‘not a tanka’ tanka — June 28

always a fan of

the Brechtian gesture

again I'm pressed

against the wall between us

— seems insurmountable 

Image: from a 2008 performance of Bertolt Brecht‘s play The Caucasian Chalk Circle, c/- Otterbein University Theatre & Dance from USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

And for music this morning, German composer Max Richter has re-recomposed Vivaldi’s Four Seasons this time using gut strings, period instruments and even vintage synthesisers to create a ‘grittier, more punk rock sound‘ — with Elena Urioste and the Chineke! Orchestra ) (Youtube). You know where to start.

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).

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

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)

a daily tanka — 25 May

neon supermarket —
mums among avocados 
cabbages brilliant packs 
out back lobstermen clack
carapaces on the glass

Image: Young girl with cabbage, Firmin Baes (1874 -1943) c/- Wikimedia. After Allen Ginsberg, A Supermarket in California, 1955

And this morning, some guitar for you from Spanish composer Antón García Abril (1933 – 2021) played by Francisco Bernier (maybe start with track 2 Evocaciones) (YouTubers).

a sea-drawn tanka – 19 May

today you’re wearing 
those sunglasses I retrieved 
from the ocean floor

coralline rims, deep green glass
sea flowers our corridor

Image: Diver entering the ocean wearing an experimental diving suit, 1934 c/- State Library of NSW on Flickr

And in keeping with today’s marine theme, here’s local indie guitar guy and shirt-refuser John Butler with Ocean (& tubers it’s here)

Daily tanka – 4 May

a royal spoonbill
sashays down the floodline
flings back his plumes
like Elvis at Vegas
man, he just owns this swamp

Image: The royal spoonbill, Platalea regia c/- Francesco Veronesi from Italy, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spotted yesterday, three royal spoonbills among the raggedy ibis along the flooded suburban lagoon just down from my place.

And today’s musical offering, here’s South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim with Cape Town Flowers.