Thursday, June 30, 2005

Codeine sweats. Worse
than the pain it
takes the edge
off. Should have
known better. But. Old
memories, times without,
using whatever it took
to get you through
the strung-out spaces
in-between. Days of.
Nights of. Rubber
soul. Revolver.

Tom Beckett’s Interview with K. Silem Mohammad

is up at e-x-c-h-a-n-g-e-v-a-l-u-e-s.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Breakfast of squeezed lemon juice & honey, soluble aspirin, coffee. Solid food tastes like paper. Mid-winter flu; though mid-winter temperatures here are still around 70 degrees F. & raining, so it doesn't get much colder at night. The rain has brought down most of the purple/pink flowers from the tree outside, covering the lawn, the road, turning the car into what looks like a Hindu bridal cart. When I cough, stars explode in my head, come falling down, just like the flowers. I am feeling sorry for myself, am feeling my age. I think I'll go back to bed, drift in & out of sleep, try & read in the lucid moments. I ache.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Putting together

another book, so have been trawling through the archives - the tail feathers? the beak? - of the pelican.

Am surprised, not by the quantity of poems - if you post most days, & much of that is poetry, then you're going to end up with a lot of poems - but by the strength of a significant proportion of it.

I tend to think of what I post here as almost throwaway. Much like the piece immediately below. & a lot of what I write is raw, unrevised. But a lot of it holds up quite well.

So put the first cull together, add some things from other outlets, look, discard, consider again. & I still end up with around 120 pages. This sure ain't gonna be your traditional slim volume.
paid meticulous
attention to detial.

a mild attack of nationalist fervour

E Ihoa Atua,
O nga Iwi Matoura,
Ata whaka rongona;
Me aroha noa.
Kia hua ko te pai;
Kia tau to atawhai;
Manaakitia mai
Since moving to Australia I have used the Rugby Union Tests between New Zealand & Australia as a kind of barometer for my nationalistic feelings. Both national anthems get sung before the game; & I see which one moves me the most.

New Zealand has always won – the Anthem Test, not the rugby ones. There was a time, in the nineties, when the Australian one came close, but that was in the days of Paul Keating as Prime Minister of a Labor Federal Government. Keating was a visionary, who looked towards the future not the past. Even after he was voted out, even though the N.Z. anthem still moved me more, I might have taken out Australian citizenship if the referendum to become a republic had been carried.

It was defeated, in a skilful piece of political gamesmanship. The question that was not asked was "Should Australia become a republic & have its own head of state, not the Queen of England as it currently is?" If that would have been asked, then the Commonwealth of Australia would probably now be the Republic of Australia. The problem for those advocating the republican side of things was that there was great disagreement on how the new head of state should be appointed – election by the people, or election by the members of Parliament. & so the referendum then ended up with three options, & the option of retaining the status quo received the greatest support.

Since then, since the election of John Howard's conservative Liberal Party in coalition with the Nationals (once called the Country Party), Australia has moved inexorably to the right. & Labor, without a Paul Keating at the helm, has become powerless. At the last election, the conservatives managed to win, for the first time in several decades, an absolute majority in the Senate, the Upper House in Australian politics, the house of review which must also pass bills before they can come into force. The combination of Labor, the Greens & the Democrats had managed to block most of the reactionary bills that the Coalition had put forward. Now it's open house for individual contracts to replace the collective bargaining power of the Unions, for the national Telco to be completely privatised, for universities to be told what courses they can offer.

So the gap between the National Anthems widens. & the fact that the Australian Rugby Board have chosen Waltzing Matilda as a sort of unofficial national anthem to follow the official one widens it even further. Even though I find it easier to live in Australia, my heart is much more firmly in New Zealand. Politically it is an easy choice. Even the right wing of N.Z. politics is probably further left than the Australian Labor Party. It is a country that chose not to line up with the U.S. in invading Iraq; it is a country that refuses entrance to U.S. warships – the official line is that ships carrying nuclear weapons are forbidden, & since the U.S. refuse to admit if their warships are or are not carrying them, then they are denied access; it is a country that has taken in many of the refugees that Australia wanted to leave in its off-shore, paid-for, detention camps.

& it probably also helps that the last five or so years have seen an acknowledgement of my part in the history of N.Z. poetry, that the forgotten man – silence is such an unforgiving thing – is now admitted to have been a significant influence in the sixties in moving N.Z. poetry away from its narrow transplanted Anglophile tradition. I have the editors of Big Smoke to thank for the revision.

So I listen to the N.Z. national anthem, & enjoy it more now that Maori has joined English as the joint official languages, that this is now also the national anthem of Aotearoa. I sing it as the crowd sings it, & my heart – even though I do not go so far as to stand & place my hand over it – joins in.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

feudal socialism

Owing to their historical position, it became the vocation of the aristocracies to write pamphlets against modern bourgeois society. In the French revolution of July 1830, and in the English reform agitation, these aristocracies again succumbed to the hateful upstart. Thenceforth, a serious political contest was altogether out of the question. A literary battle alone remained possible. But even in the domain of literature the old cries of the (French) restoration period had become impossible.

In order to arouse sympathy, the aristocracy were obliged to lose sight, apparently, of their own interests, and to formulate their indictment against the bourgeoisie in the interest of the exploited working class alone. Thus the aristocracy took their revenge by singing lampoons on their new master, and whispering in his ears sinister prophecies of coming catastrophe.

In this way arose feudal Socialism: half lamentation, half lampoon; half echo of the past, half menace of the future; at times, by its bitter, witty and incisive criticism, striking the bourgeoisie to the very heart's core; but always ludicrous in its effect, through total incapacity to comprehend the march of modern history.

The aristocracy, in order to rally the people to them, waved the proletarian alms-bag in front for a banner. But the people, so often as it joined them, saw on their hind-quarters the old feudal coats of arms, and deserted with loud and irreverent laughter.

Marx & Engels: The Communist Manifesto

Friday, June 24, 2005

preceding the post below by a couple of years


Why is there never an haruspex around
when you need one? This morning,
when I went outside, the first thing I saw

was seven crows flying silently across the
sky, bisecting it. An omen, obviously
an omen, but how to interpret it? My
knowledge of soothsaying is limited; I am
reluctant to rely solely on it. But there are
no haruspices listed in the Yellow Pages &
none of those gathered under the generic
heading of fortune tellers that I tried had any
connection to one. I cannot remember

ever having seen a shingle in the main street
amongst the dentists, lawyers & adult
book shops, though, mind you, that
phoney arcade is becoming down-at-heel
& an haruspex is just the sort of calling
that might easily find residence there. My
friends know no-one they can recommend,
making sure they point out when telling me
that of course they have no need for one,
then, as I walk away, I hear their frantic
whispering to whoever they are with
asking just exactly what it is I am
talking about. My uncertainty grows

as the day diminishes — I dislike
unfinished business, but who is there
to finish it? Finally the cat brings me back
to the fact that this is going to be a
do-it-yourself divination, depositing
on the back porch an oxymoron, a drab
exotic, a dead sparrow. I clap my hands
to drive her away & begin to explore those
entrails that she has left for me. They
are minute, messy, difficult to separate &

next to useless. By the time I have finished
I am no closer to determining what that flight
of preternaturally silent birds presaged, know
only why the Romans preferred large animals.

(first published in what was, sadly, the last issue of Linkrot has since set in.)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The first issue

of Starfish, edited by PR Primeau & Dimitri Diakopoulos, can be found here. A good collection of writers, a nice selection of their work.

For those perhaps frightened by the use of the word surrealist in the original submission call, let me just post the editors' note:
Some may question of the Surrealistic "authenticity" of the below work. Get your mind out of the gutter. Breton was just another fucking Beatle, etc.. Welcome to the 21st century. Alright!
Issue #2 awaits.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Meeting of Jukka-Pekka Kervinen & Karri Kokko

J-P.K. Posted on K.K.'s Muisti|Kirja
"I actually met the perp last night, spending a nice summer evening with Jukka and his wonderful family, talking like we've known each other for ages (the first email between us just turned a year). His studio is only a nook in the family room. He's got his lap top there, a few cameras, a keyboard to play music on, a selection of books (a Complete Wordsworth among them). And that's about it. A couple of caged birds chirping above his head, the kind you might see looking out your window, I guess. He showed me how he works. He selects a piece of writing from my blog. He taps away on the lap-top keyboard for a minute or so. Strange-looking code come and go on the screen. And just like that, out of the blue, an image, a newly-composed nonlinear poem, appears (re: Muistikirja). He's done it again. He shows me his mail-art collection. I wonder about the mailman (actually a lady) who delivers the stuff. If there's any more art, they may have to hire more mailmen. He shows me his work as publisher. There's a lot of it for a guy working out of a nook in his living room. Among them there's a book or two by a poet living far and away in QLD. We decide to invite him over. This is how it happens."
K.K. From a comments box below
 Posted by Hello

Notes before finally blacking out

I have just finished re-reading Ursula LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness. It's probably the third time I've read it, with a thirty year gap between the last two readings. It's a book that's stayed with me, that I've always thought of as a great book. But reading it again I have changed my judgment. Now I consider it to be an extraordinary novel, was weeping as I finished it.


I got to thinking about what were my favourite novels, written during my life, or, at least, the part of it where I could consider myself to have some semblance of critical taste. Say from 1950 onwards. The list I came up with:

The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula LeGuin
The Thief's Journal – Jean Genet
City of Night – John Rechy
The Miracle of the Rose – Umberto Eco
Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick
The Naked Lunch – William S. Burroughs
Dhalgren – Samuel Delany
The Shockwave Rider – John Brunner


What to make of it? First, that it's obvious I haven't done all that much keeping up with fiction over the intervening years; it's pretty much a sixties list. Then that seven are male, but that inequality is also a sixties thing. Five of the writers are homosexual, six if you count Burroughs. Four of the books are science fiction; if you change that term to speculative fiction, which I prefer, then six fall into the category.


If I move away from the specific & into bodies of work, that is, favourite writers, then added to the above - & probably removing Rechy from the list since I consider him to be a one-book wonder, but such a book that I forgive him everything since - would be Borges, Donleavy, Ballard, Kerouac, Brautigan, Pynchon, Maxine Hong Kingston, Grass, Böll, William Gibson, Robbe-Grillet, Duras, Beckett, Trocchi, Eastlake, Vonnegut, de Mandiargues, Bowles, Dürrenmatt, Zelazny. Again, such sexual inequality.


What does it say about me? & what, further, if I admit that none of the books listed above would make it to my strictly rationed desert island bunker. That list would probably be:

The Collected Short Stories – J.G. Ballard
The New American Poetry – (ed) Donald M. Allen
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions – Thomas S. Kuhn
The Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman &/or
The Collected Poems – William Carlos Williams
A Personal Anthology – Jorge Luis Borges
The Complete Nevèrÿon – Samuel Delany (cheating here; 4 books in 1)
The Ascent of Man – Jakob Bronowski
The Portable Magritte


All those Thes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Parnasso 3/05

The latest issue of Parnasso, a Finnish journal, has a piece by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen on the cover & a large selection of his work inside.

I was honoured - thanks, Karri - to be asked to write an accompanying article, what Leevi Lehto who translated the piece - thanks, Leevi - describes as a "sympathetic memoir-essay". Part of the translation:
Silti hän on julkaissut vasta nelisen vuotta, ja enimmän ajan tästä hänen yhteytensä muihin kirjailijoihin ovat olleet yksinomaan sähköisiä. Muutama kuukausi sitten hän mailasi minulle kertoen tavanneensa ensimmäisen suomalaisen runoilijansa. Tuon jälkeen hänen paikalliset kontaktinsa ovat selvästi lisääntyneet. On miellyttävää saada seurata, miten virtuaalinen muuttuu (myös) reaaliseksi.
For those of you for whom Finnish is their first language, Leevi has posted his translation here. For the small remainder, the original sympathetic memoir-essay is posted in full below.
 Posted by Hello

I sing the body electric

I came back to writing & publishing poetry, after an absence of twenty-five years, about three (publishing) or four (writing) years ago. In many ways it seemed that things hadn't changed all that much. Sure modern had given way to post-modern; there had apparently been "Poetry Wars" during my absence – I'm still unsure what they were about, but reading Ron Silliman I think they had something to do with l-a-n-g-u-a-g-e poetry vs the 'School of Quietude'. But overall it struck me as the more things changed, the more they stayed the same.

With one significant exception. The internet had evolved, had given rise to a large number of poetry e-zines; & for someone like myself who had always hated snail-mail submissions this was a gift beyond measure.

One of the first places I was published in on my return was can we have our ball back . I had heard of almost none of the poets in the issue, but amongst those with whom I shared a line in the list of contributors on the front page was a person called Jukka-Pekka Kervinen. To my Anglo-Saxon eye it was a name that leapt from the screen. Evocative. As I've written elsewhere, Jukka-Pekka like a ragged mountain range, Kervinen like the valleys that run down from them.

I recognised him immediately as an innovator, but I had difficulty with his work at first. I had an idea of what he was doing, had recently completed a degree majoring in operations research so understood about stochastic processes & recognised those within his work, realised that these pieces were the equivalent of a steady state at the end of a Markov chain. But I was looking for meaning, &, in doing so, was overlooking the meaning of & in his pieces, was disregarding the validity of chance. I had forgotten about the exquisite corpses of the surrealists, or Isadore Ducasse's chance meeting of an umbrella & a sewing machine on an operating table.

We shared more appearances in magazines. I discovered Jukka the composer, the editor, the publisher, the collaborator. I read more of his work, went back & re-read what I had previously seen. I began to appreciate the patterns in it, the beauty of haptic coagulations & aggregations of words, realised that strict structure was not necessarily a stricture. & I watched the development of the pieces, how space & spaces started to appear in them, & non-letter keyboard characters, & incomplete words.

What brought us together was the As/Is weblog in which we both participated. Occasionally we'd comment on one another's postings & we developed one of those acquaintances that you strike up in blogland. I sent him some poems for his e-zine xStream , we started to exchange emails, I started my own blog & posted there, first, a poem based on the subject lines of a series of spam emails I had been getting that seemed to use a program to produce random text which I jokingly suggested he may have developed, & second, a 'Poem beginning with a line from Jukka-Pekka Kervinen', a line which was taken from a piece posted to his nonlinear blog. We laughed about it in the emails that we exchanged after this, & then, in brackets, almost as if it were an afterthought, he mentioned that he had some 'intentionally unfinished' poems, templates, & would I be interested in some collaborations. Would I? Sent back an affirmative response, & received the first five the next morning.

These to me were the moment of enlightenment, epiphany, satori, whatever you care to call it. I was suddenly transported into his work, a dimensional shift. Letters, words, fragments floated about me like macrophages in the bloodstream. I was inspired as I had never been before, & in the space of 2½ days we conspired to produce The Oracular Sonnets.

Other collaborative pieces & sequences followed. I became influenced by what he did, not the programming aspect – I write programs like the Russians designed rockets, dreadfully overengineered – but the conceptual. I noted with interest that some techniques we'd employed in our collaborations – the overlaying of linear text on nonlinear for example – appeared in his poems.

But nothing prepared me for what Jukka started doing next. I'd seen some visual stuff of his – basically text decorated by asemic images – in an issue of eratio . I'd seen the covers for his xPress(ed) range of e-books. A couple of posts at nonlinear appeared to be magnified details of larger works, letters overlapping, some colour. Then, seemingly from nowhere, these incredibly developed text & colour pieces appeared. Letters & words drifted like the macrophages I mentioned earlier, phased in & out, hinted, tempted, teased. It was as if he was now displaying what lay beneath his work, the fractals, the Mandelbrot curves.

They appeared full-grown, full-blown, as if he had been working on them all his life. As visual images they were amazing, painterly, balanced, with all the tension one associates with great works of art.

A lesser person might have been tempted to stop there, to be content with this incredible achievement. But not Jukka. His work has continued to develop & evolve since then, has branched off into different directions. His asemic pieces have been hived off, he has moved into pieces without text, with vibrant colours like those intense acrylics one sees painted onto customised cars. He has moved into mailart, where he indulges his love of collage, communication & collaboration. He is now posting photographs in which he adds a further physical dimension to his 2D textual conjecturing. His blogs, for that is where we still see most of his work, cross-pollinate one another. His is a vision splendid, a vision unique. He is truly one of the great innovators of our time.

Yet Jukka has only been publishing for four years or so & for most of this time his only contact with fellow writers has been electronic. A few months ago he wrote me in an email that he had met his first Finnish poet. Since then his contacts have obviously grown. It is pleasing to see the body ethereal become the body corporeal.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Tapa Notebook

Some sculptor some-
where, who said:
Chip away at the
block of marble until
you find the form
inside. But this the
prelude, forming
the block of stone
from these white
pages. & then, &
only then. Then I
am not a note-
book person, have
only ever kept one
once before, three
decades back, East
Sydney, a bedsit
with wire on the
windows & whores
on the street outside.
& the book in keep-
ing with the cheap
surroundings, un-
branded cover,
coarse paper,
faint blue lines.


An internal journal. No
mention of the journeys
I sometimes made
in Paul Simon's
footsteps. Nothing
in it but lists of
books to read or
read, synopses
of Bogart movies
found in the supine
black & white ventures
of my nights. Nothing
ever out of it but
part of a poem
that lists the lists.


This book is
diction. The cover
tapa cloth, traditional.
But the paper inside
high-tech, high
gloss. So much
dioxin used. So
white I am
afraid to write
on it. An impediment
to speech. Contra


So frightening
six months to
write a word
in it. & then
a fabric-
ation that
perhaps I
wrote. Or.
Perhaps I
wrote of it
but fore-
words &
someone else
them after. Or.
I did make
use of it. Half
anyway. & only
half of that. One
side of the
page. But
whole poems.


Writing on the
recto, leaving
the verso blank.


second in
the Rockhampton Cup.

have won
except the jockey

the course
& got lost.
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Saturday, June 18, 2005

freeze from
the outside in.

This started off as one thing, & ended up as another

After a week of showmanship, military exercises & the contemplation of Bettie's arse/ass, I've decided to try & rebalance my chi by adding a couple of blogs to the sidebar.

Yin & yang as it were. One linking to the pelican, one not. One male, one female. One indulging the physical – Jim Goar posting to Can of Corn from Seoul in South Korea - & the other the spiritual – another Jean Vengua blog, Mnemosyne's Hem, posted from beside the River Lethe. Or maybe from in it. If my memory serves me right - & it should, since my short-term memory is still fine & I looked this up only a couple of minutes ago – Mnemosyne was a Titan, & the Mother of the Muses. An apt description of Jean.

(&, in passing, let me just confess that hearing piped Suthron music emanating from the spare ribs booth at the Show last night reminded me that I rank the banjo below bagpipes which I rank below the accordion. The latter is steadily moving up the list, even if by default.)

I do not know what the etiquette of linkage is, or even if there is one. I do not feel obliged to link to a blog just because it links to mine, nor do I require, if I like the blog, that it has a link pointing in this direction. I was intrigued by someone a week or so ago who raised a link to the pelican & then removed it, two days later, because I hadn't responded reciprocally. I agree, in theory if not in practice, with Tom Beckett whose link list is his on-going crush list – "These are the blogs that I visit a time or three or four a day. I can't get enough of them. They are my cyber-paramours." But I also feel a responsibility that my island within this island in the Southern Ocean, an area sparsely populated by what I'll loosely describe as literary bloggers, can be used as a sort of caravanserai, a transit station, with signposts pointing in all directions.

I try & regularly visit as many blogs as I can in the sidebar, but these days it takes me almost a day just to get through the Js. Cycle time to cover the entire link list is probably nearly a week, for there are a large number that I try to visit daily.

& the blog itself? Ernesto Priego, at Never Neutral, recently wrote:
"I remain amazed at the possibilities of blogging. Never mind the technical ones (the raise of mp3 blogs, for example, has changed the blogosphere of late in a way I could not have predicted three years ago). I mean the possibilities for writing, for tone, of ways of addressing. I remain surprised at those bloggers who keep their blogs as open letters to what they perceive as a closed circle of relatives/friends, using a writing style similar to that of the initmate journal or the personal letter. Why use a blog then, and not, say, an email group? And yet those bloggers seem so certain that their friends/relatives are reading them. Even with my tracking thing, I could never be sure anyone -in specific- is reading me. And there are those bloggers who write as if they were publishing in a magazine or book, with a seriousness and solemnity like no other. They allow no personal hint to come out: they think their blogs are "impersonal" which, in my humble opinion, would be a contradiction of sorts), "professional" forums to showcase their work."
I do not look on this blog as a journal, though it has aspects of one - I post entries daily, which meets the jour criteria; I comment on things that happen to me, that I have encountered, I write down notes. I do not treat the blog as if I was publishing in a magazine because I'm much more casual here, let things get through even if they're rough, unpolished. & because so much of my stuff does get posted here, I now rarely send things off to journals, electronic or print - & another piece of etiquette I am unsure of; if a poem is posted to a blog, is it then published? & not available for submission elsewhere? I am not knowledgeable in poetics or philosophy, so any didactic writing tends to the political – not that I'm knowledgeable in that either, but I do have a deep-rooted leftwing set of beliefs that are often offended in these current times. I write for my friends, & learn & take pleasure from what they write. & in my isolate island, the only friends I have are those I have made through electronic contact.

Blogs have opened up a world for me, & so I open myself up to it. I write with a freedom I have rarely had. I spent too many years pretending to be someone who I was not, or, at least, showing only a part of who I was, who I am. I do not have enough years left to me to continue with that sort of masquerade.

Show Time

There is a story Sammy Davis Jr told, about flying out of India after a concert tour on the day the local police decided the weather conditions were right to burn all the ganja they had confiscated over the past year, tonnes of the stuff. Only the wind suddenly changed direction, & most of Mumbai, Bombay as it was called then, ended up getting stoned.

I was reminded of that by the memory of a Dylan concert I went to in the early seventies, held at the old Sydney Showgrounds less than a week after the week-long Easter Show. Held in the actual showring, which for about five days had been subjected to horses & dogs & sheep & pigs &, quite possibly, even elephants, parading round & round, crapping, tearing up the grass. & then, for the intervening time between Show & concert, it had rained solidly. The showring was basically a mudpit.

But nobody minded because (a) it was the great band that Dylan had at the time, on fire, as was Dylan, with a great sound system; & (b) it was a night of, at the very least, contact highs. None of this shit about failing to inhale – if you breathed, you breathed dope. No avoiding it, no one even attempting to. Any other audience, any other performer, & there would have been a riot so atrocious were the conditions.

& I was reminded of that by a trip last evening to the final day of the local Show. Friday night is concert night, where for the low show price entry, $8 this year, you not only get to see all the prize-winning cakes & cross-stitch embroidery, the crappy stands & junk jewellery outlets, sideshow alley with its grinning clowns & pained pink panthers, the food outlets who haven't changed their frying fat for three days, but you can also hear some aging rocker who's staying alive doing one-night stands on the large-pub / club / local show circuit.

Last year it was Jimmy Barnes, still in pretty good voice. This year it was the 'Super Band', four singers who had all fronted well-known bands in the seventies & eighties, the halcyon years of Aussie rock. Two & a half of them I could do without, though the fourth I quite liked. Unfortunately, a couple of days ago, I had caught part of the tv recording of a club gig he'd done recently, & any enthusiasm I still held for him went out the window singing an off-key song. Still, it was a rare chance of non-country music entertainment.

So we wandered around, found some good coffee & some food where the grease-trap didn't stink, &, as the winner of the Rockhampton Idol competition was announced, approached the arena. To find it covered in the dirt the animals had been parading in over the past two or three days, partly covered in straw & more being brought in. Nowhere to sit, nowhere inviting to even stand. An immediate contact low, with nothing in the air except rancid fat & foecal smells.

We left.

There is a story Paul Desmond told, of how, after finishing a concert with the Brubeck Quartet in a small city somewhere in the mid-West, he got in to a cab & asked the driver to take him to "where the action is". & was taken to an illegal fishing spot.

After last night, I can relate to that.

Friday, June 17, 2005


first thought
this, but then

a hay(na)ku
was more appropriate.
 Posted by Hello

Nothing is sacred. Everything brings grist to the mill

Mark: consider this post a rose tossed at your feet,
its petals made, naturally, of red leather....

Eileen Tabios

dived to
catch it in

teeth. &
missed. Pain. But

Even thin
leather prevents the

of all
teeth. & rose-

means the
blood is hidden.

Tom Beckett Title #12 - Birds are going nuts

(I'm cheating again, Tom, big time this time. The poem below originally appeared as All Things Bright & in can we have our ball back about eighteen months ago. But I think it fits in with your title, & so I'm re-badging it. I hope you've enjoyed the dozen pieces, & I thank you for providing the evocative & inspirational names. I've enjoyed the ride.)
On an otherwise uneventful day
the sun turns an angry
shade of burgundy, birds
fall screaming to the ground
& the whole cicada universe
rises in a stirring rendition of
Bohemian Rhapsody . There is
an underlying humming
which is unsettling everyone.

In this land where lemmings
are unknown, it falls to the
lemurs to be the first to throw
themselves en masse off The Gap,
the local focal point of ultimate
reconciliation for those for whom
the parts of their lives were
previously unreconcilable. Llamas
& meerkats watch in trepidation
as the humming grows louder.
Rising from a bunker deep below
an organic mink farm in the Rockies
what started off sounding like some
tantric mantra has finally resolved
into a tuneless anthem. After many
false beginnings the content now
seems settled on. There is an axis
of evil that threatens the world.
The Homeland must be protected.

Armed men stream forth to make
it happen. They are adorned with
blackened faces & head mikes, symbolic
decoration to show just how far beyond
the godless underdogs this nation
under god has progressed in a
sesqui-century — all the way
from minstrel shows to Madonna
concerts. They roam pro-
claiming they are on a holy
mission, a jihad to rid the world of
something so insidious it cannot
be seen, can only be identified
by scanning equipment that picks up
aberrations in the brain's alpha
waves. Billions have died before
it is realised the equipment is so
imprecise that any brain activity
is considered to be aberrant.

When no one else remains
the missionaries turn upon themselves
fearing that they too may have been
contaminated. Leaving behind
only the cicadas continuing to work
their way through the Queen songbook;
the mink who, finally freed from
enforced separation & a diet of
vegetables & vitamin supplements,
are frantically fucking their tiny tits off
as they prepare to inherit & ultimately
overrun the earth; & someone somewhere
saying "See, Gaia. I promised you
a fur coat, & Daddy always delivers."

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Good Golly, Miss Molly

and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

#10 Cartoon Captions (cheating a bit)

True Humility or: The Curate's Egg
(George du Maurier, Punch 1895)

Right Reverend Host: "I'm afraid you've got a bad pelican eggblog, Mr. Beckett!"
The Curate: "Oh no, my Lord, I assure you ! Parts of it are excellent!"
 Posted by Hello

What a week

& a bit it's been.

Four poems dedicated to me, by four great poets. Bill Allegrezza, harry k. stammer, Tom Beckett & Ernesto Priego.

& if that's not enough, now I discover I'm the winner of Didi Menendez' competition for a poem entitled El culo de Bettie.


Now I know what Eileen means by the word preeeen.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

#7 Bodies

said bodies
come in all

& sizes
was obviously thinking

some other
body – I haven't

able to
find a body

come in
mine for years.

taking over the world

is summer
in the northern

& the
days are one

years long
& just so

second goes
by empty, Jukka-

Kervinen has
started a new

photocollabs, with
Thomas Lowe Taylor.

by Taylor,
digital alterations, J-P.K.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Martin Edmond, reflecting on a year of blogging

"I loved the tone of some of the exotica I was posting last year; now the writing seems more humdrum than I would like. It was to exile the humdrum to another place that I started a companion site, dérives which might paradoxically show more flash and gleam than this one does. Or not. I'm always dissatisfied when I'm not working on a book, which I'm not now, and maybe that's all I mean. I have two folders on my desktop, both with titles I really like, neither with any definite plan. One, I can't decide whether to write as a film or a book, which probably means it should be a film. The other is certainly a book but, although I know what the subject matter is, I still haven't found the voice in which to write it. And, because it is difficult subject matter, I keep shying away from really engaging with it. At the back of my mind is the thought that there might be some other thing that has not yet lurched forward into the light. I feel, I suppose, strangely adrift from my unconscious, or dream life, or whatever ... a state I recognise having been in before. A kind of limbo perhaps. I think of what Keats said about negative capability, to be able to be in a state of suspended disbelief without irritable reaching after fact or reason. (I might be misquoting here). I think of another phrase, the discipline of indiscipline. However. On the other side of the scales, outweighing all introspection and doubt, there is the wonderful, sustaining, always stimulating sense of being a part - however obscure, hesitant or refractory - of a community of writers also engaged in this extraordinary process of extending consciousness to cyberspace."
Martin Edmond: limbo and/or cyberspace
Ah, dear Martin. Delightful, insightful, evocative, provocative, moving, grooving, enlightening & a thousand or so other adjectives might apply. But humdrum? Never!

Wittgenstein Etudes #2b

for Tom Beckett

enjoyed Wittgenstein's
warped woof much

when I
read Tractatus  backwards.

in the inbox

Dear SudsLovers,

is now hot off the shelf and ready for your shower.

Please dispense modestly from:

Rinse and repeat and repeat with poetry by Alli Warren, Amanda Laughtland,
Anselm Berrigan, Beth Woodcome, Bill Berkson, Brent Cunningham,
C. S. Carrier, Carolyn Gregory, Cassie Lewis, Catherine Meng, Cedar Sigo,
Charles Bernstein, Chris Stroffolino, Christopher Wells, Clark Coolidge,
Cynthia Sailers, Dan Beachy-Quick, Del Ray Cross, Denise Duhamel,
Eileen Tabios, Elaine Equi, Eric Raanan Fischman, Geoffrey Cruickshank-
Hagenbuckle, Harvey Goldner, Jack Kimball, Janean Williams, Jennifer
Dannenberg, Jim Behrle, Jocelyn Saidenberg, Jonathan Hayes, Joseph Torra,
Justin Chin, K. Silem Mohammad, kari edwards, Kathleen Miller, Katina
Douveas, Kevin Killian, Kit Robinson, Leslie Scalapino, Michael Farrell,
Michael Magee, Michael Robins, Michelle Trigleth, Norma Cole, Otto Chan,
Paolo Javier, Phil Crippen, Robert Gluck, Ron Padgett, Ron Silliman, Ronald
Palmer, S.J. Holland-Batt, Sean Cole, Shane Allison, Solidad Decosta,
Stephanie Young, Stephen Vincent, Sung-san Hong, Therese Marie Bachand,
Tim Yu, Timothy Liu, Tina Celona, William Corbett, and Yedda Morrison;
plus LatherLicious ShampooArt by Ronald Palmer and Otto Chan.

What better way to thank you all for five great years of SHAMPOO pleasure!


Del Ray Cross, Editor
clean hair / good poetry

Monday, June 13, 2005

Ficciones with Tom Beckett titles #1

Stendhal's Squirrels

Stendhal intended
Le Rouge et le Noir
to be a book for
younger readers. Some-
thing of a parable, a memoir
about his two pet
squirrels. A red he had
named Hudson after
its Latin classification
Tamiasciurus hudsonicus ; &
Caroline, the black,
Sciurus carolinensis . As he
lead them on leashes
through the Bois de
Boulogne on their morning
walks together he would
write down what he imagined
the conversations might
be about as the squirrels
explored their cultural
differences, the European
& the American, an
anticipation of Henry James.
In the early evening he
would transcribe his journal,
shaping it into the
makings of a pleasant
manuscript. Everything
went well until the day
they were attacked by a
rabid dog that scented
breakfast. The squirrels
got away from
Stendhal. So too, when
he eventually came back
to it, did the book.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

oh joy, we're having visitors

The local paper reports:
More than 6000 Australian & 11,000 U.S. personnel will participate in Talisman Sabre '05, a merger of the Tandem Thrust & Crocodile series of exercises. They will be involved in intensive training at Shoalwater Bay, Rockhampton, Townsville & the Coral Sea.

Talisman Sabre's primary aim is to conduct collective training & exercise inter-operability between Australian & U.S. forces.

The biennial exercise will further develop the Australian Armed Forces' capability to undertake joint, combined operations & will help build regional security & complement Australia's regional partners' activities with the U.S.

Based on fictional scenarios, the exercise includes combined Special Forces operations, parachute drops, amphibious landings at Shoalwater Bay, artillery & infantry manoeuvres, air combat training & advanced maritime operations.

The exercise is being conducted in accordance with approved environmental rules, guidelines & audits.
Past experience shows that the "environmental rules & guidelines" get paid as much attention to here as they do in Iraq. The first friendly fire incident came about when an army truck laden with two armoured personnel carriers almost wiped me out when it turned across my path instead of giving way. The first hostile action occurred when two U.S. sailors were arrested in Townsville in the process of smuggling 11 kg of amphetamines ashore.

Ah, but these are minor things, considering it is estimated that around $5 million will be spent in the Rockhampton community as a result of the exercise. Though this is somewhat tempered by the fact that it tends to cost the local community about $1 million to fix up the damage caused by heavy traffic on minor roads & artillery fire in the undergrowth.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

taken this out of the comment box below

call for work
"I am producing and editing a chapbook anthology for differentia books called, thematically, High Plains Drifting. What you need to do is make some high plains drifting in one (to two) pages of text. Address to: differentiabooks ~ Cite project name in subject line. I can process Word documents (while trying to acquire Pagemaker,) and inline email text and b&w (or sepia toned, or maybe color) images are fine. Selected original image gets the cover. One brilliant entry so far."
Jesse Crockett

A pleasurable note

I am delighted to see amongst the books listed by Charles Bernstein as being notable for Summer 2005 ( &, in passing, a big thankyou to Eileen for preening over the brick which is also on the list & pointing me towards it) Michele Leggott's Milk & Honey.

It (& the brick) have been sitting on the desk beside my pc for the last couple of months, read with continuing enjoyment & delight, a pleasure intensified by the hand-written notes from the poets inside each.

Charles Bernstein's comment:
Michelle Leggott, Milk & Honey (New Zealand University Press)Impressario of the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Center and author of Reading 80 Flowers, professor at the University of Auckland, Michelle Leggott continues to write complex lyrics, sampling thought and song, voice and vision.
(Though, Charles, please note there is only one l in Michele. & to describe it as being published by the New Zealand University Press would have every university in N.Z. outside Auckland frothing at the mouth.)
 Posted by Hello

re: constitute

Not a particular
aspect but the
entirety. That there
are parts to
though. Words for.
Such as. Pith, zest,
segmented, seeded,
navel. Varietal. That
go together. That
together go together.
So. Taste, the juice.
All of which. Without
even talking about
the colour. So. Or.
Say to you. This is
orange. Otherwise.
This is an orange. In
the hand. Peeled.
Particulate. Entire.

In an act

of kiwi solidarity, I have added the eponymous blog of fellow New Zealander Michael P. Steven to the sidebar.

& have also added the non-New Zealand blog minus 1 plus 6 because it's interesting &, I'm guessing, from a very organised mind.

Friday, June 10, 2005

I have ordered my copy of

Bill Allegrezza's The Vicious Bunny Translations. Available through, it contains all the bunny translations from his blog, p-ramblings , for the past two years.

Bill writes:
"With all that has happened in these two years, the bunny translations have acted as meditations on war, sex, death, divorce, and progress."
&, incidentally, were a major inspiration for my novella The Allegrezza Ficcione  which was serialised at the pelican.
 Posted by Hello

from: Five Translations from the Phoenician (an appendix to The Allegrezza Ficcione)

Don't even think about
asking where the arak
came from. You know

I'm a trader, always
looking out for a bargain;
& if someone believes

my body still has
value, then who am I
to question the exchange?

So drink up. There are
another four flasks
left in the cupboard.

attributed to Menon; 4th century B.C.
translated by Umberto Allegrezza

(first published in xStream #26)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

ah, ernesto.....

A tinkling piano in the next
apartment, those stumbling
words that told you what
my heart meant, a fairground's
painted swings, these foolish
things remind me of you.

some ficciones are already written

Greville /grevil/ Fulke, 1st Baron Brooke 1554-1628. English poet and courtier, friend and biographer of Philip Sidney. Greville's works, none published during his lifetime, include Caelica , a sequence of poems in different metres; The Tragedy of Mustapha  and The Tragedy of Alaham , tragedies modelled on the Latin Seneca; and the Life of Sir Philip Sidney  1652. He has been commended for his plain style and tough political thought.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


that I have learnt how to centre - & must remember to always write the tag as 'center' - posts on this blog, I can put up a poem I have always wanted to post, but which would have been too difficult to do in the past. It's a section of one of my collaborations with Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, The Oracular Sonnets, an e-chapbook published last year by Eileen Tabios' Meritage Press.

So below.....

from: The Oracular Sonnets

in a pause
in the pulse
of the
beating wings
of words
on the
G String
it is
music of
great beauty
it is
music of
great beauty
who walks
towards you
in a
she reaches
last step
when she
reach out
touch you
your pulse
your words

This post

serves no other purpose than to act as a division between the post below & the post above.

Monday, June 06, 2005


Thanks for the invite, Didi

I have joined the community at cafe' cafe'. & yes, that is an acute slippage.

I have saved all my ribbons for thee

Fuck the aesthetically correct. Fuck the march of cell phones & their transmission towers. Let the world be catenated once more. Bring back the wires. Let them sag openly, to the weather as to grief. Let the birds perch on them, crap from them, engage in flittering, fluttering sex on them. Quick, before they become merely a footnote to a Leonard Cohen song.

& yet, & yet. Their going provokes a "project of documenting disappearing objects (like telephone poles)" to quote Jukka-Pekka Kervinen from an email. & the output of this project by Jim Leftwich & Jukka is so brilliant that I am tempted to advocate the pulling out of a number of the remaining poles & replacing them with billboards of these wonderful images.

With some poles left standing, though, so they can be postered & posted. So they can grow old disgracefully, & be captured in their aging & accoutrement.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Portrait de Georgette Magritte


par son mari, 1926.
If one was asked to make a list of the recurring images in Magritte's paintings it would probably include apples & birds, men in bowler hats, bilboquets, pipes, horse's bells, clouds. Rarely would it include Georgette, Magritte's wife of forty-five years.

Yet she is everywhere, in full, in part, in parts. Naked, clothed. Turning or turned to stone, to wood. In a courtesan's palace. Hidden, found. By the sea. Ever-changing, she remains the constant.
Posted by Hello

Aren't you glad the world is in such safe & sensible hands?

In Australia
AUSTRALIA could become a Muslim nation in 50 years unless Parliament retains control of RU486, a former Howard Government Minister has warned.

Dumped frontbencher Danna Vale said Australia was aborting itself out of existence and Islam might soon be the dominant religion.

In a warning to MPs to keep ministerial oversight of the controversial abortion drug, Ms Vale said Australia's changing demographic should be considered in this week's vote.

"I've actually read in the Daily Telegraph where a certain imam from Lakemba Mosque said Australia's going to be a Muslim nation in 50 years' time," she said.

"When you actually look at the birth rate, and you look at the fact that we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence . . . by about 100,000 abortions each year.

"You multiply that by 50 years -- that's five million potential Australians we won't have here."
& in the U.S.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House was bombarded with questions on Monday about why it failed to go public with news that Vice President Dick Cheney shot a fellow quail hunter until the day after the accident.

The victim, Harry Whittington, 78, took pellets in his cheek, neck and chest when Cheney fired his shotgun while aiming for a bird during a hunt in southern Texas on Saturday, and was in stable condition at a Corpus Christi hospital.

The accident happened about 5:30 p.m. on a private ranch about 200 miles south of San Antonio, where the vice president has hunted previously. Whittington was treated on the scene by Cheney's traveling medical detail before being taken by helicopter to the hospital.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said on Monday that Cheney would receive a warning citation for not having a special bird-hunting stamp on a Texas hunting license he bought earlier.

Cheney's office said in the only statement it has issued on the shooting that his staff had purchased the license thinking it covered quail hunting, but had not been told about the stamp.

"The Vice President has sent a $7 check to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which is the cost of an upland game bird stamp," the statement said.
What else does the history of ideas prove, than that intellectual production changes in character in proportion as material production is changed? The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.
Marx & Engels: The Communist Manifesto

Saturday, June 04, 2005

a Ginsberg anniversary

years since
Howl was started.

minds my
generation has seen!

only some
destroyed by madness.

Friday, June 03, 2005

a request

Could the person(s) who courteously invited me today to join their blog please either email me or post to the comments the address of the site so I can see what it's about.

Many thanks.

A note on what's below

This is one of those mornings when coffee & Coltrane just won’t help. Not even going outside & singing the Internationale to the neighbourhood. I would welcome a tag, would probably even welcome an accordion player, have my mind zydecorated as it were.
Clifton Chenier! I’m with you in Rockhampton
       where there are twentyfive thousand mad comrades
       all together singing the final stanzas of the Internationale
Perhaps it’s the agitation of the washing machine in the background……& I draw the line at bagpipes.

I’ve been thinking it’s about time I wrote another ficcione. & yesterday Tom Beckett posted a piece - & a poem – about a competition Didi Menendez is running for a poem with a specified title. It stuck in my mind with the velocity of a post-it note. But this morning, this morning….I had nowhere else to go. So, donning a sports bra & lycra shorts & placing a few more kilos on the weights machine, I began pumping iron – or, at least, the soft metal machine version of it - & eventually produced El Culo de Bettie, aka The Velázquez Ficcione.

El Culo de Bettie

(Diego Velázquez; The Rokeby Venus)

Painters often have a
preferred model, almost
a partner. Sometimes
is. Magritte. Picasso. Not
quite Velázquez; though
he used his constant model
to help conceal his sexual
orientation. Drew mainly
boys; liked drawing them, liked
doing other things
to them, or being done by. But the
portraits with which he kept
his royal patronage
always had the same
female body somewhere
in them. Different faces, only ever
shown entire once, the
Rokeby Venus, & that though
regal not Regal like the others
were. Otherwise
much of the Spanish Court,
the Princesses, the
Queen. & appears again
in the painting of another
Court, the Coronation
of Elizabeth of England. Ordered
destroyed by the Pope
because its subject was
"that Protestant Bitch". His
notebooks the remaining
record. Westminster Abbey
in sunlight, the avenue full
of it, the Dukes & Earls on
black horses that absorbed
the sun so their coats shone
glossy with it. But the focus
a small white donkey with plaited
mane & silver trappings, bouncing
the sun back into the viewer's
eyes. & on its back, riding side-
saddle, contrasted, cool unlike
her courtiers, the Queen at the
head of the procession, the head
of the Queen, the body of his
model. A note to Velázquez
from her still survives. In part
it reads: "Diego. Sorry
to hear about the painting.
Such a pity. Naked or clothed,
Venus or Elizabeth, you always
made my ass look great."
Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Jean Vengua tells me this is National Accordion Awareness Month. I'm glad I don't live in the U.S. First George W. Bush & then this. But then, wasn't The Star-Spangled Banner written by Francis Scott Accordion Key?

Pass the ammunition. It's open season on squeeze-boxes. Be aware, be terribly aware.


Jack Kimball's post of May 31 at Pantaloons is beautiful!

A Life of Breton

PR Primeau is starting up a Surrealist quarterly, Starfish. Details are available here.
 Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

a tag p.s. = gasp at

Jill Chan has also tagged me. Change the track to Giant Steps. I am not a morning person. I need coffee & Coltrane to get me going.

The Tag stops here as der Tag begins

I swore never to indulge again in these sort of things, but since this particular tag came from Richard Lopez I will accept this one, out of friendship.

Total volume of music audio files on PC: 40 KB. Yes, Kilobytes. I have vinyl & tapes & CDs. The PC is for words. But amongst the bite-sized bytes are three pieces by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, four songs whose music is by harry k.stammer, two Tom Beckett poems, three Bill Allegrezza poems, & a Bach cantata - Weinen, klagen, sorgen, zagen - that Jukka passed on to me.

The last CD I bought was either Bach's Brandenburg Concertos or Respect, the very best of Aretha Franklin.

The track playing now is Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #3 in G major.

Five tracks I listen to a lot are:
     Neneh Cherry & Youssou n'Dour - 7 seconds
     Miles Davis - Time after Time
     Miles Davis & Gil Evans - Concerto de Aranjuez
     The Band - The Weight
     J.S. Bach - Air on the G String

There, I've done it. Now can I go to bed?