The performance poem I wrote for the exhibition, Solastalgia, at Fabrik, in Lobethal. More details about this series of exhibitions, here.

The drawing is mine, drawn with charcoal from my burnt home. It ended up being about 13 metres long on the beautiful wall of this gallery. It is as ephemeral as my home apparently was, and will be washed off that wall eventually. But all kudos to Melinda Rankin (director of Fabrik) for facilitating it.

Also kudos to all of the people involved in the exhibition, especially Jo Wilmot (creator of Solastalgia, The Exhibition) and Evette Sunset who said I mentored her when it was the other way around. We all learn from each other anyway, so who needs labels.

Thanks to my good friend David Salomon of Simply Splendid Productions for recording and creating this movie.

Charcoal Drawing With No Name (detail)

Always Cockroaches

That someday I will
give my body to the earth
to the myriad creatures,
that my particles will become
earth and sap and air.
It seems apt.
I can delight in solitude,
knowing I am not alone.
I can delight in the knowledge
of the teeming biome in my gut
or even that there are, apparently,
tiny creatures that live in my skin.
They come out at night
and feed on my face.

Well, I am a biosphere.
I am an ecosystem.
I am diversity and interconnectedness,
a habitat.
I am a homo sapien,
a small upright animal standing
on an earth in crisis,
a tiny creature feeding on its face.

What will the earth do
with this weird domineering creature
that seems hell-bent on destruction?
She will allow it of course,
knowing it will purge itself.
And will humans destroy every last thing?
Hardly. There’s always cockroaches
and whatever it is
that lives on their faces.


I’m working towards an exhibition next year, here in Lobethal at our new and vibrant arts and heritage hub, FabriK. The Exhibition is the third iteration of a travelling show called Solastalgia. Wikipedia describes Solistalgia as ‘a neologism that describes a form of mental or existential distress caused by environmental change.’ I was invited in my capacity of poet and I nearly declined because I am worried about the psyches of people (including myself) when there is so much emphasis on doom and such a feeling of hopelessness.

Anyhow the woman whose brainchild this is, Jo Wilmot, and Evette Sunset who is assisting and participating, have named this iteration, Solistalgia – an antidote – Tall Trees and Under Stories, and assure me that it is about hope. So I have been working away, including preparing a manuscript of poems and illustrating it. (I’ll share more of that later) but here am I in this poem being hopeful! Hmmm…

Probably it won’t make the cut.

The words in the image are from a poem by Charles Simic.