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!

way to
start the year.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

high/light of a time away

my back
on a banana

looking up
at a night

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

Kokko's post
about the winter

& darkness
descending across the

land has
frightened me. So

shutting up
shop for a

of days
& heading north,

it'll be
a voyage of

covery. Maybe
only an excuse

a long
drive. Or maybe

just the
old familiar familial

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 here. 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 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


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.


"…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?

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


farmer, chicken

farmer, fox
farmer, chicken

farmer, bag of corn

farmer, chicken



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


the big Thor-oh?

vino veritas,
in  flu  enza


with the
flu I think

= Thor-hammer,
coughing = Thor-ax.


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.
current thunder
doesn't roll, sounds

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

the tyranny
of distance. I

am still waiting
for my

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

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


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


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


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


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

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 as well as the Hay(na)ku Blog at 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:


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

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).

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

# posted by EILEEN @ 2:18 PM

Friday, December 09, 2005


swimming in
the Roland Barthes

sym em





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


equal opportunity

the pages
of the stud-

, I
believe equal opportunity

be afforded
those of us

are passed
studliness by bringing

a calendar
made up of

miscellany of
months from the

& seventies,
every one included

the chance
to select a

when their
date looked good.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


entry points


the Scilly Isles

"parachutes, my love,
could carry us higher"


"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

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.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sorry, Aretha

just don't
know what to

do with myself
so I

Springfield songs
in the hope

the son of
a Preacher

come along
& take time

to make time
& tell

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

     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,

     am quite
     amenable to bribery.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Mothra come home, all is forgiven

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

black silk
upon his head