Gabe Feathers McGee

poetry, stories, puffnstuff

Molly (haiku for a sick dog)


belly growling,

the puppy contemplates

the sound of hunger


Molly has not been well – very anxious and barking at shadows – her tummy is causing her pain because of a bug (probably something she ate in the paddocks). I thought it might be all psychological but the vet thinks it’s mainly the bug (we’ll wait and see).

She had to go 24 hours without food (hence the haiku) and then a bland, home cooked diet for 10 days and a course of antibiotics. She is not a happy camper.

Something has scared her as well, because she refuses to go outside and will come running back inside when I take her out for her bathroom run. I have to use her lead to ‘force’ her to stay outside until she has done the business. I have seen a ginormous eagle or kite near the house recently – maybe that has put her on edge – and there are always snakes about.

Plus, one of our ducks was killed yesterday, by some unknown predator.

What is going on?

Walls Come Tumbling Down

Building walls is so last century ☹

peace and a found harmony (frog music)

frog in watering can 024 (800x530)

green tree frog sounds
the baseline for harmony –
tuned into the rain

frog in watering can 023 (800x693)

haiku (alpaca)

A bad hair day –
what can an Alpaca do
when the do won’t do!

photo by Michael Bryden



Crazy is as Crazy does

His nickname –

‘Why Crazy? she asked,
absorbed as they all were,
even the men,
you could call them friends,
often used,
sometimes abused,
afraid and angry,
but captivated – dogs on a lead,
ensnared with some sort of addictive love
for this man,
confidence in a swagger and brag,
switch blade in the back pocket of pale jeans,
covered by a loose blue work shirt,
heard about but not seen.

He knocked some bastard’s teeth out in the pub,
the cops are looking for him,
laughed Mick,
with unease and awe wavering in his breath.

‘I bit a bloke’s ear off once
and the blood pissed out like a cat with a slit throat
all over my shirt!’
Crazy described this assault on his person,
he often dressed well for a night out,
pissed off in the recall,
the man without half an ear –
a playing pawn
in a game of snakes and ladders:
how fast can you get
to the top of the ladder
of crimes to impress by –
not a bad story.

He kissed and sighed in her ear
‘I killed a man in Longreach once’
before passing out on the bed.

In the morning he rolled over and groaned
‘keep that to yourself’ he winked –
a scowl-smile warning hovered.

She should have paid attention
to the nickname.

Crazy is as Crazy does

Magical Memory Maker



Once upon a time in Brisbane

there was a little worker’s cottage in a suburb called Murarrie,
where a grandma with big bear hugs squeezed the air from little chests,
and ginger nut bikkies and ginger ale were devoured
by knobbly kneed kids, unaccustomed to such delights.

This Grandma was a magical memory maker
and cast her spell on all her grandchildren
so that one day they would also become magical memory makers.

She had ginger hair, turned grey, deftly brushed and restrained
with brown squiggly hairpins, into an abundant bun, always.
She was short and plump, but strong in arm and opinion.

A macadamia bush would greet us, alongside Grandma, at the front gate,
dark green and rich with nuts, more scattered on the grass
leathery casings with lips cracked open to reveal the shiny brown prize
the macadamia nut
eagerly collected by the grand kids, and placed carefully in a hole
in the cement three step staircase leading to Grandma’s kitchen.
Hammer smack.
don’t eat too many or you’ll get a tummy ache
wise words dismissed without delay by hungry children.

Running like crazy around yard and house
searching for new surprises,
close scrutiny of bookshelves was a must
scrabbling through the ever-changing hodge podge
collection of tattered paperbacks –
Biggles and Boys Own Annuals,
the three boys had grown and left home but the books wanted to stay.
Reading material was given, taken, returned, taken again –
an inter generational book merry-go-round.

Wood and glass cabinets were full of dust collectors, but
endlessly fascinating for the mind and eye of a child.
Old styled dressing table with large mirror, so full of stuff,
large hairbrushes, bobby pins, talcum powder,
dangling necklaces, jewellery boxes,
old fashioned perfume decanters –
perfume dispensed at the squeeze of a fabric covered air bubble,
yellow tinged formal photographs
of a long time ago
with Grandpa, black and white, and well dressed
for the annual photo of union leaders,
heading up the plasterers.

A pot belly fridge choking with ice
grumbled at the back of a tiny kitchen,
resenting little hands
opening and shutting,
opening and shutting
don’t let the hot air in.

Monstrous mango trees cooled the little Queenslanders
and protected skin, tin and timber from scorching rays.

A dilapidated wooden fence peeked out from under
the tight embrace of a mulberry bush,
the luscious fruit blushing.

A crooked, cracked pathway on a lumpy backyard
led to the outhouse,
one room backyard dunny
placed as far away from the house as the garden would allow.
A bucket of wood shavings beside the grim toilet was used to hide offerings.
Grandma would say discretely
I’m off to visit me Aunty
I’m going to drop a penny
when needing to go to the backyard dispensary
and I wondered where this lady was hidden, and what happened to the coins.
At night it was always wise to journey to the outhouse in pairs
hearts pounded fast, only slowing when safely back inside,
in front of the old black and white box television,

with alien antennae.

Grandma the cat lady
cats, cats and more cats,
there was the inner circle, her own cats,
and there was the outer circle,
the motley crew of strays,
diseased, skinny, mouldy cats
scary cats
the smell of dried and tinned cat food
competed with sunlight soap
for a place in our memories of
Grandma’s place.

Then there were the thick, putrid smells from the local tannery,

punishing our nostrils when the wind made a bad choice in direction,
hanging about like crows in the school yard
waiting for children to finish lunch.

A Westerly wind would answer our prayers
and the smell was gone,
replaced by freshly mown grass,
marble cake and tea.

Time spent at the gingerbread house,
under the spell of the magical memory maker,
weaved some magical memories indeed.


Power to the Penguin

doing the penguin huddle,

ever shifting positions,
from the outside
to the inside
slow mixing bowl
the emperor penguins
snow dusted black backs hunched
a wall against the icy Antarctic wind
life salvaging warmth
of body temperature
hundreds of small steps
collective movement
one and all gets their cursory turn
on the icy edge
of the group
then quickly
back into the
warmth of the huddle
before any individual dies
of exposure

in a penguin world

the benefits of collective action


A video about the penguin huddle can be found here.

Black Tie Attire


Emperor penguins are dressed to the nines,
cool arrangement of black tie, so fine,
look terribly formal,
for them this is normal,
going out, they will dance and will dine.


Note: Images from free stock.

Penguin Cafe Orchestra


I hate to be a pushy penguin, but you have to listen to this video 😉


‘In 1972 I was in the south of France. I had eaten some bad fish and was in consequence rather ill. As I lay in bed I had a strange recurring vision, there, before me, was a concrete building like a hotel or council block. I could see into the rooms, each of which was continually scanned by an electronic eye. In the rooms were people, everyone of them preoccupied. In one room a person was looking into a mirror and in another a couple were making love but lovelessly, in a third a composer was listening to music through earphones. Around him there were banks of electronic equipment. But all was silence. Like everyone in his place he had been neutralized, made grey and anonymous. The scene was for me one of ordered desolation. It was as if I were looking into a place which had no heart. Next day when I felt better, I was on the beach sunbathing and suddenly a poem popped into my head. It started out ‘I am the proprietor of the Penguin Cafe, I will tell you things at random’ and it went on about how the quality of randomness, spontaneity, surprise, unexpectedness and irrationality in our lives is a very precious thing. And if you suppress that to have a nice orderly life, you kill off what’s most important. Whereas in the Penguin Cafe your unconscious can just be. It’s acceptable there, and that’s how everybody is. There is an acceptance there that has to do with living the present with no fear in ourselves.’

Quoted from composer and brainchild of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra Simon Jeffes.

You can find out more about the orchestra from the Penguin Cafe Orchestra website here.

I love the backstory to the making of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra -an inspiring way to create 🙂

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