What’s going on?

I haven’t written on Medium for ages — mainly because of the craziness of this past year, but also because I’ve found recent changes on the platform a little frustrating. In particular…

From the beginning, curation seemed pretty opaque and a bit random.

Some of my best pieces (well, I thought they were pretty good) weren’t curated. But weaker ones were. And I was never very clear about the standards being applied to curating something as subjective as poetry.

On the other hand, I could justify the inconsistencies. “There are finite curators,” I thought, “and apparently infinite writers, all beavering…


A poem from lockdown

Photo credit: Terry Tan De Hao

“Everything is ending,” you insist,
“nothing will ever be the same, after this.”

It’s true — everything is ending.
Everyone is dying. Everyone you love,
and the ones you despise.

Even you.

(Of course, we’re mostly still living too. Even the dead go on,
whispering, in the half-life of the imagination,
stories that pattern the world.

But that’s another story, for another day.)

Here is the order of things:

Each morning the brash sun slays gentle night, banishes the lovesongs of frogs and cicadas, lets in the balance of the light which sparkles in the brief dew for a little…


Starting to feel overwhelmed by multiple clients and projects?

Four ineffective strategies and one that works (for me)

Photo credit: Lysander Yuen

This article starts out by talking about me, then moves on to talking about you… I’m putting this upfront, just so you know that there’s some value in reading on to the end… It’s not all wittering about my packed schedule and how it got that way!

Also, it offers a simple way of seeing and managing a complex set of tasks and projects — and how that might make your life a bit more manageable (it worked for me).

Points like, “exercise is good” and “meditation helps” and “don’t forget to sleep!” …


Photo credit: Ricardo Gomez Angel

This melancholy gets everywhere.

It’s in my hair, under my fingernails.
It clogs my lungs like sodden cotton balls,
permeates everything with grey; dense and claggy.

It adheres — sticky fur from a sad, wet dog.

I am a cold stone, cracked and weathered
by a thousand winters’ freeze and thaw,
icy in the dawn’s shade.

It’s true that sun sears through,
illuminates this page, warms my back;
that frost loses form and dissolves into tiny rills,
aglitter in the early light.

But that is only water. Only warmth.
It is merely the sun.
And nothing to do with me.

© 2019 Warren Justin Banks


From Stories from the Space Between

Photo credit: Patrick Tomasso

Beneath the surface of the page
lie dreams of deep water
where men breathe through gills
and make love to the shades of lost mothers,
old lovers, long-dead friends.

Beneath the surface of the page,
questions that explode on contact,
glittering shards of fractured space,
daring you to meet your own reflection
in the face of the dark.

Beneath the surface of the page,
a whole history of the worlds:
all the heavens, and our many hells.
The jackboot in the teeth, the emperor’s empty eyes,
a wailing child, your granny’s smile.

But remember…


A poem

Photo credit: Ornella Binni

I give You something
precious I have made

from woven scraps of days
stitched through
with rememberings
of sleeps of dreams

lost pieces reknit
made one and whole
from the tangled threads
of this life

it is love
this offering

but You say nothing
and will not meet my eye

Your face is closed to me

so the bright threads dull
light dims on the page
my words lose their shine
sink into silence

perhaps this gift
were best ungiven


CHANGE: A core leadership competency

Very often, changing the system requires changing the self. That’s the real price of organisational change — and also where the magic lies.

Photo credit: Nathan Dumlao

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about leaders and leadership. Sometimes, with feelings of fondness and admiration; often, with a certain wistful frustration.

Of course, leadership is central to any change or organisation development (OD) effort: if the leaders (formal and informal) don’t really want change, it’s almost impossible to make it happen elegantly. And I do like a bit of elegance every now and then … change shouldn’t all be uphill slog and heavy weather, should it?

At any rate, since change is what all my work is about, leaders are pretty important to me. …


(world weariness)

Photo credit: Darius Bashar

is best experienced by
watching The Wiggles and Baby Shark
simultaneously
with the volume on high
from the befuddled depths of jet-lag
in the blue-white light of a foreign living room
in the company of a tumultuous toddler
dribbling cereal milk
while dawn breaks
over a new country.

Warren Justin Banks 2019

Inspired (if that’s the right word for it) by a trip to visit family in New Zealand in 2018.

First published in Stories from the Space Between by Warren J. Banks (April, 2019).

If you liked this poem, please check out my book at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QHWWLHV, find me on Twitter, or take a look at some other excerpts (and new poems and articles) on my Medium profile.


Photo credit: Angels Vicente

Bunting fluttered around the gates, small triangular flags rising and falling in the warm sea breeze. “Annual Fête & Fundraiser, 2023” the hand-lettered sign proclaimed.

“Ready?” Erik asked.
“As I’ll ever be,” Harry replied.

They drove through the open gates into a deserted parking lot.

“Are we early or late?” Harry licked dry lips and pushed his fringe back from his forehead for the twentieth time. Nervous, thought Erik. Poor guy. I should have let him skip this.

“We’re on time, Babycakes. Or just a little late. And we don’t have to stay long. We’ll just show face, see Mum…


(And an ebook giveaway today!)

Photo credit: Christina Gottardi

1.

The long months of their little wars,
their games and stratagems,
left me hostile and heavy.
I couldn’t care anymore.

Empty words filled my belly like granite headstones,
like stone serpents — writhing to escape,
spewing a vicious, viscous flood of poison
from bowels and skin, like sin.

A sick and bloated cynic,
seeing only broken things,
demented machines with human parts,
churning out non-solutions for short-lived futures:

Band-Aid the cancer!
Dose the corpse with aspirin!
But, I run on …
flux of belly begets the same within the brain.

And so, in short, we came away: to convalesce…

Warren Justin Banks

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