Monday, September 30, 2013

Tuesday Poem - Tenants by Jon Paul Fiorentino

An odd dream
with only characters, no self. Yes, I am
aware it’s not interesting.

There were three men and one
woman in a shared apartment, itself
an odd dream.

Each of the tenants’ rooms was
decorated peculiarly, contained its own narrative
aware it’s not interesting.

The first was draped in pure simulacra –
the woman’s with wallpaper of a photocopied letter telling of
an odd dream.

in which the third was adorned with anachronistic
Xmas and the last with just one sad halogen placed
where it’s not interesting.

The simulacra slayed me – here was this man
with mad props of bed, books, art. Present in so little,
dreaming an odd dream
unaware it’s not interesting.

I have bumped into Jon Paul Fiorentino at the Queensland Poetry Festival twice! That's twice we have co-incided. And this time I picked up his excellent, droll book – Needs Improvement. You can invest in a copy from Coach House Books, Toronto, ON.

Jon Paul Fiorentino is the author of the novel Stripmalling, which
was shortlisted for the Paragraphe Hugh Maclennan Prize for Fiction,
and five previous poetry collections, in-cluding The Theory of the Loser
Class, which was shortlisted for the A. M. Klein Prize. His most recent
poetry collection, Indexical Elegies, won the 2010 CBC Book Club
‘Bookie’ Award for Best Book of Poetry. He lives in Montreal, where
he teaches writing at Concordia university and edits Matrix magazine.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tuesday Poem - The magpie by Jackson

The magpie
The magpie
with his sleek black wings and soft white back
hops onto the chair under the window,
listens to me rehearsing.
I look him in the eye and declaim at him.
When I finish the poem he hops up onto the windowsill, a bold
‘Hey! What are you doing? You can’t come in the house!’
He hops down onto the paving and looks at me reproachfully.
‘Well... you might make a mess. You might
poo on the table. I could
let you in if you promise not to
poo on the table...
or if you promise to clean up after yourself...’
He looks at me.
‘Or do you have a
message for me?’
He looks at me.
‘You’re a beautiful boy,
aren’t you? Look at that
beautiful back.’
He picks something out of the gutter and swallows it
then struts slowly away.
I threaten him. ‘I’ll write a poem about you.’

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tuesday Poem - Everything Is For A Very Short Time - by Jennifer Compton

Everything Is For A Very Short Time

The Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse
Edited by Ian Wedde and Harvey McQueen

There is no question of regret - I write hastily, in the shadow of my hand –
we left off loving - I'm not good I'm not peaceful I'm not wise – collapsing
out of Heaven – good intentions - other disappointments - such an ecstasy
of bewildered weeping – we had to be terrible news – in these terrible times.
Nothing innocent lasts long – the tragic scent of violets – in a broken vase -
her face moves like the face of a thief at the window – her face unclenches
like a fist – yes, the cold has come again – with a diffident explanation.
Theology and a patchwork absolute – the bare longing of the imagination -
treacherous as an avalanche poised above – and the white snake dead too -
the translucent hyperboles of art – saying Bravo Bravo to the Invisible –
eyes lit up by eager, cruel fires – as the taniwha is raised up from its den -
prodded into stuttering rage – his gnarled his dazzling his stubborn heart -
where the visions start – among immortal things – and all this in fidelity
to death - the iron bells toll – my story comes to its end. But picture me.

Cento from – Mary Ursula Bethell, Michael Harlow, Meg Campbell, Brian Turner,
Ian Wedde, Bill Manhire, Hilaire Kirkland, Allen Curnow, Tuini Ngāwai (Translation
by Kumeroa Ngoingoi Pēwhairangi), Tony Beyer, A.R.D. Fairburn, Christina Beer,
 Elizabeth Nannestad, Sam Hunt, K.O. Arvidson, Denis Glover, Heather McPherson,
Murray Edmond, Alistair Campbell, Fleur Adcock, C.K. Stead, Janet Frame, Keith 
Sinclair, Waikato (Translation by Margaret Orbell), M.K. Joseph, Kevin Ireland,
Charles Brasch, Vincent O'Sullivan, James K. Baxter, David Mitchell, Keri Hulme. 

Above please find one of the three centos (from the Latin for patchwork quilt) 
I have written. Borrowing, appropriation, remixing, sampling, homage, deja dit, 
objets trouves, mash-ups, found poetry and plagiarism have been much on our 
minds these days. There is much to ponder.     

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tuesday Poem - Concrete Tuesday by David Musgrave

Concrete Tuesday

happens only in winter, beginning in a narrow street
in orphaning light
where cars shrink into their parking spaces,
nosing each other like dogs,
under a sky without colour, damp and clear. From dirty holes
in the bitumen, bare veins thrust into the sky,
devoid of leaves. Up and down the street the sound of doors
snapping shut, the sounds of hunkering down, of rattling blinds,
the shiver of keys, terraces diminishing into themselves,
and I realise this is the kind of day where I know
what it's like to be part of a species,
a day that doesn't belong to me, but to animals and their ignorant thrall
to DNA, ours and theirs, to the fear in rustling leaves
as my shadow passes them, to cancer and IVF,
to fucking in the cold weltering moon
of a bedside lamp and finding in shadows
the face of a lost or forgotten loved one,
to bronchioles opening and choking, to the fug of sleep
and the gritty, uncovering dawn, to the plucking of dew
and the slow gather of fog, and the gutters of fast trickling,
to a bole with its half-moons of amputation,
to a statue of father, mother and child, moss-stained
and faceless, to the fluorescent burrows
in which we excel and word, to running and to the flight
of cat’s eyes as the lane changers hone their art,
to cigarettes, to the minarets of absolute capital.
On this day, people are like cars, on high beam
and nudging each other and passing, ragefully,
low clouds dwarfing the personal,
clouds low in the sky’s brow creased in conversation,
all the colours of the day chosen from a palette
of reticent tones and shades.
It’s a day I negotiate. As one does a hillside
or a contract, each as slippery as the other,
and dealt with as with a minor catastrophe,
not the sort that leaves knuckles red from wringing
or memory cauterised, but is like the slow collapse
of habitual happiness into something more provisional,
into a set of ideas which can’t be classified
or extraordinary states of mind unshared
except in retrospect, in the way that each generation
finds the music of its successors alien,
a set of special horizons in which we zoom about,
bucking against the statistics and confirming them.
The gutters peeping rain seem almost spontaneous.
On such a day as this I wish I were following someone,
a man or a woman, it doesn’t matter which,
and he or she is wearing a suit
of mirrors which throw off prodigiously the details of the day:
the city and its incisions, barbaric and cultured,
no choice but no choice, only consequent actions,
walking with gusto and throwing the world back at itself,
the world cut up into parts, becoming the ultimate fashion accessory,
drawing a crowd who would follow the mirrors
up the rancid lane where next to the butts and syringes,
a sign is chalked on a piece of plywood
that looks like a ripped out heart, saying
‘Concrete Tuesday’ and an arrow which,
as it happens, is pointing straight at me.

While I was in Sydney recently I hopped into the reading at Mr Falcon’s Bar in Glebe. What an excellent reading run by Micah Horton Hallett on the last Wednesday of the month, or is it the fourth Wednesday? Oh dear, I wish I could remember. I discussed it with people, about how it clashes most of the time but not all the time with the reading at Don Bank. Anyway it is a raffishly charming venue and the night I was there it had two excellent featured poets – Andy Quan and David Musgrave. I was in a Sydney frame of mind, remembering Sydney, and then David Musgrave read Concrete Tuesday – it really hit the spot. So I invested in his eponymous book.
Some astonishing work in this book. It had me on the edge of my bus seat as I headed down to Canberra the next day.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Tuesday Poem - reflective by Jackson


The beautiful strange enormous cricket-thing
     that came in when your windows were open
     that got in your hair
     that you put out
     into the violent February weather
     thinking that its proper domain
     thinking yourself not able to provide for it
     that came in again
     that you put out again
The beautiful strange enormous cricket-thing
     with the dull brown surface
     with the folded wings
     with the antennae
     with the many-faceted eyes
     with the incessant moving and searching
     with the glorious reflective red inside its big jumping-legs
The beautiful strange enormous cricket-thing
     has expired on your back-door threshold
     its guts carried off by the amoral ants
     its body now an empty bottle
     its glorious legs cut away,

I caught up with Jackson in Canberra last week when we were both featuring
at The Front Gallery. She did a top show and sang one of my favourite poem/
songs that I always call Cricket-Thing. It's in her new book, Lemon Oil, which
I invested in. A very handsome book (well done Coral Carter at Mulla Mulla
Press) that is heaving with passionate, oddball reveries and apercus.

If you want to read more Tuesday Poems click on the quill icon at the top of the page.