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.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A little bit of community

Is Dog Dead?

A tempest
in a typo.

(Tom Beckett)

Just over a year or so ago, during one of those periods when nothing seems able to turn over the pebbles in your mind to find what hides beneath, I sought the help of Tom Beckett. "Titles" I wrote. "Give me titles."

Tom used to post titles to As/Is in the early days of that blog. Wonderful, provocative things that got the juices going. The poet laureate of titles. They & the marvellous hay(na)ku that he also posted there drew me to him, a like mind, a distant brother. I wrote a couple of things under his titles, so it was only natural to seek him out when I needed some stimulation to get my shit going again.

He gave me a list of titles, & I put poems to them. The wheels were in action, I did donuts to disperse the dust of my despair. Another act of kindness, one of many that Tom goes about quietly doing.

So when he asked a return list from me I was only too happy to oblige. Though, selfish bastard that I am, I also used the list as a post because it fitted in with the Enumerations - or, more precisely, e-Numerations - that I'm currently doing. & Tom's started posting poems at Soluble Census in response to my titles which delights me & delight me. His marvellous sense of humour comes charging through. As with the poem at the top of this post, as with the one beneath.

Deliberate Serendipity





Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Saturday, July 01, 2006

There was celebration in the California town of St Helena when a hastily convened Supreme Court ruled against the claim by Booger, a subsidiary of the IT giant NicolaiGogole, that a deliberate attempt had been made by a local resident to subvert the democratically elected government of the Peoples' Republic of Pennsylvania Avenue. The Court ordered that all electronic documents, goods & chattelaines be returned immediately to Ms Eileen Tabios, the renowned poet & oenophile. Ms Tabios was available for comment.

from: Enumerations

Eileen from a new Chateau

The Blind Chatelaine's Poker Poetics