Saturday, December 29, 2012

We Must Stop Them

 Today I read this -

"It is true. All of us ordinary, annoying, scared, crazily 

hopeful people are called upon to fight, together, the greatest 

 fight in human history....The fight is simple: to keep a planet 

 we can live on....Given an alternative, hey, who wouldn't 

 choose clean burning energy? But the fossil fuel industry -- 

 giant and complex -- has blocked alternative energy. The 

 fossil fuel industry, all of the oil companies -- Chevron, 

 Exxon, BP, Shell, etc., have decided that immediate profit is 

 more important than a world.


We have to stop them."

This is a great blog, please read it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Friendship and Empty Rooms

Some kind of moody rock and roll plays on the radio. A man singing aaahhh, whaaaa, and about building the future, guitars strumming, a loose steady beat. Sounds like people singing on a wharf at sunset but without the red sky at night, it could rain tomorrow. He says he's been waiting there so long....

The music puts me in mind of friends far away. We have a spare room here if anyone ever wants to visit. Meanwhile, I have stored various things in there for our next garage sale in February. Selling things you do not want from your front garden, garage, carport... is a wonderful way to meet the neighbours, lovely recycling and it's easy to weed, prune and plant while also flogging off unwanted items. This next garage sale, a friend from across the road and I plan to collaborate. If you want to sell anything too, let me know and drop it off here. Come along and sell it yourself on the day or donate to the recycling cause.

The music's playing on, it sounds so surf-like, rolling water.

Whenever I think of large bodies of water now I think of the Pacific Ocean. The months it took my ancestors to sail over here from France on the Comte de Paris, and on the Lady Jocelyn from England. After my own, (cruise) ship voyage across the Pacific I can see how adventurous they were to travel here. The Comte de Paris is shown below. It looks so small, think of those sails flapping in strong winds, tearing, having to be repaired on board.  The four or five metre swells they may've encountered, higher than my house, dips and troughs of massive water. What friendships they must've created in the stress and excitement.

My ancestor stopped at Napolean's grave on the way and took cuttings of willows there. He planted them along the Avon River in Christchurch.  They grow there to this day. Francois Leleivre saw the wisdom of planting trees and so did my grandmother on the other side of the family.  Her father, a Ward from Worthing, England sailed out here with six children and his wife, then rode on horseback up the North Island to find land. They planted oaks there, near Cambridge, North Island, NZ,  and called the place The Oaks. It is now owned by another family but those oak trees flourish on the hill round the house.

On my parents' property they planted many fruit trees, a kowhai on the lawn, and my grandmother had already planted trees on their place over the road. She then went along the private road behind their place and put trees all along there. I grew up thinking trees were a normal and necessary part of life. Their sighing and strange movements in the wind on dark nights were supposed to make me run, run, run for the lit back door and safety in our house. Their lovely greening in spring or year round colour fitted the world so well, and when I climbed them those trees provided a sanctuary from a world of talk, people, neatness and duties. Trees have their own kind of order. The rough and smooth and flourish of them inspires and intrigues. Close to a tree, I always feel calmer, belief in the world's goodness is easier there.

We need more trees if this world is to be a decent place for human beings to live. Find a place in your heart for giving to others, you'll also find more happiness than is possible any other way. Give trees to Australia, they really need them. Also, if we pay for trees every time we travel then we are paying to soak up the carbon we produce in that jet plane, boat, car or train. It's a fine thing to take responsibility for our own mess. The more trees we plant too, the more likely the weather extremes will lessen, the more likely human beings could survive with a reasonable quality of life.

Trees mean human survival.

I've so far bought trees for Australia to cover the cost of my trip to America and back, and also, a collection of plantings for a place up North in NZ, for a long car trip I did recently. Those are both documented on this blog. If you google 'trees for travel' there are many links to investigate. My going vegetarian also saves massive amounts of carbon. The animals that were once bred and killed to feed me are no longer needed, their methane is not being belched and farted into the atmosphere any longer. The transport and refrigeration costs for them and their meat are not needed either.

Many links for Trees for Travel are here -  

My fourth cousin in the Waitakeries told me so much about my ancestor, Leleivre who sailed here from France then had to hide where he was from. The prejudice those French people met here was a real trial.  If I ever read the poem, shown below, in public then some Anglophile people in the audience frown, glower, fold their arms, look away, annoyed. My great-aunts had the family moniker as their second name, so they carried it and my mother told us often about an ancestor who was a Frenchman and schoolteacher in the South Island, somewhere. We kept our history alive until we could investigate it more thoroughly.

The two photos above show my cousin's place, he co-incidentally lives with an old friend of mine, they fly the French flag on their property.

No matter what flag we fly or what politics we may believe in, we all need air to breathe and places to live which are as safe as possible. Planting trees, going vegetarian, recycling, taking care with resources and with each other, these all help the world to be a better place. Caring for each other means we also care for where we live and the quality of life generally. We deserve this.

All cheer and goodness to you, your families and friends in this festive season. Look after each other, in the end that's what always matters, every single day.

--------------------- -->

a French schoolteacher sailed here

1840 in the navy ship Comte de Paris

a merchant seaman he rigged and swabbed to travel

then great-great grandfather built a white weatherboard cottage

travelling on whispers and promises

my distant cousin in the Waitakeries told us

Southern Maori wanted to get the English out

but the French captain let the story slip

viewpoints measured and twanged

called in further North on their three month way

by sail to cross the globe from Normandy and the Charente

French families met by the English on the southern coast

stories as private as wine-stores in temperance country

refused permission to land unless they gave up their nation

sixty took English citizenship - permitted to disembark

while five families could afford to sail back to France

over 180 days pull there and back the strength of identity

Lelièvre, (the hare) many spellings five generations on

some great aunts' middle name their secret

much from over a century ago or so silent and lovely

signs and clues in how we dress or flirt and smile

Judy's designer gown salon Lelièvre in Melbourne

a mother-of-pearl sequin and jet bead legacy

inspire admiration without speaking a word

famous indifference to oppression our invisible shield

strangers arrived with contrasts and bewilderment

changed their Francais names and blended stories

kept to their own bay area - a micro-climate and sunny

through talk ages and pages a timeless knowing

cousin surrounded with rimu and kauri explained

the tri-colour flag outside his house in west Auckland hills

our forebears hid their identity in Akaroa

the mythical relief of accepting difference exists

when outsiders appear like thoughts too flip

sticky as a half-cooked pancake could catch or stain

better to wait til everything’s well-heated and palatable

perfume and aromas crowd in remembering

ideas about how French we are turn easily into a kitchen

warm plates and an arm around your shoulder

France quite at home in cupboards and wardrobes

crushed mystery mended with light

talk with flying hands on our mother’s side

drew sensitive friends and roomful conversation

we listen to Edith Piaf with our whole skin

every scrap of music in a swagged room

would Lelièvre have laughed at our common touch

or drawn a story to line his love for Justine?

a Malmanche wife welcomed new arrivals

hands and smiles signal flags from a lit doorway

until we met a fourth cousin's stories in the forest 
we imagined our schoolteacher ancestor with brown hair

still unmarried in a wooden room - desk piled with books

youth a most pleasant way to enshrine

now we know he stopped to gather willow in France

cuttings from Napoleon Bonaparte’s grave to transplant

those trees grow along the Avon River in Christchurch

checking postcards to see how each leaf's grown

while I work with youngsters unable to attend school

his ghost could mend my dreams and find a map

through infinite dark a new unfolding for my little light

mainstream shouts such an icy blast

linked and raw the story a new house frame

demolition timber and plans recovered from a beach

where waves tear towards land like ever and more

to stay true to honour and not simply law

our garden sprouted with artichokes and Swiss chard

thyme and other herbs Francois could recognise

we’d drink red wine, discuss political curiosities

this cabinet of behaviour - some twisted

Justine-Rose explaining better business is kind

the warmest way to greet a guest with salty cheeks

what to wear when homesick enough to swim home

well-dressed is armour against slings and arrows

their imagined memory as strange as a cartoon now

they sit instead behind me and they watch out

the way they did onboard ship with only stars to see them true

reading our astrology in fortunes of shadow


telephone pole and trees at my cousin's place - Waitakerie Ranges Tamaki Makaurau Auckland NZ

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

tea embroidery baby seal club

The other evening at Tea Embroidery Baby Seal Club, where people stand and read things from pages they've written on buses, in kitchens, or those lappy toppers favoured lately by munie-knowers, we were told there was absolutely no reading your own poetry, no no no, not allowed at the start. Hand gestures were also involved, a palm held up like someone stopping on a bicycle.

People who wished to read had to swap a poem with a stranger, a kind of blind art dating (and perhaps, a good way to create even more stress in the sensitive lives of others. Inevitably, perhaps the human beings in charge of any group do go a little power-looped, to a degree. Possibly they forgot, in this case, what a trial it is for people to stand up in front of an audience, let alone read someone else's stuff just foisted upon them. A way to stop new readers getting involved too, I guess).

The audience who were drifting in by then, a weekly meeting to spy upon the minds and hearts of various writers, scribblers, list-maniacs, ravers, mumblers and lyric-fans at a pub named after a parched animal. It could be a better venue at any time, the place changes whenever the management at one bar, cafe or salon decides they've had enough, or the organisers find a new place they think is more suitable.  This pub does have lots of room, comfortable seating, and a sound system but the mic stand is broken, the drinks are far too expensive and there's hardly any parking. I believe the buses from our suburb no longer stop near there either.  The quality of guest poets has also been somewhat low lately, based on who is known personally and liked for their sociability perhaps, rather than choosing poets whose work is challenging, really original or simply stellar and who will truly draw attention from many people.

This woman, anyway, we call her Q?, was furious with the idea she could not read her own work, (she'd already broadcast the fact she was reading to many, who were arrving even as we spoke to see her). She told the MC, 'This is like a Tea Party or an Embroidery Club, it is supposed to be about POETRY.' Spun around when she marched off to the bar for a drinkule, one of those alko-holes which sometimes seem the only place to run to. Meanwhile, a set of sequinned older women who would've looked and sounded quite at home in Las Vegas, sound checked on stage, to sing covers of a well known 70s rock band in sparkling cabaret-style. Opening act. The usual singer-songwriter musicians, or more artful music performance at this poetry night mysteriously absent.
Q? told me later she found it curious, their choice of musicians lately for the venue, 'It's as if art has left the building. Mind you, the sit-down-be-still-and-shut-up-society do run a lot of things in this country. Perhaps they own shares in pile medicine laboratories? I suppose this could be their kind of erm, art, the smoothness of it, you know, the lack of anything provoking. People getting along and behaving themselves is more important than anything to get them going, thinking, questioning.' She looked doubtful. 'You know, there's countless odd things people do with music. But they had something like abuse set to tunes a few weeks ago.  Honestly, crass and tedious sadism some of it, sung. Grotesque and not in a Hieronymus Bosch way. I decided this horrible music was obviously for people who did not enjoy sex, who did not have a very good command of the English language and who enjoyed abuse, which is not my style at all. And now this overly-mannered, gussied up stuff. Polished sure, good singers definitely, but this is a poetry venue. Where's the organisers' insight and wit?  This work has zero wit. It's super-duper cabaret and belongs in that kind of place, not here.'
We sat there wondering, and had to agree there were a handful of older audience members who liked the overly long musical spot, (it really is a poetry venue, not a music venue so we hope this long musical intro., is shorter in future). A few younger people looked startled, then their amazement at the extraordinarily sequinned performers carried them through a short while of it. Many others like us appeared uninterested, irritated, or openly bored.
But, wonder of all wonders, the poet Q? was eventually permitted to read her own work on this poetry evening, during open mic and in the first section, so she did not have to get more and more weary waiting til later on, after working all day beforehand. She did so, just before the guest poet read a great deal of other people's writing which we thought strange too, (guest poets usually read their own verses), however, this, below, is what the woman, Q? read.  I'm so glad I have a copy. What do you think?

Ish mrael and the Yooesaye - the same thing in different places

religious hives
frightly different basic abuzzin'
without honey
nest eggs wasp-screech for corp., capital
to mind behind the bunnies of non-hippity hop

top top top people floating in charge
a bubble swell
thick walls of elastic messages
sumptuous clothes and cars
hum like sycophants
food selected from the furthest reaches of unpoisonous
where no chemical they make to pay for the dishes
has yet reached or beached nor teaches any hard lesson
only organic fantasticals while blister-packs are outlawed there
piled up instead elsewhere to trick seabirds
who feed fancy particles to their chicks
starved corpses a circle of feathers around plastic fragments

chain reactions translated into witty gold
told children wear adult skin in charge of countries
controllers inside their ears and fears
inhabit micro-chips and definer jewellery with whispers
film their meat puppets' every woken or sleepful
anonymous wanna-be artists
human being material
distanced from consequences
actors have pay docked remotely

the weary disappointment of slave labour
translated into fine art
children swapped for expensive shoes
asleep under the roads
out of sight a wrong day from penthouse deodorisers
or hot air balloon super-yacht strip the stars for birthdays
while trees burn into ghosts
and the air cooks adore and floors
dumbed by education cuts - rump not sirloin
numbed by luxury dumps
the finest designer drugs (tested on illegal aliens paid with credit)
alcohol (from limited rendition handblown or flysewn)
sex (performed by enhanced athletes
who rarely question beyond sheets and positions)

a test of humanity afar and dim
other galaxies also mighty shapes and darkness
divorced from shadow traces in their blown hearts
uncomfortable lost too much moola
married to Munie Gunns and Powah Flowers
the unidentical twins of ruin disguised as hybrid movie stars
a polyamorous affair
the man plan or woman wish in the middle
gradually turns into stone
an effigy
a monument to bend-spending and wreck flecks
a fine statue erected to them in any rhyme at time
guy ropes fine snapping
taking an eye or off a limb
the dangers of ego-cuckoo art starling
(fright much or flight tough)?

the few people who do know -
a combination pappy deal of over-done pleasings
and the tease of wish knowing then never easing
the results of greed-riven choicest
sociopaths and psychopaths and concrete paths to cliffs
almost everybody near those peeps too afraid
people in steeples with keep keep keep written all over
in invisible ink
the heat of a rioting crowd brings messages darker
those responsible inside wide
surrounded with watchers and clockers
who refuse to do much but agree sting
the way water mixes with dirt and acid and poison
hide real opinions
take this pretend and stake your fake it
but make it never happens does it?
hoping for the best like prisoners on death row
corporate kulcha needs a good long look at itself
triple mirror every view naked on a TV show
lock some semi-demi-people up for the public's safety
grateful the computer did not turn into an operetta while I wrote this
can hear the fizz of a fuse lit somewhere

writing in a bunker under a golf course
using an assumed name based on a video game
something like bad painting
or a rock band called Sainted Sluts
forget you ever read these absurd bird scratchings
unless necessary some time to confess you've burst
set the paper on fire
a spill to light your stray from the tunnel we're in
finding the sky blue again some flare
our tears and cries filling whirly to the brim
crims making us swim unless we're drowning

                                             By the poet known as Question

May Hem and Nut Case from the I Guess I Just Don't Know exhibition 2011

Tell your MP we do not want the TPPA here, it is a covert takeover of our country, bring it into the light where the illumination can ruin it. Snail mail your MP without a stamp, they're not needed on letters to MPs, just put their name on the envelope and The Beehive, Wellington,  or email them.

It is better to stand alone for what is decent and good, than to stand with many for what is going to ruin us all, including those of you hiding in the crowd, those who know better. Speak up.