Looking for a life – the fruits of our labour (Lagos, Nigeria)

December 6, 2016

Mosque minarets pierce soggy Lagos skies and I ask my driver to stop, the road potholed with waterlogged lakes and lined both sides with traders’ stalls. Just here are piles of tomatoes on tottering stacks of pavers. Ribs sizzle next door, sweet basil wafting from the meaty pile frying over open flames. Rasheed’s seat is […]

The good, the bad, and Barcelona – Gaudi on Sunday (Catalonia, Spain)

June 15, 2015

In the crowded hotel lobby, my daypack zipper sounds conspicuously loud. I poke a hand inside: a woollen vest, an apple and a light rain jacket – nothing more. I rummage about. Still nothing. Everyone looks when I tip the contents out. A euro coin rolls across the tiled floor, hits the dark timber architrave […]

Postcard from Lagos – a white Christmas in black Africa (Nigeria)

December 25, 2013

I’ve been stuck in Johannesburg traffic for an hour now; finally pulling off the treadmill of Rivonia Rd, and into the Nigerian Consulate compound – open Tuesday and Thursday mornings only – to be greeted by a mountain of a security man casually swinging a semi-automatic and demanding I stop. “You cannot be bringing your […]

Lost Pearls and Pomegranates – from red towers to whitewash (Andalusia, Spain)

December 8, 2013

The phone rings late afternoon: my girlfriend having just arrived. We meet and trudge uphill from Granada station, through the 15th century Gate of Pomegranates to this Alhambra citadel – ruddy stone towers, roses, oranges and myrtles – a garden-fortress built to house a Moorish army of 40,000. Boabdil was born here, imprisoned in the […]

Faces of Fame – an ode to John Wilson St (Melbourne, Australia)

May 25, 2013

A face stares out from my PC screen: a suited-up man about 30yrs old, the boyish face round, the hairline receding. I see a clean face, but for the sparing outline of a beard.  I see a thin mouth, the eyes narrowed and slightly turned, the face of a man who killed eight people by […]

Soul Searching – a sense in ancient science (South Island, New Zealand)

May 8, 2013

We linger in the dark after coffee, among deserted café chairs of bleached wooden slats, tables and simple benches. The air smells of seaweed, salt and garlic. The night cries of wheeling gulls float across Moeraki Harbour – ‘sleepy sky’ in Maori – as little blue penguins nest between waterline rocks at our feet. The […]

People and Places – a poem (Jhomolhari, Bhutan)

April 2, 2013

the place I see is special; a block of stone or wending path built by many hands or feet.   and in my dream, I dream of this: a vibration, scent or residue, from pasts that are long lost.   till when I wake the dream takes shape, wrought of violence, longing or regret: the […]

Red Desert Dreaming – modern times, ancient magic (The Kimberley, Western Australia)

March 19, 2013

Strange figures are painted in broad strokes of red ochre – Wandjina spirit-men – eerie round faces with big pools for eyes. I stand next to Maurice, “a Worara blackfella” and a driver at local mines. I ask him why they have no mouths. His voice is hushed, as he points at the staring spaceman […]