Sunday, July 02, 2006

Issue 20

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Image (Copyright © 2006 Christopher Kelen)

Christopher Kelen
Ben Kemp
Christopher Barnes
Kenji Siratori

Christopher Kelen

on five acres

dawn is all travels
night's snout had at ground

last of frost
dawn's glint fires paddocks
brings the Myall to light

see timber
crouched in cold
piled cut
the lizard already begun

setting out by breath alone
I stand in weather
the odd man tinkering breezes

o how may I be lost as them?

o thanks you gods I am


the wild winds
prefigure spring

birds sing in my chest

go out walking
and the grass gets deeper

after a while silence falls in
gives its rhythm
ambling day

forest falls
foot after foot through me

hides like a hammerstroke
in distance cleft
sun shelters from sight

fence says
climb under
climb over
climb through

ducks rise at my passing
by this means I hail them

when the tracks grow thick
to vindicate making
puzzle a way in my limbs
as roos do

birds half bright half dull
make my circle

a track says
and this way
and pause
tune an ear to this silence

green and yellow among
grey over

every creek I pass
keeps time

sky full of it

always beginning
tapping a way blind over roofs
to come clean

it hears itself
paints over the land
runs ink out of meaning
shines me once
for luck again


between it
I smell the ants working
sense dark structure to the day

leaf and tip and horded light
green hive of a home soaked still

cheers the frogs
till the prayed for sun
taps on my shoulder
the argument leading
down to the lowest

trickles down
good fall in which are voices lost
like rat's feet over what was to sustain me

Christopher Kelen is a well known Australian poet whose works
have been widely published and broadcast since the mid seventies.
The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature describes Kelen's work
as "typically innovative and intellectually sharp". Kelen holds
degrees in literature and linguistics from the University of Sydney
and a doctorate on the teaching of the writing process, from UWS
Nepean. Kelen's first volume of poetry The Naming of the Harbour
and the Treeswon an Anne Elder Award in 1992. In 1988 Kelen had won
an ABA/ABC bicentennial award with his poem "Views from Pinchgut".
In 1996 Kelen was Writer-in-Residence for the Australia Council at
the B.R.Whiting Library in Rome. In 1999 he won the Blundstone
National Essay Contest, conducted by Island journal. He also won
second prize in the Gwen Harwood Poetry Award that year. In 2000
Kelen's poetry/art collaboration (with Carol Archer) Tai Mo Shan/Big
Hat Mountain was exhibited at the Montblanc Gallery in Hong Kong's
Fringe Club. And in 2001 another collaboration (essay and
watercolour) titled Shui Yi Meng/Sleep to Dream was shown at the
Montblanc Gallery. Both exhibitions have been published as full
colour catalogues. Kelen's fourth book of poems, Republics, dealing
with the ethics of identity in millennial Australia, was published
by Five Islands Press in Australia in 2000. A fifth volume, New
Territories "a pilgrimage through Hong Kong, structured after
Dante's Divine Comedy" was published with the aid of the Hong Kong
Arts Development Board in 2003. In 2004 Kelen's most recent chapbook
Wyoming Suite "a North American sojurn" was released by VAC
Publishing in Chicago. In 2005, Kelen's long poem "Macao" was
shortlisted for the prestigious Newcastle Poetry Prize and a
re-edited version of Tai Mo Shan appeared in Southerly. Apart from
poetry Kelen publishes in a range of theoretical areas including
writing pedagogy, ethics, rhetoric, cultural and literary studies
and various intersections of these. Kelen is an Associate Professor
in the English Department at the University of Macau, where he has
taught Literature and Creative Writing since 2000. Kelen is the
principal investigator in the University of Macau's "Poems and
Stories of Macao Research Project" and the editor of the on-line
journal Writing Macao: creative text and teaching.

Christopher Kelen Ben Kemp Christopher Barnes Kenji Siratori

Ben Kemp


The sound of a piano is ringing through this ocean,
4 simple notes along side,
They are tied together by the fisherman’s knot,
With the ends neatly clipped,

The tide is low, shallow in this sink,
The shoulder of the coast is no longer submerged,
My belly rested on the seabed,
I have not the strength to ask, but I am listening…

The piece of music is biological,
An algorithm with an end,
4 primary colours on a palette that is the arm of the painter,
I am your brush…

The bed upon which my belly rests is warm,
Finer than feathers…
A casket around my body, but no dark hole…

Gentle hands & a rocking chair,
        &From their palms the same 4 notes,
        But not a piano…
        A gut string guitar…
        Handed down through 4 generations,
“Infant, girl, woman & grandmother”

The branches of my whakapapa are being clipped,
With secateurs,
& Musical instruments, unfretted,
My carcass is made up of leaves that fall in spring

How far have I travelled?
The miles have collapsed, but the seawater is made up of tuku tuku panels,
Navigating our way through the whare,
I am inside…

She is wailing, weaving freshly picked flax between the 4 notes,
My ears tell me she is beautiful…
For there is no seam in her voice…
I drink…         But my vessel is almost dry,

We are one tree, one body…
Fed by the same root & connected by the same fisherman’s knot,
I am my brothers & sisters & they are me…

My skin is growing cold, dry,
Spilling a glass of clear oil that is swallowed up by the sand,
        The oil is the mystery of consciousness,
        An undefined quantity that now runs through their fingers,
I did not ask, but I am grateful for their help…

I have never seen without the lens of seawater,
The undulation of the ocean is like a pulse,
I have fallen…         but the music has not died for the instrument is now a bamboo flute,
               & a child…

My mother is near me, but she is dead now,
dissolving into the tuku tuku panels,

They are crying for what has been spilt,
& they will cry for me too…

Gentle hands, & the rocking chair, carved from the finest tree,
Crafted by the most gifted of makers…

I did not ask…         & you came…

I can see into…

1.        The song of a bird,
           rested in branches,
           laden with blossoms & his cleans words,

2.        The closet with broken doors,
           an oak groan,
           from the old man within the wood,

3.        the clouds,
           passing overheard on their way
           to what I imagine,

4.        Your thoughts,
           guiding your hand through
           the prickly bush to the clay,

5.        The grimace,
           rubbing rusted nails between the
           palms of my hands…

6.        love,
           the silence inside the apple,
           still swelling on the tree,

7.        the guitar,
           sitting in the corner,
           a landscape waiting to get out,

8.        tears,
           the tributaries leading to the sea,
           godliness & a newborn baby,

9.        gaps between concrete constructs,
           brothers on either side,
           embalmed in caskets of man-made stone,

10.      the crossing,
           onward into the sun,
           birds on my back,

           & all this space…            that listens to me.

I need not build a bridge,

High over tree tops, heads & eyes looking upward,
The wind swift through the branches,
Cascading molecules, impatient & bitter,

I need not dig this tunnel,

Connecting light to light,
Through solid darkness with knuckles like dead men,
           So sweet is death I hope,
           The earth is my saviour, my mama I know,
The shovel, your angry words I now realise are mine,

I need not light the match,

All the iridescence I need is amongst the pines, the hills,
the tongues of those that wag like dogs tails,
           the words that tender my…     soul, the heels beneath my ankles,
           the love that ‘cotton wools’ our sleep together,

I need not hammer nails,

Because the walls were fashioned by lovers, saints, grandfather,
Maori’s, rugby players, golfers, painters, fishermen, piano player & a missionary,
           The hammer is not mine,
           & nails are foreign to me, rusting in seawater,
           in the presence of love,

I need not carry river stones from the river,

For there they belong,
Sleek blades of grass in my hand,
taken from the rivers edge, over hung banks & eels beneath,
River stones, river stone, a grey heart in a cradle of green,

I need not squint toward clouds,
If I lay down,
the peripheries may join,
the influx of white,
swallowed up by the waterfall, feet in the warmer fringes,

I need not stare, the palms of my hands,

The grained flesh from my ancestors,
my rounded shoulders & the way my voice inflects,
the tail at the end of my thoughts,

I need…
I need…
I need…

I need a temple to dwell,
One monk,
A bird that sings,
A blanket of many colours,     & a wider conscience of pure air.

Ben Kemp is a published poet. He was invited to read at New Zealand
Poetry Day as one of two emerging poets.

He first went to Japan as a 23 year old, having completed a degree in
Marketing and Computer Science at Otago University. Living for two and
a half years in Tokyo, Ben spent much time absorbing traditional art
and culture, and discovering his passion for kabuki theatre and
Japanese literature. On return to the North Island, Ben discovered a
special mentor-student relationship with Rowley Habib, one of New
Zealand’s pre-eminent Maori writers, all the while maintaining his
connections with Japan. It was at this point that Ben’s creative work
anchored itself. Responding to a magnetic pull back to Japan, Ben
returned to Tokyo in 2002.

With no music contacts in Japan, Ben played on the street in Shimo
Kitazawa, one of the more Bohemian areas of Tokyo well known for its
vibrant music scene. He soon met up with talented musician Koyu Suzuki
and the duo began performing around Tokyo. In just over one year, Ben
and Koyu have played at some of Tokyo’s most prestigious live venues,
including The Cerulean Tower’s JZ Brat and Kichijioji’s Mandala2.

Ben Kemp's debut album A River’s Mouth was released in March 2005, and
was launched in New Zealand with a two-week tour. He backed this up in
February 2006 with the creation of Papatu Road, an album that
beautifully represents Ben’s concept of creating a unique Polyn-Asian
sound. The result is a breathtaking blend of tunes that will soothe and
haunt you, thanks to Ben’s ethereal voice and poetic lyrics.

Ben Kemp and his band have just returned from a National tour of New
Zealand, during which Papatu Road received critical acclaim from New
Zealand National Radio, Radio Australia, Radio Pacific and NZ Musician

Christopher Kelen Ben Kemp Christopher Barnes Kenji Siratori

Christopher Barnes


In blue-grey dapples
stripped to raffish lines
your eyes stretch like snails.

You sit heavily,
monosyllables of rain
mapping skin.

Each jounce of petticoat
ruffles at your arm
upturned into a star
restyling our understandings.

Every parting
drowned in the now, the here,
should sink like this.

The Baldy Bittern

She’s reflective, is rippleforms
in the well.
are intimately disenchanted
at that crick-point neck
but her back
curves back
into the world.

Christopher Barnes: In 1998 I won a Northern Arts writers award. In July 200 I read at Waterstones bookshop to promote the anthology 'Titles Are Bitches'. Christmas 2001 I debuted at Newcastle's famous Morden Tower doing a reading of my poems. Each year I read for Proudwords lesbain and gay writing festival and I partake in workshops. 2005 saw the publication of my collection LOVEBITES published by Chanticleer Press, 6/1 Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh.
Christmas 2001 The Northern Cultural Skills Partnership sponsored me to be mentored by Andy Croft in conjunction with New Writing North. I am about to make a radio programme for Web FM community radio about my writing group. October-November 2005, he entered a poem/visual image into the art exhibition The Art Cafe Project, his piece Post-Mark was shown in Betty's Newcastle. This event was sponsored by Pride On The Tyne. He has made a digital film with artists Kate Sweeney and Julie Ballands at a film making workshop called Out Of The Picture which was shown at the festival party for Proudwords. The film is going into an archive at The Discovery Museum in Newcastle and contains his poem The Old Heave-Ho. He is working on a collaborative art and literature project called How Gay Are Your Genes, facilitated by Lisa Mathews (poet) which will exhibit at The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University before touring the country and it is expected to go abroad, this will be funded by The Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Institute, Bioscience Centre at Newcastle's Centre for Life.

Christopher Kelen Ben Kemp Christopher Barnes Kenji Siratori

Kenji Siratori


The reptilian=HUB_modem that crashed a chemical=anthropoid=
paradise apparatus of the human body pill cruel emulator that
covered cardiac and compressed the acidHUMANIX infectious
disease of the soul/gram made of retro-ADAM to that mass of
flesh-module murder game****I turn on the feeling replicant living
body junk of her digital=vamp cold-blooded disease animals to
the super-genomewarable to the DNA=channels of the
biocapturism nerve cells corpse feti=streaming of a clone boy ill-
treatment abolition world-codemaniacs of the terror fear=
cytoplasm pluged-in the insanity medium of the hyperreal HIV=
scanners gene-dub of the corpse city technojunkies' is debugged
to non-resettable genomics strategy circuit that was processed to
the paradise apparatus of the human body pill cruel emulator
murder-gimmick of the soul/gram made of retro-ADAM data=
mutant of her abolition world-codemaniacs feeling replicant to a
hybrid corpse mechanism FUCKNAMLOAD****the brain
universe of the ultra=machinary tragedy-ROM creature system
technojunkies' reptilian=HUB to the acidHUMANIX infectious
disease archive of the biocapturism nerve cells nightmare-script
of a clone boy DNA=channel surrender-site of the terror fear=
cytoplasm@tera of dogs were send back out to the mass of flesh-
module of the hyperreal HIV =scanner form that was debugged the
era respiration-byte of a chemical=anthropoid is installed the terror
fear=cytoplasm gene-dub of the drug fetus of the trash sense to
the corpse feti=streaming circuit DNA=channels of her digital=
vamp cold-blooded disease animals mass of flesh-module
insanity medium of the hyperreal HIV=scanners that was send
back out to the murder-protocol of the biocapturism nerve cells
reptilian=HUB@clone boy era respiration-byte of the corpse city
plug-in....the abolition world-codemaniacs of the living body junk
feeling replicant that chemical=anthropoid was debugged to the
modem=heart of the hybrid corpse mechanism that turned on
technojunkies' ill-treatment hacking.

Kenji Siratori is a Japanese cyberpunk writer who is currently
the internet with wave upon wave of highly
experimental, uncompromising,
progressive, intense prose.
His is a writing style that not only breaks
with tradition, it
severs all cords, and can only really be compared to the
kind of experimental writing techniques employed by the
Surrealists, William
Burroughs and Antonin Artaud.
Embracing the image mayhem of the digital
age, his
relentless prose is nonsensical and extreme, avant-garde
confused, with precedence given to twisted imagery,
pace and experimentation over
linear narrative and character
development. With unparalleled stylistic
terrorism, he
unleashes his literary attack. An unprovoked assault on
the senses. Blood Electric (Creation Books) was
acclaimed by David Bowie.

Christopher Kelen Ben Kemp Christopher Barnes Kenji Siratori