Showing posts from March, 2005

a final split

I sit here typing with the taste of blood in my mouth. I've been to the dentist today and my split tooth is finally gone. Well, gone from my mouth. I still have it, for the moment, in a small plastic bag.

Coming home in the taxi tonight, I though about a poem I wrote a couple of years ago, that appears in my latest book:


I have eaten words
all night for years
splitting bone and lies
enamel dreams.

My bruised canine
is stitched behind my face.
Count them! Three knots
above the root
of ink and troubled pitch.

Tremble, mouth-bitten desire
pulped fantastic
on night's ink
where fancy creeps.

My wolf vision
now spit and listerine
blood burning
codeine prey in throat.

objects for meditation

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.

These words from the Tao Te Ching (from a different translation, however) formed part of a slide show performance by my friend, photographer William Yang, tonight at The Studio at the Sydney Opera House. William’s show is called Objects for Meditation and is based around certain objects that have meaning in his life.

William says: “Of all my eight monologues I’ve done, I have found this one to be the most difficult to do; because it is quiet, because it is about ordinary things and because it doesn’t have a plot. I have had many a crisis in confidence doing this piece, but I hav…

at limits?

or posed
at the limit

there and
behind also sun

the past
is a metaphor

dives lies
into the words

them and
behind also words

Tuesday 29 March
(reading Rimbaud and Tranter over a coffee)

i.m. Robert Creeley 1926-2005

I Keep to Myself Such Measures...

I keep to myself such
measures as I care for,
daily the rocks
accumulate position.

There is nothing
but what thinking makes
it less tangible. The mind,
fast as it goes, loses

pace, puts in place of it
like rocks simple markers,
for a way only to
hopefully come back to

where it cannot. All
forgets. My mind sinks.
I hold in both hands such weight
it is my only description.

- Robert Creeley

note of apology

Just wanted to say, that it was obviously a bad idea to add pictures to this blog. Clearly they were worse than I supposed. The flickr technology seemed like such a good idea, that I fell in love with it. Bad idea! Don't fall in love! I'll use it for my own purposes, but in the meantime, apologies for posting them.

new blog on da block

Cassie Lewis, whose blog The Jetty, was one of my favourite stopovers, has now moved into different blogging territory at the little workshop. I'm looking forward to how it progresses and have added it to the blogroll.

another translation at latitudes

I've put up another translated poem at latitudes, a version of Montale's very famous "merriggiare pallido e assorto". I did it some time ago but now it has a better home.

don't dream it's over

But it is - the sad death of ex-Crowded House drummer, Paul Hester, was a downer this long weekend. Even today, as I walked up Elizabeth Street searching for some lunch, the Freestyle records guys were playing 'You Better Be Home Soon'.

by the river

in mangroves
along with she-oaks

speculate outside
with the wind

at midnight
on the islands

are tigers
slinging an iron

expensive living
on the ridge

a windy monday

OK, I'll stop playing with my snaps now and go for a walk down to the river.

is coming
smell its air

sea a
breeze is sound

woodchopping at the show

Originally uploaded by ruby street.
Always among the best events at the Show.

We missed the women's events which were scheduled for last Monday but saw a world championship single handed-saw event, won by Australian sawer, David Foster, for the 15th time. No pic as he was way too far away from where we were sitting. Nice bloke, however. After his award he came over to where we were as his family were right behind us. He's not David Foster, the Australian novelist, just in case you were wondering.

Easter Show - agriculture display

Originally uploaded by ruby street.
This pic was actually taken last week at the Easter Show (sorry, the Royal Easter Show). It shows part of the winning district agricultural display. Ever since I was a kid I've always loved this part of the Show.

It doesn't have quite the same atmosphere now out at Homebush. It's all a bit concrete and steel and doesn't even smell quite the same. Too clean, not enough dirt. But still taps into a part of the memory bank.

from my garden

Originally uploaded by ruby street.
A camellia in my front garden. This is the first year the tree has flowered.

OK, it's blurry. I could blame the wind gusting that morning I took it. The petals were all being blown away and I was trying to dash off to work. But, hey, it's just not a great photo but I'm showing like a proud mum.

I'm also learning to use this new flickr thing so I might have to bear with myself until I get the hang. Seems easy enough so far.

a continuing story

This is a continuing story about my new book, Broken/Open.

First of all, for those that may think I'm prolific, it's my first all new full-length work since 1997 and The Book of Possibilities. In other words since the last century. It's not that I waited a long time, it's just that other things happened in between. Perhaps that's the age-old story. Some of those things were personal and one-off. But there was also a sense of holding back.

Though most of the poems are fairly new, there's a smattering of older work. I think of the book as marking new directions for my work but, in fact, these things are never clear-cut. New directions come from the old (d'oh).

I've never been a poet of the 'project'. I find that concept personally irritating. To each their own. But neither is my work a 'continuum' - that's a cliche. I've always pushed into different areas. Some things I've let be for a while, years even, and then picked up again. …

my new blog

OK, I went and set up a new blog to house any translations I decide to do. It's called latitudes and has one translation waiting there, by a Tang Dynasty woman poet, Li Qingzhao.

It will be irregular, but I hope to build it up over time.



"The flag passes through foul country and our lingo muffles the drum beats.

"In the centres we’ll feed the most cynical prostitution. We’ll massacre any reasonable revolt.

"To the spicy, damp countries! in the service of monstrous exploitation, industrial and military.

"Goodbye here or anywhere. We’re willing conscripts. Our ideas are savage. Ignoramuses about science, we’re sluts for comfort. Stuff the world. This is real progress. Onward, let’s hit the road!"

- Arthur Rimbaud, from Illuminations - translated by Jill Jones

This might be the beginning of a slow project, translating Rimbaud's Illuminations.

I found a sale copy of a new Penguin translation of Rimbaud just this week, and lately had been given Graham Robb's biography of Rimbaud. I have other translations on the bookshelves.

So why add to it all? Well, why not? This poem seemed like a good place to start.

where I'm going

where I'm going
they ask
where I'm going
they don't ask

does the rain ask
does the wind explain

where I'm going
this step that
where I'm going
the hard path laughs

this step is watched
that step who knows
ignore ignoble igneous
stone asphalt c'crete

where I'm going
and where
someone asking

have you got
where you get
why we haven't got
and who

a bit nervous

from the face electrically
causes not the same
reason to blush

not refractory
or important as protecting
wrapped by insulation

it’s a real up
squeezed against a flexor
held by bone excited

invested and peculiar
pictured on one side
being entrapped or pained

at the axilla
is terrible pulled
up between a wire

to a telephone cable
affected, inflamed
positively charged

cut with a scalpel
torn from the spine

rather obvious
but complex
if more popular in China

and on a similar subject

As a matter of interest, the poem 'My Dreamy Epic', mentioned below, is the full 'collected version', so to speak, of the poems which, in sequence, section off the parts of my new book Broken/Open, now available from Salt Publishing.

I hadn't mentioned the new book before as I wasn't sure, until this week, that it had emerged into the daylight. Well, it sure has, though mine eyes and hands have yet to touch its special glory, mainly because my copies are wending their way from Cambridge to Sydney, which just a little further than a walk from the other end of Ruby Street.

More on Broken/Open when it arrives. (Am I being too shy about this? Maybe. But, yes, more soon.)

going dutch

A poem of mine My dreamy epic, which was first published in GutCult, has now been translated into Dutch.

The site Poeziepamflethas some other poems by Australian poets as well as translations from poets from Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. In the words of one of the editors, Ton van 't Hof, "Our main goal is to bring English-language poetry to the attention of the Dutch public, for the very reason that it is fairly unknown to them and also because we just like to do so. We do all this on a noncommercial basis." Cool. The site is good looking and definitely worth a visit.

i've been thinking about

the way lines fall

intensity/ concentration

looseness / with space

what happens to/with the breath

the way mind changes

just before the curfew

over head
this city cries

the road
lies down crushed

boom ba-boom
the valley heaves

hide in
the window shadows

let me
love you now

city and walking

- Dmitris Tsaloumas (one of the greats)
from Portrait of a Dog

"The Festival" [quoted in part]

Trouble is our city,
rash and precocious, thinking
itself of age, shopped round
for what was hard to find
and out of air and drums
wrought heroes, gods and bards
who in that sonorous shape
now fart nonstop and louder
than the imported kind.
On days of fast they bang
and boom (some by remote
control) and drive us round
the bend by force of sturm-
und-drang. Next week's their fear-
ful fest. But let them have
their ball: I'll come and share
the comfort of your nest.

- Dmitris Tsaloumas

the living and the dead

"I seldom go out, but when I feel myself flagging I go and cheer myself up in Père Lachaise ... while seeking out the dead, I see nothing but the living." -Balzac

I've been writing and rewriting a press release for A's next photographic exhibition based on photographs she's taken in Paris cemeteries. Extraordinary places. The pix are great. More news on where and when (Sydney and Melbourne definitely) real soon.

And hence, have been writing about Parisian cemeteries (see poem about Montparnasse below). There are plans for this.

Père Lachaise on a sunny day is seductive (and cold when it's cold). I've never yet bothered with Jim Morrison's grave. I liked The Doors muchly but, no, never bothered with it.


the cliche
tickles my throat

or irish
it sings within

or rock
we drink it

the river
and the song

new foam:e

The second issue of foam:e is now on-line for your enjoyment. There are poems by David Bircumshaw, Pam Brown, Jill Chan, Jen Crawford, AnnMarie Eldon, Claire Gaskin, Jeff Harrison, Jill Jones, Mark Kanak, Christopher Kelen, Corinne Lee, Cassie Lewis, Lizz Murphy, Sheila E Murphy, Alaric Sumner, Louise Waller and Mark Young. Plus the red poppies renga in a slightly revised form.


what mardi gras?

It's Mardi Gras parade and party tonight - and here I am tinkering with the blog. Time was I'd be getting a bit excited, zooshing myself up, gathering up the party vitamins, making rendevous plans, looking forward to a big wide night (and morning after). Maybe next year. My favourite transexual told me recently of a great-sounding after party at Luna Park but she also said it had sold out weeks ago. I'm just not in the mix anymore.

A has gone off, however, to photograph the pre-parade prep and maybe some shots in the early dark as well. She had to go go to a media briefing this morning for a pass and a nifty (not) yellow jacket thingie. I remember the days (god, don't you hate people who say that) when you could take whatever pics you liked, jump into the parade on a whim and not have to battle serious crowds. Very last century, I guess.

A says she bumped into William (Yang) at the briefing as well and he's going to be doing some pics. He's into video these days …


Notice how blogger now won't let you allow line space between your stuff and the footer. Will have to draw a line until I can think of a more pleasing way of doing it. Urk!


the writing on th wall

the air grumbles, pressure tips down
this is not a diesel day but storm time
aloud birds track their shelter
- look for the grey within the green -
and all along the length of these minutes
there's the muttering of opinion
this time could it be golf or riots in the west

last night's opinion was spread
on the kind of wall made for it
fuck tha police
comin' at you
straight outa
Macquarie Fields

storm it is, reckons the mynah bird
the starlings and fizzing parrots
the luminous nature thing booms
of what we are afraid maybe
this is no lie, colder rain
than this falls everywhere
even if only once

Marrickville, 2 March 2005