Tim and Keith Read at the Ballroom Cafe, Sunday 17 June

Join poets Tim Jones and Keith Westwater and viola player and singer Emma Kaloay for an afternoon of music and poetry from 4-6pm on Sunday 17 June at the Ballroom Cafe, cnr Riddford St and Adelaide Rd, Newtown, Wellington.

The session starts with an open mike, then Emma will play, then Tim and Keith will read. We’ll have copies of our poetry collections available for sale.

If you are on Facebook, you can join the Facebook event. We hope to see you there!

Tuesday Poem: Revenant, by Harvey Molloy

Time’s called.
The tables wiped and the windows latched
and the cellar trap door closed and bolted.
He lies still in his bed.
Headlights from passing cars arc across the wall.
Time’s called.
He walks on the stair and does not feel
stair underfoot. 
He waits by the fireplace in the function room.
He waits and he waits for what?
Time’s called.
Upstairs he finds a party, all talk
hushed whispers at the oak panelled door
as if a reading or recital is about to begin.
He turns to talk as streamers and balloons fall.
Time’s called.
There’s only a girl with braided hair
and her back to the window pulley. Then nothing. 
What was the question he wanted to ask?
Where is your mother?  Where’s sleep?
Time’s called.
He hears laughter downstairs in the snug bar.
A match struck and the tinkle of glasses
after closing. Outside the weather
improves. The wind drops. A woman’s
laughter falls between shadows. 
Time’s called.
He is not quite nothing, his memories
housed in frames. He flickers
like a daguerreotype in an old man’s dream.
The party downstairs is over.
He is not yet ready to leave.
Credit note: “Revenant” first appeared in broadsheet 7 and was subsequently published as the Dominion Post’s “Wednesday Poem”. It is published here by kind permission of the author.

Tim says: What a cool poem, and how well it characterises the revenant, the ghost not yet ready to leave. This is one of the many fine poems that Harvey is writing – I very much enjoyed his first collection, Moonshot, and think his next collection is going to be even better. You can find out more about Harvey and his writing on his blog.

The Tuesday Poem: You can check out the other Tuesday Poems for this week on the Tuesday Poem blog – the hub poem at the centre of the page, and all the other poems to the left.

Tuesday Poem: Now What?

A good question
here in the living room
at quarter to three.
All the others
are in bed.
They’re drawn in pairs
& yet again we’ve drawn the bye.
Have a coffee – Thanks.
What’s on the telly? Static.
A penny for your thoughts;
I’ve wrung the last
thin juices out of mine.
Have another orange, go on,
be a devil.
Stuff a chilli up your nose,
see a doctor, read a book,
save the world in fifteen minutes.
Put on your hat & coat & gloves
then take them off again.

Credit note: First published in Men Briefly Explained (IP, 2011). Mary Cresswell gave Men Briefly Explained an excellent review in issue 75 of Takahe, and this is one of the poems she quoted in her review.

Tim says: There have rumblings – rumblings which are entirely justified – about the continuing lack of new Tuesday Poems from me. My only defence is that I’m not actually writing poetry at the moment – I’m writing short stories. But I may have to break the habit of a lifetime and put unpublished poetry up here before long. Poetry editors all around the world will weep at the loss of the cherished first rights to publish my beautiful poems… (Cups ear, listens for sounds of weeping. None heard.)

But no matter! This week, I thought it was fully worth posting another poem from Men Briefly Explained, given Mary’s excellent review. This is the oldest poem in the book, written when I was single and lived in Dunedin. It didn’t make it into my first collection, Boat People, but it fitted nicely into Men Briefly Explained.

The Tuesday Poem: You can check out all the Tuesday Poems at the Tuesday Poem blog – the hub poem in the centre, and the other Tuesday Poets’ work linked from the left.

Tuesday Poem: Shetland Ponies, Haast Beach

Forest and sea have had their way
with memory. A few houses — silent,
locked — remain. Between car and beach,
a field of Shetland ponies, already
calling her by name. But I’m
facing inland, bush not far beyond,
mountains piled like thunderheads
across the morning light. Was this
our house, or this, or this now empty field?
For eighteen months, we lived here
while they built the road. I was two, then four.
What I have are barely memories:

my mother at the washing line. My father’s
longed-for homeward stride. Grader drivers
lifting me onto their knees to ride.
Work done, we drove away, the new highway
bearing our fortunes south, over spilling streams,
across the Main Divide. Now I’m back, reclaiming

what may be reclaimed. The forest

has no answers. The sea lies past the ponies.
“Look,” she says, “they’re eating from my hand.”

Credit note: “Shetland Ponies, Haast Beach” was first published in my latest poetry collection, Men Briefly Explained (IP, 2011) – available in lots of places online, through bookshops, and from me!

Tim says: After Tim Upperton’s broadly positive review of Men Briefly Explained in Landfall, I thought it would be a good idea to post another poem from MBE. This one is taken directly from personal experience. I lived at Haast (now called Haast Beach) on the West Coast between the ages of two and four, when the Haast Highway was being built – Dad was the pay clerk for the project, and once married quarters were built, Mum and I moved across from Christchurch to join him.

In due course we shifted to Invercargill. I didn’t return to Haast for many years, and when I did, it was in a hired car with a female friend who had never been there before.

The Tuesday Poem: You can read all this week’s Tuesday Poems at the Tuesday Poem site: the hard-hitting hub poem selected by Helen Lowe in the centre, and the other poets’ poems linked from the left.

So, Er … Yeah

A few little things:

Tim Upperton has reviewed my latest poetry collection Men Briefly Explained in Landfall Review Online – thanks, Tim!

Here is Tim’s review: http://landfallreviewonline.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/messages-from-red-planet.html

And here is lots more information about Men Briefly Explained, including where and how to buy it: http://timjonesbooks.blogspot.co.nz/p/men-briefly-explained.html

Michelle Elvy pointed out to me that a search for “Men Briefly Explained” on Fishpond lists my book at the top but some distinctly bizarre choices under that – Hitler: A Short Biography? The World of Mining??! Experience these bizarre search results yourself at http://www.fishpond.co.nz/advanced_search_result.php?rid=968709485&keywords=men%20briefly%20explained

As well as being a fine writer, Michelle Elvy has given a real boost to flash fiction writing in this country with her and Sian Williams’ magazine Flash Frontier and now with the announcement that 22 June will be National Flash Fiction Day. Watch out for events in your area, and check the National Flash Fiction Day website for news. Don’t forget the National Flash Fiction Competition, which closes on 1 June, either!

So, er … yeah. Back to writing those short stories!