Thursday, May 17, 2012


The pol ice report arrived today about my stolen laptop, which they insisted on reporting as lost. The part on the report where it says I believe the woman wheeling my chair along, (supposedly assisting me), took the computer, since she packed up all my things when they came out of security check and there was no other opportunity to take it, is illegible. They appear to have deliberately made it look hard to read.

When I made the report and said I was a writer, the po lice in Los Angeles checked that fact on the phone three times. It appeared to cause them some concern. I believe that's because a writer is generally considered to be observant, and also, I could make this a media issue.

Now I simply hope the report is sufficient for my travel insurance to cover the exorbitant cost of the laptop I had to get to replace the one that disappeared. See, insidious, I'm starting to use language which is ambiguous, now. It vanished. The laptop dissolved. O it was magicked away by gremlins. I think I may've imagined I ever had one.... Yeah, right. Luckily, I had someone to help me get a replacement or I would not be here now typing this.

The mess of travelling, we up sticks and leave places familiar to us to find out what's over there, to visit friends and family, to see a place we've often dreamt about or imagined, we fly away to make it easier for business or politics to work. We take grandchildren to see relatives who have only til then seen photos and videos, we bring gifts from home....

O yes, travelling, we trek in to a new country with dirt and microbes on our shoes, or illicit foodstuffs and seeds hidden in luggage which are not welcome in many places, we bring and have brought things which have changed entire landscapes, cultures and localities forever. Imagine what happened the first time a boat arrived somewhere they'd never seen one. Our own Auckland city has the idea of cafe tables so patrons may be seated outdoors, imported from Europe, which is a relatively recent custom here. Then there are countless engineering plans, foodstuffs, furnishings, medicines and other necessities we've taken with us on our travels, globally, which positively improved lives.

Some are more dangerous exports. Sir John Hawkins in the mid-16th century brought tobacco back from the New World to England where the drug has since ruined people's health and dampened their emotions for centuries, (Sir Walter Raleigh popularised it in Elizabethan times but did not originally bring tobacco in to England); some bright spark brought possums and rabbits to New Zealand, where there'd never been such a devastating pair of animals let loose on local vegetation ever; unwittingly sailors in 1918 spread influenza to the wide world including Pacific Islands and the resulting epidemic killed tens of thousands.

People have smuggled in books to communist countries like Bibles, they've smuggled people out of some places too for their well being or for money, or both.

We've seen too many instances of travel damaging ecosystems however, and this practise has recently been curbed to some extent. Recently though, a ship called the Rena, a badly run vessel allowed into a NZ port by foolhardy deregulation, ran aground on a reef and spilt oil into our lovely waters, killing wild-life and damaging the shoreline, forcing countless local and out-of-town volunteers to clean up the mess. Ridiculous amounts of money to pay for it all was found, somehow. Innumerable work-hours were lost, people had to clean the enormous amount of crude oil up, they did so in their droves.

Travel broadens the mind and lightens the purse. It's a way of refreshing creativity and discovering new ideas to use later on, too. When we step out of our usual zone we immediately have to think in fresh ways, may find challenges we never knew existed and our problem-solving abilities require often rapid employment or deployment. We may bond with others we meet or visit in stronger ways since we've made this grand effort and time too, is limited.

Lovely to go away for a while.

Papeete where I visited on my way across the Pacfic Ocean

We do however disturb ourselves somewhat and others in the process of travelling, we create more waste and pollution than we would if we stayed put, (arguably) and the cost, o yes, the money, along with emotional and social costs, cultural costs, the price of our entertainment and self-indulgment.  There could be ways to satisfy those urges without such diabolical side-effects.

Freedom is the reason we travel, perhaps? Leaving town makes us believe we are free? Frank Zappa said - "The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater."

Time for me to see that brick wall. And I could see living beings slamming into it.

The only way I could take the trip I just did with a clear conscience was to buy trees in Australia, ( I receive my certificate of proof soon, and they really need trees). Also, I grew some seedlings myself for others to plant. I bought two trees as well, one for Adam in San Francisco and another for myself here at home, (planted a Ballerina Apple for Jimi Hendrix, to kiss the sky), then I chose to go vegetarian, to help cover the carbon cost. Every time I see a jet plane, I think, 'O look at that aeroplane how beautiful and terrible it is.'

Australian Flora from website selling trees

I believe choosing to eat vegetarian saves more carbon than giving up your car, by the way, and the  food is sublime. I just enjoyed celery, parsley, sorrel, lettuce salad with dry roasted sunflower seeds and a vinaigrette dressing with ratatouille, followed by some home-baked rhubarb cakes topped with two almonds, (about a third of this deliciousness from the garden). The cakes were made with gluten-free flour, free range egg, oil, baking powder, vanilla essence, rice milk and pieces of chopped rhubarb, some brown sugar, pinch of salt, beat all together, bake in medium oven 20 minutes or til cakes spring back when touched lightly.

O yes, and we travel to eat authentic local food, a change for the taste-buds.  Our palates, we believe we need a change at the table.

Then too, I took a boat over there and trains mainly across America itself, these vehicles emit less carbon per passenger. If I'd sailed the Pacific Ocean in a vessel without an engine and cycled across America it would've been even better.

Intriguing how many people find my discussing these world-saving things annoying, boring or just stupid. Instead of simply allowing an idea they do not agree with some space in their minds, while still thinking otherwise, and discussing this issue as an exercise, to discover more, or seeing they could take on some new improved behaviour and make Earth a better place, these people are closed-minded and often openly hostile. We can talk about things we do not like or understand, without them taking over our lives, or some of us can. People do not have to agree to have a conversation.

Okay, mentioning carbon footprint, sure, people may feel guilty and defensive, or even with my bringing up global warming, well, some could find that overwhelming and too hard to think about, but I never thought my simply discussing planting trees could produce anger or negativity from somebody else with any sense.

Sense. Perhaps I am too charitable? Maybe not as many people have abilities of reason as I supposed?

I usually discuss the idea mildly too, and I know some of you could scoff at that, but truly no foaming at the mouth about this when I talk about trees for travel. It's just discussed as something I've done lately, with a smile.

"To be courageous does not mean closing your eyes to risks. Being courageous is acknowledging risks but having eyes only for what you have decided upon."  -Amir Zoghi-

A few people ask knowingly if I will have a brass plaque by the trees I'm planting, with my name on it. 'No,' I answer, smiling.

Others insist the air pollution now is the same as it ever was, and volcanoes make more pollution than jet planes. I guess I should go talk to volcanoes about planting trees and becoming vegetarian, then?

Seriously, we have to change our ways. This isn't for a better life, it's for any life at all.


This minute.

The more of us plant trees, go vegetarian or vegan, (even one or two days a week vegetarian is good for your health and the planet), refuse to get involved with wasteful and pollution-producing activities as much as possible, then choose ways to balance things out, well then, the more of us there'll be who look after where we live. Our positive eco-friendly actions now shall make it more likely we human beings will survive, the other animals on the planet shall also survive, the plant life and microscopic life as well, and we'll live decently, too.

Our children and grand-children need to be cared for, we need to make the effort.

It is also money-saving to be green.

And it makes people feel better.

Much better than being dead, that's certain.

Yes, you're correct, that is not a light-hearted approach but I guess I've grown tired of those conversations where I'm happy to talk trees, but stand there faced with people frowning, sliding cellphones out of their bag to check messages, or just telling me it doesn't matter what I do, it's companies' fault, not people and....   'Excuses, defenses and diversions, that's how the world was lost,' we can tell our children. If we ever get time between the food riots, the violent storms and rising sea levels swamping our homes, of course.

Websites like this offer a way to calculate what your carbon footprint is and also, offer ways to offset your carbon so it balances out.


Now, I have been asked to read for NZ National Poetry Day at Takapuna Library, by Stu Bagby which was kind of them. I shall be reading many of my American poems there and hope you can make it along. It's a way ahead, but please note the date - 27 July, a Friday and starts at 6pm. I shall bring a tree along too and will give it away to someone, not sure who yet, it could be you.

I'm also writing a poem to order, especially for everyone who purchases a piece of Lucy*Mae wonder at her Ladi's night, 21st May 2012, Monday - 600 Great North Road. A fabulous jazz singer is performing and there's a free glass of wine if you'd care to pop in and see what's going on.

Then the next morning, 22 May 2012 at 9.30am I am on Good Morning, TV1 nationwide I suppose it is, talking about how to run a Book Club.  I take classes in suchlike, (mainly to do with writing ).


Also, this link was sent to me about corn syrup which is in so much A m er i can food and there is a finding it makes people less able to think clearly.


Since I returned I've found my poetry-writing is perhaps not as prolific as it was, on my wondrous holiday. It was suggested I could take it easy but I seem to have thrown myself into working again. There is this piece however, which I think suits the theme of this post. Shworrygo

lightning storms at sea all by themselves

arc weld flashes on my cabin wall
'leave your curtains open' the Australians told me
'furious weather can wake you any hour
stunning what you can see at night from a cruise ship'
out the window across the endless Pacific Ocean swell
a deep grey bundle of furious crackle and noise
spitting in the place between water and heaven

a churning column - kilometeres of reaction
when one air mass meets another of different temperature
and o yes, it'd be simple to make this a metaphor
something about passion and evening rendevous
the way lovers often fight with each other first
long before they kiss or admit a little softness
their momentum bigger than either and fated

we're not a figure of speech however but flesh and history
our fragility obvious in how we package our words
some tough or startle and o so artful tangles
the manner each attempts to dust off distance
while between us a mystery so at sea it's flagged
sparks and roars with roiling dark masses
a light-and-soundshow for mermaids and mermen

wise to burn this into a fantasy
(pull those drapes and watch the DVD instead)
we could wreck the real float and lose the treasure
after all feelings what are they?
as valuable as the comfort of what we already know?
or fuel for imaginations' flex and build?
the resulting blank port wall then so invites graffiti

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