Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Tuesday Poem: "Linoleum" by Tess Gallagher

for Mark Strand

There are the few we hear of
like Christ, who, with divine grace,
made goodness look easy, had
a following to draw near, gave up
the right things and saw to it
that sinners got listened to.
Sharpening my failures, I remember
the Jains, the gentle swoosh
of their brooms on a dirt path
trodden by children and goats, each
thoughtful step taken in peril of
an ant’s life or a fat grub hidden
under a stick. In the car-wash,
thinking of yogis under a tree
plucking hair by hair the head
of an initiate, I feel at least
elsewhere those able for holiness—
its signs and rigors—are at work.
Ignominiously, I am here, brushes
clamped, soap and water pulsing
against my car. (A good sign too,
those asylums for old and diseased
animals.) My car is clean
and no one has had to
lift a finger. The dead
bugs have been gushed away into a soup
of grit and foam—the evidence
not subterranean, not streaming along
the asphalt in sunlight so dazzling
I attend the birth-moment of
the word Hosannah!
I care about the bugs and not
in this life will I do enough towards
my own worth in the memory
of them. I appreciate the Jains,
their atonements for my neglect,
though I understand it makes poor farmers
of them, and good we all
don’t aspire to such purity so
there’s somebody heartless enough to
plow the spuds.
Early on in admiration, I put off
knowledge, and so delayed reading about
the Jains—not to lose
solace. But in the County Library,
turning a page, I meet them as
the wealthiest moneylenders
in Western India. Reading on,
I’m encouraged—the list of virtues
exceeds vices—just four
of those: anger, pride, illusion and
greed. The emphasis clearly on
striving. I write them down
in the corner of a map
of Idaho: forbearance, indulgence,
straightforwardness, purity,
veracity, restraint, freedom from
attachment to anything, poverty
and chastity.
Choosing, getting into the car to
get to the supermarket, hearing
over engine noise the bright agonies
of birds, the radio news with the child
nailed into a broom-closet for
twenty-four hours by parents who
in straightforwardness sacrificed
forbearance, I feel a longing
for religion, for doctrine swift
as a broom to keep the path
clear. Later, alone in the kitchen
with the groceries, I read the list
again. Overwhelmed by the loneliness
of the saints, I take up my broom
and begin where I stand,
with linoleum.

by Tess Gallagher 

For more information about poet, Tess Gallagher, see:

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Tuesday Poem: "Three Limericks: Auckland, Tekapo and Wellington" by Daniella Judge


An abundance of sky scrapers
Tiny corner stores selling ice breakers
Auckland is so shit
Who can survive it?
Airport littered with white traders

(Poet's comment: "This poem is about Auckland and the fact that I don’t like it."


Lupins line the Tekapo road
A skiing town, worth a change of zip code
Star gazing, hot pools and a lake
Lets go, lets go for a break
Jump in! and join our car load

(Poet's comment: "I’ve had really good memories in Tekapo and thinks it’s a great place to take a group of friends."


The glimmer and gleam of Wellington
Living there you'd hate to be bedridden
People with funky style
Wearing every textile
Eating food that would win on Hells Kitchen

(Poet's comment: "This poem is about how I likes the funky clothing styles in Wellington and how the food there is really great."

by Daniella Judge

Daniella Judge is a charming and delightful young woman whom I met at the monthly Catalyst Open Mic (first Wednesday of every month at Space Academy, 371 Saint Asaph Street, Central City, Christchurch).

Daniella is a Masters of Writing student at the University of Canterbury and hosts a radio show, The Paperback Loop, on RDU 98.5FM on Tuesdays, 9:30-11pm, talking all things books. 

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Tuesday Poem (song): "Man of Sorrow" by Sing Sing

TECHNICAL HITCH: Try as I might, I could not get the video to embed so the best I can do is give readers the YouTube link if they wish to view the accompanying video. Thank you for your internet patience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XvReL3wXqQ

In the shadow of day I'm feeling so bright and lonely,
In the harsh light of dawn I'm feeling so bright and lonely,
Lost the trust inside me, became like brittle wire,
The lizard sheds its skin and I don't feel entire

And in the shadow of day
when the night rolls away
with the breath of the dawn
I see my face pale and drawn, pale and drawn

Leaving a man of sorrow,
Leaving a man of sorrow

And as we scratch through the day,
I fold my troubles away,
You walk away to the sun,
We finish what we've begun, we've begun

Leaving a man of sorrow,
Leaving a man of sorrow

(Lead break)

Leaving a man of sorrow,
Leaving a man of sorrow,
Leaving a man of sorrow,
Leaving a man of sorrow,
Leaving a man of sorrow,
Leaving a man of sorrow

by Bell, Chung, Daly, Roxburgh and Scott

For more information about the rock band, Sing Sing, see:

Auckland-based Rock Band, Sing Sing, were active from 1984-1986. This track was from their eponymous 5-Track EP. This track was chosen to be filmed by Television New Zealand for two separate TV shows - the late-Sunday-night-screened, Radio With Pictures, hosted at the time by Karyn Hay, media broadcaster and, in later years, author. The second clip of the same song was filmed in Auckland at the studios of the TV show, Shazam, which went out in the late afternoon and was aimed more at a teenage demographic. Shazam's host at the time was Phillipa Dann. Phillipa also interviewed the band extensively for her Rock Music column which was published in the tabloid newspaper, the NZ Truth, which, according to Wikipedia, ceased production in July 2013. Sing Sing produced a second 3-song EP titled "Owning the Sharks" before disbanding in September 1986 due to the death of the drummer, Ken Chung's, father. Sing Sing did audition other drummers, but never found one with the right musical chemistry for the band. Ken Chung and bass player, Patrick Roxburgh, had been playing as a rhythm section for years. Pat and Ken teamed up with Andrew Bell, vocalist and lyricist, and Nick Scott on guitar. Andrew and Nick had been playing together in a Coromandel-based band called Godzilla (not a metal band but they came to rue that choice of band name because of the monster-metal associations) from 1980-1983 when they relocated to Auckland. Godzilla had done very well in a Battle of the Bands competition held at Mainstreet cabaret/rock venue in Auckland. That year the Battle of the Bands was won by The Gurlz with Kim Willoughby out front and second was The Skeptics, a post-punk noise band from Palmerston North. Sing Sing recorded the first EP at Last Laugh studios run by Martin Williams and Jon Cooper. The second EP was engineered and produced by both Jon Cooper at Last Laugh and Steve Garden at Progressive Studios. Sadly, both Last Laugh and Progressive Studios are no longer going concerns. Both Sing Sing EPs were released by Ode Records with Ode Records owner, Terence O'Neill Joyce, doing the Chinese Calligraphy (which said Sing Sing) on the first eponymous EP. The Sing Sing EP was released in 1985 and its follow-up, "Owning the Sharks", was released in 1986. The second EP received much positive critical press, especially its feature track, "Backwards", which was praised by Colin Hogg writing in the Auckland Star (now sadly also defunct). Particular mention was made of the wonderful sax solo by featured saxophonist, Ricky. Sing Sing, having disbanded by the second EPs release, were unable to capitalise on its sales and positive press for building their live audience. Pat Roxburgh sang the lead vocal on the track, "Stardust" from this second EP, "Owning the Sharks. In the latter stages of recording the first EP in 1984-1985, Sing Sing decided to fatten their sound so Chris Daly was added to the line-up. Chris brought with him a different but complementary guitar style to Nick Scott and the two traded places as both rhythm and lead guitars. Chris also fattened the sound in the studio with his keyboard and vocal skills. All members of Sing Sing, excluding the vocally-shy Nick Scott, sang backing vocals on various tracks. The track, "Killing Time", from the first EP even featured a five-part harmony backing vocal from Andrew, Ken, Chris, Pat and engineer, Martin Williams. The talented Rowan Hunt, also an engineer at Last Laugh recording studio, played the keyboards on the track, "Killing Time", ". Martin Williams had valuable input into the first EP and, as well as engineering the tracks, he is credited as co-producer with the band. Martin, as well as being a skilled drummer and engineer, was also a member of the woefully-shortlived Auckland band, the Grammar Boys, who had a major label album release. Martin Williams brought his day job engineering at Harlequin Studios, a 24-track studio, into his passion project, his own studios, co-owned with Jon Cooper, Last Laugh, an 8-track recording studio. Last Laugh was a more affordable option for independent Auckland bands and Martin's skill and keen ear brought warmth and "fatness" to tracks that may have got lost or sounded tinny in a bigger studio. Eight tracks meant thinking more innovatively and Martin certainly did that as did Jon Cooper. Both were invaluable as engineers and soundscape creators for bands such as Sing Sing. After Sing Sing's demise, a newish songwriting partnership sprang up between Andrew Bell and Pat Roxburgh who co-wrote and recorded two more tracks at Last Laugh. The tracks, "Shame" and "The Spark", remain unreleased and the Analogue Masters are presumably lost to the ether or some skip somewhere in downtown Auckland circa 1987-1990. The only remaining copies of these 2 tracks are on cassette (old-style technology, folks) owned by Andrew Bell and, presumably, also Pat Roxburgh.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Tuesday Poem: "The Thing" by Louise Wallace

I need to find the thing I am good at.
I have something wonderful inside,
waiting to be said. It has not been easy.
Spanish guitar, cake design, lyrics for lullabies.
I really shine at nothing.
It needs to come smoother than this -
the way water flowing through wood
would feel, if you put a hand to it.

I saw the cover of Gillian Welch's latest album
in the Sunday paper. Immediately I knew
this was the kind of beauty I would aim for.
Something that makes normal people
feel worse about their lives.

by Louise Wallace

For more information about the poet, Louise Wallace, see:

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Tuesday Poem: "Hard Times" by William Carlos Williams

Stone steps, a solid
block too tough
to be pried out, from
which the house,

rather, has been
avulsed leaving
a pedestal, on which
a fat boy in

an old overcoat, a
butt between
his thick lips, the
coat pushed back,

stands kidding,
Parking Space! three
steps up from his
less lucky fellows.

by William Carlos Williams 

For more information about the poet, William Carlos Williams, see: