November 18, 2015


I’m writing in the street, my tea has gone cold and the hot wind is distracting.  The discomfort’s apt though, because the poem I’m making the first hesitant gestures towards has a painful, difficult energy to it.

The poem is the tenth in a series I’m drafting for a book project, a collaboration with analogue photographer Kate Baker.  You can look at Kate’s moody, deep, black-and-white photographs at

The project relates to Kate Baker’s photographic series, ‘Nijinsky and the Ecstasy of the Divine’, the subject of the exhibition Nijinsky: Leap and Pause at Mars Gallery, Melbourne, July-August 2015, and scheduled for further exhibition in 2016. The book will come out in 2016.

The poem I am beginning, in handwriting in my journal, is a kind of conversation with the photograph titled ‘Spring Cometh’.


'Spring Cometh' photograph ©Kate Baker

‘Spring Cometh’
photograph ©Kate Baker


I’m seeing what comes up, and so far the process begins with fragments of what I know of the Nijinsky ballet The Rite of Spring (2013). Riots erupted at its opening in Paris. Its newness – the strangeness of it – transformed ballet forever. It was not a pretty ballet, but a violent, primal one. As I work at the poem’s first rough and dirty shapes, I get angry, remembering, from deep in the body, times I have felt pushed to take radical, even shocking action to bring about change in a relationship; in my life. Jubilation shows itself too – what it has been like for me to be in a magnificent sense of flowering after dark, inchoate times.

I can feel that I was frowning while I worked.  Back into being aware of sitting in my chair out front of the cafe, blowflies are bothering me and I’m self-conscious all of a sudden.  My heart rate is fast and I’m sweating with the intensity of what I’ve been writing.  I’m ready to go inside and pay, pack up my books, and walk home, feeling as always disoriented by the shift from writing to the walk and to the arrival home.

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