July 16, 2014
Continuing the slightly whingey tone that my usually vibrant and witty blog has exhibited lately, I had a week at the beach and I was too sick to swim! I am still sick and on actual medicine! I have not been able to go to the gym for ages! You can’t keep good Aussie germs down, it seems. They are positively marsupial in their popping up when least expected.
I dragged my benighted carcass into town on Sunday, and ran into photographer and person about town Geoffrey Dunn, who asked me to open an exhibition he is having at The Front Gallery here in Canberra. Intriguingly entitled ‘Two Tens and a Tomato’, it includes work by Geoffrey and visual artist and poet Marina Talevski. They have mixed poetry, photography, sculpture and installation into works exploring the written word and visualisations of poetic elements.
I am popping down to the Gallery tonight to check it out, so that I can hopefully say something coherent tomorrow at 7pm.
Hanging out in town with a sign saying ‘Will launch for drink’ has finally paid off…
Here is a photograph of me taken by Mr Dunn. Unfortunately my magic parasol did not keep the germs at bay. Must ask for a refund. From the makers of parasols, not from the photographer.
For comparatively germ free reading, click this feather:
January 28, 2014
Perfect beyond compare, the composition
glimpsed behind the sand dune, visitation
of a nation, expressed in three fork prongs:
a cricket stump, a tinnie, and a single thong.
Was there an arranger, of design intelligent,
or was it just luck, dumb evolution, that bent
time and space to make this eloquent trio?
Leprechauns fix just one shoe, but there’s no
Irishman likes cricket, it’s just not their game.
Should I search for walkers gone lame,
one side leaning? Or a patriotic drunk
who made tribute, through placing this junk,
into a precise summation of our Antipodes:
weird sport, sour booze, and feet liking breeze?
A very light poem indeed today. Ye gads, it’s not even a proper sonnet! Yesterday was the public holiday for Australia Day (which was Sunday the 26th, for all you benighted foreigners), and the flags hopped out like feral rabbits. I find the yobbo aspects of patriotism very hard to take.
But the rhyming thing above celebrates a moment when I saw a thong (a flip-flop for all you benighted foreigners), a tinnie (an aluminium drink can that once contained beer – oh, do keep up!), and a cricket stump (surely you know what that is?) discarded at the beach.
Meanwhile, of course, morons are killing sharks in Western Australia as they occasionally bite people who are in the water. Meanwhile, our navy is reportedly pushing boats of asylum seekers back to Indonesia. Meanwhile, we still don’t recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution.
But at least we beat the Poms in cricket. (Men’s cricket, that is.)
October 7, 2013
Bathers from Poland
They are on their way;
my new bathers, adorned
with palm trees so neon
they glowed on Bikini
when the Americans
taught sand to speak atomic.
Bathers from Poland
winging their way
through choked skies,
changing the air
and thickening it
with chemical spread.
One piece retro.
Black, and a blue
never seen on any beach
where water meets grin
of yellow sand.
You will shade
a shyer smile of glee.
Having returned from a very sybaritic week at the beach (not the beach above, but a ‘proper Aussie beach’) I thought I would post this poem about some bathers I really did buy from Poland. Which is like selling coals to Newcastle, in reverse. I think.
Are they beachifying themselves in New Zealand, the United States, or Paris? I know not! I will press this albatross feather to find out, and I suggest you do the same:
March 12, 2012
Because it creeps into crevices like tiny crabs,
making a clutching claw of your buttocks,
and because these small private incursions
allow souvenir confetti to sprinkle for days,
as if the tacky beach had followed you home,
an over-friendly guest at the wedding reception
hoping to come on the honeymoon, sticking, and
because, unllke house dust and garden dirt
it seems clean, despite ten million dead things
crunching under your hot splayed feet,
fragmented into this smiling pointilist
carpet, into which you sink, wallowing;
you welcome it. You are the beached seal
on the long yellow towel spread out between
restlessness and mundanity, between sea
chopping, mouthing, swallowing, spitting,
and the inland everyday, shaping you,
trowelling you, like that avid child, eagerly
out-turning a bucket of wet,
The photo is of the place I like best in the world, on the south coast of New South Wales. I’m not going to give the exact location, as I am profoundly selfish. The tiny village there is surrounded by National Park so it can’t be extended. Locals (some of them) don’t want sewage or town water put on, to ensure no more development. You know you’re in the first world where people are campaigning against running water.
Everyone in Canberra treks to the coast whenever they can. Yesterday (Monday) was a public holiday in the ACT for Canberra Day, so nearly everyone left Canberra for the long weekend. Next year is the 100th anniversary of Canberra, so it will be interesting to see if more people stay for the festivities.
Personally, I’ll take the sand every time, and the milder weather. Everyone was still wearing just bathers and thongs, and we’re into Autumn. Kangaroos frolic in backyards. Black cockatoos swirl around, particularly before rain. So. very. nice.
This poem is from my first poetry collection, The Glass Violin. For more poems from a variety of climates, please click on the feather, which I suspect is not that of a black cockatoo:
September 6, 2011
Huge rubber torpedoes loose themselves onto shore;
a giant’s speed-humps beached. Incomprehensible,
these commas in a language no-one knows to speak.
Like sheep they follow each other, but no canny dog
can turn them, head them back to deep supporting sea.
Victims of gravity, bulk weighs them down,
and spread of sand becomes a massy grave.
That short word why grows in watchers’ minds,
pressing like the bodies on that fatal beach.
No answer comes. We water them like giant bulbs,
and strain to plant them back in bed of ocean.
But sometimes there can be just too much coast.
Unseen sirens called them, and some turned back
to dire, heavy death. Lapped by waves,
gentle as a fading memory, what do whales see
in that final surge, before their spirits swim away?