a daily tanka — June 15

the pub is just
as you remember it

tho it’s all changed

             the barman still serves port

             invalide chilled from the fridge

Image: The Hotel Wellington, Sydney 1930s by Sam Hood, c/- State Library of NSW. (Please, no unkind comments about ears). This photo would have been taken during what was known as ‘the six o’clock swill’ which saw public bars across Australia close at 6pm. This practice continued from post-WW1 through to 1954 in NSW and later in some other states and resulted in heavy drinking and some hotels with very long bars. Invalid port (or ‘port invalide‘) as far as I know was port wine marketed as having medicinal properties.

Today’s musical offering is some deep listening by Stockholm sound artist Ellen Arkbro For Organ and Brass (YouTube)(It’s only three tracks but Mountain of Air is a good place to start).

a daily tanka — June 14

praise each grower
train driver coal loader
car and seafarer

grace of bright gantries 
at each berthing, each grain

Image: Coal loader, Port Kembla. After living here for nearly a decade, we finally did a tour of the port part of Port Kembla. While I doubt that late-stage capitalism has a future that includes us working poets, the port with its gargantuan machines was impressive, almost exciting — maybe it’s a boy thing.

I was between two offerings for today’s music and couldn’t decide. So here’s Chopin’s Nocturnes (Youtubers) played by Tunisian-French pianist Brigitte Engerer. And my other choice, thinking back to the docks, is Lee Dorsey with Working in a Coal Mine (“Lord I’m so tired”) (tubers). The whole collection is pretty good (Youtubers).

Bonus: Two additional photos of the coal loader for Misky and Mr Misky and fans of big lifts.

a daily tanka — June 13

winter’s first silver 
sea burnished brilliance 
palisades blown down 
kids in a Kia tool by
laughing like nothing’s changed.  

Image: Famartin, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

And for music this morning, here’s Cecilia Bartoli singing Mozart Arias. (Youtubers) I was listening to this as the wind howled and banged around the house and after a while the weather calmed right down. Hope it works for you too.

captcha tanka — June 12

before proceeding
past these fuzzy lines
select all zebras
                          careful tho — one zebra 
                          may hide behind another

Image: Paul Maritz (detail), CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

After Kenneth Koch’s poem One train may hide another.

captcha is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. It can involve asking the user to identify distorted text, listen to audio files or identify tessellated images of zebras crossing or zebra crossings or other randomness.

And for music today, something beautiful from Pakistan-born, Brooklyn-based vocalist Arooj Aftab with her album Vulture Prince. (YouTubers)

daily tanka — June 11

hey pigeon 
there’s breakfast crumbs dotted
here, here and there (s)
no hurry    breathe deep   once
                                          more — I address myself 

Image: A feral pigeon, Madrid, Spain by Luis García, CC BY-SA 3.0 ES , via Wikimedia Commons

If you missed Misky’s great selection of dark cabaret group Katzenjammer, it’s worth a listen. So for music this morning, here’s some not-so-dark cabaret from local stars Mikeangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen with their 2016 album After the Flood. (YouTubers)

AFTER THE FLOOD features 14 new songs inspired by tall and true tales of the highlife and the lowlife of the European working men on the epic Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme in the 1950s and 60s. The band delve deep into this wild chapter of history, armed with vivid imaginations and a veritable arsenal of instrumentation, the gentlemen add their own unique and compelling take on the making of modern Australia

dactyl tanka — June 10

dawn's headland 
remnant of olden seas
silent — just wind, waves 
and overhead the beat
of huge leathery wings

Image: William Piguenit, Sunrise from the coast near Clifton, Illawarra, New South Wales, c. 1890. c/- Wollongong Art Gallery

And today’s music, here’s Swiss musicians Kaleidoscope String Quartet with accordionist Michael Zisman from 2021 with Five (YouTubers could only find this for you)

daily tanka — June 9

during our holiday

          I lost my iphone 

after taking

         that shot of us                     together

among the ruins

Image: Pompeii 13 April 2019, 1.18pm. I was going to use something more lyrical as a photo but this snap from my lost iphone makes me smile.

And for music today, here’s some northern hemisphere birds accompanying ‘quirky’ London-based multi-instrumentalist Cosmo Sheldrake with Wake Up Calls (Youtubers) (if you have a cat, probably put them in the other room while this is playing).

daily tanka — June 8

i dreamt i was  
a bureaucrat again: 	same 
tan desks                         photocopiers 
papers like egrets stalking
the long charcoal corridors

Image: Benjamin Child bchild311, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

And for music, here’s Haruomi Honsono with some 1980s ambient shopping music Hana ni Mizu (trs: Watering a Flower) which he wrote for Japanese retailer MUJI (YouTubers here’s the original cassette version). For those interested, here’s a radio documentary on avant garde ambient music in 1980s Japan.

a daily tanka — June 7

trying to clean away
the mess    the fingerprints 
of yesterday
I gently wipe my glasses
with a small lintfree cloth

Image: Tableau-vivant, New South Wales, Australian and American Photographic Company, ca. 1872, State Library of NSW on Flickr.

A tanka after Machi Tawara

And today’s musical offering, here’s Colorado born, now Stockholm-based organiste Kali Malone with their 2019 album Sacrificial Code. (YouTubers) I have posted this album before but I just love writing to its slow evolving progressions, so I thought you might enjoy it again.

a wintrous tanka — June 6

this icy blast
polar provocation
snow bunny flurries — 

but wait...a sunny bench
too late to tan?    just killin it

Image: Lake Illawarra this morning (The eagle-eyed will notice my old collie in the background still photo-bombing the art.)

Day 6 of European Settler winter here in Australia; the First Nations season on Dharawal land is Burrugin. This is the time when the male Burrugin (echidnas) form lines of up to ten as they follow the female through the woodlands in an effort to wear her down and mate with her. It is also the time when the Burringoa (Forest Red Gum – Eucalyptus tereticornis) starts to produce flowers.

And here’s some sunny music from 1951 from Ahmad Jamal with Poinciana (start with the title track). (YouTubers – sorry, could only find title track – but this is lovely too)