Thursday, September 30, 2010

Today's wildlife drama,

played out beneath my feet—almost literally since they were on the top step outside the back door when I went out to have a cigarette—was a wasp or hornet, all bright black & yellow & the length of the two top joints of my little finger, dragging around a fat-bellied spider not much smaller than itself.

I think the theory is that the hornet/wasp injects, first, some sort of incapacitating agent, then an egg, into the spider, drags it somewhere isolated, begins building a papier-mâché shell attached to a beam or wall, deposits the still live if somewhat comatose spider inside, completes the shell. The wasp/hornet egg goes through its metamorphosis, changes from egg to larva & then to pupa at which point it starts to feed off the spider & grows quite large until it finishes that stage of its life cycle, turns into a horp/wasnet, cracks open the shell & emerges to hunt down a spider.

& frighten the shit out of me!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm interviewed

by Sheila Murphy at Jeffrey Side's The Argotist online.

"We will pass by poetry & not drop a coin in its cup."

One out of several, sometimes contradictory, predictions I make about the future of poetry.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Unfortunate names #5709

The headline says it all.

DDA gets the sack, Dikshit broom to clean Village
Following criticism from various quarters about the mess and hygiene conditions at the CWG Village complex, the Government has decided to withdraw maintenance responsibility from Delhi Development Authority (DDA). Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar has directed the Delhi Government to take charge of the housekeeping and cleanliness of the Commonwealth Games Village. The maintenance and housekeeping was earlier assigned to Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which is under the Ministry of Urban Development and Lieutenant Governor is the controlling authority in the national Capital.

Following the directions, Chief Minister
Sheila Dikshit, along with her Principal Secretary PK Tripathi and Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta, visited the Games village complex thrice since Wednesday night to take stock of the situation there. She then directed her officers to monitor the cleanliness of the Games village area and all the 34 towers, which will house the delegates and sportsperson during the mega-sporting event. On Thursday morning, Dikshit spent around three hours at the village complex and checked almost all 34 towers. She also reviewed the work being undertaken. The Chief Minister again visited the village complex in the evening to take stock of the preparations.

The Daily Pioneer

Monday, September 27, 2010

Eat your heart out, Methuselah

On the Meritage Press website for Pelican Dreaming: Poems 1959-2008, I note:
"My father died when he was 93, &, even then, his death was at least partially due to complications from an amputated leg. Which means there are longevity genes in my family. So it's somewhat ironic that the earliest poem in this selection / collection, "Lizard", written when I was seventeen — 'When one is seventeen, one isn't serious' wrote Rimbaud, in error, but he can be forgiven for he was only fifteen when he wrote the line — stems from feelings of mortality brought on by the teenage angst that beset me at the time.

"As the subtitle of this book indicates — Poems 1959-2008 — those feelings were somewhat premature. But they're still around, since my vision of a neat fifty years of poetry was taken over once again by similar feelings: I wanted the book out there in order to make sure that I was around to see it."

However, based on the title given in a 2009 report on highlights of the previous year in New Zealand literature published in the Journal of Commonwealth Literature, I seem to have severely underestimated my longevity. There, the book is called Pelican Dreaming: Poems 1859-2998.

Pity I can't lay my hands on it to see what I'm going to write during the next 800 or so years. Or what I wrote during my Victorian Period.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Friday, September 24, 2010


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Musk bollOx

Okay, color me nekulturny, but the following piece of florid prose for a fragrance pour homme
Top notes are rosemary, artemisia, coriander, galbanum and lemon; middle notes are carnation, cypress, orris, cinnamon, lavender and jasmine; base notes are sandalwood, fir, amber, patchouli, musk, coconut, vetiver, incense and cedar.
is so over the top that I think the only name the perfume could be given is OverKill.

The Wonders of Nature

One of the
wonders of
nature is its
ability to re-
use objects
over & over

in similar
or disparate
settings &
make them
new again.
So, once

more a ship,
the waves,
the very sea
shore, on which
a pair of stone-
crossed lovers.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Worried about

being accused of being slack on censorship?

Easily fixed! Just use a mis-spellchecker &, instead, everyone will see & hear just how touchy feely & tasty you really are.
"We don't just get it in from Australia and put it on air. Every time a programme comes in it is looked at by our in house sensors."


Monday, September 20, 2010

Stars & Stripes Forever

Just before he drifted off into his dotage, he went out & burned down all the band rotundas in the city
      except for the one that would be nearest to the nursing home he intended to move into. That way, he would be able
             to be wheeled out on Sunday afternoons to hear the military bands play marches by John Philip Sousa.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Harley & me

Harley, we were told, was the runt of his litter. Eventually had to be taken away & hand-fed, hand-reared. As a result, quite placid. But less than half the size a crocodile of its age—two years—should be. Most suitable for that most desirable of tourist photos.....Portrait of the artist with a young crocodile. Even so, the jaws are taped shut. From birth extremely sharp teeth.

Belly skin oh so soft leather. Suede. But back samurai armor. Small plates, each containing a bone. Extreme protection.

Today the
postman brought
me a seven-figure
check in payment
for the piece of
thick artist's paper
I'd left under the
front door mat
for six months &
then sold on eBay
as the original
erasure of de
Kooning's nude.

I'm a little bit
worried though.
Modern technology
being what it is
it won't be long
before what I
described as the
vestigial remnants
of the figure are
identified as a
impression of
the maker's mark,
an image of Kali—
get it? four arms
welcoming the
visitor—& beneath:

Coir Mat

Friday, September 17, 2010

Crocodile Rock

Crocodile Dreaming
Bruce Nabegeyo (c1949-2009)
(Yirritja moiety, Nawamud subsection,
Gunbalanya Region, Western Arnhem Land)

Size = 75 x 105 cm.
Natural ochres on arches paper

Aboriginal Fine Arts Gallery

You move to a new town, draw up a list of things that you want to see or do, work your way steadily through the list. & then, about halfway through, you stop.

Until you decide it's time to move on. & then you pick up the list again, maybe add or take off a couple of things because of what you've heard about them.

There are two main roads that go down to the ocean. Rule of thumb is to do the round trip, just over 100 kilometers, varying which road we use to get there. It means that either about 12 kilometers before we reach the sea or 12 kilometers after we leave it, we pass a side road that is signposted "Crocodile Farm." We've always passed by it before, but decided to visit it yesterday as we headed to the beach for a bit of ocean tang & a fish & chips lunch.

Spent a great 2 to 3 hours. Learnt a great deal about crocodiles—the crocodile as co-inhabitant of the planet with the dinosaur; the crocodile as religious object in ancient Egypt & in modern-day Melanesian clans; how the crocodile is born with 67 teeth, but one of those is intended solely to break through the shell at birth, falls out soon after, & how, though there are never more than 66 teeth at any one time, the crocodile can grown up to 3000 teeth in its lifetime. Which can be 70 or so years. How, though the popular nomenclature is freshwater or saltwater crocodiles, they are all essentially freshwater; it's just that one variety has the ability to extract & extrude the salt it takes up. How the freshwater crocodile has a long thin snout for catching its prey in narrow rivers, unlike the saltwater which is much more wide & can catch & consume much larger prey. Including humans. How the crocodile's back feet have webbed claws, but the web is vestigial.

The farm is split into two parts. One, the commercial aspect, crocodiles grown for skin or meat, we didn't get to see. The tourist part, though, is an essential part of the commercial aspect. What you get to see, up close & personal, only a single wire fence away (plus, of course, the extra meter or so you give yourself for safety) are primarily breeding ponds, most of them containing a mating pair, the male twice the size of the female, & generally caught after they'd taken up residence in an area of high human habitation & needed to be removed. One was caught after it had been sighted in the waterski park of the Fitzroy River which runs through our city. During its capture, it was discovered that there were actually three crocodiles living in the area, but the permit allowed for only one to be taken. So the others remain there, along with the 50 or so that are known to inhabit the river. Another was removed from a Cairns swimming hole popular with the workers at the nextdoor sugar mill. The farmer who owned the land knew the crocodile was there because he'd seen it at night, but no matter how often he warned the swimmers they paid no attention because they hadn't seen it. He became so nervous about it that he called in the experts to have it removed, & a large crowd gathered to watch the event. The owner of the crocodile farm reckons he could tell who amongst the crowd had been swimming there because of the looks of absolute horror that appeared on some faces as the several meters long animal was tied up preparatory to being taken away.

There is also one large pond that contains a number of young males selected from those bred on site. Twenty crocodiles used to be there. There are now only 18.....

The crocodile farm practises what it calls conservation by commercialization. It has persuaded a number of the owners of cattle spreads in the Northern Territory to stop (illegally) shooting any crocodile that came onto their land & took the occasional head of cattle & instead find out where the nests were & harvest the eggs annually for sale to the crocodile farm where they are incubated & grown for the skin & meat. The cattle people get $10 an egg; a crocodile matures at around 15 years of age & lives for another 50+ years. There are about 50 eggs to a laying. I think the figure quoted for the value of the skin & meat of a three-year old, three meter long cultivated crocodile is $1000. The crocodile in the wild gets to keep on keeping with those females whose laying sites aren't known to propagate the species, & everybody else gets to make money.

The words, the information, are still here, but will probably fade. What will really stick in my mind, haunt my dreams, though, is the physical thing, is the size that a crocodile reaches. Almost five meters long, a meter wide at its belly, 850 kilograms in weight, those yellow eyes watching you, the teeth, the size of its mouth as it lunges up to snap at the chicken head/feet/entrails that the keeper feeds it with. The hollow clap as its jaws close. Ouch.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I've been a bit slack

getting to work on the next issue of Otoliths. Have now started, & feel like one of those Chilean miners trapped underground & waiting for the heavy machinery to arrive & start drilling down to them. Two months.......

Monday, September 13, 2010


This written for the future,
something to look back on, to see
what my thoughts were
at the time. A commentary on what
is now before me, how you feast
on the dead, play replay after replay,
from different angles, rewritten
as choreography, a Hollywood blockbuster
with the producers wanting to make sure
the audience gets its money’s worth. It is
what you’ve come to expect; but most
movies are cleaner, have stars that are
paid more for their one performance
than this whole episode would have cost
to carry out. Think on it. Brood on the
implications of what you’ve learnt
in the two days since. The stand-in pilots
had work visas, lived next door,
supported themselves & contributed to
the economy of the country
they have just put on notice. The airlines
paid for & provided the bombs.
The extras paid for their own parts.
There was no need for rehearsal.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

He deliberately refrains

from using any of the myriad of post titles that the following news report provokes.....
"Female marine snails living off the Perth coast are growing male sex organs on their heads after exposure to the chemical TBT, according to local researchers.

Curtin University researchers have revealed the snails are suffering from imposex, a condition that involves the development of a second sex organ after being exposed to the chemical.

Unlike garden snails, which are hermaphrodites, this species of marine snail has distinct sexes."

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The body language of Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott, consigned to being Leader of the Opposition once more, rather than his obviously desired office of Prime Minister, gives very mobile head when he has a press conference—oops, meant to say he has a very mobile head when he gives press conferences. There is a vigorous nodding, & an equally vigorous shaking of the head from side to side. With most of us, that would mean either nodding agreement or shaking disagreement. Not necessarily for Tony Abbott. The first holds true, but as for the second.....

L. has a theory that the nodding comes when he says something he believes in, & the shaking occurs when he makes what appears to be a positive statement, but his underlying belief is actually the opposite negative. If, for example, he says something along the lines of "I'm highly pissed that the Liberal-National Coalition won't be the Government of Australia," his head goes up & down. If he then goes on to say that "The Coalition will do everything to ensure the stability of Government," his head will go into metronome mode, meaning that what he actually believes is "The hell we will. We'll be as disruptive & destabilizing as we possibly can."

Chasing a clip to prove the theory, I found there weren't all that many of the "mad monk" around, possibly because he's considered neither news- or trustworthy. The one below gives a hint. If someone knows of a better one, please let me know.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

& on the 17th day

after the Federal elections, two of the three remaining uncommitted independent Members of Parliament sided with the more rural & regional-friendly policies of the Labor Party, meaning that Julia Gillard now becomes the first elected female Prime Minister of Australia.

A line from Jackson Mac Low

Even a word for it.
Fratricide. The murder
of brother by brother.
Nothing new. But now

returned as redux Kale-
vala. The act turned into
a darkened prose poem
by a Finnish band; the

video & lyrics posted
to a books & literature
group on FaceBook. What
inflections we hear in

the rhythms, how ecstatic,
all wild & dark. But also
randomness. Words given
different etymologies or

simplified to syllables to
attract those bouncing
balls of karaoke. (&, within
parentheses, traces of the

social sounds of whales.) It
won't be long before the
plasma screens of mainstream
radio will be playing it.

Monday, September 06, 2010

a kind of continuity

Tassled Figures
Grion Grion rock painting
Kimberley Region, Western Australia
Date unknown.
(The only dateable evidence for these paintings
is a petrified wasps' nest found
built on top of one. It has
been established as being
17,500 years old, & it is evident
that the painting had been there
for some time before the wasps
built their nest upon it.)

The Promised Land
René Magritte

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Friday, September 03, 2010


phrase, the idea of, "re-booting a bus" is not one that, even at my most stochastic, I could arrive at. & yet.....

I'm in Sydney, using public transport some of the time. No cash sales on the bus, pre-paid tickets from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. coming out of the city. Ticket scanner goes down, won't accept tickets, milling throngs around the driver. He just tells everybody to sit down sans scan.

Then, out of the city center, he turns the bus off. No lights, no cctv. Darkness. Driver says nothing. You can almost see the combined question mark forming above the heads of the passengers. Then the driver turns the bus back on. Re-booted it in other words. Lights, camera, action. Ticket scanner now working.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Snare drum un-
done is humdrum
until rimshot or
paradiddle pokes
noise into its
silence. Such a
puzzle, perhaps
part riddle. Stick
figures giving
flesh to frame-
work. Is