Two poems this week, by two poets from Auckland with whom I shared the stage recently at Auckland’s Fringe Festival for the Spit.It.Out Spoken Word series. Really cool to stand up with these poets performing, among other works, these here.
The Gifted Linguist Invents Language by Siobhan Harvey
Not code composed in ink, ether-screed or decibel, the word is
skin, blood and teeth. It starts as a star, blazing and nuclear.
In time, it will evolve into something like Wingding, all symbols
and screeches. Regardless, expressing affection is fixed like the sun.
Even now, change is upon us. We wake to familiarity:
stock-markets burning up huge mass like supernovas;
riots, fierce as red dwarfs, in Paris, Athens and London;
the gifted linguist translating hieroglyphs and Arabic
over the morning babble about uprisings in Egypt and Libya.
Then, from some future galaxy, travelling by speed
of light or across a wormhole, a new language,
Xeplos arrives brightly lit in his mind.
Eno is no; ess is yes; ans is can; Mesas is Mummy…..
Adjectives, nouns, tenses and verbs tumble
like stardust from his tongue.
Squeezing out light, new language replaces the clock.
Consuming us, new language steals particles of our lives.
In its perfection, we draw closer to our uncertain future.
As we do so, we hold onto space – moments
of deep thought; the pauses between
infinite questions; the cavities opened
when books are read – tight as hope.
These are the silences that transport us elsewhere.
These are the silences that keep us as we are.
(c) Siobhan Harvey 2013.
Siobhan Harvey is the author of the poetry collection, Lost Relatives (Steele Roberts NZ, 2011) and the book of literary interviews, Words Chosen Carefully: New Zealand Writers in Discussion (Cape Catley, 2010). She’s also the editor of Our Own Kind: 100 New Zealand Poems about Animals (Random House NZ, 2009). Her poems has been published at home and internationally in such magazines as Asheville Poetry Review (US), Best New Zealand Poems, Evergreen Review (US), Five Poem Journal (Ned), Landfall, Meanjin(Aus),Poetry New Zealand, Stnorkel (Aus), Sructo (UK) and Tuesday Poem (NZ/ US). She’s the Poetry Editor of Takahe and Coordinator of National Poetry Day. In recent years, she has been runner-up in Dorothy Porter Poetry Prize (Aus), Kevin Ireland Poetry Competition, Landfall Essay Prize and Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize (US). As part of the 25 New Zealand Poets Project, her Poet’s Page is on The Poetry Archive (UK).
Two German Shephards by Michael Onslow-Osborne
Michael Onslow-Osborne has been trolling around the Auckland poetry scene since 1996, developing collaborative and generative writing practices, and working with found language. He is an organiser for the occasional Soft Boiled series, and was vocalist with Scram. He occasionally teaches reading writing, for money and for kicks, and recently co-edited Courtney Meredith’s Brown Girls in Bright Red Lipstick. He doesn’t keep good records, but his poetry has been published in ABDotWW, Salt and Flint, and Potroast.
Be sure to stop in and see the other poems posted this week by the Tuesday Poem collective — by clicking below.
For more Tuesday Poems, go here.