Mikel Ocean Azure



For a long time the only writing I did was writing poetry.  In my teens and early twenties it was the only place I expressed my feelings to myself.  My poetry comes out of my emotional self, my intellect is engaged to "get the words right" but the bedrock of meaning is emotional.   When my emotional life is stagnant or somnolent my poetry tends to dry up.  When my emotional life is in full gallop I write all kinds of poetry.  If I'm with a woman and I've stopped writing poetry about her, that's a bad sign. 

I always wrote for self expression, never once did I think about what anyone else would think about my poetry, if the end product felt right to me, then it was perfect and I was content.  I need to learn that same freedom with other things I write! 

The oldest poems are at the bottom of the page.  Eventually my current poems will be at the top of the page but while I'm copying them onto the website it might be slightly less well organised than that. 

My poems are generally written with lots of space between the words.  The space is roughly equivalent to time, a big space means a long pause before moving onto the next line, at least that's how I read them.  Staggering and other elements are intended to convey some sense of relationships between lines, ideas and themes within the poem but don't be too pedantic about trying to interpret that, I'm not. 

I have not memorised one of my poems and I rarely read them out loud.  They were always for "in my head" and that's where they sound best to me. 


I didn't have much male company till I was in my late teens.  When I made some genuine male friends I absolutely loved it.  I am a guy and I love male company, the best of which is relaxed, funny, earthy and honest.  My years as a taxi driver have made it clear to me that a tragic number of men are empty of humanity.  I understand the pressures that push a man in that direction, I've felt them myself, been seduced to stumble down that bleak alleyway.  Men like to see themselves as fighters, warriors.  Well men,  how about fighting against the pressures that would reduce you to a horny beast, an empty competitor, a stupid thug?  How about it?  Where's your balls?




You coward

Hide man

Under every sports channel

Under endless porn surfing

Hide you gutless wonder

You talk big

As if a man is something simple

Just a body to knock down other bodies

Just a cock to enter endless, imaginary,  women

Just a gut to fill with beer


Any kind of high

but never the truth

Hide you bottomless lie

Look away from beauty

And the ache you feel

Look away

From gentleness

Pretend that the tender touch does not reach you

Is not in you

So many loud cowards

Make yourself a brute

Be a beast

A stupid animal

An empty perversion

Have some balls man

Have something

Find something

Don't settle

For the stupidity of "I am just a man"

Find the deeper truth

Face yourself

See inside

But you won't

Will you

Too scared

Shallow men would rather bleed than cry.


July 2009


One thing longing is good for, it pulls us out of ourselves without us losing ourselves.  Longing draws us toward something other than ourselves.  In my case, I long for genuine intimacy with just one person.  I want to honestly know another human being, I want her to honestly know me.  Naked with one other person on the entire planet, just one, that's all I need.   The Bob in this poem is Bob Dylan.  I think it says something admirable about the man that after so long in the popular eye he remains open to interpretation.  Maybe Bob knows who he is but sure as hell the rest of us can never be sure.  From time to time he touches Truth, in ways that cannot be quantified nor delineated, the best way to touch Truth, the only way.


Rain hits my window,

Bob mutters and twangs.

My lonely heart

Reaches out for a ghost.

A ghost of futures unvisited,


Hidden hopes,

Aching longings.

How quickly can a man

Fall into a woman's spell?

Let's be honest, a spell half his own.

One moment

A man is all together

Wandering on

Calm like a shallow lake.

Next moment

I am dreaming

Reaching out

Roiling like Hunger's thunderhead.

Bob knows.


July 2009



Grace and mercy
Flowing down
All over me.

Never ending
Blood red stream.

All the flaws
And dirty crevasses.

Blood red river
Takes me to the sea.

Grace and mercy
Flowing down
Brings liberty.

Never ending
Blood red stream.

All my past
To crystal purity.

Blood red river
Takes me to the sea.

January 1987


If you don't know what this one is about then you don't need to know. 


Touching petals,
Open in the warmth.

Caress them gently.

Kiss the silky flesh
With my fingers.

Kiss the swollen petals
With my lips.

Pink petals quiver
As I taste them
With my tongue.

Tracing fluid contours.
Within petals



Deeper still. 

November 1986.

IF - I

IF - I

If you were a dream

I would sleep forever.

If you were a star

I would live in the night.

If you were a day

I would pray for no ending.

If you were a pearl

I would pay any price.

November 1986


This poem captures a moment I think most men can identify with.  Perhaps women also but as I've not had the necessary conversations with women to know for sure I won't draw that conclusion.  Any women readers want to clue me up, go for it. 
I think there are at least two versions of this moment, a crude and corrupting form and and normal and healthy version.  This poem is about a healthy moment but many men endlessly indulge in corrupting fantasies about every pretty female they see.  It is no wonder many women feel their man does not respect them, does not even really "see" them - many men don't, they've corrupted their view of women with this endless dynamic of reducing women to objects of juvenile sexual fantasy.  If you think this poem is about that, you just don't get it.  An adult man can recognise a woman as desirable, even feel that desire, without allowing that moment to progress until the personhood of the woman is reduced, in his estimation, to the status of "lust object".


Not much to say
About Sarah.

She seems

To desire

Not mine
To seek
Yet still
To wonder,

How would it be

To love you?

November 1985


Written months after breaking up with my First Love.  I have redacted this one.  I've used the same words (Plus one.) but re-arranged the order in a few places to achieve the same end with what I think is a more accurate flow.  Consider this the original poem having benefited from mature reflection.   Well, some level of reflection.  








August 1985


This was written about my "First Love" after we were no longer together but before I was able to come to term with that as a permanent reality.   I have had only one experience of the classic "Love At First Sight" dynamic and this young woman was it.  Within 24 hours of meeting we were orbiting each other like binary stars.  I was 22, she was 17.  Within three months I proposed marriage.  She said she needed to think about it.  Two weeks later she was done with me.  I held the flame for probably 18 months, and to her credit (From my perspective at least.) she did reconsider our relationship seriously, but with the same decision as the original one.   In truth, after the first few weeks our emotional trajectories were going in opposite directions, I was falling in her affections while she spiralled every upwards in mine.  I think she understood that and I know I did not.  I recognise now that the sense of "here I feel euphorically at home" was probably rooted not in perfect compatibility but in a shared woundedness, we were both children of at least emotional abuse, perhaps worse.
Having said all that I still think the dynamic of perception that this poem expresses can be a legitimate element in a healthy relationship.   I hope I have the opportunity to get back to you in the future and affirm that it is so.


She is perfection.

Not complete,
Not yet whole,
A mystery.
She is perfection.

I am not blind,
No fool
I see her as perfection.

This is not so
Says common sense.
I look at her,
Perceive reality
Yet even then I know
What cannot be,

She is perfection.

I know her faults,
Her fears,
The self that honesty reveals.

The darkness
And the bitter stains.
The lies that gloss
The pain she hides.

Still I see her beauty,
Knowing it to be perfection.

Faced with a fact
That cannot be
Still I accept
Who she is to me.

She is perfection.

May 1985


As a thinker I've diverged significantly from some of the theology in this poem but as a contemplative I continue to experience the Divine as One experienced without comprehension, as a greatness barely glimpsed, as a mystery enjoyed.  The appearance of gendered language in the final line is actually not, it's a reference to the resurrected Jesus of Nazareth, who was a "he". 


Above all.
Beyond all.
We are uncomprehending.

Fearful in might.
Beyond our understanding.
Greater than we conceive.

Power unending.

Glory revealing.



Faithful and Just
To those undeserving.

In dying
Gives life
To those who are turning.

In living
He reigns


They are perfection.

April 1985


This is one I can still own whole heartedly.  I'm still expecting the fulfilment of this dream.  These days I'm pro-active about seeking it out.   Some of the best things in life are the best precisely because they are outside our control and come to us as Pure Gift and wonder.  The rest of the best require our own initiative, creativity and hard work.   If love, companionship and lifelong partnership do not come to you as Pure Gift then you can wait till your dead or seek it out yourself with wisdom.


To share a tender touch,
A lifelong moment.

To lock a grain of Time
Between our hands.

To change our longings
To fulfilment.

To weave a single life
From separate strands.

October  1984


Reading this 25 years later it's amazing how differently I see the situation this poem refers to.  I recognised the gap between how this woman treated me and how I reacted to her but I totally failed to grasp the truth that gap hinted at.   I felt attracted to women who treated me with disrespect and emotional coldness, that's what felt like "home" to me.  It's a pattern all too clear to me now but totally opaque to me back then. 

When I wrote this poem I interpreted this treatment as normal, flirtatious love play!   Eeek.

When I think back to some of those women I literally shudder in horror at what was going on there for me and at the way I allowed myself to be treated.  It does not happen these days!  Frankly, reading this now is creepy for me - knowing the damage I was embracing from such women.


You stand on my foot
All I do is smile.

You mess up my hair
I warm to you.

You pay me scant attention
I hunger for your smile.

Around you I feel such
Strange reactions.

You get angry with me
I want to laugh with joy.


I want you.

Is that so strange?

September 1984


Twenty One years old and clearly feeling isolated and that humans in general are isolated by their own pain and sorrow.  Apologies for the gendered language but I'm posting these as my historical documents so I've not edited the language that I would seek to avoid these days.  As a general rule my poems are not particularly visual in content but this one definitely has a strong image behind it as well as a strong emotional state.


Man on plateau
Stands alone.

Sightless wind
Flails hair on skin.

Burning ice
In veins

Leaden heart
Man on plateau.

Beyond pain gone
Fear remains.

Sightless soul
Night vision

On dark plateau.

Exhaled mist
From all, rising.

All man
Stands alone

On cold plateau.

April 1983.


I was in such a rush to get my life organised and on it's way.  This next poem is 19 year old me complaining to God that I had not found a soul mate yet. One part of me laughs at myself and another part of my empathises.  Here I am at 46 and still waiting for that grand experience.   I am sure 19 year old me would have disappeared in a puff of incredulous smoke if anyone had been able to tell him he wasn't even HALF way to that dream being fulfilled.  

Longing for a Life Companion is a thread of emotion I can trace back to even my pre-school years.  Some of it, I think was unhealthy, out of balance.  Ultimately another person cannot make us feel loved if we do not love ourselves.  Some of my longing, I am sure, was seeking someone to give me what I was not giving myself.  That is too large a burden to place on any individual.  There are some elements of a healthy self that only our parents can give us when we are young, once we grow up a bit even they cannot give us those gifts.  If our parents leave us without those gifts it is up to us to gift ourselves with the truths we need to find inner health and joy as adults.  That is my journey.  This poem was written long before I understood any of this about myself.


I need an image
On which to focus.

Some way to release
Bits of me,

Bits of instinct, protective.

Bits of my mind,



Who is this image Lord?

How much longer must I rely




February 1982


I am a contemplative by nature.  My poetry writing process reflects that truth.  Poems come whole to the surface or they drift up slowly like a series of bubbles escaping from the ocean depths.  In the latter instance writing a poem involves sitting and waiting for those bubbles to pop open in their own time.  When I am with a woman I can spend long periods in silence and more than one companion has asked into one of my silences, "What are you thinking about?"    "Nothing."  Some women have never believed that answer but it's true.  I guess one of the reasons I love to go bush and get into nature's roaring silence is because that exterior silence matches my interior silence.  It even shows up in how I structure my poems.  I put lots of spaces between the words and those spaces are as much part of the poem as the words.  When I read them in my head those spaces are silence to be tasted not rushed thru.


Sitting silently

My thoughts are
An ebb tide
Over the sands of my mind.

A pebble emerges
As the sands recede.

A comet tail
Rippling out behind it.

Back towards the sea.

The ebb tide takes the pebble
In it's
Thin foaming grasp
And lightly

Draws it back

To the ocean.





My heart is a hare.

My mind is a tortoise.



You have me

Without knowledge of the power.

You touch me

With no effort of your own.

You teach me

By a goal seemingly unreachable.

You fashion me

By my desire to be who you seek.

You change me

With a vision of us.



The logic of this poem is crippled by my teen self's inability to grasp or express the complexity of the Divine's relationship to time and space.   The core concept, that our suffering is shared by God, endures as a foundation stone of my spirituality. 


If all God's tears

For us

Were cried together

The rainbow

Would stretch

To the end of time.



Longing for female companionship is not a theme unique to me but where plenty of guys express that longing by actually dating girls I tended to write about it but do very little in proactive terms.  The Jane referred to in this poem was a beautiful young woman I considered out of my league, she took my breath away.  I don't think she thought I was out of her league because she actually went out on a date with me!  My self esteem was so poor, when it came to girls, that I didn't credit that fact with any significance.  Jane was smart, elegant and had a seriousness about her that I was attracted to without realising that such seriousness mattered to me.  I believe she went on to be a lawyer.   The poem implies a positive hope but what it really indicates is that I was willing to let things drift rather than make them happen the way I wanted them to happen.


Just a questioning Jane.
Who are you?

Why do I seek you?

What forms you?
Does your mind flow like your hair?


Your heart sparkle
Like your eyes?

Is your heart
The source
Of the glow on your lips?

The bond is in my mind.

Is it in yours?

Do I feel reality

Where do you go?
Doing what?
With whom?

With me one day I think

If I feel reality.

October 1980


This poem has an implied SF context and plays with references to nature and music, all three elements being enduring elements of life I enjoy.  I didn't understand irony back then but I read this poem now with a wry grin at myself.


The boy addressed the wall,
Inspiration's what you need to write poetry."

The wall showed
not a wit of interest.

To the grubby runners he said,
"'Tisn't always handy but."

The runners seemed

Commenting to the crumpled jeans,
"Nature was good inspirational stuff
but there ain't none left now."

The jeans added nothing to the conversation.

Bringing the stereo cassette player into the exchange,
"Social type commentary was worthwhile
But that's illegal now days."

The cassette deck, for a change,
was quiet.

Glancing resignedly around the cubicle
He rolled over,
Said the word
And the Light



1978 approx.