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.