Wednesday, November 30, 2005

fail flail

bukkake
(Check out the word. Use it as a
personality test. Are you horrified
or hornified? What does your
response say about you?)

modi-
cum

"Were it not for Maurice Pilorge,
whose death keeps plaguing my life,
this book would never have been written."

prurient interest

apothecary

Episodes from a life of occasional intersections #1

He was dying of cancer but he never told me. Instead said he was tired, was going to bed.

He was the one constant, the only one I would always call on when I went back to New Zealand. Every five years or so, when I went back for a family funeral. This time my brother, dead from diabetes.

We never wrote to one another. Occasionally he would pass through Sydney & we'd not so much catch up but rather pick up from where we left off the last time. In 25 years we had had one longdistance telephone call, when I rang him to congratulate him on the opening of his new gallery.

We were never lovers though we loved each other dearly, even though we had once lived together in a one-bed apartment for a couple of months. Perhaps that was why he never told me he was dying. Maybe it's a subject you can only breach with lovers, not with those you love. He told me I looked well.

He went to bed. I stayed up talking to his latest wife. She played Townes van Zandt singing Walk away Renée for me. I wanted to hear it again. & again.

In the bedroom he was dying. I went home.

I went back to Australia. He was dying. I sent him a Christmas card.

My one remaining sibling is still alive. I had no reason to go back to New Zealand. He was too sick to travel. I didn't know.

I sent him a Christmas card. I got a letter back from his wife saying he had died some months before. I had not known.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"Catachthonia

originated in the summer of 2005 when Jukka-Pekka Kervinen and Jake Berry began collaborating on a series of sound files of performances (recorded by Berry in Florence, Alabama, USA) of Berry's poems The Blood Paradoxes. Kervinen, living in Espoo, Finland applied computer processing to the performances to generate sound clouds. Original recordings of Jake Berry performing The Blood Paradoxes in Florence were sent by e-mail to Jukka-Pekka Kervinen in Espoo who digitially processed them based on granular synthesis (a method in which sound is generated using very large amounts of very small extracts of the original sound grouped stochastically to form a sound cloud).These recordings were then e-mailed to Berry who added his performances to selections from Kervinen's compositions, mixed and edited the collection. Their first release, The Blood Paradox Variations is 26 track sequence of the sound clouds alone and Berry's poetry mixed with the sound clouds. Future releases will include similar collaborations, including Kervinen's processing of Berry's electric guitar improvisations mixed with other audio sources."

CATACHTHONIA: The Blood Paradox Variations
philtre

carcino-
gen

"all avenues have been exhausted"

suddenly, last summer

th'anonymous
hangman

fail flail

SOFTBLOW presents

"JOHN KINSELLA is writing a poem a day - a plea
every day - for the life of Van Nguyen. He is
against capital punishment everywhere in the world,
not just Singapore. As far as he is concerned,
state execution is state murder.

Read his poetry at http://www.softblow.com now!"

Monday, November 28, 2005

gondwana

erasure

the Rokeby
Venus

Robert Rauschenberg

"Say it, no ideas but in things."

philtre

Fresh meat for the locusts

fresh meat for Karri Kokko.

PM AT CRICKET AS NGUYEN SWINGS

There’s growing storm in Australia after Prime Minister John Howard has said he would attend a cricket match on the day that Australian Van Nguyen is hanged in Singapore.

Mr Howard, who maintains all efforts to save Nguyen have been exhausted, said he had an obligation as host to attend the Prime Minister's XI cricket match on Friday.

Nguyen will hang in Singapore's Changi prison at dawn on Friday after he admitted smuggling heroin to repay debts owed by his twin brother Khoa.

Australian Democrats senator Natasha Stott Despoja said she felt sickened by the prospect that Mr Howard would attend the game.

"This is about how Australians and the rest of the world, including the people of Singapore, will view our response to this horrendous act," she said.

Nguyen was arrested in Singapore's Changi Airport in December 2002 while trying to board a flight to Australia with 396 grams of heroin strapped to his body and in his hand luggage.

He was sentenced to death despite cooperating with drug investigations by authorities in Singapore and Australia.

The Prime Minister has rejected a call from Opposition leader Kim Beazley to send a last-ditch mission to Singapore to try to stop the execution.

The hanging of Van Nguyen wasn't formally raised at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta, but John Howard did speak to his Singaporean counterpart.

Tuong Van Nguyen met his identical twin a few days ago for the first time since strapping heroin to his body three years ago in a foolhardy mission to pay off his brother's debts.

On Friday December 2, Van will be hanged for his decision.

(from various news sources)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

mosaic

quantifiable

CARBONATED WATER, SUGAR, FOOD ACID (330),
FLAVOURS, PRESERVATIVE (211), COLOURS (107, 110, 133)
MADE IN AUSTRALIA FROM LOCAL & IMPORTED INGREDIENTS


taran-
tella

blonde on
blonde

gondwana

A note on The First Hay(na)ku Anthology, & a note from the publisher

The First Hay(na)ku Anthology is due out from the printer towards the end of this week & is available for pre-ordering now. It's a diverse collection. Established & new writers, contributors from about eight countries, bloggers, non-bloggers, vispo hay(na)ku & straight hay(na)ku from vispo practitioners, short poems, long sequences, essays.

It's an anthology I'm proud to be associated with.

& a note from the Queen of Preen, Eileen Tabios
"THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY, coedited by Jean Vengua and Mark Young is now at the printer's. So I'm offering a SPECIAL RELEASE OFFER (I've extended the RSVP deadline to Nov. 30, 2005). To wit:

NEW SPECIAL RELEASE OFFER!!!!

If you are a poet who has written hay(na)ku (and that includes you contributors who may want more copies than your contributor copies), you can pre-order this ground-breaking (ahem, that's Moi hacking up the lawn with the spade) anthology for $7.00 -- more than 50% off the retail price of $14.95 and I'll toss in free shipping/handling for those based in the U.S. (for international orders, please add a few bucks to cover international mail).

If you are interested, the offer is good through November. E-mail me at GalateaTen@aol.com if you wanna follow up.

I offer this because, most sincerely, I am grateful to all you poets who've continued to take up this form (making likely, additional anthology(ies) of it)."
Fresh poems are
fresh meat for the
locusts. Eat it all,
leave only
the punctuation. So.
Write another. Event-
ually one will
come along
that is indigestible.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

delta

monologue

re-
tell

cached

a soft
enjamb-
ement
for Ron
Silliman

mosaic

Next Thursday

is World Aids Day. So while the world is plucking around about Bird Flu, some facts about HIV-AIDS.

• The number of people with HIV-AIDS in the world is about 40.3 million
• 17.5 million of these are women
• 2.3 million are children under 15
• 3.1 million people have died of AIDS this year
• 570,000 of these were children
• more than 25 million have died since the 1980s
• 4.9 million people were infected this year

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thursday, November 24, 2005

vau
de
ville

erudition

the charge of the light brigade

contact sports

munificence

dogma
Now
that the
poetry reading's over

I
can go
get a haircut.

What'd I Say

I discovered jazz in the early nineteen-fifties, when I was about eleven years old, courtesy of a propaganda arm of the U.S. during the Cold War, the Voice of America. At eleven o'clock each night, through the miracle of shortwave, I would wait for the keyboard chords of Ellington at the beginning of Take The A Train that were used as the introduction to Willis Conover's The Jazz Hour. It was a wide-ranging program, everything from early Dixie through to Monk & Miles. Gradually my preferences tended towards the latter two & their contemporaries, though tempered with a love of the great bands of Ellington & Count Basie.

When I began secondary school, a year or so later, students were not permitted on the bus that actually passed our house, were only allowed to catch the tram, later a trolley bus, that ran down the main street of our suburb, dropping me off about ten minutes' walk away from home. But any inconvenience was cancelled out by the fact that near the city tram terminus was an electrical store, whose record section was looked after by someone heavily into jazz. More especially, modern jazz, East Coast, primarily black.

(Later, when we were permitted to catch the bus, it had a different terminus, close to what I consider to be the greatest secondhand bookshop – actually, any kind of bookshop – but that is another story…)

In the way of youth, jazz became an obsession, excluding every other musical form. Mind you, pop was crap in those days. How much is that doggie in the window & suchlike, though it was the heyday of Nat King Cole & Frank Sinatra, backed by bands such as Billy May's or Nelson Riddle which you'd listen to to hear Harry Edison or Clark Terry doing the trumpet solos. Occasionally tracks from Ella Fitzgerald or Anita O'Day or Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday would sneak through, but most of it was yecch.

A couple of things softened my obsession, opened me up to other forms of music. After football or cricket practice at school one late afternoon, I wandered back to my classroom to collect my bag, passed by the assembly hall, & heard the great cellist Mstislav Rostropovich – I didn't know who he was at the time, but made it a priority to find out - rehearsing for a concert he was to give for the local chamber music society that night. Some things truly engulf the soul, & this guy playing was one of them. I'd been thinking of becoming a musician, jazz musician naturally, & decided after hearing him, since the cello wasn't an instrument normally found in jazz groups, to learn how to play the bass. Classical training, arco, &, after a while, ended up playing in the school orchestra, the odd concert but mainly accompanying the obligatory hymn in the morning assembly. Which, I've just realised, was probably my introduction to poetry that could move you.

The other thing that happened was pop music changed. A thing called rock n roll appeared. I was a teenager, hormonal, & much moved by this new music, at first varying degrees of sanitised white – Bill Haley, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Connie Francis, Pat Boone – but then, gradually, the artists who influenced them, whom they imitated, whom they downright ripped off. Ray Charles, Fats Domino, James Brown, Little Richard.

All this has been brought back by a small part of a post by Jilly Dybka:
"Here’s an MP3 from the Marcus Belgrave CD Gemini that my husband played keyboards on."
I first knew of him as Marcus Batista Belgrave, trumpet player in the group that Ray Charles formed after he moved away from the Nat King Cole piano trio style, the band that backed him on What'd I say & I got a woman. I first consciously came across him as part of one of the defining moments in my life, going into a record store & listening to two albums from the 1958 Newport Festival; the fantastic Duke Ellington one with an amazing solo from Paul Gonsalves, which, logically, as a jazz fan, I should have picked; & the one that I ended up buying – jazz-influenced but still primarily r & b - that got to me in a way that few albums have & lead into, foreshadowed, much of what I have listened to & loved since, Ray Charles at Newport.
 
Today the
postman brought
me a book
of word
spells. I
read it. I am
enchanted.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Minoan civilisation #2


what a waist
Today the
postman brought
me the silver
apples of
the moon, the
golden apples
of the sun.

Moments later
the Federal Police
arrived with
the bomb squad
in tow. I was
taken into
custody, the apples
were exploded.
Time's done.
sphere

oncology

um-
laut

road map

reference or refinement

dagger

Minoan civilisation

is an artificial wave
in the hair. Diacritics dread-
locked in instead of
beads. Genetic markers.
Carrier codes. Meaning
imparted by
their upbraided place-
ment. The colour has
already been bred
in, an aposematic
act, warning the
fellow traveller, a
secondary subtlety
so not everything is
what it seems to
be. Metabolism
abounds. Bulls
pace the mazes
of the royal palace.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Some notes on Guantanamo Bay

Afternoon delight
Cocktails and moonlit nights
That dreamy look in your eye
Give me a tropical contact high
Way down in Guantanamo

(with apologies to The Beach Boys)
Moazzam Begg (released British detainee)
"We have been subjected to acts of terror. It's terrifying to have a gun with a loaded chamber pointed at your head; it's terrifying to think you will never see your family again; it's terrifying to feel a blade ripping your clothes off, all in the name of security. What does this tell us about the rule of law as far as the US is concerned? It tells us that it doesn't apply."

"And it was of course part of the dehumanising process again. And one of the guards there of that unit told me when I used to have discussions with them, that when we see you people we can't look at you as human beings. Our psyche does not allow us to do that - because if we did we wouldn't treat you this way. It's easy for us to dehumanise you. First of all most of you guys don't speak the same language. Secondly, you look different. Thirdly, you're dressed different. Fourthly, you're in cages and we're out here with the guns."

from : The Independent & Mathaba News

Badarzaman Badar (released Afghani detainee)
"Actually in the beginning when we were in Bagram and Kandahar and in cells of ISI, we suffered a lot. We have been kicked out, we have been kicked by the feet of soldiers. We have become naked; they have taken our naked pictures. They have shaven our beards and they have insulted us in different ways. The way they were taking us to interrogation in Kandahar was really insulting and we suffered a lot and we had no shower for three months in Bagram and Kandahar and the same way for two and a half months in cells of ISI in Peshawar. The way we were taken and flown from Peshawar to Bagram, and from Bagram to Kandahar and from Kandahar to Guantánamo Bay was really torturing, we suffered a lot. They tied us with plastic handcuffs and it really hurt us and the most terrible thing was when they took us from Kandahar to Guantánamo. We had goggles on our head and had masks and we were blinded there and it was a very long flight of 24 hours. What happened to us... It is just torturing us mentally right now and when I just think about Guantánamo, I think about Kandahar, I think about Bagram I think about the cells of ISI, I cannot forget the night we were arrested and we left our children crying without reason. We haven't been criminals, we haven't done anything wrong. We have been journalists, we have been scholars, we have been intellectuals, we have been reporters and editors you can see the library here. I can draw it for you this is the whole block you can see. You know and there were two rows, in each row there were 24 cells and then there was another row of 24 cells. You can see and each cell was 180 centimetres in length, and the width and the height was 180 centimetres. It was the place where we had to sleep, where we had to offer our prayers, where we had to go to the bath and that was the whole thing we had in our life. We had to stay here for a long time and after every three days and sometimes after every five days we had to go out for 20 minutes and some people for 30 minutes if we were not on punishment. But those who were on punishment had to stay there for longer times - for a month, two or three without coming out."

from: Mathaba News
bees' wax

pyramid

redundancy

delta

myco-
bacterium

okapi

The Empty Mask



"The words which serve to characterize two different objects do not of
themselves reveal what it is that distinguishes one from the other."
René Magritte

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Sitting here early Saturday evening,. Have fed the cat fresh meat. Strange noises, desperate backthroat growls from her as she waited while I cut it up. Now she's working her way through the bowl, purring, a few metres away from me.

Smoke fills the air, bush fires, grass fires more specifically. Hot, humid, my T-shirt clings to my back even though I'm doing nothing but sit here. Only my finger muscles being exercised. The just turned on air conditioner runs above the cat's purring. In this small room, the cold spirals, bounces off the wall, somehow comes underneath the keyboard bench to hit my knees.

Heat & humidity. I don't write well in hot weather. Equinox to equinox, with the winter solstice in the middle. That's my time line. & working again doesn't help, even though it's a mundane & non-intellectually-challenging job. My social skills are coming back. But I work best in isolation, unless I'm in the middle of a stimulating & invigorating milieu. I go out & walk the main street at lunchtime, come back with nothing to show except clingfilm-wrapped sandwiches. Maybe I should try the waterfront, come on like an old tenor player, change my first name to Lester.

Not posting to the blog pisses me off. The things that allowed me to do that just aren't happening. Where are the birds? Not posting means that I'm not writing, am not developing the critical mass that is necessary. The postman passes me by. I need discipline, not bondage.

A Leonard Cohen song, Sisters of Mercy, crawls through my brain like a hungry tapeworm. I am not writing. Half-started poems nest in the pc, tapeworm eggs that I shit out everytime I turn the power off. Half-started poems. It's why I'm writing prose, trying to till the field, looking for the grain to plant. Oh, the sisters of mercy. Infamous blue raincoats.

I look for things to placate me. A new issue of Hamilton Stone Review is out. I have poems in it. Last night the literary magazine of the local university was launched. I have a poem in that, but it is two years' old. I still have things accepted for publication in a few places, other things submitted. I look forward to seeing them up. But, more importantly, I look forward to seeing a poem or two up on the screen in front of me.

But that's the creations of a past that started a second ago. In the here & now I am not writing. I am listening to the air conditioner which has now conditioned the room so I no longer sweat when my fingers engage in this pointless exercise. The cat has gone out to rest in the front garden, satisfied with meat. The blog sits empty. Rebeka Lembo posted a little while ago that when she doesn't post she doesn't feel right about visiting other people's blogs. I understand now what she means, even though I told her at the time she shouldn't feel that way. But emptiness keeps people away, & if they're that fickle…..

I am not writing. Soon I will go & cook dinner, will eat meat, & then go out & join the cat in the front garden where I will be eaten by mosquitoes. Oh the sisters of mercy. At least something will be making use of my blood.

Send me love notes. I promise I'll reply.

In writing.

Google Scholar

Google have a beta version of a new research search engine up, that, although predominantly science focused, is a good way to discover papers on subjects in which you're interested. It gives the number of citations, has a large number of full-text articles in downloadable format, seems to bypass the necessary log-ins to access many of them. Well worth checking out.

Friday, November 18, 2005

did a one poem reading tonight,

at the launch of the local university annual magazine.

The Schwarzvogel Ficcione

Elsebet Schwarzvogel, consumptive
third daughter of the fourth
Grand Duke of Lower Saxony,
is reputed to have been
so enraptured by the resonance
of the cello she gave instructions
& a large sum of her father’s money
that on her death her intestines
were to be taken out & stretched
& strung on a quintet of instruments
she had had especially made
by those craftsmen from Cremona.
She also commissioned small works
from some of the greatest composers
of the time, & asked, without
the accompaniment of money, that
they be performed on each
anniversary of her passing. Sadly
nothing now is left except the tale
& a fragment of music
that emerged in the 1930s as
Bye Bye Blackbird & was
also destined for erasure until re-
vitalised by this recording made,
in a nice twist of synchronicity,
on the tercentenary of her death
by that great quintet of Miles Davis
from the early fifties, with Coltrane
on tenor & Philly Joe Jones driving it
along. Close your eyes. Listen for
the cello breathing in the background.

Published in Idiom 23, vol. 17, 11/05

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Lake Onega and Other Poems

"Salt Publishing is delighted to announce the publication of a major selection of Leevi Lehto’s work in English as Lake Onega and Other Poems, in September 2006. The 160 pages volume will include translations from his four latest Finnish poetry books, from Ihan toinen iankaikkisuus (1991) to Ampauksia ympäripyörivästä raketista (2004). The translations are by the author, or by the author in collaboration with others, permitting a self-reflexive meditation upon the act of translation, as in the case of the sonnet sequence Ääninen (1997), translated in full for the collection. The volume will also feature new poems written in English, experiments in “writing in second language”, an approach both justified and critically important in view of the current developments in world poetry as well as in the structures of global communication.

Leevi Lehto’s work has been praised for its linguistic musicality, versatility, and experimentation; his long poems are, in words of a recent reviewer, “unique in the history of Finnish literature”. Born in 1951 he is now agreed to be “one of the most well-known contemporary Finnish poets abroad”. Lehto is also recognized as both a practicing translator and a theoretician of translation, and known to the international poetry community through his experiments in sound poetry, and through his digital and computer-generated work, such as the Google Poem Generator."
TUЯN

let him who is without senility

When you're young, you're reasonably forgiving of the foibles of the elderly – unless they're relatives - the way they drive, or get in your way in supermarkets & shopping malls. But I've found as I approach an age where the number of years is a redundant qualifier – not 64 years old, just old – that I am becoming increasing intolerant of those whose age loosely approximates mine.

Have just come back from a trip to the shops, spent silently – at least I hope so – cursing old ladies who use their trolleys as walking frames, & stop & block the aisle when they see someone who they've obviously known for a hundred years & haven't seen for a hundred seconds, &, later, since I am alone, audibly cursing old men who drive slowly, & don't indicate, & take the whole road to turn a corner.

& then I think about myself, an old fart talking to himself as he drives along, too close to the car in front, too close to those inside for comfort…..
ivepensive
pensivepens
ithinkiwrite
Today the
postman brought
me my
contributor's
copy of
Dirt #2.
Thanks, PR.
labyarinth

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mahoning


 
Eine Kline Nachtmusik.

Paraquat

The behaviour of the
universe could be
the exception
rather than
the rule. No
ordained priesthood, fever
in the chest, dancing
on the tips of
its toes. Put
it down to
one of those
tocsins that
now & then
ring. Just one
of those.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

If there is a zone in which things come, even if not easily, but at least, sooner or later…

The cat abuses me when I arrive home late.

There are first paragraphs, first verses, first words, first thoughts, blank screens, the computer not even turned on.

The cat wants to stay inside, attaches herself to me, insists I make up for all the time I have spent away from her. The computer turned on.

I try & make sense of the sounds of the night. Trucks on the highway, fruit bats, geckoes, frogs, trains. There is no point in trying. They make sense to themselves, bind together without any outside interference. Blank screen.

Humidity hangs in the house like the smell of washing in wet weather. I open the windows. The cat decides I am worthless this time in. Goes outside, lies on the path, listens to the night. It makes sense to her. First thoughts.

The night comes in. I shut it out & turn on the air conditioners. New sounds. Purposeful, meaningless. Excludes everything. There is a logjam in my mind but I can’t find a way to clear it. I decide I am worthless & go outside, to find a green frog clinging to the deep indian red of the steel support posts. Two colours my mother told me should never be seen together. Imperial colours for the Chinese. I accept the latter.

First words.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Broad-brush strokes
of smoke across
the landscape. Point-
illist pain in my
head, just behind
the ear. Everything
closes in, is
focused. Nothing
I can do but
cut myself another
slice of watermelon,
lie back, &
think of England.

Occasionally

he would
have causal sex
with his
psychiatrist.
optimidsm

Saturday, November 12, 2005

For Veterans’ Day
George W. Borg
had a sweatshop
in Myanmar
run him up a Buddha
the size of the
ones that used to be
at Bamiyan

with a hand
at the end of an
elevator arm
in which he was
carried up from
the stage to a
height approximately
equal to 2000 bodies
stacked one on top
the other & from
where he
delivered a speech

that was amplified
televised digitalised

so the whole world
could know
what the sound
of one hand crapping
was.

Today, of all days

Sad rock n roll from the club
below. Anti-war songs
that once were warriors. All
protest gone. Unintentional parody.
There are peacocks elsewhere.

We were walking. Night was
a ninja, concealed within
itself, leaping down from the
rooves of houses, the trees
surrounding them, throwing

bats at us as if they were
shurikens. We dodged them
easily. Elsewhere there was
sad rock n roll. We were walking.
We never saw the peacocks.

11/11

Friday, November 11, 2005

Read an article

about a book I must get, The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World by Adam Jacot de Boinod.
"I picked up a weighty Albanian dictionary to discover they have no fewer than 27 words for eyebrows..."
It's about foreign words which have no equivalent in English.

Examples:
areodjarekput (Inuit) "to exchange wives for a few days only"
tsuji-giri (Japanese) "to try out a new sword on a passer-by"
narachastra prayoga (Sanskrit) "men who worship their own sex organ"
chakwair (Shona) "walking through a muddy place making a squelching sound"
tingo (Pascuense, Easter Island) "to borrow things from a friend's house, one by one, until there is nothing left"

In Memory of my Fe Lungs

I didn't have the nightmares about iron lungs that Alex Gildzen mentions in the comments boxes below. Knew of them, not much about them. Mainly as put-down descriptors - "he couldn't work in an iron lung" - or as youthful jokes - Johnny turns up with a motorized billy cart. Billy asks him where he got the motor. Johnny says from his father's iron lung. Billy: "What did he say?" Johnny: "Aaaarrrrggghhh!"

My medical phobia lasted just under two weeks, the time I spent in a children's ward on a six times a day injection regime, being poked in the cheeks of my arse with the newly-commercialized antibiotic penicillin - now that really dates me - for an infection in my kidneys that had come about through falling on a rock.

The first morning I was there I saw all these kids, still out from anaesthetic, with blood all over the front of their gowns, being wheeled back into the ward. Asked what was going on, was told by a charming nurse - the prototype for Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? - that they'd had their tonsils removed, that everybody who was admitted had their tonsils removed. So, for two weeks, up until the day before I was discharged & another nurse was on who told me the truth, I lay there trembling, waiting for the nurses to come & collect me & take me away for a tonsilectomy.

How I fell in love

He entered like the last
of the Mogul princes,
susurrations of silk & so
out there that you knew
his line would never be
continued. Bach as the back-
ground music, setting up
his entrance, sweeping around
the bottom of his robes
& lifting them until he
seemed to be floating. Part
of a dance that I was
also part of. My right leg
back, my left bent
at the knee. Arm sweeping
down & across my body,
eyes lowered, a supplicant
position. I have yet
to look him in the face.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

From the C.V. – for Alex Gildzen


In
the late
1950s & early

‘60s
he would
buy up redundant

iron
lungs, decorate
them, initially with

art
nouveau designs,
later with psychedelia,

&
sell them
as orgone boxes.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cattle City Trivia

Having to stand outside the building where I am working to take a cigarette break means that I am closer to the roadway than I usually come

&

have discovered that the lag between the passing of a cattle-truck on its way to or from the meatworks & the arrival of the smell of cow shit is 100 metres.

Natural selection

The workers do not
usually reproduce. Game
theory, like horn length,
is dependant upon
the efficacy of illegal
telephone taps. Despite
some purported continuity
only the irrigated colon
embraces the body
of its predecessor. In any
given time a proportion of
the molecules will be
fast enough to escape
into the surrounding
space station. There the
atmosphere is generated by
naked mole rats. If it falls
too far they will sell
off the currency. Not
nil outcome. More loss/loss

Monday, November 07, 2005

Is
slight, is
almost
not
there.

Then
contra-
diction. The
portable
air-compressor
expands
the frag-
ments.

A suddenly
articulated
street
parade of

pneumatic
elephants.

Postings

are probably going to be sparse & sporadic here for a while. Decided I was becoming too physically isolate, so am rejoining the working world for a while, have taken up a 3-month casual contract as a part-time admin. assistant.

So, until I get back into the old routine of work all day, write most of the night - come mr tallyman, tally me banana - the heat & the shock of occupation means that the postman ain't going to be calling for a while. &, to contradict the old song, I hope you talk about me when I'm gone.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Une poème de Robert Desnos

Le pélican

Le Capitaine Jonathan,
Étant âgé de dix-huit ans
Capture un jour un pélican
Dans une île d'Extrême-orient,

Le pélican de Jonathan
Au matin, pond un œuf tout blanc
Et il en sort un pélican
Lui ressemblant étonnamment.

Et ce deuxième pélican
Pond, à son tour, un œuf tout blanc
D'où sort, inévitablement

Un autre, qui en fait autant.

Cela peut durer pendant très longtemps
Si l'on ne fait pas d'omelette avant.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The bats in blackness

I like to find
what’s not found
at once, but lies

within something of another nature,
in repose, distinct.
I have always liked those lines from Denise Levertov’s Pleasures. Have used them before as an epigraph, to an essay written around an exhibition of works by the great New Zealand painter Ralph Hotere, an exhibition that I remember as consisting of a number of black paintings, but within the black were shades, & shapes.

Am reminded of the lines tonight. & the context in which I used them. There is a rugby game being played on the park below the house. The floodlights are on, but because they’re angled downwards, onto the field, the light is focused inwards, not outwardly diffused. Six banks of lights, at each corner & at the middle. There is a blanket of light beneath the top of the stanchions, but above them, on this moonless night, the black rests. Stars can be seen.

The lights attract moths. They show like sparks, but moving towards the source, a movie of a fire run backwards, the broken vase made whole again. Large moths, have to be to be seen at this distance. In the line of the lights they are all you can see.

But, step aside a bit, hold up your hand or use a branch to conceal that concentrated bright-light patch. Let your eyes adjust. & at the edges of the seepage you see the bats, shapes within the blackness, come to feast on the moths, to pick them off as their arc goes beyond the lights’ arc. An overlap, a Venn diagram, a feeding zone.

Pathaka - a found poem


Beginning of dance, clouds, forest, to say no, chest, night, river, heaven, gallop of a horse, to cut/break, breeze, lying down, to go forward, great favor, moonlight, strong sunlight, to close the doors, seven-case endings, ripples/waves, street to enter, equal, anointing the body of oneself, soul, taking an oath, silence, leaf, shield, touching things, blessing, here and there, ocean, succession of good deed, to address, to go forward, to draw a sword, month, year, rainy days and to sweep.

Asamyutha Hastha and their uses

Noted during Part 1 of No Direction Home

Looking
fey, gay,
Bob Dylan singing

Mr
Tambourine Man
not like a

Rolling
Stone but
like an ingénue.
Close at hand is not / close enough.

Instead of the take them out / put them back neatness of the nearby book-case, one meter away, stand up, two paces & you’re there & back, I end up with two piles of books, within arm’s reach.

No, one pile really. The other, the top of the wide two-drawer filing cabinet, is spread, a poker hand seen. Except, not the compactness of the cards, more a mosaic, a pattern for laying cartons on a pallet so they bind. The place of more-or-less permanent reference. An atlas, a French dictionary, the Concise Oxford, a book of bird pictures, a general encyclopedia, an encyclopedia of mythology. One open, though the exposed pages vary, the others closed, front cover down.

The pile is on the desk at which I work, books referred to over the last week or two or else taken down for remembering. Not put back. An untidy pile, across one another, top or bottom up, corners sticking out like a paper lantern. Eclectic, changing with the seasons. A pile left to grow until it threatens to tumble, then put away, leaving an empty place, an open space, room for one book as footprint.

Currently, from the bottom up, The Communist Manifesto, Collected Poems of WCW 1909-1939, Joe LeSueur’s Digressions on Some Poems of Frank O’Hara, the Portable Magritte replete with markers, Borges’ A Personal Anthology, the writings & drawings of Bob Dylan, Eileen Tabios’ “Brick”, Alice in Wonderland, William Gibson’s Neuromancer. Face up, Miles peers at me from the cover of his autobiography.

I am embarrassed. I look away.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Am not I thy duchess?

"Thou art a box of worm-seed, at best but a salvatory
of green mummy. What's this flesh? a little cruded milk,
fantastical puff-paste. Our bodies are weaker than those
paper prisons boys use to keep flies in; more contemptible,
since ours is to preserve earth-worms. Didst thou ever see
a lark in a cage? Such is the soul in the body: this world
is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads,
like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge
of the small compass of our prison."

John Webster: The Duchess of Malfi (1614)
Today the
postman brought
me the ceiling
of the Sistine
Chapel. Dam-
aged in transit,
so I’m having
it repainted. A
really dark
blue, & then
I’ll paste
stars on it.

road strip


 
with Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
first published at minimum daily requirements

Not
the man
of his dreams

but he dreamt
of him
often.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Check out

this photo of Richard Lopez' 7-month old son Nicholas & see what he's holding in his horny little lobster hand. I hope it's just the attraction of one crustacean for another. I seem to remember being significantly older before I read the book, but look what it did to me.

Les Bombardiers de Capricornia

3.18 p.m., & I am
watching John Travolta
solve murders
in the Guatemalan jungle
when the first jet
appears. North to
south down the
floodplain, over
the airport, a practice
bombing run & then
swing inland. & then, a
minute later, the next,
& then the next
a minute later, & then
another. Their roar
connects them, they
are one beast. Peace-
time in a place
for war games. Not
altogether unexpected.
Still frightening. I recover,
& then they come again,
six minutes later, the
same precision but
must be a smaller arc
for in four minutes they
are back once more, even
before the residual noise
can disappear. Too
much soundtrack. I change
channels, switch to
Sesame Street. It seems
to work. A commercial
plane flys in, as
quiet as a rowboat.
interveining

Every time

the number of visitors who come to the pelican via a Tom Beckett blog nears a thousand, the referrers' list shits itself & sets itself to zero.

It happened with Unprotected Texts - twice, from memory - & it's happened again with Shadows within Shadows.

Ah, Tom, one of these days it'll reach that magical number, & we can celebrate with un petit mort to mark the occasion. I can see your face now.....

Call me cynical

but having seen the dubious Gulf of Tonkin incident used as an excuse to start a war in Vietnam - "The President announced today that 16 military advisors would be sent to Vietnam. The purpose of these 32 advisors will be to help train the South Vietnamese Army. The 64 advisors will also visit hamlets to assist in military preparations. The 128 advisors...." to paraphrase Art Buchwald - & having seen the dubyass weapons of mass destruction used as an excuse to invade Iraq, & having seen the exaggerated fiction of the Children Overboard affair used as a ploy by the current Australian Prime Minister to ensure he won an election he was in danger of losing, why am I not surprised to see yesterday's headlines "Confirmed Imminent Terrorist Strike Threat in Australia" at a time when the Government was struggling to get its anti-terror legislation passed in the Federal Parliament and signed off on by the States.

The First Hay(na)ku Anthology

Judging by the noises emananting from Eileen Tabios now that, in her role as publisher, she's seen the proofs, I'm guessing the anthology has come up pretty well.

It's always a tense time waiting to see something in which you've invested so much, in this case as co-editor with Jean Vengua & co-designer with Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, appear. & I think it's worse when you're presenting the work of others. You can live with what you do on your own behalf, but you have much more of an obligation to ensure that an assemblage of other people's poetry comes out in the best of all possible surroundings.

There are no cover blurbs from "famous authors" for this book. Instead, we've let the contributors offer their thoughts on the hay(na)ku form. These are up now as a page at the Meritage Press site. The book itself will be out at the end of the month.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A

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I have a new favourite piece of Bach,

the largo from the Piano Concerto #5 in F minor.

It is what I call walking music. The pace of it, the expanse. French avenues or neo-Grecian porticos. Last Year at Marienbad. “Once again I walk down those ornate baroque corridors…” or however it goes.

Somewhere I have heard it before, perhaps used in a film, perhaps a version by the Modern Jazz Quartet, one of those strange pieces that John Lewis would mix in their tuxedo-clad repertoire, a serious ensemble, & then Milt Jackson would take off dazzling, & beneath his line those Lewis blues notes, curving away. & then the small grunts, the smile as Jackson does something that delights the pianist.

A largo is a movement in slow time with a broad dignified treatment. This Bach largo is emotion in a landscape with wide path that passes between & beneath old & autumn trees. & I am, for once, elegant in that environment. It is a part of me I can never hope to otherwise be.
Sometimes he
wrote; &

sometimes
he just took

out-of-focus
photographs

of what he
was reading.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

11.14 a.m.

The poolpump clicks off
& nothing is silent. Later
we went for a walk
beside the train lines.

You read to me
from a book you found
growing in a bright
purple bougainviliea.

I didn’t recognize
the text. Brecht. The
Good Woman of
Setzuan. You took all

the parts. Small birds
provided the punctuation.

A note on the post(er) below

“What we did on Bitches Brew you couldn’t ever write down for an orchestra to play. That’s why I didn’t write it all out, not because I didn’t know what I wanted; I knew that what I wanted would come out of a process and not some prearranged shit. This session was about improvisation, and that’s what makes jazz so fabulous. Any time the weather changes it’s going to change your whole attitude about something, and so a musician will play differently, especially if everything is not put in front of him. A musician’s attitude is the music he plays. Like in California, out by the beach, you have silence and the sound of waves crashing against the shore. In New York you’re dealing with the sounds of cars honking their horns and people on the street running their mouths and shit like that. Hardly ever in California do you hear people talking on the streets. California is mellow, it’s about sunshine and exercise and beautiful women on the beaches showing off their bad-ass bodies and fine, long legs. People there have color in their skin because they go out in the sun all the time. People in New York go out but it’s a different thing, it’s an inside thing. California is an outside thing and the music that comes out of there reflects that open space and freeways, shit you don’t hear in music that comes out of New York, which is usually more intense and energetic.

“After I finished Bitches Brew, Clive Davis put me in touch with Bill Graham, who owned the Fillmore in San Francisco and the Fillmore East in downtown New York. Bill wanted me to play San Francisco first, with the Grateful Dead, and so we did. That was an eye-opening concert for me, because there were about five thousand people there that night, mostly young, white hippies, and they hadn’t hardly heard of me if they had heard of me at all. We opened for the Grateful Dead, but another group came on before us. The place was packed with these real spacy, high white people, and when we started playing, people were walking around and talking. But after a while they all got quiet and really got into the music. I played a little of something like Sketches of Spain and then we went into the Bitches Brew shit and that really blew them out. After that concert, every time I would play out there in San Francisco, a lot of young white people showed up at the gigs.

“Then Bill brought us back to New York to play the Fillmore East, with Laura Nyro…….

“Those gigs I did for Bill during this time were good for expanding my audience. We were playing to all kinds of different people. The crowds that were going to see Laura Nyro and the Grateful Dead were all mixed up with some of the people who were coming to hear me. So it was good for everybody.

“Bill and I got along all right, but we had our disagreements because Bill is a tough motherfucking businessman, and I don’t take no shit, either. So there were clashes. I remember one time—it might have been a couple of times—at the Fillmore East in 1970, I was opening up for this sorry-ass cat named Steve Miller. I think Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were on that program, and they were a little better. Anyway, Steve Miller didn’t have shit going for him, so I’m pissed because I got to open for this non-playing motherfucker just because he had one or two sorry-ass records out. So I would come late and he would have to go on first, and then when we got there, we just smoked the motherfucking place and everybody dug it, including Bill!

“…..After this gig, or somewhere around this time, I started realizing that most rock musicians didn’t know anything about music. They didn’t study it, couldn’t play different styles—and don’t even talk about reading music. But they were popular and sold a lot of records because they were giving the public a certain sound, what they wanted to hear. So I figured if they could do it—reach all those people and sell all those records without really knowing what they were doing—then I could do it, too, only better. Because I liked playing the bigger halls instead of the nightclubs all the time. Not only could you make more money and play to larger audiences, but you didn’t have the hassles you had playing all those smoky nightclubs.

“So it was through Bill that I met the Grateful Dead. Jerry Garcia, their guitar player, and I hit it off great, talking about music—what they liked and what I liked—and I think we all learned something, grew some. Jerry Garcia loved jazz, and I found out that he loved my music and had been listening to it for a long time. He loved other jazz musicians, too, like Ornette Coleman and Bill Evans. Laura Nyro was a very quiet person offstage and I think I kind of frightened her. Looking back, I think Bill Graham did some important things for music with those concerts, opened everything up so that a lot of different people heard a lot of different kinds of music that they wouldn’t normally have heard. I didn’t run into Bill again until we did some concerts for Amnesty International in 1986 or ’87.”

Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe: Miles, The Autobiography