Mooro Katta

5am we watch the sun rise at Mooro Katta.
Nowhere to sit but cold marble steps
Where we have placed hundreds of fake candles
Which hundreds of people carry hundreds
Of metres across the dewy grass
Where ducks are asleep and the plants
Are from thousands of kilometres away
With common and Latin labels.

And because there has been rain they look healthy.
Happy even. Orchids amongst banksias
Kangaroo paw amongst marri. The light
Changes so rapidly, we walk amongst strangers
And those of us who have not cried feel the change too.

At the hilltop we come to a boab;
That travelling circus elephant, rotten and cracking
A beached whale whose blubber leached
Back to the ocean, staining the sand.
Up north they use these trees as prisons.
Down below we see the estuary
That once was a river and further and further
Past the smoke stacks, purple hills.

Others are already at the memorial
Stretching their legs, straightening their backs.
A wattle bird’s silhouette on the metal railing.

Someone blows their nose and uses the same tissue
To wipe their eyes. For all the stories
We choose life and die, or choose death
And die. And after the poem is read
And we disperse, we meet a pregnant woman
Due any day, a cook from the country
Whose only wish is to see her toes again.

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A quick thought on Landscapes

In John Dixon Hunts’ book Greater Perfections in the chapter ‘Word and Image in the Garden’ he discusses the role of the word and narrative and experience in landscape architecture. In context of narrative, he argues:

“[N]arratives that recount times past do so in the present, which with landscape architecture is intimately linked to the configurations of the site that functions both as setting and presumably as prompt for the narrative to be recounted. Further, the “reader” is thrust into prominence; the narrative of a place relies on the verbal skills of its visitor, who has to infer or “translate” from the given materials, which can never (qua narrative) be as complete as they would be, for instance, on the pages of a novel.”

Thus, the verbal skills of a viewer, reader or visitor in a didactic, narrative designed landscape can never as complete as the reader of a novel. This is because of the “translation” from the abstraction of the inscriptions on the materials of the site, and the site itself. Therefore, for example, a plaque by the ocean may describe the anchorage of a ship in a port two hundred years earlier. The visitor reads the plaque, looks over to the position of anchorage, and is imagines a ship there. The argument put forward by Hunt is that this scenario is not as complete a narrative on the pages of a novel. However, I think there are grounds for a contrary argument. A visitor with verbal skills may have their experienced enhanced by looking out to where the boats set anchor. A purely fictionalised novel has no landscape equivalent to compare the given materials.

Unless of course, Hunt means that a plaque can never be as long or as big as a novel. In which case he is correct. He concludes: “in short, the site qua site may play a greater or lesser role.” When, I think what he means to say is: the abstract site (narrative) within a real landscape may play a greater or lesser role.

Sites within sites, narratives within narratives; the way our minds work and our body moves through a site is immensely complex. There are an infinite amount of impressions, senses, ideas and events that coalesce to complete our understanding of a landscape or site. While historical narratives within sites seek to represent a true interpretation of a sites past, what of the fictional impressions we gain from a site? How does a shift in scale, an imagined people of the past, an animated artefact, the re evaluation of the ugly change the way we read landscapes? Can, or do we reach neutrality by championing the fake and the ugly when best practise seeks to promote the good and feel good?

Poem written with Shane Starling

Its fun to drive in a beetle
and see on the footpath
one kid punch another.
But its grand to barf that
V-Dub through any prepuce freeway tunnel.
there by the subterranean palominos needle hopping the strained motor putsch right there by the compression of hard plastics and aluminum crying
like a corked arm
searing within your accelerator
so compact the boots
leather is skin
killed
inside a pastel dream
and oranges are lost
until the multidirectional charge of
their juices slide
down tangerine tunnels
clasping bassoons’
fragrant tomorrow
we, of the hideous arsed
tribe, poised with moss
and vicissitudes
uncomplete (sic)
sick by the road
taverns
dumbed by trees we cannot name
burning XB’s amphetamine
fingering the Gods
lucid orifices after
decoding the oracle
that was the barmaid
serving liquid
gone impotent and sour
which amounted to me staring at her tits for half an hour as i consumed the tipple and felt increasingly impotent
until another beetle screamed passed
and i corked you in the other arm
there would always be violence
in this world i thought
rubbing a tricep
relieved in a way to been acted
upon
(we of the hideous arses)
profound movements
castrating the sting
as a
beetle divine now
lost the road chess
moving
through the autobahn
going as fast as possible
sunglasses and soft pack
on the dash of
the panzer he’s seconded
from barracks
which was almost exclusively
recognized as a shithole
even the earthworms who slid there
thought as much
the value, a real estate agent
said would rise if civilization was applied.
the cows appealed
the crocodiles left weeping

Toward an Understanding of Attraction

Toward an understanding of attraction: I am astounded as to the origin of the force that overwhelms my being in the presence of beauty; in particular, beautiful women. For example, at a recent social gathering I spent part of evening seated next to a woman of remarkable beauty during which time an emotion in me was evoked. In that instant she was perfect and divine. It was as if normally intangible metaphysical dilemmas had altered so significantly that all pointless and purposeless wanderings had been irrevocably redirected by, and toward this woman’s disposition. Questions regarding the nature of reality and existence were rendered completely futile and impotent in her presence. In her, and beaming out of her, it seemed, lay all the conceivable answers. I imagined that if I shared the rest of my days with her they would be happy and trouble-free. Yet, nothing that she said or acted was any more extraordinary that anybody else at the gathering. I knew this, but despite that, by virtue of her attractiveness to me, I watched her movements and listened to her words with deep interest. In an attempt to conceal my infatuation I consciously addressed my remarks to anyone but this beautiful woman.

more here

Ted Berrigan and America

Interview with Lorenz Gude 29th April 2002 on Ted Berrigan and America:

James: Can you tell me about how you met Ted Berrigan?

Lorenz: When I arrived at Columbia University in 1960 I met a fella named Tom Veitch who was a year older than me. Tom was very interested in literature and he and his brothers loved comic books. They were very talented and they drew all these comic books, Tom wrote the stories. I got a bit involved in that, well, I didn’t do anything, but I knew what was going on. Hell, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do; I was probably more interested in history than literature, but I began to meet some of Tom’s friends and develop some of my own. On my floor was a young fella from Oklahoma named Ron Padgett, who was sort of a classic westerner, really tall, skinny and wore cowboy boots, with pressed jeans pulled down over the top of them. He was very fastidious. Soon we became friends, and some of his friends started coming up from Oklahoma. One time his mother came up, and she came with a pistol in her suitcase. She was a petite little brunette, very spirited middle-aged lady and a lot of fun to be around, but she packed a pistol, which in New York will get you twenty years, though back in Oklahoma it just goes in your purse with your make-up. The father was a bail bondsman and Ron never went home after nine o’clock because after then if anyone came into the house you shot em’ first and asked questions later…

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Out Of Chaos Comes A Lovable Order

Like flouting and fluttering planes
Gone with midnight a cool breeze
Remembrance quickly jumps
The superlative strength of millennia.

Twilight is complete
The streetlights have ignited
Stark looks in the corners of eyes
The silver chill drowning.

It’s a day & you are you
Eating lunch, tautologically inclined;
Shirt pockets full of debris
Entire continents

Where many lived, disappeared
There were periods when oranges
Had the power to overawe the sun,
The chunky rhythms of nostalgia…

No more waiting in this novella!
All the swings, slides & monkey bars
Catch an unselfconscious smile
(like a march-fly in the sticky

Subterfuge of a Venus flytrap
Producing the fructified arrangements
Highly suitable for toe jam) bumping along
Like hitchhikers in the back of a Ute.

Running hands across Spiky blades
the dream woman stands before me
arms in the air, lifting her jumper
slightly from jeans ― soft, pale skin;

Stupendous body, enormity of touch
Speaking to stay silent for the future
Two men made of water watch a man drown
In the cruellest ocean’s hacked foundation.

Why wrestle the channel corset?
There’s no destination.
We wander the fleshy rind of a gigantic pear,
Fascinated by nature’s fantastic, targetless volition.

Part Two

She turns slowly.

No longer apprehensive
That earth’s shell slices open
Welcoming the leaf
We comprehend chord sounds

Waist high in sunflowers
The ground does pirouettes
The Ferris wheel lets another off
The Ferris wheel lets another on.

Collisions at the train station
Lead to Eros
At an unknown address
Two wattlebirds attack a raven.

No human is observing.

Surveying Henry Point

Surveying Henry Point
For Ian Weir

Obliquely we enter Henry Peninsula
With its withering heath, charting elevations
Derived from mapping stations
For a potentially immoral buck
Justified by the adage: someone’s gotta do it.
Making more millions for millionaires
In exchange for cuts and abrasions.

Reasons non-oblique to charge wattles, acacias
And hakeas aside with forearms,
Crushing withered tendrils due south or due west
Ignoring the path of least resistance
Reading undulations, for illuminations:
Clearings for richer folks, snapping
Away nature with a click.

Coordinates a price-tagged crenulate.
When we were driven by adrenaline:
Belly to sand, face to possible snake,
(The possibility of joining Joker John Eyre
Or Slimey Septimus Roe) did we grasp
With documentation, the machine
losing sight of the satellite?

Pink and yellow tagged trees
plug in pecuniary.
Somewhere in the shade
of the Peppermint Grove
over a march ants nest,
goes the wooden patio.