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.