Friday, November 24, 2006

you are multitudes

stay in the light

lean rays of light
tickle dust, show
you where it is

all the dust that
you'll ever need
here on the desk


shafts touch
the touring map
National Parks'

if you travel
there, you
can see it all
in two weeks


you read the hand-written
contents in the antiquarian
'old masters prints'

when you turn the page
backlit shadow leaves
dance on the Caravaggio


you build things
when the city sleeps

charmed occassions
and the night world lit


pouring water
into a glass and
the fridge lights
the kitchen for
a minute and a
half before
it beeps


beautiful blue light
waves in your room

the screen brings
you god at 3 a m

Poem in translation

I'm really pleased to be included in the Anthology of Australian Poetry due for publication by Patralekha in January 2007. My poem a feather will fall to the moon as fast as a hammer has been translated into Bangla (Bengali) by Dr Tathagata Dasgupta (Shoumyo). Australia will be the featured country at the 2007 Kolkata International Book Fair, thus the Anthology.

This poem was runner-up in the Arts Qld Val Vallis Unpublished Poetry Award at the Queensland Poetry Festival this year. What is most interesting for me is the fact that it will be published first in another language (a beautiful visual language). The poem won't be published in English until March 2007. Sometimes poems make their own journey, this one has and almost by happenstance. Makes my pile of crap poems and the rejects less deflating for a bit.

Moving fast

It has been really busy for me this month. The day job taking over all those hours that the family don't get. The writing has been lurking around waiting, bits of notes and scraps stuffed into books I should be reading. And I keep getting side tracked by everything. Sometimes nothing is happening and it is bliss. Minutes pass like this. I'm getting writing time for two days next week. I've made that promise to myself. So many small steps.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


I am compiling a collection of postcards, hand written notes, calendars, photographs and other bits of related material for a client. The material covers a period of sixty years. Some of the material is loosely scattered in boxes, other material is tied together with string, or in photo albums, including small items tucked into old tobacco tins. The bulk of the collection is, if looked at on its own, of very little value. Some of the early postcards are very beautiful, and these would be interesting on their own, but would not necessarily be meaningful or important on their own. What is so captivating about this material is its mass and span over time.

Small details from fairly ordinary lives, two people who travelled widely, enjoyed the correspondence between family and friends, who also travelled. All of them communicating (and much is lost) by sending postcards (the evidence supports the fact that postcards were sent to others, but these are not to hand) and receiving postcards. There are four hundred and ninety-five postcards, and some few boxes remain with one or two postcards, or photos still to be found. The postcard communication during the second world war is non existent, with only a few black and white photograps representing that period.

Further details about the life of these people could be gained by close examination of the furniture and paintings, collectables, books and fondness for some things; the woman loved cats and collected many things to do with cats and the man loved opera and classical music, collected an absolutely incredible collection of records, sheet music, videos and tapes. All this (including a ten year span of shopping dockets gathered onto a bulldog clip) could offer any stranger a small picture of who these people were.

I will be finished compiling this collection and will send it away next week, with a few of my own notes and references, which support the smaller details including the mentions above of the fondness for (her) cats and (him) classical music. My client will pay me well for this collection.
Its value is relative to its mass and span over time. The collection will offer my client an opportunity to trace a brief history of some interesting strangers.

I found this process exhausting, yet very compelling. I'll miss the collection when it goes.
I also found myself thinking about the process in relation to poetry; developing poetry over a long period of time, adding small segments which build and grow over time, so that each new addition supports the ongoing work. So much is lost in time, so much missed inspiration is not noted down, forgotten. Poetry does reclaim a great deal of the lost information, or it re-frames it, in order for us to see, or to know.