Wednesday, May 24, 2023

A farewell memory for poet Andrew Burke

 By Tracy Ryan

Andrew Burke (left) in 2008, with Tracy & John


in memory of Andrew Burke



Frank: you were always that.


I’ll even admit things treasured but

never shared: the way my late ex-

husband nicknamed you Balzac

and it stuck till I almost said it

to your face, not because

you were prolific, though you were,

but for the half-walrus moustache

you had back then, & the nineteenth-

century boho longhair look,

though it was poetry, not prose, for you.


Now: the day I think we first really met:

Three teetotal poets out on a fortnight’s

well-paid country tour of schools, dodging

teacher happy-hours, though you’d

always sit over lemonade in a pub,

letting the dark side down,

trashing the writerly reputation.


Collecting me at Midland station, you

laughingly noted your then-wife had

asked around about us beforehand

(me & E.)

been reassured I was pregnant

E. was over sixty —

let’s not even gloss it.


But it was never like that.


On the wild drive through the Mid-West you played

track after track from your full set of The Poet Speaks,

E. upset & sullen in the back seat saying turn it down,

Plath is just not poetry; me, not long turned twenty-six,

wanting those poems blaring on repeat. Yee-ha.


You telling me off for over-and-over loud

Sinéad O’Connor on the hotel jukebox,

rooms damp and the tea-kettle full of ants,

asking nonetheless to read the MS

of my first book, and I let you, frail self

you slashed through with that rhythmic biro

till I heard jazz not mine, & arrogant, took on none of it.


But what I did learn from you: it mattered —

the way you wrote all detail, each day of the journey,

into your poetry, reprocessed every minute,

poems a mode of living,


Friday, April 28, 2023

The Greed of Chalice Mining — now they want to do an open cut lithium mine and destroy Julimar Forest

 Forest (a flash fiction of 200 words)


            John Kinsella



Stepping through the forest door, Kris and Los forgot to close it behind them. Admittedly, it was a permeable door that allowed forest creatures to pass back and forth relatively unhindered, and even for seeds and shoots and rhizomes to find a way through or under or around. But the door was to prevent people stealing the forest. This did not mean that people couldn’t live with and interact with the forest — to the contrary, and there were peoples living with the trees who respected the forest for what it was, and the forest in turn respected them.


But forgetting to close the forest door allowed the lithium miners to find a way in without any restraints. Kris and Los were deep inside when they remembered their error but, rushing back along a shady path, encountered many bereft creatures saying the end had come. Kris and Los asked how so? Because these miners want what's under the forest so they can profit more from humanity surviving longer.


Kris and Los reached the broken, gaping door, and yelled at the miners, We will not use those batteries anymore! With no profits to be made, the miners vacated, leaving wreckage behind them.


AND please sign this petition. Get active please people, and don't let this happen. The destruction of a forest is NOT good for the biosphere. This is an appalling case of greenwashing and these greedy people are trying to convince you it's for your good when it's purely for their own good!

Sunday, April 23, 2023

In Memory of Poet John Tranter (1943-2023)


Graphology Paraph 27: in memory of John Tranter


            Sydney... not the bush!



Away from the country town

towards the city, away from the Jindyworobaks

towards the New York School of Poetry.


Sheen in a skyscraper’s window

till we look closely and see the reflection

of another window, then another —


a cascading advertisement for real estate

we might occupy in the lexicons

of a pop-cult industry always


threatening to consume,

a drip-fed Babel ingraining

images extracted from movie tones,


images stencilled into news

of icebreakers or satellites

within satellites within satellites.



            John Kinsella


Monday, April 17, 2023

Nuclear Power Plants As Societal Control Mechanisms

John Kinsella

They can’t just be turned off, so government and companies have the ultimate control — it takes a highly specialised skillset to shut them down, and then to manage the shutdown across many decades, and through this, power structures assuredly maintain cohesion with the support of a fearful (consciously or unconsciously) populace who having been dragged into a reliance on the energy ‘provided’ by these plants sustain their existence and the persistence of the invested power structures. This is the ultimate life-death control scenario, and is, in its way, very similar to the use of nuclear weapons as threat.

And the press gloats that as Germany closes its last nuclear reactors, and sends them into the decommissioning process, Finland has just linked its Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor full-time to the power grid. Acclaimed as the largest nuclear reactor in Europe, and both predictably and ironically manufactured by Areva-Siemens, it is linked to a manipulation of the climate crisis to claim green credentials that is very much aligns with the French nuclear industry’s red-herring profiteering and consolidation of national-political power in Europe, and indeed globally. 

Governments work in different ways to control people, and this is one very deceptive and horrific way. It is not ‘green’, was never ‘green’, and will be the ultimate death of the planet if not pulled back as Germany has done (despite much conservative opposition sold as ‘environmentalism’ as it suits them). The materials that go into making these plants, and sustaining them, never mind anything else, are their own legacy of ecological abuse. Furthermore, we are expected to cede control over the environment for many future generations.

By way of a reality-check, try this brilliant video by long-term visual-word collaborators, Marc Atkins and Rod Mengham, ‘Where Suns Lie’, and its breakdown of, among many things, the deceptive and devious architecture of nuclear power plants.

One of the most egregious ‘sells’ of nuclear power in Europe at present revolves around the threat of gas supply from Russia due to the war with Ukraine. As we all experience the threat of catastrophe from the military actions and manipulations around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, one would expect more caution and risk-awareness to affect policy. But no, power plants are money, they are control (see above), and they are long-term no matter what. They are projections of power. They are not ‘green’, and they will not save the world. To the contrary...

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Germany Closes Down Its Last Operating Nuclear Power Plants!

This is a great moment! The last three operating nuclear reactors in Germany shut down at midnight last night. Germany is still surrounded by reactors in other countries, but it's a start. It is deeply frustrating and offensive to hear the pro-nuclear lobby try to claim that they are environmentalists, saying that without nuclear more fossil fuel will be used. Fact is, it doesn't have to be a case of no nuclear meaning more coal or gas. Renewables are a large percentage of German power production, and increasing. But more to the point, we all need seriously to reduce our power consumption and find less-impacting ways of living. For the world to be manipulated by an industry that could mean mass devastation, and whose contaminations are legion, is obscene. So, we celebrate the closing of the plants. A serious step towards a safer planet.

Final Nuclear Power Plant Shutdowns in Germany: a heuristic for celebration

Energy consumption as fait accompli is the big stick 
those who would control us wield... Use less!

Neckarwestheim II nuclear reactor
shut down at midnight last night — froh!
Isar II nuclear reactor
shut down at midnight last night — froh!
Emsland nuclear reactor
shut down at midnight last night — froh!
It is raining today, but we probably won’t need to take iodine.
Under forests, roots say, No nuclear doesn’t foment coal mines.’
Neckarwestheim II nuclear reactor
shut down at midnight last night — glücklich!
Isar II nuclear reactor
shut down at midnight last night — glücklich!
Emsland nuclear reactor
shut down at midnight last night — glücklich!
From a beech tree, a blue jay makes a universal declaration.
‘One small step’ needs to be reclaimed. Recalibrate the slogans.
Neckarwestheim II nuclear reactor
shut down at midnight last night — hooray!
Isar II nuclear reactor
shut down at midnight last night — hooray!
Emsland nuclear reactor
shut down at midnight last night — hooray!
From the UK nuclear lobby we hear the specious tra-la-la of consumption:   

Neckarwestheim II nuclear reactor
shut down at midnight last night — hooray!
Isar II nuclear reactor
shut down at midnight last night — enfin!
Emsland nuclear reactor
shut down at midnight last night — endlich!
While French media trace the sadness of a nuclear town
in losing its raison d’être, we say, dance to Nena’s ’99 Luftballons’.

John Kinsella

Note: "Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the UK’s Nuclear Industry Association, said the phaseout would worsen carbon emissions and ‘for a country supposedly renowned for its logical and evidence-driven approach is environmentally damaging, economically illiterate and deeply irresponsible’". See The Guardian.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Orcas are Not AUKUS


They play

with eras

and oceans

with orcas

and strategies

of death

as unreal

as the pandemic

was to them

when it started

its run silent run deep



the planet.

    from Cellnight

Australia's arms race purchase of nuclear submarines from the US and UK is an endgame. The promise of thousands of jobs in an industry of death, and participation in the nuclear threat to the biosphere (accidents, leaks, and consequences of war), show that the obsession with a 'cradle to grave' nuclear industry is being made real in all its eschatological manifestations. All other 'smiling faced' policy shifts are meaningless in the face of such a threat to the well-being of the entire planet. The above lines are the prologue (written late in the process) to my verse novel Cellnight, which is a condemnation of the nuclear and military sell, and a consideration of how its toxicity affects all life. Though the book is based in the 1980s during the American Fleet visits, it is sadly as relevant now, and maybe more so. AUKUS is the ultimate embodiment of contemporary colonialism that deploys language in ways that pretends it's not. It is, and its 'run silent run deep' name is death. 

    John Kinsella

Monday, February 20, 2023

The Threat to Julimar Forest by Chalice Mining Hasn't Been Forgotten




Don’t mistake silence for silence.

Because I have been sweating and shaking

and my heart beating too fast,

don’t for a moment think that I’ve


forgotten Julimar forest and all

that dwells in its ambit. Don’t for

a moment think that my silence

is a silence that absorbs the gouge


of drill bits, that falls into the ‘future’

as if a forest was never there. This

mining colonialism relies on silence

from those it feels ultimately


are within its grasp; that after

a ‘song and a dance’ they’ll lapse

back into silence, be happy to see

one or two cockatoos and maybe a photo


of a woylie, that they’ll simply

comply by citing, I accept that this world

is a rechargeable battery, a battery that grows,

a battery to store and release


all earthly energy. But no,

I won’t be silent in my silence —

the roots of a forest hold and store

an ineffable energy that impels speech.



            John Kinsella