Trust ?

Trust none of what you hear, and less of what you see

Bruce Springsteen – Magic, 2007

trust openness honesty

who to trust

what to trust

deception deceit

seen through a veil

now hidden




no rainbows

no pots of gold

hollow men

hollow words

blind men

blind followers

fire below

fire above

eyes wired shut

ears grown closed

mouths wide open

no sound

no trust

just white noise


© 2016 Michael D Emmerich

Juxtaposition Junxtion

to be or not….

the journey along the road

leads us to be often waylaid

arriving at at juxtaposition junxtion

confused over our mother being our lover

lost in the paradise of milton’s world

unsure if it be heaven or hell

one mans heaven being the others hell

to have or to have not

said the butler living in squalor

but trapped in luxury

disparity and discord morph into a third way

can it all be fair in love and war

sound and fury, calm before the storm

before and after, fat and thin

can all pigs be equal

fighting to live

battling to not die

food to one is death to another

in darkness there is light

what the dickens is going on

wisdom and foolishness battling for hope

it springs eternal in the winter of our discontent

everything to lose and nothing to win

goodness draws forth evil

the circle draws to a close

the bells toils

before the wall is rent asunder

the third way beckons

like a long lost lover


© 2016 Michael D Emmerich

That Well Of Creativity

A mix of thoughts, questions and ideas; analysing what and how we troll the depths of our creative wells. What inspires me (or you dear reader, for that matter) to be drawn to pen what I pen. Of late, these thoughts have been spinning through the dark passages of my mind. Then I had an epiphany…. which has lead me to pen this article on where and how I draw from my well of inspiration.

The one thing I do know, that for me to tap my inspiration I need to be on an emotional high or low. I cannot just be bumbling along, on an even keel. I get ideas and thoughts regardless of my emotional state, but I can only act on them when my emotions are out of alignment. Hence I at times have to drag myself into a thoughtful, dark place to take the ideas in my head or notebooks, and then translate them into words on paper. The easiest way for to do this is via music, I have a few artists whose lyrics have the best effect on me, they drag me into a thoughtful emotive state to best translate my thoughts to paper. There are some songs on depressing subjects out of which I have written emotive, and even positive or romantic poems. That will keep some “shrinks”happy for hours or even the subject of an interesting article for “Psychology Today” 🙂 My wife is relieved to hear that I do not have to be physically depressed to draw my thoughts out 🙂

I do know that reading and music are very useful triggers for me to draw deep from the well; both of need to be on the dark side, for me to accurately tap my creative well. Reading the First World War Poets; notably Owen and Sasson, and some of the classical Poets; Milton, Blake, Elliot and Chaucer (although he is more humorous than dark). Musically the lyrics of Dylan and Springsteen are best or the harmonious sounds of Pink Floyd ELP and Ulver – (especially there their album: THEMES FROM WILLIAM BLAKE’S THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL). These are my main sources of flitting on the edges of deep dark thoughtful emotions. My wife has an interesting take on my mindset, she feels I thrive on or need angst in my life… not entirely convinced on that front yet … 🙂 but she does have a point ….

The whole subject of creativity and depression is well documented over the years, with many interesting articles written on the great painters, composers and writers. So far be it from me to expound to much further or bore you with details of the great ones. I do want to share a few very interesting articles I found on one of my favourite websites; if you have not visited Maria’s site please pop over to: and follow her on twitter:

Lou Andreas-Salomé, the First Woman Psychoanalyst, on Depression and Creativity in Letters to Rilke
“A great deal of poetic work has arisen from various despairs.”

Alison Bechdel on Writing, Therapy, Self-Doubt, and How the Messiness of Life Feeds the Creative Conscience
“It’s by writing… by stepping back a bit from the real thing to look at it, that we are most present.”

Probability Theory Pioneer Mark Kac on the Duality of the Creative Life, the Singular Enchantment of Mathematics, and the Two Types of Geniuses
“Creative people live in two worlds. One is the ordinary world which they share with others and in which they are not in any special way set apart from their fellow men. The other is private and it is in this world that the creative acts take place.”

This and That

I have taken a break from formal writing for the past week or two, and have been focussing on catching up on reading (all sorts of stuff; poems, fiction, non-fiction). I have also been ordering all my writing prompts and ideas – poems, fiction and professional. The ideas are still flowing, just been writing them up in my ideas book, to regurgitate at a later date (need to get index cards and sort my ideas – finished and unfinished, my book is getting way to busy).

Took out my sketch pads a week back and am working on a few rough drafts, drawing the mental images that flit in and out of my mind – scary stuff that. Who knows maybe I will be brave and post my “finished” bits and pieces.

Oh well back to my day job – for awhile – hope to have some work finished to load over this coming weekend. Thanks for all the support, comments and followers, much appreciated; lets stay inspired and keep writing!

Umberto Eco: “To survive you must tell stories”

My Poetry Journey

My goal is to have about 50 poems by year end and then publish the best in an anthology with a short back story to the history/journey it took me to write the poem, and what/where or how I was inspired. Some of them are deeply personal, others are from my past and some are just diatribes about life, the world and all the shit going down . It is amazing how writing in different styles stretches my mind and also how some poems just fly out in machine gun staccato burst and others have to be dragged out over a day or two. Thanks for the feedback and I do hope you are enjoying taking this journey with me, I cant say its always fun, but the thoughts and inspiration sometimes take on their own life and just have to be written.

Writing Your Future

imagine if you will

that your life lies before you

your future beckons

calling you from the future

the authors pen is poised

the story must be written

stories come to life

the pen starts to trace its path

the paper is clear and uncharted

the writer is yet to discover the number of pages

or how much ink is required


the journey must begin

the pen starts its journey

scratching out a path

the pages fill up with ink, smudges, corrections

some chapters are rewritten

the story must be told

it is a relentless plot

twisting and turning across uncharted pages


you are both writer and chief protagonist

you are the master of both its content

.... and it's ending



© 2016 Michael D Emmerich

Why High-Income Countries Should Help Combat Ebola

A slight change from my usual postings, but a subject close to my heart and my profession. Here then are my thoughts as to why, globally we should be involved in the West African Ebola outbreak.

As a passionate and committed African, having spent the past 20 years working in various countries on my continent, and having seen the effects of colonisation, globalization, war as a result of minerals and commerce (funded by big western businesses) and how Africa is marginalised via trade and commerce. Never mind the fact that all the ex-French colonies still pay tax to France, even years after independence!!
It is also true that Africa’s problems are also created by many corrupt Africa politicians and greedy emerging markets in Africa.

With that as my introduction, then what should we do in the event of disasters, war, famine and in the case of Ebola (disease outbreaks).

As a human race we all live in a global village and we cannot and should not stand by when we see our fellow man/woman suffering; be it in Syria, Ukraine or in this case West Africa (Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia). Every effort should be made to help when and how we can, be it with manpower, resources or financial aid.

The entire Southern West Africa region is still emerging from a decades long conflict (partly made infamous by Blood Diamonds) and their are trails ongoing in the Hague re this conflict. One could even argue that western powers (corporate and country) were complicit in this conflict, hence they should now have at least an ethical (if not moral) motivation to get involved. Far to often we stand on the sides and wring our hands at the mess Africa is in and that it never seems to get out of this mess (that in itself is another long missive for another day/thread).

For now the region needs beds (hospitals) and staff to man them, there is a huge shortage of beds. The one thing that this epidemic (as most of them do) has taught us that it is gloves not vaccines that will make the difference. Good basic hygiene, clean water, bleach/chlorine and excellent palliative care in a sterile environment will make a difference. Those who have survived have survived for these reasons.

All of the above needs to sustainable in the medium to long term and the affected countries must be encouraged through means of trade and commerce to make these changes real and lasting. I know this last paragraph sounds pie in the sky, but the rich western countries and corporates (Large Pharma) in this case must commit to push for it to happen not for their end gains and increase in share price (cynical comment re what is motivating large Pharma in this case), but for the good of the region.

People in West Africa will have to alter behaviours, we won’t stop this outbreak solely by building hospitals. There will have to be a change in the way the community deals with the disease. Changing behaviour which is so closely linked to culture, tribe and religion will not happen in the short term. which means that the worst case scenario could come to fruition, which is over 100,000 cases by the 1st of December. (as outlined in some disease modelling programmes!)

Government ministers in the region are also not focussing on the key ways to attempt to manage this outbreak. Shutting down Sierra Leone for 4 days will just push the outbreak underground. Infected persons will go into hiding or even worse; leave the area/region (as some of my sources on the ground have informed me, is already happening!)

We need beds, hospitals and basic supplies. (I must just say a big thank you to the USA for planning to build 170 100 bed hospitals in the region). Beds and hospitals is not being dealt with as urgently as it should be by local governments, they are waiting for outside funders to step in, they must drive the initiative on the ground and mobilise local leaders to work with their villages to manage this outbreak, otherwise the worst case scenarios that are being punted look scary. Both MSF and WHO are pushing for this, but they need local governmental support.

My closing comment is that gloves not drugs (vaccines) will save the day. Basic good clean sanitary medicine and palliative care, aligned with sound symptomatic treatment will save lives, for that we need beds, hospitals, staff and supplies.

Hip or Not?

Funny, sad, and insightful… how we have trivialised art, culture and to a certain extent life.

For those of us who think retro has a place in society, albeit a small place, and at the right time. The hipster movement seems to thrive on taking it to extremes, and we only have ourselves to blame for their rise to “prominence”, as we have allowed them to trivialise what some of us hold dear.

I never did like extremists (still don’t) be they style, fashion, culture, religion, eco or political ones. Extremists miss out on so much in life with a blinkered approach and sadly the hipsters fall into that category. Life needs balance, one can argue that extremes to the left and right allow balance to hold the middle ground, but even the middle ground has become sullied and grey of late. (in some any areas of life on our planet – a longer topic for another day)

Its not cool to be retro just for the sake of saying look we have made an old shovel into a work of art! That’s not art, any idiot can stick a shovel against a wall… but then I suppose that is what we have lowered the bar too. I do have a penchant for things of a bygone era, but not at the expense of denying myself what technology and the world in all its glory and difference can afford us, we need to be realistic about change and progress and take from a trend, that which is both appropriate and relevant.

Hipsters at times make me think of Clockwork Orange, as the book is set in a future dystopian world and the “hip” language that Alex and his “droogs” (gangmates) speak, plus their love of bowler hats, canes, hark back to a bygone era. I know that is viewing hipsters in extreme, and some might take offence at the comparison, but that is really pushing the boundaries of extremism or being hip.

I think it is the (in my opinion) non balanced view that I find unsettling. The shift away from balance (ying/yang), finding harmony in a discordant world. For it is this which now trivialises the achievements of the great artists, designers, thinkers who have gone before. Yes art (and beauty) is in the eye of the beholder, but maybe the beholder in this case should aspire for art of a more challenging nature than just sticking a shovel against a wall and playing a certain style of music.

If not, then we might be losing the plot, although on the other hand, I think today I will be a shovel artist and tomorrow an avant garde fashion designer… not sure what I will do on the weekend.. maybe a combination of the two.. and shovel s#$t … now that’s hip!

The Beast of Reality

Various incidents and happenings over the past few months have forced me to be very introspective; the last few weeks have being particularly “interesting” which has had me examining my navel fairly often … this contemplative phase, I am transitioning through, has had me musing on life and all its strange curve balls it manages to throw at one. Being an optimistic person, I have found myself battling to reconcile the rapidly changing circumstances of the past few months. One of the mental activities/mindsets that has kept me going (other than the support, encouragement and belief of my gorgeous wife), is that life is an adventure a never ending journey that we must immerse ourselves in, wallow in, and feast at the table of the banquet of life. Even when the table is set for a simple meal, I believe I must still taste and explore every morsel; even if their are only crumbs .

If we/I do not taste and explore all at my disposal then I run the risk of an unfinished/unfulfilled life, as I have not grasped what is in front of me and savoured it to its fullest. Love is beauty wrapped in the seconds of ones life, if you don’t stop for a minute you might just miss it, and then you might miss out on the next adventure/opportunity. So I am then faced with this dichotomy, of feasting on all that life has to offer and the ever present Beast of Reality. How do we deal with this beast or feed it, so that we can continue to feast at the table of life? This would be the proverbial “Million Dollar Question”?

I have no easy answer/s to that Question, of how to feed the beast and feed at the table of life, as the each of us have our own “Beast of Reality” and we all have to find out what diet it requires. I try to starve the beast and deprive it what it wants (at least what I think it wants from me, ie: to not be able to partake of all that is there to feast upon). I do not avoid the reality of life, in fact I immerse myself in the real world, and all its pain and pleasure, but I starve it by being fully aware of what it does in the world and being aware of how cruel and kind this world can be… I start each day by reading at least 3 newspapers and 2 news magazines (online of course). I think this helps prepare me for what awaits beyond the sanctity of my quiet space (it also stimulates my creativity). Once I have that behind me I can better face the day and then start to enjoy what life has set out on the table for the day. As the beast will not sleep, and has to be faced …eventually, but how we face it and on whose terms and turf, are what we can control. We cannot shut it out from the feast of life, it is always the unwelcome guest at the table, trying to eat more than it should and deprive us of what is ours to enjoy.

This in no way lessens the challenges that I have to face or have been facing, it just helps me to keep perspective on the real world and how I must strive to be drunk on life and long for my/our next adventure.

Busy, Busy…

I am going to be so busy the next few days, moving countries between now and next week; packing up a house, moving my cats and then also my wife and I are packing our suitcases and jumping on that jet plane. We will get to our destination first, cats a few days later and our container of possessions within the next 4 to 6 weeks. I am going to miss blogging regularly over the next 7 to 14 days as I was just getting into my new writing routine.

My daily routine of writing, and my creative hours meant to be logged at my desk are going to fall by the wayside, but I will be keeping my notebooks with me (reverting to pen and paper – which I still prefer) and eventually within the next week or two play catch up here on the site. The positive is that I will then be setting up my new writing studio/office, complete with white boards and black boards for all my mind maps that I create when I write, plus a new calm and serene writing area, it will be very stimulating.

I am hoping to post a few completed haiku’s plus the completed short story “A Groom’s Tale”, until then please enjoy my other posts and feel free to comment or add your own Haiku’s.

Bon Voyage to you all