Saturday, March 18, 2006

Pen ultimate - a thank you

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?


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)


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.


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
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

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



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

already know
how it felt
to wave

I do not know
what sight
the light let in


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

which starts here, & continues on for many hops


A Little Note for Sheila Murphy

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


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

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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

shared the
journey – sincere thanks.


KK said...

Oh, man. The news got me humming to a song:

Ever smilin', ever gentle on my mind

Thanks, Mark

Ernesto said...

Thanks, amigo.

Across the miles; across the seas, I embrace you.

Tom Beckett said...


Honk. Sob.

Giggle. Sob. Honk.


come back

soon, now, hear?

harry k stammer said...

oh man, you got me
holdin' olsen in a
held lock
and frightening (me(I)it)
one arm
i got 'em
i got 'em
slippery bastard
pinned me
oh, the mat is blue
wow! look at the little flakes
across the entrance...

shit man... you sound like it's
the end

give me a sign, any sign...

and remember TOOL has been in your area, well, slightly south i gather

cheers, harry

i'm havin' a hard time with the typing crappppoooo

harry k stammer said...

a head
lock, if you'all


oh man, you got me
holdin' olsen in a
head lock
and frightening (me(I)it)
one arm
i got 'em
i got 'em
slippery bastard
pinned me
oh, the mat is blue
wow! look at the little flakes
across the entrance...