Showing posts from December, 2004

tsunami - a response

I put together the piece below because I could not write anything myself. I also realise this isn't the only disaster and tragedy in town but its suddenness and scope has made it overwhelming. There are political dimensions to this as well. Most of those affected are poor people who have been forced by circumstances to live in low-lying coastal areas and/or depend on tourism as a source of income. One of the quotes which most concerned me was about the possibility of effects from the nuclear reactor in India. It isn't just a natural disaster.

water has taken away

Water has taken away my family. - Mother, what's happened? I saw you yesterday and now you're here. You're not dead, you've gone to another village. Please come back. - We hope the funds allocated for the people won't be lost to corruption. - It came just like a river. People were running here and there. They couldn't decide where to go. - My son is crying for his mother. I think this is her. I recognise her hand, but I'm not sure. - There just aren't enough body bags. We thought it was the end of the world. … The water was as high as a coconut palm. … It was all over in 25 minutes. That's all. How can that be ... such devastation. - Children in emergency wards were killed. Soldier patients suffering from malaria helped to evacuate other patients. - I need baby food as well ... no aid has come to us yet. - No contact makes us fearful. We're trying to send helicopters there. - Where is the military? They're just taking car


A lot of crows (OK, Australian Ravens but we call ‘em crows) around these few days. Perhaps the weather is bringing them in. They were cawing in St Andrew’s Square. I was going to say a godforsaken stretch of modernised pebblecrete in the midst of the city (one of many) but there’s St Andrew’s Cathedral right next to it. But considering the pretty un-Christian outbursts of Sydney Anglicans over time and certainly of late, yeah, ‘godforsaken’ sounds about right. I think ‘whitened sepulchres’ is also a description. [Though what am I talking about. Us lugging our bag of ‘bargains’ from the post-Christmas sales. Well, new walking shoes, winter socks and a thermal for the trip to Europe, and Janet Frame’s The Pocket Mirror . I thought this latter a great find, Frame’s only book of poetry. Then, this morning, my nearest and dearest brings forth her own copy of …. D’oh. I suppose there’s not many families that can claim dual copies of Janet Frame’s one and only book of poetry.] But e

wagging my tail

Just catching the tail end of the year is another small (but powerful) publication of mine, Where the Sea Burns , which is a sixteen page chapbook, being No. 39 in the Wagtail series of Australian poets put together by Rob Riel . The series of booklets intends to capture mainly reprint material from a broad variety of Australian poets, given that a lot of material does go out of print. Therefore, my Wagtail features mainly work from my first three books, particularly The Book of Possibilities which is now only available from moi. Judy Johnson edited my Wagtail (note this proprietorial tone), for which I'm appreciative, and she has allowed some old work which did not carry into my fairly recent selected to have a second outing. Wagtail is available by subscription. They only accept payment in Australian dollars, and overseas subscribers should therefore add AUD$1.65 per issue. The rates are: 2 years: $52 - 22 issues 1 year: $26 - 11 issues 6 months: $16 - 6 issues Sing

vale Jackson Mac Low 1922-2004

Belatedly, wanting to acknowledge the passing of Jackson Mac Low last week. There's an obituary at The New York Times and here's more info on Mac Low . The poem below is from his series of Light Poems. 1ST LIGHT POEM: FOR IRIS -- 10 JUNE 1962 The light of a student-lamp sapphire light shimmer the light of a smoking-lamp Light from the Magellanic Clouds the light of a Nernst lamp the light of a naphtha-lamp light from meteorites Evanescent light ether the light of an electric lamp extra light Citrine light kineographic light the light of a Kitson lamp kindly light Ice light irradiation ignition altar light The light of a spotlight a sunbeam sunrise solar light Mustard-oil light

miles ahead and miles behind

Listening, both today and yesterday, to Miles Davis, Filles de Kilimanjaro . Hadn't listened for a while but have been reading the late Ian MacDonald's The People's Music . Published in 2003, the book has a number of short essays and reviews which mainly point to the 1960s as the time when the big changes in music happened. OK, debatable but supportable, but I agreed with his discussion on this album, that it 'remains relatively underrated and ripe for reevaluation', and it leads directly to both the cool ( In a Silent Way ) and the hot ( Bitches Brew ) of Miles late 60s 'revolution in the head' (to totally misappropriate the title of MacDonald's book about the Beatles). I've always loved the reference to Hendrix's 'The Wind Cries Mary' in 'Mademoiselle Mabry', the last track on Filles de Kilimanjaro. Ian Carr, in his biography Miles Davis: The Definitive Biography says that: "During this whole period, Miles's f

minding the language

Just mulling over the word 're-engineer'. Something I'm missing? All suggestions gratefully ... etc. Words are important. Wish more people realised this.


That was the week that was! Some Australians may understand where I'm coming from. And up dawn, back to mill.

Red poppies - a renga

A summer kasen renga written by Andrew Burke, Jen Crawford, Louise Waller, Lawrence Upton, Kristin Hannaford, Jennifer Compton, Heather Matthew, Jill Jones and Anie Locke. Written between 24 November and 11 December 2004. A version which includes each poet's initials underneath the verses they wrote, is available at hi spirits , weblog of the renga master, Andrew Burke. The renga was written online as part of the discussion on the poneme list. There was some discussion and disagreement on the list about acknowledgement vs anonymity of contributions to a collaborative project. In that spirit, I'm presenting an 'anonymised' version. Which is not to say I was one of the ones who thought it should be published in this form. red poppies lean into steam off the wet path in the fernery fingers press sweating glass fierce heat fades evening twilight glows a pink line a fly stumbles at a water glob   folding clothes she drinks dark coffee moon obser

who listens to the radio?

If you can tune into ABC National Radio at 3pm on Saturday 18 December 2004, you'll catch a broadcast of Mike Ladd's Poetica program called Screens, Jets, Heaven - The Poetry of Jill Jones . There are details about tuning in throughout Australia on the website. For anyone else, the broadcast should be available as a web stream for a month after the radio broadcast. The blurb says: “Jill Jones' poetry is both juicy and intimate. But underneath its lovely Sydney tang of sun and harbour is a dark destabilising smell of trouble.” Dorothy Porter Jill Jones is a Sydney poet and writer. Her work has been published extensively in Australia and in journals in New Zealand, Canada, the USA and the UK as well as on-line. Some of her poems have been translated into Mandarin, Cantonese and Polish. In the program she talks about her influences and her work and reads from the collection. Sound engineer: Roi Huberman Produced and directed by Libby Douglas ..... I learned a

after some time

Yes, I've not been around much. Walking in other places than Ruby Street, I guess. The internet has also been crap lately in this neck of the woods. I'm starting to wonder if my provider is trying to con me into subscribing to broadband by giving such crap service. They were originally The Internet Group (tig) based in New Zealand. Then became ihug, which is when I joined, and were pretty good for ages, and still essentially NZ-based. Now a crew from Western Australia called iinet have taken them over and it's now a downhill run I'm thinking. I'm not the only one this is happening to. If anyone knows of a good provider in Australia ...? My job has changed as well. I won't go into it but it's been, shall we say, a distraction, necessarily so. Some personal, 'trying to get healthy and it's taking some time' stuff, too. But you can be too full of excuses. So I'm back to walking here. Just finished watching the new Zhang Yimou film, H