June 29, 2015
Winter in Canberra
Wet paper mushrooms
thick crop on nature strips
The Chronicle is a free newspaper distributed to, I believe, every house in Canberra. They are thrown onto nature strips (the Australian name for the grassy area between footpath and road) and there many of them stay. In winter, the plastic wrapping your Chronicle cannot keep out all the water from frost, so they end up as delightful parcels of yellowed, soggy paper. The one above has not yet reached full mushroom.
Some people end up with months of Chronicles covering the grass outside their home. Talk about first world unsightliness! I saw one man, driven mad by the abundant crop his lazy neighbour had grown, throwing them from their nature strip into their driveway, so they would not be able to ignore them any more. He was genuinely angry.
Here I am listening to Judith Crispin say nice things before my reading at Manning Clark House. Despite the photo, the space was packed. There were as many people as the average Canberra nature strip has Chronicles, but they were a lot less soggy. In most cases.
The reading went well; I tried out a lot of new material and I am becoming more confident. Mark Tredinnick was also seemed happy after his reading.
Now I am off to throw around a few newspapers.
June 24, 2015
The scant electric tree
sheds a furred question —
let the answer comfort
Poor little guy found under power poles on the way back from my usual café. I think he* was electrocuted, rather than hit by a car, as there is no sign of injury. Some people in Australia hate possums, but I admire them for their ability to live amongst us, running over roofs and reminding us that we aren’t totally divorced from nature.
Off to do a reading soon of nearly all new material. God but I’m prolific! Prolific as a healthy possum with access to unlimited fruit. Which is, I hope, what a possum sees after death.
Other Tuesday poets are more punctual. Read them here.
*I can’t see a pouch, so I assume he.
We are all working our way up, towards the birds
We are all working our way up, towards the birds.
Outliers like Icarus, 70s pterodactyl hanggliders,
twitchers and breeders of weird coloured parrots:
they have all felt the urge and responded
to the best of their beakless capacities.
But they are not the neo-orno avant-garde.
The egg must come first, before the flight —
putting aside philosophy, that is just true.
So who is nature’s true Anna Wintour?
Where is the next Paris to be found?
The catwalk of the world is spiked by echidna.
Platypus pouts there too. (That is hard with a bill.)
These two are the fashion-forward models,
who will soon sprout wings and launch and fly;
it is happening now, as I type and you read.
Placenta will be ditched, like yesterday’s rags.
Next year, unaided flight will be de rigueur,
and song will erupt, without instruments,
deep from the gape of seven billion throats.
We are all working our way up, towards the birds.
This poem was recently highly commended in the Interstellar Award for Speculative Poetry. Fellow Tuesday Poet (and lovely person/editor) Tim Jones was placed second with a poem that blends the speculative and the political, and Kevin Gillam (who may be lovely, for all I know, but who lives in Western Australia, which is much further away than New Zealand, at least psychologically) was awarded first place with a fascinating work that demands several readings. (A little like that monstrous sub-clausey sentence, but much much better.) You can read their poems and the detailed judge’s report here. This was the second thing I was highly commended/shortlisted/close-but-no-cigared for in the last fortnight! I won’t bore on about the other one though, as I don’t want to publish that poetry here just yet.
If you like humorous, short poetry, I promise that some will be read at Manning Clark House on 24th June at 7.30pm. I hear there will also be some quite angry stuff, and, of course, some speculative poetry. That’s by me; I have no idea if Mark Tredinnick writes any of that sort of thing. (He is the other reader.)
Come along to 11 Tasmania Circle and find out. Also; wine.
June 1, 2015
Pregnant with puppies
your long stroke body and
fat little tum, poking out like
a bad boy’s tongue, reversed
(b = p topsied, topsided, pissed).
All the green puns that woke
the princess; those pesky vegies
that pulled her out of zeds
nicking peace, hatching doubts —
… elliptical peas …
Now that Little Poem started as an ekphrastic response to an alphabet that was displayed at the Canberra Museum and Gallery…Different letters by different artists…Sarah Rice facilitated the workshop, I recall…But I can’t remember which artist did the P, so to speak. The poem is no longer as ekphrastic as it used to be…I love ellipses too much, obviously…
If you want puns (and who doesn’t?) there may be some written by other Tuesday Poets. I know not… Read the works of the other Tuesday Poets around the world by pressing here.
What’s the betting that the poodle above is called Prince or Princess? If I ever adopt a poodle from a shelter, I will call it Chopper.