Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ah, Saddam

I don't condone what you did, what you were accused of, but maybe if there'd been impartial judges, a neutral courtroom sans cages in another country where the puppeteering strings of political expediency didn't reach…..

As you knew, the fix was in from the start. I don't understand why they even bothered with a trial. Actually, I do. So that both the puppets & the puppeteers could proclaim loudly how "the due process of law" was followed, how wonderful it was to see a "fledgling democracy" in action. How now that they've carried out an execution of someone of such high stature, the Iraqi government can be said to hold its own in the big boys' league.

Presumption of guilt is undemocratic. Public humiliation is undemocratic. Being held prisoner by another power in your own country is undemocratic. Execution by the State is still murder but with more syllables, & probably the ultimate act of undemocracy.

The newspaper tells me you spent part of your last hours sharing "untitled poems" with your visitors. That was a nice touch, & demonstrates that you were far more culturally aware than your nemesis who was probably chortling over fart jokes with his bovver boys—& girl—at his Texas ranch & creaming his jeans in anticipation of getting his hands on the dvd of your execution. They say serial murderers often like to keep a trophy of their crimes, something to play with as they play with themselves.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Today the
postman brought
me the news
that George
had died from
whilst attempting
a night time
crossing of
the Delaware.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


a six month hiatus

Series Magritte is finally getting a bit of a workout

which means

that I'm getting my thought processes back in gear once more

just in time

to go back to work & have them atrophy again.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Lines from

the musical I discovered, when I woke up from an afternoon nap, that I'd decided to write.

I felt great trepidation when the microwave was born
I still don't own a cellular phone
I'm a Luddite - ell you double-dee eye tea eee

Monday, December 25, 2006

Holy Moly #2

I wasn't going to have a post that carried the date of this day when urban myth is celebrated, hence the post-dating of the post above — or is that pre-dating of the post or post-dating of the pre- or pre- the pre- or pre- the post- or what the fuck? — but, surfing the diverse & spectacular menu of pap being broadcast by cable, I happened upon the Midnight Mass at St Peter's Basilica presided over by the Bono of The Vatican just in time to see pro Bono oh so delicately flick his hair back behind his ear, &, if he hadn't returned his hands to that position made famous by Dürer, I swear the next gesture would have been to lick his fingers & smooth down his eyebrows. My dear, as they say around these parts, that man is a camp as a row of tents.

So, in the spirit of giving, I've decided to Out he whom Alex Gildzen delightfully describes as "the rodent pope in his Prada pumps", Pope Benedikt the Fagth, defender of the faith — or is that the Queen? — arch-conservative & loud critic of everything homosexual.

O hipocryte lecteur

Sunday, December 24, 2006

valse hay(na)ku


Friday, December 22, 2006

Ah, the perils of an editor

Was browsing the archives of another e-zine yesterday, & came across a poem I recognised. Not surprisingly, since it was one of a number of poems I'd accepted from the author & had uploaded to the under-construction issue four of Otoliths less than 24 hours before.

So I went googling, & discovered that four of the poems - plus a number of the remainder of the submission - had previously appeared online. I thought about pulling them all for some time, but decided to give the author the benefit of the doubt &, provided I received a reassurance that the remaining two hadn't or weren't going to appear elsewhere, pull only the four that had appeared before.

I emailed the author when I'd revised the page, received an email back - "Sorry. Honest mistake. Humblest apologies."

But it nagged at me because said author had also appeared in issue three of Otoliths. Back on with the uniform of the thought police, back into Google. Found that of the four poems in issue three, two had appeared once previously, one twice previously & one three times previously. Plus there were postings to a couple of poetry lists. (& I discovered another publication of one of the poems from yesterday.)

It's too late to pull the print editions - they've started going out - & because of that I decided to leave the poems online in issue three but add an acknowledgment of where they'd previously appeared. Four poems, six acknowledgments: people will do the math.

I don't mind publishing work that's appeared on blogs or in lists. I don't mind publishing work that's appeared in print, provided there's a decent time interval. I don't mind publishing work that's previously appeared online if what Bruce Sterling calls "linkrot" has occurred. I don't mind publishing complete series or sequences where the various parts have appeared before but never all together. But at all times, acknowledgment is given to the place of original publication. It's a basic courtesy, one that I give to my editors, one that I expect given to me.

Needless to say, I'm pissed. I'll still leave the poems there - though, after today, I was having second thoughts - but since I said I would, I will. But from now on in it looks like there's going to be a Google step within the process, & the idea that it is necessary to do that pisses me off even more.

Merry Christmas. Bah humbug.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

     "The trick naturally is what Duncan learned years ago and tried to teach us—not to search for the perfect poem but to let your way of writing of the moment go along its own paths, explore and retreat but never be fully realized (confined) within the boundaries of one poem. This is where we were wrong and he was right, but he complicated things for us by saying that there is no such thing as good or bad poetry. There is—but not in relation to the single poem. There is really no single poem."

Jack Spicer in an Admonition to Robin Blaser

a little thought for hks

would I
be without Miles?
    eventually he was smuggled out of the country & out of the limelight    

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Lines writ on misreading a title in fhole # 10

I stick my finger
in the socket
& nothing happens.

Try my prick. Still
no response. So

carefully uncurl the
cord rolled up in
my navel that ends
in a two-pin plug
& which doubles as
belly-button decor-
           & boy
                     do I light up.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

what if there had been no dubya?

"Son, you're making the same mistake in Iraq that I made with your mother. I didn't pull out in time..."

The Huffington Post

Friday, December 15, 2006

The print edition

of both parts of issue three of Otoliths are done & I'll be placing orders over the weekend for contributors' copies to go out which should arrive not in time to come down the chimney but as, hopefully, a bit of a kicker to get the new year off to a great start.

The electronic issue four is shaping up to be another - to use everybody's favourite term for Otoliths - eclectic issue. What does that say about the mind of the editor? But I've set out to be inclusive not exclusive, & I'm happy & proud with what I've done so far.

I'm still not writing much but that's because of the day job. It's a different zone I've got into, but I've still managed to get some stuff out out there.

Summer proceeds apace. Near the mid-thirties, Celsius. The country is ablaze down south, bush fires that join to create a 200 km firefront. Frightening. & what is worse, many of them are deliberately lit by people.

& a blue-winged kookaburra has just arrived in the tree directly outside the door to patiently scan the backyard for lizards & such. Best of luck. I can't stay quiet for that long.
It is warm.

I sleep with the
window closed.

I do not wake

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My days

are empty without the screaming jets. The war games are over, & since there was only one side taking part, I guess you can say they both won & lost.

The fighters were lined up at the airport when I flew to Sydney - I keep writing Syndey for some unknown reason - last week. Six of them, though I'd only ever seen four in a flypast. Maybe they were being considerate of the local populace.

The helicopters have gone, too. De-rotored & packed away in a Galaxy with all the other materiel. It flew out night before last, Dracula embodied, a huge shape blocking out the stars. But with noise, & bad vibrations.

However, my paranoia remains intact. We came back to find a red beacon flashing newly in the hinterland. Pour quoi? Maybe the Martians have done a deal to use our local military playing fields.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


of the
day poem for

Beckett. Sic
transit gloria mundanity.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Today the
postman brought
me two books
that I had
ordered — Anger
, &
How to Overcome
Obsessive Compulsive
. I
punched him up
because he
placed the parcel
in the letterbox

Sunday, December 10, 2006

There is a bookshop

in Sydney called Goulds. It started life as something like the Socialist Co-operative Bookshop probably close to 40 years ago, but some schism within the ranks of its organising committee saw it privatised – or privateered – by its still current owner. It moved, split into two shops, rejoined & finally ended up in the main street of what was then the unfashionable suburb of Newtown where it still can be found.

It can loosely be described as a treasure trove, except it would take probably two weeks to do justice to its shelves - & the floor & the double & triple stacks & the secondhand stuff that now are piled up everywhere. Plus any adventurer would probably need a hazard suit to survive the experience of two floors of chaos.

But, wonder of wonders, it still contains many of the books that originally graced its shelves in its first incarnation, although the prices have been reduced remarkably, probably repencilled during a stocktake of one of the moves. I spent a couple of hours in it on the visit to Sydney I have just come back from. &, as an indication of what can be found on its shelves, I brought back with me this time:
Bending the Bow – Robert Duncan
The Paris Review with a Creeley interview inside
One Night Stand & Other Poems – Jack Spicer
Hymns to St Geryon & Dark Brown – Michael McClure
Scales of the Marvelous – a series of essays on Duncan
Memory gardens – Robert Creeley
The Collected Longer Poems of Kenneth Rexroth
Earth House Hold – Gary Snyder
Sun Rock Man – Cid Corman
Letters for Origin – Charles Olson
'Twas a productive trip.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

27 lines later hay(na)ku

did lunch
but it wasn't

long enough to
do a          

Pareto lives!

The richest one per cent of the world's population owns 40 per cent of the total household wealth, while the bottom half of the world makes do with barely one per cent, according to a research report released Tuesday.

The study, which further underlined the continuing disparity between rich and poor, is by the Helsinki-based World Institute for Development Economics Research, part of the United Nations University

It took more than $500,000 US to be among the richest one per cent of adults in the world, according to the report. The richest 10 per cent of adults needed $61,000 US in assets.

In contrast, 50 per cent of adults owned barely one per cent of the household wealth.

Wealth was defined as the value of physical and financial assets minus debts. The study differentiates between wealth and income. The authors note that "many people in high-income countries — somewhat paradoxically — are among the poorest people in the world in terms of household wealth" because they have large debts.

The bulk of the wealthiest adults (almost 90 per cent) are concentrated in North America, Europe and Japan, the researchers said. For example, North America accounts for only six per cent of adults, but held 34 per cent of the globe's household wealth.

(The Pareto Principle was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. The assumption is that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes.)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

was when
I asked: what

have you got
to offer

The / unasked questions / eventually are answered

    "The common active ingredients in a hot chilli are chemicals belonging to the capsaicin family. When these chemicals make contact with the capsaicin receptors on the cells in your mouth, you feel the burn. Birds, on the other hand, have absolutely none of their receptors on their cells, so they feel no pain from eating chillies. This means that birds can cheerfully eat chillies and then spread the seeds around the countryside. Chilli seeds that have passed through the gut of a bird germinate better than chilli seeds that are planted by hand. In fact, while there's something about the mammal gut that stops chilli seeds from germinating, the opposite is true of a bird's gut. Birds usually excrete while they are feeding on another bush, so the chilli seeds often land on shady soil, their preferred environment."

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki: The Good Weekend, 12/2/06.

Monday, December 04, 2006


I was deeply saddened to hear of the weekend death of kari edwards from cardiac complications. Hir poetry, hir presence, were amongst the strongest around. The strength of hir activism was an example to us all.

kari was one of the first to respond when I started Otoliths, with both support & contribution. I am proud to be able to say that I am amongst the publishers of hir poetry.

I remember a few years ago, in the earliesh days of As/Is, reading a just-posted poem whilst a tropical storm raged above & around. The power of that poem by kari left the storm in its wake, in fact, probably kept the pc running.

I shall miss hir.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Today the
postman brought
me a blow-
up sex doll
which, it is
claimed, can be
to become moist
whenever a
music of the
user’s choosing
is played. I tried
it out with the
pipes & drums
of the Southern
Highlanders. It
worked. Un-
    it didn’t
work for me.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Galatea resurrects

for the fourth time
& I

am both a reviewer & a reviewee. (Isn't that a Dylan song?)

A hard task as reviewer driven by a harder task master (mistress). First time in almost 50 years I've reviewed a book, not since I used to review detective novels for the N.Z. Listener. Had to take a hiatus from the blog to get it done, barbed emails flying at me, whipping me (love it, love it!! more, more!!!!), exhorting me to contribute to making this the largest - the stats are overwhelming. I think it's 2 million books reviewed by 1,123,457 reviewers in this issue - GR yet. Goshdarn it, that is one driven woman. Mind you, I was four months overdue in delivering said review. Mea culpa.

Being reviewed was much, much easier. & much more pleasant. Thank you Nicholas for the kind words. episodes is a book of poems that owe a lot to the people I share this electronic world with. & what I've liked about the various responses to the book is that everybody seems to have a different favourite poem. Nicholas Downing quotes from one - a ficcione which I repost below - that has grown on me considerably since I wrote it.
The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde

The few photographs
of Genghis Khan that
are known to exist
date from the Barnum &
Bailey years & show him
standing either before
a backdrop of The Great Wall
or outside a circus tent
made up to resemble
a yurt. Invariably
he is dressed in western
clothes - derby hat, three-
piece suit, wing collar, a
pair of shiny black boots
over which are the spats
that were de rigeur
for the time. It is said
he chose to appear
like this so as to be
unrecognisable to the
Lords of the Spirit World
who would otherwise
capture his soul
through the capture of
his true image. The beard,
so important to the Han,
is bound by a leather
thong, pulling it together
in a pigtail as if to face
the queue of servitude
full on. He is a small
man, an innocuous uncle,
an unlikely claimant to
the title of Conqueror
of All Asia which was how
he was promoted. Perhaps
his appearance is why his
act never proved popular;
though historians of a
slightly later time identify
the lack of popularity as the
first stirrings of the American
xenophobia against all Asian
races. After this the programs
of B & B never mention him
again; though there is a single
photograph taken shortly
after Bailey’s takeover
of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West
Show in which, at one end of
the back row of the lined-up
Native Americans, just under
the first F of the banner
“The Former Foe – The
Present Friend”, is a stocky,
elderly, clean-shaven man
wearing a feather head-dress
that trails on the floor, looking
out into the distance, blankly,
as if there were no soul
left for the Lords
of the Spirit World to take.

hot &


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

a crow

      a crack

      in the

A found searchstring hay(na)ku

He hailed a
cab &

me to
pelican dreaming. What's

the address? I
don't know.

erotica asphyxiation
sex toy shops.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A & Q

From Martin Edmond's account of the launch of his new book, Luca Antara.
"I've tuned out momentarily during our dumb show & when I tune back in, Roger is talking about something he found on the Net, how he didn't realise I'd been living in a town in Queensland where he has relatives & visits often, which is a pity, because we could have caught up ... what on earth is he saying, I wonder, I've never lived in Queensland, I've only been there twice, once to the airport on the way back from Fiji - we didn't even get off the plane - and the other time to a National Park, a bat cave just over the NSW border? Then comes the punchline, he's been reading the Q & A I did with Mark Young as if I were Mark ... not realising I was the one asking the questions. This is quite funny although also a bit disconcerting."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

body looked
at him once.

New from Otoliths

cover design by harry k stammer

EILEEN TABIOS' publications include 14 poetry collections, an art essay collection, a poetry essay/interview anthology, and a short story book. DREDGING FOR ATLANTIS, her 11th print poetry collection, extends a body of work unique for melding ekphrasis with a transcolonial perspective. Here, she introduces her translation of the painterly technique of scumbling to create poems from other poets' words. From other writers' texts, she also extracts sequences of the hay(na)ku, a poetic form she inaugurated on June 12, 2003 to mark the 105th Anniversary of Philippines' Independence Day from Spain.

DREDGING FOR ATLANTIS is now available through Lulu for $10 plus postage.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Some grinning hellos back to Tom Beckett

I am a-
at your


One way
big head
small cock.

The other
big cock
small head.

The mix
& match
of man &

bull de-
pends on
how horny

you want
your phone
sex to be.


A white bull
but got
lost in the

that's where
got the
idea from.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Predicted (10/31/06), Noted (11/15/06)

At 4.55 p.m. - that's computer time, different from vcr time, bedside alarm clock-radio time, microwave time, oven time (though there's only a few minutes difference between them all) - the first foray of fighter jets came screaming down the valley. Two of them, noisy, a compressed sound unlike, say a jumbo jet. This is pure killing design, to instil fear. & then a few minutes later they're back, three this time.

This is friendly, war games, boys' toys. But more than a hint of what it must be like if they had heavy on their mind.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

Women I am not allowed to write about

I used the first poem from this series by Kirsten Kaschock in the latest issue of Otoliths. Eileen Tabios posted this comment about it. "To read this poem is to fall in love with it."

There are three more now up at Kirsten's blog Negative Wingspan. I echo Eileen's words, thrice. Plus reiterate them for the first poem.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Today the
postman brought
me a book &
a letter. Sent
two weeks apart;
but in one of
those acts
of synchronicity
that define the
universe they
arrived together. A
review copy of
Donald Rumsfeld's The
Deportment of Defense

or why I'll never
fall on my sword

in which, in his
own write, he
channels everyone from
Shakespeare — there
are more weapons of
mass destruction in
Iraq, Colin Powell, than
are dreamt of in your
philosophy — to the
Marx Brothers — we
know there are some
things we do not
know. But there are also
unknown unknowns, the
ones we don't know
we don't know. The letter
was from his publisher,
priority-paid, saying
that, because of un-
foreseen circumstances,
the book was now
withdrawn, as was
its author, & could I
return or destroy
it. Fat chance. eBay
beckons for bell,
book & candle.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


    I sit on the
parched front
porch. Around me
    the house is
falling down. Soon
my rocking chair
may fall through
    / the verandah.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I get to
play the
Bob Dylan

I finally
got to get
for my

& find the
bar band's
back again

with a

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

sWitch hatting

or: Toto, I've a feeling we're still in Kansas.

or: This is what happens when
you work in an office where they
celebrate birthdays, & your birthday
just happens to fall on the day
before Halloween.

Have you ever

seen Michael Jackson & George W. Bush in the same place, at the same time?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Conspiracy Theory #5397

I find it just a little bit too coincidental that, on the day before the U.S. Senate & Congressional elections, with the Republicans trailing in the polls, Saddam Hussein receives a death sentence.

Now restored, but


Martin Edmond

post was oBloggereated

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Martin Edmond

is, for me, one of the best writers of prose around. His work is a mixture of the real, surreal & superreal, mainly personal but venturing off in long forays across the many things that he keeps in his jackdaw mind, so that a shift in subject from modern-day Amsterdam to the fifteenth-century South China Sea is seamless. My only complaint ever about his work is that sometimes when he is writing about his relationships, he seems to be intimidated by the possibility (probability?) of offending those of his family who are still alive, & this conflict shows.

When he is writing about himself alone, sans hangups, he is brilliant. Check out his Diptych, just posted to White City, the blog he uses for pieces that don't fit – his words – at his other two blogs, Luca Antara & dérives. Exceptional stuff.

& his new book, Luca Antara, from East Street publications, is due to be launched in Sydney a fortnight from yesterday. Do yourself a favour. Buy it. Details are at that last link.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

poets in need

If anyone wants to add this button to their sidebar, clicking on the image above will give the blogger photo url to use as the image source. The sidebar button links to the poets in need site.

Friday, November 03, 2006

it's raining

Pour Prévert – some autumn leaves

              l                         t
  e               l
       f            e                          s


        e              m                  e

(just wanted to see what it looked like against this background)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Today the
postman brought
me some
freshly layed

Issue three of Otoliths

has just gone live at

Like the previous two issues, there is a diverse mix of people & styles. Issue three contains work by Ray Craig, Jordan Stempleman, Jeff Harrison, Andrew Topel, Corey Mesler, John M. Bennett, Reed Altemus, Lars Palm, Jesse Crockett, rob mclennan, Pat Nolan, Jenna Cardinale, Rochelle Ratner, Ian Finch, Paul Siegell, Thomas Fink & Tom Beckett, Ayşegül Tözeren, Glenn Bach, T. Walden, Tom Hibbard, Raymond Farr, Aki Salmela, Jill Jones, Nico Vassilakis, Kirsten Kaschock, Martin Edmond, Eileen Tabios, Sheila Murphy, Rebeka Lembo, Jonathan Hayes, Jenny Allan, Geof Huth, Kevin Opstedal, Adam Fieled, Derek Motion, Caleb Puckett, Scott Hartwich, harry k stammer & Serkan Işın, & has a cover by Michael Rothenberg.


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!

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!

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.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The birds

in the tree
so small I
see them as
rather than

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

Monday, October 16, 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

viously a
silent night. Now

he knows what
techno punk

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

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

Saturday, October 07, 2006

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

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

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.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Today the
postman brought
me Ernest
Hemingway. I
didn't know
what to do
with him, so
I gave him a
shotgun &
told him to
go off & pretend
he was fighting
bulls or some-
thing. A bit of
noise at first,
but he's been
quiet for the
last few hours.
   while we
      mellow into mainstream.


Colin McCahon (1954)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Must point out

the wonderful things harry k stammer has been doing with words from my poem letters.

Terror 19 - variation - V eerily by harry k stammer

& yes, that is the right spelling.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Since tomorrow

is the end of September, it's probably an opportune time for a reminder that submissions for The Hay(na)ku Anthology, No. 2 are closing at the end of September.

Full details are available at Hay(na)ku Poetry.
Today the
postman brought
me a digitally
remastered & re-
mixed live
recording of
the Big Bang. For
my tastes it's
a little over-
mined. No

Monday, September 25, 2006

If / there were / no Benny Cemoli

"I have always believed that at least half the famous people in history never existed. You invent what you need to invent."
-Philip K. Dick

bin Laden
is dead alive

alive dead
alive dead alive

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Space & Time

(a note for Alex Gildzen)

I'm turning 65 next month, & for most of that time I have shared my life with cats. Or perhaps, I have spent time with cats who were gracious enough to let me share their space with them.

The first was a ginger tom with the mundane name of Peter, he so big & I so small that I would pretend to ride it around the house as if / it were a horse. Another time, another town; & a distraught motorist who came knocking at our door to say he had run over our – this one with an unremembered name but I know it had black fur – cat which had crawled away into a stormwater drain to, as we all thought, die. But hours later, at the open front door – life was much more secure then – this bloodied but not too badly broken creature. & nursed back to health……

I don't remember cats in Wellington, but Auckland, yes.
cat enters, all wet with droplets of rain, like a
grey night.

& Sydney, possibly my favourite, that would spend the day prowling & then, late in the afternoon, would come to perch on the balcony of the front porch, to welcome me when I got home. Who would go for walks with me , miles at a time, scuttling along under the parked cars for protection. Who would come with me when I went up to the shops, most of the way, & then climb up a tree in the park just before the main road, to wait for my return.

She died aged about fifteen. & then, somehow, we acquired three, all strays, who shared our house. One died peacefully after ten or so years; the second died not so peacefully from diabetic complications, after nine months of daily insulin shots, morning & night.

& then the third, a tortoiseshell, called Little One because at one time she was the smallest. Now large, & sure of herself because she has no competition, a lizard gut hanging down, & the only one of the three of us who has thrived in this new setting. She sits beside me as I write,
                                                   the cat
on the stool beside me & the hissing heater
keeping us company.

gets the shits when I'm late feeding her, is healthy as all hell & heading happily towards her third decade.

But she will be our last. & may even outlast me.

The cat, in
something like a
crawl, descends
the steps to lie in a
portion of shade created
by the corner of the
house. She sticks
her paws out so they rest
in the sun, drawing
on its direct warmth
while the rest of her body
at one remove
stays sheltered &
secure. There are a lot
of potential metaphors
in that pose.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Part two,

the colour part, of the print edition of issue two of Otoliths is on its way for proofing.

It contains paintings, essays, poems & vispo by Karl Young, Vernon Frazer, Sandra Simonds, Nico Vassilakis & John M. Bennett, Carol Jenkins, Ira Joel Haber, Thomas Fink, Geof Huth, David-Baptiste Chirot, Michael Rothenberg & Eileen Tabios. Glorious stuff, in full colour.

I'm in the final fiddlings with part one, trying to get a poem right that runs its lines over on the smaller print page. Made a bit more difficult by the fact that it's bilingual, on facing pages, & I want to keep the balance. But it should be off to the printer next week.

Sent to the printer last night was the chapbook out of issue two, Sandra Simonds' The Tar Pit Diatoms.

It's a wonderful sequence of poems, again using colour, & I'm proud to be publishing it. It'll be proofed in about a week.

&, in a fit of self-indulgence, I've done a print version of my own the allegrezza ficcione

that first saw the light of day as a serial on pelican dreaming. It's a speculative novella, too short to be sent away as a novel, too long to be sent off to a journal. So I've decided that since it contains what I feel is some of my best - or, at least, my own favourite - writing, why not get it out of the drawer where it's been languishing & making whimpering noises & let it out into the light of day.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The seven pillars

of mother/son incest porn


Father is dead, or
done a bunk
or too busy banging
his secretary to
give his wife the
attention she


Son is 17 A survey
to 20, shows
7½ to George W. Bush
10. He's appeals to
always the 25 to 50
bigger group.
than his Those who
Dad. Only have a
his mother's higher
bra size IQ
gets a find him
metric un-
mention. attractive.


There are
often mirrors.
about the
angle of co-
equalling the
angle of


one catches
the other masturbating.

in. It
goes from there.


The protocol
of a royal
funeral. A
order of
entry. Mouth.
Cunt. Ass. Thirst
things first.


Son is


a glottal

Mother is




In sweat-
reverts to

Mommy this /
Mommy that.

Fuck Mommy




Needs to

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Friday, September 15, 2006

Dear Ernesto

Today the
postman brought
me all sorts of
things with an
English flavour
that I was going
to repackage &
send off monthly
as some kind
of food parcel
but I dissed them all
except for the 1000
postcards that say
"I wish you well,
amigo" & decided
instead to post
this poem from Jukka
& my Pages from
Karl Marx' Rubric
it has a London
theme & offers up
a couple of people
whose footprints
you might want
to walk in.

Rimbaud is in town & I’ve arranged to have lunch with him. People seeing the pair of us out strolling arm in arm will undoubtedly come out with something demeaning about the relationship. The aging German with his French toyboy — both parts are true but not together. I’m not inclined that way although I do find his anarchy quite exciting. The British. Probably jealous. They trumpet their propriety, but I’ve observed some interesting truths about them from my times at the Museum. Still, we’ll play along. Lunch with Arthur will be ham & watercress sandwiches, a pot of tea, perhaps some scones, taken at the proper pace in the sedate environment of a tearoom somewhere in the West End even though both of us would be more at home with coffee & croissants in Soho. A pity Wimbledon hasn’t been invented yet. Otherwise we could go there & sit in the stands & listen to the plonk plonk of the tennis balls going back & forth as he tells me that in his new untitled volume he makes the point Voici le temps des Assassins to which I’d say, returning his serve, Maybe so, but Demain sera le temps des Travailleux. People around would tell us to shush — Damned Foreigners! — but we’d ignore them. Then he’d tell me how they promised to bury in darkness the tree of good & evil, to deport tyrranic respectability so that we might bring hither our very pure love. I’d think about it as I chased this deep lob to the backcourt & probably reply that life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life. Dialectical deuce. A satisfied silence from both of us. We’d smoke a cigarette & laugh, & watch the white-clad players below us try to get one over on their opponent. & then, at the end of the match, as we were making our way down the stairs, I’d turn to him & say You know you got it all wrong about the vowels. They don’t have separate colours, they’re all the same. Red like the blood of workers. We will not meet again. Not on a grass court anyway.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

It's amazing

how much print copy an e-zine generates.

I'm putting together the print versions of issue two of Otoliths. Issue one turned into 96 pages for the b&w part one, 60 pages for the colour part two. Issue two has run out at 136 pages for the b&w, 84 pages for the colour.

So much good stuff!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


This written for the future,
something to look back on, to see
what my thoughts were at the
time. A commentary on what
is now before me, how we feast
on the dead, play replay after replay,
from different angles, rewritten
as choreography, a Hollywood blockbuster
with the producers wanting to make sure
the audience gets its money’s worth. It is
what we’ve come to expect; but most
movies are cleaner, have stars that are
paid more for their one performance
than this whole episode would have cost
to carry out. Think on it. Brood on the
implications of what we’ve learnt
in the two days since. The stand-in pilots
had work visas, lived next door,
supported themselves & contributed to
the economy of the country they had
come to put on notice. The airlines
paid for & provided the bombs.
The extras paid for their own parts.
There was no need for rehearsal.


Monday, September 11, 2006

I apologise

for the turn of phrase, but they bury the obituaries in a part of the paper I never read, so I only caught up with this obituary of Sasha Soldatow by David Marr from Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald online a couple of hours ago.

Would also like to point to a couple of the few pieces of Sasha's writing that can be found online, his pamphlet What is this gay community shit & his biographical note to the Collected Poems of Harry Hooton which he edited.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A bird, a
pool of

around it.
Defines the periphery.

depth. Maybe
flies up to

nearby branch
to gain perspective.

one flight
to gather insects.

A second, lower,
washes them

Friday, September 08, 2006

Couldn't let

the following URL from The Australian Society for Microbiology pass by unremarked.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A palindrome

There was a post on Dumbfoundry recently about the death of a Malayalam poet. Malayalam is the language spoken in Kerala State in India, but Malayalam is also the longest single-word palindrome I know of that's used in English. Are there any longer?
one of
those days when

old people walk
hand in

Monday, September 04, 2006


exquis boira
le vin nouveau

Aw Tom, Oh Mousse


Today the
postman brought
me the mummified
remains of
André Breton. "You
must have been a
beautiful baby" I
sang as I un-
wrapped them
"'cause baby take
a look at you
now.” Such an
exquisite corpse.
“When you were
only starting to
go to kindergarten
I bet you drove the
little boys wild."

Sunday, September 03, 2006

a variant for tom beckett


As Texas governor, Bush would mock people on Death Row. In a famous interview with conservative pundit Tucker Carlson, Bush imitated condemned murderess Carla Faye Tucker’s unsuccessful plea for clemency. “Please don’t kill me,” Bush whimpered through pursed lips, mimicking the woman he had put to death.

Friday, September 01, 2006

compressed his
references by running

a small
dog (pers. comm.)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

C side








Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Before we talked
we talked

file transfer
protocol to use.

métro gnome

Objet indestructible
(1963 copy of 1923 original)
Man Ray
Today the
postman brought
me a laptop
that is claimed
will work under
water. If you're
reading this then
apparently it
does. Un-
I don't.

Monday, August 28, 2006

et, encore

Marcel Duchamp en Rrose Sélavy
Man Ray

Knowing the breadth

& depth of Martin Edmond's research, I am not surprised that some faecal finger of fate brought him to the site he points towards in the comments box of the stately pleasure dome post below & which I think warrants being brought to the surface.
"Even Bush's crap is classified top secret. According to our Austrian sources, Austrian newspapers are currently abuzz with special security details of George W. Bush's recent trip to Vienna. Although the heavy-handed Gestapo-like security measures meted out to Viennese home owners, business proprietors, and pedestrians by US Secret Service agents and local police before and during Bush's visit received widespread Austrian media attention, it was White House "toilet security" ("TOILSEC"), which has Austrians talking the most.

The White House flew in a special portable toilet to Vienna for Bush's personal use during his visit. The Bush White House is so concerned about Bush's security, the veil of secrecy extends over the president's bodily excretions. The special port-a-john captured Bush's feces and urine and flew the waste material back to the United States in the event some enterprising foreign intelligence agency conducted a sewage pipe operation designed to trap and examine Bush's waste material. One can only wonder why the White House is taking such extraordinary security measures for the presidential poop." more

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Just felt like posting this

Man Ray

In Xanadu did Kublai Khan

Have just been reading about the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

It's a 21-building complex, designed "as a suburb of Washington". Its more than 3500 diplomatic & support staff will have a sports centre, beauty parlour & swimming pool. Six residential blocks will each have more than 600 apartments. & if the five metre thick wall won't keep the disgruntled supporters of the recently-deposed Planet Pluto at bay, then the built-in surface-to-air missile station most certainly will.

The price for the land was minimal - it was a gift from the Iraqi Government. The site is floodlit at night, & the entire construction force is foreign.

The U.S. can't get the Iraqi power grid back on line, or sewerage or water. Not a problem here - all services are self-contained & totally independent from the Baghdad utilities.

It's due to be finished in June, 2007. It's the only US reconstruction project that's on track in Iraq. It's costing more than $600 million dollars. It's bigger than the Vatican. It "dwarfs the edifices of Saddam's wildest dreams" & it "irritates the hell out of ordinary Iraqis".

Friday, August 25, 2006

Maybe I'm an innocent,

but I really did believe that crap like that espoused in the paragraphs posted below was dead. But it's from The Australian, a Murdoch newspaper, & he's not a man noted for his forward thinking, unless it comes to how to obtain obscene amounts of money.
"Former anti-Vietnam War protest leaders are deans and department chairmen. These tenured radicals have transformed faculty staffrooms into bastions of neo-Marxist and radical feminist ideology.

Too many of them unashamedly use their power and position to force-feed extremism down the throats of a captive audience of our impressionable young.

For more than a generation, our best and brightest have spent their university years being force-fed the nihilistic doctrines of postmodernism.

The reason leftist dogmas are so prevalent on campus is because humanities, arts and education faculties are predominantly populated by leftist ideologues. Australian academe has become a partisan echo chamber in which the professoriate is in violent agreement about the ostensible evils of capitalism, Zionism and George W. Bush."

Let me just quote from another Murdoch spokesman. "Duh-oh!"

Dear Pluto

I don't care if your orbit
overlaps with Uranus.
You'll always be
a planet to me.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

drdgng fr tlnts

list for
Eileen Tabios since

I'm / thinking of
her to-

three blood oranges
a carton of 200 cigarettes
(& on th' carton a graphic of a
healthy lung
an emphysemic one)
a loaf of thick-sliced white bread
(for oldman sandwiches)
1.25L bottle of sparkling mineral water
2L bottle of iced coffee (low fat)
three red delicious apples
two punnets of strawberries
Harry Potter & th' Half-Blood Prince

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy

an ugly NEW WORLD WOODWORKING to see what the coffin-makers
in Ghana are doing these days."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Have decided

that what I've been suffering from is the magazine equivalent of post partum depression.

Have started doing some early stuff for issue three, & feel much better even though I am constantly reminded that, despite its claims, Blogger is most definitely not wysiwyg. Take a deep breath & go back to it again.

& will start getting the print versions of issue two plus Sandra Simonds' chapbook ready in the next couple of weeks.

& have to make an appointment to go to the optometrist before my eyes give out totally. I can't read through my reading glasses, can barely see the screen through my computer glasses, & after 15 years I'm again watching tv without glasses, because that's the least blurry option.

But what do the subtitles say?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

scratching #1

my eyes
are playing up
on me

don't see
things clearly
any more

to things
that aren't

scratching #2

Finally he
to me.

"I am
working as
a courtesan
in the Palace
of Epistemos.

"I wear a
white dress.

"I suck
old men.

"Isn't that
how you've
me to be?"

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Today the
postman brought
me the Lone
Ranger & Tonto. Ex-
cept the Lone Ranger
is now no longer
alone because
he is in touch
with his inner self
& Tonto is a psychic
from the sub-
continent & not a
Native American
sidekick. Damn
these shades of
grey. Whatever
happened to black
& white, even
when / in colour?
I blame Alan Ladd,
playing Shane with
a small man
syndrome. & Gary
Cooper, the tall
silent one who
learnt to talk &
went off to mix it
with the likes of
Picasso. Wasn't a
virgin Quaker bride
enough for him? You
could see it coming
as it neared high
noon. The hero as
a man in black. Do not
forsake me, I begged
him. Obviously
he didn't listen.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Colour me naif

&, sure, it's early days yet, but I had hoped for a slightly warmer reception from the "buying public" to the print versions of Otoliths. They're not there to make money, simply to defray some of the costs of providing contributor copies. It's a minimal markup for the part in colour (basically a rounding up to the nearest dollar) & only slightly more for the b&w part.

I'm in the midst of a rethink of my plans. I'll still provide copies of issue two, but it may just be the part that the contributor is in. Issue three — who knows?

So the ode for aujourd'hui is
Today the
postman brought
me a bill
for $1611.43.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Today the
postman brought
me an Escher
drawing of the
postman bringing me
an Escher drawing
of the postman
bringing me an
Escher drawing of
the postman
hours later I
worked out why
I like Magritte.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

& the sun did set on the British Empire

"Do you like Kipling?" she asked

"I don't know," he replied. "I've never kipled."

Things come together, fall apart, are forgotten, are rejoined in another way when some intersection triggers memory.

I don't like Kipling (says he who has / never kipled). But I do like some Kipling. Put name to him through film, Kim. Errol Flynn / Dean Stockwell / Paul Lukas. Anonymous at junior Boy Scouts, patterned on the Jungle Book or the / Just So Stories / probably, possibly, read at the time. Anonymous also in the morning assemblies at secondary school, but emotion swelled as that thousand-boy-voice choir sang Recessional. Same tune as used for "for those in peril on the sea". But Kipling poem to go with Kipling prose. Put them together somewhat. Forgot them.

Read Kim. Enjoyed it. Am a sucker for 19th century stories about Afghanistan / The Himalayas / The Roof of the World. Check out Talbot Mundy if you get the chance, thirties author, sort of pulp, Theosophist. Wrote King of the Khyber Rifles, Om, the JimGrim series, Tros of Samophrace. Great ficciones.

Came back to Kipling again through film. John Huston's The Man who would be King, Michael Caine, Sean Connery. Forgot the writer, could recite the filmscripts. Watch the reruns. Cable only.

But. Invasion. Unwarranted. Bullshit pre-emptive. A couple of years ago. Recessional triggered off by a line, much used. Nineveh, in the dust, in the desert outside Mosul. & now, the other name used in that line Kipling wrote. In another bullshit-surrounded invasion & act of genocide. (I never knew blitzkreig was a Hebrew word.) Tyre.

A strange poem, Recessional. Full of all those Victorian concepts & conceits. Heathens & Gentiles & lesser breeds without the law. God. But, written on the 50th or 60th anniversary of Victoria's accession to the throne, at a time when "the sun never set on the British Empire". (& years later I would come across an atlas as a young boy, with the sun still in the sky & all those countries still in red.)

Yet this poem is about arrogance, about hubris, about the transient nature of power. Things the current armies of the night would do well to remember. It's bizarre when I read about or see on tv Bush &/or Olmert &/or their minions talking about terrorism. The words they use could equally – perhaps even more so - be applied to them. Just like this poem. Ambiguous.
God of our fathers, known of old,
      Lord of our far-flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
      Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
      The Captains and the Kings depart;
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
      An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away;
      On dune and headland sinks the fire;
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
      Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
      Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
      Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
      In reeking tube and iron shard—
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
      And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!

Must thank

Phil Primeau for his kind review of from Series Magritte, published earlier this year by Bill Allegrezza's Moria Books. (There's five six links in the sidebar that cover those last nine words.)

Phil's piece is the first of an occasional series of reviews that will be going up at 'P'R'O'C'E'S'S'I'O'N'.

& I must also point out that the first issue of Andrew Lundwall's new e-zine Melancholia's Tremulous Dreadlocks has just appeared. Andrew's intending to make it a bi-weekly thing, so he's looking for submissions. Think of having that name in your bibliography. I'm hoping to, if I ever get back to writing.
did not
consider relevance relevant.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Nothing shines so blue as.

When she left.


At the end of the road.


Steps lead down to the square where he would often sit in the afternoon & drink a coffee.

Bombs fell.



A poem is a song without a subject.

Issue two of Otoliths

has just gone live.

It contains work by Karl Young, Juhana Vähänen (translated by Karri Kokko), Martin Edmond, Rochelle Ratner, Louise Landes Levi, Cath Vidler, Michael Farrell, Christian Jensen, Ira Joel Haber, Bruce Covey, Jill Jones, Allen Bramhall, Derek Motion, Caleb Puckett, Sandra Simonds (a mini-chap — The Tar Pit Diatoms), Vernon Frazer, Pat Nolan, Donald Illich, J.D. Nelson, harry k stammer, Steve Tills, David Meltzer, Tom Beckett, Thomas Fink, Crag Hill, Ira Cohen, Carol Jenkins, Miia Toivio, John M. Bennett, Michael Rothenberg, Geof Huth, David-Baptiste Chirot, Aki Salmela, Sandy McIntosh, Michelle Greenblatt, Janne Nummela, Tom Hibbard, Marko J. Niemi, Phil Primeau, Kevin Opstedal, Olli Sinivaara, Nico Vassilakis & John M. Bennett, Michael McClure, Pam Brown, Leevi Lehto & Eileen Tabios.

My thanks to all the contributors, and a special note of thanks to Michael Rothenberg, Karri Kokko & Leevi Lehto for their generous assistance in removing some of the degrees of separation.

& a reminder that the print on demand editions of Otoliths issue one and its associated chapbooks from Jean Vengua and from Ray Craig are available from

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Israel is
doing is (un)just

sponsored terrorism —
United States sponsored.
This Sunday morning
in the almost empty
shopping mall, I am
one of Madonna's
dancers, working
sometimes behind her, some-
times alongside, as she
does Borderline. What
worries me is not
that I know the words.
More that I
know everyone of
the fucking dance

Friday, July 28, 2006

from the Phoenician

Children grow. Up &
away. Distance themselves
& then declare their
independence. Fight
their own wars, ignore
their parents. The life
goes out of us. A
little left, enough to draw
the scavengers. Alexander
came & Tyre fell; &
later on the Greeks,
rats gnawing away
at what was left. Now
the cedars have all
been cut down, & with
their passing went the
shipwrights & furniture-
makers. Only the dyers
remain, letting the molluscs
rot to get the colour
from which we get our
name. Phoinis. We are
the purple people. To dye
a single toga takes
ten thousand shellfish. At
that rate don’t expect
them to be around
much longer either.

anonymous; c. 2nd century B.C.

translated by Umberto Allegrezza

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Today the postman brought me

my print copies of the first issue of Otoliths. Am pretty happy with it. A few minor things I'd change, but, hey, it was all conceptualised & worked through electronically. &, working at a significant postal distance from the printer which sort of prohibited the idea of proof copies, I had to trust to my instincts.

So now the editor has copies, the contributors have copies & the National Library in Canberra has copies to complete the ISSN process. All I need now is for everyone who hasn't a copy - & even those that do - to buy lots, so that I can recover some of the costs of the contributors' copies for this issue, & be in a position to do it again for the upcoming issues.

Speaking of which. Issue two is almost compiled & will be going live on August 1st. It's got some great work in it, from a wonderful mix of people.

& if you decide to support what I consider to be a worthwhile cause, the address of the Otoliths shopfront at is

Remember, as they say around election time, buy early, buy often.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I apologise to my Finnish friends

for daring to lay shit on their national epic, but whoever was responsible for this translation of it seems to have confused the Kalevala with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Hiawatha.
Long ago my father sang them
As he carved his ax's handle
And my mother also taught me
Though she kept her spindle spinning,
As I, milk-bearded mischief maker,
Clabber-mouthed and tiny tumbler,
Rolled about the floor before her:
Magic never failed the Sampo,
Louhi never lacked for spells;
Old in story grew the Sampo,
In her spells old Louhi vanished,
In his singing Vipunen,
Lemminkainen in his capers.

There are other words of magic,
Incantations I have learned,
Plucked in passing from the wayside,
Some I broke off from the heather,
Some I gathered from the bushes,
Others pulled from tender saplings,
Rubbed from haytips, snatched from hedges
Where I roamed about the cowpaths
As a youngster herding cattle,
Minding cows in cattle pastures
On honeyed hills and hillocks golden
By the side of spotted Frisky,
Trailing Muurikki, the black one.

Monday, July 24, 2006

made a
prick of himself;

since he
was a polymorph

did not
mind a bit.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

from: Enumerations

I take a break from translating the Complete Works of Tacitus into Estonian & go for a walk along the esplanade.

We are many miles from the sea. Probably sixty. It will be a long walk to the sea before I can walk beside it.

But then, I have never read Tacitus. I am learning Estonian to prepare myself for it. Then Tacitus. Then re-read him, with an English-Estonian dictionary becide me.

I am plagued by doubts. I know more Latin than Estonian. Perhaps it would be easier to translate directly from the original rather than put English in the middle.

It will be my life's work. My Life's Work. My meisterarbeit. I am reading the histories of the Roman Empire & the people Tacitus wrote about before reading him. I am learning Estonian.

I am walking towards the water. Halfway along the way Tacitus joins me. We converse in Latin. It sounds like a bad Mass. Conjugations confuse the radar cameras which means we can speed if we want to. I wonder what Estonian sounds like.

Tacitus tells me. Turns out he has relatives in the Baltic with whom he has always kept in touch, whom he talks to regularly on the phone, & that any one of the Finno-Ugric branch of the Uralic family of languages sounds similar to the others. I do not believe him, not about the language but about his relatives.

He begins to recite a poem in Latin. Then he recites it in the original Estonian. He tells me it is included in Heinrici Chronicon Livoniae which he had a hand in translating. Then he starts talking to me in Estonian.

I run away from him. I am pulled over by the Highway Patrol. By the time they let me go with a caution Tacitus has disappeared.

I continue walking towards the sea. An hour or so after dawn I reach it. It calls to me in English, says "Enter me, walk towards the islands." I go in. As my head goes beneath the water it starts cajoling me in Latin. The sea sounds remarkably like Tacitus.

I walk on. Coral & seashells cut my feet. The sea bathes them & wraps them in bandages so I can continue. Eventually my reticence fades. We begin to become more open with one another.

We talk in Estonian.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Michael Rothenberg's

Big Bridge has pulled down its blinds for a month. The message on them reads


FROM JULY 20, 2006 THROUGH AUGUST 20, 2006




amendment to
the post below.

It should say
"The Israeli

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Today the
postman brought
me a book on
alism. It was
full of arseholes,
of all religions.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Cyrillic Unicorn

Марк Янг


Чекаю. Цікаво мені, чи приїдеш сьогодні.
Та сама напруга,
металевий присмак у роті.
                                             Десь там,
у ясному повітрі вечірньому, гудуть літаки,
наче бомби несуть до землі.
У кожному з них повно мандрівників,
і деякі з них на своїх туристських стежках
скоро постукають у мої двері,
щоб дізнатися, як живуть на іншій півкулі.
Я проведу їх моїм будинком, повз павичів,
повз перських котів, повз чудні загадкові витвори
давно забутих племен. А тоді відчиню
двері в кімнату таємну, де квіти та феєрверки
глушать сморід поту єдинорога,
він там живе.
                       Копита його крешуть іскри,
аж дивитися боляче. Він зголоднів.
Скоро буде час годувати.
Чекаю. Цікаво мені, чи приїдеш сьогодні.

as published in Vsesvit (Universe).

The original is here.

Pelican dreaming redux

Only for a few
days, & then only
a few, the pelicans
ride the river. Most
of them & mostly
stay on the
floodplain lagoons,
move between them,
the flow of
water, food. Migrate
not every year
but when the great
rains come, not at
that time but
a year or so
later, fly faster
than the speed
of water, arrive
in the centre of
the island at the
same time. Shared
for some time. Then
the water dies. The
pelicans watch it. Go.

The updated photo

of Tom Beckett

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Finland this
month is heinäkuu.

from: Enumerations

memory is a catenary desire a
cantilever neither burns not even

in winter the runways of the airport
are being bombed remnants of

live on CNN smoke fills the window
in the television how can one breathe

where there is smoke there is fever
there is there where is there fever

pitch fibre rich meadow saffrons &
one of each & every kind none

of which are the difference engine
ordinate or coordinate emotional abscissa

unlevel a particle playing field
not even whole potsherd left

gone beyond a point mantissa over
you thought it never endgame would

pterodactyls tear out your eyes
& fuck the sockets vacancy filled

Saturday, July 15, 2006

from the, ahem, publisher's desk


I have been reluctant to announce these until now, but they've been checked for design flaws - a couple of things fixed up - & I'll be arranging tomorrow for the contributors' copies to go out, so sound the trumpets.

Drawn from the first issue of my e-zine Otoliths, & containing everything that was in the issue except for a piece by Dan Waber & Meghan Scott that I couldn't translate to print, the print on demand versions are now available.

Otoliths, issue one, part one, contains work by Michelle Greenblatt, kari edwards, Nico Vassilakis, Michael Farrell, Alex Gildzen, Michael P. Steven, Eileen Tabios, Tom Beckett, Nicholas Downing, Francis Raven, Andrew Lundwall, Bob Marcacci, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, John M. Bennett, William Allegrezza, Martin Edmond, Ernesto Priego, Laurie Duggan, Jordan Stempleman, Irving Weiss, Jeff Harrison, Lars Palm, PR Primeau, Richard Lopez, Jack Kimball, CAConrad, Gregory Vincent St Thomasino, Thomas Fink, Jean Vengua & Dion Farquhar. It's the b&w part.

Otoliths, issue one, part two, contains work by Sheila E. Murphy, Daniel f Bradley, Reed Altemus, Ray Craig, harry k stammer, Michael Rothenberg, Marko J. Niemi, David-Baptiste Chirot, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen & John M. Bennett, Donna Kuhn, Geof Huth & Dan Waber (with Meghan Scott). It's in full colour.

Also available are the two chapbooks that came out of the issue: Jean Vengua's The Aching Vicinities, which, amazingly, is the first collection by this wonderful poet to be published. I am proud to be able to associated with this long-overdue "debut"; & Ray Craig's inferred from. two identical distances., which, I think, might also be a first collection (&, if so, also long overdue) & which contains drawings & poems, including some that Ray posted to the comments boxes of Otoliths after the issue went live, beautiful stuff that illustrates why I like this guy's work so much.

I'm not much given to preening, but this is definitely an occasion for it. I am proud of Otoliths, & these print editions are the perfect wrapping up of what I consider to be the first step of a wonderful adventure.

Friday, July 14, 2006

It is raining
when we

inbox fills
up with dolphins.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The love-child of Dante & Daisetz T. Suzuki?

Or just another well-dressed DeMon-around-town?

There are names I wish I had invented, but never in my wildest fancies would I have come up with this.
(the) chief of Muang police station, said Hellfried Sartori, 67, is charged with practising medicine without a licence and fraud.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Love this line

from Nick Piombino's great on-going series of contradicta.
An hour of regret is enough for three lifetimes.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Today the
postman brought
me a postcard
of Venice, sent
by one of the
pelicans that
usually lives
on the lagoon
down the bottom
of the street.
"Strange to be
fishing through
a culture
that's only a few
thousand years
old," she wrote. "But
easy to see how
the Europeans
managed to fuck
Australia over in
just a couple of
centuries after we'd
looked after it for
60,000 years. Look at
this place. Effluent
in the lagoon, dead
fish, houses
in decay or sinking
below the water-
line. Gone to the
doges, as the locals
say. Still, it's great
to be a cultural
nomad for a
while. Paris
last week, the
Greek Isles next. Now
& again I have to
pinch myself, just
to make sure I'm
not dreaming."

Sunday, July 09, 2006

a hay(na)ku for Ernesto Priego

I am listening
to Piaf

thinking of you
in Mexico.

out of that
what you

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Friday, July 07, 2006

Today the
postman brought
me the packet of
instant water
I'd sent away
for four weeks
ago. Nothing
in it except
a two line
Just add
water. Stir.