Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tattoo You

One of the things that /
          freaks me out about this place /

the planes

no, no little Fantasy Island

frothing on the



It's a
      small airport

with a
      fucking long runway

ideally sited &
suited to service
the military training area
      a few kilometres away

& in the
or the
      early morning

      so often

the little propellered
commuter craft
are replaced by


the chartered C5 Galaxy
Capacity: 36 fully-loaded 463L-type cargo pallets (88" x 108" @ 10,000 pound (4,536kg) capacity); 270 passengers in the air-bus configuration*; six transcontinental buses; two M1-A1 Abrams main battle tanks; seven UH-1 Huey helicopters; one U.S. Army 74-ton mobile scissors bridge. (A combination of pallets and wheeled vehicles can be carried together when required.)

that unloads tanks
in the middle of
the night & manages
to shake & wake an
entire city
& does it again
twenty-four hours later
on its way out

& then
the army

five jumbo jetfulls
in & out at
five minute intervals

& then
at an un-
specified when

fighter jets will come screaming
down the valley

& I will shit myself
with conspiracy paranoia

Jordan, you left out the most important one

Fyodor Dostoevsky
born 10/30/1821

Monday, October 30, 2006

& now for something a little bit different

Marko Niemi has a new feature at his wonderful Nokturno magazine site. He's started up an audio series of poets reading poems written in another language, so far all in Finnish.

I've just contributed to it. A reading of Miia Toivio's beautiful Omakuva 1 (Selfportrait No 1; included in the author's own translation in Otoliths issue two, augmented by the Finnish original in the print version) where I'm accompanied by some local musicians. You'll find the audio here.
I'm 65 today!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

yyyyyyyyyy lee




Was it Yap
where they had
     coins the
size of mill-
stones? Obviously
knew what they
     were doing
when it came to
     the currency
of currency.


not wily
but too swell

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Lost, & looking for his sidemen

When all else
fails, he comes back
to the music of
Miles. It is
a point of familiarity,
that has served him well
in the past. But, too
many trips to the
well & eventually it
runs dry. Dare he
say it, but even
Miles is Muzak
at certain times.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Discovered by accident

I upload a number of images to both this blog & to Otoliths. Often, & especially with large images, I upload, get the "done" button, click it, & discover there's nothing there on the entry screen. So try it again, & again, then get pissed off & get out of Blogger altogether.

Yesterday, in the process of putting some stuff up at Otoliths, I went through the motions, got nothing, tried it again. Still nothing. So, since I had an empty screen in front of me, decided to upload a text piece from someone else. Started entering the code for the heading &, lo & behold, the image data suddenly appeared after I'd made about half a dozen keystrokes.

So, I've learnt a new trick with Blogger. It's worked everytime since.

Onward, ever sideways!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Offices of ALF

You have reached
the offices

Armadillo Liberation
Front. Unfortunately all

our operators are
busy over-

invasion by
the United States.

Seems like George
W Bush

soft opponent
to whip before

the House &
Senate elections.

is he?
He’s a Texas

boy after all,
should know

we armadillos
can be. Mind

you, when they
stormed the

kept on
shouting “Give up

you Aardvarks, we’ve
got you

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Mundanity, birds, The Magnificent Seven, & a handful of songs

It's my day off work. Usually I settle down at the pc, do some editing tasks, answer emails, catch up on what the poet bloggers around the world have been doing over the past few days, hopefully writing &/or taking part in the community.

It's a geographic journey sans planes, trains & automobiles. Click, I'm in Kent, Ohio. Click Helsinki. Click Mexico in London. Click Amsterdam. Click Sydney. Click St Helena ( which comes to me via a service provider in Mountain View. Hello Google.).

& it's also fucked my eyes. I've just increased the text size to 150% so I can see what I'm writing.

But anyway. This is a temporal journey. Usually I might put the washing on early & then, some hours later, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, go out & do some gardening & clean the pool in the heat of noon. Today I've mowed the lawn – mown the lawed? – cleaned the pool, done the dishes, & put on the washing, first load almost finished, second near to going in. Hang it on the line as an excuse for having a cigarette (Jesus, I'm pathetic).

But anyway. In the days when the pelican dreamt, when I hadn't gone back to paid employment & I could spend my time exploring my mind & letting the animals out to see what they brought back, when if I didn't feel like mowing the lawn / cleaning the pool / doing the washing there was always tomorrow, one of my delights was the birdlife in this place, the variety of it. It's still there, & I still enjoy it, but I don't see enough of it. Or most times enjoy it. Anyone who's ever been woken at 5.30 a.m. by an army of raucous white sulphur-crested cockatoos will understand my reservations.

& Miles is now playing Bye, Bye Blackbird.

But anyway. Today I've been attacked by saneness, & gone out & mown the lawn & cleaned a thousand leaves from the pool – it might be Fall in the northern hemisphere but here it's Spring, though with the lack of rain & the heat shock that the trees suffer from it might as well be Autumn (three songs there, hidden, confused titles, pick them out correctly & you get a chocolate bar or a pass to WonderWorld or a pat on the bum from your Uncle John & do you know what your willie's for?) – while it's still relatively cool.

Which brings me to. Somewhere, once, when I was young, a year or so ago, I wrote about the bebop bird, who would be out there trilling these incredible bop lines. Reminded of that by another bird, which brings me to The Magnificent Seven.

Confession time. I love Kurosawa &, not being a purist, I also love the westerns which are Kuroswa rewrit. The Outrage (Rashomon); A Fistful of Dollars & A Few Dollars More (Yojimbo & Sanjuro); &, most importantly, The Seven Samurai in leather. Not just because it's Kuroswa, but because I grew up on American International B-grades – here he pauses & lights incense sticks & bows in the direction of Roger Corman; & Miles is now doing something from Porgy & Bess – it's a compilation, but how could I resist? Time After Time, So What, Milestones, the Concerto de Aranjuez, It Ain't Necessarily So. I take that gospel / whenever it's possible / but with a grain of salt – shit, I've lost track of the hyphens, now Excel will butt in & tell me my formulae are incorrect - - there. you happy now? - - - & the first time I saw Steven McQueen & Robert Vaughan & Charles Bronson (in his original Polish nomenclature) were in Roger Corman movies (& Jack Nicholson & Peter Fonda & & & but that's another bedtime story) & Yul Brunner came to me via Cocteau's Testament of Orpheus & I quite liked Brad Dexter & I liked Eli Wallach & I creamed my jeans because James Coburn was sooooo cool. Horst Bucholz, mind you, was a waste of space, but I kept superimposing Toshiro Mifune on him & that got me more than / halfway there. & then there's the Mexican bandits which, of course, brought to mind the mexican Bandit of Paul Blackburn's poem. & then there's the dichotomy of black & white, the concept anyway, because, after all, the movie was in colour.

(I could have skipped that last paragraph & just written "it's a boy thing".)

But anyway. In Elmer Bernstein's score for The Magnificent Seven, he had two distinctive themes. One was when TM7 were riding along, one note & you knew they were coming (& were not the only ones) & the other was the Mexican Bandits theme. I could have whistled them both for you, but the CD has moved into So What & it's Coltrane's solo & I've shut everything else out. But my fingers are still making music on these keys – fuck off Peter Quince - & I'm trying desperately to finish this off, so, gasp, here goes.

There's a crow out there whose song is the Mexican Bandits theme from TM7. Black bird. Apt. Now, if I could only get those fucking cockatoos to greet me in the morning with Dum dumpta dum, da dada dada dumpta dum, doowah, dedodadoowah……

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Dirt magazine, Phil Primeau's previously print zine of minimalist poetry & prose, has now gone electronic in a blogzine format & has a new home here.

listenlight has a new issue up dedicated to things visual. It's a delightful issue.

Kulture Vulture is new, so, too, Shampoo, & we're halfway between issues of the fortnightly Melancholia's Tremulous Dreadlocks (&, yes, I can now add that wonderful title to my bibliography).

& the latest issue of Snorkel, a journal of Australian & New Zealand poetry, has just gone up.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Lines writ in the week leading up to my 65th birthday

As I approach my sixtysixth year, I decide it is time I wrote a really long poem. A meisterarbeit as it were, tying in together everything I have learnt over my lifetime & distilling it into an output of such insight & incisiveness that, even if I didn't finish it, there would be enough for the most obdurate of critics to proclaim it the work that showed literature the way forward into the twentyfirst century.

I might be forced to make a deal with someone. That's nothing new. Faust made a pact with the Devil, Pound with Walt Whitman. Without resorting to higher - or lower – beings there's quite a choice even if you only include those who have a few good long poems under their belt. I make a pact with you, William Carlos Williams. Or Allen Ginsberg. Or Octavio Paz.

But being vain, there'd have to be a few things before poetry. I mean, my butt has disappeared over the years; that'd have to come back. & the handfuls of fat around the belly would have to go. The eyes enlightened. A good scourge of the lungs & trachea to get rid of the tar buildup & then a patchless cessation of my desire for nicotine. One morning wake up not to find myself metamorphosed into a giant cigarette-craving beetle. Gregor Samsa, eat your heart out.

The blood would be flowing the way it should / wouldn't it be good / to be able to crack wood. Or at least keep the tree standing upright. Because that's one of the problems with old age - your cock has a mind of its own that points in a totally different direction to the mind of its own it had forty or fifty years ago.

So you're revitalised & ready to go, & suddenly the urge to write long poems disappears out the door because there's too much else to do. Unfortunately, the need to write doesn't join it. Now it's compromise time, but there has to be a way to retain the best of both worlds. What to do? Who else is there? Thinking time………..

I make a pact with you, Basho.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

comes a part
when it all comes
apart, no matter
       how well the
       seams are
sewn together

Saturday, October 21, 2006

J ache




jealousie or jalousy
       or something



       the long slow agony of life

Friday, October 20, 2006

The birds

in the tree
so small I
see them as
rather than

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A / little something / for Ray Craig

The temperament
of birds. Cardboard
containers of take-
out noodles. Light,
elongated? No, not
that, the things it
touches. Ensuing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"It is said that the sage Bodhidharma brought the teachings of Buddha to the Kingdom of Wei. & that is true if you accept as the beginnings three temples the size of privies, a few old men who claimed to be monks & who ate only dried waterlily shoots to prove it & a handful of believers who could not reach consensus on a single point. Let us say, therefore, that it was Bodhidharma who planted the first seeds, even if they grew into straggly plants.

That put behind us, it can be then said that it was Hsuan Tsang who truly brought Buddhism to our land, who brought the strong seeds that grew into a forest. A long & perilous journey that he undertook, that we knew he had begun only after he had finished it. Who could not have accomplished it on his own, but who, being a simple man, would not admit that he was worthy of the assistance of the Hosts of Heaven. I have corrected the story, added in those who I know to have been his traveling companions, so his true adventures can now be told.

& yet - there must always be an '& yet' for there is no journey that does not contain the traces of an earlier one - a commentary on the Mahayana Sutras of the Masters Asanga and Vasubandhu says there was one who came from the north before Hsuan Tsang & left with the Sutras. A man from the Eastern Turkish Khaganate, from the Takla Makan desert, who had a vision that he must first travel east to Wei where he would find the true faith struggling to survive, learn what he could of it so he could then learn more. Who would then travel west, retracing his earlier steps, until he arrived back from whence he came; & then go south, across the Karakorum, down through the Hindu Kush & into India, to find the Sutras. Who would take them back to the Great Tang where they would flourish.

But the Kings of the Four Corners of Heaven were not yet ready to welcome Gautama so they caused misfortune to befall this man whose name is never told. In Afghanistan, in the Bamiyan Valley, his legs were crushed by a falling rock so he could travel no further. (In another version, it is implied that the followers of the Hinayana, the Lesser Vehicle, caused the rock to fall, seeking to prevent the rival teachings from spreading.)

There he stayed, & taught. & people came & were so inspired by what they heard that they decided to glorify the Buddha, carving two enormous standing images of him into the sandstone of the cliffs with the details of the Buddha's face shaped by a mixture of mud & straw covered over & fixed with lime.

It is also whispered that there is a third statue at Bamiyan, hidden in a secret cave deep within the cliffs whose entrance has only ever been known to a few, a reclining figure larger than the other two but with a different face, that of the teacher, because some believed he was truly the Buddha reincarnate.

This is all I know of that story. But I know that when Tripitaka saw the Buddhas of Bamiyan he knew that he had almost completed the first part of his quest. & I know that the Monkey-King was so excited when he saw them that he jumped up onto the head of one with a single leap & shouted with joy."

A Preface to The Journey To The West, by Wu Ch'eng-en. Dated The 181st Year of the Ming Dynasty.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

love of
nature was unnatural

Monday, October 16, 2006

I saw up her leg above the knee!

on Ron Silliman's

on Robert
Creeley's Collected Poems.


you only
own two poetry

then you're
a fucking philistine.


There are things I miss from childhood, but, in the main, they are not childish things.

A single mountain, an extinct volcano, configured similarly to Mt Fuji but with its own mythology. The Maori believe that it was once part of a family with the other three volcanoes that inhabit the centre of the island, hundreds of kilometres away. That it argued with them, & ran away, & its path is now the Wanganui River.

More myth, my mythology, before that. The mountain range that "struts the backbone of the land". The Southern Alps, growing up with it, one horizon, a wall that both extended & closed in sight.

& I remember the Aurora Australis, seen once only above & southerly on a road that ran from the end of the suburb where I lived down to the sea. Seen just after a dusk that took two hours to disintegrate, to traverse that span between day & night.

That is the trigger for the other memories, because here there is little twilight. Too close to the equator. Dusk – if you could call it that – is a brief entr'acte. A switch is flicked. End of story. No twilight's last gleaming.

I wonder if it's a compression, because that is the thing I do miss from childhood, the extension of time, how you could explore the entire world between sunup & sundown. Wake up, & the end of the day was too far away to see.

Now, it's wake up, blink, & the day is gone.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

N docrine



gland you could
finally make

stranger in
a strange gland




Saturday, October 14, 2006

Pssst. / Wanna buy / a dirty bomb?

Well at least the
North Koreans
didn't blow up cities,
contaminate the marine
ecosystem of the
South Pacific, displace
people, force volunteers
to stand in the path
of the contaminant

But then, but
then. The question
must be asked. With
that frightening
plethora of marching
bands & a
chorus line that has
more people in it
than half the
nations on this
planet, why do they
feel the need to
have a nuclear
deterrent as well?

Friday, October 13, 2006

viously a
silent night. Now

he knows what
techno punk

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Stuck inside of Mobile

I want too much, &
often take the same.

Economists tell me
this is wrong, one

part of it anyway, that
wants are unlimited

but resources scarce,
that my prolifigacy

causes prices to rise,
babies to starve, atolls

in the South Pacific
to submerge as temper-

atures increase through
anger at my actions. I

want what I want,
but not what my wants

lead to.

A / thankyou note / for Tom Beckett

Today the
postman brought
me Unprotected
. Special delivery.
Bubble wrapped
inside a plain
brown envelope. I
opened it up. That
print smell was

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Sunday, October 08, 2006

wisdom is
equal parts com-

& conformity,
keeping the ones

do show
promise tied down

letting the
dumb fucks prosper.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Today the
postman brought
me a man-
dolin that
was ripe
for the

Friday, October 06, 2006

Electric Ladyland

      for Sheila Murphy

The microwave beeps to tell me my origami lessons are ready.

This long weekend I'm going to the opera, Der Ring des Nibelungen. The clothesdrier is escorting me. It's so excited it has been leaving Babe Ruths around the house for the last two weeks. There's a pun in there somewhere, but I refuse to have a bar of it. Do you want me to whistle a few notes? See if you recognise the tune?

The pool pump calls me to have a look at a wallaby with lumpy jaw. During its idle time it practices as a veterinarian. We are writing a paper together.

In the morning the toaster brings me coffee in my favourite cup. The sun has called a stopwork meeting. The moon has called in sick.

The airconditioner claims it is out of condition but I heard it clearing its throat today.

If it's Tuesday then the washingmachine is in San Francisco on its farewell tour. 45 shows in 60 days. Mick Jagger is joining it in London to do some duets. It was supposed to be a secret but the delicate rinse cycle got its knickers in a knot & couldn't keep quiet. Now everybody knows. Even Leonard Cohen.

& if it's Tuesday, therefore an even day, then the VCR is covered in alfoil. On the odd days it downloads all sorts of stuff & watches it in secret over the following 24 hours. I've learnt not to try & change its schedule but we've compromised a little. Ever since I managed to convince it that JFK was really dead. Now neither of us watches sport on Sunday.

The camera tells me I have to live in a cleaner vacuum. Something about the chi of open apertures. I go to zoom in on it but the cordless kettle trips me in a flash. I didn't know they were on together.

Too many current affairs. I can't stand them any longer. I turn the power off at the main. The gasmeter brings me an armload of carnations.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


You know the
well's running
dangerously low

when the high-
light of your day
is watching a

magpie lark attack
its reflection
in a window

& wondering if
there's a poem in it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A reminder

that submissions for issue three of Otoliths close at the end of this month.

& I've started sending out contributors' copies of issue two.
Today the
postman brought
me letters
for the Light
Brigade. They've
I told
him. Half a
league onward

F elated



flotsam &
I loved it
when he
went down



Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Today the
postman brought
me the new book
by George
W. Bush. It's
Homeric in
both text &
title - text
by Homer Simpson;
title, I lied.

Monday, October 02, 2006

L attitude



  projected. No
         but his voice
            filled the


lay, lady, lay


Sunday, October 01, 2006


the poem that
was here

has been seized
to be used

as evidence
in a charge of

writing bad poetry

                     POLICE LINE: DO NOT CROSS           POLICE LINE: DO NOT CROSS           POLICE LINE: DO NOT CROSS           POLICE LINE: DO NOT CROSS          
Today the
postman brought
me a letter from
the City Council
asking residents
in our area
not to dispose of
their colostomy bags
down the toilet.

Apparently they
block the local
pumping station
& cause the sewer-
age to overflow.

How prosaic. I
much preferred
believing it was
the perfume of
asphodels that
had filled the air.

Wow! / Is paranoia / expensive, or what?

In a flurry of activity before their departure early Saturday morning, the Senate gave final approval to $448 billion for the Pentagon, including $70 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Senate also joined the House in approving construction of a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Congress also sent to the president legislation to ease the serious threat of terrorist attack using the 11 million shipping containers entering the nation's 361 ports every year.

And legislation to convene military trials to prosecute terror suspects cleared its final hurdle in the House.