Friday, October 30, 2015

Pukeko Dawn

The warm light night. White jasmine in a heavy dark coat peeps in at the window with a 'hello' face, or set of faces.

'Hello!' I echo.

The moon plays its part in full.

I play Bach in full. I can't get enough. Bach fills the living room, evoking a better class of memory.

My glasses slide down my nose.

Bach concludes by sitting down upon a chair just prior to leaping up off it again to dance. I'm with Bach.

It is dangerous to drink after midnight. Risqué, the French might say. One does it anyway.

My hand shadows my page, insect like.

White wine hardly counts.

The dishwasher mashes time.

M's heron stands erect,  its stretched, sanded tanded skin, glowing golden on the white windowsill, watching the view.

The moon glows too, almost confusing the daisies, the toughest plant to confuse.

My glass is thirsty. I shouldn't drink. It's 1am.

The publishers like my head shot. It's almost current.

I like to eat marshmallow in the dark. The softness is more surprising. I pick crumbs off my bust and arm rest.

Faded pink daisies reach for the moon. They do not sleep. I know how they feel. The moon has me up too, it dusts the garden with a ghostly grey.

If I didn't have to write, I'd turn out all the lights.

The dishwasher 'bewoo's, 'bewoo's it's owl-like finish. Normally only the night hears, I wonder if it bewoos all the same.

You know it's really night when the machines pack it in.

The plants are quite dull in the heavy grey dawn. Only the street lamp, on its ludicrously long neck, glows bright yellow, its bulbous head, a hard bulging blossom.

I watch the dawn but the flowers don't watch me. They barely breathe.

Day begins: pinks and blues in soft baby hues.

Green begins to greeeeeeeen.

Still, it looks like cloud.

Dawn is the confirmation of colour.

Even through the thick cloud, the sun bestows colour.

Colour is more than life. Colour is hope.

But Day doesn't 'break' as some have it. 'Break' assumes pointiness. Day is smooth, feminine. Night, well, that is a different matter entirely. Night can be pointy.

Birds awaken, speaking their varied hellos.

Bach now on his third lap.

Yellow emerges.

Day is almost lighting my page now, the street lamp has been switched off.

Orange is here; the brick path looks meatier for it; follow the orange brick road...

I must release the cat from her garage cage.

One a week I chop nuts to 'beef' up my morning muesli. My breakfast then has all the five food groups: grain, dairy, fruit (tinned pears), nuts (protein), oil, the nuts are roasted.

But I will not chop nuts for the boys (they have separate cereal). They are too old for such mothering. I will, however, make them a fried egg and ham salad bun for lunch, as I was too sick to make one yesterday, the usual fried egg bun day.

Today is Thursday.

Day is grey.

A grey Thursday in spring, the hopeful season at least.

The cat licks my cereal bowl. She likes milk even though we feed her water, or perhaps because of that.

I am in no hurry for summer, except for it bringing the book closer.

The ceramic pukeko is last of all to cast off the heavy cloak of Night, shining yellow-eyed and friendly.

Empty the dishwasher. Leave fried eggs batties to cool. Add tomato, ham and crunchy lettuce - once egg has cooled. Gladwrap last of all, or the bun will sweat.

Feed the cat turkey and chicken.

Repeat Bach.

Set C2's breakfast table, blue bowl, pears in glass, and Weet-Bix. Pack rest of lunch: apple, muesli bar, cheese triangle, biscuit. Wrap fried egg buns. Remember mayonnaise. Place packed lunch-box on table next to breakfast bowl.

Should be teaching dance tonight. But I cancelled. Nearly three years, two of which were pretty good. Lovely email from Karen. No regrets about decision, couldn't dance tonight anyway with Tuesday night's liquid sins still lingering. Also periods. Phew! But not ideal for dance.

Make a plunger of coffee. No coffee yesterday. Too crook. Hardly ate either.

Call up chute to C2. Probably need to wake him in the flesh again later.

Didn't take the usual meds last night, wanting to watch the dawn.

C2 is late. Don't have the energy to go upstairs to wake him up.

Go anyway.

Cat1 (mother) charges past me up the stairs, wanting to be first to the top. Nearly trips me up, as usual.

C2 is still in bed at 8.43! He's supposed to be at school at 8.45. Admittedly we live only five minutes walk away from the school, but that's still bad maths - so much for breakfast.

Cat2 (daughter) joins us from C2's bedroom where she sleeps, sometimes trapped if C2 takes too long to wake up.

We end with two cats considerin' the yard.

DAY (29 October, 2015)!

The gnomes are drowning!

He's in it up to his beard. In fact it looks like an extension of his beard. She, meanwhile, is in it up to her boobs. They both look deliriously happy, which is why they are there in the first place. They came before the grass indeed. Long before.

If you find them you have found us, for it is our doorstep plant put there precisely to welcome guests - and family - back, usually, or for the first time. They replace a spikier plant. And the gnomes used to be more deeply within the garden. A great improvement in both cases.

Gnomes and 'gnome beard' plant, as I will call it, are meant to be together - hence the name.

I don't know whether or not to trim the gnome beard or leave it to grow where it wants, which will probably be all over the comely pair, burying their happy smiles. If not trimmed, they will loose their gnome shape entirely and then be reduced - or elevated - to pure plant, effectively.

I think I'd better trim the green gnome.

Monday, October 26, 2015

In Bed with Bach

Our old bed in the new spare bedroom - 'Bonnie's room' - her art and photos remain on the walls.

This long weekend when many of our countrymen and women were absorbed in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals and captain Richie McCaw's potentially career-ending elbow, I was in bed with Bach and his rather less edgy, more elegant elbows - as was my husband...

You see, this was a bed-delivery-moving weekend for us in preparation for the arrival of an important house guest who may one day become a permanent member of the family, and in the process of making room for her, we discovered Bach abandoned in a long unused portable CD player. Why we abandoned Bach in this rather shabby way neither of us could recall.

Never mind. We hastened to make amends and got back into bed with Bach in a big way, playing him loudly over and over on the kick-ass stereo downstairs to be heard upstairs as we carried, cleaned and carted two big beds and sundry bedly matter hither and thither.

At one point we were joined by a couple of burly tattooed removalists who delivered the queen - our first queen indeed, if my husband is to be believed on that subject, that is - and hauled it upstairs in the midst of all that not so burly Bach. They didn't seem to mind; their tattoos did not melt.

And I must say, it was all really rather conducive, so much so that I would recommend Bach for all bed-related business. Well perhaps not quite all; piano is possibly a touch too light for the heaviest of liftings.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Buoyant Blue

It holds me just so
in its strong gentle arms,
lending support without presumption;
I may sink through should I wish to,
it won't argue.

Though it might put up a little resistance
in case I should change my mind
and it would be too late otherwise.

I hit out, slap and kick,
ungrateful; graceless.
It takes that too, never hitting back.

It makes perfect, silver-centred bubbles with my shabby snorts.

It judges not.

Its cool clear ripples take care not to wash away
the deep blue line, preserving its straight, steady contrast.

It tolerates its chlorine, uncomplaining.

It does not sting with red eyes of resentment,
though it would have every right to.

It is ever calm to my constant thrashing.

Ever buoyant blue.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Comfort zone

The familiar pain in my toe
The wind in the window

The grey bird gliding by
The young girl's cry

The glasses open on the bed
The old blanket still red

The closed cream door
The absence of chore


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How far can I see?

How far can I see? 

If nothing sees me first 
I can see very far indeed. 
I can see through the sky,
through day into night. 
I can see through time. 
I can see the ragged ends of the rainbow 
painting the land lime. 
I can see the wind bending the view, 
the flowers holding onto their hats, 
the leaves laughing all the while. 
I can see you 
as you were, 
still confusing your Ls and your Ys, 
with all that hair 
jumping up and down as you cried: 
'Life is just one great big beautiful thing!'

Monday, October 19, 2015

No nudes, no crotches

I've been thinking about nudity lately - as one does - and wondering why it seems a subject that is soooooooo different for men than it is for women.

Investigating Playboy's decision to cut its famous nude centrefolds, images that in one year (1972) sold more than 7 million copies for old Hugh, I found, to my annoyance, that this decision was purely economic not ethical. Hugh had not, in his dotage, decided that the sexual exploitation of the female form for money was not cool. Rather, static female nudity has become so passé that it is no longer selling enough magazines (only 800,000 pa). Only. Poor Hugh.

Free internet porn will do that, be careful what you wish for, Hugh. More boys and men than ever are viewing naked women in lewd, 'fuck-me-hard-baby' poses, and indeed are watching women act out these crude male fantasies, all for free. The sexual exploitation and abuse of women is alive and well, rest assured, Hugh.

At the same time there is the parallel online phenomenon of women being inundated by crotch shots (erect) sent to them, unsolicited, by the men who would be, or are, their online dates. Women, most of them, are not happy about this. We, most of us, don't want to see your baggy balls and stiff bits on our phones while we're eating lunch, call us old-fashioned. For women, the visual removed from the context of lovin', from the touch, thrust and taste, is - how can I put this delicately? - fucking grose.

When I, and I think most women, see a hot guy we don't think, hmmm, I wonder what his penis looks like. One hopes he has a penis, sure, but assuming as much, we are much more interested in wondering what sort of man he is, which will in turn tell us, while he still has his pants on, what kind of lover he is or could be (with training). What sort of man he is is sooooooo much more important than what sort of penis he has (or is).

Why is this soooooooo different for men? Why do you care what our breasts and nipples look like naked? Can't you assume from our clothed appearance that we have them and they look, every last one of them, pretty darned good, and ditto for the other bits?

I don't get it.

In the meantime, to perhaps stop regular men sending their unsolicited crotch shots, Playgirl might be a solution, a magazine with professional shots of hot (flaccid, because erect says 'look what I got for you, baby', which is wanky) naked men in 'I'm a nice guy too' poses, presuming such all-round men exist, which is doubtful.            


Saturday, October 17, 2015

What's wrong with this picture?


A) Only one is wearing a hat cap
B) Only one is waving
C) Only nine are wearing a tie
D) Only one of those ties is pink
E) Only eleven of twelve have a penis (at least presumably; not entirely sure about Putin)

What the world and lil' ol' New Zealand can do about it? adDRESS the situation. Climate change is not the problem, it's the answer.

Monday, October 12, 2015

'It would be ridiculously easy to take over Australia'

The Internet's Own Boy:
The story of Aaron Swartz 
This title was the opinion of a young Aaron Swartz told to an Australian friend of his and published in the posthumous article on 'The Darker Side of Aaron Swartz' in The New Yorker magazine, along with this image of Swartz by illustrator Michael Gillette. Apparently, the only reason Swartz didn't attempt the takeover of an entire country - one that just happens to be my country - was because it only had 20 million people and wouldn't be worth the bother. Right.

Thing is, Swartz wasn't crazy. Far from it, in fact. The man was clearly a genius of epic proportions and, I guess, if anyone could single-handedly contrive the takeover of an entire country, even a small one, then he was probably that man, even if he was under twenty-five at the time he imagined he might.

Other thing is, Swartz (who hung himself aged 26 in Jan 2013, pending a trial and possible extended jail time over a computer data-theft crime that he had committed with the intention of giving everyone access to the world's best research and making the world a better place - and let me just say, in my opinion, Australia could do with taking over by someone as smart and noble as him), reminds me SO much, and uncomfortably so, of my first-born, who, like Aaron, taught himself to read and write as a preschooler, as well as to count backwards from 100 into the negatives, and to count up to 100 in Maori. At six he was banned from the local computer shop for tampering with the hard drive and pulled up for trying to pass off 'effing' - correctly spelt with two ff's - in an extended-family game of scrabble: 'Yes it is, you use it all the time'. He was talking to his father.

But this is no laughing matter. How do we raise and guide brilliant boys so they don't become so arrogant and angry, as I believe Aaron became, at least on the one hand, that they go off the rails and waste their exceptional potential, tragically, as in Aaron's case, or more quietly, like in the case of our brainy boy (now 22), though it's perhaps still early days for him?

That is the priceless question. The world needs these boys to grow into productive men, particularly in politics and positions of power, rather than simply in the world of technology, which they naturally favour, probably because there are fewer if any rules, and these brainy boys DON'T LIKE RULES.

Unfortunately, the world is full of rules and success rarely comes in world-changing, rule-shattering leaps and bounds, but rather in incremental, rule-tweaking gains made quietly and slowly, following many small failures. So perseverance rather than prodigy is really the name of the game.

To this end I was interested to read Aaron's father's comment in the New Yorker piece that he himself had hired many talented young computer programmers but those that had dropped out of college (as Aaron did - our boy almost never goes into the university any more) never finished anything.

If our budding programmer ever emerges from his room, I'll be sure to tell him this.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Fish breath

I turn
Beethoven down
to better read Kate Camp's sound:

"Women are less
likely to be struck
by lightning...
we must be satisfied
with terrors less august."


On my arm
I adjust
to the cat pondering
her own charm -
with fish breath.

While Beethoven keeps
time's tender terror sleeps
and dusk daisies shut their eyes -
white stars in shaggy green skies,
and I wake
to life's lyrical loveliness,
struck by love's last laugh.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Mission Ambition

Reading this heading in the latest Time magazine, my first thought was: 'Phew! I'm not the only loser.'

My subsequent thoughts were:

'Fuck that! Don't be generalising about me!'

'What's ambition got to do with
anything anyway?'

'What is ambition?'

'I need some chocolate.'

'Some fresh bread would be good too.'

'Why is the cat meowing at my door!? Oh; it's probably because I heated up some spaghetti with that chocolate bread and she wants to lick the bowl.'

Fine. She can have it; I only wanted the chocolate anyway.

Now. Where was I?

Oh, yeah: ambition isn't working for women.

Okay. So I took the bait and read the article, the upshot of which is that, according to Time, the author-businesswoman who wrote it and those high-flying American women and men they surveyed for the article, 'ambition' is defined as success in the world of business, that is, as running your own business and/or making it up the corporate ladder, past many men, to CEO.

On these terms, their survey shows that 'ambition' isn't working for women, as much as it is for men, because women eventually realise they want more than the trappings of conventional career success, namely money, respect, power and the independence these things can buy, at least in theory.

For women, they want more than cold hard career ambition can buy - namely they want family, fun and freedom - and at the same time, they typically don't get the same respect as men do for their business successes, while being mocked for their ambitions, which compounds this lack of work satisfaction.

So, in short, women are damned if we do and damned if we don't have traditional career ambition and success. So what's new?

Well, Time doesn't really have any answers, except to note that more men are finding the same frustrations at work (at least in business) and are increasingly rating their desire to have a better work-family balance as a core life ambition.

This is new, and for my money - if I had any - it would be the only way forward for women as well as men in terms of us all getting the most we can out of life and being fairly rewarded for our efforts along the way, which is the only ambition worth talking about.

Marilyn was right then: for women to aim for what men have (and men not expand their aims to value more of what women have and are) is to lack ambition.

Marilyn also said...

No wonder ambition isn't working for women.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The very smelly jelly

Is this jellyfish transparent or translucent to you? 

Well, that's the somewhat strange and deceptively smelly question that jellyfish have come to signify for me ever since a certain celebrated writer-blogger, who shall remain nameless but not blameless, took issue with my description of a jellyfish in a short story - of MY OWN INVENTION - as transparent not translucent. 

How he (whoops) took issue with said jellyfish, despite never having seen the thin-skinned thingamajig with his own eyes (because I made it up!), was by writing a thinly-veiled take down of my transparent jellyfish story in a subsequent blog of his, posted immediately after he was required to read the story for the competition he was running, ostensibly on his three-year-old's 'weirdness' in which he claimed said weird kid knew the difference between transparent and translucent and could use them correctly in a sentence.

Yeah, right. 

If said celebrated writer-blogger really did have a three-year-old who knew the difference between transparent and translucent then he, who created him, or at least helped to, one presumes, and is quite a bit older than three, with plenty time to learn the ways and words of the big wide weird world, would not assume that all jellyfish, fact and fiction, are TRANSLUCENT. He would have more of an open mind to the full range of jellyfish out there in said wide weird world and at least believe in the possibility of transparent jellyfish.  

I'm just saying; I realise it's something of a first world problem. 

I will also admit that the image I showed to accompany my transparent jellyfish story was of a translucent jellyfish. But that was before I knew how picky some people can be about jellyfish skin. And as the image was credited to a photographer who was not me, that is really no excuse. It was clearly not my jellyfish. 

And having been on a mission to find and photograph a jellyfish that was transparent ever since, six months later I can finally rest my case and get back to my life - such as it is, making up stories that are both too real and yet factually fucked. 

And that there ends the story of the very smelly jelly.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Gorgeous Girls from 2012

From the school production of West Side Story (just uncovered on the school website). Our girl Bon, in charge of choreography, in the green.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Making Monsters

It's a gloomy day,
summer's on its way;
we should be making magic, instead we're making monsters.

Meat on the hook, money in the book, men in the crook,
flowers underfoot.

Cold hearts, warm guns,
never mind the lovers' sun.

Summer's on it's way
it's a gloomy day.