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end of dreaming

I don’t want to be the one who lives here
     but the alien
I want to visit your beautiful country

I don’t want to speak this tongue
     but the alien
I want to hear your beautiful language

I don’t want to share the words used
     to be the one who understands
     but the alien

I don’t want to be able to explain
     who we are
     what is said
     how we do things here

I don’t want to be the one who asks what you think
     of our beautiful country
     but the alien
I want to understand nothing but your laughter

I don’t want to be the one who knows
     who we are
     and who they are
     but the alien

I don’t want to be the one who knows
     what we are
     and what they are

I don’t want to give them the words
     to take out the words they use
     to share the words in their mouths

I want to share in your beautiful laughter
     and to understand in your smiles
     your good will to strangers

I don’t want to be the one with dreams of leaving
     anymore
     but the alien

I don’t want to be the one who hears
     from your beautiful mouth
     you are leaving
     but the alien
who leaves who just leaves who lies down
     and leaves

I don’t want to feel this grief on anyone’s behalf
I don’t want to feel this shame on anyone’s behalf

but I want this grief
but I want this shame

     and the shame of grief
     and the shame of shame

 

 

[written on the occasion of the shooting

Christchurch 15 March 2019]

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while there’s still coffee in my cup

The last day of this year’s calendar, the year does not so much need summing up–although I would like the time and space to mark events that have moved events, as events inevitably do–as it seems to want a few words said in a valedictory tone or register. We would want it to fare well as we farewell it; and so we would wish to those who can still be bothered to speak and to listen. Because it’s difficult, it seems increasingly, to parse meanings in a mobile world that has never been more immobilised and to listen with an ear for meanings, to speak with meaning. So many symbolic acts have been recorded to have occurred this past year, we grow sick of them.

I have been writing the continuation of work on Minus Theatre into what we did with the negotiation of that particular time and space which arises between speaker and listener, an experiment that ended in July 2017. I have been writing on the indifference of that intersubjective place where subjects symbolise and gesture, speak and listen to one another, and on how, although indifferent to what is said, to what is written, it is seldom acknowledged in its own right. Rather, the space of symbols and the time of gestures is singled out, speech and writing are singled out, and the symbolic is singled out as being of the utmost significance. That is the act of signification is more significant than the theatres and foyers of its conduct–let alone communication and the solidarity sought through it.

Were it to be considered in its own right, this place where humans engage in negotiating exchange, we might encounter better and more open questions and meanings. We might think about what we need for there to exist any place of signification and symbolic exchange and drop the needless stress on what is exchanged. We might cease as well to need to speak as if we mattered more than the indifference of the place, the global place, the local place, and the elements and terrestrial forces to which both are subject. Instead I hear we ought to make a difference, and I suppose we ought, but to the human. Nothing is achieved by standing alongside the human and negotiating the indifference of the place where we make our stand and state our standpoint. Nothing to be gained by punctuality.

We have lost this year from this place the great dance and theatre director and writer Douglas Wright. That’s a shame and shamefully unmarked, enragingly unmarked. His dark rage–part and parcel of what is most intensely NZ–should be missed. I will miss it.

Are we provisioned for the next year? Hardly. So much of the wrong kind of disappointment. In the doco made about Douglas, Haunting Douglas, he acknowledges how revelatory was the question put to him by a former lover: Is there something in your life you would like to do? He had never considered the possibility he could, that he might declare for something in his life; he had never considered the possibility one was able to, to make an answer, even to declaring for it as a responsibility and commitment, using the words: In my life I would like to …

Farewell 2018. For the new year, I can think of no better wish to make than that in 2019 you speak those words and listen to your answer.


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untitled 1: including an in memoriam for Douglas Wright, 14 October 1956 – 14 November 2018

The great Spanish writer—not an opinion, a fact, my friend

He would or he might begin with something suitably self-deprecating—

a reference to another writer, an artist who, perhaps, was more far-sighted,

in not worrying so much about his place in things, worrying at her hems,

edges and scabs, at the places where the body—of work, obviously—comes

undone, as it inevitably does, Douglas Wright died this week, I say this

not to be topical, but in respect of an image and its necessary resonance, or,

let us say, vibration with another—necessary, because the only reason ever

for an image, to initiate one, is to set it up in such a way that it ping

off another, calling everyone, at this overflowing table, to attention with the edge

of a knife, how sharp we will never know, tap against an empty glass—a

game of golf, Douglas in a liminal state induced by drugs of a medical nature,

purportedly, hearing the news, on the radio, a voice: it says, this

this will really really put New Zealand at last put New Zealand New Zealand

on the world the world on the world stage; and voices from a stand of

macrocarpa, adjacent to the golf course, echoing up over the balcony, in

through an open window, to where Douglas lies, on a couch, in a state

between waking and dreaming, hearing the voices commingle, those

from the stand of macrocarpa, adjacent to the golf course, where golf

balls often end up being hit by accident, voices of the searchers for the lost

golf balls, calling out, WHERE IS IT? HERE and IT’S OVER HERE,

WHERE? I FOUND IT! and that voice

on the radio, so that … but here I become confused, because the next

image enters, not prematurely, I hope, but soon enough that it sets off

the former image, so that we almost trip over it—HERE

New Zealand on the world stage IT’S OVER HERE

at last—and I would like to champion, at this point, Ghost Dance, the source

of this former image, having its source in its author, Douglas Wright, who

is also, sadly, former, as the greatest artistic autobiography ever written by

a by by a by a New Zealander by a New Zealander … OVER HERE … Lost …

from the world stage, forever. Vila-Matas was the famous Spanish author.

The next image is—can it in all truth be called an image? when it is

a matter of voices?—and Douglas’s voice, I hear his cadences, pronouncing

on the, what was it we had lost? the sense of the strength of movement

coming from the pelvis, that we had lost, in our young dancers—the next

a voice says please

return to your seat

it sweeps the aisle

clear at the same

time David Byrne

is singing another

voice and another

close, Stay in your

lines.

You are being

You are out

of control, Sonny

or is it Girlie?

I have the strange

unwonted accompanying sensations,

not entirely unpleasant, of arms, not entirely unpleasant, only

unwonted, of arms holding me and the hands attempting

to take hold

of the left arm in the classic armlock we know from films, and twist it

behind my back, movies about forced removal

of potentially disruptive and violent—and again

the fit of the words is false, without falsifying, since this is

indeed what we do with miscreants: the bodyguard, no, he is

a security guard, with a beautiful word emblazoned—the most

exaggerated form of embroidery or printing—emblazoned on his back, VENUE

SECURITY all one word, like a gang patch.

Douglas Wright and David Byrne. Douglas was just 62. What is

an age, when you do not grow old?

 

David Byrne David David Byrne amazing fantastic and beautifully

deconstructed in the concert version of American Utopia two

words

venuesecurity at the Spark telco arena, although this makes it sound like

they built it, they did not—do brands maintain their psychosexual overtone?

of having been inflicted in a hot moment of contact—let us say, “the lie

of the land

she meant yes

she meant yes”

 

It was a white and middleclass and quite fat night on the metaphorical bleachers

at the David Byrne concert tonight,

the second encore ended with a rollcall of names of murdered

African-Americans (two words?)

whose killings in racially charged circumstances have elevated them into the hall of martyrs” says Variety

There is an insupportable irony in the fact that my assailants were all brown

because I wanted to dance

 

Dance

is it a health and safety issue that so few serious modern composers who

are accepted as such

commit themselves to music to dance to?

 

Dance

I cannot imagine Douglas Wright dying

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now i’m listening to kip hanrahan’s beautiful scars and i realise there is no other music for grownups so full of joy sex & politics 3 of my fav things but art too art music art life art rotting with life decomposing on the street sweating in the room shroom is how i am

thanks gareth

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are there any answers?

Dear Visitor,

Let us engage with the questions:

  1. anthropogenic climate change–is the question of the present, not the future.
  2. ownership of elements: air earth water warmth–China has awoken to Capital, whatever the corporate brandname on it: another question of the present.
  3. health: obesity is a mental illness; mental health is a cultural illness. A question of the present.
  4. the future will be? A question of human cultural regeneration–perhaps the only question of the future?

In our small way we are addressing ourselves to these questions with a view to an answer that is local and directed towards the future.

The means to cultural regeneration are within reach of a modernity that believes in itself–has not lost that belief. This we have found in Benesse Foundation’s Public Capitalist undertakings in Naoshima and Teshima, the ‘art islands’ of the Seto Inland Sea in Japan.

We would like you, dear visitor, to share with Benesse this vision for an answer that is local and directed towards the future:

 

I am writing to you from Waiheke Island.

Waiheke has a similar status in the Hauraki Gulf to Naoshima in the Seto Inland Sea. It is a popular tourist destination: however it attracts visitors more for reasons of its natural beauty than for cultural tourism.

Waiheke is 35 minutes by ferry from the centre of New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland. It currently boasts a resident population of @9,000.

A large proportion of this population is artistically active–this is owing to heritage settlement: it was originally a cheap place to buy and rent, with advantages of a healthy natural lifestyle.

In terms of built infrastructure it is poorly served, with one exception: the Stony Batter site, https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/auckland/places/waiheke-island/stony-batter-historic-reserve/

Built to defend New Zealand in the event of the war in the Pacific extending into the Hauraki Gulf, Stony Batter is largely built underground, with approximately 7km of tunnels.

It has recently been proposed that Stony Batter be developed as a Heritage Site. Submissions are being solicited by Auckland City Council to this end. However, it is our opinion that Stony Batter, on Waiheke Island would be a missed opportunity of giant proportions if it is only developed with a view to low level heritage tourism–which tends to be internal and nationally based.

Stony Batter, Waiheke, commends itself as a site for Global Cultural Tourism.

The as-built aspects of it, the island location, underground and above, the natural surrounding context, are ripe for such development.

Ando, we think, would be impressed with this structure: although built for utilitarian purposes, its aesthetic qualities are evident.

The underground would suit gallery development, with installations taking advantage of the light and sound qualities of the tunnels. The textural and architectural uniqueness of the site would attract and inspire international and local artists to exhibit and install here.

The exterior would suit installations to make the most of the dramatic scenic beauty of Hauraki Gulf and islands.

We humbly bring this to Benesse’s attention on the basis of our recent visits to Naoshima and the sites of cultural tourism–and cultural pilgrimage–located there. Stony Batter Waiheke Island could be such a place with the vision and thinking and good-being/good-doing that is characteristic of Benesse’s Public Capitalist approach. It could be a Southern counterpart to Naoshima and Teshima.

We would add that Benesse’s sensitivity, shown in the development of globally recognised sites for cultural tourism in Naoshima and Teshima, is to the forefront of our considerations in making this recommendation. Waiheke has a long colonial and precolonial history, as well as the heritage to which Stony Batter is a material attestation: the respect we know to inform Benesse’s approach is essential to this project.

We suggest that Benesse follow up with a submission to highlight the advantages of Stony Batter as a site for global cultural tourism (with a smaller heritage element incorporated into the plan). Submissions are currently open until 27 September 2018. Please make your submission here: https://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/have-your-say/all-consultations/2018/applications/fort-stony-batter-heritage-park-limited/

Please be aware that we present this proposition in good faith and feel free to cite our support for this submission.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Dr Simon Taylor

 

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06.08.2018 Shinjuku, Roppongi

The galleries and the art—you might as well say all other ends—are as nothing to the city. Benesse’s ethically informed and ecological business, putting the engine of capitalism to scaling up a public and cultural interest, are nothing beside the electricity bill of a single district, beside just the electricity bill of Shinjuku.

We went to Mori Art Museum today—again the policing of photography, so few snaps, an exhibition tracing genealogies of architecture in a Japanese cultural context—and the idea of scale was given graphic representation, of human scale: the measurement of a standing body, the reach of an arm, the height of a seat under a seated body, the headheight of one sitting on the floor, the length of a footstep and a stride. But there is also a scale to human dreams; there is a scale to a life: and to the dreams of one living. The question What is to be done? is abstract, purely speculative, beside the question What do you want to do? What do you want to do? expresses a human scale. However What are they doing? What are they doing behind their counters? What are they doing walking in the streets? What are they doing working? What are they doing paying for the service provided? What are they doing looking at the local colour? What are they doing using the subway? What are they doing at the nuclear plant? These are questions that scale up rapidly to encompass other ends: What? What, the energy you draw from the thermonuclear reaction is just for the trains? It is just for the lights? It is just so at night you can carry on selling yakotori at night? (The energy for the hibachi barbecues comes from charcoal … but the charcoal is shipped into the centre of Shinjuku … and so is the meat, as are the vegetables, the drinks. The glasses are from factories. The beer is from an industrial brewery. Consider the size of Asahi: Asahi also supplies streetvending machines; it manufactures peppermints … at least its brand is on peppermints.)

What is every good effort at improving human life compared to the dreams of one living now? Who is not Japanese, serving in Memory Lane, at a yakotori counter barely over a metre wide. But who is Chinese, as are the two women working with her. They are studying at university. What you asked was—put in mind of the women running the ramen place in Kyoto—Is this business yours? The answer given: We are not Japanese. We are Chinese. I am a student. What are you studying? Business studies.

Where do you come from? New Zealand. I would like to go there. To New Zealand? Yes. It is big. It is bigger here! No—more… space. Yes.

To try and get closer to the question: Will you find a Japanese man? No. Japanese man drinks too much. In New Zealand… No. New Zealand men don’t drink at all! Laughter.

Another of the young women was also studying business. In Japan for 4 years, she dreamed of going to New Zealand. This was her dream. She was shy, shy about not having very much English.

Stepping out into the street, after the most expensive meal we’ve had here, we were immediately among the throngs of tourists, all attracted to these few lanes and alleys—Memory Lane!—by a recommendations of others. Look at them, with their cellphones, getting as close as they could to the natives in the area, in their tiny bars, doing their native things in their native tongues, drinking and eating and talking—pressed tightly together in their native humanity. But we are not Japanese.

And then the play of lights above, in the streets, the signage, the displays just for the sake of display: the scale of the city.

The press of people is Japanese. Genealogies of architecture in Japan, from Japan, and the Japanese influence on the contemporary world—of architecture and architectural thinking—did not include the press of bodies, the scale of one compressed on the subway. I felt the bones of the short woman in front of me, in the squeeze.

We were trying not to panic. It was the Oedo line, Roppongi to Shinjuku, the return trip from Mori Art Museum, just after 6pm. The first train that pulled up, although we were only three or four people back in the queue, we did not board. The way to board, when the press is so great, is backwards, pushing back first into the others in the doorway cavity. Then, use the door jambs and overhead lintel for leverage to pull in your legs and arms. If the doors can’t close, they will reopen, so you can push harder back, and pull in the remaining foot or hand. You are holding your bag close against you.

The second train came and J. was determined. The price of success was to be squashed tight in the door area—those standing in the aisle protected their space; those seated were safe. We were squashed so tightly I could not raise my arms. And with a righteous indignation that is embarrassing, when the press increased, with one large guy determined to get on, we yelled Hey! This did attract attention. But the large guy, using the lintel to pull his body in through the door, did get on—the skin of his face would have been pressed against the glass windows of the door, like we had seen with the earlier train: vacuum-sealed skin, faces, arms, bodies.

The fear was that at the ensuing stations—we had seven to cover—more people would be waiting, more would squeeze on: and what if the train broke down? Or what if there was some kind of scare and the crowd got spooked? What if we lost our footing and fell?

At the next station, a few got off, and more got on, but we had made our way, like those puzzles where you slide letters around a square with only one space free, to the corner, to the door opposite the one where we boarded. We had breathing space. I could grab the hanging strap and handle. Another gaijin next to me: he was using his back as a baffle and concentrating on his phonescreen.

What we decided we had meant by Hey! was Hey! That’s enough! That’s not how we do things! … And it was really unnecessary. These people, determined to board, to the discomfort of others, would know there would be another train along in minutes. Another question—because once on, J. said let’s get off, at the next station; we didn’t: If we had not got on the train, had known what we were in for, how long would have had to wait before the commuting press subsided? Or would we have walked? Right across Tokyo.

The Golden Gai, like Memory Lane—tourist gaijin prowling, cellphones at eyeheight.

But the snaps you want—the world is not designed for you either.

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I think this will be the last one of this series, it is #31

XXXI.

getoveryourself or you should know when to stop are not the same pieces of advice

but you are not listening to me you are looking at the image of an idiot on the screen

an idiot boy Bolaño says—right in my ear—the image of an idiot boy—and i am overcome by a feeling of wonder at how great it would be it is to be a female art

a female artist a woman first, second—they are not the same pieces of advice—you could—one justifies another—produce the most overtly sexual and sexualised imagery

you would not be guilty of sexuality—and I am fore-betrayed by knowledge, memory, belief one does not justify another duplicitous amongst the victims blending in, before a page of prose looking for even yet the flight of a bird & birdsong, time blurred like the wingbeat of a sacred kingfisher [writes Adam Roberts] and

 

my stomach drops

into shallow pans

tripe-white

of my open hands (even yet Fergus Barrowman, replied, some of the lines are simply bad)

facing a page of prose: sometimes life is shit: one justifies another and I accuse the extinguished theatre I mean professor removed from positon by concerted and personal vendetta—what one feels now the other will. INTIMIDATION seemed right closest to our theme but you should know when to stop

the recoil is lost it is political and so it is born: and once it was a child and knew getoveryourself for not having to be a female artist, of a woman first second—at the same—the integrity of the personal gesture of sexuality now the integrity of the gesture was lost

it would not be reproduced, it would not pay to reproduce and once it was a child, and at the same time it is the memory of things, not as they were, thought to be heading in a certain direction, ends unknown, all of a sudden going in a wholly unexpected direction the integrity of the gesture was lost, and the reduction to ends and desires the image of that idiot boy on a screen I see my memory at two removes extinguished theatre I mean professor and yours but you are not looking

and in no wise would it be true to say these two manners of appearing followed one upon the other but that in somewise I know not were they concurrent also Adam in The Thing Itself the thing itself might as well figure thought in the image of the hypocrite not the idiot

we are so many people in the manner of a lost world given the word or gesture of the appearance of victims and I amongst gathered together who don’t who can’t and who cannot recognise a crime who gather together in their want and in their lack of recognition and who do not ask who answers for it, for once it was a child and knew, but that in the want and lack of their recognition its answer goes unquestioned its question goes unasked

which is their question and i amongst and it is like the memory of smoke in a dream that on waking is the image of a face in sand that on looking you look does not ask anymore

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XXX

XXX.

Do not speak this blessing

itwillenslaveyou

we did not know he penetrated her apart from her expression

blank possibly drugged mystical

and should peace peace is a sheet

a cool white sheet a clean and ironed one

expressionless

soothing easy eyes

good tears dripping in excess is it from their folds

secreting oracles

 

a dribble is a gathering together of images in a droplet

it strings secreting strings threads pearls in its secretion

as involuntary as a symptom

notatallunwilling

the will which hidden will seep out

in the night

in the night emissions

of satellites

 

and should peace peace be upon them

which is a sheet and flicks at their genitals

with the folded rectitude of paper

wet from the pen dripping ink

and albumen every edge it over

tang of egg or orange is it

inkwet in the sicklehairs

 

say it with sex say say it with art of lying

forgive the intrusion the cage was empty

and in my hand a group of opioids

a birdwing flaps drug it and in my hand

on my hand featherlight another

heart beat another open void

it overflows and in my prescription

does it in my script these lines

 

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nearly 30 and over half a year later now #29

XXIX.

bloodspots on the strawberry hem

laughter in the trees

like with like again

I am surrounded in my disbelief

 

by wonderful and inexplicable reasons

a needle is suspended in the air

threads the sky its origins

the fictions of a scientific feeling

 

other than that

the world parts its lips

through the water

trail your fingertips

 

David the sky today

deep azure

and I can find only

my own

original mind

 

Leonora Fini’s voyageurs one sitting one lying in rest leg bent en repos I misread as voyeurs resting or put to rest the painter covers their eyes with a folded cloth they are expressionless androgynous are they at least one is not entitled to say but that the cloths over each are their eyes shut one is not entitled to say lave the brows of each rest

you have earned it voyeurs because you have not come far you have in fact not come from any origin except a certain style, a certain foldedness—as much as the folds bear a kind of sightless witness to in the cloths covering the brow of each voyageur

traveller

blindfolded to vision because not sleeping either sleepless and not entitled to dream what work they have then done the seated one behind the one lying one leg bent behind the other and what might possibly arouse them from well-earned repose to return to it to the fabrication the fictitious fabric sussurating gown of a mistress or a master did I mention their youth medieval or preraphaelite attire at whose behest they what laboured voyaged viewed or gazed on who leaves them who replaces her gown and he his robe, whispering softly through barely parted lips it sweeps the floor behind, in the hallways, in the archways, aisle and cloister, leaving them sanctified by what they have seen, what work it was

now rest

to look what is inexplicable and wonderful to have traversed all feeling, to have found there all good reason and to have there been granted your repose …

 

by what right

state the question

tonight alas the tongue of truth alights upon no tooth”

to have it extracted by a screwdriver

blood spotting the mask and lips

 

by what right spit it out

the paper besmirched and soiled

the bill

 

by what right to say

or cross it out

 

by what in this climate

in this socio-economic says Bolaño

better to live

undercover

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watch a kind of record every week by clicking on this name in lefthand margin or watch this week’s episode No. 26 below continuing

XVI.

Two of these things I cannot live without

live without anticipation

live without the expected or the unexpected

live without a long time left

live without love

live without my heart is broken

live without my home

live without lost time

live without the wit of the old queers

live without wine or Russian vodka

live without affordable tobacco

live without health

live without answer

and without echo

 

I left the streets I walked in the light of emotional lamplight I burrowed into the city it was Christchurch built on alluvial planes riddled with aquifers one day to erupt hiccup flat by bodies in a terrible clarity long coats all the contours pushed into a tiny spectrum corners in the smallest circuit so you turn how can you not know where you are by the river by the square by the curve of air by the mist and smoke in your mouth by the hunger and the thirst

 

I don’t know your name

are you next

can you live without your

insides

 

her red hair freckles long black coat pockets safety-pinned a fingerless glove she reached me out of her heart a long splinter of glass ice her lucid eyes handed me it saying you’ll be wanting this this bottle of gin you are a miracle

 

are you living here now

Sydney is it

every one with a view

of the ocean

 

speaking from notes

without saying a word

are you next reader

without

 

knowing how she could know all dimensions anticipations collapsed hiccup flat a door miracle flung open ahead it was Sydney and the dress rehearsal had gone long into the night I carried my daughter trains buses stopped for the night hills of the city curved in the fired air she slept home a far line distant in the hills along the curved night in the fired air a white door I didn’t know it was a taxi until her I poked my head in in my arms and he said where have you been

 

I’ve been waiting for you

live without reason

in your finitude

you’re here now

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