Wednesday, January 04, 2017

'Nothing at all!'

It's that time of year again. Kindergarten is out for a few weeks, beer and wine are flowing on the balcony, and friends are knocking on the door. Conditions are not good for blogging, and the only thing I can hope to write is the occasional poem.

I've been scribbling a series of sonnets addressed to my friend Sio Siasau, who spent much of this year in New York City. It turns out that Sio had been writing a series of poems of his own in America: I'm very curious to see how they read alongside my epistles.

Here's one of my 'Sonnets for Sio'. It was written with the assistance of my oldest son.

Chapter 63
So now you are writing poems, Sio! 
Like a watch ticking in a coffin
the blank page is patient. You bend your neck
and squint, and notice the pits and crevices
in the paper, and blink at its glare. 
                               Coleridge crossed 
the same white desert, looking for the oasis
of Kubla Khan. Xanadu was a date palm
shading a mudpool, a civilisation
of flies. 
           Aneirin is awake and at the table
beside me, tinkering with his lego while I type.
He looks at the almost blank screen and asks
'What are you doing Daddy?'. 
I tell him I'm crossing a white desert 
with only a cup of lukewarm tea to sustain me.
I ask him if he'd like to travel with me, to join
the poem, and he replies 'No! I want to say nothing, Dad,
nothing at all!' 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it!

11:47 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Good poem Scott. My daughter, when she was about 12 or so would be beside me while I wrote some poems. One was about a spider, in which I had the phrase 'a hammering chaos' and she made a picture I still have with a hammer inside a cobweb and with colours, and there was another about our trip to Rotorua. She also made a picture that reflected that. Once she helped me with one of the few stories I have ever written. (I have, I think, abandoned the idea of writing stories, I love reading short stories though...
Send Sio my kind regards for the New Year and everything!

11:29 pm  
Anonymous Scott Hamilton said...

I remember one of those poems Richard.

'I hear her in the other room: she is still alive.'

Good poems...

11:45 am  
Blogger Richard said...

Thanks Scott. I remember that line, but I cant recall the rest of it. That was a poem referencing my mother (I wrote more than one). But the ones I did "with" Tam when she was here were the ones she illustrated. I wrote another one about my mother though and some stuff was also in the Hospital series. Actually I should do another poem (series) like Chains which I think was very good.

4:04 pm  
Anonymous Scott Hamilton said...

You need to archive your stuff, Richard. Perhaps this will be easier, as you out together an Eyelight mss?

2:02 am  
Anonymous Scott Hamilton said...

Admittedly I'm not a great archivist myself!

2:03 am  
Blogger Richard said...

I have them in hard copy. Actually I was going through everything looking for a poem I wrote years ago that I liked. Sorting the wheat from the chaff. I need to collate those with say a first line accompanying each in a list. I could use a Word or similar document as the data base program that was easy to use now has disappeared (I think I might use Linux when I upgrade by the way). But I have most of them in a poetry folder in my computer but I also have folders for general, my own, Leceister Kyle, Jack I think and one Sid Kahnzode who has recently been sending me some enigmatic and sometimes very good poems from India. So I have a system!! But I sometimes repeat lines in different poems. Actually I don't think that matters. But I also simply forget from the title. My memory is not good and was made worse by years of taking prescription medication for my extreme nervous condition. Something that for years I kept quiet about or I would have lost employment and it was also something I didn't want people to know about. But you seem to get mainly Spammers and albeit Lurkers and undoubtedly Trolls on here....but a way to communicate! I messaged you on Face Book but no answer!

9:48 am  
Blogger Richard said...

But I am slowly organizing my poems (and I need a cross-referencing system). God knows what will happen to all my books poems and crap when I die. My nephew is a lawyer and about 2 years ago started re-doing my Will but I suppose I will die with all that fucked up but then I am at the tail end of my life. Not the best time to be. When young one has hope and a future then it is realised that life has gone past, more and more a person knows are dead. Eternal nothingness or some hell as Shakespeare or Hamlet was terrified 'What dreams might come...' I await Eliot's 'lean solicitor'. Meanwhile I see less and less of anyone in the poetry world, and with the huge advance, so called, of communications, I have found that everyone speaks to everyone else less and less. The old telephone, or indeed, a visit or a letter, was a deeper way of communicating. I agree with John Gray that progress is a massive illusion. The 'Spectacle' I just learnt about is related to Baudrillard's Simulacrum: but we have always been in a kind of illusion of reality. There has never been that better, fresher, cleaner, "more pure" world.

9:57 am  
Blogger Richard said...

So, I cant even get into contact with Brett! Is he on holiday? I am not sure what kind of target date re my book. I don't expect much from it but I would at least like to have a few copies to a few people who are interested if they are.

At the moment I am slowly collating the posts and copying them onto a separate back up system (with other stuff). Then I'll see how I might make it a kind of art-book project.

Key thing here, for me and Davis, one thing I DO agree with him about, his dislike of the word or term poetry or poet. I like to think of myself as a language engineer and multiple or multiplex artist (I see all kinds of similarities everywhere going back at least to the Dadaists and others, such as Debord and those who write in that asemic (?) language or writing which I thought I had invented! Also I think the Letterists or Lettrists were doing something. I've never seen Benjamain's 'Arcades' project but that idea fascinates me.

Not quite language poetics as Morrissey thinks I am stuck up the the wrong end of! Bu influenced...

In any case, for better or worse, the Infinite Poem underlies it (EYELIGHT etc) so it goes back at least to YOUR Salt mag which I was looking at the other day...

I hadn't got around to looking at Michael Steven's FB. I was surprised, I thought he had disappeared in Dunedin 100 years ago! He is writing some good poems in Landfall etc, one I think was what I might call "great"...It was a few issues back. He is febrile re poetry and poetics, one of the exception of the phemomena of those who are locked into the Beats etc but know nothing of much else, and rave and rant with their Rap poems in 'Slam'competitions. In general, unless I win, I hate competitions, and prodigies who can play violins at 3 or 6 and do mathematics or dance on their heads, they are all Freaks to me (like scientists who are good at making more and more terrible weapons of destruction and not much else)...that said, insanely, I ma playing in the Zonal Chess tournament between the 14th of Jan and the 20th. Terrible game chess, it is like smoking, an addiction.

One has to be positive in life....

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