Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A reminder

that submissions for issue 12 of Otoliths close in a month.

The submission information is here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

To those of you

in snowy climes / on snowy climbs, let me just say: this is one day I envy you.

Top temperature here today, 38° C. For the non-metric, that's slightly over 100° F.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

today's Google word

bircra: Bikeshorts made from birch bark, as worn by (a) Hiawatha when canoedling & (b) Finnish poets who wish to maintain a sense of the sauna as they do Lapp after Lapp in that velodrome in the snow.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Reprising this.....

A footnote to Martin Edmond's Zheng He ficcione

His body was taken back to China and interred along with his testicles, kept, as was customary, in a sealed pouch carried since castration always on a belt at his waist.

Martin Edmond: Zheng He: A True Ficcione

All else you say is true,
though few know about the
voyage to Luca Antara. Most
thought we stopped at Java;
but he & I went further south,
in a small boat, with a
trusted crew. The same
who later kept the secret
of his burial. What history
records as happening
is a fiction. Certainly
there is an inland tomb, with
Allahu Akbar inscribed
upon it. & a nearby stela
gives details of the seven
voyages. But remember
Zheng He was both a
Muslim & a sailor: Islam
decrees a speedy burial
& the tradition of the sea
demands interment in the
ocean. We wrapped him
in silk once we'd reattached
his young boy’s balls to
their proper place with
gum arabic. & one day
out from Calicut, during the
first watch, accompanied only
by our murmured prayers
& the creak of wood being
pressured by the water, we
did commend his body
to the ocean. Entire again.

.....because of this.

The Chinese ships – two high-tech, heavily armed destroyers and a supply vessel – will spend the next ten days bound for the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia, which has been the scene of more than 100 hijackings within the past year.

The last time a Chinese military fleet set sail for anywhere as far afield as Africa with the prospect of a fight at the other end, the ships were 400ft (122m) wooden junks and the commander was a Ming dynasty court eunuch called Zheng He.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A / member of / the ferret family

Early translations of the Bible translate the word Leviticus as ferret but later translations have put the word to mean lizard.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I'm / sitting on / the front porch

having a post-coffee cigarette, & the spontaneous offering from the jukebox in my brain is
Me & you, &
you & me, no
matter how
they toss the
dice, it had to
be, the only
one for me
is you, & you
for me, so
happy together.

It's a song from another front porch time, the second half of the 1960s, when a regular attraction for the tourist buses was the short drive along Auckland's answer to Haight-Ashbury, four houses in the infamous Boyle Crescent. It's a song from a time of great music, not just the famous names but lots of one hit wonders, wonderful feelgood songs that I can still recall reasonably word perfect, even if I can't always place a group to a song.

I think the above is by The Turtles, check YouTube, find that my guess was correct. But I also find there another version of the song, which cracks me up completely.

The temperature here is heading for the mid thirties Celsius—high nineties in the other scale. So fuck chestnuts roasting on an open fire & songs of snow & chimneys for funny fat men to get stuck in. My offering for the festive season is embedded below, Happy Together, done by the Leningrad Cowboys & the Red Army Choir & Orchestra. Glazsnost indeed!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

who / sucked the / old fart dry?

Speaking on Monday, Pope Benedict XVI warned that gender theory blurred the distinction between male and female and could thus lead to the "self-destruction" of the human race.

       *      *          *      *      *
it is midnight in Madang
       *      *          *      *      *

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cuckoo's nest

is something of a false term, since all Australian cuckoos, with the exception of the Pheasant Coucal which I've mentioned before, lay their eggs in the nests of birds of other species, leaving it to them to rear its offspring. They choose a bird whose eggs are similar to its own—for the big channel-billed cuckoo, it's the nests of crows & currawongs; for the small black-eared cuckoo, speckled warblers & redthroats. In other words, young cuckoos are parasites.

The koel, according to my bird book, "lays her marbled salmon-pink egg or eggs in the nest of one of a number of hosts such as friarbirds or other large honeyeaters." Which explains why, this morning, in a tree in the front yard, a young koel, fresh from the nest, was angrily screeching for its pressganged "parents"—in this case, a pair of blue-faced honeyeaters smaller than it—to bring it food. & they were complying, over & over.

What I don't understand is why the cuckoo-raisers don't just abandon the fledgling when it becomes apparent that it isn't theirs. It strikes me as if some sort of bizarre imprinting-in-reverse is also at work. I'm guessing that there were/are other, genuine, offspring; what happens to them whilst Mum & Dad are out spending the major part of their lives attempting—not too successfully, judging by the screeching—to assuage the hunger of this space invader?

Couldn't find the camera to capture the scene, but I did find the photo below, of a similar occurence, at debra21's photosteam on Flickr.

Friday, December 19, 2008

When I grow up,

I want to get a job creating Google verification words,

& then write long Tolkienesque novels using the characters I have created.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Today the
postman brought
me the Grand
Canyon. Not
the walls: just
the space within,
deflated to make
for cheaper
shipping. It's
funny. I always
thought it
would be bigger.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Celestial Muscles

The cavity in the
skull over-
flows with
the training routines
of Italian body-
builders. But where
is its zenith in
relation to the observer?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Goody! Two shoes.

A journalist hurled two shoes at President George W. Bush on his farewell visit to Iraq on Sunday, highlighting hostility still felt toward the outgoing US leader who acknowledged that the war is still not won.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Note to self #8746

must buy
some new lungs.


disrupts the sky

as tonight's storm front moves in.

Still about 50 kilometres distant, perhaps an hour away.
The sentence is taken under consideration. The sentience is token, under construction.

ka mate ka ora

Guest-edited by Robert Sullivan, the latest issue of ka mate ka ora, a new zealand journal of poetry and poetics, is a tribute to Hone Tuwhare who died last year.

Michele Leggott, the N.Z. Poet Laureate & an associate editor of the journal, writes of the issue: "Yes, it's late: there was a much bigger take-up than expected to kmko's call for Tuwhare material, but it's worth waiting for: 8 essays, 3 sets of archival photographs and 25 tributes plus an editorial by Sullivan and a poroporoaki (farewell) by Hana O'Regan called 'He tītī me te waihoka pōhutukawa / Mutton Birds and Red Wine'. Much to savour, much to ponder."

Hone Tuwhare at Jerusalem, 1972
(photo - William Farrimond)

The photo above is of Tuwhare at the funeral of James K. Baxter. The extract below is from Tuwhare's poem for JKB, "Heemi".
but come simply to call
on a tired old mate in a tent
laid out in a box
with no money in the pocket
no fancy halo, no thump left in the old
Today the
postman brought
me a large Bo
tree. I have re-
planted it in
the overgrown
back garden be-
tween the lychee
& the macadamia.
Next week I am
going for a
holiday, & there
will be no-one
here to hear it
if it falls. Will

Friday, December 12, 2008

Chow Yun-Fat day

Since these days they have days for everything,

I'm hereby declaring today Chow Yun-Fat Day in honor of my favorite actor.

lines of

tude &

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Cacophony in the street. It's being dug up to lay new water mains. Been going on all week—concrete cutters, excavators, bob cats, picks & shovels, backhoes, dump trucks—but it's been slow going, about fifteen metres a day, because, like nearly all the elevated land around these parts, it's rock. So now they've brought in the heavy artillery, a jackhammer on the end of a huge posthole-digger on caterpillar tracks.


I feel sorry for the guys working out there. What seems as if it's going to be a long hot summer has settled in on us. It's about 36° C outside, humid as all hell. I'm inside, fans & airconditioners on, & they're working nominal eight hour days in the full heat, in reflective safety gear. I say nominal, because I note that they have long morning & afternoon breaks, & it's an extended hour that they take for lunch.


The postman has been. The standout item is a handwritten postcard from Gustave Morin announcing the publication of "one of (his) newest projects, Nein Typos, a suite of typewriter poems", just out from Reed Altemus' Tonerworks.


I'm waiting for the postal van to come (a) because I'm expecting the dvds of the first half of series four of Battlestar Gallactica which has only gone to tv here on high definition which we don't have & (b) Michael Steven has emailed me from New Zealand to say that a box of Lunch Poems, the chapbook of mine that he's published, is on its way to me for me to sign & number & send back. I'm somewhat excited about it because though this is, I think, my seventeenth book, it's my first "crafted with care in the way that only chapbooks can be done" publication.


& on the subject of books. I've just received word that a second selection from Series Magritte has been accepted.


& on the subject of publications. Issue #14 of word for / word has just come out & a couple of my pieces are included.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Just let me put my teeth in first....

A gun company will market a pistol to elderly Americans that will be subsidised by the government in the same way as a wheelchair or walking frame.

The company, Constitution Arms, claims its gun, called a Palm Pistol, has won approval as a medical device for people with arthritis or other disabling conditions who have trouble squeezing the trigger on a normal firearm.

Under the deal, seniors who buy the $US300 ($460) 9mm handgun will be reimbursed by the federal government in the US, magazine New Scientist reports.

Matthew Carmel, president of Constitution Arms in Maplewood, New Jersey, said the gun was "something that they need to assist them in daily living".

"The justification for this would be no more or less for a (walking aid) or wheelchair, or any number of things that are medical devices," Mr Carmel told the magazine.

The company's sales information states: "It is also ideal for seniors, disabled or others who may have limited strength or manual dexterity.

"Using the thumb instead of the index finger for firing, it significantly reduces muzzle drift, one of the principal causes of inaccurate targeting. Point and shoot couldn't be easier."

The company informed a medical technology blog that the US Food and Drug Administration had approved it as a "Daily Activity Assist Device".

It says it has already been fielding "lots of calls" about the device, expected to available by 2010.

However, a FDA spokeswoman denied the agency had formally labelled the gun a medical device, telling the magazine no determinations had been made about the weapon.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Food chain correction

Yesterday's coupling, sans lurking lizard, was repeated again today; & a correction is necessary to the order of the food chain I gave. It wasn't the spider that had the wasp, it was the reverse. More obvious today.

A biologist friend tells me that the wasp injects its eggs into the spider. The offspring grow by feeding on the flesh that surrounds them.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I've sung, acted, played music in various genres (classical, jazz, rock), written & performed my own words. But the one thing I never did, & would have very much liked to, was to be a dancer.

Come home, Joern. All is forgiven.

This is / what is

This is / what might have been

The bottom image is how the runner-up in the international competition to design the Sydney Opera House would have looked in situ.

The winning design came from Joern Utzon, a Danish architect who died at the weekend. He never actually saw the finished product "live", withdrew during its construction to ensure the project was completed. Lots of trials & tribulations which are detailed here.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The misspelt search terms

& phrases that bring people to a site are often quite funny, both in their phraseology & in the fact that the link provided in answer to the question or quest sure isn't going to prove satisfactory.

I have a regular stream of "fucking doges" searchers who must go away unhappy that my blog isn't a zooporn site. & Christ knows what the person who keyed in "my seman is green" would have made of the Geof Huth poem in Otoliths they were directed to.........

Monday, December 01, 2008

Series Magritte

It would have been good if it had been a nice round number like 200 since it's a only a couple of days short of five years since the first poem in the series appeared as a post on As/Is.

Still, I'm pleased to note that #190, Titanic Days, has just been posted to my Series Magritte.