Sunday, March 19, 2006

A post-ultimate post

My thanks for the comments, posts & emails.

I have no intention of leaving the ethereal world. It's just that I felt I wasn't giving the pelican the commitment it deserved. Magritte will continue, I'll probably post to As/Is, & I'll probably start a new blog sometime, but at a less frenetic pace. The Blogger Dashboard tells me this is the 1768th post in these two years. That's an average of 2½ per day. Fine while I was in semi-retirement, but now that I'm back working…..

I'm leaving the blog up & intact, (a) because there's a lot of good stuff in here that I'd hate to see lost, & (b) because it's an easy way to find people & I haven't been visiting other sites with the regularity I think they deserve.

I'm also thinking of starting up a blogzine — separately-paged, not continously-scrolled — so if there's anyone out there who wants to express an interest in contributing, my email address is to the right in the sidebar.

So my friends, many of you my dear, dear friends, it's au revoir, not adieu.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A farewell hay(na)ku

 
After exactly two
years as
a
battery
hen, I
have decided to

let the Pelican
find a
home
on
the free
range. Occasionally I

might
go &
collect her eggs.

Pen ultimate - a thank you

Flirting
for Eileen Tabios

So the distances are Galatea
and one does fall in love
CHARLES OLSON: The Distances


It is a dance in two
parts. Is ritual.

Pop song from the
Forties. A trip to the moon.

The bull, the matador.
Dance, ritual, death.

Whose death? A las
cinco de la tarde.

Usually the bull. Sometimes
the matador. Provocation

can have unexpected results.
A procession of flagellants

passes by. I am drunk on the
smell of fermented mangoes.

Red sand blood white.
What colour are your eyes?

§


RKH – LAX
for harry k. stammer

The weather is purple
& has an undertow
that buffets me. I
stumble. I fall
into the path
of a bellicose ambulance
which gathers me up
in its lifting arms
& dumps me
in the back. No-one
sees me go. I trigger
the GPS tracking
beacon in my
backwards baseball cap
& hope the response
is all that was
promised me. Only
a pre-emptive strike
by the Dawn Patrol
can save me now
from being shipped off
to a missile silo
in West Virginia where
my health insurance
may not cover me.

§


Black (for Geof Huth)

http://pelicandreaming.blogspot.com/2005/09/black-for-geof-huth_20.html

§


A Nocturne for Kirsten Kaschock

What is a dancer? What is it to dance?
Kirsten Kaschock: sleightthing

The dance is

a synchronicity
of celibacy &
sexual excess.

The body embodied.
The body left behind.

Though still
without, within
you dance.

A way of life
a way to life
away from death.

At night the rain
beats black against
the windows. Reflected
you assume the
stance. The rivulets
amend your movements.

The feet. The brain.
Forgotten. Emotion.

Enumeration.
Annunciation.

The dancer is
the dance.

§


An Alphabet para Ernesto Priego

A Martian with a clown face can pass as a Venusian.
Butterflies call chaos theory the pissing or pissant theory. They believe that if two men in Guadalajara have a competition to see who can piss the highest, a blizzard will eventually develop somewhere in Siberia.
Codicia de la boca / al hilo de un suspiro suspendida…
Debonair is a tune that makes you want to whistle along with it.
Ebonaire is a dark wood with holes in it. Some people call it a recorder.
Fenêtre is French for window. Perhaps a French window.
Galapagos has tortoises. The lagoon at the end of our street has turtles. Last night I rescued a turtle from the roadway. It was heading in the wrong direction, away from the water. It didn’t make me want to rewrite the theory of evolution.
Heavenly shades of night are falling, it’s twilight time.
Incognito ergo sum.
Jalapeno peppers bring tears to my thighs.
Kevlar is used for making body armour. In an ideal world you wouldn’t need it.
Later he would walk down to the lagoon.
Miles Davis was
Never neutral. Nor was
Octavio
Paz.
Quena is a type of flute made from a human bone. I once wrote a poem about it. The poem rhymed.
Reckon you thought I might stick in Quetzalcoatal for that previous entry, but I’m saving him for a later line.
Swallows are what bellies are for.
Teotehuacán is one of the places where the feathered serpent was formerly & formally worshipped.
U comes before
V. But one of the problems about getting old is that sometimes you actually have to check on those sort of things. The alphabet is its own mnemonic.
When you forget it there’s nothing to fall back on.
X-men. Uncanny how we both thought of that together. Snap!
Y am I doing all this? Take it as an act of friendship. Do not question it. Do not pass go.
Zeus was my father. He fell upon my mother as a swan & got up despite the down. Helen of Troy is a sort of sister. Brad Pitt is no relation. But sometimes I think there is an other.

§


For Jill Jones

An undertrack of
electronic Miles, planes, inner-
suburban street noise
that brings me to a polyglottal
stop. & over all yr poems.
Precise. Polyphonic. Re-
minding me how things
are built
from beneath the ground
up. Not so much
taking me back. Rather,
re-placing me.

§


A Vale for Tom Beckett

The real de-
natures, the artificial
turns brittle
in the sun. He followed
what was now a
marked path back
to the starting point.
Found fungi of strange
colours, pieces of
metal, polycarbonates
coated with a film
of white dust. He
gathered them up
as he went, small
bundles, several trips.
Re-assembled them
in whatever manner
that they held
together. Started
out again. This time
a different journey.


§


What sight the light lets in
for Michele Leggott

That
time of evening
just after the light
begins to fade
& you
begin to
lose your sight

We sat
outside a café
on the quayside
drinking flat white coffees

Talking of Portugal

Let our ferries
leave without us

talking of

The ones
after that
as well

talking

Finally

facing away
from the way
the ferry
is going

I sit
on the back deck

It is
a deliberate act

It is
a replication

of your standing
in the same place
on the ferry
that left twenty minutes
before mine

I watched you leave
I waved
I do not know
if you could see me

It is
that time
of the evening

I watch the wharf recede
I am there on it
I am waving

I
already know
how it felt
to wave
goodbye

I do not know
what sight
the light let in

So

now
I can tell
how it felt
to watch me
wave goodbye

just in case

we ever
need to know

§


The Allegrezza Ficcione
for who else but

Bill Allegrezza

poet, editor
&
inspirational
bunny-meister

which starts here, & continues on for many hops

§


A Little Note for Sheila Murphy

the
inc (and) escence
of your
po et ry
b (l) inds
me

§


The Babur ficcione
for Karri Kokko

So much on the
positive side. Founder
of the Moghul
Empire, great grand-
son of Tamur the
Lame & therefore
descended from
the great Genghis
Khan. It is a lineage
easily able to hold
all the existing
continents together
as a single land
mass. Quite the
white night; & that's
how the miniatures
inevitably display
him. But the friezes
at Khajuraho tell
a different bed-
time story,
show him with
an extensible tongue
inside an elongated
skull that is totally
resistant to tarnish &
corrosion. His glorious
victories at Panipat
are not depicted
here. What is is how
he got his name, The
Man who Lost
his Lung in the
Battle of Cunnilingus.

§


For Jean Vengua

Your poem posted
just after one
day’s midnight. &
I reading it
not that long after
am already knocking
on the next. Time-
lines, lines of
different longitude;
but our songlines
are sometimes similar
to my untrained
ear. You tell me
what yesterday was
like. In return
I let you know
about tomorrow.

§


At Trotsky’s Funeral

for Jukka-Pekka Kervinen

Estrépito de plumas blancas en el cielo nocturno
Octavio Paz: Semillas para un himno

a
Later there would be
questions asked;
but at the time
few people paid
much attention to the
small group standing off
to the side at the wake
that followed Trotsky’s
funeral. Certainly
the two men at the centre
both had bodyguards; but that
was normal here & neither
had famous faces like the
Hitchcocks & Hemingways
that the press were
much more interested in.

*

0
A strange pairing
Turing & Oppenheimer. & of
the few people
that noticed them
Octavio Paz the only one
to see that
there was energy flowing
beyond the sexual tension. Ever
the astute metaphysician. “The one
wanted to unravel the moon
by using recursive &
mechanical algorithms; the other
to recreate the sun with a
continuous chain reaction. I
saw the future in them. I saw
several futures.”
      Islas en llamas en mitad del Pacifico
     Mundos de imágenes suspendidos de un hilo de araña


*

1
Perhaps the mescal, perhaps
the Mexican warmth, but Turing
was expansive on the day,
eschewing the cyphers
he usually talked in & of. “If
I can paraphrase Hegel,
the thing we learn from history
is that we do not learn from it.
But we are dreamers, & have
chosen to ignore that lesson. da
Vinci designed flying machines
in a flightless age; Babbage
computed a difference engine
far beyond the loom
that knitted Jacquard sweaters. I
have this idea of a machine
whose answers to a set of
questions are indistinguishable
from those of a man. & you,
Robert, you dream of a
Fabergé egg that conceals
a controlled fusion that
will turn the desert into
glass. Conceit & concept –
we have them both. It is
the world that lacks
the technology to
make them practical.”
Oppenheimer smiled.

*

R
One of the first things
Oppenheimer did as
director of Project Manhattan
was to invite Diego Rivera
north to Los Alamos to
paint a series of murals
showing the benefits
that nuclear energy
would give the peoples
of the world. At night
Rivera slipped out
to the testing grounds
&, by the light of two
kerosene lamps, painted
on the wall of one
of the Quonset huts
that had been erected there
a mural of Trotsky’s funeral
over-shadowed by a
mushroom cloud that bore
the face of Shiva. It was
the first thing destroyed
by the first successful
testing of the bomb.

*

b
Instead of a long chain
of nucleotides, think of
the body as being
comprised of an infinite
tape divided into cells,
a finite number of which
contain a symbol drawn
from a finite vocabulary.

To breath life into it
add a moving head to scan
the cells as they pass; &
depending on the present state
& the present symbol
to overwrite or delete what
it finds there & move
one cell further on. It is not
a sequence of purine or
pyrimidine bases but of
ordered quintuples. Birth
is the initial state; the subset
of final states includes
assassination with an icepick
suicide through cyanide
& the

crash of white plumes
in the night sky.


§


My life in Vaudeville
for Nick Piombino because he didn't / ask the question
& for Tom Beckett because he gave me / the title


The players in the orchestra pit
are aging, some are
already dead or too infirm
to hold their instruments. Only
the drummer manages to keep
a beat; & that occasionally
runs ragged since his
bass drum had a triple bypass
four months ago. Nobody
wants to play this type of music
anymore. No fame or
fortune in it. The singers have all
left, the jugglers drop more
than they catch & local bylaws
have taken the fire-eater
out of the program. Two years ago
my partner died. No one to replace him
so I've been using a dummy
whose response to "Why is there
a gryphon in the garden?"
is a very wooden
"Because Thurber took the unicorn".
We've had the North Korean
Totalitarian Drill & Marching Band
in for a couple of weeks but now
they've overstayed their visas
& are due to be deported
in the morning. There's nothing
left except to clear the last
tableau & close. Next week it's
strippers, sound machine & a single
spotlight. The theatre's being re-
named, either "Vanishing Acts" or
"Pussies Galore". They'll probably
go for the latter. Boom tish.

§


Throwback
for Martin Edmond

You probably don’t
know me but
I’ve seen you
around campus
& would
really like it
if we could get
together. You
could recite poetry
to me & I could
tell you my
life story. Meet me
on Thursday at 5.45 p.m.
under the
Moreton Bay figs by
the Victoria St entrance
to Albert Park. I’ll
be wearing a
raspberry beret &
a Guevara T-shirt. & just
so you won’t mistake me
I’ll be carrying
a copy of Alcools
by Apollinaire in
one hand & Eco’s
Kant & the
platypus in the other.

§


&
to every-
one else who

has
shared the
journey – sincere thanks.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I am listening to the double-CD of the Modern Jazz Quartet's final concert, recorded at the Lincoln Centre in November 1974. They have always been one of my favourite groups, a composite in many ways of the things that move me in music, beyond music. They're a major part of my continuum, a nexus that brought together Bach & bebop, that swung like all hell, very laid back but also very structured, an insistence on the melodic but at times they got real down & dirty. A group whose leader, the pianist John Lewis, insisted that they present with a strict dress code, tuxedos or lounge suits, to emphasize the seriousness of the music, to show that jazz had its place in the concert hall. But whose music didn't lose touch with its roots.

They were amongst the first records I bought well over fifty years ago, along with Miles & Monk & Mingus & Ellington & Sonny Rollins. & amongst those was an extended play 45 r.p.m. which had Django, Lewis' beautiful tribute to the great gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhart, on it. (Lewis has just quoted from Dixie on the track that's on at present to remind me that humour was something else they had.) & Django is the next track up on this album that also includes Round Midnight, A Night in Tunisia, Bags Groove and the adagio from Concierto de Aranjuez. Any one of which would be enough, but all together…..

The first group I ever had was patterned on the MJQ. Not the instrumentation — I had a guitarist & a reed-player (a 14-year old prodigy who played flute & clarinet & baritone sax & later went on to play with Maynard Ferguson's big band amongst others) where the MJQ had piano & vibraharp — but Lewis was my great influence as a composer, & a structurer (if there is such a word) of the music & the way it was presented. (& now Lewis quotes from Charlie Parker's Now's the Time: You hear it every way / a dog will have its day / but when it comes to music / dogs ain't got a thing to say.)

I remember being invited, patronisingly, to perform at one of the Wellington Jazz Society's Jazz for Listening concerts. & now a big hand for these young men…..& I remember being so pleased when we blew the fuckers away. One of those nights…..

One of those many nights. In that place. At that time. I have said before that it was an ideal time & place to grow up in. A small city, with everybody living around the fringes of the inner city, close enough to walk wherever you wanted to go, open enough to have everybody drop in unannounced at all hours of the day & night. Where the poets mixed with the painters, & the musicians, & the actors, & the gays, & the hipsters, & the beats. & everybody knew everybody, & knew everything that was going on.

That was then, & in a sense is still now, for one seeks the thickness of the past when the present is so thin it will shatter if you put pressure on it. & I am feeling fragile, clearing the decks so there isn't too much weight around.

The MJQ album has finished. Bags Groove has died away. What other music by dead men shall I put on? I flip between Miles & Bach, pick Miles. Time After Time.

I have a need to weep.

A new issue

of Moria is up.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

hisstory

herstory

dis
enfranchised

a p.s.

or,
perhaps, a
Biro de change.

The Dharmasekar ficcione

When asked
why he had followed
this
particular pursuit, Sunil
Dharmasekar, pre-
eminent amongst
modern Tantric sages,
attributed it to
the invention & subsequent
mass production
of the ballpoint pen.

"I was young &
naif," he said. "Until
the age of twenty-
three I did not know
that the appendage be-
tween my legs had a
purpose beyond
exuding fluids. I
taught myself
to curl it over a
quill to write my
poetry, & then,
through exercise
& the attachment of
weights, extended it
to also hold
an inkpot. Finally
more exercise, a
further extension &
eventually I could bend
the quill back
& dip it in the ink.

"There were problems. Mind control stopped the fluid flow; but since poetry would never pay the bills, I set up in the market as a scribe. Most of the time fine, but several times a day, sometimes a customer, sometimes a passerby, someone would set something off inside me & my appendage would uncoil & send ink everywhere. Once or twice the quill almost took an eye out. I thought my business would be ruined, but instead it blossomed. Parents would bring their children in, ask me to write something trite, but they seemed more interested in the spring in my, by now, instep. They called me lingam, though I never knew why. At least not then.

"& then, the ballpoint pen came along. I found it was much easier to hold it in my hand, &, of course, there was no need to carry an inkpot round with me. I put my appendage away at first, but use had left it as a helix that still uncoiled & had a tendency to flee the nest. & the parents demanded me naked when I wrote, muttering something about how they had to be sure I was not a fakir practicing some kind of rope trick. Then the Socialists brought in universal education & everybody learned how to read & write. & again I thought I would once more be a poet with a starving garrotte, & again I was wrong. Only now they didn't bother to have me write anything, jusr asked to see what they were now calling my dowry dowsing rod..

"Eventually one of the mothers stayed behind &, you might say, took me in hand. & a few other places as well. She taught me a few tricks, how to control the uncoiling, how to increase the reaction. Explained to me that the more intense the spring, the more money I was likely to get from grateful parents. Which was becoming necessary, because I had almost exhausted that demographic. I began giving lessons, private sessions. I franchised my technique.

"I wrote the first of what would become many books. For the title page, I always returned to my early ways though now with a goose-feather quill & an alabaster inkpot. But the body of the book was always written longhand, in ballpoint of course.

"As
they say,
life's a Bic."

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Fiddling
with the
keys on
the dark
porch I
managed
to lose
the poem
that had
found me
halfway
through my
walk home.

It's the weekend.

I
should have
been grooming the

pelican. Spent time
with Magritte
instead.

So long

After the
revolution

it will
be the

spies &
sleeper agents
& silent
sympathizers

that
I will

execute first

for
how can I
trust
those

who have
for so
long

success-
fully

lived
a lie.

Friday, March 10, 2006

It has been

raining off & on over the last few days, occasionally quite heavily, as the bottom edge of the monsoon trough passes across northern Australia. Even now the clouds off to the inland are acquiring that grey glassiness that might indicate another storm is about to arrive. But it's also been reasonably warm, & the mosquitoes are out in plague proportions. Disturb them & your arm, within seconds, resembles one of those commercials for insect repellants, where some dickhead sticks his arm into a glass case that is swarming with the little beasties. I keep thinking of Ross River virus, Q fever, some other thing that brought crows crashing down out of the skies that I saw last week on a documentary that Brad Pitt narrated. Which, at the same time, was also killing people without explanation, but nobody made the correlation with the crows, especially not the Centre for Disease Control because they're so far up themselves that testing animals is beneath them.

Let me just point out in passing that it was a veterinarian who first posited the relationship between kuru, a disorder that was discovered amongst the Fore people of New Guinea, & scrapie, a disease that affected sheep & goats. & let me just say that it was only veterinarians who protested against the British Board of Agriculture loosening its regulations on what could be fed to animals. & let me finish my aside by saying guess where bovine spongiform encephalopathy, shortened to BSE, popularly known as mad cow disease, came from. Feeding cows infected animal parts. Oh?

Not that I'm putting that forward as something to be found in my garden. I'm the only mad cow around, freaking out about the mosquitoes, doing strange dances as I attempt to swat them. No crows are falling from the sky, but with that raucous caw they have, I don't think I'd mind.

A new issue

of Word for /Word is out.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Night Soil

Ernesto Priego has a post called Night Soil over at Never Neutral. But judging from the tone of the piece - a note (a) as to how he's got an eye infection & (b) how he's enjoying reading Sean Finney's The Obedient Door - I don't think that what he means by the term is what I mean when I use it.

In my very early childhood, younger than six, the town where I lived had neither sewerage nor septic tanks. Instead there was an outside toilet - a dunny - that had, behind & beneath the wooden bench on which you sat to crap, a small outside door through which the nightly (?) collection of excreta would be made. Hence the term night soil.

Probably every family has a much-loved story somewhere in their history about sitting on the dunny seat & having the night soil collector take the pan away from underneath them. A couple of local additions to the myth include the time the night soil truck overturned in the main street of an even smaller town a few miles away. &, what is not myth but reported fact, the time a local night soil carter got charged with breaches of the health regulations because he also delivered the milk at the same time.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Last week the
postman brought
me a letter
from The Church
of The Over-
looked Epilog
saying that, once I
gave my consent,
I would be
canonized on
the basis of
the miracles
my poetry
had wrought. They
gave chapter &
verse — verse
anyway. How
one of my poems
recited incessantly
for seven days
& seven nights
had fended off a
plague of locusts
in Sub-Saharan
Africa. How another,
printed out & mixed
with myrrh & hairgel,
was efficacious as
a cure for river
blindess. How a
third, carried inside
a Tefillin, caused
a stillbirth to be
reversed. I didn't
recognize the titles
of any of the poems
mentioned; but my
memory's not all
it used to be, so
gave my consent
anyway. A sainthood
seemed much more
attractive than the
missing Marcos millions,
discount pharmaceuticals,
superceded software
or having my cock
elongatedededededededededed
& / or
enlarged.

Today the
postman brought
me an invoice for
$50,000. Plus tax.

Friday, March 03, 2006

some quackpoet dialog for harry k.

Hammer (Groucho): ... Now here is a little peninsula, and here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.
Chico: Why a duck?
Hammer: I'm all right. How are you? I say here is a little peninsula, and here's a viaduct leading over to the mainland.
Chico: All right. Why a duck?
Hammer: I'm not playing Ask-Me-Another. I say, that's a viaduct.
Chico: All right. Why a duck? Why a--- why a duck? Why-a-no-chicken?
Hammer: I don't know why-a-no-chicken. I'm a stranger here myself. All I know is that it's a viaduct. You try to cross over there a chicken, and you'll find out why a duck. It's deep water, that's viaduct.
Chico: That's-why-a-duck?
Hammer: Look ... Suppose you were out horseback riding and you came to that stream and wanted to ford over there, you couldn't make it. Too deep.
Chico: But what do you want with a Ford when you gotta horse?
Hammer: Well, I'm sorry the matter even came up. All I know is that it's a viaduct.
Chico: Now look ... all righta ... I catcha on to why-a-horse, why-a-chicken, why-a-this, why-a-that. I no catch on to why-a-duck.
Hammer: I was only fooling. I was only fooling. They're going to build a tunnel in the morning. Now, is that clear to you?
Chico: Yes. Everything---excepta why a duck.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A cold steer

Next time you
watch a
truckload of cattle
being trans-
ported to the
meatworks, don't
think of them as
living creatures
about to be
put to death but
observe them im-
partially as part
of the food web.
It is so much
more melodic.
 
 
The sequence comprises autotrophs, or producers, which are principally plants & photosynthetic microorganisms, & a series of heterotrophs, or consumers, which are: herbivores that feed on the producers, carnivores that feed on the herbivores, & decomposers that break down the dead bodies & waste products (including their own), ready for recycling.

11.15 a.m.

It is day.
It is dark.
The clouds
are so low I have pinned them to the clothesline
_______________________________________
  ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
 to   keep   them   here.    I   like   it   like   this.

A bigger bang for your 2000+ bucks?


Am thinking about going to see the Stones who, it has just been announced, have included Australia in their current tour. But.....

It'll probably remain thinking about. Since they're only performing in Sydney & Melbourne, it'll cost around $2000 for airfares & accomodation for the two of us before we even buy tickets to the show, & for that amount of money we could could fly to California & back.

& I'd get a bigger bang out of that. Sorry Mick, sorry Keef.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Why / don't you / all f-fade away

I
should have
listened to The

Who
(talkin' 'bout
my generation), should

have
died before
I got old.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

This has
nothing to
do with
poetry.

Ah, Ernesto

Malest,
Ernesti, tuo Marco,
malest, me hercule

et
laboriose, et
magis magis in

dies
et horas.
For how can

any-
one let
the only Latin

hay(na)ku

pass unremarked?
Magis, Magus. (a)More.

Betabet


 
 
has been picked up by Geoffrey Gatza's BlazeVOX books & is now available as a pdf file (with a much more modern cover than it used to have) here. For those of you who like the feel of a book, it is, unfortunately, no longer available as a POD.

Oban 06

A goodly number of you took part in last year's New Zealand electronic poetry centre built live on-line anthology Fugacity 05.

This year they're doing it again with Oban 06. & it's your chance to become part of history. Because unless there's ever a poetry festival in Tierra del Fuego or Antarctica, this is the furthest south anybody's ever going to be published from.

The details:
OBAN 06

is the title of nzepc’s online poetry anthology, building 21-23 April 2006 as part of the BLUFF 06 poetry symposium in Southland. Bluff’s famous Oyster Festival happens over the same weekend.

Bring a poem on a disk to any of the symposium events OR email your contribution to nzepc@auckland.ac.nz between 21-23 April.

We aim to build a local and international poetry anthology over three days, launching Sunday 23 April in Oban on Rakiura (Stewart Island). We welcome your poem. We’d like it to engage with time and place, transience and duration, memory and forgetting, coming and going, poetry and oysters – any or all of the above.

If you could see this jet
fire-seeded sky,
chill here with me
on a plastic chair
on the veranda, we'd hear Bluff hum
while lines of sodium and magnesium
bridge and wharf lights
bleed to black,
inexactly
as on other nights, other verandas,
another port - a kauri pew,
wings on the sill of an inside-out
lit window,
scrying the dark
insistent stars, fireflies -
we have talked of poetry.

      : Cilla McQueen. ‘Antiphony (Letter to Peter Olds)’


Anthology compilers: Brian Flaherty, David Howard, Michele Leggott, Cilla McQueen and nzepc team

Submission guidelines
• work should be your original composition
• if it has been published elsewhere, please include acknowledgement and publication details
• the compilers reserve the right to copy-edit contributions before uploading
• copyright for individual contributions to the anthology remains with the author

Thursday, February 23, 2006

contradiction hay(na)ku

working
on something
that doesn't work

The evil eye

One of the joys of what I shall euphemistically describe as reaching a certain age is having a doctor tell you that what's occurred is because you're old.

I have what he told me is a conjunctival haemorrhage. In other words, I'm safe if, in the next few days, I get into a situation where my opponents have been told not to fire until you see the whites of my eyes. My left eye has next to no white in it, is red, from a burst blood vessel.

& the reason for it? No specific reason, just age, old age - amended to as you grow older after I cast a one-eyed sideswiping glance at the doctor. Just happens, nothing you can take for it, do to it, doesn't affect your vision. Only wait till it goes away, a series of colour transformations, red through to yellow, just like a bruise.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Today the
postman brought
me an
invitation from
Torquemada
to attend the
Inquisition. Specified
dress. Either
full Inquistorial regalia &
bring a bag or
sackcloth & ashes
& come as you
are. That's the trouble
since Dubya assumed
the Papacy. No
middle of the road
to walk down
anymore.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Last swill & intestatement

 
 
I, Mark Young,
being of sound
mind & body, do
hereby bequeath
the letters of
my name to
anyone who can
make more out
of them than
Guk Mornay.

 
 

A consonant avowal

Probably prompted by the post below, I have been thinking about vowels & consonants. Strikes me their existence is some kind of linguistic freemasonry, little information on why they are, what they're on about.

What they are we know, strictly defined though sometimes changed. When does y become a vowel?

A vowel, the OED tells me, is one of the more open sounds uttered in speaking, a sound capable of forming a syllable. The same source tells me a consonant is an alphabetical element other than a vowel, a sound that in forming a syllable is combined with a vowel.

Consonant comes from the Latin consonantem litteram, which derives from consonantia from whence comes consonance, the sounding of two notes in harmony.

Vowel ultimately derives from vocalis littera, a vocal letter, via the Old French word vouel, a word that is full of vowels. I discover that a vowel mutation is an umlaut, which makes sense when you consider how the diacritic changes the pronunciation of the o in Gödel. But I also know that sign as a dierisis, something that is not a diacritic but a separator, indicating that two vowels together should be pronounced separately, as in coöperate.

I also discover a new word, ablaut, a vowel gradation that arises out of differences in accent & stress, as in drive, drove, driven.

No doubt I could learn more if I Googled the terms, but I get distracted by the thought that if I inserted a dierisis that term would then become Goögle = go ogle, which is essentially what googling is all about.

So I go no further in my quest, remain no wiser.

I am a man of consonant sorrow.

A word for Tom

Alphabeckett

Galatea's erection

is actually Eileen Tabios' new review blogzine Galatea Resurrects (a poetry review), but since it's up for the first time, I pay homage to its initial erection.

Lotsa reviews. Lotsa & lotsa reviews. To quote THE EDITOR
This issue inaugurates itself with 25 new reviews of 27 poetry publications and a poetry video, e-reprints of ten reviews previously published in print publications, and a section of three featured poets partly chosen by two guest editors. The gratifying response suggests this venture is a good idea, notwithstanding its sloppy birth during one of my bouts of insomnia -- or a better idea than I even anticipated.

Well then: Let's see! And party!
Definitely!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Harry Potter & the half-arsed Politician


"His only function is to let you know
what Harry Potter's going to look like
when he's old."

Billy Connolly on Australia's Prime Minister John Howard

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Virtual reality

I have been reading of late, not writing. Sure I've taken the occasional trip out into the barnyard, stirred the dust, made a few chicken scratches that the wind blurs immediately. But mainly reading.

Behind it all, I have also been thinking about a selected from 50 years of poetry. Not that far away now. Just over three years. It's a conceptual thing, not thought of often but kept on a shelf above my head, brought down, dusted off, brooded over when I doubt my worth. A postscript to a twenty volume suicide note perhaps. Should I last that long.

Perhaps that's why I've been reading. Anything to take my mind away. Age creeps up, the brain atrophies. Dessicates. Add water. But there has been little rain of late.

I have been reading Ian Rankin, the Inspector Rebus books. I'm not a great fan of English crime fiction, too many manors, too many Miss Marples most of the time. Much prefer U.S. or European. English crime fiction, for me, died after Sherlock Holmes had been resurrected & done his golden oldies tour. The only exception I'll make is for the Val McDermid novels which feature Tony Hill & Carol Jordan. Flawed characters. Like Rebus.

But Rebus, like Rankin himself, is Scottish which means I don't have to change my earlier-stated attitude. & the novels are set in a city, barely an oak-lined avenue in sight. I'd seen a couple of TV adaptions, but been slightly turned off them because the actor who played Rebus, John Hannah, had also played the lead in another series, McCallum. I'd enjoyed that short series – another flawed character - but because the transposition of a strong actor across roles tends to bring too many overtones of the earlier character, I kept getting the two confused.

So I hadn't got around to reading any of the books. Yes, it's preconception, prejudice, procrastination, exactly the same reasons why I've never bought, borrowed or stolen a book by Zukofsky. Still haven't with the latter, but I saw Rankin's latest novel, Fleshmarket Close, on sale, was running out of things to read, thought if I like this that means there are another fifteen novels and two collections of short stories by him which would fill some space up, bought it, liked it, went back and started reading the whole lot chronologically.

I'm currently up to number fourteen, Resurrection Men, the title a play on the name by which Burke & Hare – aka The Bodysnatchers – were known (though Burke & Hare are found as background to the novel before). Some of the books are great, some are flawed like Rebus. But I find flawed a major attribute of any character, real or imagined, that I like. The books are immensely enjoyable, & reading them this way is like reading one enormous novel. Rankin has created a credible landscape, probably more real than imagined, by insinuation, by wrapping it around his characters, &, as you grow to know them, you get to know more about the place itself.

I think this aspect of U.S. crime fiction is why I like it so much. From Chandler & Hammett on, place has always been as critical to the construction as the characters. & for someone like myself, who tends to feel out of place much of the time, having a place to slot in to, even if only temporarily, even if just as an onlooker, a pedestrian on the sidewalk, is something I value immensely.
He stumbled
in the face
of such
fierce repartee.

Friday, February 17, 2006

from: Parachutes, My Love, Could Carry Us Higher

There is coral below the surface,
There is sand, and berries
Like pomegranates grow.
This wide net, I am treading water
Near it, bubbles are rising and salt
Drying on my lashes, yet I am no nearer
Air than water, I am closer to you
Than land and I am in a stranger ocean
Than I wished.

Barbara Guest (1920 - 2006)
Still
hot in
the early afternoon.
It's
getting cooler
in the mornings.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What $100 Million buys you these days

or: Poetry? I thought you were giving it for poverty.

or: I'll do you an obscenity for $1 if that's what you're after, & throw in a blowjob for free.












Twenty-three Ways to Say I Love You
Valentine's Day poems from the PoetryFoundation.org archive.


Almost Brand New
Publishers select their favorite love poems from recent books.


Ted Kooser Sends His Love
Selections from the Poet Laureate's annual Valentine's Day postcard poems.


Forgotten Love
Discover why Tagore is one of the most beloved poets in Asia.
(from Poetry Magazine)

PLUS
Hearing Voices at the Met
Fra Angelico and the dramatic monologues of Browning. By W.S. Di Piero.


Two Drama Kings Take on a Master
Paul Giamatti and Alfred Molina Read "Fra Lippo Lippi" and "My Last Duchess."


Reading Guide: Robert Browning
In the realm of the world-class talkers.


The Diction of Dance
Applying poetics to dance: a review of the most recent New York dance season.


To Infuse (As Life) By Breathing
Facing a grim diagnosis, a man has a charmed collision with a poem. A story by Elaine Segal.


Would She Have Been a Blogger?
A letter from the editor about this new site and the founder of Poetry.


http://www.poetryfoundation.org/

Check out

the latest issue of MiPOesias & The not-so-Violent Femmes.

A couple of days ago

I was wishing I could be in Finland with my friends. Now it seems, according to this link that Marko Niemi has sent me, it mightn't be that difficult to get there.

But a couple of apologies. To my friends in the Americas, I'm sorry I didn't drop in & say hello when I was in the neighbourhood. & to Lars Palm in the Canary Islands, oops, sorry. You're either underneath my landmass, or that's me sitting across the table from you in the outdoor café on the beach & I haven't introduced myself.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

There should be

some sort of moratorium put in place by Blogger that prohibits, for a number of months anyway, the acquisition of names of blogs that have been terminated by their owners.

I am overwhelmed by grief. For the past few days I have been greeted by the dreaded blog not found when I've tried to visit Kirsten Kaschock's Negative Wingspan. Now there's a blog back there, but……

The name is no longer in caps but in lower case, & napisan would be a better name for it based on the only post. It is possible that it's all a huge joke, & the links would seem to give that a whiff of creedence. But it's not clear(water), & it's not a revival, & it's a sad suicide note, if that's what it is.

So, I'll leave the link in the sidebar for a couple of days, & if the diapers haven't been changed by then…..

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Couldn't resist

this word verification.

Can't decide whether it's to do with Dr e-Jeku & Mr e-Hyde, or the beginning of the climax of one of Tom Beckett's "deleted sex scene hay(na)ku competition" entries.

Woken

once again by birds, I realise I haven't written about them for some time. They are still there, the multitude, the changing varieties.

I give them names, especially the ones that wake me. The whirlpool bird, so-called because its song spirals downwards as it dies away; the shriekers, the crows & white cockatoos, raucous, demanding – I would throw rocks at their noise though not at the bird, though perhaps the crows…..; the bebop bird.

Their prevalence or their singularity changes. I haven't seen a pheasant coucal this year, nor have I heard the owls at night, boobooking, mopoking away. There are more pelicans in the local lagoon which still has water unlike some others around. Rainbow lorrikeets are everywhere, either performing their acrobatics in the trees, orange breasts in the green, as they eat the flowers, or getting drunk on fermented fallen mangoes. I have seen a white-browed woodswallow for the first time, or maybe it's always been here & I've only just come to recognise it. But the small birds are not around.

A pair of kingfishers prowls the pool fence, flying away when I come out. A kookaburra remains on the clothesline, head cocked, watching the ground, watching me as I hang out the clothes a metre away.

The seasons change, but we give them their European names & overlook the subtleties. The earth changes & I do not recognise it. Obviously the birds are aware of both, & their comings & goings reflect it. They have an innate knowledge where I only have a potpourri of impressions. They live, not by rules as we do, but by symbiosis, living with, not on, not off, the land.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I always say

I won't respond to tags. But every so often I get tagged by someone I like, & my resolutions go out the window.

This time the evildoer was Rochita the Raindancer who also tagged Eileen Tabios, & since Eileen - bitch - has decided to respond, now I feel obliged to as well, though my answers will be nowhere near as interesting as either Eileen's or Rochita's.

Three books I can read over & over

I've read a lot of books over & over over the years. Singling any out - if that's the correct term when you're dealing with more than one - is hard, but I'd probably go for:
1) The New American Poetry edited by Donald M. Allen.
2) The Maltese Falcon by Dashiel Hammett
=3) the Collected Poems I, 1909-1939, of William Carlos Williams
& Driftglass by Samuel R. Delany
Three Places I've lived
1) Hokitika (the first place I ever lived)
2) Sydney (where I lived the longest, & will probably go back to)
3) Rockhampton (where I'm living now)
Three TV shows I love

Owned up to these before.
1)The West Wing
=2) South Park, & Doctor Who
3) Buffy
Though, showing my age, I would have to say that my alltime favourites would be two documentary series, Kenneth Clark's Civilisation & Jakob Bronowski's The Ascent of Man, both of which also fall into the books over & over category.

Three highly regarded & recommended TV shows I've never watched a minute of
You did say 300? Oh, only three. OK. 1) Survivor
2) Friends
3) The O.C. Can I keep on going?
Three places I've vacationed
What's a vacation?
Three of my favourite dishes
1) Fish & chips in certain places at certain times
2) My three cheese / bacon / potato / egg / pecan / carrot / tomato / sun-dried tomato / sultana (or golden raisins as Tom Beckett told me they were called in the US) & lettuce salad
3) Lamb Rogan Josh (because I cooked it tonight, & there's enough left over for tomorrow)
Three sites I visit daily
You know who you are.
Three places I'd rather be right now
1)Finland (with my friends)
2) California (with my friends)
3) Anywhere but here

Monday, February 06, 2006

for tZOM BIEckett

o.k. so
christ rose again
from th’ dead
& it’s
supposed to be
his birthday
which this year
just happened
to fall
on th’ nameday
of baron samedi
so maybe
it is a
temporal
topic

& even tho
you do
th’ voodoo
that you do
so well

i worry about
someone who
comes up
outta th’
ground @
xmas &
spends
th’ holiday
writing
with such
familiarity
about
th’ living
dead


(Posted to As/Is a year or so ago, as a response to the first of what have now become Tom Beckett's Little Book of Zombie Poems. I liked the poems then, still do, but I still worry about the writer…….)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Other-
wise it
would be prose.

For the past

twenty or so months, the ABC, the Australian public broadcaster - public in so far as the conservative government, that continues to tighten the purse strings because it thinks the ABC has a leftwing bias, will let it be - has been replaying episodes of Doctor Who, starting with ones made in 1963 & continuing through to 1989 ones. Four evenings a week, then five, then two episodes a night. Fucked up dinner preparations, but I watched them all.

Seven different leading actors across the years - regeneration in a new body was the cause of the transitions - from grandfather characters through to nerds. My favourite was Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor, though it helped that this was the time when the best scripts were coming through. I might be wrong about this, but I think it was about this time that Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was, first, writing scripts, then acting as script editor.

Dr Who was amateurly done, though it improved with age (& technology), but one of the joys from this point in time is picking out just who ripped it off over the years. Star Trek definitely, Star Wars just a little & a mutual ripping off.

After 1989 it went across to radio with the same voices. I think the comic books & the paperbacks continue to come out. & a couple of years ago back to TV, different Doctors, a new one in each of the three new series, although so far in Australia we've only seen the first.

Now the replays have ended. My evenings won't be the same, though the dinners may get more attention in their making.

re the post below

I sent myself an email, asking to be let in, & it seems to have worked. But keep that paranoia chilled, Jim.

One / step away / from total paranoia

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If you believe you should be able to view this directory or page, please try to contact the Web site by using any e-mail address or phone number that may be listed on the seriesmagritte.blogspot.com home page.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Just a reminder

of the "deleted sex scene hay(na)ku" competition that Tom Beckett has running
Eventually
the screaming
stopped & an

elephant
emerged from
the bedroom. Then

the
hammering started.
I looked in,

found
him re-
building the bed.

My
eyebrows quizzed
him. Noisy bloody

ele-
phants, he
said. Takes half

the
joy out
of bestiality worrying

what
the neigh-
bours might think.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Seems like

not only
Hay(na)ku
is dangerously
spreading in Mexico!
as Ernesto Priego points/posts out but it is coming dangerously close to being the official verse form of Finland.

Joining Karri Kokko, Marko Niemi (here & here), & Jukka-Pekka Kervinen (co-publisher & visual interpreter of The First Hay(na)ku Anthology), is a new Finnish blogger, Lassi Miinalainen, who in his very first entry at his blog Jälkikäteen posts three poems, including a hay(na)ku.

So, as the form spreads to cold & hot climes, & everywhere in between
Let
us here
give praise to

Eileen Tabios, the
inventor of
hay(na)ku
who, despite her recent protestations to the contrary, will always be considered so.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Just out,

the latest issue of what I consider to be THE heavyweight of all e-zines, Michael Rothenberg's Big Bridge.

The only thing

I have brought out from a day of busyness, some of it crazy, some of it productive, some of it completing things only to discover that I have to do them again because some bastard changed the parameters without telling any one, is that the action, the burning of the French warship L'Orient at the Battle of the Nile, that produced the painting below


was also the inspiration for the much-bawdlerized poem Casabianca, in which
The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled;

Monday, January 30, 2006

The amazing

Bob Grumman is interviewed by the equally amazing Geof Huth at the (amazing)³ e-values.

The catalogue

of Bill Allegrezza's Moria e-books has just doubled with four recent additions. A global selection. From Italy, Anny Ballardini's Opening and Closing Numbers; from the U.S., Francis Raven's Cooking with Organizational Structures; from the Canary Islands, Lars Palm's Mindfulness; & from Australia, it's that damned Antipodean again, with a selection from: Series Magritte.



The books are all available for downloading from here, & are all also available as POD hardcopies via Lulu, details given on the same page.

My deepest thanks, Bill, for placing me in such wonderful company.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Five minutes beginning with a line of spam

Is it okay
if we become
friendship? Dial a
nurse. Space
Shuttle Dis-
aster anni-
versary. Some
sort of prank. He
had to eject
but he ejected
safely. The pasta
sauce is in the
fridge. It is
possible to stop
using drugs.

A footnote to my Australia Day post &/or why I am embarrassed about living where I do

paraphrased from: The Sunday Mail, 1/29/06
Five Rockhampton youths have been charged over a series of Australia Day shootings which police allege were racially motivated.

Each faced four counts of acts intended to cause grievous bodily harm by injuring or maiming, one count of unlawful wounding, & weapons offences. The teenagers were charged over the alleged shooting of an Aboriginal boy.

On Friday, Rockhampton Magistrates Court heard that **** had been driving around with an airgun, looking "to shoot an Aboriginal person" on Australia Day.

It was further reported that a 15-year old girl underwent surgery for a wound suffered on the same day. She went to the hospital thinking she had been stung by an insect, was given a Band-Aid & sent home.

But after reading reports about a 13-year old boy being shot in the ribs by an airgun on Australia Day, the girl "put two and two together" & contacted police.

They took her back to the hospital where x-rays confirmed that she had an airgun pellet in her back. She underwent surgery & remained in hospital overnight.

gong xi fa cai

Begun -
The Year
of the Dog.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The two plays
one novel
&

five
chapters of
autobiography that I

wrote today wouldn't
fit in
this

space
so I'm
leaving it empty.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

His weakknee
colon of
trans-
clit-
orations
could be
found some-
where between
the Letters
to the Auditor
& the For
Sail notices.

Terra Nullius



originally published in BlazeVOX

On January 26, 1788

Captain Arthur Phillip, on behalf of the Crown of Great Britain, took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales and became its first Governor.

However, for Aboriginal Australians and many others, the 26th of January is not a day for celebration. To them the date signifies invasion and dispossession. As Thomas Keneally noted in his 1997 Australia Day address -
"A majority of Australians can see why today cannot be a day of rejoicing for all, and that therefore there may be grounds for ultimately finding an Australia Day, a celebration of our community, with which we can all identify."
The choice of 26 January as the day of celebration for all Australians has been queried and argued from a historical and practical viewpoint from the 1800s. That the day might symbolise invasion, dispossession and death to many Aboriginal people was a concept alien to the average Australian until even the latter half of the 20th century. The Editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald of 2 January 1995, arguing for a change of date, stated that January 26 “can never be a truly national day for it symbolises to many Aborigines the date they were conquered and their lands occupied. This divisive aspect to 26 January, the commemoration of the landing at Sydney Cove, will never be reconciled”.

Involvement of the Indigenous community on Australia Day has taken many forms - forced participation in re-enactments, mourning for Invasion Day, peaceful protest through to an acknowledgment of survival and an increasing participation in community events at a local level.

By 1888, the year of the centenary celebrations, the white population had increased significantly while the Aboriginal population had declined from at least 750,000 in 1788 to a mere estimated 67,000. (Aboriginal people were not counted in the census until after 1967). The 1888 Centenary events overwhelmingly celebrated British and Australian achievement and as Nigel Parbury writes in his book Survival: ”In 1888 Aboriginals boycotted the Centenary celebrations. Nobody noticed.”

By 1938, the Aboriginal community was becoming well organised in the white ways and able to make strong demands for political rights and equality. An Australian Aborigines League (AAL) had been formed in 1932 and this was followed in 1937 by the Aborigines Progressive Association (APA), a group that began to achieve publicity in the press and addressed a variety of groups such as the NSW Labor Council.

The AAL leader William Cooper and the APA's leader William Ferguson, were instrumental in organising the Day of Mourning Committee for the 1938 Sesquicentenary celebrations. A manifesto, Aborigines Claim Citizen Rights, was published and on Australia Day a conference and protest were held in the Australian Hall, Sydney. Five days later, the APA led an Aboriginal delegation to meet with the Prime Minister and soon after Australia Day, the Committee for Aboriginal Citizen Rights was formed.

The Aboriginal community's push for recognition was highlighted by the 1938 official Australia Day celebrations. Due to a refusal to cooperate by city-based Aborigines, the government imported Aborigines from western communities, locking them up in a stable at Redfern Police Barracks. Immediately following the re-enactment, the group featured on a float in the huge parade in Macquarie Street. The following day they were “sent back to their tin sheds on the Darling River”.

Re-enactments of Phillip's landing continued to be an accepted part of Australia Day ceremonies around the country and it wasn't until the Bicentennial in 1988 that the New South Wales government refused to condone a re-enactment as part of their official proceedings.

On January 26 that year, 40,000 Aboriginal people (including some from as far away as Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory) and their supporters marched from Redfern Park to a public rally at Hyde Park and then on to Sydney Harbour to mark the 200th anniversary of invasion.

From this march grew the concept of "Invasion Day" and "Survival Day", marking the anniversary of the beginning of land loss, but also recognising the survival of a race of people who had been expected to die out. In 1992 the first Survival Day concert was held at La Perouse and in 1998 the event moved to Waverley Oval near Bondi Beach.



The Aboriginal Flag was designed by Harold Thomas, an artist and an Aboriginal, in 1971. The flag was designed to be an eye-catching rallying symbol for the Aboriginal people and a symbol of their race and identity. The black represents the Aboriginal people, the red the earth and their spiritual relationship to the land, and the yellow the sun, the giver of life.

In the late 1960s, Aborigines stepped up their campaign for indigenous land rights through protest marches, demonstrations, banners and posters. The protests increased in the early 1970s and Harold Thomas noticed they were often outnumbered by non-Aborigines with their own banners and placards. He decided they needed to be more visible and the idea of the flag was born.

The Aboriginal flag was first raised in Victoria Square in Adelaide on National Aboriginal Day in 1971, but was adopted nationally by Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in 1972 after it was flown above the Aboriginal "Tent Embassy" outside of the old Parliament House in Canberra.

It is perhaps the only symbol commonly accepted by the diversity of Aboriginal people.

The Aboriginal flag is increasingly being flown by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. In view of its increasing importance in Australian society, the Government initiated steps in 1994 to give the flag legal recognition. After a period of public consultation, the Government made its own decision in July 1995 that the flag should be proclaimed a "Flag of Australia" under section 5 of the Flags Act 1953. The flag was so proclaimed by the Governor General of Australia, William Hayden, on 14 July 1995.

The official flag, the Union Jack, the outcome of a competition 100 years ago, reflected the 1901 Federation’s historical background, the Southern Cross its place in space, and the large star the six States making up the Federation. Here, it was said, was a flag containing "history, heraldry, distinctiveness and beauty".

However, the flag still had no legal status beyond the original British Admiralty authorisations which only related to use at sea. It wasn't until the Flags Act 1953 (enacted 1954) was passed by the Menzies Government that Australia finally had an official national flag, and one that was required to be flown in a superior position to any other national flag (including the Union Flag).

The Flags Act 1953 formally adopted the current design as Australia's "National Flag" and the Act was assented to by Queen Elizabeth II on her first visit to Australia on 15 April 1954, the first Act of the Australian Parliament to receive assent by the Monarch rather than the Governor General. Finally, more than 53 years after the first design was hoisted, Australia had an official national flag.

The Australian flag was usually flown in conjunction with, often in an inferior position to, the Union Flag of the UK well into the 1960s despite the requirements of the Flags Act 1953. Many Australians considered themselves to be Britons, and Arthur Smout in his 1968 The Flag Book lamented the fact that many seemed to show more loyalty to the Union Flag than to the Australian flag.

Today, there is a growing debate about whether Australia should adopt a new flag, as many see the current British ensign-based design as inappropriate in an increasingly multicultural country that has been progressively weakening its ties with Britain since 1901. Also, the Union Flag occupies what is known as the vexillological honour point, and as Australia becomes more independent, many think Australian symbols rather than the flag of another nation should occupy this position.

(compiled from various sources, including http://www.ausflag.com.au/flags/aushist.html
http://www.ausflag.com.au/info/flagsact.html
http://www.australiaday.com.au/rick_farley.htm
http://www.australiaday.com.au/indigenous.html
http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/barani/themes/theme6.htm )

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Note / to myself. / Expand yr vocabulary!

Nice.
Twice. In
successive posts. Nasty!

&

Jukka has some nice work, both solo & collab, up at Nonlinear Poetry.

My thanks

to all of you who commented, posted & emailed nice things about my interview at Tom Beckett's E-X-C-H-A-N-G-E-V-A-L-U-E-S.

& Tom continues his superlative rôle as Le Grand Conservateur of this superlative² site by posting another wonderful piece, this time Michael Heller interviewed by Thomas Fink.

You can find a sampler of Michael Heller's work here, & there is an interesting essay by him wrapped around Giorgio de Chirico's painting The Uncertainty of the Poet here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Young’s Constant

is the in
the process
of being in-
dependently
verified by the
Max Planck
Institute

proposition that
the residual smell from a cattletruck
travelling to or from the meatworks,
no matter what direction the wind is
blowing & independent of any other
atmospheric conditions, arrives exactly
100 metres after the truck has passed.
So I ask what
the fuck does the
ambience of Paris
or San Francisco or
Sydney have to
compete when you
can sit on a cheap
steel & plastic chair
at a cheap glass-
topped table eating
your pre-made pre-
packaged sand-
wich washed down
by a 250mL bottle
of lemon-flavoured
mineral water
outside a small take-
away shop that is
down a cross street &
exactly one hundred
metres from the
main road to
the slaughterhouse?

Tom Beckett interviews

a certain Australasian poet at e-values.

Monday, January 23, 2006

pic

I have added

a link in the side bar to Australian Literary Resources. It has an incredible amount of stuff available, from about 70 poets over the last sixty years. There are photos, reviews of, reviews by, poems, essays, diary notes, you name it.

& those of you who read Jacket will instantly recognise the expert hand of John Tranter as its driving force.

an in(bred)-joke that will probably only be appreciated by australians

Mt Morgan -
Rockhampton's
Tasmania.
Today the
postman brought
me a cello. Sup-
posedly a gift
but there were
strings attached.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Friday, January 20, 2006

killing the unicorn

I am reminded

by Alex Gildzen that yesterday was the day Janis Joplin was born 63 years ago. & that reminded me of the circa 33-year old poem below, which I think I may have posted here before, but what the hell.
VERLAINE & VAN GOGH, JIMI & JANIS J.

To build from the bones out
or the skin in - which way
is better? Best not to have to build
at all, I suppose; but some of us
do fall apart, have been found
drowning in the desert or exposing
our pricks to schoolboys. & then the
famous ones, dying of smack or
syphilis, or else shut up for singular
acts of love - the severing of an
earlobe, the shooting of an
eighteenyear old poet in the wrist.

Poor Baron Frankenstein - he had
to use stolen organs, & draw
his power from electrical storms. Now
there are switches, & pumps & plastic
valves, & parents waiting in the wings
for a chance to give their child’s
heart to someone else. & those who owe
their prolonged life to scientific artifice
no longer bear the name of monster.

But the golem still exists, still wears the
Shem Ha-Mephorash , the holy name,
upon his forehead. & stays alive through
needles in the arm, cocks in the mouth;
those locked-door transfusions that maintain
the fluids our bodies need to keep on going.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Perhaps


if it had been described as a film about faggot cowboys or fucking poofter cowboys it might have been different, since that would have given the local populace carte-blanche to throw rocks at the screen. "The Movie you Love to Hate." But its depiction as a sensitive treatment of gay cowboys has obviously concerned the local distributors of Brokeback Mountain enough to decide against bringing it here to Rockhampton, famous for being the "Beef Cattle of Australia", infamous for its bigotry.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Have finally

got my shit together & turned the 26-poem series that I've called Betabet into a pdf file. I've sent copies to those who asked some months ago when I was thinking about doing it, but if there's anyone else who'd like a copy, just drop me an email. My address is in the sidebar.



Many of the poems have appeared or are to appear in a number of journals - Ampersand, Aught, eratio, Hamilton Stone Review, hutt, minimum daily requirements, Moria, pingpong, Starfish & Zafusy - & there are links to some of them in the "recently published poetry" part of the sidebar. So, if you check them out, like what you see & would like to see more.....
Any
body who
takes me seriously

should be advised
to think
again.

THE FUMIGATOR

was meant to
pay their annual visit
today. Cancelled. A BIG
TERMITE JOB IN MT
MORGAN. I wonder
what it is, have visions
of termites EATING
UP THE HOUSE. The
phrase spins around
in my brain. Heat up
pasta for lunch
settle down to EAT UP
big & watch TV. But.
Crap crap crap crap crap
EATING UP THE HOUSE.
So no TV. Silence except
for EATING shifting
from a Streisand song
to rap rap rap rap. EATIN'
UP DAH HOUSE. I break
my way outside. Kooka-
burra on the clothesline.
EATING UP THE HOUSE
I say to it with my
rap inflexion perfected by
rap-petition. Pervert
infliction scoffs the cat
who has one eye on the bird
& the other on the main
chance in the shape of a
lizard. The bird is silent
until I turn to go in-
side. WHO LET THE DOG
OUT. UH UH adds the cat.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

impatiently paging

low-
down slowed-
down loading night

ditty-bag

I
have been
writing position papers

for
much of
the day. What

needs
to be
done, how it

should
be gone
about, what must

be
done to
prepare the way.

Several
years since
I've done this.

So,
written out
by the strangeness

of
using un-
ambiguous & politically

correct
language, I
am meeting my

pelican
obligations by
merely posting that

I've
added links
to the sidebar.

Three as a result of the recent Hay(na)day Holiku competition.
Rochita Loenen-Ruiz' Raindancers Map of Memories
Ray Craig's unnamed blog &
Lars Palm's new irregular blog-zine Luzmag.
& since I've added the latter, have also added Jonathan Mayhew's blog-zine The Duplications, one of whose reasonably recent additions was a collaboration between Jonathan & Tom Beckett who has just started up an on-going work-in-progress Chiaroscuro Metropoli. & a closing note that Jukka's (previously) e-zine/pdf/hardcopy xStream (link on the right) has now also become a blog-zine.

Monday, January 09, 2006

                                                            it was some time before the train arrived

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Boys with toys

U.S. researchers have identified the largest known prime number. A team at Central Missouri State University found it last month after programming 700 computers nine years ago. The number found is 9.1 million digits long. It is a Mersenne prime known as M30402457 - that's 2 to the 30,402,457th power, minus 1.

"People ask why we do this," said Dr Steven Boone. "It's like going on a quest. We're looking for something incredibly rare."
Yep, like world peace in our time. Holy Grail Quest, Batman.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Spore, SCORE & more


Crag Hill has started a new blog Spore which will "focus on "reprinting" selections from the 19 issues of SCORE, & at the same time will also be announcing calls out for work for SPORE."

eyelight

Friday, January 06, 2006

Meadow Saffrons (Les Colchiques)

The meadow is poisonous but pretty in autumn
The cows grazing there
are slowly poisoning themselves
Meadow saffron the colour of your eye-shadow of lilacs
flower there your eyes are like that flower
Violet like the eye-shadow & like the autumn
& for your eyes my life slowly poisons itself

School children come noisily
dressed in their smocks & playing harmonicas
They pick the meadow saffrons which are like mothers
Daughters of their daughters & the colour of your eyelids
which flutter like flowers caught in a crazy wind

The cowherd sings very softly
whilst the slow lowing cows abandon
this great meadow ill-flowered by the autumn

-Guillaume Apollinaire

poetry+

I have written a couple of times how I came out of High School with, not a dislike of poetry but an indifference to it. & yet, within a year, I not only had a love for poetry but was writing it.

It's a conundrum that has perplexed me a little. I must have absorbed something when I was at school that made the transition easy. Part of it I can explain by my love of jazz. I'd instance an album by a singer called King Pleasure who, backed by three of the members of the Modern Jazz Quartet verbally interpreted some of the solos by musicians such as Charlie Parker & James Moody. Then there were those great song-writers – Rodgers & Hart, Cole Porter, Ira & George Gershwin – whose work was from the several decades before but still very much in evidence when I was growing up – think of the great series of albums Ella Fitzgerald recorded in the fifties. & then the joker in the pack, an album of poetry & jazz which I've always thought was called just that, but, after googling, discovered is called Jazz Canto & exposed me, for the first time, to the poetry of William Carlos Williams, Philip Whalen & Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Not poetry by itself, but poetry+.

Part of it I can lay at the feet of the Surrealists. Dali is the probable entry point due to his popular exposure, but it was de Chirico & Magritte that hooked me. & since I tend to investigate everything connected with something I'm interested in, I came across the poets, Eluard, Breton, Prèvert, Desnos, & back from them, Apollinaire. Only in French, so self-translated, but it gave me an idea of structure. But again, the poetry was secondary.

It is only recently that I think I've identified how I managed to come out from school with that indifference to the poetry I was taught but with a love for poetry as it might be, & I believe it comes from, ironically, for an atheist, poetry as hymn, the majesty of a thousand boys' voices, going through the motions but still managing to produce something special. Every school day, for five years, the first three in the gallery, the last two in the school orchestra, we would have an assembly at which a hymn was sung, words by poets such as Bunyan & Blake & Kipling, music by Bach & Sibelius – Be Still my Soul was from Finlandia - & Beethoven. It was probably in my third or fourth year that I lost my belief in the Christian God, but I never lost my love for that poetry+.

So knowing that there was something extra beyond what I'd been taught, I went looking for it, & fortunately found it, poetry with the + built in.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

 
 
algorithma
lgorithmal
gorithmalg
orithmalgo
rithmalgor
ithmalgori
thmalgorit
hmalgorith
malgorithm

I dream of Jean V., & Jean V., apparently, dreams of me

[JV] The weirdest thing happened about two years prior to editing the anthology, before I "met" Mark on-line. I had a dream in which a man from New Zealand taught a writing workshop in which I was participating, and invited a friend and myself to share a beer with him. At the time, I thought -- who is this guy? Why on earth someone from New Zealand?

A couple years later, I became aware of Mark's website on-line, and saw a photograph. Same guy from the dream -- and Mark's originally from New Zealand!
Hot on the heels of her wonderful interview at e-values, Jean Vengua is interviewed by Ariadne Unst on The First Hay(na)ku Anthology & hay(na)ku generally.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

an / afternoon thought / for Tom Beckett

an
other is
another all together

al-
together an-
other thing again

A noo

Shampoo.

Sometimes the painting comes first, sometimes the poem

(originally "untitled", now #116 in my Series Magritte)

La Belle Idée

I start to tidy up
the tapestry. The unicorns
worry me. Not the one
all gleaming white &
shiny-horned, it's the
other, the one with
the shades & lycra bike
shorts who's lurking –
can unicorns lurk? – who's
hanging out then, there
by the castle gate,
waiting for some corn maiden
to come tripping out
on her way to the
fields where he will follow
& (impale her)². Only
just then the Lord
of the Castle comes
riding up with his entourage
who all have earpieces that
drift down into their
chainmail & steely eyes
that scan the crowd, a-
lighting on the unicorn
who pretends he's looking
at postcards in a market stall
before sliding back off
into the background &
back to his nighttime job
in a porn theatre where
the prurient masses pay
to watch some corny maiden
get impaled by a quadruped
with a condom/inium on his head.

The winners

of the Holiday Hay(na)ku competition are now up at http://eileentabios.blogspot.com.

Check them out. Let your holiday continue.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A reasonable snapshot

of me can probably be captured by the three programs I chose to preset the VCR for whilst I was away on holiday - Buffy, South Park & West Wing. Buffy & West Wing were repeats - the former near the beginning of its second season, the latter the last episode of its second season - & though South Park was supposed to be first-run, it turned out, no doubt seasonally induced, to be a repeat of the episode where Santa brings Christmas to Iraq.

I've always liked Buffy, especially the episodes that Joss Whedon wrote. Strangely, he reminds me of the late British playwright Dennis Potter, someone whose work was destroyed when translated into American (if you ever get the chance, see Pennies from Heaven with Bob Hoskins, & the Singing Detective with Michael Gambon). Whedon works on many levels. He throws away lines that could be the premises for treatises, & Buffy still remains the only tv series I have seen where a couple of its characters discuss William S. Burroughs quite seriously.

South Park is, well, South Park. Outrageous, totally politically incorrect, but oh so funny.

If you like West Wing, & you live in Australia, then you have a problem. Commercial television doesn't know what to do with it. It was probably first bought as a job lot with something like Friends, or Sex in the City, languished unscreened until it started winning Emmy after Emmy, was then put on, probably 18 months after it first appeared in the U.S., at 9.30, 11.30, 10.30, 12.30, sometimes Monday, sometimes Wednesday, sometimes Thursday, sometimes Tuesday. You needed a higher degree in Quantum Mechanics or Chaos Theory to keep track of its programming. Cable TV, who are far less concerned with ratings, at least show it on a regular basis, start at the beginning of a series, & run it through at the same time on the same night. But they can't show it until it's been on free-to-air tv. So, I watch the reruns, & am still entranced by them.

The episode I taped was the final one of the season, where Martin Sheen's President Bartlett, having just admitted to the nation that he has MS, is deciding whether or not to run for a second term. It's an episode full of rain, of motorcades, of the National Cathedral, of tension, of hubris, of sadness, & finishes off with one of the best uses I have come across of music as something beyond soundtrack, Dire Straits "Brothers in Arms" underscoring & overarching the drama of the piece.

I agree wholeheartedly with Ron Silliman's conclusion to a recent post mourning the death of John Spencer who played one of the strongest parts in the show.
"Whether it continues or not, the first three seasons or thereabouts of West Wing will remain as good as any television drama has ever been."

The Holiday Hay(na)ku Competition

has been judged, so keep an eye on the Hay(na)ku blog where the winning entries will be appearing in the next few days.

There was some good stuff entered & I enjoyed reading it all. My thanks to everyone, from their many parts of the world, who participated.

Monday, January 02, 2006

One of my

favourite poets/people, Jean Vengua, is interviewed by another of my favourite poets/people, Tom Beckett, at what is still that long hyphenated name on the blog, but shortened by its creator to the much easier to write e-values.

How could I not like this interview? Thanks to both of them for joining in this edifying congress.

Sunday, January 01, 2006