Playing the Changes


The music, once lifeblood, is wallpaper now.

Distraction packaged to a T. No more introspection.  No more grand concepts to espouse. Where once we found a wellspring of honest communication, a power for true consciousness raising, an untainted form of collaborative self-expression, now we see these things collapsed and eclipsed by the weight of ego and braggadocio.

Somewhere, there was a change. The true talent of expression has given way to the vapid skill of claiming talent at expression. Have we gone so far down the rabbit hole that we are willing to accept this as our escape from the world? Does the call for shallow entertainment carry further than the call for meaning?

Deaf, dumb, and blind, the children dance to rhythm without reason, and rhyme to meet a word count. Futile exercises in formula. Mindlessness. It’s hard to speak wisdom when appealing to the masses. It’s hard to pull the weeds from the garden when you’re sitting on the fence. Still, what’s good to sell is good to buy, and what’s easier to sell than the surface?

We stand close enough to the canvas to see the finer strokes, but not the bigger picture.

The middlemen are multiplying. It’s getting harder to make out the voice of an artist among the others squabbling for position in his work. Platforms are sold according to expected outcomes, and advertisements bring more revenue than human beings.

It’s the coldest kind of war. The separation of life from life. And those who sell the mortar want to build the walls.

In consequence, only marketable beauty is allowed the privilege of generating art. So much for being made of star-stuff, as it turns out, you need to look the part. When you rely on the promotion of others, you need to play the game by their rules. No biting the hand that feeds you.

Short of some cultural revolution, it’s nothing more than a waiting game now. We’ll lack the means to fight the fight when there’s no one left to show us how. And one by one, the men and women who used to lead the way fade away.

When our daughters and our sons have been diluted, then maybe we’ll decide to make a difference. And even now we gamble on the fact that our hindsight will remain just good enough to remember how. To protect innocence.

Meanwhile, we continue to buy these lies. Cheap at the price of the true artist’s livelihood.

Stars are born. Hope dies.

The bottom line is the bottom line.



Poem – “One Day”

One day, a man with no allegiance shooed the songbirds from the trees.

One day, a priest with no religion shunned his flock to wear his fleece.

And in one day, everything had changed.


The victims were saddled with blame, as if by sleight of hand.

And those who were more equal than others grew fat from the land

At the expense of the man who once gave a damn.


Great desperation makes sweeter the call of the dice.

And blind indignation breeds hatred between you and I.


And one man couldn’t change a thing.

So one million men didn’t change a thing.


Poem – “Hiding in the Forest”


Life lies in the minds of mortal men


I etch my thoughts onto paper

Hearts carved into trees by a young lover

Pressing myself into the world


Until all of me is secreted in my writing

Life as an idea in the mind of another


I commit myself to paper

Like a child, I hide in the forest

And as long as I can speak to other hearts and minds

I live forever


In the end, we are more fragile than paper

A simple sentence can hold its worth longer than we can hope for ourselves

Some of us will change the world

for the simple sake of being remembered


But time heals even the cuts of paper

Eternity is finite too

And with no minds left to hold ideas

They fade, as we do


Words without meaning

A universe without eyes

Existence without perception

All for nothing


Poem – “Public Consumption”


If this is your calling, you’d best stop this fuss

You haven’t the time. It’s a spent luxury

Exhale for luck. Odds are for supper

Evens supplies for the next work to be


The painter who hangs on the wall for a change

Sees Darwinist nature in sharper relief

While the young art collector, the market projector

Determines his fate with a glimpse of his teeth


She’s an unfaithful mistress

Unshakeable sickness

She’ll enrich your life and paint you a clown

You’ll gain traction with charm

But right now

Her arms are holding you



If you must take the chance, put your shoes on to dance

You must play the game or be lost in the noise

And if fashion desires, you’ll stay for a while

Losing your passion as you serve with the boys.


And you may find it strange, as they move into range

The audience turns on the fool at the feast

At the end of the day, something’s got to hang

You may as well make it a canvas, at least

It’s Okay To Be Wrong

– The Price of Admission


It’s okay to be wrong. So why do we fear it so?

Why do we go to such extreme lengths to save face instead of focusing on the potential gains of being wrong? What factors have conspired to make the prospect of being seen to have been wrong – implied by the act of changing one’s mind – a more unsavoury prospect than continued denial of facts for the sake of what essentially boils down to tradition?

To elaborate, by means of a contemporary example, it’s a phenomena which has been commented on in passing with increasing regularity since the election of the 45th President of the United States of America – If so many people who voted for him still support him, given the values he espoused during his campaign, and given his achievements to their detriment, as well as his general behaviour and temperament since his election, what could be done to change their minds?

Well, perhaps the answer is nothing.

We have all had conversations with people who knew their position before they started, and who would go on to scour the terrain of the subject for any support for their ideas, rather than daring to question their own pre-established wisdom. The vast majority of us would admit to recognising this behaviour in ourselves as well, I’m sure.

The turning point is marked by this realisation. It’s one thing to attempt to support your beliefs, but when you come to the realisation that you are doing so in the face of other evidence, for the simple sake of sparing yourself the perceived embarrassment of being wrong, then the time has come for some real personal growth.

It’s okay to be wrong.

More than that, in fact. It’s a prime mover in how we advance as individuals and as a society. Progression comes at the price of change to the established order of things.

When we allow ourselves to buy into the idea that an admission of a lack of perfect knowledge is detrimental, that we must maintain the illusion of appearing right at all costs – even at the cost of ACTUALLY BEING RIGHT! – we perpetuate a world where influences which seek to expand our knowledge are feared, where science is ridiculed and dismissed, where one person’s opinion is as important as any other, regardless of what evidence can be brought to bear on the matter.

We stick to our guns, even when they are pointed back at us.

Who among us would comfortably admit to defending a position they knew to be wrong? Should we not deliberately seek out conflicting opinions to be sure of the validity of our own positions?

It’s fairly intuitive that this problem could be partially averted by the reader paying more close attention to their opinions and motivations, so I won’t go on to lecture.

Instead, there is a simpler solution to implement, the least that can be done to remedy the situation. The next time you witness someone change their mind, or acquiesce in the light of information they didn’t have, or hadn’t seen in a new way before, take the time to appreciate it. To mention it.


The only way out of this is together. We all need each other’s help to drag ourselves into the future.


In a world where being a consumer

Is more important than being a thinker


Where a smile sells

And a heart sits on the shelf


When appearance is everything

Changing one’s mind becomes an admission of something unsavoury

The shame of having not known everything before


One must protect one’s own perfection

One must retain imperfection to hide from it


We devolve to prove we are not animals

We sink continents to keep ourselves afloat


We elect to stick to our guns

Even when they are pointed back at us



We Look To The Stars

It wasn’t always like this.

There used to be more.

Sometime far from the beginning, creation, seemingly too curious to be satisfied with mere existence, begat self-conception.

The same lifeless stardust, the same burning energy of infinity coalesced into the white-hot presence of life itself. And for a while, everything moved in the wake of our significance.

But, forever true to form, things change.

Whether by decree or by some unconscious turning of the tides of minds, substance seemed to fall from favour. Insatiable hunger became the impetus for instant gratification, to the detriment of all else. A waste of time. A waste of life.

And, as greed and ignorance formed an enviable bond, there was a moment felt around the world. The passing of something.

We shun empathy, unwilling to entertain the concept of equal ground at the expense of the possibility of being the victor. We find it’s hard to listen when we’ve got so much to preach.

After all this time, still we allow ourselves to be overtaken by the mad desire to beat the rest at the human race.

So now, tired of what we’ve made for ourselves here, we turn from introspection to escapism.

Every civilisation in history has turned to the stars in longing.

But whereas we used to look for meaning, now we yearn for release from the prison we built ourselves, trying to make a home.

Still we dream our dreams like boys as we look out to stars on the outer reaches of observable space. Blessed, as we are, with reflections of their past lives. Long gone now, but preserved for us by the lethargy of light within the context of forever.

And as we look upon those stars, we see ourselves. Long since dead by our own hands. Preserved for time being as the amusement of a universe made conscious. An ironic embodiment of self-awareness.

And we still cry at night, instead of making any change at all.