Dead Poem Office (2012)

I hadn’t intended to publish Dead Poem Office in 2007 at all. The chapbook’s title was a tongue-in-cheek reference to REM’s Dead Letter Office (1987), an album of ‘b-sides compiled’.

The idea was to collect together a chapbook’s worth of poems that had been published previously in journals, but that had not made the cut for We Will Disappear.

The first edition was published in 2007, and in 2012 I published an expanded version.

Tabula rasa

Hello, world. It’s Davey here.

It’s been a while. In fact, it’s been a very long time, indeed. But, you know how it goes: things got boring; I changed; you changed; we moved apart. Maybe we were missing that frisson that made this whole caper so untold to start with. Well, it’s time to end all that.

Time for a fresh start. After 12 years, 1200 blog posts, countless bios and ‘about’ pages, hundreds of thousands of words, scores of categories, 850 real comments and billions of spam comments, and hundreds of images, links and in-jokes, this site has become not so much a yoke around my neck as a huge albatross dragging me further and further into the realms of dark space.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 21.34.26
Image: a screenshot of my website yesterday, right after I unpublished all of my posts.

So that’s why I’ve decided to unpublish all of my posts, and start again. This doesn’t mean that the posts have actually been ‘disappeared’ but that, for the moment, they’ve been carted off to another dimension, awaiting further instructions.

I’ve got big plans for these posts—more on that soon, hopefully. For now, it’s time to revel in the mystical ‘hello, world!’ moment that comes with one’s (new) first post.

Tabula rasa.

Update (31 August 2014): Yeah, well … that seemed like a good idea at the time. All systems soon back to normal.

Coming soon … ‘Tanto’

TANTO Screen Width

Long-term readers may recall that in 2011 I set up a poem newsletter project, ‘Poem of the week!’.

As you may also recall, a total of 22 posts were sent to subscribers during the project’s most active period, between October 2011 and April 2012. These posts were then compiled in a chapbook entitled Tjugotvå – twenty-two poems. I still think it’s a great little book and have my subscribers (around 60 by the time the project wound down) to thank for helping make it possible, through their words of encouragement and our interactions via the newsletter.

Well, two years later I’ve taken the plunge again and decided to once again indulge my ‘inner Swede’, a barely three-year-old creature struggling with Swedish customs and language. Maybe it’s because I’ve signed up for Swedish lessons, but I have a burning urge to write into life the strange world in which I live, where characters with names like ‘Åsa’ really do exist.

Åsa Strålande i ‘Tanto’, a new serial work of fiction, takes place in present-day Stockholm, and features locations and practices that will be familiar to residents of Stockholm but which may seem strange to non-Swedes (as may the dialogue, which is almost exclusively rendered in Swedish). However, the story also features several fictional venues and—needless to say—characters and is suitable for all readers over the age of 18. All you really need to know is that Tantolunden (or Tanto for short) is a park on Södermalm in central Stockholm.

The story will only be sent to those who have subscribed to the newsletter. The first episode of ‘Tantolunden’ will arrive in your inbox shortly. I look forward to sharing this strange and mysterious story with those of you who would care to join me on a journey to … ‘Tantolunden’ …

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Footprints Detail Image

36 views of ‘Footprints’

Last year during our travels in Japan we spent some time in Kanazawa. Lovely place, took some beautiful photos there, it was hard to take a bad shot. Anyway, my image gallery from the trip started attracting some interesting comments. One image in particular – a set of footprints painted on a road – seemed to have been singled out for some pretty complimentary responses.

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I remember Animal Collective

Animal Collective på Debaser Medis, Stockholm (2012)

Animal Collective

I’ve been writing this post in my head for at least twelve months, and even now I’m not sure I’m ready to publish it. As a consequence of my tardiness, there’s probably very little here on the subject of Animal Collective (AnCo) that’s either current or true. Be that as it may, I also suspect that not having written this post is actually holding me back from writing a stack of other posts that might possess some currency and/or truth.

So, here goes.

The thing is, I really got into AnCo at a quite difficult time in my life, just after I’d sold virtually all of my possessions and moved from inner-city Melbourne to the Netherlands. That I would experience some form of culture shock was inevitable, despite my valiant attempts to be cheerful (at least for the first two weeks); that I would end up becoming addicted to AnCo’s music while riding a dilapidated bike around Den Haag was something I could not possibly have predicted the first time I heard their Simon & Garfunkel-meets-the-Muppets track ‘Who Could Win a Rabbit’ on MySpace.

Then again, I guess the current owner of MySpace could never have predicted the demise of that seemingly excellent music service either. But enough about vampiric robber barons.

AnCo MySpace screenshot 21 January 2014
Actual screenshot from AnCo’s MySpace page taken on 21 January 2014. Srly.

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Signage advertising a PC Bang (Internet gaming room) in Jongno, Seoul (2005).

대담시: Audacity

City of burnt grass and black limousines. 

City of nudes and spider lilies, 
     where the grass stands up even though it is on fire, 
     whistling a harvest tune. 

By the railway lines, 
     entropy rules: jagged weeds 
     and mystery melons scramble for space, 
     riddling the rails, 
     disguising the sleepers with their fantastic tendrils. 

Like a smoker's signal, 
     brave and futile. 

Trains slice these ribbons into tendons, 
     timetabling history, scattering seeds, 
     accelerating some abstract chaos. 

Trampled soccer balls like snakeskin or leather on the shining road. 

Dressed as inspectors, 
     we climb the stainless steel stairs, 
     pass the plastic clinic and the coffee mall, 

     then enter the machine room. 

Here, the rumble of traffic is merely a shiver in your bowels, 
     barely shaking the keys. 

Predicting story arcs is what it's all about. 

     Prisoners, 
          good deeds and friendships betrayed. 

The studios will be eating out of our hands. 

Privately, 
     we model alternate scenarios: 

     the prisoner escapes; 
     the can of boiled beef falls from the adjutant's hand; 
     a friendship is consummated in a bloody latrine scene. 

Here, 
     the streets are viewed as if through 
     the screenshots of an amateur photographer: 

     the perspectives slightly skewed, 
      casting one's eye off balance. 

Jets scramble overhead, but no one notices. 

The flags of a thousand federations 
      burst into the blue sky, 
      unfurling like false spring! 

The sound of trickling water consumes 
     bus drivers and cart pullers alike. 

Insanity is okay, 
     although mistakes are sometimes made. 

Usually, these thoughts disappear. 

Slowly, a city comes to know itself by 
                                                            the bend of a river, 
               the argument of a steel canal. 

Behind us, mountains; 
     ahead, 

     cartwheels of conversation,                   

                                           opening.

From Imaginary Cities: PC Bangs (2005)