after rain

the smell of rotting
vegetation, suggestive
of a rotting corpse
— yet strangely acceptable
(dare I say it) — sweet, even

It was only when I started hitchhiking around, homeless, in my early twenties, that I first noticed the peculiar evocation of death in the smell of rotting vegetation after rain. I was (and am) fascinated by the way we become implicated in this smell, as though knowing in the very roots of our being, that we ourselves are destined for the compost pile eventually. Last night I dreamed of a great length of mucus, maybe a metre long, which apparently was destined to play a crucial role in the production of wine or some other fermented beverage. This is a much more disgusting image than rotting vegetation, but possibly less disgusting than a rotting corpse, so I hope the poem hits roughly the right nerve. In a way, the poem is a cop-out, as my fascination with the smell of rotting vegetation is a very familiar theme for me, and I have ducked out of facing up to the much more challenging newness of the mucus theme.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mirabai on October 17, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    John, your insight, originality, wisdom, courage and sometimes sheer audacity daily makes me smile and I think also affects my own dream life; indeed I look forward to reading your posts so much that after a 24 hour silent retreat, complete with technology abstinence, your site was the first thing I went to after checking my messages. But today’s entry has tipped the balance with its totally unique content so that I actually write a response on the site. Amazing! Publish and be blessed!


  2. Thanks for this 🙂 I try. It’s all a bit shameful really, it feels like a trick. I’m basically using the prose side of my mind almost entirely, and the poetry side hardly at all. Poetry was never meant to serve the ends of self-therapy, in the brazen way I force it to.


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