Never Again

Temptation is everywhere.

30/11/2020

Healthy, wealthy and wise

Success the ultimate prize

And I give myself two years

To go from zero to hero

Repair the damage

And create grandkids

And oh the pain some still remains

6 years of life down the drain

And they all want to know

What it’s like on the inside

Scarily easy

So you no longer fear it

And were it not

For the team in my corner

The supportive family

The friends and co workers

And the angels of the system

It would be easy to slip up

Fall down and get locked up

But I’m cunning

I stalk the beast of temptation

And fire off rounds of will

The only good kind of kill

So that my mother

Never again

Has to see her son through prison glass

Recently I was lucky enough to spend a weekend with  my uber successful older brother, and learned a lot about success and life skills. I love my job driving a forklift but I have aspirations to be something more. Study and hard work lie ahead.

At the same time it takes work to keep on the straight and narrow, temptation is everywhere and one slip up could lead me back to jail.  

I do the right thing for my family and friends that have showed faith and support from day one.

9 To 5

Every victory is its own infinite glory.

20/11/2020

Sanguine and satisfied

Cos I’m holding down the 9 to 5

Pay cheques and prospects

References and resumes

Work smarter not harder

And keep the boss sweet as I find my feet

The dizzying heights

Of the endless mundane

Getting by and keeping sane

As I forge on through

The light of recovery

From the hardest time

Freedom sublime

And some that share

The cross to bear

Of the weight of our regrets

Destiny manifest

So walk on

Head held high

Stiff upper lip

Take pride

In the bravery on show

In the fog of the great unknown

And every victory

Is infinite glory

So wish me luck

As I tell my story

There’s a lyric from one of my favourite bands; ‘Against Me!!’ that goes: “Every mistake is now our own infinite failure”. So it makes sense that the opposite is true that every victory is its own infinite glory.

My life is incredibly mundane in some ways and an epic adventure in others, wish me luck as I chase down a life rich in meaning and joy.

Celebrity

Nothing much gets to me.

26/11/2020

Nobody knows my troubles but god

Well that’s not true

My city knows my soul

And I hear them whisper

“That’s Christo”

A small town celebrity

And nothing I haven’t done

A punk rock musician

They said in the news

But I’m so much more

The warrior poet

Lover, brother, son

The wild one

The life unique

And a spark in my soul

That’s blessed me with

Friends for life

And a strange and formidable reputation

The nightmare cards were dealt

Lucky to be alive

And I intend

To take full advantage

Of that fact

And live life to the fullest

So god bless this mess

Strive to be the best

Rise like cream to the top

Of my corner of the world

Laugh and dance and play

Forever til kingdom come

God bless this mess. As painful as it’s been for too many years without the hard times I wouldn’t have found the place I’m in at the moment where nothing much gets to me and the future looks brighter and brighter.

Canberra is a small city and it’s true that people occasionally recognize me from the news, I dream that someday I’ll move to an oasis of anonymity and leave the stigma of jail far behind me.

Warrior Poet

At the end of the day we do it for the love.

21/11/2020

Sometimes I wonder

Why all my life

I’ve been a creative type

And it clicks and makes sense

That it’s all a way

Of tricking the world

Into loving me

It’s a way of being something more

Than just a 9 to 5 drone

I’m not a blue collar worker

I’m a warrior poet

Cos which would you rather be?

And weaving webs of meaning

Searching the ether

For profound understanding and wisdom

Of the world around us

Seems like a better vocation

Than watching reruns of

American sitcoms and reality TV shows

So as always

I bleed onto the page

Lock the rage inside a cage

Seek meaning through my art

So the world knows my story

Look and play the part

Of a quest for lyrical glory

These patterns on the page

Give me hope

And pride

And a better life

Than just scraping by

It seems to me that pretty commonly achievement and creativity is in some way or another a way of tricking the world into loving us. Writing books and poetry, making music and visual art often seem pointless from a financial or survival perspective but we do it for the love, attention and status that we get in return.

At the end of the day we do it for the love.

Broken Dreams

Time heals so let it pass without trauma.

15/08/2020

Can I ever really heal?

The wounds I caused my family

As we tentatively navigate

Our world of broken dreams

Will my mother ever be the same?

Knowing the deeds that led me to jail

And knowing the deeds that took place in that jail

The good son and brother, the best of our clan

Lost his great love

In the furnace of our troubles

And all is forever blackened

By the weight of our regrets

I owe it to my kin

To never take my foot off the brakes

In the challenge to make something more of myself

Other than the cause of black misery and death

When you get locked up you’re not just hurting yourself, you’re hurting your friends, family and loved ones that all suffer in various ways as you struggle through your time.

My crime hurt those around me and it burns to think of it but the opposite effect is true when you start to kick goals during and after jail.

I’ll never forget telling my folks I got second prize in the prison creative writing comp or buying my mother a watch with my first pay check at a real job on the outside.

Time heals so let it pass without trauma and slowly mend our souls.

Forever Golden, Golden Forever

The golden path is no longer paradise lost.

October 2020

Hold on to what’s golden

7 months no breaches

A job and a place of my own

That’s how gravy’s made

New friends, new connections

Precious Banter

Sacred good cheer

And all that hard work is rewarded

So move forward

Let the soul sing

And everything

Improves with time

Let the soul find

New pathways to well being

New moments exploding

With the ripe juice of the modern life fruit

Passion, pride, power

Be brave as we progress

Behave and keep rolling

The hard yards are done

The horrors subsided

The river of shit gives way

To the forest of hope

New dreams and all seems

Golden forever

Forever golden

All the effort put in over the past 7 months is starting to bear fruit. The hard work I’ve done  at my blue collar job driving a forklift is giving me the money to rent my own place and the care and attention I’ve carried with my social life is opening doors to a lot more fun and friendship in life.

There’s still so far to go to really be living a truly good life and to make amends with my old friends and family but I feel like things couldn’t be much better this early on in the course of freedom.

The golden path is no longer a paradise lost but a treasure to be discovered.

Heroes 3 – Tom Gable/Laura Jane Grace

Tom Gable changed gender in a move that surprised, shocked and even delighted some.

5/11/09

When I was a young man

My hero was Tom Gable

The singer of Against Me!

I even loved the solo stuff

Saw him play at a youth centre

And Against Me! at ‘The Green Room’

Me and my mate locked shoulders

And sang the oh way oh’s of their best song

My mate didn’t believe me

When I told him they had signed

To a major record label

And where I had previously disowned Greenday

I forgave then and listen to ‘New Wave’

As I walked around Paris

Tom is a woman now

Calls himself Laura Jane Grace

I’m still processing it

It’s not that I care about his gender

I just liked him so much as Tom

I hope he’s found his peace

Tortured as he was

‘Joy’ and ‘Cliché Guevera’

Are still all time favourites

Listening to his/her stuff

Fills me with a thousand thoughts

And myriad emotions

I still think about Tom Gable

Punk rock idol number 3, Tom Gable, changed gender in a move that surprised, shocked and even delighted some. Cynics thought it was a way of recovering alternative culture credibility but I think he just had a feeling he would be more real and content with the choice.

Against Me!s early stuff I found to be profoundly moving and poetic, I still listen to them to this day.

Heroes 2 – Fat Mike

Long live Mike Burkett.

3/11/09

When I was a teenager

My hero was Fat Mike

The singer of NOFX

I had all their CD’s

Even the old stuff

And I still know all the words

To their 18 minute song ‘The Decline’

As Mitch Clem pointed out

Their only album that doesn’t have

At least one terrible song

‘The Longest Line’

Was the second sing I ever learned on guitar

Fat Mike had a record label

‘Fat Wreck Chords’

That signed half of all

My favourite bands

And all the CD’s

Were $10 bucks

Instead of $30 for everything else

I had their poster on my wall

And used to quote the onstage banter

Of their live album

With my punk rock mates

They covered the song ‘Vincent’

The first song to ever make me cry

They lost something of their magic

As they grew into middle age

But their stuff still moves me to this day

I still think about Fat Mike

In high school everyone knew me as the kid in the NOFX shirt and I still listen to them after all these years and follow them on the web as they age disgracefully.

Fat Mike’s record label combined with Epitaph records helped define the punk genre through the 90s,00s and to this day and  the 90’s punk wave helped define who I am as a human being.

Long live Mike Burkett.

Heroes 1 – Billy Joe Armstrong

The 90’s punk wave hit me hard as a kid

3/11/19

When I was a kid

My hero was Billy Joe Armstrong

The singer of Greenday

I had a book about them

And loved everything they did

Up to and including ‘Nimrod’

I even knew that the drummers real name

Was ‘Frank Edwin Wright the Third’

I had the poster on the wall

And listened to them

At school,

Before bed

While painting miniatures

And every opportunity I got

In grade 6

A girl I despised

Told me they were

Her favourite band too

So I called her fat until she cried

Ruthless brat that I was

At some point

I learned what a sell-out was

And denounced my fan hood

And never listened to them again

Until I was much older

And learned to forgive them

They were the first band I ever saw live

I still think about Billy Joe Armstrong

This is the first of three poems about my punk rock heroes from different eras of my youth.

The 90’s punk wave hit me hard as a kid and I still listen to a lot of punk old and new, I thought this might be a good upbeat counterpoint to my recent posts about the hard times.

I stole the last line from Jack Kerouacs ‘On the Road’.

Not My Time (2)

I love life and live it to the fullest.

10/10/2019

The second time I attempted suicide

I was serious about it

I have the scar to show it

I was in walking distance ton the highway

Somewhere near ‘Nambucca Heads’

It clicked that it would be

An easy way to end it

Just walk in front of a semi-trailer

Doing 110km

So I did

It took me a few moments

To realise what had happened

I was spun around and found

I could no longer raise my arm

I had a broken humorus

But there was nothing funny about it

The truck had just clipped me

Cracked a few vertebrae in my spine

But not dead

After that I lost my nerve

Walked home and my dad

Drove me to the hospital

Unaware of my arm

Just for how crazy I was acting

Life would continue to get tougher

But every day I’m thankful

That I was unsuccessful

It wasn’t my time

One thing that comes from both attempting suicide and hitting rock bottom in jail is that you no longer fear death while at the same time cherishing life. I’m eternally grateful that I had the chance to continue living long enough for things to improve and now I love life and live it to the fullest.

If ever you’re enduring hardship know that a time comes for everyone where things get better.

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