Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Today the
postman brought
me the macaw
I'd ordered
off the internet.
Caveat emptor—
I got sent a
Scottish crow.

The regular three-monthly reminder

that submissions to Otoliths close in about four weeks. It's shaping up to be another great issue.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

another marsupial moment

A tiny — and distinctly dead — endangered marsupial has helped authorities catch an alleged wildlife thief and recover a stolen two-metre python after a remarkable rescue involving police, wildlife officers and the Defence Department.

The drama began when the unfortunate woylie — wearing a wristwatch-sized radio collar — was eaten by a carpet python at a nature reserve south of Perth, known by scientists as a haven for the cute rodent-like critter.

Aware that the snake could die after swallowing the tracking device, wildlife officers took the bulging python to the Department of Environment and Conservation for monitoring. Two days later, the snake was stolen — with the dead woylie and tracking device still inside it.

In a daring response, the department used an aeroplane and a team of angry scientists to track the woylie's radio signal, even getting Defence Department approval to enter restricted air space, before pinpointing it to a house in Heathridge in Perth's northern suburbs. DEC senior scientist Nicky Marlow, who headed a ground crew liaising with the plane, said the data provided was amazingly accurate. "The location they gave us was within 60m of where it was found, which is brilliant. We went out with an omni-directional antenna fitted to our vehicle and just drove past the spot so that we wouldn't arouse suspicion.

"We then called the police and wildlife officers and we all rendezvoused," she said.

"It was really exciting. There were five police, a justice of the peace, two wildlife officers and four of us (from the woylie research program)." Police yesterday charged a 30-year-old Heathridge man with receiving stolen goods.

Investigations are continuing with more charges possible. Dr Marlow said the large carpet python was worth up to $2000 on the legitimate market and much more on the black market. But she said it was a mystery how the thief knew it was at the department. Nothing else was stolen in the burglary.
The Australian

Juvenile woylie (Photo: Sabrina Trocini)

Photo from the Woylie Conservation Research Project website

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Stone the wallabies!

"Things are really hopping in Tasmania where wallabies are getting stoned on the state's opium poppy crops and creating crop circles.

The wallabies are breaking into the poppy fields and making the circles while they're high.

Rick Rockliff from Tasmanian Alkaloids says wildlife and livestock which eat the poppies are known to act weird, and he's told the Hobart Mercury there's been many stories about sheep eating the poppies and then walking around in circles.

Tasmania is the world's largest producer of legally grown opium for the pharmaceutical market."
The Hobart Mercury

Fair cop. It's a photoshopped poppy crop with a bopper too stoned to hop.

Monday, June 22, 2009

geographies: São Paulo

The coronal approach
is made behind the
hairline. Tension lines lie
mediolateral from ear to
ear. All the incisions
are placed on fine cracks,
usually run lengthwise
along the skull. There are
no natural landmarks.

What does change

are the morning birds.

Yesterday, five large sulphur-crested cockatoos, raucous, bacchanalian almost, in the crown of a tree on a level with the bedroom window, picking the fruit off with, & holding them in, their claws, then their beaks tearing the flesh away to get at the kernel within. The flesh dropped onto the driveway below, then the woody covering of the nut broken open, also spat away. Finally, the feast, continuing until there were no fruit left within reach.

Today, a single kingfisher on the clothesline, silent, ascetic. Carniverous. Looking for lizards. All the flesh edible.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A young William Carlos Williams

by a young William Carlos Williams.

Pictures from Brueghel
Having grown up
with Ginsberg &
Dylan & the other

members of the
50’s, 60’s gang as
loose contemporaries

I find they sit
comfortably within me
but do not talk

to the aging self
I find myself be-
coming. Now it is

Carlos Williams I
seek out to engage
in conversation.

still sitting down....

Not Bette Davis eyes

but Dali's Mae West lips couch in situ.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

One of the things

about ongoing projects that acquire some quantity is that you lose track of the starting points. I went looking in my series magritte directory to get the image that I've used in the post below, certain I'd used it as generation because it's one of my favorites. Discovered I hadn't so have rectified the omission, with heavy acknowledgment to the late, great J. G. Ballard, one of whose early short stories was about life lived in reverse.

Perspective: David's Madame Récamier
Assume a life-
line in reverse.

Death comes first.
Before that, head-

stone, interment,
mourning crowd,

laying out, the prep-
aration of the body.

Move forwards.
Miss Marx. Pass

through two
revolutions, a liberal

monarchy, literary
salons. Chateaubriand,

Mme de Staël amongst
the names. Napoleon.

Bring in Ingres, who
uses Magritte's posed

figure as basis for
La Grande Odalisque.

Which influences
David. Who does not

finish his painting
of Madame Récamier.

Was pissed when told
that someone else was

getting the commission.
But starts it anyway.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

&, following the furniture trail,

I arrive at one of my favorite pieces by the brilliant Márton Koppány.

Ellipsis No. 5

I have a small signed copy of it on the wall behind me.

A review of terracotta worriers

posted to Goodreads by Grady Harp.
Theater of the Absurd

It takes awhile to get into Mark Young's chapbook TERRACOTTA WORRIERS. The initial page of this handsome download shows the now famous and well regarded image of the buried statues of warriors in China, and unless the reader's eye is acutely tuned to the humor that lies within this collection of poems, the first connection seems to be that the title reads Terracotta Warriors instead of Worriers. That's how keen Young plays with the eye and the sensitivity to humor of the reader.

What follows is a series of thirteen poems that simply play with facts and allusions and in solid format create single page seemingly serious poems that find the central core of humor so often mistaken as contemporary journalism: what appears to be reportage and factual is in fact disjointed nonsense - with a thrust of choreographed genius!

Mark Young is up there with Salvador Dali and Gertrude Stein. Download this collection of ingeniously pasted absurdities and enjoy a very bright poet at work!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Good Golly, Miss Molly, it's Bloomsday

and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Today the
postman brought
me the riddle
of the Sphinx. I
walked out to
get it; but on
the way back
tripped on the
packing tape
which had come
unwrapped in
transit & had
to crawl like a
baby the rest
of the way. The
ankle wasn't
broken, just
sprained; but I'm
using a walking
stick to get around
for the next few
days. Feeling fine
otherwise. Now
what was the
question again?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Master of the Revels

In Il Casanova di Federico
Fellini, a giant head of Venus
begins to emerge from the
Grand Canal. Set in the
rural French countryside,
the factory by the side of
the lake is small; but still
lives undergo critical changes
as water & land are con-
taminated. The head rises
creakily to eye level & a
cable breaks. I have an idea
that the ideal drop is equal
to the length of your leg. In
his infancy Pindar was fed
honey by bees as an augury
of supreme eloquence. The
crowd cheers as the master
of the revels extols the
goddess of love. Learn
to control that one footed
wobble & you'll find things
a whole lot easier. This page
contains notes I have been
collecting on walking the slack
wire. Much of it is contradictory.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Today the
postman brought
me a bath
that had been
thrown out
with the

Friday, June 12, 2009

Now out from Otoliths—A SCRIPT, Joel Chace's new chapbook

"Joel Chace’s reading at Robins Books May 19 makes me want to look at his linebreaks again," wrote Ron Silliman in a footnote to a recent post to his blog. This new chapbook provides the perfect opportunity.

Joel Chace
24 pages
Cover photo by Michael Aanji Crowley
Otoliths 2009
ISBN: 978-0-9806025-3-1
$8.25 + p&h
Direct URL: http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/a-script/7226173
Joel Chace's A Script cons our part: part Asbergian stutter, part zen enlightenment, words and white spaces carefully/ randomly placed pace us through a spectrum of verbal light, asking if there is a difference between self and other, background and text. These experiments of space and the phrase and word range over nature, food, and communi-cation, invoking Inca and Silliman both, "speaking that other language again ... yield itself each sentence." —Larissa Shmailo

I like what Joel Chace does with the topology of the line, the way he shows how far it can be stretched while still maintaining its integrity. And I like how in doing so he takes the plainest words—especially everyday nouns like work, linen, world, office, desk, ceiling—and makes them oddly visible in the poem's raking light:
"words         /                 tiny           far
         but clear" indeed. —Barry Schwabsky

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Night life

The heavy thump of a possum jumping onto the corrugated-iron roof & then the sound of it running across it has become a regular night event again. We had the tree branches cut back a couple of years ago to stop them from brushing on the roof, but they've grown enough in the intervening period of time to make the leap possible. The thump is the new thing; before, the possums would just step from branch to roof. & because we have trees close to the house on only two sides, the possum's method of getting off the roof remains the same—they climb along the power line & either climb down the pole it's attached to or along the line that leads to the house next door.

They're beautiful creatures. The ones that visit our property have soft grey fur. Often their young will follow them nose to tail or, if they're very young, cling to their mother's back. That they're marsupials, closely related to kangaroos & wallabies, is most evident when you see them sitting on their haunches & they replicate the profile of a little kangaroo.

(They would not be described as beautiful in New Zealand, however. They were introduced there from Australia in the hopes of creating a fur industry. Instead, ran wild, proliferated. & because they are vectors for tuberculosis, have the potential to wipe out the dairy industry that dominates New Zealand's economy.)

The other visitor last night is not so common; or, at least, not usually so up close & personal. At this time of year, the macadamias that have grown in places unable to be reached fall to the ground & I gather them up when I find them & leave them on the table in the outside area beneath the house. After a couple of days, their soft covering splits & can be removed to leave the nut.

I'd gone outside about midnight for my last cigarette before going to bed, saw a couple of macadamias had split open, removed the skin & went & dropped the pieces into the garbage bin. Caught sight of a shape at the periphery of my vision, turned towards it, & there was an owl sitting at the end of one of the spokes of our rotary clothesline, only a couple of metres away, yellow eyes watching me from above its hooked beak. It was a southern boobook, a bird that's also found in New Zealand where it's known as a mopoke or morepork after its call. & it's usually the call that catches your attention, that lets you know they're there.

This one had been silent, had been hidden from view by the trellis that separates the area where I sit from the back yard. If it hadn't been for putting the macadamia detritus in the bin, I would never have known it was there. I stayed there watching it watching me, had another cigarette, then broke off the eyeballs at two paces confrontation & went off to shower & then to bed.

With some trepidation, I must admit. I'd read a book recently that described the owl as an avatar of death, so it's with some relief that I find myself sitting here writing this with the sun streaming in my study window.

Monday, June 08, 2009

terracotta worriers


Many of my posts over the last few weeks have been engagements with the chapter headings of Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Now — revised, reworked & even replaced — they've been brought together &, thanks to the joys of lightspeed publishing, have been issued as a downloadable pdf e-chap by Lars Palm's ungovernable press.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Attack by Fire

Traps & poison have
failed to work. Now they
are culling the cormorants
by opening hot-bread
shops all through Middle
America. Climate change
intensifies; Red 5 Comics
has announced a last
minute cover change;
Graceland will no longer
offer discounted parking
passes during Elvis Week
& is demanding double
the price for grown-up
chickens. But some things
do not change. There is
still no distaff side to
any debate. Montages of
notable deaths during the
past seven days still appear
on U.S. Sunday morning
news programs like This
. A complex trait
remains one that does not
fit simple Mendelian ratios.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Nine Situations

He arrived in Sarajevo on June 27, 1914, the day before the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand; &, because he spoke neither the language of the oppressors nor the oppressed, was amongst those seized for questioning.

The sheriff came by in a brown seersucker suit & loudly opined that the reason everyone had paid scant attention to the barking of the dogs was because these days little emphasis was placed on effects observed by ground-based sensors.

He asked for, & was given, the relevant material; but he realized as he looked through it that the internal references indicated a great number of files had been omitted. Based on what was before him, only one conclusion could be reached. He spent the afternoon wondering how not to reach it.

Although the concept was familiar, he did not recognize any of the celestial bodies depicted in the orrery. How could he be expected to when the orbital paths, once deciphered, indicated there were two suns?

It was here that he made up his mind sooner or later to perpetrate an outrage.

For a while, through the later hours of the morning, he listed the birds that came, either through sight or sound, within the range of each of those senses. He envisaged a grid, would track their passage, gave it away when he was forced to admit to himself that his aural skills were insufficient to plot with any precision the positioning of those he could not see.

Frost tossed the orange grove.

He was given the covers of an unnamed book along with the unnumbered pages that had been neatly exorcized from it. His task, he was told, was to put the book back together again. "How will I know when I am finished?" he asked. "You won't," was the answer.

The name of the executioner was tuberculosis. It was a long time ago.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


One has to admit – the
digital-to-analog conversion
of Jung’s typology is a
masterpiece in edgy, catchy,
cool house music. A forlorn
harmonica explores the
mandala configuration; flat
rings extend outward &
perpendicular to the
squared circle divided into
four; open baffle speakers
offer superior imaging of
the cross radiating to or
from the centre, carrying
the promise of balance,
union, & the connection
of opposites. Everything
conveys signals of respect.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Army on the March

After frying the
tofu for two minutes
in a convenient
reactor, his meta-
theoretical assumptions
disappeared. He thought
they had been deleted;
but they came back
after he had added
green onions, stirred,
& moved the mouse
over the photo to see
the notes beneath. Environ-
mentalists & anti-nuclear
campaigners were dis-
appointed but not
surprised—the ancient
Japanese have a dual
number system at
least on the body-part
nouns. The concept
of "levels" is a useful
one in comparative
analysis, a vital skill
for functioning as
a modern biochemist.


what Ron Silliman describes as "(offering) an obscene amount of riches", the latest edition —#12 — of Eileen Tabios' book review blog galatea resurrects includes reviews by Thomas Fink, Kristin Berkey-Abbott, Tom Hibbard, William Allegrezza, John M. Bennett, Nathan Logan, & Steve Tills of the following books from Otoliths.

237 More Reasons to Have Sex by Denise Duhamel & Sandy McIntosh

Endgames by Márton Koppány

Diptychs: Visual Poems by Nico Vassilakis

Longfellow Memoranda by Geof Huth

From the Annual Records of the Cloud Appreciation Society "edited" by Márton Koppány and Nico Vassilakis

That Tiny Insane Voluptuousness by Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney

This Poem/What Speaks?/A Day by Tom Beckett
My sincere thanks for this plethora of publicity to the writers, the reviewers, & especially to Eileen for making this avenue available.

On a more personal note, the Chatelaine herself "engages" Lunch Poems, my chapbook from Michael Steven's Auckland-based Soapbox Press, & discovers "a perfect poem." Such a singular lack of hyperbole was also evident in an earlier engagement she had with my the allegrezza ficcione which she described as either a "classic" or a "masterpiece". Mind you, I, modestly, purloined an extract from her engagement to use as a blurb for the second edition of the book.

Elsewhere, in issue #217 of the New Zealand literary magazine Landfall, unfortunately only in print & not online, is a wonderful review by Martin Edmond of my Pelican Dreaming: Poems 1959-2008, published by Eileen's Meritage Press. Also in the issue are a number of my Genji Monogatari poems. It's a renewed association with the magazine; I first appeared in its pages 45 years ago.

Variation of Tactics

The causal variable, X,
is supposedly
either a small Gogo bar lost
in the middle of soi Cowboy
or the hottest source
of house music wav & mp3
downloads on the net. It's
a false dichotomy, a product
of the "language purification
movement" that hunted
Japanese loanwords once
the occupation of Korea
was over, & disregards the
implications of gender on
adaptive phenotypic plasticity
& sperm tail length.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I suppose

it's some sort of milestone though, overall, I sometimes think that millstone would be a more appropriate term,

but I've just posted The Fountain of Youth, poem #200 in my series magritte.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Today the
postman brought
me some fragments
from the in-
complete skeleton
of Pithecanthropus
. I ground
them up, in-
fused them in
liquid to see
if I could isolate
some DNA. A
succesful ex-
periment—I always
did make a good
cup of Java.