Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Nigerian email scam, encore

Once again I have received, in both my personal & Otoliths editor Gmail accounts, a Nigerian scam email from someone who has hacked into a poet's email account, this time Lars Palm.
how are you , i traveled to West africa Nigeria in Lagos for a program and i got robbed on way to the hotel .i cant believe this is happening to me right now. i need a soft loan of 1300 euros from you . i will pay you back when i arrive.please get back to me immediately you get this mail OK. waiting for your reply
This time it's a much shorter email than the one I got four months ago purporting to be from David-Baptiste Chirot & which I posted about here & here. The latter link includes a link to Google's quite extensive listing of occurences of the same scam email.

My dilemma is that if Lars' account has been "seized"—which it must have been so that return emails can be accessed by the usurper—how the hell can I let him know what's going on?

Do not assume

the narrator
is always
an avatar
of himself.

Sidebar #1

The poet, in his early twenties, in the mid-sixties, makes the pilgrimage to Europe, travelling by sea. In England, he meets a folksinger of a similar age from Minnesota called Bob Dylan. He goes to Spain, & the scent of the orange groves permeates his notebooks for years to come. He meets & marries a beautiful blonde Swedish model who returns to New Zealand with him.

They live with the poet's mother & brother in Aro St., Wellington. They have a daughter. (This the narrator knows not through memory but because he met her forty years later.) The beautiful blonde Swede does not like New Zealand. The country is beautiful but the people are nekulturny, barbaric. (This the narrator does not know for certain; it is an assumption he makes based on the fact that the poet starts drinking again. Though maybe it's the whole gestalt, living with mother, having a child, having a wife who doesn't like the place & who reminds the poet that he, too, doesn't really like living there.)

Five characters then. More precisely, four characters & a narrator. (Though not this narrator; he is merely the recipient of an oral history which he has chosen to pass on.) Even more precisely, four characters & a raconteur who will tell the story later, who is the one from whom the narrator heard it.

It is too distant to be precise in the living arrangements. Logic—no, not logic, rather the kernel of the story—dictates that there are three bedrooms in the house. The brother has one, the poet & his wife another, & the poet's mother shares the other with her granddaughter. It may be that the poet's mother is visiting; & the baby normally has a room to herself.

Except on this night the baby gets sick & the poet's wife moves into the baby's room to be with her, & the poet's mother moves into the master bedroom. The poet knows nothing of this; he is out drinking, has to be a party since at the time this took place, bars in New Zealand closed their doors at 6 p.m.

The poet returns home round midnight, drunk. Staggers into the bedroom, takes his clothes off in the dark & jumps onto the shape in the bed shouting "I'm going to fuck you." His mother screams, jumps out of the bed & runs from the room.

(The narrator is aware that it is probably in poor taste to retell this story; but he excuses himself on the grounds that if he is to partake in the obituary writing, to perform part of the autopsy, then it makes sense to begin the cutting at a soft point in what will inevitably be a painful history.)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Why / I am / thinking about ambivalence

I have just been invited to contribute to the obituary of someone who isn't dead yet.
am am-
bivalent about ambivalence.


No inner song this morning, so I Reach Out for the Four Tops. I discovered Motown motorvation long ago; it still holds.

Friday, March 27, 2009

This morning's

unbidden mental musical moment was Pete Seeger doing Little Boxes.
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
Little boxes, little boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
Sweet Jesus! Any morning now it's going to be Kum Ba Yah.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Freshness? Vitality? Bullshit!

Once more the corpse that is most New Zealand poetry is rolled out onto the viewing table. Maybe the curtains have been changed in the interim, but judging from the exterior of this anthology it seems that nothing much else has changed since I left 40 years ago.

My belief is that poets in N.Z. read the very first line in Donald Allen's The New American Poetry, Olson's
What does not change / is the will to change
got frightened by it & decided to make sure they stayed in the same old traditionalist & provincial Anglophile rut.

Twenty Contemporary New Zealand Poets showcases the freshness and vitality of current New Zealand poetry.

It's perhaps ironic that I found a link to this at Ron Silliman's blog since, to judge from the majority of the list of contributors, this is the Antipodean Chapter of Ron's dreaded School of Quietude writ large, & so contemporary that at least two of the poets are dead.

I love the smell of formaldehyde in the morning.....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Shoot & don't worry about the consequences"

Attempts by the Israeli media to publish the rules of engagement for the Gaza campaign have been blocked by the military censor, but in the past couple of weeks the contents of those rules have begun to to emerge in anecdotal evidence - suggesting strongly that soldiers were told to avoid Israeli casualties at all costs by means of the massive use of firepower in a densely populated urban environment.

Worrying new questions have also been raised about the culture of the Israeli military, indicating a high level of dehumanisation and disregard for Palestinians among the chain of command and even among the military rabbinate.

An investigation by reporter Uri Blau, published on Friday in Haaretz, disclosed how Israeli soldiers were ordering T-shirts to mark the end of operations, featuring grotesque images including dead babies, mothers weeping by their children's graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques.

Another T-shirt designed for infantry snipers bears the inscription "Better use Durex" next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him. A shirt designed for the Givati Brigade's Shaked battalion depicts a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull's-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, "1 shot, 2 kills".

Peter Beaumont, The Observer, Sunday 22 March 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009


a day of Australian anthems. Songs we grew up on or, for those in my loose age group, songs that grew up on us. Twin twelve hour concerts—Sydney, Melbourne—under the banner Sound Relief. Proceeds from the Melbourne one going to help victims of the Victorian bushfires, those from the Sydney concert shared between victims of the bushfire & the recent Queensland floods.

Two cable channels, one for each show. Occasional feeds from the other in the changeovers between groups. Mainly homegrown talent—allowing for the fact that the music industry here, like show business & sports, claims New Zealanders as their own—with a couple of overseas groups, Coldplay & Kings of Leon, both of whom are touring here at present, thrown into the mix. Two groups—Jet & Wolfmother—did both venues. & even though there were a few band reformations, not the normal nostalgia concert routine of aged rockers being fed glucosamine & adrenaline & sent on stage to supplement their old age pensions. Everybody, with one notable exception, still in the music business.

Sydney the more poppier concert. Coldplay to open, the close a saccharin duet by Barry Gibbs & Olivia Newton-John, Islands in the Stream, a Bee Gees song originally intended for Marvin Gaye, but taken to #1 by Kenny Rodgers & Dolly Parton.

Melbourne a bit more rock-oriented. Jet opened the concert & then flew to Sydney to perform again. A couple of recently reformed groups, & some groups reformed especially for this occasion. Great to see the Finns back in their various formats—Split Enz, Crowded House—& great to see Neil's son Liam who just might be the greatest drummer I have ever laid eyes on.

& to close the show, the Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts in the current Australian Federal Government being more political than he has since going into Politics. Mick Jagger strutting his stuff even at peak form has nothing on Peter Garrett in full flight. Midnight Oil came together for the second time in the last ten years—the other was for a Tsunami Relief concert about five years ago—with only the briefest of rehearsals, two short gigs just across the road from Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday & Friday.

They're still the greatest rock band in the country. My only regret, listening to the lyrics & bearing in mind Garrett's current job, is that it's easier to sing about change than to enact it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


the end.
Took a tacit

turn, & nobody
heard him
there were no seats on the bus           everybody had to stand                    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Today the
postman brought
me the de-
nominator I
needed to
traverse the
Great Divide.

geographies: The Missouri River floodplain

The outbound envelope
serves as an effective
billboard. Mystery uses
magic tricks      a lot. A
certain condor remains
especially in my memory.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How to create a significant literary community

Tom Veal, who lists one of his interests as Shakespeare Authorship, summarizes the thesis behind Shakespeare's Fingerprints,by Michael Brame & Galina Popova, in a several years old post at Stromata.
"The leaders of Queen Elizabeth’s government wanted to promote the use of English as a literary language in order to secure their country’s position as a Protestant, mercantilist power. To accomplish this end, they called upon Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (whom I shall refer to as “Oxenford”, since that was his own preference), a genius scarcely paralleled in human history. Between 1558 and 1604, the prolific peer wrote most of what is memorable in English Renaissance literature, including the works now attributed to William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, Philip Sidney, John Lyly, George Peele, George Gascoigne, Raphael Holinshed, Robert Greene and a host of lesser lights. An appendix to Shakespeare’s Fingerprints lists 38 Oxenford pseudonyms, more are mentioned in the text, and the authors do not claim to have made a complete search of Elizabethan literature. Applying their methods yields, as we shall see, further suspects for the role of Oxenfordian fronts (or “name lenders”, as Brame/Popova call them).

"The motive for this multitude of noms de plume, almost all names of real people who consented to play the auctorial role, was to create the illusion that England possessed a flourishing community of letters. Oxenford shored up this facade by such tactics as having his personae exchange flatteries and dedicate books to one another."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

& turns

to bow to
the audience

then heads
back up the
coast, losing
i n t e n s i t y
all the way.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Maybe I'm being ageist

but it seems that, as you age or, perhaps more particularly, get beyond a certain age, your ability to deal with a variety of issues at the same time lessens or leaves altogether. You become focused on one thing to the detriment of everything else. Multi-skilling is having a cup of coffee in your hand when you walk into the lounge & that's the extent of it. Turning the light on as you do so is a task too many.

It's why I'm concentrating on the cyclone to the exclusion of everything else. I haven't put other things on the back-burner; I've taken them totally off the stove. I excuse myself partially because it's our first up-close-&-personal cyclone, so time is naturally taken up gathering up & putting away anything that might go flying in the wind, checking that there are torches handy & enough batteries to support them & the transistor radio if the power goes down, that there's enough bottled water, & a firstaid kit, &&&. But instead of resting secure in the knowledge that everything has been done that can be done & moving on to something else, I find myself checking the tv news channels, the weather channel, Google news, the BoM radar maps.

Balls in the air. Singular. In the past, I have accused myself of procrastination, of putting things off because I'm too lazy to do them. But I'm starting to realize that it's not laziness, just an inability to handle more than one thing at a time. It's not the enthusiasm thing where you're so caught up in something that you let other things slide. Rather it's as if whatever task you take up has accompanying barriers that slide into place & do not allow room for anything else to slip in. I do not ring up & make a hairdressing appointment because I'm busy putting together the print edition of Otoliths. I don't do the print edition because I'm busy putting together the next electronic issue. I don't do the electronic issue because I'm busy posting to this blog. I don't post because I'm working on a poem. I don't work on a poem because it's my time for ringing the hairdresser & making an appointment. Which will then exclude.....

The first fingers of rain have reached out & touched us, the wind is gradually increasing in speed. I check the current radar images. The curve of the cyclone can be clearly seen, & we're now affected by the bottom edges of it; but its last projected track still has it staying a distance off the coast &, if that continues, it'll mean more & heavier rain for us, greater wind strength, but minimal impact.

the morning maps

4 a.m.

7 a.m.

Still Category 5, with the projected track slightly further out to sea. We're no longer within the red circles, but not by much, & so the waiting goes on.

& the national picture

The combined radar & satellite image from the Bureau of Meteorology, whose webpages are often referred to as the BoMsite.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Slowly, inexorably—

I've always wanted to use that word—Hamish tracks its way down the coastline. The 7 p.m. bulletin had the wind gusts near the center at 275 kilometers an hour, nearly 200 mph. & at 275 kmh, it's getting very close to the >280kph that defines a Category 5 cyclone.

4 p.m.

Cyclones, hurricanes & typhoons are all the same thing; it's just that they're named differently in different parts of the world. &, of course, each place has a different scale of measuring them though they tend to overlap.

Although Hurricane Katrina reached Category 5 in the Gulf of Mexico, it had been downgraded to Category 3—& would be the same here—in the U.S. by the time it hit the Louisiana coast. The destruction it caused was through the accompanying storm surge, where the sea overran the land. In Australia, most damage is caused by the wind & rain on land, as the cyclone passes across inhabited areas, which means that it's the East Coast that suffers most, even though the coast of Western Australia tends to have more cyclones & of higher intensity.

7 p.m.

No word yet of where this cyclone will cross the coast or if, in fact, it will. I note, however, that we're now on the latest cyclone tracking map which tends to worry me a little. So I've been reading up on the last cyclone—though there's not much information—that made landfall around here, sixty years & a few days ago, destroying about 500 houses & damaging 1000 more. A few lives lost from the cyclone, a few more from the flooding that accompanied it. Lasted somewhere between two & six days, depending on the account.

The 11 p.m. bulletin has just been released & the Bureau of Meteorology has upgraded Cyclone Hamish to category 5, with wind gusts now 295 kph near the center & the central pressure has dropped to 930 hectoPascals.

11 p.m.

Will keep you posted.

p.s. All images come from the Bureau of Meteorology site for Queensland weather.

preparing / to batten / down the hatches

Just as the monsoon trough has, over the past year & a half, reached further south, so too, it now appears, are the cyclones. Cyclone Hamish—a good Scottish name; & even though the Scots are popularly supposed to be miserly, this is predicted to be the strongest cyclone of the season—is tracking steadily down the coastline in our direction.

Cyclones are ranked, depending on the speed of the accompanying winds, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 the strongest. Hamish has just been upgraded to category 3—winds <225 kilometres per hour— & is expected to be a 4—>225 kph—by the time it is off Yeppoon, that part of the coast closest to us, if it keeps on its current course.

What we can expect—this distance from the sea & with a couple of ranges of lowish hills between here & there; we're on the outer red circle of the lowest dartboard in the tracking map—are strong winds & heavy rains ahead of & during it. Say Sunday through to Tuesday. But cyclones that parallel the coastline have the unhappy knack of suddenly taking a right angle & veering in to cross the coast. The Weather Bureau are picking sometime on Sunday & somewhere round Mackay as being the likely place where that will happen, & if it does, & the cyclone continues on its southerly direction, then "strong winds & heavy rains" will probably be understating the situation.

The latest tracking map has the cyclone likely to lose some intensity in the next 24 hours, but it also has its path closer to the coast hereabouts. We're now sitting almost on that middle red ring.

Friday, March 06, 2009

The morning slightly smoke-hazy, but the sky behind it blue. & the humidity low so a certain amount of coolness in the air. Comfortable. But the song that rises unbidden from the spontaneous jukebox in the mind is contradictory, the Stones' Gimme Shelter...
The floods is threatning
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or Im gonna fade away

Thursday, March 05, 2009

(pro)Found Poem

    Constellation Cup, cartoons Cup, Couples Cup…… compared to the past a single color, style convergence of glass, enamel cups, now put on all kinds of Keren pattern of jewelry Cup attracted a lot of young consumers of view, sleepy market for some time the cup This is also the bright colors in the brewing of a new selling point.

    Casually walked into the street which jewelry stores, all kinds of ornaments Cup is absolutely essential goods within Diantang. Abstract color lines, the young people like the cartoon character with a logo or a combination of various types of modeling, coupled with moderate prices, five yuan, 10 yuan, will not be the highest in more than 100 yuan, the hearts of the young consumers Was captured.

    Shop staff in the new century shift in the Asia-Jun impression, jewelry Cup is the rise in 2003, Tupperware, Lok deduction, and so many world-renowned home of the brand gradually into the public eye. The initial jewelry Cup is actually very simple, ordinary glass or plastic cups printed on one pair of implied meaning of the logo has become a veritable lovers Cup, than the ordinary price of your glasses to 12 yuan. However, this cup of wearing beautiful clothes is not the same, many young people just to recognize this. Thus, the market slowly warming, in addition to steel, the magnetization, all other quality wood to reach almost all of this area.

    Beautiful indeed difficult to resist the charm. Just a work of the Miss told reporters in her home, large and small, all kinds of ornaments Cup least have more than 10. However, whenever walked into the store, although that know that they have many, but to see Huahualvlv wanted to buy the cup home. According to the salesperson shopping malls, past the cup, people value the sealing, insulation, the main business is also an issue around this area, therefore, up to up to, then it several selling points. But now is different, selling jewelry Cup is the beautiful, a special form, a creative design, etc., can bring the cup to the good sales.

geographies: Paterson, N.J.

A dozen miles northwest of midtown Manhattan, Paterson, New Jersey, is the home of the Hot Texas Wiener. Each year, the members of the many cultural communities populating this multicultural, multilingual city eat hundreds of thousands of deep-fried beef hot dogs, topped with spicy mustard, chopped onions, and a distinctive chili sauce.
Working in Paterson: Occupational Heritage in an Urban Setting
American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress
...just another dog
among a lot of dogs.
William Carlos Williams: from the Preface to Paterson

The beginnings of a poem for Gary Snyder

I find
I can't write      poems
abt the
, the Earth, Mother
Gaia. There is
too much of
a                             disconnect.

The contributors to Otoliths

are a multi-talented bunch. Regular contributor of visual/ concrete poetry Joe Balaz performs his poem Eastside/Westside in this music video shot by his long-time collaborator, photographer Mary Ellen Derwis, also a regular contributor to the big O.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Lunch Poems

Mais où
sont les hum-
colored cabs
It's been ten years since I've had a book of poems published in New Zealand, & that was the last time I had a book published in the "traditional" manner—commercial run, copies held by the publisher—rather than via the e-book or print on demand routes.

Lunch Poems is a numbered & signed chapbook from Soapbox Press, made up of poems written in 2007, my last year of "gainful employment", during or just after my lunch breaks. It's the product of the sidewalk café table & a double espresso as transition point, dreaming of Paris & New York in the mundane surrounds of midtown Rockhampton.
Yesterday it was almost
Autumn in New York
&, putting a logical
footprint on a flight
of fancy, I suppose
today is also. Here it’s
coming into spring
but there’s not a
flower to be seen.... (from 7/26/07)
If anyone is interested in obtaining a copy, email the publisher Michael Steven. There weren't that many copies printed, so it's likely to become a collector's item. I'd mention in passing, however, that, if N.Z. is anything like Australia, the cost of cashing a check in an overseas currency is probably greater than the cost of the book, so be prepared to engage in some alternative method of payment.

&, of course, the book is dedicated to Frank O'Hara.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I am familiar

with the bumble—or humble—bee from my days in New Zealand but didn't think there were any in Australia. So was surprised to see what looked like, but not quite, a bumble bee flying from flower to flower in the backyard.

Went to Google—what did we do in the old days?— & typed in "bumble bees australia". Discovered there are bumble bees here, but only in Tasmania, where they were introduced, as in New Zealand, because of their excellent pollen transfer skills. Mainland Australia, however, is on a bumble bee watch, Hiveland Security at work, because those aforementioned abilities do not discrimate between commercial crops & noxious weeds.

But Google had photos of similar bees; & the bee—I've only ever seen one at a time & I've no way of knowing if they are the same individual—doing the rounds of the garden is called a Teddy Bear bee. Groan, but I have to do it—what a buzz!

So, if you go down in the woods today......

The Teddy Bear bee
(photo from the Australian Native Bee Research Centre website)