Sunday, July 31, 2005

Late summer, Mars, the North Pole

At the bottom of a crater that is 35 kilometres wide. The frozen carbon dioxide has gone, leaving behind a disc of water ice.


of my Anglophile education in New Zealand, there are vast chunks of U.S. writing that I have never explored. Unlike Bob Dylan's Mr Jones, I don't think I have read any of F. Scott Fitzgerald's books; Faulkner I cannot read - which aligns him with Australia's Patrick White & Greece's Nikos Kazantzakis; Thomas Wolfe I tried after reading Kerouac's The Town & The City but couldn't get (in to) him. I have never read - which might make me unique on the planet - To Kill a Mockingbird.

Perhaps it has to do with the absence of prescribed cultural antecedents (though much of it has been shown to me as Hollywood movie) & so I have no reference points. There are exceptions, most of them self-subscribed. Moby Dick led me to Melville. Poe & Hawthorne I came to through a liking for fantasy. I've read all the great U.S. crime writers & still love the genre. Whitman's two great poems to Lincoln opened up the marvellous Leaves of Grass. The New American Poetry led me backwards to Williams & Rexroth & Patchen as well as forwards.

So, confessional time. In my seventh decade I am reading Thoreau for the first time, Cape Cod, picked up also at the recent Bookfest.

& I'm liking it.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

a belated pointer

Partially because I was aware that Jukka was on holiday, & partially because of the order of my side bar bloglist - I knew he would email text posts in, as he did last year, so I kept up with what was happening at textual conjectures, but I didn't think he'd be emailing visual pieces, so I would cursorily check telephone poles & mailXart & nonlinear & go no further down my bloglist when I saw no new posts there - I have only in the last few days caught up with the wonderful pieces he had been emailing in to self similar writing.

They have a delicacy about them, a pastel quality unlike, say, the "thick paint" of the telephone poles. Minimal perhaps in execution, but it's the essence they have about them, like breaking a lemon leaf & being confonted by the aroma of an entire grove of lemons.

These are works by a brilliant visual artist - that's possibly a tautology, but I'm trying to differentiate from Jukka the brilliant visual poet. I'm tempted to say by someone working at the top of their form. But having seen in the past how Jukka manages to develop beyond a point where most of us would stop, self-satisfied, I will refrain from saying that, preferring not to utter words that would be obsolete within a month or two. Will only say, go there, breathe them in, be inspired.

from Impressions: van Gogh in Vietnam


The wrong
season, no
there to paint;
but in his
madness mis-
took napalm
for fields of
the real thing.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Meanwhile, south of the Tropic of Cancer

There must be something in the Mexican air that helps the germination / generation of beautiful hay(na)ku. Ernesto Priego has been writing them for quite some time, & now Rebeka Lembo joins in. I'm posting one of her latest poems below.
Thank You

just when
I think I

reaching the
ground, you have

me I
have never fallen.

-Rebeka Lembo

Philosophy in the Bedroom #2

There is a variant painting & another poem posted to Series Magritte.

Found inside the pages of Sylvia Plath's Collected Poems

I have been slowly working my way through the fifty or so second-hand books I bought at the local Bookfest in May. Today I got to Sylvia Plath's Collected Poems, & found this. Two hands, one – the top – a scrawl & wandering, the other tight & focused.

                    lady that I love.           moi  ??

Where do I start to tell the story
Of the lady that I love.
How do to I start to tell of the glory
Now I've learn to love
It an't easy, I'm not sorry
Now that I can love.

It's not ???, I
I turned away and turned back
Our I learn to love
She stayed with me along our 9 month track there to guide me
As I learnt to love. And watch me learn to love.
Giving ?????No illusions now its my turn
Your the lady that I love.

SoftOur hearts joining, softly yearning
together we can love.
lift it high, laugh don't cry
Our greatest gift of love.
To the lady that I love.

                         I love you Michele.
                              x x x

It's a fucking illusion, eh. Love??It's not pure, Suzanne. Love is relative – relative to our home, our job, how much money we've got in the bank. How can I love you in this environment? I'm so intense, so uptight, so trapped that love is no solace. Am I wrong in being so caught up with what's happening around us? I guess I should be consumed by love alone, as a true romantic would have me believe. But I can't help but be me – and I don't know what love means, at the moment. I can't separate it from the world hassles that surround me. Everything is one blurred mess – love, hate, job, flat, money, one blurred mess. I want to be able to recognise love again, out of that jumble of unhappiness. I want to love you again.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

lines that I - & Sgt Joe Friday - wish we'd written

it's so steamy I walked up to a boy selling lemonade and just got the lemonade
Jack Kimball at Pantaloons

traduced, but not traduced

In French, traduce means to translate.

In my Oxford English Dictionary, the meaning is given as misrepresent.

In Spanish it would appear as if the same confusion exists - traducción/traición.

Ernesto Priego has translated another of my poems, The Intention. Has turned it into a hay(na)ku. I love what he's done with it.

It is posted to Never Neutral, originally under the post title of Betrayal.

In an email he worries that I might choose to assume the wrong meaning of the word.

I choose the French, because, as I wrote in response to an earlier translation, nothing refreshes a poem like seeing it in translation. It becomes new, even if it's old.

& that's what the poem is all about, anyway. The last two verses:
Not new things:
just the old, re-
worked. So that

is like
but through another
& this added 15 minutes later, having visited Never Neutral in the interim, I see he has a new post, using these exact same verses to make the same point that I've just made.

Snap, amigo!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

stray thought

I sometimes wonder what my poetry would be like if I had kept on writing instead of giving it away for 25 years.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Philosophy in the Bedroom

I have given in & finally included an image with a poem at Series Magritte rather than just linking to it.

I have always been reluctant to do so, for three reasons. The first is that I am afraid of infringing someone's copyright, & so have preferred to point to rather than provide. Secondly, lots of jpegs mean a slow download. But, most importantly, I have preferred to have the poems stand on their own, with the painting something to be looked at after the poem, even though I position the link alongside the title.

Magritte produced maybe a thousand paintings during his life. I have one book, The Portable Magritte, that contains 400 reproductions of his paintings, painted objects & sculptures. I have a couple of other books which probably, between them, contain another 100 or so paintings that are not in the Portable. Plus, in my wanderings & searches on the net, I've come across a large number of works that are not in any of my books. But to complicate matters, he did several variations of a significant number, using the same title, some, I'm guessing, in response to commissioned requests, others because he wanted to revisit a theme. Some of these are years apart, some done in the same year.

So I write a poem based around one of his paintings that I have a reproduction of, go looking for a link to it, find the title, the year's correct, but the painting is different to the one I've based the poem on. Occasionally they can be quite suitable as a substitute, but at other times it's like they're different paintings. Or, you find the actual painting that you want, but it's three-quarters of the way down a page containing 50 paintings.

Which is why I've extracted & pasted / posted this painting. There are three of the same name - plus a Homage to Mack Sennett that is sometimes reproduced under the Philosophy title - but this one is the pubic one that prompted the poem. So rather than link to a site where the painting appears only after a couple of minutes, way down the page, I have included Magritte's homage to Donatien Alphonse François, Comte de Sade.

Martin Edmond clears his debts

"Friday morning I fly to Wellington for five days. To attend the Montana New Zealand Book Awards next Monday night. Chronicle of the Unsung is a finalist in the Biography section (even though it is not a biography) which, I am told, includes Memoir (it is not a memoir either). Selection as a finalist obliges a publisher to transport their author to the ceremony, hence my trip. If I win my category I get a cash prize of $5000.00, almost the exact amount I have gone into (private) debt over the course of this year so far……"

Martin Edmond in a post last week to Luca Antara


Chronicle of the Unsung by Martin Edmond (Auckland University Press).
(from the N.Z. Herald, 26 July, 2005)

What happened was, my mind drifted. One part of me would be constructing grammatically correct, if anatomically impossible and psychologically implausible, interactions, while the rest would wander in the landscapes of my youth. Lucid, brilliant images of beautiful uninhabited places I had once known and long forgotten floated in front of my eyes, so that I viewed the words processing behind the smeared plastic screen through a mist of paradisiacal scapes. The melancholy of those scenes, evoked in that seamy. steamy interior crowded with phantoms of lust, cruelty, rage and disappointment, is my strongest memory of that time.

Martin Edmond: from Chronicle of the Unsung
Congratulations, Martin. It's a beautiful book, which I treasure, though your hand-written note inside my copy is a bit fulsome.

more Reichian therapy

stepped out
of the orgone

& lit
up a cigarette

Monday, July 25, 2005

You would think

that by their very meaning, certain words should stick in the mind. But I have just spent the last five minutes trying to recall

felines & finches

Over the years we've managed to curtail most of the predatory instincts of our cat – a tortoiseshell, called Little One since we once had three cats, all strays, & at a point in time she truly was the smallest one.

In Sydney she would eat lizards & moths, dig up the little frogs from the lawn, catch the occasional bird. But up here the frogs are bigger; she sniffs at them but otherwise leaves them alone. She ignores the birds except when they get too close & then she makes strange birdnoises at them to tell them to go away & stop bugging her. I think there's still the odd moth or lizard in her diet. Her belly sag – popularly supposed to derive in cats from the eating of lizards – is much more pronounced, though that's quite possibly equally due to age. Unsure of that, but at least 16 years old.

But the last few days we’ve had quite a few

double-barred finches bopping around in the garden. Cute little owl-faced birds, with the body size of a big toe, that come down to eat the seeds of the lawn & garden grasses. Yes, it's the middle of winter, but the seasons are blurred here, would be classified as spring anywhere else, & the temperate plants are convinced that it is & have started flowering & shooting.

When the cat saw the birds, about two metres away from her, neon signs exploded from her brain. Drive through finger food, snacks, hors d'oeuvres, appetisers. She became demented, immediately went into that predatory stretch / flatten out the body / get ready to spring position. I clapped my hands to drive the birds away – hated doing it since I like having them around - & bodily dragged the cat inside.

So now I'm acting as peacekeeper, making sure the two sides are kept separate, trying to keep the cat overfed, so its thoughts & instincts don't take her to places & situations I don't want her to go.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

One of the ways

of making 40 year old poems seem freshly minted is to see them in translation.

I recently sent Ernesto Priego some bits & pieces, including The right foot of the giant, a selection of my poems from 1959 to 1975. He has translated one of them, For M., which dates from around 1965. I've posted part of it below. The full translation can be found at Never Neutral.

Gracias, amigo.

Montañas emergen
de aguas frías. La música, el
sonido creciendo en gritos
de asombro repentinos. Malhumorado. Esta
noche no es la mía.

from: Para M
(The photo of Lake Wanaka is taken from the website of Owen Baxter.)
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Friday, July 22, 2005

Ta Moko

"Ta moko, meaning to strike or tap, is the long-standing art form of Maori tattooing. This art form has been practiced for over a thousand years, and has withstood time and colonization. It was used as a form of identification, rank, genealogy, tribal history, eligibility to marry, and marks of beauty and/or ferocity.


a painting of Ena Te Papatahi by Charles Goldie
"Ta moko designs weren't merely tattooed upon their wearers; they were finely chiseled into the skin. The art preceded wood carvings, so accordingly the first wood carvings copied moko designs. Ta moko are most recognizably done on the face, although other parts of the body are also tattooed.

"Women were traditionally only allowed to be tattooed on their lips, around the chin, and sometimes the nostrils. A woman with full blue lips was seen as the "epitome of Maori female beauty."

"Men, on the other hand, were allowed to have a full facial moko. However not all men were permitted to have their entire faces tattooed."

from Heather Dill: What is ta moko?
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Survival hay(na)ku

a Phil
Spector & building

wall of
sound around me.

The title

of yesterday's post prompted me into spending the rest of the afternoon & early evening listening to the Stones.

& my favourite Glimmer Twins' track is still Sympathy for the devil.
Let me please introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
And I laid traps for troubadours

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Tattoo you

There has to be some cultural thing in Central Queensland about tattooing; which is a bit ironic since, apart from that of the indigenous Aborigines, there is next to no culture here at all.

There is only one tattoo parlour listed in the Rockhampton yellow pages, & one 40 kilometres away on the beach at Yeppoon, but a significant percentage of the local population – at least 10%, possibly higher – have visible tattoos. Maybe it's more evident because in a hot climate people tend to get about in short-sleeved dresses or T-shirts or shorts. Equibalanced between the sexes or perhaps tilting towards women more than men. Mainly small tattoos – hearts, roses, names &, yes, Ernesto, swallows – on ankles & breasts & hands & arms & backs, but there are larger imitation Maori moko or Celtic motifs showing on some legs & arms.

& generational. It is quite common to see mother / daughter / grandaughter all with tattoos. But today four generations! In the supermarket, an eightyish great-grandmother with the female side of her extended family. & showing on her right shoulder-blade, through her thin blouse, the tattoo of a rose.


He called them
episodes. Preferred
the word to
similar others. The
implications of it.
Continuity. Inter-
relationships &
-dependency. A series
of. Though not
from the beginning
but starting maybe
halfway through. In
that he found a
pattern in the past
then carried it into
the future. Thus
giving reason.
Rationale. Not
fugue. Flightpath.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

There are

universal truths, & there are Great Universal Truths, & the Greatest of all I found tucked away in a post by Lorna Dee Cervantes at her eponymous blog
"There's nothing that a little dancing to classic motown won't cure."

The title poem

from Ernesto Priego's chapbook The Body Aches. Ernesto has occasionally done me the honour of re-posting some of my poems to his blog. Let me repay him by posting this wonderful poem.
The body aches

How difficult it is, the body tells you, to keep a promise:
To say, painlessly, j'accepte , and keep your word.

I mean the words in those books,
The lips imprinted in pale red, almost purple.

The first page that so quickly became the last,
Among us, what a title, you think now,

How come the book is still here, unread,
Waiting patiently for the ache to go away.

-Ernesto Priego

following up

At some point yesterday, on one of the cable tv news channels, they were conducting a poll on whether "inflammatory Islamic books" should be banned/destroyed & the response was 96% in favour. Though, since it was Fox, I'm a bit surprised it wasn't unanimous.

&, in the same 24 hours,

there was a piece reporting groups in the U.S. calling for the destruction of the Harry Potter books because they were the work of the devil or some such.

& I saw Rupert Murdoch, who became a U.S. citizen so he could buy the Fox network - & who, incidentally, publishes the local weekly giveaway paper, the local daily newspaper, the local State newspaper & the only national newspaper that arrives here early in the morning & is surprised by any question about what's wrong with the concentration of media ownership - introducing Australian Prime Minister Howard who is in Washington to give the keynote address to the Deep Dish Pizza Club or the Betty Crocker Bake-off competition or whatever they call the international assembly of conservative political parties as "this great leader".

& I saw the aforesaid Little Johnnie H. having brunch with Dick Cheney & attending church with George W. & sharing a podium with Donald Rumsfeld where they both said what a free & open democratic process was being followed in the forthcoming trials of the inmates of Guantanamo Bay

& the Howard Government benevolently let "free" on some sort of containment visa the longest-incarcerated detainee in our refugee internment camps. & who, not surprisingly, was taken straight to a psychiatric hospital because seven years in a detention centre run by private industry - how can you, in all clear conscience, make a profit from concentration camps? Though, I suppose if you follow the Nazi model all things are possible - had fucked his mental processes.

& the Treasurer of the government, probably the second-most powerful man in the country, appears on stage at the largest fundamentalist church in the country, & then criticises the new Anglican Primate of Australia who expressed the view that the new industrial relations laws that are about to be brought in might disadvantage a significant percentage of the population.

Karri Kokko recently restructured a Bob Dylan title as a hay(na)ku. Let me purloin the idea & part of a song from the same album.
don't need
a weatherman to

which way
the wind blows.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

battle of the bans

I grew up in an age & a country where banning books was commonplace. Authors – Miller & Burroughs. Titles – Lolita & Lady Chatterley's Lover. I seem to remember that Ulysses was not long off the list; & there is a marvellous story, which I've never checked in to preferring to keep the memory intact, that Barchester Towers & Doctor Thorne were banned for almost a century because they appeared under the author's name of A. Trollope.

Not that I'm against banning things. I marched calling for an end to nuclear proliferation – ban the bomb. I marched in support of outlawing racial discrimination. I believe commercial whaling is wrong, that industry should have an incredibly strict set of environmental guidelines. I believe capital punishment is totally wrong, & have written earlier of how its legality in New Zealand depended on which political party was in power until a conservative Attorney General broke with his party & said it should be outlawed forever. (& a little later, I remember reading an essay by Camus – Reflections on the Guillotine? – where Camus describes his father, who was a strong advocate of the death penalty, attending a public execution & coming home totally opposed to the State taking lives.)

But never books, or movies or records, no matter how distasteful & offensive they might be.

I have seen nationalists like Ho Chi Minh & Castro basically forced into the Communist Bloc because their leftwing views were unpalatable during the Cold War. I have seen the Russians crush a revolution in Hungary, & felt it quite strongly because of the protests outside the Russian Embassy which was directly across the street from where we lived. I thought JFK was the hope of the world & mourned his death. I was shattered when later Martin Luther King & RFK were also assassinated. Mandela – happy birthday, Nelson - was a figurehead in prison for most of my life & I remember weeping with joy the day he was released.

I am ambivalent about nuclear power.

The coming of Nixon fucked the world. L. blames most of the current troubles on "my generation" – the beats, the hippies, free love, lotsa drugs, lack of censorship. There's some truth in it, but for a different reason. I do not believe we went far enough! Not quite sure what I mean by that; but I feel that at some point we decided we'd done enough, got sidetracked or comfortable or aged, & stopped pushing. Stepped back to revel in our small achievements. Got steamrollered.

I am anti-terrorism where the innocent are killed or maimed yet I am pro-Palestine, feeling their cause is just & they've always had a rotten deal. Where do you draw the line? I think the U.S. & its allies are reaping what they sowed – the seeds of Bush's arrogance; Le monde, c'est moi – in Iraq & Afghanistan though again it is the innocent who suffer. At least in the Cold War there were sides. Now, with just one megapower, there is no-one else to turn to, no-one to stand up & get in the way.

I have seen in an earlier time in N.Z. laws enacted which gave the police the power to raid houses if "they suspected drugs were there". Up until the time someone blew the whistle, this power was used probably 50 times & only once for drugs. I watch the new anti-terrorism laws in many countries with horror. The presumption of guilt instead of innocence, & such gobbledygook! We can't tell you what you've been detained about, & because of this you can't tell us what we want to know because we don't know what we want to know & you don't know what we want to know & don't know what you know or don't know. & & &.....

I see that the trial against the last Australian in Camp Delta is to go ahead, even though it has been proved there is no chance of a fair trial.

& why this rant, this scattershot diatribe? Because on the news today the Australian Government is talking about banning, outlawing, charging Islamic bookshops that may stock dangerous books.

The thought police are breaking open my head.

Monday, July 18, 2005

virtue is
its own reward

the same
apply for vice?

Nick Piombino

has some pretty good ideas about ideas at Fait Accompli.

(Though, by his criteria, I probably run a fast food drive-through joint.)
Less than an hour after that last post, the mailman turned up with a copy of Ernesto Priego's wonderful chapbook The Body Aches [Poems and Hay(na)ku].

Jesus, if this is the benefit I get from responding to poems I like a lot then I think I might do it more often!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

For what it's worth

since it's probably overall quantity rather than quality, I have posted poem #100 to my Series Magritte.

Though so far there are only 96 poems posted there as #s68-71 are due for publication in MiPoesias later on this year.

Coincidentally I discovered, looking through an old notepad that I grabbed to take with me on my bird-sighting meandering this week, amongst scribblings that later turned into a couple of poems that BlazeVOX published early last year & a couple of hay(na)ku that ended up on As/Is, the first poem in the series. Probably the worst poem, but one has to start somewhere.

& a note - series magritte / serious magritte. Glad I didn't take the latter path.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

a marvellous description of e-x-c-h-a-n-g-e-v-a-l-u-e-s

"No site does what this site does -- nudging those doing the doing to talk about what they do in depth."
Crag Hill's poetry scorecard


Minamata is a small factory town dominated by the Chisso
Corporation. The town faces the Shiranui Sea, and Minamata Bay is
part of this sea. In Japanese, "Chisso" means nitrogen. The
Chisso Corporation was once a fertilizer and carbicle company, and
gradually advanced to a petrochemical and plastic-maker company.
From 1932 to 1968, Chisso Corporation, a company located in
Kumamoto Japan, dumped an estimated 27 tons of mercury compounds
into Minamata Bay. Kumamoto is a small town about 570 miles
southwest of Tokyo. The town consists of mostly farmers and
fisherman. When Chisso Corporation dumped this massive amount of
mercury into the bay, thousands of people whose normal diet
included fish from the bay, unexpectedly developed symptoms of
methyl mercury poisoning. The illness became known as the
"Minamata Disease". The mercury poisoning resulted from years of
environmental destruction and neglect from Chisso Corporation.
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Friday, July 15, 2005

Hey, Mister, can you tell me / where a man might find a bed

In the 20 or so years since I first / last saw it, I have always had a soft spot for Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz, his film of the farewell performance of The Band at Bill Graham's Winterland in San Francisco on Thanksgiving, 1976, remember it as one of the great music / concert movies.

Through a piece of serendipity I watched / listened to it again today. It lived up to my memories of it, though I found Scorsese as naïve interviewer quite funny after the polished perfomances as documentary narrator he's been giving for the last decade. But he's put together a beautiful movie. & Robbie Robertson is not beyond a bit of myth-making.

But the music is what makes it memorable. I've always loved The Band, & they were in great form on this night. & a nice selection of guests. Robbie Robertson & Eric Clapton engaging in a guitar battle which Clapton won. A marvellous version, quite possibly the greatest ever, of The Weight performed by The Band & The Staple Singers. Michael McClure & Lawrence Ferlinghetti read briefly. Paul Butterfield played harmonica on a couple of numbers including a driving version of Mystery Train – I don't know what happened to him, possibly he died young, but the Butterfield Blues Band, with Mike Bloomfield on guitar, was probably the best white blues band ever. Plus Neil Young, Ronnie Hawkins, Joni Mitchell, Dr John, Muddy Waters, Emmylou Harris, Van Morrison.

& finally Bob Dylan, in fine voice, doing Forever Young, & a version of Baby let me follow you down that showed he always wanted to be a rock musician. & then singing the opening verse of I shall be released which was the group finale.

I taped it all, so it won't be another 20 years before I visit it again.

Now I know

I'm living in the fucking backblocks.

Decide it's time I converted from dial-up to broadband. Make a preliminary enquiry, type in my street address, &, yes, though I can't get cable I can get ADSL. & a phone call tells me that with a little bit of wireless technology I can get two connections, in different parts of the house, that can be used simultaneously. Plus there's a special offer on at present, $0 installation fee, halfprice for the first six months of a 24-month contract, unlimited downloads, reasonable upload/download speed.

So I log in to sign up, & discover after typing in the street address that I can only get satellite delivery. Log off, ring up the telco, am told that my preliminary enquiry was just that & it's only when I apply that they do a thorough check on services to the area, that I'm more than four kilometres away from the telephone exchange which means that they can't guarantee line speeds & so won't let me go any other way than satellite & that will cost $700+ for installation of a dish - though if I live in an especially disadvantaged area, & I have to find out separately if I do because they can't tell me, I can get it at 20% of that cost - limited amount of downloads, twice the price, can't run two computers.

This is through Telstra, the national telco. At least, at present national, 51% owned by the government, though that's going to change at any tick of the clock now that the conservatives control the Upper House because they now have the numbers to push through a bill to sell off that remaining 51%. Which means Ma Bell, or one of the bellchildren, or British Telecom or the Russians or the Armenians or the French or the Outer Mongolians or the Tierra del Fuegans or the fucking Martians or anyone who is more interested in making a profit than providing a service will end up owning it.

& since Telstra own most of the infrastructure - lines, exchanges, cables - in the country, it's almost impossible to find anybody else to go through.

The only thing that might stop the total privatisation is if the junior coalition party, the Nationals, primarily rural-based, decide the promises being made just won't stack up. They're already muttering that services to the bush are shithouse, & if privatised are likely to get worse, not better.

As for me, I'm thinking semaphore, or carrier pigeons, or drums, or smoke.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


A trinity

of erudite writers about poetics at Tom Beckett's e-x-c-h-a-n-g-e-v-a-l-u-e-s.

Geof Huth, who I consider to be the sage - or should that be Qage - of reasoned & informative argument about poetics - visual, verbal & all points in between & beyond - is interviewed by Crag Hill & Ron Silliman working as a tag team. & one of the delights is the way their names get jumbled up, like an excited wrestling commentator trying to keep on top of the tag team action.

Geof, when prompted by himself, writes & creates brilliantly. When prompted by the team of yin & yang, he is even more forthcoming.

This is an interview not to be missed. Thanks, Tom, for providing the stage.

The bird

I saw the other day

was probably the brolga.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Pee time

One of the few
advantages in
being a man is
that you can see
the fattened gold
crescent of the
moon through
the toilet window.

Let us possess one world

Colin McCahon: Let us possess one world
(painted May-July, 1955)

And now good morrow to our waking soules,
Which watch not one another out of feare;
For love, all love of other sights controules,
And makes one little roome, an every where.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let Maps to others, worlds on worlds have showne,
Let us possesse our world, each hath one, and is one.

John Donne: The Good-Morrow
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Monday, July 11, 2005

Have increased

the text size slightly because I can't read what I've fucking written any more.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Gone to that big PI in the Sky?

Click on the Poetic Inhalation website these days, & you are greeted with "this domain name expired on 06/07/2005 and is pending renewal or deletion". Looks like Andrew & Jeannie have rolled up their tent.

Such a shame if it's not renewed or relocated. There was some wonderful material there, now out of reach. Linkrot should also have been on the agenda at the G8 meeting!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

lines I wish I'd been in a position to write, #1

I was first introduced to Dashiell Hammett by Humphrey Bogart.
from Steven Marcus' intro to D.H.'s The Continental Op. (Marcus was twelve at the time, but who cares? You could dine out on that forever.)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Leaves of Grass

Alex Gildzen reminds me in an email that it is 150 years since Walt Whitman published the first edition of Leaves of Grass. I salute its sesqui-centenary.

What a marvellous evolution the book went through over the subsequent years from this beginning, these initial twelve untitled & anonymous poems. & the 1855 edition has a long preface that sets out what has, for me, always been the beacon for the pure side of the duality with which I regard the U.S.
"The American bards shall be marked for generosity and affection and for encouraging competitors....They shall be kosmos...without monopoly and secresy...glad to pass any thing to any one...hungry for equal night and day. They shall not be careful of riches and privilege....they shall be riches and privilege....they shall perceive who the most affluent man is. The most affluent man is he that confronts all the shows he sees by equivalents out of the stronger wealth of himself. The American bard shall delineate no class of persons nor one or two out of the strata of interests nor love most nor truth most nor the soul most nor the body most....and not be for the eastern states more than the western or the northern states more than the southern."

Monday, July 04, 2005

Feeling a bit better, well, at least the flu symptoms have gone though I still feel like I've been hit by, are they?, neutron bombs that take out the inhabitants but leave the structure intact. & the coughing seems to have torn a stomach muscle or something.

Trying to write when you feel like this is like making telephone calls to people who you know aren't home & don't have message banks. Inevitably the call rings out. In desperation you ring up the weather or other information services, just to hear another computer-generated voice & copy down the data they give you.

I wash some life into my hair, eat a banana as an addendum to breakfast, decide to go for a drive. First time I've been away from the house in four days. Get some petrol, currently $1.11 a litre, then head off to the top of Mt Archer just to hear my ears pop. Well, a bit more than that. Hoped to see the sea without travelling out to it, but all I can see with the cloud about is a bit of space where there doesn't appear to be any land. Looking back, I track the river as it curls into the city, then a straight line through it, then curling away again, sweeping away perhaps, as it heads towards the delta & the salt farms.

I head inland, past the army barracks where the tents have all come down, past the showgrounds still full of petrol tankers waiting to be picked up on prime movers & taken away. An AWACS plane at the airport, & a couple of army helicopters circling around to remind us that it is the 4th of July & some of us are still independent, though for how much longer. The de facto 51st state of rightwing Amerika, but not important enough to qualify as a site for a live8 concert.

Inland, taking the second of the three roads that go cross-country to link up with the highway coming up from the south. I discover a cotton farm, am surprised, didn't think there was enough water to support a venture this near the coast. Several hundred kilometres inland there are cotton farms, with enough water to service them. This one looks a pretty sad attempt.

I don't take Lion Mountain Road but salute the landmark as I pass near staying on the sealed surfaces. Head towards Gracemere, think about going to see the cattle sale but decide against it, cross the Capricorn Highway which heads west & inland, then the Burnett Highway which heads south-west & inland, & finally the Bruce Highway, part of Highway 1, the major thoroughfare of Australia, which roughly follows the coast north to Cairns & south to Brisbane & beyond. To Sydney, sigh, & Melbourne, sigh.

I take a drive past the Woolwash lagoon, still drying up though there has been a little bit of rain. I've realised that it will take a flood to bring the lagoons back up to the levels they were at when we arrived two years ago. This lagoon was black swan heaven when we arrived. Now there are none. No pelicans either. In fact very few water birds.

The Yeppen Yeppen lagoon, just down the road from home, is also drying up, but there's significantly more water in it than in the other lagoons. & more bird life. I divert to look for the pelicans. They find me.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Saturday, July 02, 2005

reading the Kaddish aloud
listening to Ray Charles blues shout blind on the phonograph

The highlight

of yesterday, in contrast to the lowlight of finding myself on my arse, was a large glass of fresh-squeezed juice from freshly-picked oranges. We've a tree on the back driveway, that struggles to survive, gives up a branch for every fruit it brings to - fruition? They're crappy to look at, difficult to eat - too full of seeds & pith to make it an easy experience - but very juicy. Oh Lord Vitamin C - I've been touched & now I see the light!

Which reminds me. I thought Billy Graham was dead. But oh no. Seems like he survived Nixon. & copes quite adequately with the adoration of Bill & Hill.

Friday, July 01, 2005

A shopping list

Yesterday morning went up the road & bought

     a small loaf of rye bread
     a loaf of thick sliced white bread
     2 jars of red wine with mushrooms pasta sauce (on special)
     a twin pack of printed paper towels (also on special)
     2L of skim milk
     3 bananas
     3 apples

Totally mundane; except it's an indication of me in denial. No lemons, no aspirin, both of which I was out of. Which is why I ended up later in the day scavenging through the bathroom drawers & swallowing some codeine that I found there.

I should have known better. I've been a heavy smoker for 50 years, wheeze when I breathe & have the appropriate smoker's cough for the length of the addiction. Oxygen deprivation factor #1. I currently have a very heavy chest flu – Odf #2 – that in concert with #1 means that when I cough I feel my head is going to go spinning off. Heavy codeine use, as I discovered earlier this year when I collapsed in a hotel bathroom in Sydney after several days of self-medication for an abcessed tooth, is Odf #3. &, apparently, even light codeine use, when combined with the other two, also impedes the flow of oxygen.

Which is probably why I found myself on the kitchen floor this morning, with no recollection of the descent. Only the coughing fit at the beginning, & me sitting on my arse at the end.

It's about time I stopped pretending I am invincible.