So Marek gets to go to Indonesia (and Australia) on short notice just as the weather turns snowy in Chicago. He meets his 20+ years estranged (by now Australian) architect cousin Mike and Mike's Javan architect gf Endang (by now wife).
In Sydney Marek hooks up with his old irc/net-buddy Nermin and her (by now husband) Jeremy and a motley crew of outspoken friends, including... well... you just have to read all about it.
Filled with detail and delivered with a knack for poetic reporting, this foray into on-the-run poetics keeps you the reader on the edge of your seat. Mysterious and realistic, the poems tell stories in rolling meter and the dizzing hues of the tropics and the clashing colors of Australia.
In the end, you learn more than the commercials want to tell you -- or the movies, and are left with mantras running all through your head...
One exquisite grayscale image of a maroon batik scarf serves thorughout -- intact on the cover and in the centerfold. Then, every illustration is a blow-up, unadulterated or mutilated, adopted to the text it serves... See if you can spot the origin for each one. The book is a veritable swatchbook of made-up cloth.
The 36-page book contains 15 poems and answers many more questions than that. What is an anklung? And how does it feel to touch the Sydney National Opera House? Or listen to an Australian aboriginal artist play his handiwork didgeridoo on his unassuming suburban house landing? Or drive across Java, across a noon sea of humanity to the empty evening beaches on the treacherous Indian Ocean?
teak woman stands one foot high kneeling on bended knee.
her breasts jut out tubularly & they are something sharp.
one can see the sharpness & one can test it on the tip of
a finger: the points of my silver hopi bola tips rolled to
my order at second mesa are not any pointier...
teak woman's hands show nails & are raised in a clasp
over her head over her notched hair. her elbows sharply
shroud her detailed face peaked with an upturned sharp nose.
she is possessed of a most amazingly rendered throat and
full round shoulders. not bad girl for just a piece of wood.
and water flows over her hair leaping right into midair
onto her back in a carved wooden seethrough loop.
teak woman was carved meticulously and her wood grain
runs from top to bottom with a lighter patch on her right
elbow and right cheek. looks a bit like a birthmark.
it takes a master craftsman in solo a long time to tweak
the teak into such storied detail. endang is from solo.
at batik keris she said: this one. this -- you should take
this one back. it was the only one. like that.
yes take this one back.
but a bad thing happened in cincinnati at our very dry
christmas. both of teak woman's wrists -- cracked!
we do not know why & we are looking for a wood sculpture
curator to help mend the teak woman.
but it seems that teak women don't take to winter in america.
they apparently miss winters in solo & they miss springs in
gardeny yogoharta & they likely are heartsick half the world
away for the smiling green-greens and the scented dark-darks
& the laughing-flirting campfires of nighttime summertime
26 January 1996
Chicago Illinois and Jakarta Java Indonesia
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Copyright © 1996 A Small Garlic Press. All rights reserved.
Created 1996/5/5. Updated last on 2008/5/2.