tone

concrete poetry politics

Paper

Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns
driven time and again off course, once he had plundered …
-The Odyssey, Homer

I noticed how you tossed it down
this book
the very specific way the pages
floated and slapped
with just a slight disgust
an ugh
from the back of the throat
like youd just given up explaining something to a tradesman
your eyebrows slightly furrowed
as you moved your eyes to the next task

I used to look at your notes as a kid
Take an awe in the power they seemed to hold

Rheems and rheems of hammers
that looked like paper to a child
hammers and concrete trucks and joists and beams
contained all your thoughts and force
contained in your messy
mercurial scrawl
that griffonage
that contained the arms and legs
of all those men
that built all those hospitals
that saved all those lives
ugh

you look silently to the next task
and tell me i can have these pages
with a barely perceptible nod
a slight crinkle of the eyes
as the move off to the horizon

this paper
that you reluctantly give to the table rather than me

this other paper
that brought you to tears
minutes before is now in my hands
covered in other wrigglings
that you dont understand
that you dont want taking your eyes off the horizon
that you say will kill you

“It ll kill me if you dont sign it”
you say, pregnant with so much meaning
your eyes squinting with pain now
like youre looking at the place youll drown yourself
before the cancer has its way

your eyes go from squint to crinkle
and the tears start to fall like the echoes of hammers
and i move to your knee
place my hand on it
wafting slowly over the deck of the boat
and whisper

you turn to the horizon
not able to look me in the eyes
and as if the sea itself filled them
you cry
and the horizon blurs

“I cant take this shit anymore.”
you say, voice creaking like an old boat
as your tongue sticks to the top of your mouth
to stop the air in your lungs
releasing a sob

or a life

you get up awkwardly now
and you stumble because you cant quite see
away from me

so much

I keep throwing up
Is it that I miss you that much?
Is it that letting you go
Again
Leaves me physically love sick?

Or is it just the whole box of cigarettes I smoked

You kissed me in that way you do
With a big grin on your face
Your hands together in front of you

I want you back here now
so much
That I let you leave

Suckerpunch Bliss

for one Haley Trotter
a poem from march 2008

Between the suckerpunch of the hangover
and the dizzy bliss of the bottle’s kiss…

What did I feel?
What should I feel, now?
I squint and think.
careful and a little distant.
like i imagine you.
as I imagine you.

Did we just… imagine?
All these recallable feelings, words and … lips
We just … dreamed?
all verbs and air and deep breath
when you were there under my lips
and my hips

How much pillowtalk was in your eyes
slightly frightened,
but hungry
big and deep and staring
your eyes
that next day
in your kitchen
tense
while you cleaned
me
away?

Read the rest of this entry »

redamancy

1385772_365079750294534_453612348_n
for Elena

“J’aprende ton presence a le vent.”

S.E.M.

Bella Principessa in maxima brava … j’escrivere a te.

J’aprrendre ton presence comme le vent.

Je suis in le premiere place a la Napoli, room 302 in the UNA Napoli. And i think of you, and write to you in three tongues.. But from one heart. My Australian one. Which you stole the day we first met. I was overwhelmed then. And salved. In the way that Italia has saved me from my past, and that time, and … now i move towards you.

I look north, with the statue of ‘il munocipio di napoli’ to my left, and i try to stand … firmly but lightly looking toward you in Paris.

But instead my eyes well with tears.

When you believe that these words are mine, you will know that I am yours.

Benjamin George Griffin.
Naples, Italia.

Tarun J. Tejpal

“… At such a moment, most of them became whole and complete to the point of being cinematic, speaking with a sense of drama, intuitively aware that an unequal relationship creates a stage that demands theatre.”

- The Story of my Assassins, (Melville House edn., 2012, p.36)

Qualia

20120915-114402.jpg

I.

two wanderers
meet on the road
which that day
is a frozen food aisle

a glance
a joke
a walk
a spin
a glance
thrill and hesitation
leaning on a car bonnet
with groceries
and a pad of paper
we trade numbers

and part carrying
a thrill.
Read the rest of this entry »

erasure.

Time passes.
Memory fades, memory adjusts, memory conforms to what we think we remember.
- Joan Didion, Blue Nights
quoted in an LARB review

I’m thinking now of erasure. That way that you can disappear from someone’s world even though you’ve just met them.

I often felt like this. Invisible and ghostlike. That great passions, intimate dreams and rare inspiration can so quickly evaporate in morning light. This last time reduced to a text message.

I’ve evaporated. Like so much red wine left at the bottom of a glass… Given a week, where angsty recollection, dreamy midnight pauses and the soft stubbornness not to clean the glasses and clear the table leave that time spent together a rippled dry plum red at the bottom of a glass.

Blood. Dead and dried, two metres away clinging to glass like the memory; but when approached still have the scent of that initial romance. Still, in it’s deadness when breathed recall that rarer time.

I have five poems.

But I know from too much experience that any effort to recall this time- To fix it in words, is its end. That drawing a mask from the feminine mystique constitutes a definitive symbolic violence– driving real love away with a symbolic replacement. Is it too much to turn a real moment into forms? Or is it never enough?

modern new wave

Those of you who know me might know that i have an unnatural attachment to mixtapes, whatever form they turn up in. Here is a find. I stumbled across this playlist rolled together by a guy(girl?) that calls him(her?)self ‘Datasuck‘ … I love being rewarded when I click blithely around, and the serendipity of this little find endears me to it all the more: The only reason I wound up discovering their cute sense of humour, and delicious sonic tastes was that it included what is now my favourite track from the new Smashing Pumpkins album.

This mix is wonderfully put together, passing through cute almost self effacing almost 8bit, through a driving polished house remix’, then reaching a sad creshendo in the final few tracks, finising on that new SP favourite of mine. I has left me simultaneously elated and nostalgic.

I don’t know if it’s ‘New Wave’, but if it is then it’s definitely more ‘modern’ for all the extra texture there wasnt in 1989.

And I love it.

It’s well timed. For me at least. It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me (or months? or years?) so it’s particularly pleasing to be reminded, right now, of how I adore the witching hour, and all these dreamy droning tones.

I’m wondering if I shouldn’t put up a little listening station with a microfm transmitter somewhere…

Consume

Rom:  …Then love-devouring death do what he dare;
It is enough I may but call her mine.
Friar:            These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which, as they kiss, consume. The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite.
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.

- W.S. R & J 2,vii 

i flipped on Baz’ version of R&J
a
nd half paid attention
treating it more like background radio
not having a radio here

these words leapt out
for some fairly obvious reasons

and reminded me of every old love
(and one or two)
(particular painful)
(in particular 

fire and powder
as they kiss
consume

The second line of final couplet
strikes me as forced

(but i’m probably just resistant)
(to restraint)

Marrysong

He never learned her, quite. Year after year
That territory, without seasons, shifted
under his eye. An hour he could be lost
in the walled anger of her quarried hurt
on turning, see cool water laughing where
the day before there were stones in her voice.
He charted. She made wilderness again.
Roads disappeared. The map was never true.
Wind brought him rain sometimes, tasting of sea -
and suddenly she would change the shape of shores
faultlessly calm. All, all was each day new;
the shadows of her love shortened or grew
like trees seen from an unexpected hill,
new country at each jaunty helpless journey.
So he accepted that geography, constantly strange.
Wondered. Stayed home increasingly to find
his way among the landscapes of her mind.

- Dennis Scott

Sanctus Valentinus

Paul Crowe quoted this in his wedding speech to my cousin:

To love someone deeply

gives you strength,

to be loved deeply

gives you courage.

No, mate, It’s MY country you Bogan Fuckwit.

Renae Jones posted on facebook

I LOVE A SUN BURNT COUNTRY..
WITH CHOPS N SNAGS N CHIPS,
KANGAROOS AND HOLDEN CARS,
I LOVE THIS PLACE TO BITS,
CAMPIN ON THE RIVER
OR SWIMMIN BY THE SEA,
AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE
THIS WIDE BROWN LAND FOR ME,
SO CMON MATES
GRAB A BEER
A RUM OR BOURBON
AND RAISE, YA GLASSES HIGH,
AND GET SOMEONE WHO DOGS US,
AND PUNCH THEM IN THE EYE,
COZ IM A FLAMIN OZZIE,
ILL TAKE IT IN ME STRIDE,
DONT LIKE IT HERE THEN BUGGER OFF
COZ I HAVE AUSTRALIAN PRIDE

 11am Queensland time (my time), from somewhere near Adelaide
three likes

I respond:

“If it weren’t so bloody Australian to celebrate something of our bread-stealing convict past by robbing this poem, i’s get angry about you ruining it.” (sic)

After which i posted the original poem, two scathing retorts followed by the second verse of the National Anthem. Then I wished her a Happy Chinese New Year.

I should have said this

from Acclaim Magazine c/- 'Art Bitch' of facebook fame 

If it weren’t so bloody Australian to celebrate something of our bread-stealing convict past by robbing this poem, I’d get angry about you ruining it. Perhaps I’m being too kind.

Yes. Yes I am.

You do make me angry because this kind of ignorant shit isn’t as innocent as it is  awkward-funny.

The original poem is a gorgeous thing about being a hardworking open hearted grazier in the Outback. But you wouldn’t know a single thing about that because you’ve never lived through a drought or dug a single fence post, have you? Have you mate? Mate?

You can read it in all it’s glorious beauty at the end of this post, first I need to educate you on the National Anthem.

Let’s get this straight you stupid fuckwit. There’s nothing fucking Australian about racism. We’re so bloody lovely to strangers here. That’s why everyone visits, and shitloads of them stay, and bloody hero’s brave the fucking seas to get here on shitty boats from Indo. I’m a sailor, and I say anyone that tries that is fucking welcome at my joint.  We’re lovely to strangers here. This lovely: We even let pricks like you get around. This is why:- not because you fucking represent us when you tie a flag around your shoulders and belt some brown folk in Cronulla; We let you get around because you make the rest of us lovely folk look good. And, for sport, blokes like me enjoy putting you in your place when you dog our Turkish mates.

You’re sport. Not Art. Certainly not a Poem.

One of my pet hates is racism. (That’s an understatement.) I’d call you a crypto-fascist but, you wouldn’t understand the words, the academic or historical reference or, the dry English joke. So. Let me make this a little simpler for you, mate….  YOU, mate, can “Bugger off … cos I’ve got Australian Pride”.

People who profess Australian Pride like that are the people that don’t have any personal pride,  and with good reason. Shit poetry and worse insults get thrown around like dogshit, but one of the things I bloodly love is that it’s always done by people that don’t even know the Australian Anthem. Nor can sing it. Nor know where it came from. I consider not one a citizen of my Australia.

My grandfathers and great grandfathers all fought for this country, in the wars and after in the workplace, to make sure that even pricks like you got a fair go. They went to the other side of the earth to make sure some Jews got a fair go. They got jobs for Italians and Greeks and Turks. Because everyone deserves a fair go. This, mate, is Australian. And this, mate, is how their generation got about putting that into good poetry. It’s better than your ALLCAPS RACISM. Alot better. The second verse is the important one. This is from my Australian Anthem:

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.

Do you know this by heart? Thought not. And you call yourself bloody Australian do you! That’s the bit of the National Anthem that isn’t in your head, or in your heart. I’m refering here to the ‘boundless plains to share’ and the ‘with courage let us ALL combine’.

Though it’s nice that you can find a piece of slang to express yourself (i refer here to the ‘Bugger off’ that could be removed from the poem with the last line, to make it perfectly fine), though it’s nice you can find some slang there’s better stuff around. Read Henry Lawson. Haven’t done that, have you? Mate? On your bike to the library then. Pick up the second volume of his Prose Works. You’ll have laughed and cried in the first 30 pages, mate. It’ll make you a better person, and finally, a better Australian.

So here it is, what we’ve all been waiting for, from a stockman’s wife called Dorothy–

The thing you stole and ruined, not just with your dogshit poem–to call it bullshit would lend it a dignity it doesn’t deserve– this beautiful thing you ruined with you ungenerous untested heart.

My Country

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!
The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.
Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.
Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze …
An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand
though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

 – Dorothea MacKellar

My Auntie delivered that at my cousin’s wedding in Ireland.

It was well received. By the people that were left behind while we came here, my kith and kin, to this place that we didn’t like so much when we first arrived some two hundred and something years ago. They didn’t tell us to bugger off because we didn’t like it then.

Mate.

Now, let me get this final-clear for you.

It’s MY country you bogan fuckwit, and you should count your bloody blessings before you talk shit to every brown fella that you think doesn’t like this place well enough to stay. I say, it being my country, that anyone can come here. Guess what? I’ve got more mates than you and they agree with me. The new arrivals are more bloody Australian than you. Mate. They learn the anthem. Mate.

And in finishing, a poem for you:

Two likes for your post.
Just two.
THAT is what gives me Australian Pride.

I’ll think of you, your professed Australian Pride (and your French firstname) when I sing the second verse to my national anthem, at the RSL, this Australia Day.

Mate.

Meditation on the Plums II

She is thinking of the tart, thumb-sized plums
they ate together, and of one in particular.
Unremarkable, except it was the last he gave her.
Of what it was, to stand in the small stone
kitchen, tasting the bittersweet strings
of fruit clinigng to wood. The intimacy
in those ruins. Saying plum and not yet
meaning heartache. Letting the ordinary become the last.

 — Sarah Holland-Batt, Aria p56

NO I DO

for the Negev Desert, Sky

I DO LOVE YOU
you beat on my chest
years ago
a bottle of tequila and a bubble bath between us
your tiny fists rain painful thumps
Nakedly
I say I don’t believe you
you can’t
you don’t
they aren’t innocent words
and yours isn’t an innocent voice
I say this
So I don’t have to say
I love you
too nakedly

NO I DO LOVE YOU!
Yelling and thumping

You will be embarrassed by this tomorrow
You will be embraced by me tommorrow
as I tease you relentlessly
because you’re a non-violent hippy
and you hit me relentlessly
You will be embarrassed for months
But I will remember it
your love
your tiny fists
your ‘innocent’ voice
years later
in the desert of prophets
that knows no innocence
or all of it
when I stare at the sky
blue and hot
and blank
I will remember
and believe
when I pick up a stone
and write

I LOVE YOU
too nakedly.


My mood in others’ Art

La Infinita

Ves estas manos? Han medido
la tierra, han separado
los minerales y los cereales,
han hecho la paz y la guerra,
han derribado las distancias
de todos los mares y ríos,
y sin embargo
cuando te recorren
a ti, pequeña,
grano de trigo, alondra,
no alcanzan a abarcarte,
se cansan alcanzando
las palomas gemelas
que reposan o vuelan en tu pecho,
recorren las distancias de tus piernas,
se enrollan en la luz de tu cintura.
Para mí eres tesoro más cargado
de inmensidad que el mar y sus racimos
y eres blanca y azul y extensa como
la tierra en la vendimia.
En ese territorio,
de tus pies a tu frente,
andando, andando, andando,
me pasaré la vida.

-Pablo Neruda

c.f. this 

Christmas unFriends, Robot

Dear Facebook automated complaints system,

I’ve had my ability to friend request temporarily suspended.

I believe this to be a systematic error.

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The Biblical ‘Vindicta’ Ezek 22:7,29 25:15,17

Иезекилль (Russian Orthodox c/- Tash Agafonoff)
Ezekiel könyve (Hungarian Catholic copied from ann old black bible)
Prophetia Ezechielis (Latin – Latina Vulgata)
Ezéchiel (French Catholic, New Jerusalem … something or other version
Ezekiel (Anglican, King James Version 1611)
Ezekiel (Catholic Public Domain Version)
יחזקאל (Hebrew OT: Westminster Leningrad Codex)

22:7

У тебя отца и мать злословят, пришельцу делают обиду среди тебя, сироту и вдову притесняют у тебя.
Megvetik benned az apát és az anyát, erõszakot követnek el az idegennel, elnyomják az özvegyet és az árvát.
patrem et matrem contumeliis adfecerunt in te advenam calumniati sunt in medio tui pupillum et viduam contristaverunt apud te
au dedans de toi, l`on méprise père et mère, on maltraite l`étranger, on opprime l`orphelin et la veuve.
In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.
They have abused father and mother within you. The new arrival has been oppressed in your midst. They have grieved the orphan and the widow among you.
אָ֤ב וָאֵם֙ הֵקַ֣לּוּ בָ֔ךְ לַגֵּ֛ר עָשׂ֥וּ בַעֹ֖שֶׁק בְּתֹוכֵ֑ךְ יָתֹ֥ום וְאַלְמָנָ֖ה הֹ֥ונוּ בָֽךְ׃

22:29

А в народе угнетают друг друга, грабят и притесняют бедного и нищего, и пришельца угнетают несправедливо.
Az ország népe megsokszorozta az erõszakot és a rablást, elnyomta a szegényt és a szûkölködõt, jogtalanul erõszakoskodott az idegennel.
populi terræ calumniabantur calumniam et rapiebant violenter egenum et pauperem adfligebant et advenam opprimebant calumnia absque judicio
Le peuple du pays se livre à la violence, commet des rapines, opprime le malheureux et l`indigent, foule l`étranger contre toute justice.
The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.
The people of the land have oppressed with slander and have seized with violence. They have afflicted the needy and the poor, and they have oppressed the new arrival by accusations without judgment.
עַ֤ם הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ עָ֣שְׁקוּ עֹ֔שֶׁק וְגָזְל֖וּ גָּזֵ֑ל וְעָנִ֤י וְאֶבְיֹון֙ הֹונ֔וּ וְאֶת־הַגֵּ֥ר עָשְׁק֖וּ בְּלֹ֥א מִשְׁפָּֽט׃

25:15

Так говорит Господь Бог: за то, что Филистимляне поступили мстительно и мстили с презрением в душе, на погибель, по вечной неприязни,
Ezt mondja az Úr, az Isten: Mivel a filiszteusok bosszúra törekedtek, bosszúállók voltak, lelkük tele volt gyûlölettel, s folyvást azon voltak, hogy pusztítsanak,
hæc dicit Dominus Deus pro eo quod fecerunt Palestini in vindictam et ulti se sunt toto animo interficientes et implentes inimicitias veteres
Ainsi parle le Seigneur, l`Éternel: Parce que les Philistins se sont livrés à la vengeance, Parce qu`ils se sont vengés dédaigneusement et du fond de l`âme, Voulant tout détruire, dans leur haine éternelle,
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart, to destroy it for the old hatred;
Thus says the Lord God: Because the Philistines have taken vengeance, and have revenged themselves with all their soul, destroying, and fulfilling ancient hostilities,
כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ אֲדֹנָ֣י יְהוִ֔ה יַ֛עַן עֲשֹׂ֥ות פְּלִשְׁתִּ֖ים בִּנְקָמָ֑ה וַיִּנָּקְמ֤וּ נָקָם֙ בִּשְׁאָ֣ט בְּנֶ֔פֶשׁ לְמַשְׁחִ֖ית אֵיבַ֥ת

25:17

и совершу над ними великое мщение наказаниями яростными; и узнают, что Я Господь, когда совершу над ними Мое мщение.
Kegyetlen bosszút állok rajtuk ádáz haragomban, és ha kitöltöm rajtuk bosszúmat, akkor majd megtudják, hogy én vagyok az Úr.
faciamque in eis ultiones magnas arguens in furore et scient quia ego Dominus cum dedero vindictam meam super eos
J`exercerai sur eux de grandes vengeances, En les châtiant avec fureur. Et ils sauront que je suis l`Éternel, Quand j`exercerai sur eux ma vengeance.
And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.
And I will execute great vengeance against them, reproving them in fury. And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I will send my vengeance upon them.”
וְעָשִׂ֤יתִי בָם֙ נְקָמֹ֣ות גְּדֹלֹ֔ות בְּתֹוכְחֹ֖ות חֵמָ֑ה וְיָֽדְעוּ֙ כִּֽי־אֲנִ֣י יְהוָ֔ה בְּתִתִּ֥י אֶת־נִקְמָתִ֖י בָּֽם׃ ס

Jupiter Optimus Maximus … REVENGE!

IOVI OPTIMO MAXIMO VINDICTA
Revenge for Jupiter, best and greatest.

QUOD LICET IOVI, NON LICET BOVI
that which is permitted to Jupiter, is not permitted to the ox

- Latin Proverbs

I get bombarded with “love and light” messages and posts, particularly on the theme of “forgiving and letting go” of negative experiences, interactions and emotions as the path to happiness. Superficially, that seems like a lovely idea – but does it really work in a practical sense?

‘Negative’ emotions and how to use them, Kate Douchkov, Inspire Achive

Too often our laid-back country we are held hostage to the idea that ‘She’ll Be Right’, or a downright English notion that we should just wear a stiff upper lip in the face of our troubles. Inevitably life, or fate, or God, or the great absence of God… Life… laughs at such cliché, and we are all called to face the true depths of our humanity, to question our faith if we even had any to begin with.

In these times, the platitudes offered by common sense, pop-psychology or a pseudo-Christian subservience fail us. Even hurt us. And if they do, they do it a lot.

I approve wholeheartedly of the wisdom in the above-quoted article in this regard.

Deep feelings can’t be dealt with so shallowly, they must be met with depth.

Read the rest of this entry »

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