Showing posts from October, 2004

translation quiz

Icelandic poet Árni Ibsen did a wonderfully intriguing thing for the Poetryetc list last week. He translated all our weekly snapshots into Icelandic - without any lineation, to make it less obvious, then we all had to guess which was which. I'm posting his translation below of just my snapshot poem and then my original underneath. The translation doesn't have the postscript of time and place, by the way: eins og það sé formið sem skiptir máli hann plokkar flagnandi kalk af veggnum hvað þá með línurnar mínar og teygjur hörundsins stundum henta bílar götunni gætilega hér eru engin rétt horn sem heimta fullkomnun þau brutu greinar hlynsins og birtan æpir inn köttur nágrannans vill ekki þiggja mína huggun tungumál dagsins myndast við að koma spánskt fyrir sjónir hann dreifir mynt eftir stærð til talningar í för minni sum blöð ganga frá hægri til vinstri tefja mig ætíð bugður þínar ég sný út til skýjanna as if it's form that matters he picks peeling plaster fro


heavy sequinned flies burn in the sun the back-handed buzz gnaws and wakes dark plans the neon freeze calls intentions and dreams

messy clouds

suddenly everyone runs away in clouds tired and scattered had too much it's fine it's not and yet again sweat is real so is rain

listening ...

While tidying, I'm listening. Just heard there was a new Blue Nile album out so I've dug out A Walk Across the Rooftops and Hats . Paul Buchanan's voice is an absolute marvel and every time I listen to 'Let's Go Out Tonight' I either get goosebumps or feel like crying (a bit of baggage there, I must admit). In fact, nearly all of Hats is simply gorgeous. Some things from the 1980s are worth preserving.

furies / not tidy

Tidying my bookshelves today, picked up this volume of Aeschylus' Oresteia and opened it at this page of Eumenides : "There are young gods now, And this is what they do: Steal power, exceed their powers, Step in blood, On thrones of blood, Blood-smeared from head to toe. Look: the sacred stone, Navel of the world, Blood-smeared." (trans Frederic Raphael and Kenneth McLeish)
... Some colour. Occasional song. In between. The spaces. - from la rive gouache Neat poem by Mark Young over at pelican dreaming . Like the ending, esp.


{The rest of this poem revised and removed to a better place. This is what remains.] ... baby song black book back pack ... baby love bald bad hair, bottle brush ...
Epitaph On A Tyrant W. H. Auden Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after, And the poetry he invented was easy to understand; He knew human folly like the back of his hand, And was greatly interested in armies and fleets; When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter, And when he cried the little children died in the streets. The above was quoted in this address by Julian Burnside to the Music Council of Australia annual conference on 27 September 2004. Worth reading.


a shawl of rain on street-brown buildings and no spare change

word-kitsch whizzo buzz boogie from the hot desk

How about this list? Buzzwords, 1904-2004. I got this from an article in today's Sydney Morning Herald and the list comes from a new book by Susie Dent called Larpers and Shroomers: The Language Report . Interesting list, very much Brit-centric. The one that made me laugh was 1909's tiddly-om-pom-pom, which is from one of those jolly campfire sing songs, if I recall correctly. 1904 hip 1905 whizzo 1906 teddy bear 1907 egghead 1908 realpolitik 1909 tiddly-om-pom-pom 1910 sacred cow 1911 gene 1912 blues 1913 celeb 1914 cheerio 1915 civvy street 1916 U-boat 1917 tailspin 1918 ceasefire 1919 ad-lib 1920 demob 1921 pop 1922 wizard 1923 hem-line 1924 lumpenproletariat 1925 avant garde 1926 kitsch 1927 sudden death 1928 Big Apple 1929 sex 1930 drive-in 1931 Mickey Mouse 1932 bagel 1933 dumb down 1934 pesticide 1935 racism 1936 spliff 1937 dunk 1938 cheeseburger 1939 Blitzkrieg 1940 Molotov cocktail 1941 snafu 1942 buzz 1943 pissed off 1944 D

new poetry site

Here's an interesting new site with the straight ahead name of The Page . Recent poems, news snips, etc. It's put together by New Zealand poet, Andrew Johnston. Worth bookmarking but I'm adding it to my list of sites (not blogs) to the right.

bits and bobs

. It is said the maximum temperature will reach 15 degrees today. It's cold outside. Last Wednesday (my birthday - I hate the heat) it was nearly 40 degrees. . Annette told me that last night she dreamed she was awarded a residency to write a book of poetry. There were other curious aspects to the dream which I won't go on about, but it strikes that she'd do it well. I was jealous, of course. I've never had a dream like that. Or, indeed, a residency during waking time. . I've been reading Japanese poetry this weekend. Modern free-form rather than traditional. And I was thinking a lot about 'image' while sitting in the backyard looking at the sky, the patterns of jacaranda branches, a small cloud and listening to many different bird calls. OK, I'm not proud or tired (old 60s reference I'm sure everyone's forgotten). . There's one bird which has been visiting our street that makes a very repetitive two note call at around 4am (grrr). I

blazing away

It's a hot day here, so perfect for the latest iteration of Geoffrey Gatza's BlazeVox . I've already spotted some great sonnets by Sara Rosenthal and the on-going collaboration between Sheila Murphy and Doug Barbour. Plenty more as well.

to ...

time to look at the dark side time to look within time to look at the corpse time to bury the corpse time to walk time to walk on, to walk away, to walk along time to acknowledge the corpse time to look time to walk time


A poem written last night, Tuesday, after a haircut and a quick bite in Darlinghurst. It's closing on 40 degrees heat today (possibly a record for spring in Sydney, I'm told). Luckily I will be spending most of my birthday in airconditioning, before adjourning for drinks then dinner. Night before my birthday Drinking Sydney water without thought stray cut hair drifting round my neck in the midst of spring heatwave eating noodles with pearlescent pink chopsticks. ‘Enjoy your meal’ - he might have meant it. The mix tape in my head ravels. It’s harder to forget some things, I remember a lot of haircuts, some too cute and curvy, how songs used to explode and jangle , how hair got long short long. The chopsticks slip and juice trembles on my lip. What’s not to like anymore that hasn’t gone on before. This would always be my turf, slipped along the door with fridge magnets, music patterns frenetic experiences that now are tired if you’re not good with crow

au revoir derrida

It all unravels at once. Jacques Derrida has died. "But theory ... seduces us less than the event that slips away unravelling, in the studio, in the texts, in the scene, on the stage." - Jacques Derrida


form empty again becomes the river phone won't stop disturbing the gloom hang up and lie back down tomorrow there's three years of it

sunny, but ...

dark days

how to overcome gloom

it's well into night now the district quiet we must do what we can clean our heads before we settle for sleep for we must be aware as the noise in the quiet we will do what can and not wait tomorrow there's a conversation out there with leaves beyond policy though the heart sinks ground is still there that and time we'll do and we'll sleep past the fallacy that flight takes you somewhere

an afternoon in the garden

the birds: new holland honey eater, red wattle bird, spotted turtle dove, ibis, magpie, wagtail, noisy mynah, a raptor high up also in the sky: high jet trails, a red kite with two blue tails white blossoms fall on us or blow down jacaranda stalks the sound of a kids' party, plane roar, traffic, someone talking to dogs, some doof doof music in the street below newspaper scattered around, last minute polling, who should bat at number three, obituaries, nobel prizes cheeses, bread, corn chips, olives, flat bread, water, wine my bad stomach, A's bad foot, the world can we bear to watch election coverage or czech movie preview? still undecided I'm tipping coalition by twelve seats recalling someone said last night 'remember 1993' the birds continue chorus and call and afternoon lies down in shade

election blues

plane trees drop their golden dust into the back of our throats there's someone over there walking on a steel roof with a plan and a rule we talk about merging levels and soft barriers we are holding onto what on Saturday I'll head up to the agora to scratch on some potsherd ostracising myself or this gloomy country with clay on my hands

another winner

Belated congratulations (I've been out of the loop this last week or so) - to Judy Beveridge, who won the 2004 Arts Queensland Judith Wright Calanthe Award for Poetry for her latest book, Wolf Notes , (Giramondo Publishing).

smell of smoke

summer sends signals its smoky air begin day's song saxophone/guitar/percussion found virgin beauty melbourne cd shop one month ago in the grey such a find great ornette coleman dancing and swinging in the free air
morning sweeping washing bottlebrush is out visitors for Annette photographers with cakes dogs won fireworks in the valley between all work is getting done listening new nick cave is good sound and smell of night rain


"I walk along, waving my arms and mumbling almost wordlessly, now shortening my steps so as not to interrupt my mumbling, now mumbling more rapidly in time with my steps. So the rhythm is established and takes shape - and rhythm is the basis of any poetic work, resounding throughout the whole thing. Gradually you ease individual words free of this dull roar." - Vladimir Mayakovsky , from How Verses Are Made (trans. George Hyde)

grand final fever

light hail down through fine web water hang onto the cloud south blue and white football hero streamers come el magic they want you come old freddy this last game weather holds nothing close on truth along the valley draped in hopes praise this serious just a game rain shine on wings and leaves cars line up across the street I live in Bulldogs territory. The 'El Magic' signs are everywhere. I lost 'my' team years ago. Balmain Tigers no more. This weekend it's Bankstown v. Bondi. The weather is in balance. Will it hold for tomorrow night's 'clash' (to go all footie commentator for a moment)? If rugby league is a mystery to you, there's more than you'd ever want on the official site . Otherwise, check updates at the Herald . Or don't bother. The game lost me years ago - thank you, Super League - but people still care, and that's interesting.

Sydney rain today

rain down does as hills disappear rains not small but blurred layers rained one seagull climbs the chill