Tuesday, January 18, 2005

to resume

... the heaviness has lifted, and I hope the headache has flown off for a while.

Now, did I say I met Mark and Martin? Indeed, I did. We talked of the things poets do - art and words and history and books and gossip/doings.

Mark I met twice. Over lunch then over mineral water in and around my slightly grungy work area. We exchanged books and did the poets' ritual signing. He gave me a copy of Poles Apart, a collaboration with Jukka Pekka Kervinen. Great cover, a piece of moon rock. We had an interesting discussion about books and printing as this one has been done by a firm called Lulu.com which does a print-on-demand thing. Quality is pretty good from what I could see (as she checked the paper, the binding and the cover - typical bloody poet, eh). Of course, the content is pretty damn good as well. Jukka's amazing visual poetic constructions and Mark's terrific sonnets and other movements of words. I love the obsession with Marx - a generational thing, a name thing? I can get with it. I love the thought of Marx listening to the Beach Boys. (Everyone should listen to the Beach Boys!) I remember drinking at the pub where Marx and Engels had the odd tipple just near the British Library/Museum. Yeah, you should read this book, you should gaze upon this book.

Martin sent me a book, later. Again, a beautiful object: Ghost Who Writes (no apologies to The Phantom). An essay in a real pocket-sized book published by Four Winds Press. Ah, something for me to read in Paris, I thought, but I have already looked into its pages. Mention of Walter Benjamin gets me thinking of the passages again. Benjamin mentions the Passages des Panorama (in The Arcades Project), which we went to last time, and, from memory, he talks of Passage Brady, which I will check out this time. Will also revisit Galeries Vivienne, which has been renovated and is now a bit twinkified, but there's a great second-hand bookshop spread over two premises where the passage turns, as well as a terrific little shop selling artists books of all kinds. But Martin's book starts off with Pessoa. A good place to start and I'll look forward to the whole thing.

Expect this blog to bit a bit spotty for a few weeks. I'm way busy then travelling.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

back soon

I've been out of sorts this week (headache ghosting me for days) and so haven't been able to write. But things to say - meetings with Mark Young and Martin Edmond especially. And today/tonight, a lot of running around. Soon, soon.

this morning sleepless
with birds
an old valley

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

fugitive comfort

surface chips
the stone blend

the years pitch
brush them off flaky

skims of rooms
shakedown the build

when the gauge is wobbly
security is the deal

blow it away
before it blows you

hold hands to the wall
lick up predicted smoke

seasons never forget
the change

expect the warm rough
pink in today’s skin

golden scree

I translate golden whether senseless or

move meaning on itself within

rows of trees separated by light’s

trick adamant with flare and excess

sun widens, dislodges plans below galaxies

well, I knew this could happen

rub the spot and dissolve me

douse the scene, burnt hot heavy

shining flowers, charred stars in another time

place or vista, landscape of temperance

porcelain smooth reflections lull afternoon raft

plan eats its way into dusk

moon hangs cheesily above a house

stars, mutterings, crowds angled between us

so far extinguished, sky’s dirty plate

I clarify with a jab and

mop up, faith is in washing

sign interrogated, a hunch bending earth

doubter under clouds scripting edge down

sun does, of each long mile

Kleinzahler for Perth

I've just heard that August Kleinzahler is 'scheduled to attend' Writers’Week in Perth - which runs from 17 to 23 February 2005, and is held as part of the Perth
International Arts Festival. As I intend to be there, this is good news. I'm hoping the 'scheduled to attend' eventuates.

Here's more information on the festival.

hutted poems

Paul Hardacre announces new poems at hutt.

it’s new. it’s a home for poetry.

hutt 1.1
luke beesley
andy jackson
gregory vincent st. thomasino
simon hall
jaya savige
bonny finberg
alicia sometimes
toh hsien min
angela gardner
david fujino

take a peek!
& while you’re at it . . ..

hutt 1.2
angela gardner
david fujino
liam ferney
lakey teasdale
nick whittock
jill jones
ian mcbryde
vernon frazer
michael farrell
cyril wong

Monday, January 03, 2005

not luckier than the other

This is from Kathang-Pinay blog, which I came across courtesy of Jean Vengua's Okir blog.

"Friday, December 31, 2004

Ok. I'm breaking my silence about blogging on the tsunamis because I just read something that infuriated me. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg just told New York revelers to take time out to look in the mirror and realize how lucky they are because others are not so lucky. Fuck! This is exactly what is wrong with this civilization. The inability to conceive the "other" as part of one's self. No!No! No! We are not luckier than the devastated people of Asia. We are all part of the same body. This is why I finally turned off the TV and quit listening to the western media's take on this disaster.

Instead I hear a Buddhist monk's quiet reflection (via an Asian media outlet): This is tragic, yes; but this is also part of nature and the Lord's will. We will rise again as the people have always done for eons when an event like this happen.

Unlike Mayor Bloomberg, I am not going to say: I am lucky, they are not. Unlike George Bush, I will not say: I am free, they are not; they are poor, we are not. Split my body into half, will you?! Hide the dark side and project it onto the "Other" so you will not have to carry the awareness of fragmentation. You will pity the unlucky ones so you will be charitable. You will open your pursestrings even as your heart remains imprisoned by the shackles of your dualistic mind. This is your tragedy ...and mine."


Sunday, January 02, 2005

and haiku

Sharon Bogan, also from PoetryEtc, has also put up a new year haiku at her Watermark site.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

new year haiku

stray chatter
across ragged twilight
backyards

laughter in the new year
night open
last tinkling balcony


My good friend (and good poet) Andrew Burke suggested on the Poetryetc list yesterday that somewhere deep in the recesses of his memory he'd heard that there was a tradition of writing a 'positive' haiku on the first day of the year. Check his site as he's been practising, as I have above.

walking into 2005

Today marks the beginning of the second year of Ruby Street. It was one of my resolutions to start a blog last year and I've made it through. Many happies, Ruby!

I began the blog with a theme of walking, which has wandered off of late, but I've recently been reading some Japanese poets on the theme. In particular, I have a book called For All My Walking, which presents free verse haiku by Taneda Santoka, as well as excerpts from his diary. Santoka was born in 1882 and died in 1940. He was a bit of a failure in his life, measured by the rules of normalcy. He was an alcoholic, a failed businessman (the family sake business) and then became a Zen priest and spent the rest of his life walking and begging (and drinking), as well as writing haiku.

So here are some excerpts:

"November 9, 1930. What Fayan said, "Each step is an arrival." Forget about past walking, don't think about future walking; one step, another step, no long ago, no now, no east or west, one step equals totality. Get this far and you understand the meaning of walking Zen.

...

the deeper I go
the deeper I go
green mountains

...

drizzly rain
only one road
to go by

...

passing through
dialects
I don't understand

...

warm again tomorrow
stars out
promise of good walking"

[trans. Burton Watson]