Thursday, September 30, 2004

word of the day experienced

I now know a new word. Scombroid: of or relating to a class of fish that includes the mackerel and tuna.

OK, fine you might say. Why a tuna?

Next bit of info. According to the US Food and Drug Administration crowd:
"Scombroid poisoning is a type of food intoxication caused by the consumption of scombroid and scombroid-like marine fish species that have begun to spoil with the growth of particular types of food bacteria. Fish most commonly involved are members of the Scombridae family (tunas and mackerels), and a few non-scombroid relatives (bluefish, dolphin or mahi-mahi, and amberjacks). ... The suspect toxin is an elevated level of histamine generated by bacterial degradation of substances in the muscle protein. This natural spoilage process is thought to release additional by-products which potentiate the toxic effect. The potential toxins are not destroyed by freezing, cooking, smoking, curing or canning."

So, last night, after my tenderly prepared meal of seared tuna served with lightly fried mushrooms and eschallots and a rocket salad, while we were watching Days of Heaven (ah, fields of wheat!), I suddenly experienced the most almightly hot flush you'd ever want to name. In the mirror, I looked as though I'd stood too close to a tanning lamp. My arms were also red. And I felt pretty ordinary in the lower regions.

It's a strange word, scomber, first given by Linnaeus in 1758 and coming from the Greek, skombros, meaning tunny or mackerel, unsurprisingly. I must say I felt scombrous, which is not to say fishy, but sick in a scummy kinda way and stalked by something alien that I didn't want grabbing hold of my air passages (I was worrying if I could breath but I think it was worry gripping the old air passages).

What did I do apart from freak out quietly (so as not to worry patient who did not experience the same)? We found some antihistamine tablets which I popped and also I skulled about 12mls of Benadryl which also has antihistamine in it. I kid you not, Benadryl was one of the antidotes for scombroid poisoning according to info I found on the net. Because, of course, that's where I headed. The world's instant diagnosis machine. Which is when I calmed down a bit. No, I was not going into anaphylactic shock. In fact, my symptoms included:

- flushing (reddening of the face and sometimes the neck, arms, and upper part of the trunk)
- severe headache
- palpitations (rapid heartbeat)
- stomach cramps and/or diarrhea

It lasts for between 4-12 hours, which sounds about right. I slept finally, dragged into slumber by drugs. I woke sluggishly, scombrously you could say, but had to find my way out of the house. First day back at work after nursemaiding in a state I didn't need. I've had massive allergic reactions before but this was a new one. I'm eating Salada crackers at the moment and drinking water.

Such fun!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

... speaking of colour

from Kirsten Kaschock's Negative Wingspan -

"Primary substance, original thing, an essential, core, chora, cadmium. Yellow yes. Colors are ladders of light reception. Sound is pattern, is wave—has visual rep: frequency has height. ..."

impermanent tenses 4

Swept
across news
sun helpless against

I
fly easy
wings rattle shame

You
got me
against the fence

Way
you do
shame on you


Elbows
shadow scaffolds
halfway up, into

God
among clouds
several versions believe

Songs
creation machines
dot aspirations/ blow!

Advertise
right buttock
keeping the score

Front
page morning
a sliding puzzle

People
look up
sex+civil+war

My
dragon statue
tacks the corner

Ready
to lie
in the corner

drafts

there's
nearly always
colour in it

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Fireflies

I finally got around to watching Grave of the Fireflies last night. We have a box set of Studio Ghibli anime films, mainly Miyazaki films like My Neighbour Totoro, Nausicaa and Princess Mononoke etc, but there are other directors involved with the studio. Fireflies was directed by Isao Takahata and is based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Nosaka Akiyuki. It was originally released in 1988 at the same time as Totoro.

It's definitely an anti-war film, sad and quiet with flashes of horror. It tells the story of a young boy who tries to look after his little sister during the period when Japan was being firebombed in 1945. Unlike the Miyazaki films, which I love, this one is realistic anime but it, too, has a focus on the natural world and the story of young people caught up in great upheavals. The animation isn't spectacular but the overall feel - the complexity of emotions and the detail and quiet movement of many of the scenes - is what makes this film. I'm told that the drawing was done with brown ink rather than black and there are references to Japanese wood block prints in the detail. The final scene, using a version of the song 'Home Sweet Home', is almost too much to bear. Although it's presumably a kids' film, I would think it's not at all suitable for young kiddies as it would be very distressing. Heck, I was distressed. The fireflies are very beautiful, however. Worth tracking down on DVD if you can.

walking - ruby takes to the street

walking with a headache into air
potent with rain, grey with water
the sky and too much attention needed
for bottle brush, wisteria
siamese at a window

each step past all other need
and game, the rain down
my right side - temple to ear
brow to cheek

somehow is undoing me
between gutters and crossings
the four island girls
taking all the path
threads unwinding before me

visions waves as it sees me
going between crowded conversations
past election posters, oil, legumes
taffeta, sacks of rice
looking for the temple of coffee

sitting in a cool corridor
under sky-dropped noise
beside road fuel and daily racket
seized with news
and comment the same, all
the same

in the test of minutes
before the way again
foot for foot
in walking language
back into the valley and sky.

Monday, September 27, 2004

catty

Here's an item from today's Sydney Morning Herald Spike column. An antidote to some less salubrious cat-related news. Note that, although I don't have a cat at the moment, I have had them round as company on-and-off during my life.


"Curl up and watch TV
And we thought reality TV couldn't get more bizarre. Yesterday saw the launch of Australia's first reality TV-inspired DVD for cats. Yes, cats.
A Walk on the Wild Side boldly claims to "bring the excitement of the outside world into your home for the enjoyment of your cat", for $24.95. The DVD shows birds, mice, crickets and fish cavorting in their natural habitats - perfect for when Fluffy can't be bothered going outside.
Unconvinced that any self-respecting cat would be interested in reality TV, we tested the DVD on the Spike cat, Christopher. He pawed the screen, miaowed a bit and looked generally very confused, which sounds like a perfectly normal reaction to the genre."


I have never watched reality TV bar once, involuntarily and not in my own home. Once was enough, as they say in the classics. Your cat is never wrong.


splinters and lanes

An apparent splinter in my left thumb was bothering me most of yesterday. Today I hacked at it using a needle seared by a lighter. Don't know if I got the splinter out, don't know if there was one (the blackened tip of the needle spread black all round). I heaved some Betadine all over it anyway. It's still a bit sore, still a bit black, but I feel something has been released.

I went up the street to get a prescription filled for Annette, buy the paper and some more choy sum and a packet of egg noodles. One of our neighbours indicted a route through the laneways which was an easier walk. Someone walked up behind me and I moved. There was no danger but I always remember being mugged. Here was the backside, garages, driveways, no footpaths, garages where Immigration found families of ten living, lanes where building and street rubbish collects. Then onto the main road, narrow as it is. In the chemist the radio was playing 'Where streets have no name'. Another Vietnamese restaurant has closed down, is for lease. I go back home the usual way but I think about the lane and the song. Something that may be released.

I'm not drawing any parallels, except I am placing these two paragraphs together.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

flowers

clivia
chinese lantern
the orange flowers

but
not the
orange heat yet

Supposed to be hot today. Maybe it was, but the evening is green cool. Now for the time of sport in the blue light of television. Now for the dark heat of cooking and night's yellow light.

Still no time for reading in between the necessities. Catching at music and newsprint.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

austral blogarama

I've recently added to the blog roll a new blog, high spirits, begun by my good friend, Andrew Burke, poet of Perth. Apparently. I'm to blame for this. You can read the story over at his page. This will be a good blog to keep in touch with.

Also added to the list a couple of blogs by Australian poets writing about other genres. Alison Croggon's Theatre Notes, about her adventures in theatre criticism, and Will Fox's filmism, about films. Enjoy.

Zukofsky briefs

"Whole night in form the whorl on earth"
- from Pamphylian, Louis Zukofsky

I've been reading with great interest all the reports of the recent Zukofsky confab in New York, especially Josh Corey's extended report, including that 'loneliness at a conference' thing. Ron Silliman's concern about the lack of women was also fascinating (and drew a lot of comments, some a bit weird). I know I would have tried to get there if I could've. Pity New York is the other side of this world. I can see what Stephen Vincent was concerned about as well. All that talk to honour the guy, but what about the poems. Of course, I wasn't there, but it did make me wonder.

In between my duties I will try to go back to my Complete Short Poetry, Louis Zukofsky. Love those syntaxes.


lucy in the sky with ice

Today, I'm a bit like Lucy in the sky with ... rhinestones. Into the second day of the ice pack. I'm nursing Annette after a foot operation. Sort of getting in touch with my inner Florence Nightingale - buried deep but I'll find it.

But I woke up with a screamin' headache. Popped some reasonably medium duty codeine. Went for a coffee and a bit of shop for necessaries - especially the Samos olives for marinating, chorizo for the heck of it, choy sum for the chicken soup (for real). Headache still sits there doing its grumpy thing. I'm throwing ice round the kitchen when it should be going into the cryo-cuff dooverlackie. Hmm, Annette says 'take some of my drugs'. Extra-duty codeine. So now we're both in doozy-blah land.

By the way, the ice thing is 20 minutes ice then an hour off then another 20 minutes, and so it goes till bedtime. Three or four more days. I've got the craft now, and the art will follow, probably at the stage when the swelling has gone down and the need for ice is gone. I'm interested to see if this will give me ideas for rhythm, writing.

Think I'll make that second cup of green tea. It's Triple A Chinese stuff, lovely, smooth and golden in the cup (I much prefer Chinese to Japanese green tea).

Annette can't leave the house for 10-12 days so we're gonna have to be enjoying this. I see her eyeing the front door and the street. She's a hard one to keep from doing stuff. That will be the hardest part, to get her to be 'good' and not undo the surgery.

Time to take off the pack. Cheero.

Friday, September 24, 2004

you're right, the boundaries are blurred
so how do we play the fictions
this isn't how reality murmurs it
quite
somewhere near the instant pharmacies

the long leisure of this window
involves too many factors
as night drops its micro-economic lights

whatever is significant has nothing to do with poems
their measures aren't fiscal

whatever is significant has nothing to do with bodies
Annie will only have one working foot tomorrow
she has to wait a while for two once more

I have not seen - anything - so I write
I want to be a client on a sea-sky-change
make my methods drip a little into the skin

even though the sun is a killer these days
opening out my pores
to small drops of infinity turning black in the flesh

the matrix is harder than its movies
even on the outskirts of agony you're in it
tomorrow I sit and wait
with two legs to stand on and mind-worry beads for friends

I don't know how to do nurse
save it's more than soup and pillows

if that's the criteria
I'll be blurred and do that I can
not seeing
keep to my fictions and not these festering initiatives

in another story I know what to do


Wednesday 22 September

playing literal with the image

Unexpected rain last night. Just the merest of drops on my face before and after visiting Annette in hospital. All kinds of tasks ahead of me over the next few days. All I can do is muddle through like a human. Woke up this morning, which makes it sound like a song, woke up early, unlike me and out to the kitchen. Yes, there has been real rain, and the bricks were gleaming, that fresh smell on the ground and garden.

Morning
drops blossom
wet black boughs

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

late beeth(oven)

"It is subjectivity that forcibly brings the extremes together in the moment, fills the dense polyphony with its tensions, breaks it apart with the unisono, and disengages itself, leaving the naked tone behind; that sets the mere phrase as a monument to what has been, marking a subjectivity turned to stone. The caesuras, the sudden discontinuities that more than anything else characterise the very late Beethoven, are those moments of breaking away; the work is silent at the instant when it is left behind, and turn its emptiness outward."
- Adorno, quoted in 'Thoughts on the Late Style', Edward Said, London Review of Books, 5 August 2004, p3.


Makes my body relive the Late Quartets. I'm thinking particularly of Op. 132 in A minor - Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart' ("Holy Song of Thanksgiving from a Convalescent to the Divinity, in the Lydian Mode") - its great central slow movement. I have a great recording of it by The Lindsay Quartet.

Haven't finished the article yet.



Shanna at the No Tell

No Tell Motel is a pretty cool poetry site. It's currently featuring three poems by Shanna Compton. One great line that tickled me was "if cans had tits and tits were pink."

And loved this poem's ending:


The morning we stood there, looking up,


The sky so blue--more blue than water,

more blue than sky, &

bluer than television.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

overheard

Within a symmetry strange
here come all the high achievers
from their committes in glowing pants.
It's so hot hot inside the drama
the ecstatic ordinary jungle
chiming with their dares
all their lovely paper tigers.

...


Not quite an overheard 'found' poem but some words from a telephone conversation behind me got this going.



ten ways of going about morning

1.
sometimes it's fog
with the gone lamentations

2.
gunfire cracking glass - five shots
what worries these

3.
sometimes bruises from the mugging
through zones once paths and hills

4.
constant sun
if the things I know pass me

5.
more trolleys
how was it ever

6.
phone call
always some trouble

7.
teams of cockatoos
death and harvest, dust and iron

8.
zombie dreams
small glimmering gaps between messages

9.
green
et in arcadia ego

10.
singing up my sheep
a shimmer at the top of the room



Two poems become one, sometimes. I don't think I've ever had sheep in a poem before this. They seem OK.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

worming along

mean
war was
sworn on ever


Using the worm idea of Ivy Alvarez's (scroll down to July 29 blog entry) blended with Eileen Tabio's hay(na)ku.

I'm listening up after a big wide week

"free your mind and your ass will follow, the kingdom of heaven is within"
Funkadelic

Or is it the other way around - free your ass and your mind will follow?

I still haven't decided.

Where is within? Where should I be looking? "I'm so confused about the whole thing."

Thursday, September 02, 2004

impermanent tenses 3

grab-bag
of night
everything but rain

thirsty
my dear
the bar raised

so
old to
be entirely forgiving

entertainment
the big
the great crash

within
memory each
ray of it

libido
heads ego
eyeballing the sky

windy
all way
how it complains

or
trips gaily
upon the tongue

everything
slithers across
verandah except rain
I've added a comments thingie to the blog. Finally got around to it. Hadn't really explored the new blogger up till now so have made a few adjustments. It's always tinker time with new technology. Having fun.



Wednesday, September 01, 2004

passing it on - the tag poem

Here's an idea that was passed on to me by Chris Murray who got it, in turn, from Shanna Compton. It's a tag poem!

Fingered by the morning
clouds and faint shiver
that poets wake and sleep
or worry where day starts with
Clayton Couch, how we're
swept up in moods

or be dreaming
the singsong speech
and squeaky wings of pigeons
landing and remember
that Sunday
watching the dam's ripple of ducks
and a pelican, still, dreaming maybe
like Mark Young wondering about
Jean Luc-Ponty
as something of air.