Sunday, December 19, 2010


it is the centre of a word
that is unimaginable, almost
as it flutters out with the birds
indifferent over the lake

(from ‘Winged’ in Broken/Open)


Poems are composed in doubt. The making is not just about choices but about fear, anxiety, resistance, about what is not done as much as about what is done or made.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


maple shed violet over rusted chassis
memory go out

drum hollow branches testing concrete bronze
white petal polystyrene

horizon unrestrained letting breeze salt lick
bay descents dust

feathers stone steps
hidden palms tongue indistinct but felt

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

acting loose

data trickles through rain
ice tracks dust on my side of thought
but which side I don't know

how to juxtapose devil syllables
gagged I think of a reply
phrased like a jigsaw piece

this is blessing numbered for night
disguised in simple time
the air and me acting loose now

tossing aside cold rain
feeling levels, unmerged
dreaming pleasures half-silent

halt teeth chatter syllables
body the road awash
place me within the skim

acres of grassy somnolence
far away mist pink skin
gets slippery when we could be at one

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

change in the leaves this afternoon

"Among all the subjects first marked out for lyrical expression by Baudelaire, one can be out at the forefront: bad weather."

Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, trans Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin, The Belknap Press, 2002

Sunday, December 12, 2010

meta morphic

the lion is on high
fish tremble in trees
mud eels loop
around a fallen moon
and if there is
no agreement
amongst us
the future may plant
its dream instead
of jungle leaves
stones and wings
or alternatives
simple murder
harvest gutted song
a million thoughts
of foam
a million ways
to travel beyond
to outrun rain
lava or the moon
to fear fish and
gutted mud
monsters and fleas

Saturday, December 11, 2010


less wizened afternoon
with smoky pain
rain drains away
swirls of branches tentacle blue
elusive guardian
nothing I would ask
always pre-empted
juice fades halo on the skin
nothing so relaxed as alive
hint of your breath as it comes
as sin ordinary holy everywhere
prayer incubates
air from the tunnel
slipping doors at the harbour
let me swallow my sentence

Friday, December 10, 2010


A small book of sonnets by Australian poets, called Some Sonnets, edited by Tim Wright and made by him and friends, has just been reviewed by Richard Lopez. Richard says: "A few of these sonnets are in traditional form while the majority are experiments, like the nine-line poem quoted above, of the kind began by Ted Berrigan and even, might I suggest, John Berryman and with more than a dash of Gertrude Stein and a pinch Jackson Mac Low. I loved the lot of them."

The poets include Kate Fagan, Marc Jones, Patrick Jones, Sam Langer, Caroline Williamson, Nick Whittock, Joel Scott, Peter Minter, Michael Farrell, Derek Motion, Tim Wright, Jal Nicholl, Ella O’Keefe, Tom Lee, Brett Dionysius, Jessica L. Wilkinson, Peter O’Mara , Stu Hatton, Astrid Lorange, Stuart Cooke, Claire Gaskin, Ryan Scott, Cory Wakeling, Duncan Hose, Ted Nielsen and Jill Jones. It makes for a lot of Jonesies in one book. But that's cool, well, it has to be, and the book is cool.

Pam Brown also has some notes on Some Sonnets as part of a longer post about sonnets.

OK, my sonnet in Some Sonnets seems more 'lyrical' (these days that seems to be another way of saying you're naff, so be it, I own my own naffness) but it was from a series I'd been writing which uses and abuses Romantic and lyrical poetry tropes and fashions.

Here's a couple of my less Wo-Man-Tick or slyricall sonnets:

Seasonal Durance
At any end it’s about Durance
& title – tho’ calling a spade
A shovel near Xmas
Gets lost without party
Some years end in yellow
Some in smoky cumulus
This day is a slender Green
You can almost see the brush strokes

So holding on, like ‘holding the man’
Is hard
But we are not men!
Which leaves us Outside, our arms
Lifting the minutes of the Rest
& holding our own green

(from Dark Bright Doors)

And this which, yes, looks like a prose poem, but is a sonnet, was a sonnet, believe me, and was written after reading sonnets entitled ‘Prayer’, one by George Herbert and the other by Hartley Coleridge:

To Praise Air
It’s a raising of terrible peace, or desire in a wet eye.

It’s sky’s consideration, fall of slow patience, a private victim, the tender nipple, a sudden write-off, ventilating distant consequence, beyond paper, far and nothing — to have dreamed! — an engaged tone, desperation waked up, a cobalt tobacco, drugs, voiceless, a pilot’s appeal, shiver for brains, a page’s peroration beyond the paraphrase.

It’s last request, flanks of angel dust, one more gasp of ventolin, fucking, clamour, and tracks impelling towards the everything-machine, shooting dice, or unloading, elasticity, excess, things for the scared, a dreamer’s being, a basket of thrills, a damp reverie.

It’s something halting, included/ misunderstood/ for nothing/ but

Thursday, December 09, 2010


I seem to have written a small book of poems in the last few weeks - maybe - there's a touch over 40 pages worth. All done in the thin cracks of a very busy time - I made myself do it.

But the problem is, none of the poems have titles. One almost did but the title came down into the poem. Now, I've always been someone who'd said that titles are important, as important as the poem in one sense (well, they are part of the poem, part of the visual as well as the textual). I'm usually quite good at them.

So, what has gone wrong? Am I just being titularly lazy?

What to do? Overturn years of well-established practice? I feel a wee crise washing across me.

I've read a lot of poems without titles, sure, we all have, but leaving these ones as they are doesn't seem quite right (and I wonder why I think that). Neither does numbering them nor calling them all 'poem', or suchlike. Nor could they become one long poem - that is not right either, in this instance. Something will occur to me, soon I hope.

pushing or lugging

it’s a choice
not like damnation
that old poem
requiring a sunhat
whereas handles
take concentration
especially in the storm
of news from flat boxes

two ducks heading north
they’d be looking for water
but loads engage my
shoulders here below
water - why didn’t I
think of that
why don’t I pull the cord
and leave

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

signage and slippage

Michael Farrell has a new book out, thempark, from Book Thug in Canada.

Great cover and poetry that uses the poetry of John Ashbery as a kind of template. "... – Oprah to your left, Gitmo down that aisle, and over there, marzipan. “It’s an ipod world.” As his title implies, Farrell is caught between a themepark designed by Ashbery and a 'thempark' where the others live" says Michael Davidson.

Monday, December 06, 2010



Sunday, December 05, 2010

yes, now, yes

While it seems crazy in the spider season
not possessed not forsaken
perhaps it starts with the ravens

To a dream of your old clothes
these afternoons that do not, that bring you pain
perhaps the boxes will fall only for you

Knots in night, trinkets leaning
get along, little dreams, get along
if it wasn't for the rumours

You could be anywhere pushing or lugging
and leave, I can't show you exactly
into the rain, I haven't had that dream

Again, bodies
the least of my preparations
I ate the song positions
as I go a slow coast doesn't differentiate

With a stolen leather jacket
the air is noisy on the stones
light is not always its light

The forecast has showered me
and will be thankful to walk is to
remain confused but now is enough

The factories of the road continue
feeling foolish to be free
left out in the rain and no longer white

The house is full of waterfalls
falling like this forever
back east they've got thunder

Is living days a pale back
not dreamed

you should never talk about
the lightness of the light

dig it

nowhere postcards
burning raincoats
standing longer
than going
believe hog
to be
row everything
endless paper
slither pools
change million
meander letter
box tumble
shades world
night frightened
me-me tears
playing wine
hear freely
it it
do angels
find words
parted answer
cloudy wake
dirty lime
robbing late
feeling how
looking hard
time wet
sunshine hair
socks soul
travelling honey
begged fooling
twice cold
nine winding
night standing
know waiting
door long
ago moment
blue more
loner grass
girls belonged

Saturday, December 04, 2010

times or days

liquid, evening, open, accumulating

sky and sea, slip and swell, opal surface

hands, storm bay, soft machines

passing car, broken weather, dry shells

radio guitar kissing corners, hugging the ghost

you forget, clouds cross branches on the moon

behind walls, animating the hidden

and then we go

I aim at Friday
with its clunky beat.

You can exchange in an email
‘yeah, we know that’.

What is the simpler solution
friends or thought

It remains a rhythm without
remembering or forgetting

Holding fast against all attempts
you rise, you part

Thursday, December 02, 2010

digital bridge of poetry

Finally, the trans-Tasman digital bridge has been finished.

Brought to you by the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc), it is the culmination of two symposia, a call-out for work and a lot of organising behind the scenes.

The Digital Bridge organisers, Pam Brown, Martin Edmond, Brian Flaherty and Michele Leggott, invited contributions to build a digital bridge between Auckland and Sydney as poetry symposia took place in each city in March and September 2010. Yours truly was there at both symposia.

In June 2010 the first part of the bridge was launched which included more than 50 creative works, as well as a collaborative digital poem, audio from the Auckland Uni sessions and pix. The Auckland side of the bridge has now been joined to the Sydney side which contributes around 60 creative works, as well as another digital collaboration, as well as more audio talks, video readings, photos, and texts of papers and commentary.

The organisers say: "We present here the multiple traces (text, audio, visuals, poetry, prose) of the year’s trans Tasman exchanges, noting how often the roles of host and guest have flip-flopped, and hoping that they will go on doing so as we move between each other’s reading and writing spaces."

Read, listen, watch, enjoy!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

fine hairs

I don't know the names
the thing waits all the same
I remember ZigZag
and sublime's shaky hands
out of the cubes
without cubes
water hands you a penny
ruins which a southerly swells
the day has its hat
the dead can't wear
within this hour you're fed up
decomposing on the ground
calms have rhythms
fine hairs in the open