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

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

chapters of
autobiography that I

wrote today wouldn't
fit in

so I'm
leaving it empty.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

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 )

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Note / to myself. / Expand yr vocabulary!

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.

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.

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.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Friday, January 13, 2006


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.....
body who
takes me seriously

should be advised
to think

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

impatiently paging

down slowed-
down loading night


have been
writing position papers

much of
the day. What

to be
done, how it

be gone
about, what must

done to
prepare the way.

years since
I've done this.

written out
by the strangeness

using un-
ambiguous & politically

language, I
am meeting my

obligations by
merely posting that

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."


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

Thursday, January 05, 2006


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

other is
another all together

together an-
other thing again

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.

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."

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