Morning’s awakening

Sitting quietly
Taking in morning’s awakening
Listening to the world
As it slowly comes to life.

Homelessness Week 2-7th August 2020
Sitting quietly
Taking in morning’s awakening
Listening to the world
As it slowly comes to life.

Taking in the aroma
Of fresh coffee brewing
And intoxicating aromas of bread baking
Just right.

I sit
Carefully reading
Today's crumpled paper.
News that matters little
In my humble
And simple life.

Footsteps echo
With furtive glances
Of daily commuters
Scurrying by.
Looking down
With pity
In their eyes.

Senses on autopilot
Simply unaware
Of the rapturous moment.
This precious time.

Sitting quietly
Taking in morning’s awakening
Listening to the world
As it slowly comes to life.

The maudlin man

The maudlin man
Eyes straining
To pierce shadows
From apparitions summoned.

Photo by Ales Dusa on Unsplash

The maudlin man
Eyes straining
To pierce shadows
From apparitions summoned.
Dancing at the edge of vision
Wisps of understanding
Tantalisingly close
Continue to elude.
And the sands of time
Slip too easily past
His passive grasping.

Sitting precariously
On a precipice
Fear of the unknown taunting.
Transfixed and paralysed
Incapable of moving
Back or forth.
Caught out in a maelstrom
One that threatens
To tear asunder all opinion
That beggars no fools
But that fool is him.
This maelstrom
Of his imagination
Of his own making.

Forget me not, he prays
For he is caught in a vice
That strangles all thought
All strategies.
His life compressed
Into a single moment.
With an incredible weight
Pressing down
That increases it’s hold
With each laboured breath.

Everything depends
On his next move.
Time stands still
Every muscle tensing
Rivets of sweat
Start to flow
And pour from his brow.
He grimaces
And ultimately groans.

For his traumatised body has failed him
Taking cues from a mind
That fears to decide
For he has lingered far too long.
And oh that sweet, sweet moment
That watershed moment
To change his trajectory in life
That opportunity…
Has past.

Can we make the invisible visible?

Can we make the invisible visible?

Our downtrodden

Trembling masses

Casting their waning shadows

On forgotten plains

Our near silent

Our near vanquished majority

Our shameful oversight

Hidden with our tacit knowledge

In plain view

Living on the borderline

Our most shirked

Our most forgotten

Fellow man



Woeful creatures

Rooted unbeknownst

To a fractured and dimming spotlight.

Can we not just shine

Just for an instant

A piercing

Penetrating beam

Into the recesses

The crooks and crannies

And truly see

Not glazing over

The uncomfortable truths

Of our oh so comfortable lives?

If we had the slightest inclination

Could we not draw our collective breath

Inhale a little more deeply

And exhale a defiant challenge to our status quo

One that now so obviously benefits our elites

Our carefully manicured role models

Born to fortunate privilege

Primping and preening

Believing it was their talent

And not their postcode

Those who walk in wilful ignorance

Seemingly across water

But if you took the time

And peered closely

You would see

That this is on the arched backs

Of our drowning brothers and sisters

Asphyxiating in a system corrupted

No longer a meritocracy

No longer part of our vocabulary

Perhaps it never was…

Corporate greed is now our mantra

Our secret state

Profits at exponential rates

Inflation pressures we’re told

Must keep wages down

Out of reach of common man

While they wallow in their big fat juicy bonuses

At the top end of town

Peddling a perverse, inverse stew

Of capitalist socialism

Peddling us false prophets and propaganda

The pinnacle of populist views

Shamelessly, triumphantly echoes

“What’s in it for me?”

Where sowing fear and distrust of strangers

Left from right

Black from white

Race and religion

Is the new regime

What’s in vogue

Our new status quo.

As if there is no other honourable way

That being poor means you need to be punished

That instead of sharing the spoils

For your own good

When you are down

We will not pick you up

We will not help you

We will beat you into a final submission

For you are not worthy

You in your miserable state

We will smite you

We will shame you

We will subjugate you

We will fuck you when you are down

Simply we don’t give a shit

Who sees

Who knows

We are untouchable

For we wear the crown.

We could draw a line

If willing

We could wake

If willing

Challenge our indoctrination

Turn off mass media

Owned by billionaires

That numbs our senses

Hysterical infotainment parading

Thinly as news

Desensitising our minds

Falling into a stupor

Leaning further and further

To an alternative point of view

Playing into capricious goals

Of a skewed, racist agenda

A horrendous dystopian view of reality

An Orwellian state in the making.

All in the name of progress and equity

Because that is the American way

Our brothers in arms

Our star spangled role model


The poor wannabe

The fifty first state

A lapdog

Leaving behind all sense of decency

All sense of morality

For what

To bask in the shadow of another’s making

To catch the snacks that fall on the floor

For what?

To be their slaves?

No more.

Let me tell you of the everyday Australian

In our vernacular –

The fictitious honest battler

Let us keep their stories alive

Let us hold them ever so briefly in your minds eye

Shine brightly

Our beacon

To illuminate

Get close

Smell their desperation and despair

And use our teeth

To snap

To bite




And eventually


The knots that bind our fallacies

Our inbred prejudices

Our intemperance

Of those not worthy of our might.

Let us hold ourselves accountable for our intolerance

Our scorn

Our ridicule

Our unwillingness to accentuate

Their unfair

Pitiful plight

Let me tell you of their story

But let me ensure it is not simply a flight of fancy

Easily dismissed

Fingers snapped

In an instant due to naive simplicity

The optimism of our youth

But something oh so grounded

In a brutal


Visceral reality

An awful chilling

Heartbreaking tragedy

An unending brutality

That surrounds

So pitifully

So many

In their unfair


Everyday lives.

Can you imagine that in our lucky country

Full of overflowing riches

One in eight

Of our brothers and sisters

Live in intolerable subsistence

Below that shrieking, shameful poverty line

That in this land down under

We have a tale

Of haves and have-nots

Thirteen unlucky percent

Do not unfortunately share

Its embarrassingly rich bountiful fare

And to add to that injustice

One in six children

Share that miserable fate

A dire and destitute state.

And if your skin is black

And if your only sin is to be born Into a sunburnt land

Born as one from our First Nation

Then that shocking number escalates

Shatters records and shoots to

Thirty percent

It’s incomprehensible

Beyond comprehension.

And then to pour further fuel to a beaker that is already full

Let me take away our most precious commodity

What should be all of ours inalienable right

By taking away a precious gift

A span of ten years from an inglorious, unfair existence

Our people

From the First Nation

Born to fail

Bereft of the gift of life

Quickly and quietly dispensed.

And where do we house our invisible?

How do we sweep them out of plain sight?

Giving them no realistic option

But to live on the fringes

In distant urban dwellings

In sleepy country towns

Far from opportunity

To live below the poverty line

Many eeking out a meagre existence

Challenging them to find

Safe harbour

Where out of twenty-four thousand homes around Sydney

Only fifty are affordable

For a family on the borderline

Just fifty.

Putting all on Newstart

Regardless of age, health or family

Soul destroying politicians

Cynically peddling bullshit

A false

And evil ideology

That their amounts are fair

Indexed with inflation

Punishment with perpetual poverty

A shame they must continually bear.

And in the same breath

Voting though their shameful pay rises

Perks and bonuses

Tax cuts for those that don’t need it

Leading us all into oblivion

Corporate greed at its finest

Our final solution

Perpetuating a cycle

With major inequalities


Built into the very fabric of Australian society.

Can we make the invisible visible?

Yes we can


Only if we are willing

To open our eyes

Only if we have the will

And the way

Only if we finally

Finally chose to look

And not look away

To say enough is enough

For a time will come

Where we must all pull together

To save our land

To save our planet

From our shameful history

Our indulgences

That has raped and pillaged

This land

Heartbreaking mismanagement.

Otherwise I propose

That we will all vanish

Screaming and scratching

In pain and agony

Sliding into the blackness of despair

Realising only on the way down

That we too will vanish

Vanish into the bleak and bleary night


©Vinod Ralh. 2019

Trapped by your minds creations

More needs to be done to monitor, support and intervene with those that need it most – some of the most vulnerable and invisible people in society.

My brother Sushil battled mental health issues most of his life and passed away recently and unexpectedly. This is his story, his eulogy.

The World Health Organisation states that people with severe mental disorders on average die 10-25 year earlier, often due to preventable chronic physical illnesses and suicide. More needs to be done to monitor, support and intervene with those that need it most – some of the most vulnerable and invisible people in society.

My brother
I’m sorry I was not there for you
My shame forevermore
For alone you fell into darkness
Your last moments
In a cage
Trapped by your minds creations
Voices that could not be silenced
Though sometimes faded
Remained split
And hidden and trampled in their midst
A small but not so innocent boy
Who never got that chance
To grow up
To grow old
To grow wise
To experience everything that is life
That unadulterated joy.

My brother
Your body so cruelly and savagely
Added to your anguish
Locked into grotesque pose
Attacked itself
Every step
Every shuffle
A reminder
Another harsh unfair
Sharp pain to endure

My brother
Do you remember happier times?
Sweet moments
Where you let in those who loved you?
Where pain and humiliation were forgotten?
Where you forgave yourself for what you had said and done?
Where anger and frustration
When it seized you
Was not your fault
You were not in control
You were along for the ride
With your life marked by such cruel tragedy
Surrounded by never ending sadness
A longing for normality
You displayed such strength and resolve to carry on
You persevered
You fought on.

My brother
Fate left you
One weapon
With which to yield
With which
To make a mark
With humour
To compensate
To hit bullseye
To show your defiance
To show you were alive
That you were here
A sentient being
With pride intact
To a system
That did not seek to understand
That simply
Did not care.

My brother
Did you see the beacon
Your sister had lit for you
Our cherished one
Who went two years ago
To light a path
For you to join her, mum and dad
Our dear departed family
Their love and compassion
Was so strong
And you for them
The bonds were unbreakable
Your grief insurmountable
And now the anguish of separation is naught
For the ones that loved you the most
Now beckon you
Now speak to you
With tenderness and compassion
With eyes moist, tears and joy
They sit with you
They embrace you
Their son
Her brother
Holding hands
Firmly grasped
Never letting go.

My brother
Do you remember your family?
Aunties and uncles?
Your cousins?
Your friends?
Those who reached out to you in the wilderness?
Sometimes quizzically
Cooking endless supplies of curry
That had to be just right
Not too hot
Not too spicy
Copious amounts of roti
Yes more roti
More roti!
Sharing your cooking wisdom
Hard won sitting on the couch
Amazing imagination
Pure fiction
Barking orders
Mirth in your eyes
Simple pleasures
Small, sweet
Grasped moments
Of escape
Pushing limits
Rejoicing life.

My brother
Do you remember
Those who cared
And strangers ambling by
Caught in your net
Who sat
Who shared a Costa coffee,
And in the stillness smoked
Modern day philosophers
Brothers and sisters in arms
Who took time
To talk, to reflect, to dissect
To solve the country’s woes
To be crass
To talk real truth
Of what is inside
To conjure stories from nothingness
To laugh aloud
To feel human
To fill that ache
That void
That loneliness
To mute your many voices
To remember that precious irony
Called life.

My brother
Do you remember when we were young?
Can you part the mists of time?
To when life was simple?
Our house full of laughter
Of so much warmth and love
Of sunshine
And you – a maelstrom
In the centre of it all
Teasing, using that sharp mind
Pushing playfully at the limits
Stepping beyond
Damn the consequences
Feeling a mother’s wrath
A sharp stinging slap
False anger
A smile quickly escaping her mask
Point won
Easing the path of those that followed
Thanks bro.

My brother
Our eccentric dresser
Our fashionista
Gold jewellery your currency
Funny man full of wit and pathos
Laughing your crazy, infectious laugh
Music your lifeblood
Crooning along to Elvis
Rolling your cigarettes with precision
Small pleasures inhaled
A man
Larger than life
Moments that linger
To touch oh so weary hearts.

My brother
So much time has past
so much is faded and forgotten
Childhood a distant memory
Embers spent
Growing cold
And as ashes gently fall
So too does sleep beckon
So rest in peace now
Dear brother
Go gently and rest in peace
Let go of all that troubled you
Turmoils finally soothed
Your journey now
At an end
To a far better resting place you go
A place that is without cages
Are free.

© Vinod Ralh. 2019