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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

..........................THE RETURN



Room 500.23




Below is a long spiel indicating WHY I am now back to doing public readings of my own poetry - I started last Tuesday night at the Thirsty Dog which is a bar near the motorway over-bridge in K'Road.


PLACE: The Thirsty Dog

TIME: 8.00 pm

GUEST: Varies weekly - Elizabeth Wilson read last Tuesday.

MIKE: Open - anyone can read virtually anything - put your name on the book.

MUSIC: Was great -Fijian pair. Musicians vary each week.


I started going to live poetry readings in 1989 - it was then held at the Albion. At first I just listened - I had started writing again in 1988 after my father and my father in law died in 1987 and also I had changed jobs. In addition, around 1978 I had a kind of crisis - I was 30 and was questioning whether working for the Post Office as a Lineman and a Cable Jointer were what I wanted to do. I was by then or soon a Foreman.. My ex wife had (with my help; and her own excellent efforts considering she was looking after two or three children) ) gained a BA degree but decided to work and about that time we were earning a pretty good income between us and I had a cheap mortgage - I lived in South Auckland - South Otara actually. I was very happy in the days my children were young and growing. We knew everyone in the street. I had a pretty good job but I felt it had was less challenging it (I worked for the Post Office's Enginering and Construction Branch - they are now Telecom).


In 1978 I started playing Chess again (I had played as a teenager in the 60s) - I did quite well even beating an International Master and drawing with two others - in fact (in 2 games) I was in a wining position versus Ortvin Sarapu but the games were drawn - quite exciting games however. Sarapu was NZ Champion about 20 times, and, as he was from Estonia he of course knew the great Paul Keres - he had also beaten Bogoljubov - who had played 2 matches v Alekhine - perhaps the greatest player in history of chess (although Keres - from Estonia - as was Ortivin himself - is also candidate for that title.)

However while I reached the A Grade I was unable to "crack" the top level players even in NZ - where chess is not strong (the standard is higher in Australia)....

But I spent a lot of time studying chess; and did quite well in Correspondence Chess - in the end I was spending too much time analysing games etc


Then we also moved house to Howick. After my father (and in the same year my father in law who I loved also) died and so on - my marriage eventually collapsed and these and other factors pushed me to start writing poetry - which I did by studying books on writing and so on - I had huge gaps in my knowledge as my previous writing had only been a story in Mate in 1969 -70.
In fact I had hardly read a book on (or involving) literature for 20 years - so I found writers such as John Ashbery (and later say Schuyler and even our own Curnow) - while fascinating - quite incomprehensible - if very comical and witty & beautiful in some (often dark) unutterable way, in fact...


Then I got involved in "street politics" - then I "settled down" .... and so on.


I had not necessarily wanted to be a writer when I was young - I had dreams in fact of being a scientist (possibly a biochemist - all sorts of things (but my maths was not good enough and lab experiments and practical work were beyond me so I abandoned it - but I keep a lay interest in science etc))...


But after my marriage collapsed I moved from (by now Engineering Electronics and Communication Systems - sounds impressive but basically I was just a technician working for the then Government controlled Electricity System (they have their own extensive communications network) - which BTW is - in all likelihood - and was still, because of the lack of a large scale maintenance (albeit it is true that some maintenance is or can be counterproductive) , and also rabid and insane privatisation, pretty ready to collapse! No electric or telecommunications network or even rail or transport should be in private control - that is asking for disaster ) ...


In any case I moved into literature and eventually completed a BA in English etc Writing started to obsess me.


But while I went to readings I had never been a person who liked reading in public and I was very (almost "clinically") introverted as a young man. (in fact my shyness and so on lead to a "nervous break down" in 1967 when I was working as a Roading and Lab Tech for Bitumix). However I felt that public reading of my poetry would be a way to be heard - I didn't think of getting published. So I started using alcohol for "Dutch courage" and began reading and continued for some years in the 90s when I was quite successful - I got a huge ego boost out of reading live.


Poetry Live was run by John Herbert, Judy McNeil and such as Nick Owens (tragically he died about 1996). There were many exciting readings - I was asked to be guest poet and over time gave many guest readings. I organised guest readings at Ron Riddell's Dead Poets book shop in Dunbar road - off Dominion. Earlier, in 1994, I also began a "Poetry Club" in Panmure at the suggestion of Frank Lane which was very successful - I met some great people through that.


I also performed a show I called "the Tin Drum" at the Little Maidment in 1992 (I had been on stage there the year before and some "acting people" asked me back). There I read poems from memory - in fact I enacted my work.

Later Raewyn Alexander organised The Poetry Brats - and we performed in about 10 places including Hamilton. I have a video of the first event. Raewyn is a very talented writer and has also a kind of genius for organising. The Brats included Raewyn, Olwyn Stewart (a writer of great ability, published, as I am, by Titus Books, Yves and Renee Harrison (both of great potential as poets and actors/performers), Matt Sunderland (who had played in Waiting for Godot and is an actor - he was more recently the lead actor in the film "Out of the Blue"), and Linda Earle (who mixed poetry with jazz and has gone on to some "glory") - I think Genevieve McClean was also involved - in any case she gave some great performances herself around those times.
(She still does I am informed.)


But in all those heady times I was drinking heavily - at performances mostly. This eventually meant appearances before judges for DIC on several occasions and I also suffered a lot of bad reactions to drinking ... I stuffed up a lot of things in my life - but they were nevertheless great times and I wrote and I performed a lot of poems.

So I 'dropped' or 'phased out' of the reading scene for some time and started to reduce weight - which I succeeded at - also I stopped drinking and began to reduce my dependence on medication I had been using for years - this has also been successful so far.


Meanwhile in the last 6 years I took up chess quite seriously and I won quite a few tournaments and prizes.



I also (mostly) avoided places - such as pubs - where there was a "danger" of using alcohol and thus poetry reading "live" was a "no go" situation. But as I have been reducing (benzodiazepams) I found that paradoxically I have felt calmer! Ths is because these medications - while more addictive than cocaine - actually enhance the effects they are designed to reduce!

I also used certain self-enhancing "self talk" and relaxation (etc), and other techniques to focus my mind - (I use some of the ideas in Dr Wayne Dyer's (brilliant) book "Your Erroneous Zones") -
in addition - for complex reasons - I decided not to play chess on Tuesday nights this year. (I still play competitive chess but at a different Club).


Armed with all this - I got myself back to Poetry Live which is now held at the Thirsty Dog on every Tuesday night in and around 8.00 pm. I was nervous - could I get through this without drinking? I was shouted one non alcoholic cocktail and had a coffee. Would I get the "buzz" of yore [there are some wonderful aspects of being able to"disappear into inebriation!].

Elizabeth Wilson - a Uni lecturer - and a fascinating writer - gave the guest reading - it was great - brilliant writing.

Earlier, I read three poems, that quite were well received -

Here they are -

To Bonnard

Bonnard - man of light,
Call it God breathed in your ear?
And who looked from your eyes?
Bonnard you built:
Pierre, Pierre Bonnard -
You blaze from every corner


he had a very strong mother
who took him out of his dream
and he shuddered again
because once it was not as it is now,
for we must be something.
but you, you yearn - fear for the
the black absolution,
that envelope of veins
that geners like a river
a “hoo” echo out of a bone ghost,
only if only the stones.
the hard mother might
weaken to a dwarfic or a deaf,
if only the stones would rage in an acorn.

I must awake now
and torch the night:
the walls hunger for graffito
that’s greater than Twombly.
let’s go out, let’s riot, let’s smash somethin’
because of the father mother, setting fire.
what and where again is me how howled
some increep, yet there are flashes
you know me, and once i told. She bitch
flung me into the rich arms of those fires
who kinded my death terror.
mother mother of all would not allow
those boy bullies to hack me, and so I winked, and
later my running up caught me -
burning ecstatic on the anvilled evil -
who had often breathed and knew my own knowing,
as a cat knows it is sleeping. these blood
tellings moan like Five Thousand Wind,
and he is complete of his replete, so he is,
setting forth to Flat Mountain. he is no terror
but begins a sculpture and maketh colour of
the return, SKAZ i am seize me, king
of myself on painting walls and white flats,
like my cave before me it’s right to rebel
kill the cops and smash the eye dream,

strong mother; gun; where are we now?

Mongolian Dreams

Mongolian Dreams

It remains there —

Dont talk to me about it!

I dont want to know, I wont listen. I wont!

It's in my head. I know, there’s snow, and

probably camels — do they have camels? Snow?

And do the irrit camels shake their sleepy

heads when the snow flakes touch?

What are they doing now? Eh?

Does the daughter emerge from the tent?

Does she breathe the cold night?

Did she dream?

Her language is hers. Her Mongolia

is not my Mongolia. Is it?

But what about the White Mountain?

Is it still there? Eh?

It was cold last night. Was it?

And what of the Man? Was he inside Mother?

Later he stood outside, pissing —

the hot yellow steaming stream

meandered forth like a new life:

the stars descended to gather in its fate. Did they?

He looks up. Does he look up?

Does his Woman sleep?

And the leopard, the snow leopard, does it

shift and twitch? Does it?

Never tell me

never tell me...


These I had written some time ago. The lighting at The Thirsty Dog is very good so I had no trouble reading and I felt quite relaxed. I got a great buzz from the evening - without alcohol and felt really good NOT being drunk and drinking and getting home alert - being alert, being there or here, conscious, a conscious being,being enthusiastic, being in life, alive - that is, alive and being in the now, is what I love...

I met up with some poets I knew from the old days - Judy NcNeil and Colin Munn as well as Shane Hollands who read some excellent poems (Judy and Colin also read well) - Shane has a performance group and a radio show. He is in contact with Saut Situmorang - a fascinating Indonesian poet I have not seen for some time - he is doing well in Indonesia - where he was from..

Readers were varied in their approach and showed unique outlooks on life and writing. Some "quiet" readers showed subtlety - a Maori fellow gave a great poem in homage to Hone Tuwhare.

A very drunk poet "exploded" with an extraordinarily brilliant "diatribe" - completely from memory - it was great performance. Another reader "sang" without music - the lines coming between the unheard chords - an eerie and interesting effect.

The owner's/management are supportive of poetry and were very good last night - it is a great venue.

I greatly enjoyed the evening and had some interesting conversations - old and young were there. I will in all probability read again next week. There is also a small launch -reading - fund raising - of Miriam Barr's small magazine "Side Stream" which has even published me! (In an earlier issue.) I'm not sure if I can make it Friday - same place - the Thirsty Dog.



There has been much debate over the years about poetry readings and the value of Poetry Live but I feel that such organisations - while they don't replace the "circuit" of magazines and book publishing; and even the internet etc - are a powerful and very important adjunt - a great social and cultural force. There is a psychic need for such places as much as music "gigs" or "art orgies". Possibly of more value than the more "restrained" or formal-academic readings of visiting "major" poets" etc

I remember pushing to have Colin Munn and Tim Birch read in days of yore - and a "published poet" 'resigned' from coming to any more readings (they weren't "recognised poets") ... this was around 1993. But who evaluates who? Everyone has a different view of what is 'good' or 'great' poetry (if we can ever "evaluate" any poetry) and in fact there is probably a huge disagreement as to what poetry is [ you are - in my view - at this very now - in the act of reading my poem which really has no meaning or "program" per se - perhaps it is called EYELIGHT -but I am not sure - I don't really fact... perhaps you are not reading a poem..what is a poem?]

The point is - do we who read or perform - find this experience enhancing, enjoyable or exciting?

For others there are formal readings with no open mike. There is the question of "quality" and the charge of intellectualism and academicism. For me it is all interesting - I don't see any value in exclusivity or (necessarily) inclusiveness. I don't enjoy listening to "famous" poets any more than seeing the "unknown" and emerging talent at places as Poetry Live - this not to say I am anti-intellectual ro anti "difficulty"- the best (if we can say there is a best) seem to bridge the divides. I am not anti anything, or anti very much! (Perhaps I am in politics on certain issues) - it is better to be 'open to experience' - which line is taken from Kendrick Smithyman's poem 'Tomorata'...

or just as in my poem GO (inspired somewhat by Ron Silliman's poetics and poems)

which I read at the first Poetry Brats Night (I try to acknowledge Silliman when I do read it) ----- just as in that poem - I don't fall into what Dr Wayne Dyer calls


'The Comparison Trap' and I avoid the silliness of this when it gets to this:

"The black dog tried to out bark the white dog. " !



A flat man. A blue pen in a pink hand. Not in a pool of light. The sprightly old cat. An old thing. A yellow eye. The wind winks. The flat man flaps. Any old thing. Take a pen a map a torch. The stones are getting drawn. A carton of cartoons. The red yellow and lovely blue things. Superman. Five fingered thing. The blue piece. She dissected the ded sheep’s eye. Doctors. A blue pen in a blue hand. Not in a pool of light by the pool. The telephone is black. The flat man slaggles on the kerbstones. Terrytoons and the Stooges. A boot. They were excited about the new curve. Stoned by curved curbstones. The merry berry. The Wizard of Was. Look at the S on that man! Any old thing. A mellow yellow. Bristles growing in the night. Naughty old toad. He played Batman. The wierd, winking, thinking wind. A cartoon of cartoons in Khartoum. The coloured girls go. Doctors doctored. The hand grips the house with a violety vile laugh. An account of being told. The flat man in badlands with windy eyes. They carried the curve into the adjoining laboratory. Take a pen a map a torch a dark. The thing darkleyed at him. The fively fine and five fingered thinkle thing. An ancient telephone trapped inside a movie. The sheep’s eye was ded dad I took charge but the boys. A blue pen that changes when different hands. A boot on a boat. The new white coat joined them in the lab as they crowded round the new curve. A Bible with a yellow cover. Dark out the map with untorch. The wind was drunk and fell on the flowers. A frozen explosion. The silence slowly painted until it grew up to be a voice as of a thousand waters. Shakespeares’ plays have been proved incorrect. Any old rolled romantic old thing. Popeye ate every spinach in the world. Doctor doctor meet Mr Doctor, the son of Mrs Doctor. The curve demanded habeus corpus and the scientists were desperated. Og. Bog. Ghoul. Eye. John oggled the oggly ogg, groggling in the bog. The flat faced flat man flatted in flat street. The black dog tried to out bark the white dog. The trees have forgotten.

R Taylor 1992 (After Ron Silliman)

You can - now - hear me and others reading on Titus Books - here is the link:

Titus sound files


Monday, February 02, 2009


"His works are stories, stories in form and colour and shape...

room zx


..............links to Joanna Paul's 'Imogen' (to her own style and subtlety of work)......

and thus I am linked by memory and association to my friend Leicester Kyle who dedicated his Poetry Book "Anzac Liturgies" to me......... and who knew her and her husband of those times, and who typed up the drafts of 'Imogen'

.........also there is a link to the work and life of Jeffrey Harris how illustrated a book by Leiecter - and whose work is fascinating and which I am "studyng" via a library book written by the excellent art writer Justin Paton

There is a link also to Alan Loney - major NZ printer, publisher and poet - he made her book.


Morandi painted still lifes over and over, keeping his work powerfully restrained into (sometimes disturbing or near surreal) nuance or even nuages, shapes and forms, stillness but deceptively, movement: "minimalist" or restrained
but exquisitely created -there is a near transcendent glow and subtlety of shaping and form and colour in his still lifes, and in his landscapes - one of Italy's greatest artists - I discovered him only because Joanna Paul - another deep poet of forms and shapes - wrote, in 'Imogen'

blessings on Morandi who made a shape to part the space..........

space edges densely the
space edges densely the hourglass of white

I will scan the rest when I edit this process

This is revelatory to me.

...............[n.b. I have - for now - abandoned structure per se in EYELIGHT....]


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Room the Z


when the eye can finally see, we

discover that all the little curlicues form a
design, a monogram, an ornament...which only we can
read: this is life. The world weaver wove it"

(Burned 68).

To write, to try meticulously to retain something, to wrestle alone to retain something, to cause something to survive, to wrest a few precise (or even vague) scraps from the void as it grows from oblivion's mushroom inevitability and from the blackness and the irradient brightness of the gorgeous history of all

The rhythm of life in the play will repeat itself into eternity; beyond deceit the insanity of life will continue.amongst the savage hordes

the mystery of windows

you cannot conceive:


Undoubtedly the most famous and most successful of the chamber plays. Subtitled "Kama Loka: A Buddhist Drama", Strindberg seems to suggest a blending of Eastern and Western myths. Kama Loka This won't ever be finished. itself has realm of desire. This could refer to the Student's ardent ith the hyacinth girl as well as
The road had many turnings and
twistings, and he knew that, for
all he
could tell, the gypsies might be only a few
hundred yards in front of them.

wide to whom war

to retain something

and was a part and parcel of

their nature. It was not long before

Hummel's desire to enter the house of the Colonel, "an appropriate name for a house where the lives of its occupants are linked in a network of desire and deceit" (Carlson 192). The other…………………………..harbors no concern for pedagogical realities interpretation of Kama Loka refers to a mythical world of ghosts and dreams "through which mortals, some mortals, have to wander before they enter the peace of death's kingdom" (Meyer 481). The world Strindberg has created seems to echo these mythical qualities. Several people …………………………..harbors no concern for pedagogical realities during the course of the play end their wanderings and enter the kingdom beyond.
Fashioned after Beethoven's sonata …………………………..harbors no concern for pedagogical realities in D minor (opus 31 no. 2), the action of the play follows the musical form A-B-A (Steene 113). The play moves inward, from the street, to the drawing room, to the hyacinth room, from the present to the past to the future (Carlson 191). Scenes one

l sections golden dark eye light black light light black eternal red sections eternal eyelight thinking into black light white light light eternal eternal quia sections who know dark light white eternal dark eye golden black light sections sections eye light light red green black light sections sections eye light light red green scream section perpendicular

"It is horrible like life, when the veil falls from
our eyes and we see things as they are. It has shape
and content, the wisdom that comes with age, as our
knowledge increases and we learn to understand. This
is how the Weaver weaves men's destinies, secrets
like these are to be found in every

................................................................ we
live in a world of madness and delusion (illusion)
from which we must fight our way free" (Meyer 481).

wide amongst the savage hordes to whom war

and depredation was a

This won't ever be finished.

their nature...........

.............. It

..................................................................................\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\was not long

was not long