Thursday, July 30, 2009

Third Test

It is raining. It is now after Lunch, still no play. Hughes was dropped and one of my workmates was all illiterate with rage.

There once was a man named Flintoff
Who bowled so fast his knee fell off.
He said with a grin,
I'd gladly chew off a pin
It's worth it, to give Punter the send off.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Poetic Fragment

Some times it is so damned hard to write anything, walking home from the bus stop, through the park. And I had a vision of something or other and when I got home the kids just attacked me. So rather than write I wrassled with them. When I finally got to the keyboard, this was all I had.

The neighborhood kids build houses the thicket
The small patch of trees in the ground past the gate
Yellow knickers over a tree branch illicit
The hand crafted bong, beer bottles may relate.

And the children build imaginary castles
In the grove of trees growing hard the power lines
Springs and summers of long afternoon idylls
And loud pushy dreams find unknown dread entwines.

Tales news services homeless children eaters

Sunday, July 26, 2009

In Vino Veritas

Went to a poetry reading, four local poets all prize winners, all published. A fine winter's day which began with poetry and ending with infection. Read on if you dare!

The imagination in search of a fabulous world is autonomous and unconfined!

We got a baby sitter and so we able to go out on a Sunday afternoon,
with no children, like a big person.

Bare autumnal invasive trees
Wide Gershwin afternoon wintery
Hillside of milk cows dry hillside
Rolling champagne bubbling wide
Irrawaddy ditches tufts
Of grass navy comms rebuffed.

How did we waste our time? Off to the Mount Majura Winery to see (hear
maybe) four poets, as part of the Majura Poetry Readings, 'Verse in
the Vines'.

There were, as I said four poets. John Leonard, Lesly Lebkowicz,
P.S. Cottier and Paul Magee.

First off the rank was John Leonard, who read from some of his books,
published and yet to be published. He read from some of his books
including 'Jesus in Kashmir' and 'Braided Lands'.

According to his website his works have "a definite political
philosophy, a green perspective on a wasteful, self-deluded
first-world populace, who, having trashed an entire planet in less
than six generations, now want ‘security’". He read a few poems, and
to be honest I did not notice his poetry being particularly political,
green or otherwise. But as all things are political, why even make the

With the thoughts of the 'stone perfect embodiment of stoniness' of
the 'spotless butterfly wings' rambling my noodle, I could only think
that his work was in that school of modern Australian poetry that
seemed to want simple words conveying simple to comprehend
ideas. There is, of course, nothing wrong with this paradigm, but it
is not mine. I stand with Joyce, who when confronted by Wyndham Lewis'
criticism of the fussy additions of a Gothic cathedral, replied
(something to the effect of), this is where my work begins. I want a
poetry that is exuberant (even rhetorical) and fun, that fears not
recursive convolutions or embellishments or fussy additions.

I much prefer the later convulsions of the Ezuveristy, than the stark
Amygist Bunting shaving of inversions and superfluity in sonnet 87 to
a simple direct.

"Farewell! Thou art too dear for my possessing;
And like enough thou know'st thy estimate."

Simple. Clear and not meant for publication.

Simple words simply used for honesty, to sway the reader.

For myself, I do delight in the dense Heralcitian obscurity of the
Fifth Decade of the Cantos, or Finnegans Wake. (And let the common
reader be damned).

A review of a review.

The next poet was P.S. Cottier, who writes slightly fabulous socially
aware poetry, involving the reality of suddenly being middle aged, (a
description I can heartily endorse!), and being 'too late for
Wimbledon, I made a poetic racket'.

Coincidentally the Canberra Times (July 25 2009) had a review of the
this poet. She has recently published a book entitled 'The Glass
Violin', and it was this work that was reviewed in the Times. Within
this review we see the idea of simple words used simply in the
review. The title poem of the book contains the lines.

"deep susurrus of Sibelius makes
aurorae in the dingy room".

The review uses this as a example of straining too hard. This
calibration confused and disappointed me. What is expected from poets
in Australia these days? Maybe a thin list of monosyllables that do not
in any way strain the reader or force them to the dictionary? I am
not sure. I prefer my motto to be along of the lines of 'that if
something is not hard it is not worth doing'. As well the image of the
aurorae in the dingy room, echos Kit Marlowe and infinite riches in a
little room. (Which happily contains the side effect of going up and
down at the same time.) The reviewer than went on to criticise Cottier
for being strident in her poems, 'The Catalogue of Australia's
Military Operations", and "Chatter overheard in cafes"

The catalogue was not much more than a list of the names of the
operations that the Australian Army has been involved in. From the
Sudan, the first of our overseas wars, to 'again azure guards Sudan.'
This really seemed to be no overt attack on the honour of our fighting
diggers, rather a simple list jumbled up slightly and forged into a
poem. Strident? This word can be taken as little more than a sexist
code word. A simple google search for strident women will reinforce
this, but let us leave our discussion with teh reminder that what is
forceful for men is strident for women. (Strident = Offensively loud
and insistent, harsh, jarring).

Following on was Lesley Lebkowicz, who read for us an amusing 'slice
of life' tall tale anecdote of Australians teasing upper class
Englishmen. She then read some poems of a collection she had on the
Petrov affair. As Russia awaits with a rapists assurance, this was a
puzzling piece to me. I was not what was meant and why would she even
bother to write this, but I shall withhold judgement as I am not
familiar with the entire piece.

The readings were rounded off by Paul Magee, and he read among other
things some poems that included his translations from the Aeneid, as
well as a mocking reference to Pound's 'The Metro'.

In general it was a pleasant, if none too inspiring afternoon's
diversion. I must agree with the half remembered quote that every poem
I hear (or read) teaches me something. The works all had strong
technique, and compared to the poetry slams, which are my preferred
medium, were of a more even quality. Unlike a slam there was little in
the work of a strong emotional power, and the standard of deliver was
weak. Both forms are correct and both have strengths and weaknesses. I
must confess to my enjoyment of the ephemeral hurly burly of the slam
over the calmness of in vino veritas, in aqua sanitas.

And then we went home, to find our little boy was vomiting. So was
unleashed 5 days of hell, as a 'tummy' bug tore through the household
like Glen McGrath through a trembling English XI.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Child's Memento Mori

There is matter in motion.

The Argument.
The worms crawl in
The worms crawl out
They crawl in your eyes
And out your snout.

Stilted over night intimacy white rye seed
Wry white fluff swirling and flurrying
Telopea parks bench of cold hypothermia minus three.
Woke with the taste of disputation in my mouth.
With clear sun burning mist, legendary ham fisted
Intro slaughter starter, walking lame, fog rising
Cold or wet, tired you bet. All I'll soon forget.
Beach mommy beach mommy beach cheery mom bomb
Withered echos of the panting summer killing drought.
See how path, beaneath the trees, is still wet.
Once the trees are gone, that's it, all she wrote.
The withering shall enlarge.
And my feet be too big bedwise
Sew eye dig me some talkin to the sun
And I
Dolt like disa way you got things done.
Only the universe full of outa space
Dint never ever talk back.
Beach Mommy Beach Mommy. Beautiful. It's a cycle.

I am left alone on my own.
The flowers of disappointment blooming
Bud blood insatiable Gorgon. Outlandish.
Scared children huddled wooly foolish down.
Sob sob sobbing. Dig dig digging.
Beach Mommy Beach Mommy Meach Bomby.
Jump spring clap clap jump. Beam Mayhem Comb.
And the spring springing sprung out door
Of happy dancing flipping children.
Spring jump clap jump. Beach mommy, Beach mommy.
If I seem broken and blue, walk on by jump spring.
Dark slack black ringlets shimmering
Bounding cool Christmas jazz night lights.
Left alone amid the limitless of time and
Expansion. I am alone. Across countless
Generations there is only one. Ever. Alone.
More precious than all other things, more precious
Than gold or emeralds. Greater than greed
For things, is our uniqueness, our collaborative
History. There is no god. There is no rebirth.
No resurrection. No reincarnation.
Only accidental bringing into being
And dispersal. No gods parcel out
Justice, no rewards nor punishments.
The spiral tongue of the butterfly.
Wanted Julio's slimeskin a vent.
Doshed as a law liar. We sprayd rifle rounds
At a cool blunt of cold smooth marble to mark
A statue. Colourful beetles of poison crawl
Around and about and under out caverns of
Mounding handmade vanilla home bean.
I scream about shattered ice cream.
Larva that chews living infant eyebones.

Clay clay clay. Beach Mommy Clay Girls.
Clouds of butterflies unroll coiled
Tongues, absorbing minerals. Coiled
Prehensile tail. Gray and light and scattered
Blue slate gray curtains falling rain - windy
Mountain rains. And my wife and children
Have to go fly, non est. Holiday borderlands
With Robby the peg and some faceless others
Curdle hurdle the windy hills and Robbi
Must visit some brand of specialist quackster.
I started the scent of disputation in my mind.
Wild wind whipping, tree bending, lip chapping
Football weather. Jump spring clap clap jump
Clay girls oee clay girls oee. Necklate?
Ancient civic honour swept rightless oi polloi.
We argued, my eldest and a friend of hers
Abort nothing, about how much heatache shrieks
In the grand earth quake stream of Karmic justice.
I felt embarrassed, lieu i had lost control.
No justice. Non ens. Heavens. The young Mother
Who allows herself to die, who is allowed
To die to bring forth her child. There is
No special place in heaven. There is drear waste.
The child busted at teh first, the husband,
The parents, maybe siblings orphaned.
A family, extended, destroyed, all at once, all
For naught. There IS NO SPECIAL PLACE in heaven.
Only corruption and decay, flesh rotting past
Of the no longer loved actress. Peeling paint...
For saintly sainted souls jumping beach martyr.
Jump jump clap spring jump clap flip and feet
Landing sort of blue weather of bright sun
Olive shaded gum leaves down faced the blue
Emptiness of nothing but space in all directions.
For all time. Rock drive drill home.
Dancing tall spirit of grape and the spirit
Of rich loam capture spin shining sun ball
And turn all that into this. Sad slow wild rides
Of wild scheming, grave her forth dreamt
Of the one dog chewing on the other.
Hag skin blood mouth hanging, so unleashed to end
One weak of giving away. Clay jump girl spring.

Well I'm be damned here comes your ghost again...
No est; nothing. Ourselves alone. No eternal
Life. And so within more than five billion
Years we pass some sixty or so years.
Disawon disawon. jump clap jump spring.
Cause I need some of that vagueness now.
Gas bagging shooting shit passion time
And old black jazz many to a type and the
Other cat nameless, faceless was bald
And sweaty. Latter I watched these eyes
Of jazzman shades. I hipster headed watched
The gaudy vested day glo council workers
Footpath fixing with instant fast bitumen.
Clap clap flip flap. Jump and spring worms
Crawl in and the worms crawl about and out.
And that is all, passing by the homestead
But the once. In all that time and space
We are nothing. Life is a precious accident,
Each one equal and unique. We have ourselves
Alone this world to organise and band together.
And moribund dead christ chewers balk at
The immenense distances of time and space.
Fearful they retreat and i larf. "No i do not",
I laugh agin and sign, "I do not feel the need to
Respect your fiend who lives amid the clowns."
Just substance, and a ritual of tears and dirt.
And all the organs rotting safely underground.
Gut no need for 'em, but selfish take 'em.
I awoke with the flame of discouragement
Ringing across my long dead child ears.

All there is; is expanding friendship and
Forging our minds in all ways. This love
Of friends, of human thought stands astride
The infinite. All we are, are plans of
Love and friendship. Rock drive drill hammer.
Paving warm too and fro they ramble warm
Frothy beer into the windy process gutter,
Maybe groping along lines of grouped stars.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom

Post number 100. I guess that says something about my stubborn perseverance in the face of constant ignoring :-)

Funny old day, funny old life. Started in the morning. Woke up got the kids breakfast, and sat down to check my emails. This was followed by a quick check of the news. An article jumped right out at me, a leading midwife in England said something to the effect that women need to toughen up and not have pain relief in childbirth.

A short goggle search and some surfing later, and it was found out
that the article was poorly written and out of context. Indeed the
midwife was questioning the hospital systems over reliance on
technical fixes, as the birth process is more and more taylorised and turned into a production line. This post seemed to be a much more sensible discussion to me.

Even Tracey Spicer felt the need to speak out trivializing the report with an inane anecdote about her childhood, and some vague narrow evidence based only on her personal experience.

Like Pavlovian dogs responding to high pitched whistle of our spectacle masters vast hordes of bloggers hit the netwaves and gave us hundreds of comments by the end of the day. Reminding me once again that there is no darkness but ignorance.

And near the end of the day I watched a documentary on children made
orphans by the cyclone in Burma. Choking back tears my wife said, 'It puts into perspective the petty bourgeois women who complain when the doctor will not give an epidural in the first instance.' Crying over the hopeless children on the television I had no alternative but to agree with her.

In between all that I went into work, and made some utilities to
support our monitoring application. Log rolling, password changer,
nothing too brain burning - but things that had to be done.

And then I found my notebook from a recent poetry reading I went to
at the National Library of Australia (NLA)

On July 4 I went to 'An Afternoon of Poetry' a launch of two new CDs
published by the River Road Poetry Series. Scissors, Fire, Paper, Water is the 12th volume. The first volume having been produced in December of 2007. In the words of Carol Jenkins the publisher, 'I set out, on a whim, to put together a collection of poems that played a game of Scissors, Fire, Paper,Water.' We were to hear some selections from this piece, as well as volume 14 'Coffee with Miles' by Geoff Page.

This is a very commendable project, it is great to see someone willing to do this sort of work, when it seems obvious that money can not be a main determinate in the series.

The latest volume was described, quite evocatively, as being a living thing that one puts on, much like a jacket lined with field mice.

The event was in a conference room on level four of the NLA. Max
looked angry penguin frail and old across the room. What would his judgement of the crowd of about 60 to 75 people (it was not more than 90) and the poems we heard?

The first reader was Stephen Edgar, a Sydney based poet. He started with a piece of 'languid ease' entitled "Red Sea", a poem of luck that seemed to lead us into a 'blind of ubiquity'. Nocturnal was next, a poem of 'midnight loss', after the death of a loved one. A tight and powerful piece, dealing with a subject we often do not want to have to face in our modern sanitised deathless world.

Inspired in part by the Ken Burns series on the American Civil War
was 'Sun Pictorial' this had an image of 'beauty of Baghdad' which
confused me, and made it seem as if the author was impressed by the
American shock and awe campaign.

And then he finished off with a childhood memory poem, 'In Summer
Wind' where radios murmured repetitively on a hot listless Sunday

Martin Langford came next and he spoke about how nature is made up of
not of words, but more than words, and some things I imagine which can not even be spoken.

Anecdotal, a slice of life passing away, a story of a WWII refugee come to live with the weird mob down under. Slowly, (what had he left?), but to murder himself with cigarettes.

Cezanne and Brahms and someone else I missed drinking in a beer garden overlooking the Hawkesbury River, yarning 'bout how this planet needs kindness. However after listening to his poems my mind sparked William Blake, the tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Maybe old Ezra was right (without the antisemitism and fascism), maybe history and economics and the role of banking et alli are important topics for the poet.

On the far wall Jean Campbell midwife to 'the babe is wise'. Her legs crossed, her hat red, her gloves lace. Detached she looked vaguely out the window, holding up half of heaven, yet only hold one third of the poets places this afternoon.

Judith Beveridge followed, described as 'never a word out of place'
fine praise indeed!

Saffron Pickers, inspired by the events in Iraq, stories in
newspapers. 150 000 stamen to get a kilo of spice. Again there seemed to be no explicit tying of the back breaking poverty and never ending labour of the poor to the creation of fabulous exotic luxury goods. I know it is often hard to judge a poem correctly in this sort of venue, so I could be mistaken or have misunderstood, that is possible.

Mother & Child contrasted the child 'cascades of laughter' with the
sadness felt by the mother. Hopelessness hidden within a nature poem
cataloging the birds of the Australian suburbs, Magpies, Indian
Mynahs, Cockatoos.

A poem called Rain, which was unsurprisingly about rain. 'Rustling
like silk', 'loquacious rain' like a 'leaf mist' of grain.

And rounding off her section with 'Appaloosa' in the mist and the rain
she has 'always loved the word appaloosa'.

As the event wore on, I could not fault any of the poets for their
grasp of various poetic forms and technical understanding of the craft of poetry. As each one of us can only, as Aristotle says, know our own experience; I seek something else. Having grown up around the various slams and such like readings I want a bit more excitement, a bit more word play and derring-do in my poetry. There is a desire to create accessible poetry, but I stand in opposition to such an idea. People have always loved poetry and are surrounded by poetry in much of their day to day life, even if they may not always feel this fact. It seems to me that many poets fight a fight for accessibility that does not in fact exist. If there is any less love of poetry, it is the academic poetry that is filled with nice words and thin subject matter that the working people do not relate to. Working class culture is closer to matter and closer to the transcendental animal nature of human existence. Indeed for many of us the daily trip to work could well be the last time we get to say good bye to our children. (2000 deaths a year in the workplace.)

Mark Tredinnick read some of his luxuriant post modern bucolics, harking back while looking forward. Again we had the idea of the mind beneath the mind, of nature that exists as a terrible serene destructive counterpoint to our technical culture of failed words, and failed processes and ruined lives. Rivers run from swerve of shore to bend of bay before language.

Cicadas surface after 14 years, what intelligence, what will to power drives them out of ground to climb and shriek far into the
nights. What intelligence is in the cherry pip? What admixture of
marijuana and over the counter pain killers lead to the palace of wisdom?

Some images of God and more rain, and glib geometric Canberra.

The publisher Carol Jenkins read a couple of poems, one about child
fighters in Columbia, 'Trading in Small Arms' which while admirably
drawing attention to the plight of the child soldier could have gone
further in making her critique. This was followed by 'PET Facts'. This was a self confessed nerd poem which sent a rolling chuckle through the audience.

The final poet for the afternoon Geoff Page read. He started by
setting up a false dichotomy between performance and literary poets,
which to my thinking was a bad omen. All poems are about death, and
sunflower hallucinations and illusion and photo fallin' setting up a breath and death dialectic of rhyme, scrapping the lizards offa the texas trees. Or maybe some jazz poems about having a cup of joe with maybe slow silent way too cool Miles Davis mystic cool with the mad ones crossing a rain soaked angry negro rosy colored dawn street in maybe Providence or angry fix hipster Hartford, hands deep thrust into rough strong fabric trousers. angelheaded hipsters burning panorama of East St. Louis Toodle-oo.

All within Canberra's glib geometry? Quite a few poems, and by now I
have all but lost my note taking skills, and let the words flow riverrun between the Epicurean swerve. What have we, Beyond Good and Evil is a world that is hurtling into no future of unimaginable violence, and these poets, some of the most published, most awarded in the country can not get much above the shouting level of the agnostic. Surely the kindness we are to show the planet has to be more desperate than this.

I fear God's entropy and our own time wasting.

What could I see from all this? A technical understanding, an
infatuation with nature poems, and with being accessible, coupled with an almost total disregard for the political events which overwhelm working people the world over. If these are some of the 'best and brightest' of the Australian poetry scene, then viva la revolucion.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Symbols of the Dreaming from the Chaos Void

Went to the launch of an exhibit at the Belconnen Gallery in the
surprising named Belconnen Community Centre .

The exhibit was of a young artist by the name of Joabie Lovett. As
described by Professor Margot Neale (ANU), in her opening remarks, his
work has a singularity and integrity which one often fails to see
these days. There is a sense of the work being done for the pleasure
of the artist. Here we must pause for a moment to understand and
describe the pleasure of life as being the understanding and self
expansion of the self. So to rephrase the sentence. There is the
feeling that the work is being done for the personal understanding and
expansion of the artist. This seems to be a prime motive.

This is to be commended. There is no pandering to market or public
fads. The work itself can be described as a catalouge of a spirtual
journey. This is a wide ranging and catholic journey. Striding over
Buddihst, Christan, Hebrew, Egyptian, Hindu and of of course
Indigenous spirtulaity and iconography. The canvas is seen as a flat
surface for story telling (like the blank page for the poet), not so
much a mirror, or a creation of perpective illusion.

There is much to see and think about, there is much to admire. The dot
painted and cross hatched backgrounds are layered with simple yet
powerful images and painted words that extend the narrative. The use
of color was at times subtle, at other times exuberant, but never was
a unfriendly effect created.

As each of us can only speak from our experince, I was disturbed by
the godleness of the exhibit. I feel that a strong beauty and art can
be found by looking over the wide tradtion and picking the persons and
ideas that sought to free us from all idealism and into a word pure
world of nature where human history and nature again can become

But that is just my personal feeling, and like the vast majority of
white people in Australia I have lived a life of relative
privilege. If anyone was to ask I would tell them to stop by the
Belconnen Gallery and judge for yourself, even if you were an old
school atheist like myself, you would find much in the exhibit to
captivate and exicte the imigination.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Watching the Sea Lions

So an old friend mentioned she had been to northern california and it was cold sweatshirt weather, but she got to watch a seal play. and we have seals in australia. around the southern seas between NSW & tasmania and victoria. and i thought of them and then how telemachus fought proteus (the great bull seal at the centre of the harem). and the how seals and whales and gold connect california (1849) to australia (1851) and the theft of the land and the sea. and hands in mackerel snapping trouser pockets kerouac from mill town new england. and before long the whole damn thing had written itself. enjoy or not at your leisure & pleasure.

Happy water slapping surface bounding seals.
Slap happy sea lions ever changing.
Children of Proteus, held ever dear tight,
Gripped Telemachus, lost daddy lover.

The old man of the sea hugged round his children,
Seal furred grasp Telemachus grappled Knowledge
Of his long lost far away sea spirit
Loving father. Happy seals, sea splashing.
Wave all king philip mornington port bay
Road of rolling feud and bloody fight and theft
That fills the caskets of the wealthy few,
That false the bottom dark heart of them all
Successful families. And so sleek coated
Sea lions humboldt it far far away.
Far from doomed sorrento to desolation
Spear, crazed buckleys gold alone convict cave.
Big angel surge of dulouz and gerard.
Poor sad ti jean hands in pockets wishing
To be long time gone and asway in heaven...

But we dont get that -
Dont get nuting even close
Just a spit of water
Coilt from california
To tasmania.