Saturday, 10 March 2012


Written IN Weymouth & environs - ON buses or ON coffee-house tables - ON my laptop, IN a notebook, or ON my lap - here, there & in various PREMISES - but essentially @ home @ Golden GOJI Hermitage, drinking IN & out of poetry - ingesting this or that - and THAT  is what drew me to Paul Blackburn many moons ago = ALE HOUSE POEMS, BAKERY POEMS, THE PROVENCAL TROUBADOUR POETS.....earthiness & classicism. BUT what does this Great Fool, w/out a passport to his name, know of such a wor(l)d ? Albeit that his mother came from Alexandria, and gestated sons who loved books and great libraries !

#1) My brother in Oz, prodded me to write about P.B., following my quirky, previous blog-post on here, which referred to Paul Blackburn. i dismissed the idea w/out even considering that i write anything = just not up to such things (?)....less than 24 hours later, i found myself working, as if on benzadrine, on this essay/blog-post. And it is work. And it is a practice...s'thing i had never accepted 100%, as i had the practice of zazen. Just sitting, was all that mattered = SHIKANTAZA = the practice of DOGEN. Katagiri Roshi's remark to Nathalie Goldberg, that WRITING should be her LIFE-PRACTICE, never quite accorded. After-all, for Dogen, ZAZEN WAS BUDDHISM. Likewise, when Franco Beltrametti told me in the 80's, that he practiced WALKING MEDITATION, i thought - not the real thing. i had not matured by a mile. Slowly, more teachings percolated into the mind of this great fool. THICH NHAT HANH talked of WASHING-UP itself is the great practice, life and death, THE GREAT MATTER.

#2) Could not, for the life-of-me, find Paul Blackburn's books when i wanted'em. Searched the library in vain. Then, sidetracked by rearranging some BLACK SPARROW'S in studio/conservatory, i find "THE JOURNALS" under my hand & gaze. i flick thru, happy to have found s'thing. i knew Blackburn had died "young" - but OH! - only 45! (1926-1971) and realised, in that moment ,that when i first read him, he was already dead. Robert Kelly writes, as editor of this book - "The last writing in it comes up to six weeks of his death in September, 1971."
What i "liked" about Paul Blackburn was the "open form" and his ease with contemporary NEW YORK city & translating from the Spanish eg. LORCA. He won a Guggenheim Fellowship...etc...To quote Robert Kelly, once more - "In New York which was most his home and center, he could find the sunlight on a wall not different from Barcelona."

#3) It has been so long now, since my readings of the 70's that, as i sit in "COSTA COFFEE",(decaff.espresso & soya milk), with "THE CITIES" before me & to hand, it strikes me, that these poems are "new"/still fresh. @ 45, Blackburn was still "young enough" to have gone on and worked & practiced, for many, many years. i think of Bob Dylan's refrain = "may we be forever young"...but not in this way, to not have gone on...And there are many...THE POETS OF THE GREAT WAR, JIM MORRISON, HEATH LEDGER...and in "our" family, TIM HEMENSLEY (of the POWDER MONKEYS) - i blub into my coffee. No one notices.

#4) "THE CITIES", (Blackburn's "first, extensive collection of verse" -(Grove Press - 1967)) the Auth or's Note reads - "Every man's stand be his own. Finally, it is a construct, out of my own isolations, eyes, ears, nose and breath.."  ....i hear an echo of CHARLES OLSON in that ="No such thing as mass, as much as, many people, each with eyes in their heads, to be looked out of." Do i misquote ? That is what i have as my memory of it. i do not want to rise from my place and search it not even really know where to look...Human Universe essay ? Do not wish to interrupt this flowing of "mountains  walking"...?....? BUT, maybe i will...SUDDENLY, i feel i have written enough in this first draft/ this blog-post.. appropriately, it is young/ still fresh...ready to be played with in this warm and early spring of ours in Weymouth, where the cherry blossom, out front, has passed full-bloom,and is falling to the ground, even as i write.....i will wait, stay my hand, and WAIT and see if it PROVES, like the bread-dough in tins, waiting for the heat of the oven.....i will soon make my way into the world - to find some fresh, young heirs (pun intended)...."The air sweeps out the odor of love from rooms / the air we love, we weep, we read, sing.."(from "The First Round", Paul Blackburn - AGAINST THE SILENCES - Permanent Press - 1980).

#5) I'm going to THE KING'S ARMS on the harbour. Not a drinker as such - i like a good taste - a good taste of real ale, home-baked bread and poetry....a half-pint will do me. & a packet of s'thing salty....just a half-pint to keep me hand in!!....How else to encounter the world ?/ this world. It is the friction / our continually rubbing-up against / this buffering away, that will reveal the new in which we are moment by moment, breath by breath, being reborn...and it is in this ,that those who are no longer visible are held in our hearts. This is all we have and it is the whole created world. It is enough....


finished @ 17.30 hours,10 / march / 2012.

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  1. as brother, Robin, refers to you = No.1...Of course you are in our little family universe. And i will always be toddling behind you, running up to the garden gate in Shelley Road - how apt that we lived our childhood in a suburb of Southampton, where all the road names were after poets = BROWNING avenue, BYRON road, CHAUCER road, COWPER road, Burns road...But they renamed TENNYSON. Changed it to FARRINGFORD = less of an intrusion to the new-build estate that ousted the gypsey caravans and camp from our fieds of the old HINKLER ESTATE. i still can remember the beautiful PADDY HINKLER - Aunty Lydia would take me to the big house now and then for tea. i must've been 5 or 6 ? and she in the full bloom of youthful womanliness and beauty, even to my young eyes, heart and mind, was a GODDESS. Do you remember, KRIS, she gave you LEO, the lion, and me a black bakeolite model car...i digress, i am at the gate in Shelley Rosd. i look "OVER THE GATE", i look up at the heavens and am awed by the faraway stars. NOT SO tonight....i may be No.2, in Robin's eyes and in who knows eyes. AND who cares ? - But you are THE BOSS....thanx for beautiful comment. X

  2. Time to ditch all that family hierarchy, Bern. There are universes of little families espec. you find now on the Web! And be careful with the 'boss' stuff! (Recall Edw Dahlberg to J Williams, "you persist in calling me teacher, so when will you begin acting like a student?")
    Re- the poets' roads in Thornhill, Southampton : imagine my surprise & pleasure in 1966 when i discovered the mirror reflection in St Kilda & Elwood : i lived in Thackaray Street near Dickens & Mitford & Tennyson etc! Re- Hinkler : Aussie followers wld recall the connection with flyer Bert Hinkler. I think there's a museum in Queensland.

  3. Agree that i need to be more careful and exert rigour rather than playfulness ....probably in all things....have never really acknowledged hierarchies of any distinction with the exception of yourself in regard to poetry etc....i remember also LEW WELCH getting slapped-down with his "BOSS POET" accolade to POINT TAKEN.

    When the student is ready a master appears / when the master is ready a student will appear. Guess such things are done and dusted ? Uh oh...there's my playfulness....:-)....

  4. It is the friction / our continually rubbing-up against / this buffering away, that will reveal the new in which we are moment by moment, breath by breath, being reborn...and it is in this ,that those who are no longer visible are held in our hearts. This is all we have and it is the whole created world. It is these lines