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Haiku for Jeremy

June 10, 2017

Wellington’s seasons blur
It’s colder now that it’s June
Yet May’s windy threats
Relent to brittle stillness

I had a dream involving hera lindsay bird

May 19, 2017

I had a dream involving hera lindsay bird

It happened during a dark and stormy night
Well it wasn’t even that stormy and night is aways dark
But it rained a lot and the reason I probably remember this dream involving hera lindsay bird
Is that the rain woke me up

Within this dream involving hera lindsay bird were several recent events and thoughts of mine which I’d had during waking life
Which is one theory of dreams according to my understanding

For instance

I have lately decided that I should try to ‘get into’ poetry more and have purchased and read several books from hera lindsay bird’s employer Unity Books
And though these have included popular NZ writers like Kate Camp
Bill Manhire, and Ashleigh Young
Alongside Jenny Bornholdt
Who was posthumously recommended by former Unity Books staff member Nigel Cox in his book Phone Home Berlin
(Which I only just finished because I had been putting off reading his last words)
And whose collected poems include one with a description of Nigel in life and ashes

In spite of these connexions
None of the books I bought were the debut collection by hera lindsay bird
The reasons for this are complicated and only partially explained in this poem

I have however read some of hera lindsay bird’s poetry via popular website The Spinoff whose sponsors include Unity Books

And have also read some interviews with hera lindsay bird
By people like Steve Braunias, which were clearly conducted by internet writing rather than in person
Because nobody would talk like that in real life and Steve would have seemed like even more of a creepy older man wanting the approval of the new hip generation
If he’d said those things to hera lindsay bird’s face


I suppose my dream, like this poem, was not about hera lindsay bird but my own strange version of the literary phenomenon sweeping the nation

In this dream, a setting on a rooftop somewhere in Wellington
Decorated somewhat like the Lux festival
Except more ‘arty’ because arty types such as hera lindsay bird were in attendance as part of some sort of exclusive opening event
And much larger than any known rooftop space on Wellington
(such inaccuracies are common to dreams as I’m sure you know)

This setting provided the backdrop to myself and hera lindsay bird engaging in conversation
Typically for a dream, I don’t know what we discussed exactly except that hera lindsay bird seemed to be “into” me
Noting this and being a generous person
I asked her whether she would like my number
A poetically subtle reversal on the usual request for the other’s number
Reflecting the supreme confidence which I apparently possessed in this dream

Of course she accepted

And at some later time instantly occurring in dream land
I think in a garden bar or such
We were talking again, and to avoid any heartbreak I worked in a reference to “my girlfriend”, which seemed to depress hera lindsay bird who was “into” me
And we continued and finished the conversation politely
but never met again (obviously I didn’t dream forever after but you know how it is in dreams where such things are known)

Of course the only reasons for telling people about your dreams are:

1. Something so weird and strange happened that it is immediately interesting


2. It is some sort of “meaningful” dream and you want to have a reason why you dreamed that

In this case I enjoyed the combination of unconscious poetic critique and examination of an author I haven’t actually read


The nostalgic reflections of my past romantic and poetic adventures through the shattered kaleidoscope world of my dream

And of course the opportunity to write all this up in a style aping not the real hera lindsay bird
But my own version of her poetry
As filtered through my dream version of her
Seemed too good to waste

So the main thing I guess I am aping is this pop culture deliberate bad lowercase internet meme writing carelessness
Into which are smuggled the same poetic revelations through metaphor that have always been revered
But in a way that seems like they are accidents
Though of course hera lindsay bird’s academic history means that this in itself is clearly a put on of the order of Pierre Menard

In my own case as a PhD in Physics who works for Statistics NZ and is pretending to know what I’m doing on the poetic stage
which I guess makes me sort of the governor Sancho to dream-hera lindsay bird’s Menard
In this literary metaphor which is already too fancy to get away with
When trying to pretend to naivety

This view of hera lindsay bird as a true romantic at heart hiding behind blah-zzz irony but itching to release the beauty of language upon the masses
In the same way that Smelly Cat was released upon us all
Is much like the psychology that leads to the all too common older man wins over defensive young woman via intellect genre
That no doubt hera lindsay bird loves dearly
But which, honestly, the last thing I want to here is pretend that I’m in any way interested in
or more importantly attractive to
hera lindsay bird
This is my dream not hers
I got a girlfriend that’s better than that

So the thing to do here would be to use this dream image to suddenly illuminate that feeling that we have all had of idealising, dreaming, reading too much into small moments of common conversation with a fascinating and wonderful person
only to realise that either they are way too into the television sitcom “Friends” to be someone you could go out with
Or they have a boyfriend
Or you suddenly realise that maybe they are into you but you really didn’t mean to break their heart and you feel bad but also not even sure that you have

Ideally perhaps in this context it would be most twistingly ironic to do this by throwing in a reference to some dreamy Yeats or other that ‘everyone’ has heard of but really only poetry nerds would get


I haven’t yet got far enough through the collected works of Yeats which I bought the other day from Unity Books
To have such a reference at hand

So if you would be so kind

Imagine yourself at the edge of a glassy lake
In the centre of which, atop a tiny island is balanced a moss-crumbled castle
which an ancient prince constructed to imprison himself
After his fair maid chose another
And at the limits of hearing, when a certain soft breeze blows
The strains of an old song can be heard:

Sometimes love don’t feel like it should
But baby
it hurts so good

For the Birds

March 21, 2016

For the Birds
Mark Anderson, Jony Easterby, Kathy Hinde, Marcus Mcshane and Tane Upjohn-Beatson, Johann Nortje and Cameron May, Ulf Pedersen, and Esther Tew
Otari-Wilton’s Bush
Friday 11 March 2016

Otari-Wilton’s Bush is a special place even on a normal day. It’s a little patch that’s been relatively isolated from human destruction and contains amazing things like an 800 year old rimu tree and of course an abundance of birds. This event/installation worked with the aura of the bush and created a series of lovely spaces that included humour, fear, beauty, and most importantly a whole lot of wonder.


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Relict Furies

March 15, 2016

Relict Furies
NZSO strings,
Margaret Medlyn

Wellington Cathedral of St Paul
March 15, 2016

This was a fascinating concert. Two beautiful English works for string orchestra, an Australian work by a modern master, and a nearly unbearably intense set of songs getting their New Zealand premiere produced an intriguing mix of traditional and modern beautifully performed, but slightly uneven in effect.


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Hable con ella

March 13, 2016

Hable con ella (Talk to Her)
Pedro Almodóvar (2002)
Wellington City Gallery
March 13, 2016

The third and final ‘Pina’ film. Which is sad because I’ve really enjoyed them all, but also great because next week I get to see her work for real live on stage!

So fittingly this film opens with a performance by Pina herself of Café Müller which is to be the first half of next week’s show! Watching this performance are the two men who are to be dragged together by the intricate and unstoppable fate that Almodóvar gives them.


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E la nave va

March 13, 2016

E la nave va (And the Ship Sails On)
Federico Fellini (1983)
Wellington City Gallery
March 6, 2016

This was the second in the Pina Bausch-related film screenings at City Gallery. I had never seen any Fellini before and yet he is one of the biggest names in art film, so I thought it would be worth a shot. And it was! Apparently this is one of his late period lesser-regarded films, but I loved it.


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A Night with Jazz at Lincoln Center

March 13, 2016

A Night with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
Michael Fowler Centre
March 12, 2016

It’s hard to imagine that it could be possible for any other big band to beat these guys at what they do. As a showcase of ensemble and solo playing and a demonstration of all the things this combination of instruments can do it was close to perfect.

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