27 March 2012

A Fool For Poetry: I'm Reading At The Metro On 1 April

I'm the guest poet at Music & Poetry at the Metro this coming Sunday, 1 April. Here's the lineup:

Guest Musicians: Ramon Oza and Susie Colien-Reid

Open Mike

Guest Poet: Tim Jones

The Metro is at 7 Lydney Place, Porirua, and the session runs from 4-6pm.

I'll be reading from Men Briefly Explained and trying a few newer poems out as well.

If you're on Facebook, you can sign up for the Facebook event and also see the Music at the Metro Facebook page for more news: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Music-at-the-Metro/301841379852705

Here is some more information about the guest musicians:

Black Eyed Susie

Ramon Oza and Susie Colien-Reid are the core sound of four piece original Celtic rock band Blackeyedsusie. Ramon has played electric guitar professionally for 35 years, starting with supporting his family by performing 6 nights a week for a 5 star hotel in India. Susie studied classical violin to diploma level, until her love of 70’s rock drew her to develop the freelance raw style she enjoys today. Individually both have performed for major international acts ranging from the Drifters, to the Alabama Blind Boys. As a duo their sound is a blend of high energy Celtic and Funk Blues Rock influence.

20 March 2012

Tuesday Poem: Fallen / Niedergang



Driving through Mandeville. Empty windows, empty houses,
a craft shop sprung like fungus from the bones of the dying town.

The cenotaph stands roadside. Blunt, unwearied,
it commends to our attention the names of the anxious dead.

They grew, these Southland towns, on the graves
of the children of Tane. Mandeville, Riversdale -
Myross Bush, Ryal Bush, Gummies‘ …

the land groaned with the weight of their money.
As the tribes were pushed to the margins, fat lambs
grew fatter. Knives flashed cold on the chains;
eels tumbled and writhed over offal.

Now, thistles nod in the hard-pan fields. Children
are a letter from the city, a ten-hour drive at Easter.
The wealth
went with them. No mirror glass monuments here.

But the Council keeps the graveyard clean; and our dust
settles impartially
on the sign: “Country Crafts - Buy Here!”
and the sign that their dead live on, and will do so,
chiselled in stone,
till new trees and new ferns drag them down.


Eine Fahrt durch Mandeville. Hohle Fenster, leere Häuser,
ein Kunstgewerbeladen wie ein Pilz aus den Knochen der sterbenden Stadt entsprungen.

Das Ehrenmal am Straßenrand. Plump, unermüdlich
empfiehlt es uns, sich der Namen der Toten zu erinnern.

Sie wuchsen, diese Südlandstädte, auf den Gräbern
der Kinder Tanes. Mandeville, Riversdale –
Myross Bush, Ryal Bush, Gummies’ …

das Land stöhnte unter der Last ihres Geldes.
Während die Stämme an den Rand gedrängt wurden,
setzten fette Lämmer mehr Fett an. Messer blitzten kalt an den Ketten;
Aale wandten und stürzten sich auf die Innereien.

Jetzt nicken Disteln auf den pfannentrockenen Feldern. Kinder
sind ein Brief aus der Stadt, eine Zehnstundenfahrt an
Ostern. Der Wohlstand
zog mit ihnen fort. Keine Spiegelglassdenkmäler hier.

Doch der Stadtrat hält den Friedhof sauber; und unser Staub
senkt sich unbefangen
auf das Schild 'Einheimisches Kunstgewerbe –
hier zu kaufen!' und das Schild, dass die Toten weiter leben und weiter leben werden,
in Stein gemeisselt,
bis neue Bäume
und Farn sie niederziehen werden.

Tim says: A few years ago, a poem from my first collection, Boat People, was selected for inclusion in Wildes Licht, an anthology of New Zealand poetry with German translations, edited by Dieter Riemenschneider.

I was pleased not only because it always feels good to have work anthologised, but also because I have an interest in literary translation, and a particular liking for books which have the original on one page and the translation on the facing page.

Subsequently, however, due to a change in publishing arrangements, the manuscript had to be shortened, and mine was one of the poems cut. I was disappointed about this, but since Mark Pirie and I had undergone exactly the same process while finding a publisher for Voyagers, I recognised that this is just one of the realities of the publishing process.

Dieter was kind enough to send me the translation of "Fallen" that would have appeared in "Wildes Licht", and give me permission to publish it on this blog. In the year of the Frankfurt Bookfair 2012: An Aotearoa Affair, this is a good time to republish it.

You can check out all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog - the hub poem in the middle of the page, and all the other poems in the sidebar on the right.

13 March 2012

Tuesday Poem: New Live Dates

It's a meat market in here.
Why girls as green as grass
Should dance to the songs of a man ten times their age
Climb on their boyfriends' shoulders
Throw their panties and their room keys on the stage
I'll never know.

They wanted to send me out backed by machines
Some guy in a booth somewhere, flicking switches.
I said no: give me a band, the younger and louder the better.
Let the old man have his Zimmer frame of noise
His crackling fire of guitars
His beating heart of bass and drum.

I've lived; no, not lived, let's say survived
To hear my music cut to pieces, used to sell
Everything from shoes to car insurance
Everything from fried chicken to retirement homes.
It doesn't matter: nothing matters
But the lights, the noise, the stage

And my women. I drink them up.
I leave them pale and drained.
In the morning, they don't know themselves
Waking with a shiver to the memory of pleasure
The scents of whisky and old leather
And the sound of curtains flapping in the wind.

Credit note: "New Live Dates" was first published in my second poetry collection, All Blacks' Kitchen Gardens (HeadworX, 2007) - signed copies still available from me for $10 (plus p&p) - email me at senjmito@gmail.com if you'd like one.

Tim says: The third of my poems about music and musicians from All Blacks' Kitchen Gardens, following An Adventure and Norah Jones and System of a Down. This one is pretty much the ageing-male-rock-musician-as-vampire metaphor, and I think it explains quite a lot about one Michael Philip Jagger, especially SuperHeavy.

I first posted this poem on my blog in 2008, but as the Tuesday Poem wasn't going then, I have given myself free rein to repost it here.

You can check out all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog - the hub poem in the middle of the page, and all the other poems in the sidebar on the right.

06 March 2012

Of Tania Hershman, Men, and Middle Earth

Men of Middle Earth sounds like a good idea for a calendar, actually - although Dwarves of Middle Earth would be more appropriate in this year of The Hobbit.

But no, this is an orc-huntin', mead-swillin' odyssey through the geographically coterminous worlds of Middle Earth and Men Briefly Explained. Your guide is the distinguished UK writer of short and short-short fiction, Tania Hershman:

An Interview with Tim Jones in which Men are Briefly Explained.

The interview includes my photos of used movie locations! And I encourage you to find out more about Tania, her writing, and her new collection of fiction on her website.