May 13, 2013
chewing soft cud of sky krill
The best thing to happen during Canberra’s Centenary Celebrations (there are a lot of capitals around at the moment in the nations’s capital) took to the air outside the National Gallery on Saturday.
Skywhale, a balloon sculpture designed by Patricia Piccinini, is not exactly your typical whale. She has a bit of the turtle about her, and wings made of breasts. Is she an angel? I don’t know, but her presence is peaceful and wonderful; confusing those who like straight lines and easy classifications.
The money, some people are shouting! The outrageousness of producing a whale that isn’t even a proper whale for the centenary of an inland city! The threat to mental law and order! Read some of the comments here on RiotACT, where the haiku was posted by me as a comment. I didn’t want to argue the case, as Skywhale seemed so strangely perfect in her ambiguity. A poem seemed more appropriate.
There should be more of this sort of perplexing beauty, confounding those who think that art should be confined to easily recognisable portraits and lovely landscapes punctuated with useful sheep:
Moustaches and merinos
made Australia what she is today.
No fleecy clouds of maybe here!
No blubbering queens of perhaps,
with flowing boas of breast to tease
certainty into mere sniffle;
our capital’s castaway.
Through all the controversy, Skywhale maintains her dignity, moving gently through the sky with her wings of breasts, a kindly and whimsical presence, powered by hot air but quite serene. Skywhale is certainly the Queen of the Centenary. She will soon be touring the country, looking down on her subjects with that benign and somewhat Mona Lisa smile.
Long may she swish through the skies, delighting those who prefer their art to have a little whimsy, and to pose a few questions, at the same time that it delights and sets us free.
May 6, 2013
Angels dancing on pins are nothing to us.
Those celestials number thousands,
harpies with harps, slippery butterflies.
Bring the formeldehyde, I say,
and still their antic twists.
We live in millions, simple stars,
galaxies that give no light.
A bone slung hammock,
a fleshy divan,
your body transports us
as we rock, divide, and redivide.
Under the curved
frowns of your fingernails,
on the flaky deserts of your head,
we plant our sprawling flag.
Any crevice is our castle, your mouth
a plunge-pool for our disport.
Arise, Sir Realm, Lady Habitat.
King Bacillus is well pleased.
Really, these little things rule the world; a successful form that’s been around a lot longer than we have, and which may outlast us.
Sucked in, hm?
April 29, 2013
Looking past the one long leg of tarmac spider, head in Sydney,
refusing to see her iPod plugged ears, hear tart mozzie hums,
or feel insinuating throb of pocket phone, nudging like a bull
against fabric seclusion, I spread blanket on bleached ground.
I closed eyes, and opened them, misting the scene in moisture.
I applied numbing cream to mounds of anted bites, reddening.
Wished away health filled salad, replaced carrot crunch with Corot,
cocky squawk with cagey flute. Then checking watch, I turned to go.
A brand new poem as I enter a very busy week. Tomorrow night (Wednesday), at 7.30, I’m reading at Manning Clark House, 11 Tasmania Circle, Forrest, along with Charlotte Clutterbuck and Geoff Page. Do come along if you’re in Canberra. There’s an entry fee, which includes wine and snacks. It is $10, and $7 concession. Then there will be excellent books for sale, so don’t forget to buy one of them, if you are able.
A podcast of three of my poems is now available at the Blemish Books site. If you like what you hear, the book can be ordered from the very same site.
I have had a poem called ‘A question for Jane’ published at the Eureka Street blog: http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=36017 . The Jane in question had the surname of Austen, so have a look if you have time, and answer the question for yourself.
For other poems, please press this link. The Tuesday Poets are a group who are many and varied, and seemingly moulting:
April 23, 2013
So, eighteen poets wrote a poem…and it is surprisingly good!
The eighteen poets are all members of the Tuesday Poem group, based in New Zealand, and the poem started and ended there and did a world tour in between, visiting such global hotspots as Canberra.
Click here, and read the poem written for the group’s third birthday, called ‘Scratch’.
April 9, 2013
Ten million green commas punctuate blue sky,
quick breaths of swooping wonder, multiplied.
Water-hole is your target; liquid rope pulls you
and the whole emerald sky is diving,
as miniature bodies scoop down to pool.
Your individual markings have taken you
further than native flight; outside the Louvre
I saw you, cold, trying to break in, as pointillist
as Pissarro, but so acrylic in your finish.
Proud but damp escapee from French balcony,
regretting the lost seed and the found liberty.
Plump and fresh, I have heard you were good eating,
a winging fast food charred to a turn;
as far from stringy battery chook as fingers in the fire.
Most know you singly: whistling in cages,
bowing and bobbing, rattling plastic mirrors.
Driven mad you ring and ring chink-chinky bells
or make love to that hard, hard-to-get reflection.
What joy to see you
just once, as you swoop,
one stitch amongst the tapestry,
a blade of grass in feathered turf carpet,
transforming dreary waterside
with that fallen sward of Eire.
Swift dragon of twenty million wings,
fluorescing with your simple, beak-filled joys.
I wrote this poem quite a while back, but haven’t found the right place for it. Until now! Budgerigars live in huge numbers in inland Australia. Apparently they are our most successful animal export (excluding the woolly things). They are, I assume, no longer exported, but their proclivity for breeding makes them the world’s most popular cage bird. I’m sure they’d rather be back in the wild, if birds were capable of such choices.
For further poetry, click this feather, which is most definitely not that of a budgie: