Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Now out from Otoliths— Grzegorz Wróblewski's A Marzipan Factory

A Marzipan Factory
Grzegorz Wróblewski
(translated from the Polish by Adam Zdrodowski)
112 pages
Otoliths, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-9807651-1-3
$15.95 + p&h

A Marzipan Factory is the most original and enticing book of poems I have read in years. It is Kafkaesque and yet tender, cynical and yet warm, elliptical and yet wholly immediate. Grzegorz Wróblewski can take the most ordinary of phenomena and then give them the twist of a knife: to "spare" the life of a living organism—a "dry" tangerine for instance—is, from another angle, to forget it. The pleasures and terrors of sex, of age, of the fear of death, of the deceptions of our social life, have rarely been so brutally—yet wittily and charmingly—documented as they are in these short, often gnomic poems, surprisingly well rendered in Adam Zdrodowski’s translation. Grzegorz Wróblewski restores one’s faith in the power of lyric poetry to renew itself. — Marjorie Perloff

Grzegorz Wróblewski's poems are ironic and serious, quick and probing, nailed to place and character but soaring in imagination. If you haven't read his poems, it's not too late to start and this new volume is the perfect place to do that. — John Z. Guzlowski

A Marzipan Factory is also available through Amazon.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Now that it's

international rugby season in the southern hemisphere, I should get to see this occasionally in the next few months.

It's the kapa o pango, the special haka of the All Blacks, not always the haka done before their matches, only before those they consider special.
Kapa o pango kia whakawhenua au i ahau!
Hi aue, hi!
Ko Aotearoa e ngunguru nei!
Au, au, aue ha!

Ko Kapa o Pango e ngunguru nei!
Au, au, aue ha!

I ahaha!
Ka tu te ihiihi
Ka tu te wanawana
Ki runga ki te rangi e tu iho nei, tu iho nei, hi!

Ponga ra!
Kapa o Pango, aue hi!
Ponga ra!
Kapa o Pango, aue hi, ha!


Let me be one with the land!

New Zealand is rumbling here!

The team in black is rumbling here!

Face up to the fear
Fight the terror
To the sky above
Fight up there,
high up there. Yeah!

Our shadows fall!
Team in Black!

Silver Fern!
Team in Black!
Stirring stuff!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Applied Dialectics




Thursday, June 24, 2010

Alex Gildzen

recently described President Obama as having lost his mojo.

Like the President, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, elected a year earlier in similar circumstances—a highly popular left-leaning leader putting an end to a conservative government—had also succumbed to the same affliction.

Unlike the United States, where the President is the Head of State, Rudd was Prime Minister by virtue of his being the leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party which won the majority of seats in the last election. The Head of State in Australia is still the Queen of England.

Unlike the United States, where the President can be replaced during his (or, hopefully, some time in the not too distant future, her) term only through death or incapacity or impeachment, the Prime Minister of Australia can be replaced without an election being called when his (up until now the pronoun held true) party decides they want another leader.

Rudd's popularity has been plunging in the opinion polls, & with it the popularity of the Federal Labor Government. So much so that, almost inconceivable given their resounding win in the 2007 elections, they were in grave danger of being voted out of office in the elections due to be held later on this year.

There were murmurings of discontent about Kevin Rudd's leadership; but the move against him, when it came, was swift & sudden. A breaking news item on the national 7 p.m. ABC news last night reported that there had been discussions between Rudd, his deputy Julia Gillard, & senior figures in the Labor Party; three hours later Rudd called a televised news conference in which he announced that the party leader's post would be thrown open to ballot at a caucus meeting to be held at 9 a.m. the next morning, that he would be restanding for the post, that he had been elected to the post & he considered his work unfinished.

Less than 12 hours later, there was no need for a ballot. Rudd had been convinced that if he stood again for the leadership, his defeat would be humiliating such were the numbers now against him. Julia Gillard became the leader of the parliamentary party.

At noon, the new Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, the first woman to hold the position, was sworn in by the Queen's representative, the Governor General of Australia, Quentin Bryce, who just happens to be the first female G.G. that Australia has ever had.

Julia Gillard (left) watches as Governor-General Quentin Bryce signs her commission as Prime Minister of Australia. (AAP: Alan Porritt)

custom-made in the region

; the development of literacy & semiotics
; pre-dates my becoming an archivist
[or an anarchist]

; was talking
about the possibilities of
dates from
; now on in

; being recast
; so as to focus
more on diplomatic
relations with Havana
& ; the literacy of the
officer corps.

[a political & miltary tug of war
on indoor-outdoor spatial relations]

(There are
no universal definitions
though your accountant
may have other
ideas—he spends a lot
of time in his sister's
kindergarten class. )

[sharp gaps in education]
[the ability to use relevant software applications]
[the dispatch as genre]

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Che in Bolivia

I must write & thank Fidel for his parting gift. A book of poetry, that fits comfortably in the pocket of my camouflage fatigues. By a Yanqui yet, who set out every day to write something, even when it was hard to find something to write about. It’s an idea I’ve picked up on, have carried out.

Have kept a diary throughout this campaign, although daily Bolivia is very much the same old same old, unlike the New York I read about each night where there are "so many things in the air!" Here there are only maggots & mosquitoes, & the mutterings of peasants intimidated by our presence. They help us because they are frightened of us, & then send to tell the army because they are more frightened of the soldiers.

The army is in the next valley over. The army is now in the valley behind. We are running out of food, are running out of time. "The only thing to do is simply continue."

I am a man with two hearts. The one that beats still dreams of the revolution. The one that weeps is in my pocket, it is Lunch Poems, by Frank O’Hara.

We will move towards the next valley. That way I at least can choose the manner of my death.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Peaches and Bats

Peaches and Bats #6 is now available! It's a 64-page handsewn chapbook with a letterpressed cover, featuring adventurous writings by:

Taryn Andrews
Aaron Barrell
Bill Berkson
Meredith Blankinship
Norma Cole
Beverly Dahlen
Joel Felix
Kim Hyesoon, translated by Don Mee Choi
Rodney Koeneke
Kimberly Lyons
Joseph Mains
Scott Metz
Hoa Nguyen
Deborah Poe
Dan Raphael
Stacy Szymaszek
Dana Ward
Mark Young

Peaches and Bats #6 is available for $5.00 (including postage in the US). It can be ordered via PayPal at, or by sending a check, payable to Sam Lohmann, to 4025 SE Taylor St., Portland, OR 97214. Back issues are still available. Thanks for your time, and happy summer,

Sam Lohmann

Friday, June 18, 2010

I'm a bit confused

what century we're living in.....

Execution by firing squad

announced on Twitter?

& later:

"We will be streaming live my press conference as soon as
I'm told Gardner is dead. Watch it at"
he wrote.

pas de deux

Truly radical
social engineers
are thin on
the ground.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

river liffey, relived

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.


                                      In a kind of
reverse Proust—
degree of difficulty
2.7 on the Hans
Richter Scale—I
am waiting for
the tenth & final
volume of The
Grand Piano
appear before
ordering the
complete set
& then taking
to my bed to
spend the rest
of my life
reading them entire.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Today the
postman brought
me a box of
Girl Scout
tracking cookies.

Truly a corn-
ucopia. Tomorrow
he'll be back
with another box
containing much
the same as
those I've
just consumed.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Brecht, surprisingly

gloves were donned         all streets cleared of

free woman legs & vice versa

then they collected our shoes

these monuments serve as symbolic iconic media

are all about showing off & razzle dazzle

I am contacting you for a secret business transaction

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Australian Federal Labor Government,

which purports to be democratic, whale- & planet-loving, & liberal when it comes to people's freedoms—though it won't allow same sex marriages—has a rather serious hang-up when it comes to the web. It has been preparing legislation to ban internet providors from allowing their customers access to particular sites, a list which will never be officially published but hacked copies of which reveal the content of the proscribed sites ranges from bestiality to euthanasia.

Now, according to ZDNet, they are also moving to acquire everybody's browsing history.
Companies who provide customers with a connection to the internet may soon have to retain subscriber's private web browsing history for law enforcement to examine when requested, a move which has been widely criticised by industry insiders.

The Attorney-General's Department yesterday confirmed to ZDNet Australia that it had been in discussions with industry on implementing a data retention regime in Australia. Such a regime would require companies providing internet access to log and retain customer's private web browsing history for a certain period of time for law enforcement to access when needed.

Currently, companies that provide customers with a connection to the internet don't retain or log subscriber's private web browsing history unless they are given an interception warrant by law enforcement, usually approved by a judge. It is only then that companies can legally begin tapping a customer's internet connection.

One internet service provider (ISP) source told ZDNet Australia that the Australian regime, if implemented, could go as far as recording each URL a customer visited and all emails.

That source said such a regime "would be scary and very expensive".

Another industry source said Australians should "be very fucking afraid".

They said the regime being considered by the Australian Government could see data held for much longer than EU Directive time of 24 months — it would be more like five or ten years.

"They seem quite intent [on implementing the regime] and they keep throwing up the words 'terrorism' and 'paedophiles'," the source said. "We're talking browsing history and emails, way beyond what I would consider to be normal SMS, retaining full browsing history and everything."

Electronic Frontier Australia (EFA) chair Colin Jacobs said the regime was "a step too far".

"At some point data retention laws can be reasonable, but highly-personal information such as browsing history is a step too far," Jacobs said. "You can't treat everybody like a criminal. That would be like tapping people's phones before they are suspected of doing any crime."

He added that browser history could reveal all sorts of personal information. "And furthermore, the way the internet works, it's a huge amount of data to be kept and it requires some snooping on the part of the ISPs into which [web] pages people are looking at."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Seed Money

About 40 kilometers south of Rockhampton, slightly inland & about 240 meters above sea level, is Mount Morgan & the town of the same name that grew up on & around it. Originally it was called Ironstone Mountain, but was renamed after the three Morgan brothers, sons of a man convicted of murder & transported to the colonies, who pegged out a gold-mining lease on it in 1882 & began extracting the metal.

To obtain capital for the work, they formed a syndicate with some Rockhampton businessmen; but the Morgans remained doubtful of the mine's profitability, & sold out their share of the syndicate to the other members in 1886.

On the 1st of October, 1886, The Mount Morgan Gold Mining Company Limited was registered in the Supreme Court of Queensland, with a nominal capital of one million one-pound shares.

The Shareholders were Thomas Skarratt Hall (158,332 shares), William Knox D'Arcy (358,334 shares), William Pattison (125,000 shares), Walter Russell Hall (125,000 shares), John Ferguson (116,667 shares), Charles Carlton Skarratt (58,334 shares) & Alexander William Robertson & John Wagner (together) (58,333 shares).

The Morgans' doubt was misplaced. During the 108-year life of the mine approximately 262 tonnes of gold, 37 tonnes of silver & 387,000 tonnes of copper were mined from Mount Morgan from underground & open cut operations. For a time it was the largest gold mine in the world. Fortunes were made.

Walter Hall died in 1911. His widow Eliza began the process of establishing a trust, part of which went to establishing the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, situated at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, begun in 1915 & still one of the world’s most prestigious research centers.

William D'Arcy put his money to a different use. He returned to England in 1887 & wanted to establish a place in English upper-class society. But his life-style expenditure & the collapse of some of his investments during the final years of the century meant he had to look for somewhere new to replenish his fortune.

To quote from the Australian Dictionary of Biography:
The opportunity came in 1900 when Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, a former British minister to Teheran, approached him to invest in Persian oil exploration. Early in 1901 D'Arcy sent to Teheran an emissary who in May obtained a concession to search for oil over 480,000 sq. miles (1,243,195 km²). D'Arcy agreed to provide all necessary finance for the search. But at the end of 1903 he had spent £150,000 with no result. His financial position was now desperate. He had to mortgage his Mount Morgan shares at a time when they had dropped to £2 10s. each. By May 1905 he had used £225,000 and could spend no more. He began negotiations with the French branch of the Rothschild family for the sale of the concession. But on 20 May the British owned Burmah Oil Co. stepped in with an offer. D'Arcy agreed to it and made over the rights to his concession in return for 170,000 Burmah Oil shares and a payment to cover expenses he had incurred.

On 26 May 1908 Burmah Oil finally found the biggest oilfield yet known in the world in D'Arcy's old concession. This led in 1909 to the formation of a new company, Anglo-Persian Oil, which later became Anglo-Iranian Oil and ultimately British Petroleum.
& which, of course, is now known simply as BP.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Am in the middle

of a detective story fest, the books bought from a number of places. I'm unused to having such a variety of options for obtaining my reading matter.

Started with Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy a month or so back. Had been reluctant to lay out over $100 to buy the three books, but found them discounted to roughly halfprice at a local department store. Quite liked the first of them, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but found the later two a bit hard to get through.

From Sweden to the U.K., V.L. McDermid, the initials, rather than the better known Val, used for the series featuring journalist/sleuth Lindsay Gordon. A couple of books found in the remainder bin at the local newsagent. Much more the traditional English detective story than her Tony Hill, Wire in the Blood etc., books which I rank as some of the best crime stories ever written.

Put an order in on Amazon for the latest John Sandford & Laurie R. King books, plus the second-latest Graham Hurley novel.

Picked up a first novel by a, to me, unknown author,Theresa Monsour at the annual Bookfest, a secondhand booksale run to raise funds for the local branch of a charity. In the acknowledgements section Monsour thanks her "mentor" John Camp, who just happens to be better known as the John Sandford who provides a recommendation on the back of the book. Enough reason for me to buy the book. Enjoyed it, went searching for more, found she's only written three, one a year from 2003 to 2005. Nothing since. Managed to track down the other two in the new & used section of Amazon.

(A side note. Only bought two books this year at Bookfest—the other was Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night A Traveller—but they benefited by the 1000 or so books I purged from my shelves a couple of months before & donated to them.)

Bought a book by Gregg Hurwitz at the local secondhand bookstore. Had read & enjoyed his two most recent books; discovered, when I purged my shelves, that I also had his The Kill Clause which I'd forgotten about but promptly reread. Same protagonist in that as in the most recent purchase. Found a third in the series at Amazon at the same time I was searching for Monsour. Have also noted Hurwitz' name in the production credits for V which I've been watching lately.

Spent the time post-Larsson/McDermid/Monsour & waiting for the first lot of Amazon books to arrive by rereading Stuart MacBride. Scottish, writes about Aberdeen, good but quite bloody. Had finished the first four, broke off to read the John Sandford which arrived. Then one of the nose-guards (?) on my glasses broke off. So off to the optometrist in the morning which happens to be in the same shopping complex as the main bookshop in these parts. Found on their shelves what would be called a cornucopia of new books hereabouts, exited with the latest Jeffrey Deaver, the latest Michael Koryta, &, in a touch of synchronicity, the latest Stuart MacBride.

Finished the Sandford, read the Deaver, reread the fifth MacBride—continuity is important to me—& then read the new one.

The second Monsour book arrived. Read that. Then moved on to the Graham Hurley. Finished that this afternoon. Started on the second in the Hurwitz series.

Still have Koryta & Laurie R. King to read. Plus the third Hurwitz. & then there's the third & final book by Theresa Monsour which still has to arrive. Plus I think I'll order in the latest Graham Hurley book in hardback since the paperback isn't due out until January of next year.

The amazing thing is I've enjoyed nearly everything I've read. As I said earlier, I was a bit disappointed with the later Larsson, & the McDermid books were workmanlike rather than inspired, but, overall, a good solid bloc of good solid detective stories.

Now to go hunting for the latest James Lee Burke which I'm sure isn't far away.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Don't they ever fucking learn?

"The Israeli government has apologised after its press office emailed to journalists a spoof video about the flotilla which tried to dock in Gaza."
BBC News

Sunday, June 06, 2010

It seems like an oxymoron,

but, in my meanderings not too far out of town this morning, I came across an area signed as "dry rainforest".

First time I'd heard of it, Googled it when I got home, found on the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water website, the following:
Not all rainforests grow in areas receiving evenly distributed, abundant supplies of rainfall. Lesser known are the tiny remnants of Dry Rainforests scattered across the Kimberley, Top End, Cape York and down the east coast of Australia. Since they occur in regions with a distinct wet and dry season, the more northerly monsoonal forests survive in sheltered gullies and along the banks of rivers. Under moister, past climatic conditions, their ancestors were widespread across the continent. As the climate became less suitable for rainforests, those species best fitted for the arid conditions survived. They replaced species less able to survive in the new conditions and evolved to deal with the changing environment.

Along the east coast, marginal rainfalls or poorer soils support Dry Rainforests in sheltered locations. They often grow on rocky sites that are rarely subject to fire. Because some Dry Rainforest trees have a greater tolerance of arid conditions, communities can be found up to 300 km inland where suitable shelter exists.

The ability of some species to shed leaves in dry conditions is an advantage for Dry Rainforest trees, enabling them to survive temporary water shortage. Common species include Lacebark (Brachychiton discolour), Australian Teak (Flindersia australis), Hoop Pine (Araucaria cunninghamii), and figs (Ficus species).

Thursday, June 03, 2010

life imitating art?

from iTunes...
Armchair Commandos is a new reality-based scenario paintball TV show. Each episode features two naturally opposing forces that will compete for a cash prize. The members of the winning team will then donate the prize to a charity of their choice. Some examples of opposing forces may include: cops vs. skaters, bull riders vs. p.e.t.a, or even doctors vs. malpractice attorneys. The stage for this competition will be the scenario paintball field. These scenarios will range from the wildest childhood imaginations to the re-enactment of famous military battles. With clever team selections and complex, creative scenarios, each episode will keep viewers riveted in their seats with a potent cocktail of intriguing conflict, imagination, and stunning visuals. Players and non-players alike will love this show!

"Earlier, the Israeli military admitted it had made mistakes during the raid, saying some of the commandos had been issued with paintball guns...."

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

More pix from the nzepc's Home & Away Symposium

Michael Farrell

Jill Jones

Michele Leggott (MC on the night)

Nigel Roberts

Mark Young

The above were all taken at the Lounge reading, part of the proceedings of the nzepc's Home & Away Symposium, held March 30 & 31 at Auckland University.

I also must admit to liking this photo of myself & Martin Edmond, taken during the talks that occured across the two days.

A fairly full record is available at the Symposium website. It contains poems, photos, audios of the talks given, & a video of a group event called Archipelago that I didn't take part in, finding the ground rules & explanations so convoluted & long-winded that I walked out in disgust.

Pirates w/out penance


Israel is yet to explain why, on a supposedly peaceful interception, its commandos chose to board the ship by rappelling from a military helicopter, in the dark, in international waters.


The White House has warned that BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could continue until August.