Stumble


P1000362I reckon it has been a Stumble , from the late 1940’s until now…It was never a Runway, a platform where I was able to strut with physical and academic equivalence…From 10 years of age I wore black, hornrimmed, glasses…..it was never really an erotic feature of a pale, white boy.

The Parish Primary School, the Boys Only Catholic Secondary College, the Junior Redemptorist Seminary, the Major Redemptorist Seminary and then , stumble, I left the Religious Life.  I trained as a Primary School Teacher, fell in love with Vivienne, she was born in the UK, it was 1968, the zenith of The Abortion Inquiry in Victoria, and with thanks to my generous Uncle, my father’s only brother, I was given the $200 cash outside the Commonwealth Bank in South Melbourne, he dropped it into my top shirt pocket, Uncle Ken was a Hipster……He offered his swimming pool in Cole Court Toorak as a Sanctuary to take Vivienne after the scrapping of the Collins Street Doctor whose name escapes me…he was a mate of Doctor Troupe for your Melbourne Afficiandos….She stumbled from the Surgery and fell into the passenger sear of my Ford Prefect E Type and we headed for Cole Court Toorak..the rest of the day was Catastrophic …

I stumbled from the Priesthood, to teaching…and so often across the landscape, the Country that belongs to those who have not only between their toes but far much deeper, the mud that is Country…

The Stumble is the journey of us all, never fear it, absorb it…

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My Mother Knew


IMG_1304It was one afternoon in the hallway of a suburban Melbourne two bedroom house, solid brick.

He, my father, was a Protestant, she, my mother, was a Catholic.  In 1945 they married in the Bishop’s House in Maitland, NSW. It was a mixed marriage and they were excluded from a church wedding.

This is a Leap from George Pell to Marie Blakeley.  In that hallway I told her I wanted to be a priest.  Her words echo sixty years on “Lloyd, if you are going to be a priest, be a good one’  I only understand her anxiety years later. She had been molested.  My words must have evoked horrors for this rural New South Wales women.

After five years of study in the Seminary I rang her one day and said I was coming home and did she still leave the door open for me.  ‘Yes'” she said over the phone call from Ballarat to Murrumbeena.  So matter of fact.

I was to learn some time later she had made a One Hundred Pound bet with a male friend that I would not last in the Church.  Of course she won.

I remember her saying to me…’Lloyd, you like life too much. I knew you would not become a priest.  A relief for us both in a strange kind of way.

Memento Mori Marie Theresa Bernadette Blakeley (nee Curran)

Three Score and Twenty


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Me with Tree

So often we respond to the question “How Old Are You?’ with “It’s just a number’

I have been privileged to approach the title of this brief Hommage.

For confidential reasons I will not use real names.

I met the first soon to be Octogenarian when I was a 16 year old, suburban boy.  I had decided, not unlike David Marr, to seek solace in faith and religion, however for me it took me into the cloisters of an Italian Religious Order who established a Monastery in Australia in the late Nineteenth Century.  The man I speak of was much older, he was a ‘sparkie’ at a regional Queensland Brewery Company who received the call at 23.  He was like the head boy at our Minor Seminary in the verdant pastures of The Riverina in New South Wales.  We have continued our friendship for nearly 60 years.  He has been a spiritual and material guide during this time.  Along with our class I will travel to celebrate his three score and twenty where we first met.

I met the other Octogenarian in my 30’s.  We had many areas of commonality. He has been a solace and more recently by my hospital bedside.  Interestingly enough we both travelled to the Minor Seminary, years later, where I met the first Octogenarian.  Both these men are a day or so apart birth wise which has complicated things somewhat. Sadly I will not be at the celebration of the Artist, but will be at the celebration of the Priest.

Each two men who have touched my life in their different way and for that I am the richer.

Mortality


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This image may be familiar to some of you. more so you who live in the Hood…It was decades ago that I first walked on this soil, but for some reason I felt that when the fire was over I would like to have the scattering here, midst the roses, the same bloom that was iconically a tribute to Marie Blakeley. ,my late Madre..I have made the appropriately legal documentation, but what I am trying to say to those of you who travelled the road with me, it is you whom I insist, get the show together and may it be a picnic, a gathering, a celebration, a dance, a song, where you choose to throw the grey ash is up to you…But you know it is not to be an occasion for City of Port Phillip, so care for me..I took this picture a few years ago. with the explicit intention that someone will take note and ensure that the spreading of the ashes will be dealt with accordingly, knowing the full complications of it being illegal to do so..

When the three score and fourteen approaches, I feel the full zing of Mortality…Yes a regret, I needs get to the desk, approach the sketch pad, play with the pens, and move them across the paper….There has been one important artist in my life whose energy I was never able to match, but indeed to admire, he was my teacher, a young lad whom I met when he was 21 years of age….I will state it : Sam Sosnowski…I do not have his permission but Google, his daughters, whom  I knew as little kids, now they are Wiki Pedia, I am proud of my logical daughters…Sam is one of those gentle men whom I have  been privileged to have spent time with, an artist thus an attraction …Sam and Jacquie took me in as my illness became intense, who could not accept an invitation to spend some time in a Studio in Vella, Nambucca Heads…those ten days alone are beyond Bruce Beresford et alii..

I write this story today, because I rang the only sister of my late father turned 94 years of age, Baroness Beryl of East Malvern, she was one of many wimmin who cared for me as a small boy…We laughed knowingly as an Aunt and a Nephew, with deep affection, and still with a pulse

Four Days, She will have been 96 Years of Age..


IMG_0365She was never silent when I knew her

She made silent bike rides to the Iconic Catholic Church on Bourke Road with the gold statue of Mary, I can’t recall its name, Mariology is such a vast topic…And interesting enough her name, on her birth certificate, is, Marie, and I think that has some linguistic connections to Mary et alii..

Dead within 6 months of a diagnosis of Lung Cancer at 66 years of age, an ex smoker…her surgeon, who she herself was a smoker, opened her up, told her you have 6 months to live…like many medical people, her attention to detail was spot on almost to the very day.  Left school at 12/13/14 as so many rural wimmin were.  She worked as a book binder for the high profile printers in Maitland, Dymocks, or Dimmocks , I can never get it correct. Sydney people of whom I speak I am sure.  In retrospect, uncanny, that my mother, who could not read competently , spent her first working hours caring for the printed word…that is something that I am especially fond of in looking back.

A mother at 22, and again at 32…quite a post natal distance…it was complicated though my father said it was a matter of Alcohol….so twice, but I did never say so to his face. They did the best efforts they could, a salesman and a home maker in the 1950’s in Melbourne.

I have noted in rereading this entry, there is a plethora of digits….how moderno I am I in this digitalised world of 2018.

Writing such as these are always an expression, for me, of love, of gratitude, of humour , of many things along the continuum of 73 years of breathing, sometimes easy, others not as quite.  Both she, Marie, and he, Robert, Bob, taught me from an early age about respect, regardless of age, ethnicity etc.  That is legacy I hold dear to this day.  I spent the first 20 plus years of my life in a rather beige closet, some occasional color fortunately.  Their reaction at the ‘Announcement’ was worthy of a Golden Globe….that is a further story well worth telling.

So the German Wine has eased the typing of this brief tribute, son’s and mothers…..It was going on lifetimes ago

Oedipus Ring Ya Motha

Love Lloyd

Ajarn


P1000278Often you read stuff I post with the word ‘Ajarn’……Teacher is fine with me, you can delve into Thai Educational Nomenclature at your own ease..I cannot recall what year this was, it was well after I had left Thailand with a bowel cancer diagnosis.

A few years after the Oncological, Surgical Nightmare I was able to return to the University where I had taught for four years, I continued to be welcomed to my Alma Mater till 2016, this was the last time I stood bare footed in front of my Saffron Robed Cheekee Monkees….It was always interesting for me, an ex monk, to be teaching these young monks who came from across South East Asia to study at Mahachulalongkorn Buddisht University in Chiangmai, Thailand….and now not only are the poor males of Northern Thailand being given the chance of Tertiary Education but the University also accepts young wimmin….I had some of my happiest days teaching at this University, there was serenity, there was a lot of laughter, and days when I cried with joyfulness.

When I began teaching in Jung in the Wimmera of Victoria, I had no indication that my journey would take me to teaching in a Buddhist University …There are gaps in this story but it is one which I was able to be part of…

World Aids Day 2018


The privilege as a 73 year old gay man…

We buried out friends, and our lovers…it was a Community Catastrophe..We must continue to love and support those whom we love, and that is a daily love, nothing to do with any date/s…Bring ya love to the hearts of those who need it, mortality is our shared certainy… and never let go of one minute of joy that passes through ones life…

Memento Mori David Patrick Sargent..

FOR SAMRAN


You held my surgically sutured body in your arms..

You have continued to hold my ageing flesh for many years, adjusting your lovingness throughout each day…..My Ajarn, in so many ways.

For this I am truly grateful

With love

Ajarn

THE SCREAM


It reverberates our urban scape…the full on mortality

Easier when young, no, it is not

Within our breathe is the scream, for breathe, for survival

Care, connection, concoction…

How cushioned is the bubble one lives in… Continue reading

Saffron Withdrawal


P1000278I had not returned to Thailand for just on two years…The last visit alerted me to many aspects of travel twixt being 29 and being 73…numbers you easily may comment…but here to write of a return visit not of my health challenges….that becomes both a boring conversation and a repetitive one I have experienced.

The utter joy of interacting with the Thai in their language, the silliness, the smiles, the poverty, the kreng jai, all of it still in place….You understand I needs be vigilant in what I write in this Blog Entry.

Not being with Sammy for ten days was a challenge but I had friendship/s….not always smooth travelling…So the Saffron did not happen this visit , I guess I wanted some kinda affirmation that I could still be an Ajarn, and that I would make these young men confident…..I will not enter into a Buddhist Discourse, other than to say it was a privilege to teach them and that I missed doing so this visit…

My years in Thailand began in Chiangmai, it is deep within me

To my family at Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist University Chiangmai

Khop Khun