Saturday, April 30, 2005

those were the days, my friend

ah, nostalgia, when democracy took 2nd place to oil
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Some new poems at Series Magritte. The Discovery of Fire, The Apparition, & Bel Canto.

lists & such

After reading Eileen's new shopping blog, I remembered this poem from around 1974 & decided it might be an appropriate post.

for Nigel Roberts

Searching through the chest of drawers
for a map of australia / for jon silkin
i have so far discovered, in just one drawer,

assorted hare krishna & divine light fliers,
a railway timetable, photos of terence stamp
& dostoievsky, photos of myself at various ages
between seventeen & thirtythree, catalogues
of pornography from the netherlands (visual) & from
france (verbal), eighteen months of rolling stone
that have gathered some mould though no moss,
lost poems, found poems, rejection slips & letters
of acceptance, a thousand letters from my mother
ninehundred & ninetynine of which say 'please write'
& the other saying 'thankyou for writing', &
several foolscap notebooks, amongst which is a

forgotten journal dating back two years that contains
quotes from j.g.ballard, rider haggard, cocteau,
h.p. lovecraft, charles olson, etc., together with
the beginnings of five s.f. novels & three plays,
captions for obscene cartoons, thoughts for poems,
poems, words to look up & meanings of those already
looked up, bibliographies & lists of books to buy,
ideas for movies, images from movies that moved me,
ideas, images, entries of the 'dear diary' variety,
&, in extremely small letters on an otherwise empty page,
an anonymous note that says
                                 there is a poem           
                                 in everything.

california pelican dreaming

I got down to Montemar Vista as the light began to fade, but there was still a fine sparkle on the water and the surf was breaking far out in long smooth curves. A group of pelicans was flying bomber formation just under the creaming lip of the waves. A lonely yacht was tacking in toward the yacht harbour at Bay City. Beyond it the huge emptiness of the Pacific was purple-grey.

Raymond Chandler: Farewell, My Lovely

Friday, April 29, 2005

on the Muppet Show tonight

Leevi Lehto always manages to discover strange things. Now it's his blog translated into "swedish chef" dialect. A sample:
Epreel 26, 2005 8:32 EM Noo in Guugle-a Puem Unthulugy: Serepheem cunnecteefity , a feene-a (und tupeecel!) puem by Merk Yuoong, ooff Oostreleea & Noo Zeelund. Bork bork bork!
&, of course, thoughts about the Muppet/Sesame Street interface with blogland rose unbidden.

There are several strong contenders for the old guys in the balcony. I'm sure we could find an Oscar & a Cookie Monster if all blogs had photos of their owners - do owners come to look like their blogs after time?. I know of a drummer out there who would probably act like Animal if his leg was chained to a post. There are a couple of Bert & Ernie blogs. Tom Beckett, at 6' 7", would make a wonderful Big Bird - Big Squirrel? & then there's the most famous Moi in the universe - despite the chateau connection, I don't think her use of the phrase derives from Louis Quatorze - who could also play the Count.

& Kermit? The line forms on the right. We take that in turns.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Fugacity 05, a final update

There are only about a dozen poems still to go up at the nzepc's on-line anthology Fugacity 05 which was built over the last few days. A tremendous response, over 100 poets, amongst whom I'm extremely pleased to see a number of fellow bloggers, plus a lot of poets I met for the first time when I was in N.Z. last year plus many other names that are new to me. There's also a marvellous collective writing exercise, everybody's autobiography to the bird sound of rain.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Ten Nein Commandments of ex-Cardinal RatFink

the former head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (which was once known as The Inquisition), now known as Pope Interdict XIV.
1. Ordered the Sisters of Charity who were just about to open Australia's first medically supervised injecting room in Sydney with support from the local Cardinal, most of the press including The Catholic Weekly – they described it as a "great step forward for human dignity" - & the State Government, to cease & desist. (The Inquisition) ".. is deeply disturbed...that such an initiative is proposed by members of a religious congregation, to whom they look for good example.")

2. Ordered nursing orders & public hospitals run by the church that they should draw back from 'harm minimisation' schemes. The same line for AIDS as for drugs: abstain or die.

3. Ordered American Catholic bishops to deny John Kerry Holy Communion because Kerry was in an "objective situation of sin" for being pro-abortion & pro-euthanasia.

4. Ordered safe-sex education be stopped.

5. Ordered people with AIDS never to wear condoms, even when sleeping with their wives.

6. Declared homosexuality an 'intrinsic moral evil" & devised an argument whereby homosexuals themselves were to blame for homophobic violence. "When civil legislation is introduced to protect behaviour to which no-one has any conceivable right, neither the church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions & practices gain ground, & irrational violent reactions increase."

7. Declared the church had an obligation to tell its adherents how to vote "when this is required by faith or the moral law".

8. Instructed any Catholic lawmaker that it was his (RatFink's word) to expression his (ditto) moral opposition, & publicly to vote against anti-gay discrimination laws.

9. Instructed Catholic politicians to oppose any type of recognition for same-sex couples.

10. Instructed Catholics to uphold the church's dogma of sex & family: no divorce, no contraception, no sex outside marriage, no homosexuality, no IVF, no stem cell research, no drugs.
(with heavy achnowledgments to an article by David Marr in The Sydney Morning Herald)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A Magritte poem

There is a wonderful - & an equally wonderful reading of it - poem named after Magritte's painting The Betrayal of Images by Jeffery Bahr on one of the pages of his poetry website.

I'd be safe

& warm
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Puffing away

I am rapidly approaching a major crisis in my life. The variety of cigarettes I have smoked regularly for fifty years are no longer being made, & I am down to my last few packets of untipped – no filter - Rothmans KING SIZE, 16 mg of tar per cigarette. & in looking for alternatives, I have discovered that the only untipped cigarettes left on the market are Camels, a brand that I remember hearing referred to as the only cigarette that has a picture of the factory on the packet.

In a recent post at really bad movies Richard Lopez, a former smoker, writes of having been enamoured of the accessories of smoking such as Zippo lighters. Not for me, though when young I used specific, obvious, cigarettes – Gauloises, Sobranie Black Russian – to accessorize a particular image I was trying to present.

I came to smoking through my family though no-one in it smoked apart from my father who smoked a pipe. But in one of those small rituals that families have to accompany certain celebrations, he would be given two cigars in metal cases at Xmas, one of which he would smoke after lunch. & I would be given a puff. Which, I'm fairly sure, I didn't inhale.

From there it was buying cigarettes loose from the tobacconist. Five for threepence, about 2½ cents. Always for one of your parents, a transparent lie but acceptable then though now that sale would be a criminal offence. I didn't smoke much, though enough to later be able to joke that I did give up smoking for a time, for a year between the ages of eight & nine.

At high school it was a packet of 20 a day. At university it went up to three packets, a rate I kept up until I was fifty when the firm for which I worked banned smoking in the office, & I went back to a daily packet. Also, L. gave up smoking around ten years ago, so since then I've never smoked in the car or inside the house – I have been fortunate in that we've always had pleasant outside areas. That latter act has drifted into my poetry, to the extent that sometimes I think of writing a macro so that with one keystroke I can insert the lines "I go outside / for a cigarette."

I am paranoid about running out of cigarettes, once thought of committing air piracy on a flight to Perth – airline schedules say it's a four-hour flight, but because of the prevailing winds it tends to be a five-hour flight there, three hours back - & forcing the pilot to set down in the Nullarbor so I could have a cigarette. I cough continuously, am short of breath, have a raspy voice that replaced the more mellifluous one I used to have. When I went back to New Zealand last year, those of my previous compatriots that were still around all seemed to have emphysema. I have overcome other addictions that are popularly supposed to be more difficult to do so. But never smoking, though I can now go for much longer without a cigarette than I previously could.

I am thinking about patches, or cold turkey. But next week I will probably go into town & buy a single packet of each of about ten varieties, try them out & then make my decision.

(Whilst writing this, I have worked out that, at their present cost, I have spent around $250,000 on cigarettes over the years. Yep, around quarter of a million dollars. Think how my life might have changed with that sort of money.)

Only one thing to do about it.

{insert macro}

Saturday, April 23, 2005

I went for a walk......

On a Winter's day

John Kane's A Winter's DayPosted by Hello

an update on FUGACITY 05

The first poems are online. The official launch is in 45 minutes. They have been swamped by poems, so it may be some time before they're all up.

Rimbaud's Baedeker?

"The following pages contain the writer's diary, kept during his march to and from Harar. It must be borne in mind that the region traversed on this occasion was previously known only by the vague reports of native travellers. All the Abyssinian discoverers had traversed the Dankali and other northern tribes: the land of the Somal was still a terra incognita. Harar, moreover, had never been visited, and few are the cities of the world which in the present age, when men hurry about the earth, have not opened their gates to European adventure. The ancient metropolis of a once mighty race, the only permanent settlement in Eastern Africa, the reported seat of Moslem learning, a walled city of stone houses, possessing its independent chief, its peculiar population, its unknown language, and its own coinage, the emporium of the coffee trade, the head-quarters of slavery, the birth-place of the Kat plant, and the great manufactory of cotton-cloths, amply, it appeared, deserved the trouble of exploration."

Richard F. Burton: First Footsteps in East Africa

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Veronica ficcione

It is said of Septimus
Veronicus, the last but
one Praetor appointed
to the province of
Camargua, that his
initial infatuation
with this land of bulls
& flamingoes was
gradually augmented by
an anger at its
continued oppression.

So much so that
two years into his term
he renounced his
citizenship & declared
the province independent.
Rome responded. Four
hundred soldiers & another
praetor. A short battle
on the riverbank ended
when Septimus caught
a passing flamingo &
held it out at his side
distracting the newly-
appointed official so
that he attacked the
bird, not the man.

Bullfighting aficionados
regard this move with
awe, now honour
the initiator by calling
it a veronica. History
says little else about
the time. Rome's attention
was taken up by
The Triumveral Wars that
came soon after. The man
that Septimus killed
is known only as
the last Praetor. Capes
have replaced flamingoes.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


FUGACITY, the on-line anthology from the New Zealand electronic poetry centre – details here (though if you're lazy the details & an email address for submissions are given several posts below) - has opened for submissions & will continue to build for the next two days. Why don't you send them a poem. Think what it will do for your future bionotes. "Has had poetry published in New Zealand...."

A temporal point of reference. Thursday Noon in N.Z. is Wednesday 6 p.m. in California.

An emotional point of reference. "All the leaves are brown...."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Cardinals to win

It's great to see the Roman Catholic Church has accepted the modern age by electing a non-European Pope sympathetic to women priests, contraception, freedom of choice & homosexuality instead of going for some 78 year old conservative fart from somewhere in Europe. Oops, they did what? Shit, that's the problem when you leave it to men to make the important decisions. Welcome Pope Interdict XIV.

What'd I say

Watched / listened to a Ray Charles concert on tv last night. Recorded in 2000 at the Olympia Theatre. With a guitar / bass / drums trio backing him. At first a little disappointing, even though he started with A Song For You, that marvelous piece by Leon Russell, & went through all the songs the audience had come to hear, & which I, also, sang along with. But then I thought what am I on about? The guy's 70, he can still sing, & if I was hearing him for the first time instead of fifty years after I first heard that fantastic r&b band & the Raelettes backing him, I'd be jumping out of my seat. Thought, look at yourself, old man. We can't all be like Miles Davis.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Have added

to the sidebar links to Eileen Tabios' poetry blog gasps (about bloody time growls Galatea), & to Jill Jones' new translation blog latitudes.

A regal prepuce-cision

The King of Morocco has granted pardons to 7179 prisoners to celebrate the circumcision of his son. I suppose that's one way to keep the piece.

Sunday, April 17, 2005


is the title of the New Zealand electronic poetry centre's online poetry anthology, building 21 – 23 April 2005 as part of the FUGACITY 05 poetry symposium at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.

Bring a poem on a disk to any of the symposium events OR email your contribution (Word or RTF attachment, or in the body of the email) to between 21 – 23 April. (ballpark 20 - 22 April in the U.S. & Europe)

They aim to build a local and international poetry anthology over three days, launching Saturday 23 April at New Brighton beach. They'd welcome your poem. They'd like it to engage with time and place, transience and duration, memory and forgetting, coming and going – any or all of the FUGACITY (to use Canterbury poet Ursula Bethell's fine word) of planetary life.
"Lives there still a Japanese artist
Who, with his paint brush, could make us tremble
To see those lines, those tenuous colours
Spring again vibrant as I now see them springing
in their fugacity?"

Ursula Bethell
Anthology compilers: Brian Flaherty, Bernadette Hall, Claire Hero, Michele Leggott, Graham Lindsay and John Newton

Submission guidelines
o work should be your original composition
o if it has been published elsewhere, please include acknowledgement and publication details
o the compilers reserve the right to copy-edit submissions before uploading
o copyright for individual contributions to the online anthology remains with the author
I am fugitive, I am very fugitive
Ursula Bethell
University of Canterbury English and the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre(nzepc).

More information available from the Fugacity page at the nzepc.

a is for absinthe

ambition is the cruellest month
bravado comes creeping on little cat feet
courage & the slithy toves did gyre & gimble
death spreadeagled in the empty air of existence
ethics has a man in it. he is transparent
fame is glazed by rain water
greed considered as a
hunger of semi-precious stones
inventiveness we trust
justice comme je suis
karma just happened to come along
liberty at five in the afternoon
minestrone wears a glove on which his crimes cannot be read
nature died in the church & was buried along with her name. nobody came
optimism loses all the time
prejudice is poisonous but pretty in autumn
quietness bent over a blue guitar
rapaciousness is no country for old men
sleep in whom I dream angels
tension was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair
unhappiness saw him disembark in the unanimous night
vanishing species on the left hand side of the beach like a motorcycle club
water was ours before we were the land's
xenophobia breaks where no sun shines
youth your rooster crows at the break of dawn
zodiac signs with few friends & no ambitions

originally published in Tin Lustre Mobile

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Karri Kokko in The City of Light

April in Paris
chestnuts in blossom
holiday tables
under the trees.
Yip Harburg's lyrics to the wonderful Vernon Duke thirties ballad "April in Paris" (favourite version Ella Fitzgerald with Count Basie's Band). A brilliant composer - the fact that Ira Gershwin wrote lyrics for him is indicative of that - Duke also wrote another great 'seasonal' song "Autumn in New York" (favourite version a fifty-year old recording by the Modern Jazz Quartet).

One of the drawbacks to living at the bottom of the globe is the distances. I would love to be in either place, in any month, in any season. But so far, so far....

Though L. is going to a conference in South Carolina next year. Perhaps then.
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36 views of Lion Mountain #2

does not

on Lion
Mountain -

it wraps
around it.

Friday, April 15, 2005

An ephemeral collage

Jukka tears into Das Kapital at Nonlinear Poetry & puts the pieces back together in his own inimitable way.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Mail Poem

Bill Allegrezza's Mail Poems are a wonderful act of anarchy.
".....the idea behind the mail poem is that i write them to send to people who happen to have the same names as poets. i randomnly choose them and then write a poem dedicated to them, which i then send through the mail without my return address. i keep no record of the poems besides occasionally recording myself reading one before i send it out. at this point, i've written about a hundred of them."
He has links to some of those readings at p-ramblings.

I wonder if he's ever accidently sent one to the actual poet...

sharing my table at yesterday's lunch

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

new at e-x-c-h-a-n-g-e-v-a-l-u-e-s

I admire many, many things about Eileen Tabios. & one of the reasons for the "many, many" is that I'm convinced that she lives in a parallel universe where the days are 30 hours long. She has to to be able to do as much as she does, in so many fields. & I may have to revise that hour figure - not to be confused with her hourglass figure - upwards, because here she is at e-x-c-h-a-n-g-e-v-a-l-u-e-s being interviewed by Tom Beckett.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Cicerone - an extended version

Just out from Jukka's xPress(ed), The Cicerone is a sequence of poems, an extended narrative, that wraps around a piece of the same name that was posted to Series Magritte.

The dance mix & an instrumental version will be released soon.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

It's a long time since I've driven distances in the dark. But yesterday we left in the afternoon & headed north, towards the shorter days in the year, towards the tropics where night falls early anyway.

So the last few hundred kilometres through dusk & dark. A couple of fresh-killed kangaroos, one in the centre, one on the side of the road. Always a hazard in the dawn & dusk when they come out searching for water, for fresh grass. But of more concern the smaller things, the plethora of insects & moths that emerge in the twilight, smashing & smearing against the windscreen. & with wipers perished from the sun & not previously noticed from lack of use, a white film gradually coated the whole of the glass, so that we arrived with a windscreen blinded as if with cataracts.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The object of desire worship

There are many of us who are fans of the work of Sheila Murphy. & then there is The Fan. Polite, respectful, but with just a hint of stalking in there. This site has the beginnings of the blog equivalent of a room full of photos.

Waiting for Jodie

Martin Edmond, after a year as writer in residence at Auckland University in New Zealand, is back in Sydney & working as a taxi driver. His recent posts at Luca Antara are as wide & diverse as the stochastic process of his fare existence.

A spellcheck glitch? Or subtle racism?

From a local paper, in an article on precursors to the Michael Jackson trial, basically a quick précis of Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon with a couple of more contemporary trials added.
"Jackson already has some of the big gums from the black community behind him."

Monday, April 04, 2005

This week, I keep thinking about this poem

by Robert Creeley

The church is a business, and the rich
are the business men.
                                      When they pull on the bells, the
poor come piling in and when a poor man dies, he has a wooden
cross, and they rush through the ceremony.

But when a rich man dies, they
drag out the Sacrament
and a golden Cross, and go doucementdoucement
to the cemetery.

And the poor love it
and think it's crazy.

the thame thinger, another thong

shuck their
skins in Summer.

where squirrels
get their thongs.

can't keep
a good man

Tom Beckett
reappears in blogland.
Continuing Difficulties
Vanishing Points of Resemblance
Unprotected Texts
Vaudeville without Organs
Shadows within Shadows

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Meanwhile, in Australia, in 2005

"(Australian Prime Minister) John Howard may be shocked by what he sees in Wadeye next week during a rare visit to a remote Aboriginal community.

The town with the biggest Aboriginal population in the Northern Territory, 270 kilometres south-west of Darwin, looks like a refugee camp in a Third World country.

An average 17 people are cramped into each sweltering, graffiti-covered house. Almost half the population is under 15; most of the children have had no formal education and cannot speak English; many grow up not knowing their fathers who are dead or in jail; infant mortality is four times the national average; life expectancy is 20 years less than that of non-indigenous Australians; and only 4 per cent of people of working age have mainstream jobs.

Unlike southern towns of comparable size - Picton, Bellingen or Bourke, for example - Wadeye has no mobile phone coverage and its landline phone service is outdated and unreliable, making a mockery of Telstra's claims that its services in the bush are "world class".

The town, which is cut off by road for five months each year during the wet season, is still waiting for a doctor, funding for which was promised last month.

The town, built at the edge of mangroves, has no commercial businesses such as banks, cafes, restaurants, hotels or motels. And a new study of the community, which will have implications for other Aboriginal communities, finds that governments are spending far less on its residents than on an average Territorian child.

The report finds that for every dollar spent educating the average child in the territory, only 26 cents is spent on an Aboriginal child in Wadeye."
Lindsay Murdoch: The Sydney Morning Herald, 4/2/2005

Friday, April 01, 2005

Robert Creeley in New Zealand.

Robert Creeley visited New Zealand a couple of times. The New Zealand electronic poetry centre has records of these visits including audio, video, poems, posters & photos.