Good morning

Good morning.
I'll begin a regular post. Towards the end of every month I'll nominate the poetry book that I most enjoyed or was most impressed by in the previous few weeks. So here's the book for March.

Recently, I wrote a poem for Ken Bolton,
as an attempt at writing about his new book.
I used a long discursive, rambling method to
resemble his style (not as successfully as Ken
does - but he's been writing long wide poems
for over twenty five years - he knows what he's

I'm not certain how this will fit the blog template
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For further information on At the Flash & At the Baci please visit Wakefield Press

Day and night, your poems

what else am I meant to be doing today
I can't stop reading your poems
the wind cools now through a gap
the sash window up a little
the windy air swirls, annoyingly, around my legs
I should put the window down
the day so bright grey and so breezy
saying summer's nearly over

I have only one hour spare
before I am to drive over to Fox studios
I can't stop reading your poems
I like the way you say 'coffee shop'
it's Australian never 'café'
nor 'bar' which is what you'd say in old Europe
where you take a coffee at a bar or bar tabac
not that what is said being 'Australian'
matters more or less, it's the way it sounds
that I like
I've said 'café' in a poem
just to set a neater rhythm
around thirty years ago I called a book of poems 'Café Sport'
after the Italian Caffe Sport in Leichhardt
though I'd never written anything there I'd drunk
innumerable espresso coffees brewed by Lucia
who kept the chess players' grappa
under the counter hidden from the law


there's the key at the door to the flat
the clockyclunky sound of the lock barrel turning as it opens
and Jane arrives, back from the city,
happy with the book she's bought
from the Language Book Centre
'Advanced French Grammar' by Monique L'Huillier
not much time to leaf through it though
and now no more time for your poems either
we're off to Fox studios Entertainment Quarter
to see a film


I couldn't stop reading your poems yesterday
and last night I finished them reading reading night and day
this morning I've placed the book on top of the portable tv set
next to this small table - the cover and spine remind me
of its pleasures
how you blend poetry and daily life
or, really,
how you mix thinking about poetry, thinking about everyday life,
like an easy interaction of light and geometry
setting an example or, even, a standard
for me - here in this poem I'm trying to write to yours -

it should be quiet here today
Jane's exercising in the pool at Easts club
I imagine her splashing up and down a lane
or standing in a gentle whirl of ripples
I'm here in the flat
at the laptop
a flock of Eastern Rosellas or Rainbow Lorikeets
or whatever those plump little coloured parrots are
are squawking in the fig trees outside
the roof man's here
blowing leaves from the building's gutters with a petrol blower
so - not quiet
as I wonder about that habit in contemporary poetry
you identify in a poem called 'Coffee'
how so many poets are fond of using the word 'blue' -
I'm guilty - cobalt blue, saxe blue, small blue view -
but I rarely say 'coffee' or 'coffee cup' in a poem
except for this one
my problem is that so many poets start with nature
I'm guilty there too
or another problem so many poets
write about politicians who are, really, as ephemeral as nature
I'm occasionally guilty
of passing mentions, snide - written in a fury


what do I remember ?
how many lines from the hundreds and hundreds, probably
thousands, of poetry collections I've read
and the poems submitted to the magazines I've edited ?
I sometimes think of some of yours -
'awake & refreshed
tho with nothing on the page'
can come to mind almost regularly these days
and, for me, a craved nostalgia in
'Rome's night air outside the window, spelling Rome'

'I don't have a Cruel Theory
in my body'
has become an in-joke between me and myself
'the terrific
of summer'
from earlier terrific days, and your poem 'Day & Night'
your Berrigan-dreaming drinks with friends
'I think continually of those who were truly great,'
someone said'
there it is now in the someone said
your poems to John Forbes
remind me to think of him and of his great poetry
and your living friends floating through your lines
they're signifiers, ne'er-do-wells in art'n'life and greats
participants all in an array of tasks and pleasures of, mostly, an intellect
that stays up that extra hour
so as not to miss the dawn
and to later amble down to Hindley Street
breathing in the pungent air of a coffee shop
opening for the day


Stu said...

I loved this. A fitting homage! I haven't read Ken's latest yet, but you've inspired me to head down to Collected Works, pick up a copy, then drench a day or two with his carefree, full-of-life meanderings.

pb said...

Hello Stu,
You won't be disappointed in 'At the Flash & At the Baci'.
Glad you visited 'The Deletions'