Friday, December 30, 2005

There have been

some good submissions to the Hay(na)ku competition, but you still have 48 hours from the time of this post to outdo them.

Great prizes!

Great
way to
start the year.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

high/light of a time away

on
my back
on a banana

lounge,
looking up
at a night

sky
unencumbered by
any polluting light

Home is

Bach on the CD player, & not having to justify why you're listening to that weird classical shit.

Friday, December 23, 2005

sea, sun - great things

Karri
Kokko's post
about the winter

solstice
& darkness
descending across the

(Fin)
land has
frightened me. So

I'm
shutting up
shop for a

couple
of days
& heading north,

Maybe
it'll be
a voyage of

dis-
covery. Maybe
only an excuse

for
a long
drive. Or maybe

it's
just the
old familiar familial

obligations.
Anyway, to
everyone, season's greetings.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A Game of Chess

I was never a competent chess player, & haven't played for many, many years. But I've always been intrigued by the chess board, its numeracy – 4³ or 8² squares – the layout, the lines of fight, the moves.

Its construction carries with it an unlimited series of directions in which one can move, not necessarily linearly, think of the knights' moves, the act of castling. & if you fill those squares with words, randomly selected, then a set of conjunctions can be created, not necessarily meaningful, but often promising just that.

I've done a few visual poems along those lines. Filling up all the squares, not just those that the chess pieces initially occupy. The structure, the sameness of it, inhibits multiple outputs, so I've permitted myself only four over the past two years. Too many & the words, their combinations, would be over-whelmed by their surroundings, would become meaningless.

The first one, published in the New Zealand print journal brief was conceived as a homage to Marcel Duchamp, a great chess player, & named in honour of his The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even. The poem below, Erudite Singer, (click on the image to enlarge)appeared in Crag Hill's print journal Spore 2.0. Geof Huth generously wrote of it - &, as usual, succinctly nailed the concept:
"Mark Young produces a simple visual poem entitled “Erudite Singer,” which consists of a checkerboard pattern of white and black squares covered with black and white words. The set up of the words encourages us to read the poem in multiple directions as we hunt for sense, for some linear syntax that we don’t quite find—every line of sense runs out before it gets far. But this pulsing network of whites and blacks, of words and shapes, ends up giving us a vague but palpable impression, and we are moved as we read from “erudite” in the upper left corner to “singer” in the bottom right corner."

Erudite Singer (2005)

 
I have allowed myself only one variation, taking a point in a real chess game & placing the words in the positions they would be if they were the real pieces. I had the idea that it would be nice to track each of the moves as they occurred, but in a static setup, board by board, this would become boring, the proverbial watching paint dry. So I contented myself with just the original all squares filled in, & the progress report.

Marko Niemi came across a couple of the pieces I had in xStream, and, after translating them into Finnish, included them in the wonderful series of vispo that he has up at Nokturno. But now he's gone further, & has produced a kinetic piece called Tzara vs Breton, 1921, inspired by my chess pieces, but with all the moves in.

Marko writes:
" In fact, the Maori words are from a poem named "Toto-Vaca" by Tzara which can be found at http://www.artpool.hu/Poetry/ soundimage/Tzara.html. I didn't even know it's Maori, and also wondered how you were able to recognize the language, but then I made some googling and found out that Maori is (or at least has been?) spoken in New Zealand so I guess that might be the reason it looks familiar to you? A funny thing with it is that it somewhat resembles Finnish, for instance "te" means "you" (in plural) in Finnish, "he" means "they," and "kivi" means a "rock."

The black Breton words are from his poem "Toutes les écolières ensemble" and its English translation. And the moves used in the pieces are from the first game of the first match between Deep Blue and Garry Kasparov, in 1996, the first ever game to be won by a computer against a world champion (although Kasparov eventually won the first match). "
I don't know if the Tzara piece is all Maori - &, by the way, New Zealand is now officially bilingual – since I don't recognise some of the words, but there's enough Maori words there to claim it as such.

It's fantastic to see something you only ever thought about made real. Thank you for the piece, Marko, & thank you for dedicating it to me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

For some reason or other

I've had the Ferlinghetti poem "Dada would have loved a day like this" running around in my head. Not just the poem as printed, but transformed as if it were one of Bill Allegrezza's kinetic pieces with the words fading in & out.

& since I don't know how to do those, I've compromised by deciding to post Kurt Schwitters' Kleine Dada Soirée.
 


Yes Dada would have loved a day like this
with its not so accidental
analogies

Okay

so I know it's coming up to the, ahem, festive season, &, being generous souls, you're busy getting pressies - prezzies? - for everyone else. But why don't you do yourself a favour & get some for yourself, simply by writing a brilliant hay(na)ku & entering it in the hay(na)ku competition. Probably doesn't have to be brilliant even, just somewhere this side of good.

The prizes for the ten best are far, far better than those sox or handkerchiefs that your Great-Aunt Pulchritude is going to send you. &, I promise you, they won't have the lavender scent that comes from being stored in her drawers for the last ten years.

Freight

"…and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on."

W.H.Auden: Musée des Beaux Arts

(photo from TIME's best pictures of 2005)
Today the
postman brought
me a 12" black
disk with a
hole in the
middle. Is
this a record?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

enigma
of the
quarter past the
hour

        

horo
logical
clock
et
science

arches,
turns on a
shapely angle
& walks
two four
words

the
Sad Dada
Spam Filter

a gaudy
image of
A.Gaudi
Franco-
phile
watching a
raucous
olive-backed oriole
riding the
palm fronds

much like
an opportunistic
surfer catching
fish as they
catch a
wave &

shouting
the news to
others

Monday, December 19, 2005

Today the
postman brought
me a poster-
size portrait
of Terence Stamp
in his role as
Billy Budd. I've
hung it from
the yard-arm.

I think

that one of the reasons I like crime stories so much - apart from the puzzle-solving aspect which i enjoy - is because, for each writer, the protagonist - I deliberately do not use the term hero or heroine - is usually the same person. You know what they're about already, don't have to work out the quirks of their character.

Saturday, December 17, 2005








farmer, fox, bag
of corn, chicken

fox, bag of corn

bag of corn


chicken





farmer, chicken
farmer

farmer, fox
farmer, chicken

farmer, bag of corn

farmer
farmer, chicken









chicken



fox


fox, bag of corn

farmer, fox, bag
of corn, chicken

A couple

of recent posts at chris murray's tex files, one on Andre Breton & one on Max Planck & the language of Quantum Mechanics, combined to prompt my memory of the poem at the bottom of this post, originally published in Blackmail Press #4, June, 2002.

I also received an email earlier on this year about the poem, part of which read:
"MoRST stands for the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, which advises the (New Zealand) Government on policy issues across the science world.

The Ministry has recently refurbished its offices in the Reserve Bank Building at number 2, The Terrace, Wellington. A part of this refurbishment was the creation of five large meeting rooms, as the Ministry frequently hosts forums and workshops on science and research topics.

In seeking to find a name for each of these rooms, we have had a small team of staff sharing their favourite poems that use scientific terms and imagery. One of these is your poem Scar Tissue. We would like to display the poem, in full and as published, in one of the rooms and have selected the words NEUTRON FLUX, from the poem, as the room name. The door plate would state the name of the room and acknowledge the poem and you as the author."
Unfortunately, I think the idea might have died, because I've heard no more about it apart from the fact that a couple of the authors were being difficult about granting permission. A pity.

Scar Tissue

We cannot leave emptiness alone,
even a space so small
it is beyond most common definitions.

Who knows the provocation for such
actions. Start large, & there’s
certainly ancestral memories —
agoraphobia controlled by
inventing animism, filling in the gaps
by ascribing godhood to everything
in sight & gods to everything beyond.
Start small, learning as schoolchildren
by seeing blood or pond water under
a microscope display such levels of
intricacy that we automatically allocate
to all such spaces, even those we
cannot see, an infinite number
of inhabitants. It used to be a metaphysical
conundrum, determining how many angels
danced on the point of a needle. Now
it’s called neutron flux & though we have
invented machines to measure it, still use
the language of Dada for description.

Phonoms, leptons, quarks & quasars —
these words were all originally Tzara’s.

In flew


Ensor

the big Thor-oh?

in
vino veritas,
in  flu  enza

§

Delirious
with the
flu I think

thunder
= Thor-hammer,
coughing = Thor-ax.

§

Nothing
there I
could have Thor-saw.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Lorna Dee Cervantes

has a series of longish autobiographical posts up at her eponymous blog, recollections of her life 30, 20, 10, 5, 1 year ago.

They're absolutely brilliant. Open, emotion-provoking but not necessarily emotional though the pain (& the joy) comes through, precisely written, intense.

Wonderful writing.

No wonder

it felt hot today. Got up to 40º C, that's 104º F.
the
current thunder
doesn't roll, sounds

more
like a
fat man farting.

listenin' to

Twenty years of schoolin'
& they put you on the day shift
Look out kid
They keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle
Don't wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals
Don't wanna be a bum
You better chew gum
The pump don't work
'Cause the vandals took the handles
Wheeee. & heads off into the middle distance making Bob Dylan harmonica noises & keepin' the mosquitoes at bay

hay hay hay(na)ku

O
the tyranny
of distance. I

am still waiting
for my
copy.


But others have received theirs. & I am pleased by the emails I have received, & by the responses that are beginning to appear on the blogs. Eileen has begun - & I'm sure will continue - to post links to them. & don't forget the competition - details below.

de bon matin

Today, with the day barely begun,

I take a plate out of the dishwasher & find a baby gecko, about 1 inch long, clinging to the edge, very much alive &, I'm guessing / hoping, unwashed. I take the plate outside & flick the gecko into the garden.

I go out the other door to have a cigarette & tread on a dead mouse, no doubt brought there by the cat, intact except for a couple of teeth marks, but very dead. I throw that into the garden as well, for the ants or birds. If I'd put it in the rubbish-bin it would be stinking before the rubbish was collected. A grand-daddy gecko, about 6 inches long, watches me.

Three black cockatoos, rare visitors here though they're around other nearby parts, drift across & land in the gumtree in the back garden. Beautiful birds, red on the underneath of their tails, much more laid-back & raucous than their white counterparts. Birds of good omen, though amazingly pre-historic in their facial features when seen up close. Rainbow lorrikeets yodel from one of the other trees, feeding on the yellow flowers. The more they eat the less end up in the pool.

The TV tells me that David Hicks has been granted British citizenship – his mother was British. Now, perhaps, he might get out of Guantanamo Bay.

My summer cold seems to be disappearing. The sneezes & sniffles have gone, & the coughing is indistinguishable from my normal smoker's cough. I'll probably go back to work tomorrow, but today I'm catching up on my domestic duties. & my blog-reading.

The temperature is already well on its way to the predicted 38º Celcius. Just under a 100 Fahrenheit. I'm not a great fan of air-conditioning, but it's necessary here, so I'm running the ceiling fans all through the house to get the air moving before I close it up & do the dreaded dead.

I have finished (re)reading Robert Crais' entire output. I'm definitely a crime novel fan. But who to read next?

The washingmachine beeps & reminds me of my domestic duties. I hope there are no geckoes inside.

I hang out the washing. Lizards scuttle away. Green ants promenade on my legs. They're tenacious little bastards, stick their pincers in & refuse to budge. You have to flick them off at just the right angle.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Starfish

#3 is up.

Another word from "The meaning of Tingo"

Ariga-meiwaku (Japanese): An act someone does for you that you didn't want them to do and tried to prevent them doing, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favour, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude.
& check out The Meaning of Tingo blog.

Australia's new anti-terror laws

are basically racist. They've just been passed in Parliament, & now, with an official blessing for the cause, White Australia rises up drunkenly to drive the Muslims from the beaches of Sydney.

As someone said. "What a surprise. The descendants of convicts are acting like criminals."

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Yesterday

was the first day of the fifth year that Australian David Hicks has spent in detention, probably illegally, most of it in Guantanamo Bay, convicted of no crime.

He is the last westerner amongst the prisoners held there, none of them U.S. citizens, all "captured" in the Middle East or in Afghanistan. Hicks was sold to the U.S. after being detained by the Northern Alliance near Kandahar, spent a month on a U.S. carrier, two years shackled in a cage at Guantanamo and another six months in solitary confinement away from sunlight. He was charged with non-specified acts in June 2004. His case hasn't yet been heard.

Since the U.S. decreed early this year that a special U.S. military commission - something not used since the Second World War - would try the alleged terrorists, eight countries have insisted that their citizens be repatriated. Many were freed on their return home because nothing could be found to charge them with.

But not the Australian Government. It has abandoned him, to whatever trumped-up charges the U.S. want to bring. So what if he fought with the Taliban - it wasn't a crime at the time he was doing it. & his activities at the time, the level of his involvement, still haven't been outlined.

& the Australian Government has the support of most of the Opposition Labor Party. A motion put forward in the Senate by a Greens Senator, that David Hicks be brought home, was defeated 53 votes to eight, supported only by the Greens & the Democrats. Fifteen Senators, most of them Labor, abstained; none voted for the motion.

The Left is now mainly a party of the Right, as strident in its support of anti-terror legislation that is racist & dismissive of human rights as the supposed conservatives. There are new sedition laws that mean that anti-globalization protests, or protests such as I took part in during the Vietnam War era could quite easily be classed as seditious acts, the participants held without charge, unable to communicate with anyone except their lawyer, & their lawyer liable to be charged if they told anyone what their client was being held for.

Fuck the Government. I have just committed sedition.

The Hay(na)ku competition - the full-text post

from The Chatelaine's Poetics.
Sunday, December 04, 2005

HAY(NA)-COOOOING RIGHT ATCHA!

Ahem :: a notice :: please to read and mayhap participate! I, after all, am all about you.

HAY NAKU TO YOU!

To cyber-celebrate the release of THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY, Meritage Press is delighted to sponsor a

HOLIDAY HAY(NA)KU CONTEST

judged by anthology co-editor Mark Young. To participate, send your hay(na)ku to mhcyoung@gmail.com.

Deadline: December 31, 2005. Poets can submit from 1-10 hay(na)ku.

Information on the poetic form "hay(na)ku" (a tercet of one-word, two-word and three-word lines) is at http://meritagepress.com/haynaku.htm as well as the Hay(na)ku Blog at http://eileentabios.blogspot.com. Any topic or variant on the form is welcome.

Mark will pick up to ten hay(na)ku whose authors will receive as PRIZES:

THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY, Eds. Jean Vengua and Mark Young

and other Meritage Press titles:

THE OBEDIENT DOOR by Sean Finney;

OPERA: Poems 1981-2002 by Barry Schwabsky;

100 MORE JOKES FROM THE BOOK OF THE DEAD by John Yau & Archie Rand;

PINOY POETICS, ed. by Nick Carbo

PUBLISHER'S PRIZE:
From Mark Young's list of winners, one hay(na)ku author also will be selected by OENOPHILES FOR POETRY to receive a bottle of fine wine (limited to residents of U.S. and states that allow shipments of alcohol from California).

ELIGIBILITY:
Open only to authors not in THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY

# posted by EILEEN @ 2:18 PM

Friday, December 09, 2005

Phoenicia

went
swimming in
the Roland Barthes

sym em
bol
ism





up

is

not

down


"There is coral beneath the surface,
There is sand, and berries
Like pomegranates grow."

separation
voydeur

equal opportunity

Perusing
the pages
of the stud-

poet
calendar
, I
believe equal opportunity

should
be afforded
those of us

who
are passed
studliness by bringing

out
a calendar
made up of

a
miscellany of
months from the

sixties
& seventies,
every one included

given
the chance
to select a

time
when their
date looked good.

Thursday, December 08, 2005




panzer
memories

entry points

mur-
ex

the Scilly Isles

"parachutes, my love,
could carry us higher"

Phoenicia


"Bryher, an aged warrior
in her double-breasted
wool jacket and tailored
skirt, brusquely cut
white hair, did not
give off any hint of
sadness, or melancholy."

search phrase #587

Question
Google believes
the pelican can

answer -
"Does Pat
Boone have AIDS?"

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I hadn't visited

Clayton A. Couch's blog for some time. Everytime I went there since May, several times over several months, the space increasing each time, it hadn't been updated; & silent blogs of writers I like are like deaths in the family. So I stayed away.

But because he's recently posted some poems to As/Is, I decided to check back. Found it was active again, had changed its name from Word Placements to Humming to Itself. & it is humming.

Some good stuff there, & it's good to see you back in blogland, Clay.
embryocation

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sorry, Aretha

I
just don't
know what to

do with myself
so I
play

Dusty
Springfield songs
in the hope

the son of
a Preacher
Man

might
come along
& take time

to make time
& tell
me

every-
thing's alright,
yes it is.

Monday, December 05, 2005

To quote my friend Karri Kokko

Oppia ikä kaikki

Runouslehti Tuli&Savu ja digitaalisen runouden sivusto Nokturno ovat koostaneet lukiolaisille suunnatun tietopaketin, jossa esitellään mm. visuaalista runoutta. Mukana ovat Geof Huth, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jim Leftwich, Mark Young ja nöyrin palvelijanne KK.
Some background information, first from Leevi Lehto:
September 30, 2005 4:26 PM The upcoming issue of Tuli&Savu, the poetry magazine, is a special one with 5000 extra copies to be delivered to 100 Finnish high schools, and featuring, among others, a Finnish adaptation of Charles Bernstein's famous Experiments list.
& then from an email from Marko Niemi who curates Nokturno:
Yes. In fact, it's all about the same project, in a way. Tuli&Savu (Fire&Smoke) is the leading Finnish poetry quarterly, and is published by the poetry association called Nihil Interit, of which chairman is Leevi Lehto. Nokturno is published by Nihil Interit, too, so there's a close relationship between them. The newest issue of Tuli&Savu is directed to high school students, and it will be sent to teachers of Finnish language and literature so that they can use it in their classes.

Along with the issue, there will be a web site which is made in cooperation with Nokturno (and it also will be published in Nokturno). The goal of the site is to introduce to students some marginal and less known forms of poetry and methods of doing poetry. I'm gathering a selection of contemporary visual poetry, and would like to include your poems there too, in addition to Geof, Jukka, and Karri

The Holiday Hay(na)ku Competition

     The
     party of
     the first part

hereinafter to be known as Meritage Press (whose figurehead is not a man in bed but the Queeeen of Preeeen herself, Eileen Tabios), has announced a holiday hay(na)ku competition to celebrate the launching of The First Hay(na)ku Anthology, first prize to be a selection of books from the Press.

It's open to anyone not included in the anthology, can include hay(na)ku that have already appeared (though new work will be given preference) & closes at 3.00 p.m. Australian Eastern Summer Time on January 1, 2006 (that's midnight, California Time). Full details are available at the hay(na)ku blog.

& as sole judge,

     I
     am quite
     amenable to bribery.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Mothra come home, all is forgiven

It's
a month
for mad moths
They're everywhere. In lifts, on chairs, on the street, in rooms, on windows. Very much like the above; at least they have a similar decal on their upper wings.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Today the
postman brought
me a tall
ship &
a GPS receiver
to steer
it by.
& then he
placed a
square

of
black silk
upon his head

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

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

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

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)."

Saturday, November 26, 2005

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

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.

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

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

Monday, November 14, 2005

Sunday, November 13, 2005

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.

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.

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.

Monday, November 07, 2005

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

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.

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.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

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

Monday, October 31, 2005

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Today the

postman brought
me a poem
from William
Carlos Williams.

Special delivery.
No letter, no
card. The
spoken word.

Stopped his bike
at the top
of the steps &
started to recite

in a voice
equally suited
for delivering
babies & poems.

“A big young bareheaded woman
in an apron….”

I was im-
pressed.
Waited un-
til he had

finished &
gave him the
flight of small
cheeping birds

that were
in the ice
box & which
you were

probably
saving
for my
old age.

Forgive me.

Sunday mornings, go for a ride

Today, according to the Fab Four, some of the secrets of the universe are supposed to be revealed to me.
Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?
I wait
with bated
walrus.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Today the
postman brought
me several
vials of
frozen bull semen
& the complete
sheetmusic
of John Philip
Sousa. It is
my retirement
dream. The
first Minotaur
Marching
Band.

After Han-Shan

Was looking through on-line bookstores last night, & found this:
Title: SENGAI CALENDAR, 1963.Author: Suzuki, Daisetz T.
Description: Tokyo: Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd., 1963, 1st edition, stapled white wraps, 29 pages. Wraps lightly sunned & soiled, otherwise Very Good. Paperback. Item # 184543 $12.50
When I worked at the Embassy of Japan in New Zealand in the early sixties, one of the joys was the annual calendar – one amongst hundreds – from a Zaibatsu called Idemitsu Kosan. Its owner, Sazo Idemitsu, made & lost about five fortunes over the years, but what he maintained was the world’s premier collection of black-ink – sumi-e – paintings & scrolls by the great master Sengai, & the calendars were beautifully produced reproductions of some of these. Plus they had an introduction by Daisetz T. Suzuki.
“Sengai (1750-1837) was born in Idemitsu's home town of Fukuoka. During his lifetime he was well-known for his humorous drawings of the Zen Buddhist monastic world. Sengai was a prolific artist and his irreverent paintings of Zen monks were held in high regard. There are also a seriousness, a purity of expression, and a spontaneity in Sengai's work, which probably most influenced Idemitsu to collect hundreds of Sengai's paintings.”
I ended up with, from memory, five calendars – I didn’t work at the Embassy for that number of years, but I was there for all or part of four of them, plus there was the first calendar that had come out in 1960. All part of my first library, now lost. (He breaks off, almost weeping, remembering the signed Surrealists texts, the complete Olympia Press catalogue, almost every small press publication by almost everyone in The New American Poetry, &, &,&…..)

But back to Sengai. Amongst the paintings were several of Han-Shan, at least one of them with his crazy friend Shih-te who used to sweep the monastry at Kuo-ch’ing. I’d read Han-Shan’s Cold Mountain poems in translation by both Arthur Waley & Gary Snyder, loved them, loved Sengai’s painting. & so, one of my first ekphrastic poems, from about 40 years ago. I don’t know if the painting below is the one that provoked the poem – I seem to remember Shih-te having a twig broom – but it’ll serve more than adequately.
 
Han-Shan, old chinese poet madman,
tramp & hermit, a true poet of the colloquial.
Often he came down from Cold Mountain
to visit Shih-te at the Kuo-ch’ing Temple.
The monks there cannot understand them;
these two madmen laugh at everything — Ha Ha!
Their laughter rings out, loud & clear
as the black-ink brush strokes of this painting.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Today the
postman brought
me a delicate
blue & white
porcelain
vase. Ming,
I thought
as I gently
flicked a
fingernail
against the
rim. “Qing”
it replied.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bush - ID - O

President Bush said recently he believes schools should discuss "intelligent design" alongside evolution when teaching students about the creation of life.

During a round-table interview with reporters from five Texas newspapers, Bush declined to go into detail on his personal views of the origin of life. But he said students should learn about both theories, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported.

"I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," Bush said. "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes."

The theory of intelligent design says life on earth is too complex to have developed through evolution, implying that a higher power must have had a hand in creation.

Christian conservatives — a substantial part of Bush's voting base — have been pushing for the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. Scientists have rejected the theory as an attempt to force religion into science education.



 
But. If he
really was
a product of
Intelligent
Design

his eyes
wouldn't be
so close
together.
 
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The agenda for Intelligent Design

aka The Wedge Strategy
"The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built. Its influence can be detected in most, if not all, of the West's greatest achievements, including representative democracy, human rights, free enterprise, and progress in the arts and sciences.

Yet a little over a century ago, this cardinal idea came under wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of modern science. Debunking the traditional conceptions of both God and man, thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud portrayed humans not as moral and spiritual beings, but as animals or machines who inhabited a universe ruled by purely impersonal forces and whose behavior and very thoughts were dictated by the unbending forces of biology, chemistry, and environment. This materialistic conception of reality eventually infected virtually every area of our culture, from politics and economics to literature and art.

The cultural consequences of this triumph of materialism were devastating. Materialists denied the existence of objective moral standards, claiming that environment dictates our behavior and beliefs. Such moral relativism was uncritically adopted by much of the social sciences, and it still undergirds much of modern economics, political science, psychology and sociology.

Materialists also undermined personal responsibility by asserting that human thoughts and behaviors are dictated by our biology and environment. The results can be seen in modern approaches to criminal justice, product liability, and welfare. In the materialist scheme of things, everyone is a victim and no one can be held accountable for his or her actions.

Finally, materialism spawned a virulent strain of utopianism. Thinking they could engineer the perfect society through the application of scientific knowledge, materialist reformers advocated coercive government programs that falsely promised to create heaven on earth.

Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies.

The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. If we view the predominant materialistic science as a giant tree, our strategy is intended to function as a "wedge" that, while relatively small, can split the trunk when applied at its weakest points. The very beginning of this strategy, the "thin edge of the wedge," was Phillip ]ohnson's critique of Darwinism begun in 1991 in Darwinism on Trial, and continued in Reason in the Balance and Defeatng Darwinism by Opening Minds. Michael Behe's highly successful Darwin's Black Box followed Johnson's work. We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

The Wedge strategy can be divided into three distinct but interdependent phases, which are roughly but not strictly chronological. We believe that, with adequate support, we can accomplish many of the objectives of Phases I and II in the next five years (1999-2003), and begin Phase III

GOALS


Governing Goals
• To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
• To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.

Five Year Goals
• To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.
• To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.
• To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.

Twenty Year Goals
• To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.
• To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its innuence in the fine arts.
• To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life."
Be afraid, be very, very afraid.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Today the
postman brought
me a haiku
from Issa.

Under the
new anti-
terror
legislation
it had to be
translated into
English before
delivery.

Nineteen syllables
in literal translation.
Excess postage was charged.

7.30 a.m.

Have
that first
cigarette & The

Invasion
of the
Body Snatchers begins.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Why bother with penis enlargers

when this
pelican dreaming
... David Mitchell, Mark Young. BOMB. A reading at the Barry ... by redneck country boys or men with small dicks – actually the first is ... Big Bridge Black Spring online BlazeVOX Dirt era...
pelicandreaming.blogspot.com/ [Found on MSN Search, Yahoo! Search]
can become this
Search: Young Black Boys with Big Dicks - WebCrawler [1]

The Two Renés



 
Having
suffered
through 17
symposia
convened
by L’Académie
Francaise
on Le Discours
de la Méthode

& fearing
he was
about to be
pushed be-
yond the
bounds of
rational
thought

Descartes
discarded
his wig
& his silk
breeches
& hose
& headed
for the
nearest
leather bar
muttering

“Who gives
a fuck what
anybody
thinks. I am
what I am.”

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Today the
postman brought
me the new
album by
Charlie
Parker. Jesus.
How do these
dead guys
do it?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

word verification

now on your blogger posts.

ielgy

i write an
e
l
g
y

The beginning

of another direction for the hay(na)ku. 13 million hay(na)ku at Stephen M. Johnson’s ancilliary blog plus1.6.

eye / light


 Posted by Picasa

Another portion of Australia's proposed anti-terror legislation

"A parent who is told that their child has been held by the Government under its tough new laws aimed at preventing terrorist attacks faces five years' jail if they tell their partner what has happened."
The Sydney Morning Herald 10/22/05

A new interview

up at Tom Beckett's e-x-c-h-a-n-g-e-v-a-l-u-e-s. Tom Fink interviews Stephen Paul Miller.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The poem in the post

below this was first published last year in word for /word as a static piece; but I’ve always considered the right-hand side as a rolling list. I’ve modified it slightly, because what was implied in the piece as it first appeared needed to be amplified for its current form.

Pi, Pythagoras & I (re-tried)






Given that
you can determine
the length of
any side of a
right-angled triangle
by the fact that the
square on the hypotenuse
is equal to
the sum of the squares
on the other
two sides
& calculate
the area
under a curve
by integration provided
the equation
of the line that the
curve follows
is known
or be tested to see
if you are pre-disposed
to diabetes or m.s.
or even cancer
by the make-up of
particular genes &
the use of
instantaneous
sequencing machines
why can’t I
by assigning weights
to all those things
I love or hate or
am indifferent to
arrive at a formula
that can easily
determine who
I am & what is pre-
destined for me?

amongst my loves are
kurosawa movies with
mifune in them tropical
thunderstorms self-
propagated macadamia
trees ready to drop
their fruit driving
long distances up &
down the coastline
little frogs that
cling to the security
screens bach the sun
just before it goes
behind the hills
lemon drink night
skies full of stars
the poems of frank
o’hara living with
lauren certain
species of birds that
I find exciting
because of how they
look how they sound
fruit bats tasty
cheese umberto eco
a whiter shade of pale
heard for the first
time broadcast on
a.m. radio 1700 kilo-
metres away & still
sounding great despite
the static stone
gardens meerkats over-
grown gardens my cat
certain tokens that
were given or found
& have acquired a
patina of magic ray
charles & aretha
franklin together is
a duet i would really
like to hear whales
south park black-ink
paintings with their
zen over- & undertones
the sound & sight of
the sea at all times
but especially when
it’s stormy vietnamese
food fifty years of
miles davis unseen
trains & seen mountains
the croak of frogs
below the window rené
magritte a new moon
with the old one
sitting in its lap the
chime of bellbirds
along isolate forest
roads.

& then the hates
an extreme distrust of
right-wing amerika the
taste of aniseed armed
intervention conservative
politics intelligent
design totalitarianism &

langpouid

Friday, October 21, 2005

Curiously enough

Jim Baxter (see post below) was our local postman when I was growing up in Wellington. I remembered him when I first "met" him later because he had a large head, seemingly out of proportion with the rest of his body, that rocked & threatened to fall off its neck stem.

He published his first book of poetry when he was 18, at university. He dropped out a little while later, went back intermittently over the next few years, eventually completed his B.A. It is said, though I've never been able to verify this, that one of the set texts in his final year was his own first book.

for Alex Gildzen

Today
the post-
man brought me

a
post card
from the past.

A
still from
"We're No Angels".

Ustinov,
Aldo Ray,
Bogart. Who's who?

Reminiscing

A poem at Michael P. Steven's blog, which includes the photo below, has triggered a few memories.


James K Baxter, David Mitchell, Mark Young.
BOMB. A reading at the Barry Lett Galleries, August 1969.

High Country Weather

Alone we are born
And die alone
Yet see the red-gold cirrus
over snow-mountain shine.

Upon the upland road
Ride easy, stranger
Surrender to the sky
Your heart of anger.

James K. Baxter (1945)

from: Night Through the Orange Window

I remember her as a fifth season
she
who came unheralded
into those lean months
shaming the precise blue evenings
with the proud eternity of her flesh

David Mitchell (1963)

For Dave Mitchell
"th prfct wrdslngr"

Seeing your poems, your picture on the
blue middle pages of the NEW ARGOT
I wish I could be with you once more in
"th cafe lebanon". It is summer, & the
spare tables will have been unstacked
& set outside; & we could sit there
in our perfect white tropical suits,
sipping pernod, smoking panatellas
&
waiting for something GREAT to happen.

Mark Young (1973)
 
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Hirsute, his suit


Me in 1973. Jim Baxter died the year before, aged 46. Dave has since drifted away into a life of isolation.
 
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Thursday, October 20, 2005

OK, call me paranoid,

but there are networks out there. Have to be. Otherwise how to explain why you suddenly get a concentration of hits via a search engine, from different i.p. addresses, from different locations, all with the same search phrase. In the last two hours I’ve had six hits for “beauty busted in bali”. The time before that it was “accordion smurf”.

Maybe it’s all innocent. Or chance. Maybe not. ¿Quien sabe?

I retreat further into my shell. Put more alfoil up over the windows. Recall a poem I posted here many months ago. Put up even more alfoil.
Homeland Security

Certain words are flagged
for recognition. The surrounding
passages on the endless
monitoring tapes are
isolated & extracted, sent past
voice recognition software,
digitalised for immediate
interpretation of permutations
& association. Names, times,
places. More words to add. This
is no brief history of the world
but a paranoic infinite
dictionary. By themselves
the words are meaningless.
Meaning is added later. “I am
going to the shops” is sufficent
reason for assassination.

In this landscape

of exotic birds, of parrots & honeyeaters & cuckoos & kingfishers & raptors & finches & various species of water-birds, I am surprised to see a sparrow on the front path.

A rare sight here. & yet, ironically, it is the only true exotic bird, in that word's original sense of being introduced from another country.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Cage uncaged

I have just been absorbing - listening to & watching are not strong enough terms - the full orchestral version of John Cage's 4'33" which I downloaded from Ubuweb.

It's an amazing piece, full of tension. I was quite bowled over by it.

Diurnal Nokturno

In a recent post to dbqp, Geof Huth wrote:
"Tonight, I’ve added a link in my sidebar to the Finnish webzine Nokturno, which its proprietor, Marko J. Niemi, describes as a “kind of a Finnish UbuWeb.” Nokturno includes a good selection of digital, visual, and sound poetry from across the planet, but especially from Finland. Nokturno has lots of interesting material in its pages, though a command of Finnish will help you understand the content."
Marko, who also has a textual blog, Elämä on larffii!, & a vispo blog, Nurotus, which has in its archives some amazing vispo hay(na)ku, has just honoured me by including in Nokturno a couple of pages of my work translated into Finnish. One page is a selection of marquee pieces taken from the pelican, the other is of chessboard poems which have previously appeared in print journals, most recently Crag Hill's Spore.

I'm in great company at Nokturno, & am most honoured to be included. Many thanks, Marko.

11.06 a.m.

Things happen
that re-
call poems.

“The day before he died, a burnet moth
come to town….”

But where / you go / from there / is open.

The 15% lemon
drink tastes
heavily
of skin.

You know
nothing of
Hiroshima.

The Postman Rings Twice

Today the
postman brought
me the riddle
of the Sphinx.
A little later
Oedipus came
along delivering
give-aways. I poked
his eyes out
to save him
future grief.

This afternoon
the postman
called again, a
special delivery
letter. From
Sigmund Freud’s
solicitors, informing
me that the
not-yet-great man
was suing me
for blackening
his fame.
& yet.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

11.05 a.m. or: Who's Rachmaninoff?

Quick! A last
poem before I
go off my rocker
& the clock ticks
over to 11.06.
Today the
postman brought
me a letter
addressed to
the person who
lived here be-
fore me. We
share the same
name. I don’t
recognise it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

This is no snowjob


Jukka has sent me a minibook of extracts from my Abominable Snowjob post below, interpreted in his inimitable way. 16 images, of which the above is one.
 Posted by Picasa
He thought about it on the train back to Bratislava.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

For Tom Beckett

Today the
postman almost
brought me
a copy of
Proust’s
Remembrance
of Things
Past. I found him
asleep on his
motorcycle
a few
doors down.

The abominable snowjob

(1) A person commits an offence if:
(a) the person intentionally:
(i) makes funds available to another person (whether
directly or indirectly); or
(ii) collects funds for, or on behalf of, another person
(whether directly or indirectly); and
(b) the first-mentioned person is reckless as to whether the other
person will use the funds to facilitate or engage in a terrorist
act.
Penalty: Imprisonment for life.
A couple of weeks ago, the Premiers of the Australian States & the Chief Ministers of the two Territories, all of whom are Labor, held a meeting with the conservative Prime Minister, John Howard, to discuss the new anti-terror laws that the P.M. was going to introduce.

It was a meeting of great depth, that lasted for all of two hours before ending for publicity shots. It was a boys' meeting - apologies to the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory for lumping her in - of the "my anti-terror laws are bigger than your anti-terror laws" variety.

No-one saw the draft legislation - the P.M. only outlined it - but they all agreed that though the new legislation would be draconian, inherently anti-Muslim, & trod on just about everybody's civil rights, it was "necessary".

Last week the P.M. forwarded to the attendees the draft legislation, marked several times on the first few pages as "DRAFT-IN-CONFIDENCE. This draft is supplied in confidence and should be given appropriate protection."

The Senate is the house of review. It was informed at exactly 4.30 p.m. last Thursday that the legislation was to be introduced into the Lower House soon, & that the Senate report back within three weeks. However, Thursday was the last day of sitting for two weeks, &, under House rules, the Senate cannot vote on any issue on anything introduced on or after 4.30 p.m. on the last day of sitting until the next sitting day. Which is, in this case, October 31. One week at maximum to debate it, to call in outside experts to explain the full ramifications of it. No-one had seen the bill to be introduced, so how the hell could anyone prepare for any serious discussion. It would be kept under wraps for at least two weeks.

But conscience sometimes has a way of bringing things into the light of day. The Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, the area around Canberra, has obviously had second thoughts about his earlier agreement, & promptly posted the draft to his official website. (It's a long PDF, but if anyone wants to read it it's available here.) His reason for doing so was that the legislation was so prohibitive, that there needed to be genuine discussion & debate in the community at large, because there wasn't going to be any allowed in the Parliament.

There are all sorts of provisions for detention without the need to reveal the reasons for detention; it's an offence to let on to anyone that you've been detained; the use of force by Federal Police is frowned upon, but, if an officer feels their life is threatened, then action can be taken of the variety that saw English police shoot dead an innocent Brazilian "bomb suspect".

I took part in the anti-Vietnam War protests just under forty years ago. If this legislation is brought in, & there is no doubt that it will be, I would have serious concerns about taking part in a similar sort of protest today.