Monday, December 31, 2007

The Discrete Charm of the Brandenbourgeoisie

The post/poem below sent me off looking at music videos, a stochastic journey, as such things inevitably turn out to be, starting with Ferry/Roxy Music & pinballing off to Hendrix, The Mammas & Papas, John Sebastian, John Sebastian Bach, The Band, Dylan, Brecht, Bobby Darin, Charles Trenet, Jacques Brel, Sylvie Vartin, Nina Simone.

Somewhere between the avuncular Trenet’s La Mer & Brel’s hyper-emotive Ne me quitte pas, I decided to pre-empt the two-faced Janus & end, rather than begin, the year with something that I have enjoyed in the past & will undoubtedly continue to enjoy in the future. A quick round-up of the usual suspects, a selection made. & so, below, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major played by the Orchestra Mozart conducted by Claudio Abbado.

Lots of strings attached — three violins, three violas, three cellos, a contrabass &, as Denise Levertov wrote, “don’t forget the crablike / hands, slithering / among the keys.”
Its complex and pessimistic theme of a spiritually-failed man is told from several, unreliable perspectives and points-of-view (also metaphorically communicated by the jigsaw puzzle) by several different characters (the associates and friends of the deceased) - providing a sometimes contradictory, non-sequential, and enigmatic portrait. The film tells the thought-provoking, tragic epic story of a 'rags-to-riches' child who inherited a fortune, was taken away from his humble surroundings and his father and mother, was raised by a banker, and became a fabulously wealthy, arrogant, and energetic newspaperman.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Every couple of years

the photo below seems to make its way onto somebody's blog or site, most recently Jordan Stempleman's Growing Nation.

So I've added a poster below for the 1969 reading for which the mugshots were taken

& pulled out from the dreaming pelican some poems posted when noting the last time the photo surfaced.

High Country Weather

Alone we are born
And die alone
Yet see the red-gold cirrus
Over snow-mountain shine.

Upon the upland road
Ride easy, stranger
Surrender to the sky
Your heart of anger.

James K. Baxter (1945)

from: Night Through the Orange Window

I remember her as a fifth season
who came unheralded
into those lean months
shaming the precise blue evenings
with the proud eternity of her flesh

David Mitchell (1963)

For Dave Mitchell
"th prfct wrdslngr"

Seeing your poems, your picture on the
blue middle pages of the NEW ARGOT
I wish I could be with you once more in
"th cafe lebanon". It is summer, & the
spare tables will have been unstacked
& set outside; & we could sit there
in our perfect white tropical suits,
sipping pernod, smoking panatellas
waiting for something GREAT to happen.

Mark Young (1973)
only cause
he thought worth

dying for was
to grow


Friday, December 28, 2007

Meanwhile, in Swastika, Ontario

The examination of
light to find aspects
of religiously-valued
experience as some
libidinal cathexis
of the self is closely
tied to narcissism;
but as a conceptual
rubric, emotional
regulation inexorably
erodes old norms. The
eloquent drama of the
romantic movement
becomes less salient.
Each day is now an
exercise in controlled
chaos & its viscissitudes.
Society tends to idealize
farm life, focusing on
genetic diversity, fleeces,
structural correctness, as
well as breeding. The
development of
better animal models is
all the rage these days.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Intermittent rain, continuous low gray cloud. Unseasonably cool, hovering around 25° C compared with the 35°+ temperature it normally is at this time of the year. There’s a cyclone building out in the Coral Sea just north-east of where we are, still forming, unknown when it will cross the coast if indeed it does. Some time next week most likely. Seven metre waves predicted, very strong winds—already intimations of the buildup. We’re some forty kilometres inland, separated from the sea by hills, so should be safe—it’s the wind coming from the inland that does the damage here.

The rain brings the frogs out. They croak in the drains. Basso profundo, echo chamber. “Well since my baby left me / I’ve found a new place to dwell...” Elvis in the bulrushes.

I go outside. A little green frog, the size of my thumbnail, bounces away from me.

Basho profundo.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Today the
postman brought
me the generic
Prozac I’d
ordered from
an online Canadian
company. Not
worth the wait. Some
time back turned my-
self inside out to
hide the blemishes &
make in(tro)spection
easy; & these
pills don’t work
when it’s surface
tension that needs
to be treated.

Outside / & bare / yr butts. NOW.

AS astronomers scan the universe for signs of intelligent life, a group of researchers predicts other beings just might be looking at us.

A scientific paper published in this week's online edition of Astrophysical Journal suggests alien astronomers armed with a large space telescope could detect our planet and possibly determine the presence of life.

A new print journal starting up

Michael Steven, a New Zealand poet & publisher & a contributor to Otoliths, is starting up a new print journal & would welcome contributions. Details are:

a journal of new initiatives

editor: Michael Steven
We are interested in receiving poetry,
short fiction, black & white vispo,
essays & poetic theory.

Submissions for issue one
close February 25th, 2008.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Are we talking about the same thing here?

"If enough generations go by, and if the gene pool is rich enough, we should eventually start to see interesting poems emerge..."

"Hello... Look at this small little poem. My fren wrote it. He was one of the guy from my class but i dun really know him. My fren pass to me this piece of paper. As I read through it I find it... Interesting..."


I look for Hiroshige at the boat harbor.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Condensation on the windows & glass door. Hot & steamy outside, air conditioners on in. Temperature differential. What I grew up with, but not what I grew up with. Then, the fire alight, the cold outside. Sometimes just the breathing.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I am re-retiring

in a couple of days. What was supposed to be a few weeks of social interaction some twenty-five months ago ended up being much more than that. Apparently I still had my old management skills intact, & so that contract was supplemented by another one, & then another one &&&...

But I’ve decided no more. My writing has suffered though part of the irritation of that has been soothed by my new-found editorial & publishing pursuits which the regular income has helped subsidize. & even if I hadn’t been going to work, there is no guarantee that I would have been writing at the level & extent I would like to have been. All I know is that previously I had more opportunity to write, but it took quite some time before I got into a zone where I actually was productive. Occasionally I look through the archives of pelican dreaming & wonder if my time will come again or have I blown those last few years of a still reasonably active & agile mind.

So what is before me is hopefully an amalgam. I hope the writing will take off again; the editing & publishing will continue with the only change being – unless I win the lottery – that there will be no more contributors’ copies of Otoliths after issue eight. I’ll still bring it out in print, but I won’t be able to afford the $1000+ it costs for complimentary copies each issue.

But now I have free time. Look out for me in your neighborhood! Wherever you are.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

He apologized, &
then apologized again
for having felt the
need to make
apologies. Seems
like everything he
does these days
is qualified.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

E-X-C-H-A-N-G-E-V-A-L-U-E-S: The Second XV Interviews now out.

Just Out from Otoliths

E-X-C-H-A-N-G-E-V-A-L-U-E-S: The Second XV Interviews
Curated by Tom Beckett

328 pages
$19.95 + p&h
ISBN: 978-0-9803659-9-3
Otoliths, 2007

Following on from the successful first volume of interviews from Tom Beckett’s insightful site, E-X-C-H-A-N-G-E-V-A-L-U-E-S: The Second XV Interviews has just been released.

It contains interviews with Mark Young, Michael Heller, Bob Grumman, Shanna Compton, Sandy McIntosh, Jim McCrary, Gary Sullivan, A.L. Nielsen, Michael Farrell, CAConrad, Anny Ballardini, Denise Duhamel, Nick Carbó, Jack Kimball, Geoffrey Young & Jordan Stempleman, plus more than 100 pages of text & visual poetry, an essay, even a play. The interviewers this time around are Tom Beckett, Thomas Fink, Richard Lopez & Geof Huth.

Friday, December 14, 2007

getting yr priorities right.....

" I just went for a stroll down the beach with the dogs, and with the girlfriend, Christy," he said.
Mind you, the quote comes from a news item that may witness the birth of a new urban legend, the great white shark that ate a surfing kangaroo.
Today the
postman brought
me a small
block of granite
entitled Homage
to Catatonia
. It
is an erased
version of Orwell’s
memoir of the
Spanish Civil War.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Today is an historic day for Australia

From around midday today, when newly-elected Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, having ratified the Kyoto Protocol, heads off to Bali to attend the United Nations’ Climate Change summit — an act of huge significance given that the previous conservative federal government was essentially the only one in the world to go along with the U.S.’s “what climate change?” stance — Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard will make history as Australia's first female acting Prime Minister.

Funky bookends & foreign beer

Power tools, mullets, toaster
ovens, dogs—where did
all these stereo- & empirically
derived learning disability sub-
types come from? Being drunk
is no excuse for animal cruelty.
I still have a tendency to act
impulsively but my analyst—
his hands are far too cold & no
one in their right mind would
EVER pay to hear him talk—has
finally signed off on me. I’m
all dressed up for the dance. Hat,
coat & white carnation, demon-
strating the role clothes play in
influencing or masking our
personalities. Last week
I appeared examining my
cuticles on the front cover of a
national lesbian magazine: inside
I talked about how scientists
say right-handed gestures show
left-brain dominance. Now, if
I can just keep my skirt on, more
appearances have been promised.

Monday, December 10, 2007

.....& of the Holy Zeitgeist?

"The gunman was shot and killed by a church security guard after entering the church's main foyer with (a) high-powered rifle shortly before 1pm local time and opening fire...."

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Marko, Miia, Mark, Magritte, Manning = MMMMMMMM

When I posted some time back an announcement by Nicholas Manning that he had started an online journal, The Continental Review, devoted to poetry videos, I noted that I hoped it wouldn’t become a repository just for talking heads (“don’t forget the shoulders,” added Nicholas in the comments boxes).

Since then, amongst the poets who have appeared are a number associated with Otoliths; verbal — Tom Beckett, Jordan Stempleman, Eileen Tabios, Jill Jones — & visual — Spencer Selby, Nico Vassilakis. But I felt I should do something about my original statement & practice what I preach, as it were.

So finally, thanks to the informal Networks sans Frontières that create community in our (electronic) world, & especially thanks to the creative genius of Marko Niemi, substance has replaced pontifical stance. A video, working title “Three from Series Magritte”, has just gone up at The Continental Review

The poems included are:
The Flavour of Tears
Not to be Reproduced
The Art of Conversation
all from from Series Magritte, published by Moria Books.

The readings by Miia Toivio first appeared on Toisen äänellä – In Another´s Voice on the website.

The design concept & the animated flash file are by Marko Niemi without whom this project would never have been realized.

Check it out at The Continental Review.

Think about contributing.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Genji Monogatari XII: The Shell of the Locust

The rulers are busy
with their power games
as I continue pondering
where the next conflict
might be. Sweat lodges
put me in touch with my
holistic inner self, I depend
upon the most innocent
bits of consumer culture—
LL Cool Jay lyrics or the
latest news on the Tampa
real estate market—to help
my predictions. I have
cachet with the industries
of war since I wagered
that the blaze of 1993 would
hasten the collapse of the
toy-making plant & over-
the-counter Rock Hudsons
would become a phenomenon
with no competition. I enter
Utsusemi’s room. Moths
bang on the paper screens.
I wish I could change the
name plate on my office door.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

farting kangaroo hay(na)ku

farts may
stop global warming.
As the article points out, 50% of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions comes from the farting of its dairy cattle.

Genji Monogatari XI: Wild Carnations

Panatellas at
sunset. Wine, ice water,
small sweet balls of
rice. One of several
lives, not all of quality—
some bought new, others
found at garage sales, flea
markets & second-hand
or resale shops. The child
we used to be still lives
within us. Now, in the
night hours, great white
flowers have opened. I
long for climate change.
Mr. Watanabe, a middle-aged government worker, suddenly finds that he has very little life left when diagnosed with terminal cancer. Moving from drunken despair to quiet resolve, he vows to make his final days meaningful. At first he throws himself into the city's nightlife, but this does not help. His attempts to communicate his anguish to his son and daughter-in-law lead only to heartbreak. Finally, inspired by an unselfish co-worker, he turns his efforts to bringing happiness to others by building a playground in a dreary slum neighborhood. When the park is finally completed, he is able to face death with peaceful acceptance.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


after three weeks of ergonomic discomfort & extreme frustration, I have connectivity - internectivity as I've come to call it - through my new desktop.

With what I now know, it should have been three days; but the free help from my service provider bears out the adage you get what you pay for. Maybe eight phone calls & two CDs later, I got the shits big time & went to their third-party pay-for-service contractor who spent about a minute listening to what I had to say & then informed me that the network adaptor - a dongle, I've learnt, in geekspeak - wasn't compatible with Windows Vista. Oh? I wonder why none of the helpdesk people I'd talked to had thought of that.

& with what I now know, it should have been three hours; but I had to have a dongle dingle-dangled in from A BIG CITY - lesson #2: don't live in the backblocks even if they really aren't.

& even with all the above, the thing keeps cutting out.

Fuck the world, I want to get off.

strange fruit

I thought
was a mango

appears to be
a lychee

Michele Leggott Announced as Inaugural N.Z. Poet Laureate 2007/2008

"Auckland University Press congratulates distinguished poet and University of Auckland scholar Michele Leggott, who has been announced as the New Zealand Poet Laureate for 2007/08.

Michele’s publisher, AUP Director Sam Elworthy, said, “Michele Leggott is not only a great poet, widely recognized in New Zealand and around the world, she is also an innovative promoter of poetry through her New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre, dynamic teaching, and through her editorial work on poets such as Robin Hyde and Alan Brunton. We congratulate Michele on this great honour.”

The Minister responsible for the National Library, the Hon Judith Tizard, announced the appointment at a function at Parliament last night.

“Michele has made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand poetry and I'm thrilled to announce her role as the 2007/08 New Zealand Poet Laureate.”

Michele Leggott is an Associate Professor in The University of Auckland's Department of English Department and founding Director of the NZ Electronic Poetry Centre, an important international and national digital resource for poets, schools, universities and the reading public. She has published five books of poetry and has edited five anthologies of poetry and criticism. Her first collection, Like This?, won the PEN First Best Book of Poetry in 1989 and Dia (AUP, 1994) won the 1995 NZ Book Award for Poetry.

The Poet Laureate Award was established earlier this year to recognise writers who have made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand poetry. Administered by the National Library of New Zealand, the Poet Laureate is selected biennially and receives an award of $50,000 per year.

The Poet Laureate's working papers and published work will be preserved in the National Library's National Digital Heritage Archive and in the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library.

The New Zealand Poet Laureate Award is based on the Te Mata Poet Laureate scheme, which it will supersede."

know a
poet laureate. Yay!!!!!

a couple of days late

but I'd like to note that it's been a year since kari edwards died. I miss that energy.

Monday, December 03, 2007


A tiny bird sits looking up at the cycle
next to a box finished in red baked enamel
with large lettering left by a mourner
that matches her well-chosen out-
fit perfectly. Why is the phone on
fire? Maybe was once a wobbly table
& four chairs gifted by an aunt. Now
mirror is temporary. The accompanying
folded sheet is positioned about ten feet
away from the model & very animistic
so that women in another epoch taken
out of that down-cycle environment
were awake with their eyes closed in a
reclining chair indulging in his wonted
sorrow during a successful seduction.
He treated her like a normal human
being. This does not indicate a relation-
ship. Merely an obscure awareness of
the quiet, dark shades, the stone under
foot, the master of unfinished business.

&, since it'll be a long time

before I'm in this sort of company again, let me post the publishing of
OCHO # 14 guest edited by Nick Piombino. Featuring Charles Bernstein, Alan Davies, Ray DiPalma, Elaine Equi, Nada Gordon, Kimberly Lyons, Gary Sullivan, Mitch Highfill, Brenda Iijima, Sharon Mesmer, Tim Peterson, Corinne Robins, Jerome Sala, Mark Young and Nico Vassilakis. Cover art by Toni Simon.

Available through Didi Menendez' Lulu site here.

Beckett is back at it!

Slim Windows.

But how long until defenestration?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Genji Monogatari X: Channel Buoys

The light, the shadows, the
tracks, the curve. He was
reminded of what a
fortune-teller had once
said to him—Are miracles
really capricious magic or
just modern Tagalog verbs
that serve as a paradigm
for other such personal
solstices? It's this mixture
that makes it one of the least
understood areas in the
evolution of selfish
elements. Suddenly he was
down around zero. He
strained at a gnat & swallowed
a camel. With its clichés
of southern pageantry the red
light of the burning wicker man
cast a lurid glow over a
substantial fraction of the
drosophila genome. Soon
he would have personal energy
at home from a machine.