Jazz

Sax snaking
between notes,
tonguing air for directions,
poisonously honeyed
ears overflowing
quick thickening

and her voice,
both glacier and moraine
digging cool deep
graves of swoon,
lowering us in,
willingly, longingly
noise-swaddled

now punctuated by
exhortations of snare,
the metal finesse
of the cymbal
so jaggedly round
sweet clanging infraction

their fingers, her larynx
lynx swift yet subtle,
pouncing syncopation
delivers gasp-slaps
on listeners’ lobes —
we clap pauseless poise

PS Cottier

Szaxofoncsalad_001

It’s so very hard to write about music, but I continue to try!

In other news, my poem ‘Lycium Barbarum’ which first appeared in the journal Umbel & Panicle is now published in the Rhysling anthology, which contains poems nominated for the Rhysling Award, a yearly award for poems of a speculative nature. The awards are organised by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, based in the US. Speculative poetry includes science fiction, horror (mine is a humorous horror poem featuring werewolves), fantasy and sundry weirdnesses. Lovely to see it there.

(Image By User:Villanueva at hu.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons)

All the blond Jesuses

You see them wriggle free of windows,
lithe as silver fish, but golden-haired.
These Jesuses, blond sons of blond Marys,
head out the door to play cricket,
with leather and willow in sudden whites.
St Dorothy joins in, and its all fruit
and flowers and UK May, as Jesuses
bloom like jonquils on the soft field.
Sometimes a Jesus will stop for a while,
and an almost-frown appear. He recalls
another day, when he was darker skinned,
darker haired, and his reaching hands
caught iron, not the ball flicked to slip
like an idea. Oranges smile like cut suns.
The stumped Jesus reconciles himself
to this easier gig, amongst teammates
all as blond and as quick as wit itself.
He scampers between wickets, wood kinder
than when he cried, and slumped and died,
before the dark cave, and its inconstant rock.

PS Cottier

William_Blake_-_Christ_Appearing_to_the_Apostles_after_the_Resurrection_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

This poem has appeared in Verity La and in my short collection Selection Criteria for Death in Triptych Poets Issue 3 (Blemish Books).

It’s an interesting thing that some put more emphasis on the crucifixion than the resurrection; dwelling on pain rather than the triumph of good over evil, or hope, if you prefer. Those two are running through my poem, and I’ll avoid roping in any yellow tape. You can rough up a metaphor too thoroughly.

He is risen indeed!

This one is via link to Not Very Quiet, an online journal of women’s poetry. This edition, the second, was guest edited by Anita Patel, and the launch was held last night at Smiths Alternative here in Canberra. Many of the included poets were there to read their poems, along with the founding editors, Sandra Renew and Moya Pacey, and production editor Tikka Wilson.

Here is Anita Patel launching this issue, which is well worth a look.

Anita edit

The worst statue in Australia?

In Cairns, there’s a Captain Cook.
Of course, you say, he’s everywhere,
a kind of cane toad, or rabbit,
with a nicer, powdery wig.
But, and do my eyes deceive me?
in Cairns he’s saluting.
A Nazi salute. But, you say
(again), James lived long before
the Nazis. And you’d be right.
Yet someone built this… ‘art’
long after the Nazis.
Someone placed it in front of
the Endeavour Inn, now gone.
Now Nazi Cook stands there,
all forlorn, ugly as Ugly’s ugly uncle,
giving his tireless salute.
The mind boggles. And yet, I say,
given the way his arrival
heralded attempted genocide,
maybe his inadvertent Nazi salute
makes a kind of sense?
This statue, which would last
ten minutes in Canberra
(that’s as in the place people live,
not the places politicians gather)
is just as grim as facts.
So perhaps this is the best statue
of Cook in Australia?
Not aesthetically, for it’s foul,
foul as a nightmare’s farts,
but historically?
I’m not the first to comment
on Cairns’s Nazi Cook.
And yet still he stands, gesturing,
truly obscene, seen on the way
to the Reef (the Frankland Islands
named by yes, you know who)
or back. You can’t see it
without the words ‘topple’
or ‘Aussie-mandias’ coming to mind.
Cairns’s Cook kicks pale mythology
quite out of decent bounds.
Unspeakably ugly, laughably gross,
and, it must be said, somewhat true.

PS Cottier

Nazi Cook

The Cairns Cook is aesthetically disgusting. At least one Indigenous artist, Munganbana Norman Miller, has taken action to address it, politically. (Note that the headline suggests that putting a ‘Sorry’ sign on the statue was vandalising it; I think that anything would improve this statue, apart from the fact that putting a sign on it is hardly vandalism. The article itself has a different tone.)

Seeing this thing made me realise that Australia really is a big place, politically. (‘Canberra vegan poet investigates Far North Queensland in one week stay!’) I have been trying to find a way to talk about it for a couple of months now, putting it in the context of debates about what we do with statues that are problematic. (That’s a link to an article by Paul Daley.)

You can read a little more about the building of this Cook statue here. That article says the gesture is copied from a painting of Cook ‘protecting’ Aborigines, which adds to the mix. There’s a much better photo there; mine was taken in a mini-bus in a state of shocked amusement. (But note that there’s a sign saying you can win a trip to Las Vegas under him, in my photo, and something about the Cock and Bull. Cook and Bull?)

Cairns, statue aside, is beautiful.

All hail the tip turkey

Tip turkey works through the plastic — a TROJAN
Tip turkey has no time for posing — he’s no STATUE
Tip Turkey is adorned with smears — a saucy TOMATO
Tip Turkey cries to the sky — frogs smoking CIGARETTES
Tip turkey smells unpleasant — but not more than homely TIP
Tip turkey fell from perfect grace — some may even call him SACRED
Tip turkey is no pink flamingo — no smiling lawn adorning TIP
Tip turkey is flung at the margins — discarded CIGARETTES
Tip turkey is letting himself go — bald seedy as TOMATO
Tip turkey follows reckless trash — a tributary STATUE
Tip turkey has no hidden surprise — he’s no TROJAN

Poet’s note: Tip turkey is a common name for Threskiornis moluccus, the Australian white ibis.

PS Cottier

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The tip turkey came second in a recent poll of Australia’s favourite bird, beaten by a beak by the magpie. I voted for the budgie or the cockatoo; I can’t really remember. The idea of a ‘favourite bird’ is a bit silly, after all! This poem has been rummaging in the bins of my writing folder for ages, so I thought I’d share it.

The poem was originally called ‘But in the air they make such lovely arrows’ which explains the shape, but I thought it was a tad confusing. The tip turkey above was walking down a Canberra street like a particularly smelly ballet dancer.

UPDATE: The poem’s shape is lost on phone display. Sorry.