All copyright © 2003 remains with the authors.
All copyright © 2004 remains with the authors.



Snapshots
10/01/03








First thing, check the fruit-stand:
has the occasional
silent invisible
night-visitor found it again? -
nibbling discreetly at just
one piece of fruit? (mandarins
preferred) all without disturbing
the sleeping dog nearby? -
and never leaving scats
we might identify...

Not last night. Just scaling
the stand (it's two wicker
discs in strong wire
on a slim spine)
to the second tier
was a feat that baffles us. - Flew, maybe?

But how enter and leave
that part of the house?
No sort of animal we know,
not in a part of town
with possums, yes, and fruit-bats,
but a house well enough sealed against these...

Not last night, but then - no
mandarins beside those lemons
and the last darkening banana.


6.30 am Max Richards, North Balwyn, Melbourne

***


GAMING PRESENCE (via Douglas Dunn)

Scouting trees here,
not books.

They move
in what percept audible--
synthetic<>natural range.

Add live voice,
not yet verbal.

Though aesthetics
as lecture-demonstration
preceded,

the precedent of the critic's precedent reference
in the case of this bookish dancer, that is,

translated:
"Soya bean, speak!"

Barry Alpert / Silver Spring MD USA / 10-1 (1:03 AM)

***


Today in my studio I am working
on a piece called, 'Talking

Heads'. The other day I sought out
the knacker's yard and bought

the severed head of a young bull
and the severed head of an old

cow. I placed them side by side
and fitted a microphone inside

the gaping mouth of the bull.
The cow's head contains a small

laser printer. Paul Remius,
my assistant, is an electronics genius

so that when you shout
into the bull's grizzle, out

pops a quote from the dead
cow's mouth. You then read

out the resulting line of Yeats,
Byron, Dilbert, John Keats

or any random combination
in the closed confessional

of a converted 'Photo-Me'
booth. A fortune cookie

is then dispensed, containing within it
the legend: 'All this is bullshit!'

Anton Brasserie, Devon, UK

***


Awake at ten, unusual, and
words in my head. Fragments.

Marion saying, "Why do they all hate him, Robin?
Is it because he's so handsome? Or successful?"
(A propos of our current lariat, Andrew Motion.)

Well, there's a quick answer to that, but one
I didn't say to Marion, she being his daughter's
godmother.

It occurred to me last night, and this seems somehow
connected, that people not brought up on the Street
baffle me -- Glasgow Washington Florence Birmingham --

Different codes, but the same body-language. Give me
thirty seconds and I can tune in, as when
I diced with a Washington crips gang -- they took me for
a CIA nark, at first -- silly, really, to be wearing
a camera there and when. But no problem.

My Street
was Denniston in the sixties, gives you
a sense of perspective. There are some rougher --
I doubt I'd like to tangle with the New York maff --
but not many.

But cowboy saviours --
That's James Baxter, the term seems to fit.

I understand him, I understand dave,
The Street's the Street. What I realise
I don't understand are all those nice well-bred
polite English people who never walked the Street.

I like them, I even sort-of admire them, but
they're not me.

(For Cassie and Jen)

Robin Hamilton, Loughborough, UK

***


ENDGAME

he got to thinking
now as he approached
his twilight years
he would cut back!
on wine women and song
say one percent
for starters.

pmcmanus 8am raynes park uk

***


'My notebooks tell how the eye is an instrument of contemplation,
how light is power and how ornament is thought' ~ Mandelstam.
Geneviève, pour donner au ferronnier to fix the guest room shower.
'Between the terrific noise of the guns
I can hear two hedge sparrows making love' ~
Edward Thomas wrote that to his wife, Helen, the day before he died.
A huge wind here has blown some clouds away, leaving growing streaks
of blue
~
blue is the hue, not of my true love's eyes, but revealed to me in trance, where I also met a frog, a bear, a lizard and a holy witch.
The last fly of summer is buzzing angrily against the window
Hey! You'd die out there if I let you out, you dumb ass, so quit
bitching. I never stop bitching myself, searching for what's behind my glasses.

Martin Walker, Lagorce, Ardèche , 1.39 pm.

***


Frank's Home

a gray cat on the edge
of a bird bath in the desert

Frank Parker Tucson, Arizona, USA

***


Star-Ledger, 10/1/03 (for Lynda Hull)

Not another yawnful knock on an easy target,
but a glimpse behind the stucco, a finding:
the moldy guitar, worm-eaten beneath the shored-up porch,
million dollar houses harbor the lives
we'd love to think belong in trailer parks.

A former investment bank executive
has not worked since late 2000.
After his death his former employer
will not disclose the reason they separated.
One may be married to his job
but business divorce is a private horror.

So he has, still, the high-priced house,
a beautiful wife with a UN job,
he spends his days keeping pace and losing ground,
running up credit card debt,
and caring for their young son.

Perhaps he cannot ask.
And if he can, what matter?
Community dissolves: cancer
is more easily handled than unemployment.
Lose your job, you are a Death's Head,
the fate awaiting others who cross the street
when you walk toward them.
So he floats adrift on the raft of the Medusa
and sees at last her snaky hair,
his heart turns not to rock but magma.

He strangles his son, age seven,
walks to the local railroad station,
hears a train, kneels on the tracks before it
as though in worship of this final God
of his eternal deliverance.

When his wife arrives home from New York
she is met at the door by local police.
"Ma'am, maybe you better sit down."
Suburban brickface crumbles,
porches rot, there is no music left.

Kenneth Wolman. USA

***


Snapshot headlines (1 week late):

A regular boy who drifted into trouble
Bush rebuked over Iraq

Barring mayhem after midnight
Vatican is turning the clock back
changing altar girls' role at mass

Not extinct after all

Mother Theresa stamps
herald next month's fast track
beatification

Busdriver jailed for unscheduled trip
Bush speech shaped by mounting domestic
Agriculture minister insists mad cow

a priority all along... Douglas Barbour, Edmonton, Canada Sept 24 (07:55 Oct 1 2003)

***


Indigenous

(Love Song For A Nomad)

parched vowels etch - petrify
rippling tessellations, living organisms
language rejoices, natural patterns
a harmony of small particles
apostrophes in space -
oasis's dots and dashes, commas in vastness
arid gestures of indigenous rhythm
lines shape, form nomadic genres
gentle reminders imprint sands
far removed from conversation
tie down that tiny tent
between oar strokes
the mid of sea and land
common ground
cool and refreshing, there,
touch the strident points
the smooth indifference

Deborah Russell
10:10 am
Baltimore, Maryland, USA

***


trying to build a ship
or pennant
out of some of these words

scattering in the light
bird call as green
as the night

but this is too much work
too much wooden collection
let the sea call green
somehow in that

over rock and interlace
of tide bubble
and littoral

if I hold it sideways
the moment
(now scan and metal
paper) as though

the line could lift
away out of LaPa's
sandstone

just a little south of us
all day all night

just the rain
and its steady
fades as task heavy
sleep waits in tide

words to the wind
to midnight

Jill Jones, 11.10pm, Marrickville, Australia

***


Carpets of carbonised leaves.

Kari Foster
Cergy, Val d'Oise, France
9:27 pm

***


I have forgotten again
how beautifully this city dreams
in blue neons and sodium
its silent ships which glide along the black river
under the red cranes

how ripples of moon die under the bridges
only to be born again
and again against the breakwaters

how the empty freeway
slickers red and yellow
over the terminal
and its massiveness seems gentle now

under the spring rain
which forgives everything
with an equal tenderness
and reveals nothing
but its live lips
brushing my hair

Alison Croggon, Williamstown, Australia, 11.58pm

***


my luck riffs toward Z,
today's cicada
trees a-sway--
how a child resides
first in lingual Greek tyche
between eye, ear, a thick

mouthed here meeting
a so cream coffee man
leaning slow words
& Bach conjugations Z oh
nutmeg sprinklings & I
have met the worst word (romance)

so *mort* it's torch welded to a smooth pat
across cicada backsides & who needs that
ochre-pebble-bedded mouthfuls or
walkways for today insofar as (I love all
subtle Z-endings: transnational
transitionals)

I do not sleep-
in Z brimming harpy dreams
ridiculous or other-
wise presence but take all
the happies I can: enough to cite
cicadas

or confess
across any
blueberry
scone & double seam checkered
red/white tablecloth corner
draping surface light

as seeming ore gone to V
figuring adrift once again
how I love
when luck fits
Twin Earth cafe days: for you, a few sweet
twin gravities, love

Chris Murray, Dallas, TX, USA

***


You're exiting the office
in a business casual manner
descending through the
mezzanine in a counter-
clockwise procedure. The balustrades
don't ask for much and all
the exits are automatic
The clouds have been
relieved by the elevators
after eight hour service
Pulling away from the parking garage
it's hard to tell if the horns
from behind are for you

Michael Cole, 11:12pm

***


SNAPSHOT 23
whenever gunnlaugur scheving
is mentioned the first thing
that comes into my mind is not
one of his magnificient canvasses
but the image of the man himself
a week before his death braving
the elements standing alone
on top of a mound by the sea
in akranes facing a raging south-
western storm and sketching the
bay and the mountains as seen
through the slanting rain the lapels
of his coat pulled this way and that
his face flushed by the wind the back
of his hands wet from sheltering
the pad and the tip of his pencil
árni ibsen
october 2, 10:15 pm
stekkjarkinn 19
hafnarfjördur
iceland


***





Poetryetc is a listserv relating to poetry and poetics which provides a forum for poets to debate their critical and creative work. The list has over the years run a number of projects for its members, of which Snapshots has been the most enduring.

Every Wednesday, Poetryetc members were invited to post short poems on any subject or in any form they chose. The idea was to make a poetic collage of instamatic “snaps” of that day that reflected the international membership of the list. The project has generated an astounding number of poems.

The first two runs, of six weeks each, and the first ten weeks of the third run, are archived at Wild Honey Press www.wildhoneypress.com under Poetryetc Project. The rest - amounting in all to a run of a year - are archived here.

Poetryetc, like its affiliate Salt Publishing (http://www.saltpublishing.com), was founded by Australian poet John Kinsella. Salt is managed by Christopher Hamilton-Emery (cemery@saltpublishing.com), while Poetryetc is owned by Alison Croggon (ajcroggon@bigpond.com). Poetryetc is now archived at http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/poetryetc.html. and anyone interested can join from that url.

To contact the listowner: Alison Croggon


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