from Issue #3: Poetry by Richard Tipping (I)

Photo (CC) Chris Brown @ Flickr

Photo (CC) Chris Brown @ Flickr

*

In-Flight Service

Is this thing turned on?

Good evening. This is your Captain speaking.
We are now fanging along somewhere
high over the countryside.
Don’t worry which country.
Think in terms of “government policy of the 2020s”
and it doesn’t matter, left or right,
we need both wings to fly, right?
There’s no real cause for alarm or panic,
yet. This superb machinery means you no harm.
The maelstrom ahead is
just coffee stains on the radar screen and is
being wiped up as I speak.
Our landing gear is safely down
and the fuel blockage
may yet fix itself
on that tilting wing, through all of this
astonishing night, alive with stars.
The plane’s course is set on autopilot
so there’s no need for human error.
Your crew has decided to parachute to safety
this time around, and dinner will soon be served
on a self-serve basis.
Just switch on the microwave.
We trust that you have enjoyed your flight.
The doors to the cockpit have been locked
in the interests of passenger comfort.

This is a recorded announcement.

Bon voyage and
God Bless.

.

*

.

Tokyo Sunrise

Bamboo concrete sushi computer haiku!
New Heaven rice plot no-strike factory haze!
Strict diet breakthru on Nippon Ameriglish motordrive!
Seaweed kimono! Bonzai Honda! Mega yen!
Deepfrozen flashing neon mountain stream!
Steamy bath-house! Microwave instant Zen!
Space-invaded A-Bomb Fashion databank! Basho!
Technojargon Mitsubishi Zero Shinto kamikaze anti-
nuclear disco hero! Fat carp! Heavy silk!
Sony Buddha-mind lotus highrise-postmodernised
photocopy Pure Land credit export! Rising Sun!
Nikon automatic futon disc-drive blowdry!
Dark suits! Jet trail splitting headphone sky!
Bullet-train instamatic snow white crane
Spring-blossom headlines! Mini laser Fuji robot!
Mossy rock! Camellia petal moon! Cultured pearls
of wisdom harbour! Furrowed accountant!
Santa Claus is crucified? Taoist chrysanthemum!

.

*

.

Snap

JAL 422 London to Tokyo
via Anchorage, Alaska
Final Call, Gate 23

……………………….Jet-lagged bargains
……………………….squeezing credit cards

Jumbo shivering vast fatness
Dinners warming in the microwave

…………………………………………………How do you find
…………………………………………………the Tao, remind me
…………………………………………………quicksilver runway
…………………………………………………blade of a moon

Roar-blast into thick English
late November sky, sun a pear
shiny polished skin

……………………………Droning whirr of the Pratt Whitney turbines,
……………………………bulging accelerators of force-fed air

…………….Start climbing your mountain
…………….from the inside, first

……………………………………………….Silk suit Osaka businessman
……………………………………………….calculator cool
……………………………………………….holding a dripping fist
……………………………………………….of fillet steak, with chopsticks

Fibrillating atoms
outsmarting space, clustered in gaps
between then and now

inside this long white streak
slicing the air’s blue eye

……………………..10,000 metres up at 900,000 metres an hour
……………………..the patterns repeat, rich as wedding cake.

……………Across mistgrey rock, rivers like totemic signs
……………twist-turning, convulted texts made only for sky

………………………………………..Anchorage ice floes
………………………………………..like frozen water lilies –
………………………………………..slept most of the way
………………………………………..to Tokyo.

White noise, speckle buzz
……………………….TV ppssssss, flash-flicker dots

.

………….A clothes shop called A-Bomb Fashion.
………….A robot writing Happy Birthday on a creamcake

…………………Eating tempura no soba
…………………listening to fat black crows

……………………………..walk by goldleaf ginko trees
……………………………..to the palace moat, swirl-tail carp,
……………………………..sleepy white crane

.

……..Is this the Way?

.

Raining predawn, freezing hands
to the fish markets on a white enamel morning

Blue nets of pipi shells for miso
goobly squints, fish-eye mirrors
…..irridescent eels, gills pumping
…..purse-lipped blowers, spiky skinned
……….sea cucumbers, sprats, roe, yellow spiral whelks
……….small dark squares of whale
…………….opalescent oily rainbows, slick-scaled water shooters
…………….everything helplessly fresh and dying.

…………….Shuffle stool breakfast sushi bar
…………….Handwet flop. Melt-soft raw flesh slice.
…………….Steaming thick green tea

.

………………………………..Bullet train to Kyoto
………………………………..speeding by still river, reflecting rain
………………………………..Chain-smoking chimneys
………………………………..Greyroofed villages, rice fields, cement

……………………….Old man hands on hips,
……………………….garden of six fat cabbages

.

Labyrinth train station to neon city.
Red scooters yowing. Deep burble trucks.
Subway to Kitao-ji.  Is this the Tao?

  

…………………………………Effortless autumn..

………..Morning light through slats,
………..paper walls, street touch

.

Crowds trooping up stone paths,
log-strut pagoda, copper doves,
bamboo flute skin
chrome tap drip stone trough
at Daikoto-ji

Reflecting powerlines through needle pines
shatter, distort, reform.
Entrancing exactness –
gravel swept into a cone

.

…………Globular persimmons, orange weights
…………glowing in bare branches

.

Old man, bowing to a crowd
of worn stone Buddhas.
Etched shadows on crystal moss

.

…………………………………..One hundred bobbing nuns
…………………………………..all laugh at once

.

Maple leaves in dusky orange sweeps.
Bamboo-rustled silences.
Camelia-petalled moon

.
*
.

6am, dragon clouds coiled on black silk.
The golf lesson starts on video screens.
Tightly rolled hot cloth, unwrapped
to steamclean expectant faces

.

………………….Through the many to the one.

.

Looking down, Australia
rippled red, huge beyond horizons.

……………………….giant wing
……………………….by tiny window
……………………….banks and turns.

to the borders of a
possible music,

.

…………………bringing home the snaps.

.

*

ABOUT THE POET

Richard (Kelly) Tipping lives in Sydney working with visual poetry, subvertising graphics and public sculpture. His folio of fifty letterpress and screen prints The Sydney Morning was exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, in 2009. His word art is substantially represented in many collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, which lists and illustrates more than one hundred works through www.artsearch.nga.gov.au Born in Adelaide, Tipping studied at Flinders University, and after travelling in the Americas co-founded the ongoing Friendly Street poetry readings in 1975. From 1984 to 1986 he lived in Europe, where he made documentary films on expatriate writers. He completed a masters degree and a doctorate at the University of Technology, Sydney, and lectured in media arts at the University of Newcastle. UQP has published three collections of his poetry: Soft Riots (1972), Domestic Hardcore (1975) and Nearer by Far (1986); Picaro Press published Notes Towards Employment (2006). A fat book of visual and verbal poems is nearing completion. He is represented by Australian Galleries.

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