Friday, October 20, 2006

you are multitudes

no / thing & some / thing

you sun and you weather hash
tunes in a bed after you and you
run wind the machine and oil pry
into Blake's grain and you water
long ones and lines break over
nature and fraction it on you particle
you be the sound of the Hendrix
molecule taste you be atom air
crest suck in the mildew you dust
you article being less being more
calibrate true and cartoon flat
be matter be better screen you
walk and it synapses
you cities that or you rurals

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

you are multitudes

from Excerpts from the Frida Dialogues


I never painted dreams. I painted my reality. - Frida Kahlo

You chart a solo progress with paint
leak an eloquence
of wings across your brow
Pose a glance
that withers optimism each time
while the abundant clock of hair
is dressed, braided, worn loose or cropped

You arrange the wild she by instinct
an aloof comfort that's much less cynical
with a cigarette or scissors in your hand
Brushstrokes eschew acceptance
as your body of work reclaims
what life has devoured


All of my paintings are about sorrow. - Frida Kahlo

Life as well as love
rips and cracks you open,
yet you remember to paint
You in a blue dress favourite
or from the Blue House
with your monkeys and parrots
Or you on all those beds

You watch the rank pit seep
wear column and brace
to paint from bedrock an art
that eats up each new effort
as it easily outlasts your tender emotions

you are multitudes

from a feather will fall to the moon as fast as a hammer

where are those small shells?

you call them cat's eyes
but I call them stars
& I had so many
& stones that had smooth surfaces
all the different colours made a map
when I tipped them out
over the silk sheet
I purchased for myself
when I lived in Brisbane
& didn't know you yet

have I told you yet, how beautiful
the autumn sky is?

sitting on a log seat on top
of the hill at Farnborough

this blue air on my head & shoulders
a saturating power, just looking out

as a new-world explorer
at the moment of first encounter

monumental above & you
walking the hill to join me

you are multitudes

compacting grief into a four
hour phone call

your voice was
task. I heard another
glass fill, heard
you flush (pictured
the cordless balanced
on top of the cistern).

lousy timing death.
the vagaries, words
'in his blood'. so pissed
you could barely speak.
my echo sounds
in your ear.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

you are multitudes project

I'm going to start posting some work in progress from my project 'you are multitudes'.
There may be more you's in this project than Mr Smith's.

I have been exploring ideas around long poems, sequences. Want to embark upon that sort of extended journey a developing work takes when time passing within the project expands the architecture of the work.

Some of this work has been developing without me specifically being aware of it.
The work appears to have had its genesis in 1999. It has taken me a while, until 2006 to recognise it for myself.

Some of the work has been published. Some of it is new. Much of it will be future work. It will not be a end date project. Maybe there will be no work to post. I am letting time in without a qualifier.

housekeeping news

thanks to Jen Crawford at blue acres for noticing my comments box was not functioning. it should work now. knock yourselves out. yeah?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

listening to the ocean's voice today

I've been musing for a bit about the idea of authentic voice. Reading some poets, even blind readings (where no name is attached) such as those in judging (done a little bit of that over the years), or playful ones (Cordite -Malley issue where as Loolila, I nailed it with John Kinsella) - that allow for a reading which can be felt as familiar or recognisable and suggest the poet who could be the author. This recognition could be an indication of the poet's authentic voice. It could be an indication of the skill of the reader. Perhaps, the reader has read everything published by one or more authors. Small things would then stand out, craft and language use, referencing, issues of content and interest. Other things. It is just more likely, that the volume of writing, published writing, is the thing, if one is to have an authentic voice that others can hear.

I'm at a bit of a stillpoint myself with the idea of publishing further work. It is disheartening and time consuming to be working up a manuscript, editing it, sending it out, following it through, paying for a small chapbook, a full book, going with a half and half with a publisher, having an angel descend perhaps, and a major publisher cover costs. Does one stop publishing and just write? Does one write and pay? Does one dream of the 'being taken up by the angel'?
How will anyone know or recognise a silent voice? Is publishing the only answer to writing?
Does publishing the work make it better? Can a true and authentic voice exist, even if none hear it? the waves are still moving in on the shore.
Not big roaring, bursting waves. Small waves coming in,
and the sound is absolutely recognisable. This shore is not
facing out towards open water. The waves are broken up and subdued
by the reef and the islands further out. These waves,
by location in this geography, will always arrive more quietly.
On this shore today and every other day like today,
the waves will make this sound...

Sunday, October 08, 2006


facts can attest to walls
being somewhere present
memories and pictures
there walls / now none
catch in the mirror
walls become ground
a tank rolls on / a bomb a hammer

seems a simpleton's position
either there's too many walls
or there's none

virtuoso virtuoso

dead words in her throat
stretched notes and tuneless
in blue fortress, it needs only
a key change and melody soars
the broken and flung down
grown wild, the small voice
formed at the edges of air
lines to shape and float
each plummeted day, and
not so forlorn, actions
recover altitude to get by, as
she endures, virtuoso virtuoso
a voice that is limitless
and enters all aspiring

Ralph Lichtensteiger's Silence-Stories Project

some interesting stuff here, including one of my poems

reading as pleasure again

Sometimes favourite poets change, the poetry dries up, or I dry up. Or I take a break from them for a while and go back. Sometimes a surprise and I love them again or I don't. One poet who is always fresh, offers me something new and something the same, each time I read his work, is Martin Johnston (1947-1990). Reading from Martin Johnston Selected Poems & Prose Edited by John Tranter (UQP 1993) - there is some great work here. I wonder what it is about his work that sustains my interest over so many repeated readings. His unique voice, is difficult and demanding. His Greek/Australian background, his natural intelligence and playfulness, his willingness to engage with a personal or mythic interpretation of ordinary and not so ordinary events. His vulnerability and his mystery. Lots of stuff going on and the amazing language use.

extracts from THE BLOOD AQUARIUM (poems in the collection The Sea-Cucumber)

Flux is a nounless language. Thinking "it moons",
"it saffrons", words caper down the nerves
to burst in aureoles at the fingertips.
Lights out and the room swims.
Angler fish, Roman candle,
immortal crepuscular verb.

Curtained in claret hessian
my window is usually open.
I tend to wake up late, and sometimes people
throw peaches or grapefruit through the window.

Tonight the air is delicate
like those tremulous aquatints
in the better Victorian chronicles of travel.
One would expect it to lisp.

Shut down shop, hang the willow-pattern,
cage its bouncing monks with rough slats.
Put your head on a potter's wheel,
spin life backwards in clay rivulets,
sink into fine china. Grass grows
pale blue, the colour of baptism:
shuffle the hill people, strung on a stalk:
press them into the clay as the wheel whirls faster,
until all the figures coalesce
at the consistency of a cooked eye;
this is what is known as the science of optics.

The statues in the Parthenon used to be painted.
Painter and painting move
from jewelled ikons to sketches in wash and pen.
Brush myself in
I try, still, not to tear the paper;
eating oneself is unseemly
and all these words have teeth like hungry rivers.


Comma (from the collection Shadowmass)

silence being plural, last and
best communion, bread
marble / dry drinking

stone ledges' silence, gasping
upon starred and oily water, dark enamel birds
dropping acanthus / houses
are eggshells / what we might have said now
because of water

or where dead flagons go
where morning
creeps from to meet us crawling out of night
cheap carpets littered with used music
that wove burgundy pleiades through smoke
in a different room

bus stops where another and another
night's needle split its pomegranate sun /
a raindrop hanging on a ladder
brighter than words or wine

because a comma can't be spoken
I present you silence
a million translucent cigarettes
someone's sweet-smelling tree with moons among its branches

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

comment about comments

I've been researching, reading blogs for a long time, not for any specific purpose, just to see what was out there, who was posting what, and who was surprising me with ideas, fresh work, all that kinda stuff.
I found myself reading some great poetics, discussions, poems and many times would have made a comment, but not being a blogger at that time, could not do so.

Some of the regular blogs I visit now (big end and small end of town) seem to have less participation in the comments stream. Is it the time of year, or the lack of interest? Who knows. I'm guessing nobody is reading this post here, so have no expectations, but I do know, that during my research around the blogs, I could spend two or three hours daily, for months at a time.
There are lots of poetry/poetics/poets blogs out there, skipping from one biggie, travelling through their linked sites, and then through the linked sites of those linked get to see a lot of stuff. So what's up with the non commenting hordes? Beats me, as I know I am still out there reading so many, but not as many as last year.

I'm spending much more time writing and reading, plus have this blog to play with from time to time, to enable me to comment on another blog, if I desire. I'm absolutely not expecting to get comments here, so won't be as disappointed as others when that situation (no comment) becomes the norm.
I like the freedom of being able to say what I think, and not have to watch my back. But hey, if you stumble on in, feel free to comment or not comment.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tongue fission

Say that
say night

Tongue gyrations swing
back to a centre

Little plosive air shots
& the tongue's pleasure

to work, one with another

In a recent post on her blog,Jen Crawford over at blue acres explores some ideas on how to collaborate (1. to work, one with another;cooperate, as in literary work) - her ideas suggesting the notion of a pair in dance, in tango. In improvised dance, a set number of steps will be known to both dancers, one dancer may lead during the process of developing the dance together. The ability to recreate the dance later, will be subject to another process, maybe something like - how many turns, foot stamps, slides, lifts, leg thrusts, body to body contacts fit the mood of the music, the beats and non-beats. If this collaborative dance is just for the moment, just for the music playing now, there will be no concern for remembering or editing movements. The 'one-off' event will have its moment, the event will be what it is. I am guessing most folks might find themselves in a situation, alone in a room with great music, getting down and giddy with all sorts of moves. The pleasure of just moving the body, the joyousness of connecting with music so directly.

I'm not sure collaborative writing would have the same simplicity or success as the body/music thing. I've participated in a few different collaborations, not all text and writing based. Most of those that worked really well had more than two participants. A group writing project that developed a summer renga, allowed for a set number of lines, at a set point, following loosely the rules of renga. This project had a formal framework, a set of known givens. The individual contribution of each participant was formulated (within the known givens) as a response on response, moving forward.

On another project based on my poetry, two actors worked with me by taking positions and parts of the text and exploring options for movement, noting ideas about impact, giving me ideas for extending the presentation of the text. That collaboration resulted in me having a fuller bodied sense of what the work was, once it was off the page, what it might look like, how it could sound. When I did develop it for performance, it became a situation which was no longer collaboration.
I was able to lead the project into another area of its development, which still involved the two actors, but was more formally constructed and directed by my own decisions.

For two writers to collaborate on an 'anything goes' development of text, it might be important for those writers to have a brief, a range of ideas, a thematic in common. A leader, to make the editorial choice, maybe - but maybe not. Just depends again on what the end aim is. I think I see collaborative writing as just that, not published writing, not finished writing, not polished. If an aim of collaboration is to publish, then at the very start, some rules, guidelines, shared agenda would need to be in place. When Jen and me completed our collaborative text a while back, we both took five lines from 'dead' work we had on hand. During that process, it might have been good to have some greater common ground, some closer contact with ideas to formulate the ongoing text. However, even with that 'no rules, no structures' approach, the actual development of the text, for me, was extremely pleasurable. It had its moment, it was what it was. To take a collaboration between two writers forward from that point might just need some forward planning, an agreement on mode, visual appearance, sound. A consensus on the range of ideas or themes. So many of the 'taken for granted' things that are arrived at when formulating text in the solo situation are unknowns in a two or three person collaboration. I like the idea of, and the act of collaboration. Hoping Jen gets to do some more, hoping I do also. Just doing it works, just getting it done.