Western Voices: Robert Maddox-harle

Rob Harle is a writer, artist, photographer and reviewer. Writing work includes poetry, short fiction stories, academic essays and reviews of scholarly books and papers. His work is published in journals, anthologies, online reviews, books and he has three volumes of his own poetry published – Scratches & Deeper Wounds(1996) and Mechanisms of Desire (2012), Winds of Infinity (2016). Recent poetry has been published in Rupkatha Journal (Kolkata), Nimbin Good Times (Nimbin),  Beyond The Rainbow (Nimbin), Numerous specific anthologies,  Indo-Australian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry (2013) and World Poetry Year Book (2014), Setu Journal (monthly), Asian Signature (2013).

He is currently a member of the: Leonardo Review Panel: Manuscript Reviewer for Leonardo Journal;  Advisory Editor for Phenomenal Literature (India); Member Editorial Board of numerous international literature journals, and Australian – NZ editor for Setu Jornal.  Artwork, Publications, Reviews and selected writings are available from his websites:
Scratches and Deeper Wounds

The hot bread shop breathes
warm fragrance of yeast and crust
awakening a primal urge,
a step or two
more temptations tease
coffee shop seduction
flat white, short black
cappuccino cream
the Choice is yours.

The balmy first flesh of spring
awakens other primal urges,
everywhere temptation
false hopes for new life,
temporary appeasement of deeper needs.

Stand clear, f**k, stand clear
four pall bearers frantic,
push past,
oblivious to piercing eyes,
oblivious to the stray dog
pissing on a post.
Her thin pale body,
lies motionless,
flat upon the canvas stretcher,
O.D'd, indeed.

Is she breathing?
Yes, I think
hurry, hurry,
hospital seems so far,
her bearers,
barely friends
accomplices in street life hype
full of fear and flight and fight,
and hope; hurry.

Homeless, hopeless
street tough, street wise
some not wise enough to stay alive,
stand crying in the street.
The mourning penetrates their mask,
as secrets of their heart and care
flow down the gravel verge
and stain society's slate.
Her morning hit,
a simple scratch
has turned into a deeper wound.

As silent witness to this scene
of rage and life and love
I watched her die,
and wondered why.

Shooting the Breeze

Three weeks past the 'best by' date
dragged reluctantly, angrily
into existence with the force
of cold, old steel pliers
my characteristic, a furrowed frown
a frown on a new leaf of life.

Rising, falling, drifting with the breeze
resting now and then to hide
a city plot, the mountains green
the sea or coast, a place to dream
to reflect upon the absurdity of life
of birth and breath and death.

And now with good companion leaf
I've come to rest a-while
in great long dead volcano's arms
whose primal landscape laughs too loud
whose village struggles under steamy skies.

The uniformed and drugged misfits
go floating onwards, past,
and egos, grossly over size
strut the dirty street
stoned beyond courtesy's convention
with paranoia lines etched deeply
into empty faces, void.

And then pure love flows by
to set the paradox a-straight,
the valley mirrors cycles sure
of death and life and change
as living green disguises basalt bare.

Old clairvoyants waffle on
drowning in their flood of self-deception,
and I wait for the breeze of synchronicity
weaving my philosophy of existence
upon my companion’s loom
10,000 megabytes from Virtual Village.

The Ultimate Metaphor

The guardians haul on heavy doors
white Wellingtons, blood stained
give way to fashion footwear
the stench of terror, drifting
moves out across the sea
a caution to the whales
of mankinds’ wanton whims.

Today the product doesn't cower
nor freely ooze with blood
the blood is there though, only subtle
hidden, trapped in paint and canvas.
Paintings, sculptures, drawings
fade into carcasses before my eyes
the ultimate metaphor stuns me
like the art-speak stun-gun hype
stuns yuppies
mostly, sometimes vegetarian.

The obscenity of life and death
is celebrated in the House of Slaughter
offal transmutes to cheese and crackers
wine splashes like urine, cheaply
against the cool-room walls;
dressed to kill, many patrons
fat with credit, lean with taste,
whisper, as the trains thunder past.

Cyberspace encompasses you, assures you
it’s all right,     it’s all right
let yourself go, drift
slide into virtual.
Exploding through virtual into harsh
my soul regurgitates contamination
from lingering toxic visions
I run towards the cleansing sea
and realise far too late
meat = art = kill = cash.

NB: * House of Slaughter is my term for the abattoirs at Byron Bay NSW Australia which were closed and poorly converted into an art exhibition and performance space.
* Wellingtons are waterproof long boots

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