denude it of all that burns, spread like wildfire in the ecological community? Why leave the critically endangered shrubs holding the banks of Windy Lakes together intact? Shouldn’t we just allow the reserve to erode until all the canopy trees have been uprooted, rotted and fragmented into driftwood? Yes, I know, so what, who cares if Windy Lakes Reserve erodes until it becomes a mosquito infested swamp that buries the roads, there won’t be any chance of fire.

Here’s a novel idea, instead of giving free reign to ruminants that eat as indiscriminately as locusts, why not employ forest regenerators to strategically thin out the fringes of Windy Lakes Reserve and mulch enough sticks for a hazard reduction burn to be a good idea so close to housing? Bart thought that sounded alright until he realised greenies came up with it. Conservationists, ecologists, environmentalists, Greens, Greenies, it’s all the same to him.

A Different View

An Eminem clone entered the vestibule,
perusing his girlfriend’s copy of “That’s Life”
and treating a Halloween article within
more seriously than any stock market wunderkind,
ever took the Wall Street Journal.

“Says here they is getting married in a graveyard”
he commented
to his tattoo parlour advertisement partner.

“They like Gothics or something are they Ramble?”
she replied as indifferently as a robot.

“Yeah,
if they invited me to their weddin,
I wouldn’t fuckin go.
They held the reception in a crypt,
the sick freaks!” Ramble raged.

To the contrary:
I imagined worries dimmed by headstone shadows,
guests sipping from jewel encrusted goblets,
skulls stolen from the university’s anatomy department
overflowing with snack food,
dessert disappearing faster than grave robbers at dawn;
lovers exploring lush, green, graveyard paths,
bathed in full moon light,
gazing at gold lettering on marble headstones,
as they whisper “unto death do they part.”

Horizon Hill

Dust devils pirouette across the track.
Water purifiers hang uselessly from Will’s belt.
Cows search the crumbling lake floor
for drinkable pools.
Foxes gorge themselves on rotting fish.
Overhead,
a conspiracy of ravens harass wedge tailed eagles.
Two days of water hug Will’s torso.
He sips sparingly.

Shadows lengthen.
On Horizon Hill,
an inland lighthouse towers over trees.
Its sandstone exoskeleton
is immune to the ravages of forest fires.
If one could see the underground portion,
the building would look like
an office tower sized bottle,
but there’s no administration here.
The nearest bureaucratic nonsense
is distant enough to give Pheidippides a stroke.

Will peers through his telephoto lens.
The lantern room is emptier than the dams.
Its gold plated exterior is as brilliant as the sun.
Will follows the ridgeline,
to the subterranean entrance.
The Autumn coolness within
is as soothing as silk sheets.
Will saturates his sun mask
with a splash from an underground river.
A cap torch lights his climb to the cellar.

In the cavernous temple above,
serpentine flute songs
wrap themselves around serene dancers.
A wild xylophone solo
is accompanied by the scent of innumerable orchards.
Voices bounce from ceiling to stairs,
like crazed rubber balls.
The words “I knew you’d come,”
intermingle with the riotous laughter of kookaburras.
The president of the Obscure Poet’s Club
appears to float into the cellar
upon a fog tinged cushion of dazzling light.

Upstairs, in the clasped marble hands
of Graham H Goalposts Smith,
a rosewood lectern awaits the lone traveller.
He climbs the ladder
inside that towering psychedelic Buddha.
Haikus, limericks and sonnets
drift from Graham’s lofty grasp.
The words hang in the air,
long after the poet’s lips have ceased moving.

“LSD is superfluous here”
says the sulphur crested cockatoo
frolicking on the piano keys below.
After witnessing the statue’s eyes move,
Will isn’t so sure.

Outside, it’s forty in the shade.
A procession of profusely sweating midgets
lug their sedan chair lounging court jester
past skeletons of drought massacred fish.
A dust storm obscures the remnants of the lake.

Inside, the celebration of the bizarre intensifies.
Bar staff masquerade as bunyips and Banksia men.
“Orthodoxy is anathema”
the ivory tinkling cockatoo yells
at a man in a Hawaiian tuxedo,
with tadpoles swimming
in his transparent platform soles.
“I know mate” he replies.

Chess Man

Chess man was a one man legion,
undefeated in the Sydney Region.
And to every onlooker’s delight,
he never ran from a rap battle,
or declined a break dance fight.

He informed castle breakers,
wearing sturdy pace makers,
wielding their walking sticks
against reps of undertakers,
that a knight would bounce
off his plastic horse snout,
as his super sonic queen,
took that mutha fucka out.

Chess man tried to explain
it was nothing but a game,
as the first spray of bullets
ripped through his frame.

Featured

The Poet’s Journey

Be who you are, be what you are,
until the door of miracles is ajar.

With Earth’s cumbersome languages,
you chase the soul’s beauty,
like a wounded warrior
on the mighty jaguar’s trail.

Realising millennia of global acclaim
is less than plankton in fame’s ocean,
fails to curb your boundless devotion.

Poet, lament, invent, soak society,
with a shrewd arsenal of adjectives
and a voracious appetite for variety.

Be who you are, be what you are,
until the door of miracles is ajar.

Stella Brindabella

Stella Brindabella,
the demigod of fame walks among us.
She’s quick to declare
the coolest way to get men to stare,
is to accidentally, on purpose,
forget your underwear.
She wants to help the homeless,
but not while her diamond encrusted high heels
are in disrepair.

“Booty Shake Earthquake”
she’s labelled her size twelve rival’s latest music video.
She hopes to revive her own pop music career,
with singles like “the Geek and the Goddess”
and a remake of “Jimbo and the Bimbo”

The host of “Outsmarted by a Ten Year Old”,
discovered she’s slow,
when she said “diluting whiskey?
What a senseless way to go.
“Isn’t Africa a country, what’s an incontinent”
she demanded to know.

Reptile Relocation

Flipping stones,
in a windswept tussock world,
dotted with Snow Gum oases.
Over a million rocks turned
in this Stone Age raffle.
Don’t dare hope for little whip snakes,
or earless grassland dragons,
but be sure to capture them if they come.

In the lunch room,
grader and compacter drivers
swap tall tales of rampaging tiger snakes.
Wind turbines are erected in the distance.
Water trucks settle dusty tracks.
Aeons after noon,
we stir Lake Avon Road dust.

Beyond Nimmitabel,
kookaburras cackle at wallabies and roos,
playing tip with four wheel drives.
Echidnas and copperheads hide
at every bend in the track back
to our palatial stone and wood cabin.

Underneath murky rumbling skies,
I split wood,
as flame and scarlet robins flit by.
Stormy dusk fades to starry black.
Beside an alpine billabong,
I savour every sip of lager,
like a nibble of black market chocolate
at the height of an epic war.
Joel gestures towards a moonlit chessboard,
in a Melaleuca grove,
Hershel warms up for paddock croquet.
He’s arguing with his invisible caddy.
At least he’s wearing pants now.
The wombats were getting nervous.

Callie

Callie wants a bad boy to tame,
who knows he’s her soul mate
before he knows her name.
She purges fear and rage
with staplers and lighters.
Lust making is no escape,
unless she bites and is bitten.
She dreams of sucking sacrificial blood
from her master’s fingers
and sharing it in a kiss.

Callie waits for her protector to grow bored
with her plump curves, nipple rings
and a year’s rent worth of exquisite tattoo’s.
Then she let’s fly,
with a barrage of obscenities
as witty as Socrates
and as vulgar as bestiality in a sewer.

“It’s plain to see, you’re the kind of guy
who would inject a stroke victim with HIV.
I wouldn’t wish your drone on a serial killer.
Clearly, when God made you
he’d finished with the plot
and was on to the filler”
Callie lambasted her last boyfriend,
after she caught him flicking through
copies of Plus Size Prize, Petite Treat
and the Leggy Elite.
Teeing off on his smirk
was as tempting as ice cream pie,
long before he impregnated her sisters.
Callie drew frowny faces on her arms
with cigarettes instead.

After changing the locks,
the Princess of Pain retreated to a secluded corner,
of platform four
and played noughts and crosses on her thighs,
with a compass.
The most exquisite creature she’d ever seen,
locked eyes with her.

Callie blindly followed the corporate Goddess
on to the intercity express,
her dentist appointment
as forgotten as Neolithic past lives.
“I knew you’d follow” the mystery woman purred.
She opened her briefcase,
to reveal pain converted into string and ribbon art.
Callie quivered from excitement
over a rubenesque blonde,
with silk butterflies pinned to her breasts.
She was eager to emulate a flame haired beauty,
adorned with pink flamingos.

“You’re going to feature in an art exhibition”
the anonymous businesswoman promised.
Her modus operandi didn’t involve questions.
Callie unabashedly ogled her lady in shining armour.
Joan of Arc was among the characters Mistress Rowena played,
during business hours.

Wapengo Lake

Mum saw reflections of the landscape in the dams.
I saw a subterranean world
and vowed not to fall in.

Later, I watched in awe
as a goanna stole dad’s bream
from the frying pan.

I burst into the tent.
“Mummy, daddy, a giant lizard has tooken our fish”

“Yes Rod, they said in chorus,
assuming it was like the crow
who flew through the sun
and dived into the dam in time,
to save its feathers from melting.

The next day,
I scraped a dog in the sand,
by the oyster racks,
venturing beyond scribble for the first time.
Alas, I haven’t come much closer
to rivalling Rembrandt since.

The year the Olympics headed to L.A,
a fallen tree beside the creek
became a spaceship.
Neil and I, aimed our laser cannons
at the pack of wolves
dad convinced him roamed the bush,
on the Tathra side of the lake.

During my primary school years,
we spot lighted for rabbits.
I thought it was cool
how dad blew those cute vermin apart,
with a shotgun.
My cousin thought urinating on the scattered remains
was the ultimate comedy act.

Recently, I walked
through Mimosa National Park,
shining my spotlight on the eighties.
I emerged from the trees,
as the sun set over the lake.
While gazing down at the stockyard,
I relived speeding down the hillside,
in the back of Roland’s ancient ute.
That long dead Toyota,
is now an archaeological site.

I strolled past the clueless gaze
of a soon to be gutted cow
and rewound to more idyllic thoughts,
of a cute little blonde,
in a feathered Akubra hat,
more at home on horseback
than I was on my feet.

I returned to the moment.
Mighty waves battered the distant headland.
Fish aimed for the gleaming moon.
As I lay cocooned on rural turf,
I was soothed to sleep by distant surf.

Mother Whisper

When I first rescued Mother Whisper from the pound,
she was as shy as a numbat and barely made a sound.
In Cathie’s arms she was cradled, cuddled and coaxed.
Eventually, nobody dared to declare her bark hoaxed.
Mother Whisper’s rampaging libido knew no bounds,
she could’ve escaped Alcatraz to track randy hounds.

There was musicality in her furry rascals squeaking,
their squealing racket was truly a form of speaking.
Mother Whisper’s swift tongue was a guiding hand,
to streams of life giving milk, in extreme demand.
Her growl warned that she was intensely protective.
Mr Five Nostrils forgot her pups off limits directive.

However high and imposing the surrounding fences,
Whisper dreamt of wild, solo sniffathon adventures.
Harry Houdini wasn’t that adrenaline junkie’s left paw.
It was a fact no magician worth their salt could ignore.
But a rope long enough for her to roam, sealed her fate.
Whisper was found hanging from the palings too late.