Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Meeting with the Guru (1999)

At Uni as the 80’s drew to a close I met a man who
Taught me something I’ll never forget

I turned up at a party at a house near campus
Dropped my beers in the bath full of ice
Cracked one open
And went to mingle

Wandering through the familiar pungent smoke I felt slightly out of place

Having worked for a year before going to uni
I was a year or two older
And slightly more cynical
Than most of my peers

But I had a few drinks
Chatted for a while
Stopped for the occasional toke
And listened to whispers of a guest at this party

I heard tell of his genius
Of how enlightened he was
And decided to head for the room where this
Giant was holding court

As I wandered up the hall the smoke
And the alcohol
Got the better of me
I had flashbacks to Apocalypse Now
Felt like I was heading up river to see Kurtz
And I wondered what this meeting would become

I found the room
Joined the people on cushions
Passing joints, listening, asking questions
And talking to the man

He was a wonder to behold this

He looked as though someone in a lab
Had tried to cross a hippy
A surfer
And an American college professor
And had failed
Producing a look that those around me
Members of a generation with no solid identity of its own
Thought was pretty cool

But was basically a 30 year old art student in bad 70’s retro

And I with my budding biology degree
Learning how living things function and interact
Sat talking with this man of letters
This man who had spent 12 years at uni learning


We talked of philosophy
Of literature
Of psychology
We talked of many things as we
Sat in that haze of smoke and alcohol

And he showed me that he knew
A lot about
A lot of

And he blew the minds of those around him as they
On his every word

And I took something from that room that I still think about today

A decade later

As I wonder if somewhere on that campus there’s a
40 year old
Art student impressing
With the things he’s learnt

As I wonder if he remembers our meeting, the
Of uncertainty that crossed his face when I said
I know who you are

Or the smile of relief and satisfaction as he
My explanation that he was the shepherd
And these were his sheep

If he remembers me saying that he’d taught me
And that I must thank him
The glow of self-importance that
Came over him
As he inhaled my thanks

Or the self satisfied grin as he asked
What did I teach you?

But I doubt he remembers my answer

That he’d taught me never to confuse knowledge with intellect

Monday, February 14, 2011

Shelly's world

She was walking towards me
on the street
and she was beautiful
her hair
make up
entire ensemble

made me stop dead in my walk
to the tram

do not misunderstand
I was not on the pull
did not wish to talk
her into tryst
or otherwise

but when she passed
I stopped
and said
“darling, you look great”
paid compliment to
pertinent aspects
of her apparel

her reaction was one
of such indignation
and aggression
I may as well have said
I wanted to violate her body
right there on the street
when I was done with her mum

and I was displaced
within shelly's peach melba hat
except that it was the subject that
berated me
to point of calling police
for crime of simple compliment

in face of her tirade
I held up hands
confessed that while I was
my comment
was not meant to
initiate contact
I had not asked her name
and I was heading home
in opposite direction

but that i'd thought
that she was such
and obvious effort made was such
that pause for simple
was warranted

and moving on I wondered
and I wondered
we lost the simple
of simply paying

and then I remembered shelly
and the snow drop kid
so many years before

and mourned for a time
I am too young
to remember