Monday, May 31, 2004

There is a kookaburra perched on the pool fence. Crapping, scratching itself, rubbing its beak against the metal. A foot high from tip of tail to top of head. Occasionally it dives down to snatch an insect off the surface of the water or have a drink & then returns to the railings.

It is a blue-winged kookaburra. Unlike its slightly larger cousin it does not laugh. Tries to, but then breaks off into a fit of coughing, much like I do after fifty years of smoking.

The two varieties have different ranges in Australia, but they overlap here in Queensland. I have seen them side by side – yes, on that branch – the one laughing at the other because it / cannot laugh.

It has a kingfisher shape. Looks like a large kingfisher. Adopts the same stance. Is the largest of the kingfisher family. Though somehow I do not think Charles Olson's poem would have had quite the same impact if it had have been called "The Kookaburras".....

Lares et Penates

Hubris strikes me down. More
precisely a cold; but I was boasting
only a few weeks ago
how the winters here were warm
& now there are twenty degree
differentials between day &
night & I am dosed with
aspirin & vitamins. Unwilling
to write, poetry anyway, in case
I end up trolling down long
gloomy corridors of introspection
& self-distrust. Baroque replaced
by Berocca. Oh Marienbad,
why hast thou forsaken me? An
email from Jukka comes to the
rescue. We discuss detective stories.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

The first cut is the deepest

This was the newspaper article that set me thinking about Nick Berg. & sometime later, sitting outside, having a cigarette, thinking about lies & deception.....

A long time ago, from a country not so far away, in a war that the current conflict is coming more & more to resemble, at a time when the first unconfirmed rumours of drug-taking by U.S. servicemen were just starting to trickle through, there came a story picked up by all the major agencies & so carried by every major newspaper whose headlines were permutations of the words HEROIN, JUNKIES, DRUG-CRAZED, NORTH VIETNAMESE, COMMUNISTS. The story was about how glassine envelopes of a white powder purported to be heroin were being found on the bodies of dead North Vietnamese soldiers & how the rumours about them being crazed commo junkies impervious to human feelings had finally been proved true. It ran for a day or two, & then died in the press but still remained impressed upon people's minds.

Sometime, about a week later, in the small print paragraphs inside one single newspaper, there was a report that the white powder had been analysed &, surprise,surprise, turned out to be an anti-dysentery medicine completely free of opiates, real or synthetic.

Sometime, a little time later, they also weren't bombing Cambodia.

My answers to Tom Beckett's questions on why people write poetry

Tom Beckett asked a couple of days ago for people to comment on why they wrote poetry. My answers below.

1) What inspires you to write poetry in both the short- and long-term? In other words: what gets you started, and what keeps you going?

I write poetry because I can. This is not the glib or simplistic answer it may seem at first glance. It is a statement of fact. But once you accept that fact then your thoughts, your vision(s) become clouded by it. I once wrote “there is a poem / in everything.” I still believe it although I must admit that timing & the angle of reflection/refraction play their part. I do not believe that you write because you have something to say for we all have something to say, can all find something to say. We write because we can, because we enjoy it, because we have the opportunity. It matters to us; & if we find that what we do moves other people then that is a bonus.

2) Is poetry the primary genre that you work within? If so, why? If not, why?

Poetry is my primary genre because it is what I am most comfortable with plus I am writing for myself. That said, what I have learnt from writing poetry spills over into what I write for other people – manuals, proposals, reviews, university assignments when I was doing them, etc. Writing poetry can be as hard & as frustrating as any of these & often not as self-satisfying, but it is a challenge you have chosen for yourself.

3) Do you believe that a poet has any special sort of social responsibility?

Yes. I believe all poetry to be political. & social. They relect our views, our stance on life, no matter what we are writing about. Maybe not overtly so but given the opportunity we should speak out. We should not subjugate what we believe to be right when we write.

4) What does writing poetry do for you? Why does poetry matter?

It keeps me sane, it drives me mad. It is the only time I ever take risks. I can think of no better answer than to point to my alltime favourite poem, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “Constantly risking absurdity & death…”.

is anything what it seems anymore?

The supposed beheading of Nick Berg.
harry k stammer doing nice things to a poem of mine on As/Is. I'm honoured, Harry.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

A brief note on Jukka's new images

Bill Allegrezza says "jukka's new image poems complicate reading patterns in a way that two dimensional writing does not. as a reader i am left wondering where to enter into the text, if there is a consistent text, and if the text is primarily aesthetic or communicative."

Jean Vengua responds that (a) "lot of the poetry that I see on the new non-linear poetry seems to be about graphic surface (color, shape) and structure. Some partial sense of meaning comes through in the existence of words or word-fragments."

My attitude towards Jukka's current work is much more aligned with Jean in that I feel Jukka has moved, rather rapidly I must add, away from poetic to painterly in his new images. The earliest ones on his new nonlinear were like magnified shots of text, fragments from a larger whole. Then colour was added, with the focus on the colour, almost as though now he'd discovered how to do it he was doing a few practice runs. Still concerned with words &/or letters, still providing an entrance way through things familiar.

Now I feel we do not enter the poems but step back from them the way we do with paintings so that we can see them entire. Certainly the words are there, fragmented, hinting, eroded. It is as if we have passed beyond the ocular microscope & are now dealing with electron microscopy that is showing us that what we thought were empty spaces between words and letters have a depth & a topography of their own. The entrance way is way back, in the verbal poems that still are there behind. We've entered a Mandelbrot world of fractals where the poems enter us rather than us entering the poems.

The solitary busker

Buskers are rare in Rockhampton. There seem to be no local ones, only the occasional backpacker; & always fiddlers in that "Irish" tradition that is as phony as the "Irish" pubs that prevail here.

They are something I miss. Sydney was full of them, the entire gamut of buskers, from the nasal pseudo-Dylans echoing in the pedestrian tunnel running to the main railway station, the didgeridoo blowers, old men with their performing dogs which wheezed in harmony with the harmonica, the accordion players – whenever I came near them I would make one of those signs to ward off the devil & avert the evil eye – Mozart down by the Opera House, Chinese students or refugees with their strange stringed instruments in Parramatta & the accompanying amplifier making it even stranger, through to those who pretended not to be beggars by beating a cardboard carton out of time & out of step with the universe. I hated them all, but oh how I miss them.

The solitary busker is usually on the other side of what passes as the main street here. Seemingly only on Fridays. I hear them, see them standing unmoving in the distance, am unmoved by them & their mechanical bog music.

But today, when I came into the street, the busker was between me & the discount cigarette shop I was heading for, & they were actually moving, sort of dancing between the shopfront & the roadway. Playing in tune & with some rhythm in their playing. I passed by, bought my cigarettes, came back. Thought what the hell, it's a bit of brightness in the drab, added a $2 coin to what was in the violin case & said something along the lines of I'd have given you more if you'd been playing Bach.

At which point they paused in their playing. The pause could have been because they were turning over what I had said to make sure they had heard me correctly or it might have been one of those pauses that come after you've put the money in the jukebox & the arm is going along the stack to pick out the record you've requested (& yes, I know I've been around for a while). Maybe a bit of both.

Suddenly the jigs were no more, & a reasonable rendition of Air on the G String was resonating in the air of East Street & stopping the pedestrians in their tracks.

The busker ended up with a few more of my dollars in their violin case. I was happy for the rest of the day. Still faint resonations inside me as I write this, as the gibbous orange moon glowers through the trees just before it falls away behind the hills, hanging there like those last few notes of Bach that followed me up to the carpark.

Friday, May 28, 2004

The latest issue of BlazeVOX is currently under construction & with it the unveiling of the partnership of Young & Kervinen. More, much more, is to come.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

for Maya Mason Fink

I
do so
dig the dog
(with many blue fleas)
I am staying
in the game &
waiting for the dealer
to give me my
last word. Have
broken up
a pair of nouns
to go for
the possible
inside straight. I
have always
preferred to play
the percentages.

Another Ficcione for the Master, by Umberto Eco this time

The speaker was a monk bent under the weight of his years, an old man white as snow, not only his skin, but also his face and his pupils. I saw he was blind. The voice was still majestic and the limbs powerful, even if the body was withered by age. He stared at us as if he could see us, and always thereafter I saw him move and speak as if he still possessed the gift of sight. But the tone of his voice was that of one possessing only the gift of prophesy.

"The man whom you see, venerable in age and wisdom," Malachi said to William, pointing out the newcomer, "is Jorge of Burgos."

from William Weaver's translation of Il nome della rosa.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

A note on Tom Beckett's book, Vanishing Points of Resemblance

"All words are  misspelled." If this is true then what are the meant-to-be words? & what does it mean, coming at the end? Or is this the true beginning? Do we assume it to be a conclusion or is it an Epimenidean paradox – the line below is false / the line above is true? Strange loops.

So I suspend judgment.

But earlier on I have read "Tell me who to be". Which I know to be a lie because we are being told who the writer's "me" is in the autobiographical snippets & the sensual/sensory statements throughout the work. "I have two brothers & a sister." "For years I thought I knew that the accident occurred when I was five." "I used to want to be a woman." "I caress myself, pretend to be touching someone else." So the statement now becomes a request. "Tell me what you think of me."

Self-doubt.

The Subject is stepping through an environment which is full of holes. These are holes of the Subject's and of others' making. The holes increase the circulation of air. To negotiate one's way around them takes care.

But no self-pity. "The secret of survival is adaptability."

I see Vanishing Points of Resemblance as a journal, one written after, not during, the journey. But the steps are being retraced in memory now that an assembly point, an entrepot for experiences, has been reached. It is set in the present looking towards the past & thinking about the future. Identity is not what we are but what we think we are, what we mistake ourselves to be. We are a mistaken identity about which we are certain. It is also how far we let others let it be, how far out we are (about) ourselves. Dare we risk "unprotected texts"?

It is written with a deliberate choice of words. Perhaps well-chosen is a better description since deliberate can often mean heavy, & VpoR is not that. Precise is probably an even better word. Tom Beckett is precise in what he tells us. & what he doesn’t tell us. & again "Tell me who to be" is shown up as a lie.

The parts of the book build, the statements overlay one another, nothing contradicts itself. Again a clarity. Sometimes the writer stands outside himself & becomes the Subject. Insightful. Inside-full. Objective? Subjective? Words are placed where you least expect them. Shadows are magnifying glances, not contrary utterances. Not one word out of place.

Tom described VPoR in a blogpost as "the condensed record of well over a couple of hundred pages to get it right". Distilled Beckettessence. But it is not compressed writing in the way that, say. Borges' Ficciones  are. Rather it is expansive, full of spaces that give what's beneath room to breathe, to grow. It is polished silver filigree that the darkness of the sun & the brightness of the moon shine through. & in the parts that are solid silver we see

What one wants to be.

What one appears to be.

What one is.

I enjoyed VPoR. Tom's use of words delights me. I like the construction & the way that it seems to drive in towards a point, does not vanish but demands to be read again as it heads outwards like a comet's orbit round a sun. I do not know Tom Beckett any better from reading VPoR; I do know, now that I've read it, that I'd like to know him better.

But, & there is always a but, what it means is that we now expect much more from him. Now that resemblance to any other body living or dead has been done away with, the personal re-assembly replacing it is almost complete & the table has been cleared, I see it as an exquisite appetiser for the main meal whose ingredients have just been exposed & are stirring as they blink in the limelight.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I'm jealous, Jean

a megalomaniacal librarian's post-Escherian sci fi humpty-dumpty acid fantasy

Most of us have to make do with The Matrix.

A linear Nonlinear note

I
love these
pieces by Jukka

that
now have
colour in them.

Nimby

Nimby is an acronym for not in my back yard, as in I don't mind you building a nuclear waste facility but nimby. & 50-100 white cockatoos screeching at 7.00 a.m. from the guava tree down the back is definitely nimby.
A solitary bird tearing small branches from a tree might qualify as a lordly & isolate satyr; but an excited flock such as this has more in common with the plebeians baying for blood at the Colosseum or a group of drunken English soccer supporters tearing a town apart.
&
today I
honour William Yang.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Sorry, but I couldn't find a bottle

Try not to read
too much into it. Certainly
elephants are rare
in these parts, & elephants
giving birth even
more so. But remember
that here you're on
the main road from
nowhere to nowhere; & at
the somewheres in between
anything is a possibility. After
all there are still
supposed sightings of
the Tasmanian Tiger & the
local version of the yeti /
sasquatch. Yowies they call
them here. Just tell
the Tourist Bureau on your
way out of town that you
saw a pachyderm. Anywhere
else they might be
astute enough to ask if
it was Indian or African
& get suspicious when you
can't tell them where the
tusks are relative to
the ears. But here they'll
just record it as an
unconfirmed sighting
& include it in their next
brochure as another reason
to visit Rockhampton. &
hopefully someday
someone out there
in the Great Beyond
will see the report
& recognise the turn of
phrase & say "So that's where
Mark Young is living now."
The crows are
serenading me
by ukking & ahhing
the Stones' Sympathy
for the Devil from the
surrounding trees. "Please
allow me to introduce
myself, I'm a crow
of wealth & taste." I
drift along with them
for a while until the
beeping of the washing-
machine completing
its cycle brings me
back. It is the roshi
of everyday life.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Good Vibrations

To say we've
been here
before is a kind
of lie. What
we recognise
is the sense
of comfort. Nothing
actually stays the
same, not even
the Beach Boys'
song. It's a reverse
chameleon that
changes the place
you're currently in
to make the
vibrations
seem familiar.
Crag Hill gets some interesting answers to the interesting questions he asked a couple of days ago; & at grapez, Greg Perry quotes the newly anointed Dr Bono to show that the insight that comes with an honorary doctorate is thinner than the paper it's printed on. Bring back vellum is what I say.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

A step away

Something small, but al-
ways there. A streetlight
amongst trees, the joy
of coming on it after
a time away. The
beacon. It is what
we look for. Not
the dark foreboding
& the rattling echoes
of an empty house
or the cacophony of
a light-strewn series
of familiar rooms. Too
much to take in
in a single bite. In-
stead go for the
bouquet, from out-
side, a step away.

A to a Q

What started me writing again? The simplistic answer is that the trigger was the letter from Michele Leggott asking if she could "rummage through the past" when she & her co-editors were in the preliminary stages of assembling Big Smoke. But another fact was that despite everything I've said above I was still writing. Mostly work-related or university assignments, but in amongst it all was some poetry. Much of it chicken-claw scratchings but amongst it pieces such as Backtracking in the Early Nineties which dates itself internally from the time of the (later-given) title.

What Michele did was transfuse me with her enthusiasm for the project & I started going through the carry-bag (which by now had been transferred to a grey document box) to search out poems which she probably would not have seen. Because of their state - flimsy, often carbon copies (remember them?), stained with coffee & smoke from the bottoms of spoons, scarred by cigarette burns - I started copying them onto the PC so there would be a clean collection for her. The copying out became a reappraisal; & I discovered that not only could I remember most of the poems but there were some pretty good ones amongst them. I also found the confidence to polish up some I thought needed it. A couple of the poems in The right foot of the giant are almost complete rewritings. In the subsequent toing & froing with Michele &, later, Alan Brunton, my enthusiasm built; jottings for new poems pushed through to the surface or were absorbed from earlier notes; Right foot came out, published by Alan's Bumper Books; & by the time the launch of Big Smoke happened there were some new poems to accompany it.

But still not easy. The poem Nemesis or: Painting by Numbers covers some of the arid ground I found when trying to bridge the years of silence. 2001 was a year of rejection slips. & depression. Could I really write or was I deluding myself? The reviews of Big Smoke & Right foot were favourable to me, but that was the past catching up. & a lot of what I was currently writing I wasn't very happy with, felt that I was still facing backwards & trying to reel in / live off the past while the present charged towards the future behind me. But at least I was still writing. & at last the breakthrough came with Lunch in Glebe which although it talked about the past did so in a way that led towards the future.


The above is an extract from a Q&A with Martin Edmond, due to be published online in the next couple of months by the New Zealand electronic poetry centre - side bar - & in print by brief, a journal edited by Jack Ross & published by the Writers Group, 6A Hastings Road, Mairangi Bay, Auckland 1311, New Zealand. Subscription for three issues is $NZ65. At current exchange rates that's around $US40. I have an email address for brief which rather than publish here & spamattract I can pass on to anyone that contacts me.


Friday, May 21, 2004

A precis, for Tom Beckett & his comment below

The
desolation of
isolation & despair.

Words

I have discovered by accident that I have a poem in the latest issue of Znine, the University of Texas at Arlington's quarterly (?) ezine. (Okay, I admit it, I found it doing my monthly vanity search on Google to see if I'm still alive – Googlism reassures me that I am – or if I'd been made Pope & nobody had told me yet.) A small issue, but I was very happy to see that I'm sharing the pages with Harry K. Stammer.
In view of my recent posts it might be construed as a bird poem which it is, but only accidentally so. It's more about words or, rather, specific words. I have a thing about some words which I can't usually do anything about except possibly uncover them late at night & salivate over them privately like a collector of stolen art. Most can't be worked into a conversation or even a poem except through artifice.
The word from the Znine poem is quincunx, & the chance arrangement of olive-backed orioles was the only time I've seen one live. There was a newspaper photo, years ago, of five nuns playing in the snow; but how the hell do you work that into a conversation? "What a lovely quincunx." Bam, straight in the kisser. So, given the opportunity….
But there are some opportunities you wish you'd never been given. I refer to the secret stash of words in a poem written the day that I heard of the death of Alan Brunton, New Zealand poet, actor, playwright, essayist & publisher (including my The right foot of the giant). That usage wasn't forced. I do not remember meeting Alan though our paths probably crossed in 1969, the year I left N.Z. But we were both interviewed for a radio program about the times that the anthology Big Smoke: New Zealand Poems 1960-1975, which he co-edited, covered. I was particularly struck by the beauty of his speaking voice. & the word "mellifluous" came to mind.
Apart from that, as I say, artifice. A hay(na)ku posted to As/Is

Yclept
is one
of a number

of
words that
frustrate me in

that
I never
get an opportunity

to
use them.
Take this poem

then
as an
act of onanism.

& the following, from around 1975 which was when I stopped writing & which first appeared in The right foot twenty-five years later.

THERE ARE WORDS OF WHICH /
I AM ENAMOURED; BUT SHALL NEVER
GET TO USE, SAVE ALL TOGETHER,
IN THE ONE POEM


Standing, staring from the belvedere
at the moon which, in syzygy, is
full & surrounded by xiphoid stars,
he is entranced by the perfume of the
ylang ylang tree as it drifts upward,
moving widdershins with an eddy
of the wind.
              Though there is a
meretricious aspect to the evening
he can, for the moment, forget he is in
exile here, a giaour who has been
banished from his own land & is now
on a diaspora without definition, &
mostwheres feeling as out of place as an
anthropophage in a vegan restaurant.

Later he will descend to his room, to try &
write, a lucubration which, as the mesmerism
of the evening wears off & full awareness
of his severed roots returns, will become
more trite, more pleonastic. To be forgotten
or, at best, included in some future adespota.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The horror! The horror!

Israeli tanks &/or helicopters blast protest marches. American helicopters blast weddings. Self defence. Stability to the region. What hypocritical bullshit! They're boys - note to myself: it's about time women ran the world - playing with matches & I'm afraid that sooner rather than later the whole fucking forest is going to catch fire.

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned
Attempting the impossible at Series Magritte.
The
past posts
part of
Jukka's nonlinear
is forming
its own
linear poem.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Check out Eileen Tabios' wonderful poem at kultureflash. & let me just say in passing that self-deprecation is not for the likes of you or I even though we may do it well. It's like Sartre's Hell, for other people. Preen, Lady, preen! You've got the goods to back it up.

A seventh ficcione, for Mao Tse-Edmond

Mao Zedong as he
is now known
started the Long March
with 100,000 followers
& three movies. When
they reached Shanxi
there were only
8000 people &
one movie left. Loss of
faith, starvation, accidents
& the continual harrassment
by Jiang Jie Shi's
Guomindang army
accounted for the attrition. The
two movies – The Battleship
Potemkin & Les Enfants du
Paradis – were lost when
a landslide carried
the mule that was carrying them
away. Stagecoach was the
only one to survive; but,
fortunately, the pedal-powered
generator that provided
the electricity also
made it through un-
scathed. It is said
that by the end of the
March all the survivors
knew every word of the script
by heart. There is a poem
of Mao's that starts:
"The long shadow
of John Ford
guards the entrances
to the Shanxi Caves." That
Zhou Enlai who
drove the generator
is equally revered is
evidenced by the number
of bicycles in China today.

The Southern Boobook

There is a large gum tree at the top of our driveway. & it has one particular branch that seems to be a favoured resting place for birds. It is where I saw the spangled drongo that I wrote about earlier this month. It is where I saw a crow & a raven side by side & understood the differences between them - my bird book says the crow has an uk-uk-uk-uk call, the raven a drawn out ahh-ahh-ahh-r-r-r. Fine,you think, that's an easy way to tell them apart, until the day I saw a crow in the same tree, & with one breath it was going uk & then the next it was going ahh.
Last night's bird was the Southern Boobook, for me a nostalgic bird because as its scientific name - Ninox novaeseelandiae - suggests, it is also found in New Zealand where, I think, it is the only owl. There - & in some parts of Australia as well - it is known as the mo-poke which is one interpretation of a call that has been described as "leisurely, two-syllable, & though soft in tone can carry for some kilometres". Usually I hear them from a distance, calling from down by the lagoon or from the slightly more distant Botanical Gardens. Seeing one in the garden was kickarse.
When young I thought their name was morepork....

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Joseph Garver is back! The smurf dancing girls are all aquiver & eager to try out the new routines. To keep the pressure on I've added his blog to the sidebar. Pirouette!! Preen (as the Chatelaine might - not might - would say)!!
Have just added a couple of "non-painting" poems, Cloning Magritte & Magritte's Deathday, to the series.

I decided to dust this off from the pages of As/Is & give it another airing

From the Hotel Splendide

In the event of an
armed insurrection
guests are advised
to stay towards
the back of the room
& avoid all windows.
The Management accepts
no responsibility for
injuries caused by
stray bullets or ricochets.
Should the revolution
be successful the same
instructions still apply. The
victory parade is always
punctuated by the firing
of guns into the air. If
unsuccessful please do not
film the subsequent reprisals.
From a distance video cameras
may be mistaken for AK47s
or small hand-held missile
launchers. If the U.S. invades
there are forms enabling you
to claim for accidental
death from friendly fire
included with the other
hotel brochures. When
completed, please hang
outside your room along with
your cancelled breakfast menu.

Monday, May 17, 2004

From the Portuguese

I am eating papaya from our
northern garden. Military aircraft
keep coming in to land. War games -
such an oxymoron. The
planes fly out again
immediately they have been un-
loaded. I have put what's left of
the fruit away on the bottom shelf
of the refrigerator. We went north
for the weekend. When I took
the cat to the boarding kennels
the Showground was full of army tents
& surface transport. Helicopters lined up
at the airport across the road. On
the highway north we passed by tanks
on low-loaders, tankers of aviation fuel,
all parked outside petrol stations. But still
an easy run. So too the drive south,
just over 600 kilometres covered in
just under seven hours. The daughter of our
northern neighbour left thirty minutes
after us, spent ten hours doing the same
journey, trapped behind a convoy
for the last half of it. I eat some more
papaya, watch another plane, ponder the
etymology of bivouac & camouflage. Wonder
if French is the language of war as well as
of love. The papaya came home with us
seemingly unaffected by it all. Its name
comes from the Portuguese. They
are probably a peace-loving people.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Changing labels from Motime to Blogger seems to have given Jukka the opportunity to post in a more varied format. This is a beautiful piece.
If the song-
lines are unfamiliar
then look to
the rhythm
of the piece. The
ear plays tricks
but there are only
so many ways
the heart can beat.
Have added a link to Richard Lopez' Really Bad Movies in the sidebar.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

     f     Maps     e
     r                 d
     o                  g
     m   should      e
                       s
     t       be           
     h                o
     e                u
           read      t
I have just posted poem #31, Comparative Studies, to my Series Magritte.

Friday, May 14, 2004

thanks
Jean Vengua tends to change the artwork at the top of OKIR almost as rapidly as the escalating cost of the war in Iraq displayed on kari edwards' transdada.
I am taken by the mixed-media piece currently displayed, "Warning" by Filipino painter Santiago Bose who died in 2002. If the piece has gone by the time you go to look at it, it can be found here.
There's a bit more information about the painter available at this site, & a moving essay by Eileen Tabios in an issue of our own voice.

Dear Tom

Seems just like yesterday I added the referrers' list; & here you are, up to 100 already.
Hows about a little howl?

For K.

Layer by layer the light
flows away from him. Salt water
rinses his mouth of its own
accord. He comes
to a place that is full of
familiar faces, has a lifetime
of interaction ahead. He
was last seen swimming out
to sea. It is an incomplete epitaph.

from: The Hermaphroditic Telephones by W.C.W.

the radiant nothing
of crystalline
spring

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Something I would really like to be able to get to!

Michael Rothenberg and David Meltzer
read from their new books from La Alameda / University New Mexico Press

Word Play Theater June 01 tue 7:30 pm

$ 6. cover, Season passes $ 40. For more information call 1.212.262.4216


Medicine Show Theatre, 549 West 52nd St. (10th/11th), 3rd Floor, NYC 1001

========================

Beat Thing is David Meltzer’s truly epic poem — an engagement with history & his own participatory & witnessing presence. If the title at first suggests a nostalgic romp through a 1950s-style beat scene, it doesn’t take long before mid-twentieth-century America’s urban pastoralism comes apart in all its phases & merges with the final solutions of death camps & death bombs from the preceding decade. This is collage raised to a higher power — a tough-grained & meticulously detailed poetry — "without check with original energy," as Whitman wrote — & very much what’s needed now.
— Jerome Rothenberg

The Beat Thing sizzles as close as yesterday—with landmarks, names, occasions—as Poet Meltzer writes us back into the beat. Everyone's still There. As fresh as ever.
— Joanne Kyger

David Meltzer has gifted us with his beautifully written kabalistic and unique look at the Beat Generation. He also turns his eye to the American infrastructure of Bebop. This book comes out of his mature consciousness like energy spray bursting from the brow of a dolphin.
— Michael McClure

David Meltzer’s most important lyri-political work. A profound juxtaposition in which the Beat Movement’s meaning is resonated with the haunting of the Holocaust and the American years of McCarthyism and Jim Crowism. Like all great works, this entire book is single simultaneous moment in progress, written by a poet who — in terms of the rhythms, verbal inventiveness and the naming of figures of popular culture — is without equal anywhere.
— Jack Hirschman

David Meltzer is one of the secret treasures on our planet. Great poet, musician, comic; mystic unsurpassed, performer with few peers. His "ear" like we used to say and his erudition are fine-tuned and precise. A kind of bop-perfection pervades this work.
—Diane di Prima


"how easily narrative falls into place, realizes itself through a story-telling historian who sets out to frame a tangled constantly permutating chaos into a familiar & repeatable story w/out shadows or dead-ends; how impulsively memory organizes into a choir to tell a story of what it remembers symphonically, i.e., formally; even experimentalists practice w/in or against forms that have formed their relationship to writing & telling stories; history is the story of writing"

—Epilogue from Beat Thing



=================================

Unhurried Vision by Michael Rothenberg--Underneath the art of poetry exists the tradition of the journal—the attempt to capture and reveal the world as it passes by. Observations, reflections, and ideas accumulate to form connections and reveal process, content and story. Unhurried Vision is a record of the year 1999, and continues Michael Rothenberg’s experiment with the journal. This is the year Philip Whalen became terminally ill and Rothenberg began taking care of him, pulled together Whalen’s archives and library and edited his book of selected poems, Overtime. Political, personal, and romantic, Unhurried Vision works to savor the impermanent, looking at the moments in a poet’s life, contemplating the body of experience. It is the mind on a quiet stroll through longing, loss and beauty.

Unhurried Vision, a year in the life of Michael, is really a deeply loving celebration & farewell to mentor Philip Whalen, poet, roshi, & all around confounder of boundaries. A day-book; a non-epic odyssey through routes & roots of living & dying; a gastronome’s pleasure dome, but above all a deeply stirred & stirring affirmation of poetry’s centrality in realizing mundane & profound instances in the everyday extraordinary. Rothenberg’s raw footage is disarming; sly, self-effacing, proclaiming, doubting, affirming. You can read it in one sitting, say blurboligists, but it takes at least a lifetime. & then what?

—David Meltzer

This
interfacing space
a cello. Turns

taken.
Different tempi.
Breathless little pizzicato

steps
or the
breathy resonance of

a
long bow
drawn across it.

Paul Keating's speech in Redfern, 10 December 1992

A reference to this speech on tv a couple of days got me looking at it again. Unfortunately the vision has still not been realised. Keating was voted out of office a few years later, & the current Prime Minister of Australia still refuses to apologise for the wrongs that the early European settlers did to the indigenous population as he moves his government further & further towards the conservative right under the influence of the current U.S. government.
Australia was claimed as an English colony under the doctrine of Terra Nullius, empty land, even though it had been settled for up to 70000 years. The indigenous population were not granted Australian citizenship until 1967.
Keating's speech is probably the greatest speech by an Australian politician in the last thirty years - if there are any contenders they would come from the same source. & the last two paragraphs of the extract below have an extremely contemporary relevance to what is happening today in another country.

It begins, I think, with the act of recognition. Recognition that it was we who did the dispossessing. We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life. We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practised discrimination and exclusion.

It was our ignorance and our prejudice. And our failure to imagine these things being done to us. With some noble exceptions, we failed to make the most basic human response and enter into their hearts and minds. We failed to ask - how would I feel if this were done to me?

As a consequence, we failed to see that what we were doing degraded all of us.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

A new issue of Pettycoat Relaxer is up.
& have added BlazeVOX to the sidebar journal links.

The Real Dreaming

Rupert Murdoch has a monopoly on the newspapers of Rockhampton. The local Bulletin, the state-based Courier-Mail & the national Australian are all from the Murdoch stable. So I've given up reading the newspaper on a daily basis since I've moved here.
I do, however, get the Saturday edition of the Sydney Morning Herald. On a Sunday. But at least it gives me an informed & not-too-biased view of what's going on in the world as well as being a tendril still linking me to Sydney.
The thing I miss most here is the activity of a big city. Not that you ever got to see/hear much of it because there was, literally, too much going on to encompass it all. But it seemed to pervade the atmosphere...
Which brings me to the purpose of this post. In last Saturday's SMH there was a review of an exhibition by the late Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. Clifford Possum is probably the greatest of the modern Aboriginal artists, & Aboriginal art, paradox though it seems because the subject matter & the style are almost totally based on an ancient tradition (though one that is constantly refreshed because it still governs the way of life), is one of the strengths of contemporary painting.
This current exhibition is described as "astonishing, eye-tripping & vertigo-inducing". One of the paintings reproduced in the SMH was Kangaroo Story (Mt Denison). A wider selection of Clifford Possum's work can be found here.
There are many sites & many books dedicated to Aboriginal painting of the last thirty years. Seeking at least some of these out will bring astonishing rewards.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

The
bread is
stale; so
cover
with mustard
& disguise
the fermentation
of the rye.

Monday, May 10, 2004

In the American grain? (with sincere apologies to W.C.W.)

I have beaten
the civilians
who were in
the icebox

& whom
you were probably
saving
for a mock trial

Forgive me
they were defenceless
& so ripe
for humiliation
If
Abu Ghraib
is how they

treat
the civilians
then what must

be
going on
in Guantanamo Bay!

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Five linear episodes for Jukka-Pekka Kervinen

a )
Later there would be
questions asked; but at
the time few people paid
much attention to the
small group standing off
to the side at the wake
that followed Trotsky's
funeral. Certainly
the two men at the centre
both had bodyguards; but that
was normal here & neither
had famous faces like the
Hitchcocks & Hemingways
that the press were
much more interested in.

*

0)
A few people. A strange pairing.
But Octavio Paz the only one
to see the energy
flowing & that it was
not just sexual. Always the
astute metaphysician. “The one
wanted to unravel the moon
by using recursive &
mechanical algorithms; the other
to recreate the sun with a
continuous chain reaction. I
saw the future in them.”
      Islas en llamas en mitad del Pacifico
      Mundos de imágenes suspendidos de un hilo de araña

(Islands in flames in the middle of the Pacific
A world of imagining suspended from the web of a spider)

*

1)
Perhaps the mescal, perhaps
the Mexican warmth, but Turing
was expansive on the day,
eschewing the cyphers he
usually talked in & of. “If I
can paraphrase Hegel, the
thing we learn from history
is that we do not learn from it.
But we are dreamers, & have
chosen to ignore that lesson. da
Vinci designed flying machines
in a flightless age; Babbage
computed a difference engine
far beyond the loom
that knitted Jacquard sweaters. I
have this idea of a machine
whose answers to a set of
questions are indistinguishable
from those of a man. & you,
Robert, you dream of a
Fabergé egg that conceals
a controlled fusion that
will level cities or turn
the desert in glass. Conceit &
concept – we have them both.
It is the world that lacks
the technology to make them
practical.” Oppenheimer smiled.

*

R)
One of the first things
Oppenheimer did as
director of Project Manhattan
was to invite Diego Rivera
north to Los Alamos to
paint a mural of
Trotsky's funeral over-
shadowed by a
mushroom cloud that bore
the face of Shiva. It was
amongst the first things
destroyed by the first
successful testing of the bomb.

*

b )
Instead of a long chain
of nucleotides, think of
the body as being
comprised of an infinite tape
that is divided into cells,
a finite number of which
contain a symbol drawn
from a finite vocabulary. To
breath life into it
add a moving head to scan
the cells as they pass; &
depending on the present state
& the symbol that is present
to overwrite or delete what it
finds there & move one cell
further on. It is not
a sequence of purine or
pyrimidine bases but of
ordered quintuples. Birth
is the initial state; the subset
of final states includes
suicide through cyanide
& assassination with an icepick.



Silence
would have
said it better.
Have added Greg Perry's grapez to the sidebar.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Helix

Time looped back
upon itself. A
replicatory dance,
the same song over
but never over.

Forward. Furrowed.
Brow, ploughed
field. Back & forth, the
same earth turned

over. Never over.
The seasons carry
each unto themselves
the other seasons. Time
itself loops back

but never to the same
space. A starting point, a
pace apart. Space &
time a place apart, never

to be ploughed but
further afield time loops
back. A replicatory dance
in time upon itself. Apace.

Friday, May 07, 2004

A couple of notes regarding the Hay(na)ku Anthology.

The editors will consider only hay(na)ku.

That
is, poems
having this form.

Anything else, no matter how good, will not be looked at.

However, what might be loosely described as "augmented" hay(na)ku - and by augmented the editors mean a poem that retains the inherent hay(na)ku form whilst containing other elements - are acceptable. (But bear in mind that the editors' definition of "augmented" may depend upon what additives were in that particular morning's breakfast cereal.)

Please indicate also if what is being submitted is a sequence or a series of separate hay(na)ku.

Feel free to send in both previously published and new work. Multiple submissions are allowed, but preferably in, say, a monthly bundle. A hay(na)ku a day might just keep the editors away.

Receipt of submissions will be acknowledged, but once the final selection is made, only those accepted for the anthology will be notified.

A sixth ficcione, for Martin Edmond again

In his soon-to-be published
autobiography titled "I was
an Iatrochemist for the CIA:
my Adventures in Alchemy"
Paracelsus tells of a
chance meeting in Antwerp
with a Flemish painter
called, he thinks, Jerome Bosh
& how they spent a day
drinking laudanum
& a night enjoying
the pleasures of a brothel
called the Garden of
Earthly Delights. Paracelsus
mentions it in passing.
He says he got nothing
out of their time together.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

A further note on the spangled drongo

In Australian slang, a drongo is a fool, a stupid person.
John Howard, the Prime Minister of Australia, is astute in the art of self-preservation politics – though he has shown recent signs of losing it – but he is a fool in his blind obedience to the diktates of Amerikan policy, especially that relating to Iraq. Mind you, he is of a height to be able to kiss George W. Borg's arse without having to bend his knees. & where Borg won his election on Florida chad, Howard won his through the CHildren overboArD affair which provided a convenient platform of lies three days before the last federal election.
Spangled, of course, evokes the star-spangled banner.
So put them together & you then have this picture of little Johnnie wrapped in the stars & stripes, leash in mouth, begging Borg to take him for a walk so he can go doo-doos.
& I don't think I’m alone in this imagining. Check out these editorial cartoons.

Today's bird sighting

The Spangled Drongo

Dicrurus bracteatus
distinguished by its forked "fishtail". which is how I identified it.


A kind of census. The
mind's mosaic has been
taken in for introspection.
Why learn for the sake
of learning? Unnecessary
facts might just as well
be fiction for all the use
we get from them. The
fragments are taken out
for sensual inspection,
left so the air can
breathe on them. Those
that acquire colour are kept
to form the new pathways
of the mind. The bland
are used to pebble
pathways in the garden.
The new issues - straight & auto - of xStream are out.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

A lamentation

Joseph
Garver's hay(na)ku
blog stands empty.

That
is a
tragedy. He had

some
wonderful pieces
on display there.

A word game

Intemperate
as in
in temper ate

&
choked on
both words &

food
or as
in temperate climate

which
is further
south than I

am
now or
as intemperate standing

alone
but not
really standing because

so
drunk it
has fallen over.
A new issue of Tin Lustre Mobile out.

Monday, May 03, 2004

To give Tom Beckett a small pleasure I have added a referrers' list - though pelican dreaming will never match the crowds lined up before the Chatelaine's gates.
Maybe a small howl when the new moon comes around, Tom.
"Don't
be emotive"
said the advisors.

"I
don't have
a motive" said

the
President. Chinese
whispers. American policy.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Carte Blanche

Have just posted Carte Blanche, my thirtieth poem in the on-going series, to Series Magritte.
This poem is mainly Magritte in his own words. I decided that after all my tangential imaginings it was time to give him a chance to speak for himself.

The be-bop bird

This morning, amongst the raucous caws of the crows, the harsh shrieking of the white cockatoos & the shrill trills of the magpie larks, I heard a be-bop bird.
Drlllll do be dlop a dulya dop, drlllll do be dlop a dulya dop.....that's how it went, sort of like the tunes Benny Golson used to do with Art Blakey &, later, The Jazztet - not the lyrical pieces like "Whisper Not" or "I Remember Clifford" but the laidback ones like "Killer Joe" just at that point when the ensemble stops, the soloist comes in & the drummer goes back to heightening that fourth beat of the bar, 1 2 3 clock. All that's missing here.
Some style manual that I
have never read but
only seen referred to
says Saxon before
Latin words, just as
an earlier style manual
that was probably
orally handed down
said Greek before the
Latin. So let me put
this in a style
that I might claim
owes nothing to either
but is intuitively
influenced by both. Fuck
you all. Lachrymose
sings in the mouth
much more than tearful
or given to weeping
even if it is derived
from the Latin lacrima .

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Reciprocities & reciprocations

I have just added three new links to my list of blogs in the sidebar. Steve Tills' Black Spring plus a link to his online journal named, surprisingly enough, Black Spring online (but tell me, Steve, do you want submissions embedded in the email or as an attachment?); Gregory Vincent St Thomasino's eratio & whose excellent journal similarly called eratio is already linked; & David Nemeth's nemski.com.
My thanks to you all for including pelican dreaming in your links.

Another HHH

Just
think of
Marcel Duchamp's Nude

Descending
a Staircase
descending a staircase

three
steps at
the one time.

Meanwhile, back in Patterson

                    The small
                         yellow flowers
                                brought down
                            by the rain
                        have turned
                   the path into /
                                         not a path.
                                     Now a
                         continuity, part
                     of the tree
                               from which
                                     the flowers
                                  fell.