June 23–29, 2008: Christopher (Kit) Kelen and Rosemarie Crisafi

week of June 23-29, 2008

Christopher (Kit) Kelen and Rosemarie Crisafi

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Christopher (Kit) Kelen

Bio (auto)

Christopher (Kit) Kelen is a well known Australian scholar and poet  whose literary works have been widely published and broadcast since the  mid seventies The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature describes  Kelen’s work as ‘typically innovative and intellectually sharp’ Kelen  holds degrees in literature and linguistics from the University of Sydney  and a doctorate on the teaching of the writing process, from UWS Nepean  Kelen’s first volume of poetry The Naming of the Harbour and the Trees  won an Anne Elder Award in 1992  In 1996 Kelen was Writer-in-Residence  for the Australia Council at the B.R.Whiting Library in Rome In 1999 he  won the Blundstone National Essay Contest, conducted by Island journal  He also won second prize in the Gwen Harwood Poetry Award that year In  2000 Kelen’s poetry/art collaboration (with Carol Archer) Tai Mo Shan/Big  Hat Mountainwas exhibited at the Montblanc Gallery in Hong Kong’s Fringe  Club And in 2001 another collaboration (essay and watercolour) titled  Shui Yi Meng/Sleep to Dream was shown at the Montblanc Gallery Both  exhibitions were published as full colour catalogues Kelen’s fourth book  of poems, Republics, dealing with the ethics of identity in millennial  Australia, was published by Five Islands Press in Australia in 2000 A  fifth volume, New Territories – a pilgrimage through Hong Kong,  structured after Danté’s Divine Comedy – was published with the aid of  the Hong Kong Arts Development Board in 2003 In 2004 Kelen’s chapbook  Wyoming Suite – a North American sojurn – was released by VAC Publishing  in Chicago In 2005, Kelen’s long poem ‘Macao’ was shortlisted for the  prestigious Newcastle Poetry Prize and a re-edited version of Tai Mo Shan  appeared in Southerly.In 2006 Kelen was a featured poet in a number of  international poetry journals, including The Drunken Boat, Segue,  Softblow, 63 Channels, The Poetry Kit and Sirena In 2007, Kelen edited a  feature entitled ‘Poetry of Response’ which appears in Jacket magazine  Also in 2007, Kelen was winner of Westerly’sPatricia Hackett Prize The  most recent of Kelen’s eight volumes of poetry are Dredging the Delta  published in 2007 by Cinnamon Press in the U.K  and After Meng Jiao: Responses to the Tang Poetpublished in 2008 by VAC (Chicago, IL)Apart  from poetry Kelen publishes in a range of theoretical areas including  writing pedagogy, ethics, rhetoric, cultural and literary studies and  various intersections of these In December of 2006 Kelen had an  exhibition at Creative Macau (Macau Cultural Centre) titled: Bridges and  Boats The catalogue for this exhibition was CCI’s 2007 calendar Kelen  is an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of  Macau, where he has taught Literature and Creative Writing since 2000  Kelen is the editor of the on-line journal Poetry Macao and poetry editor  for the monthly lifestyle/current affairs journal Macao Closer
Begin your online exploration of Christopher Kelen here: http://doodlescope.blogspot.com/

The following work is Copyright © 2008, and owned by Christopher (Kit) Kelen nd may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Your Kisses

When you moved
a cat blew down Watkin Street
crumpled up like a newspaper.

At first you sent me short notes
simple illustrations of affection I kept those
then your kisses began
arriving in the mail I remember the first one In the lounge room
I was standing in a square
of sunlit carpet
when it came.

Your lips leapt out to kiss me
just like that You weren’t there
just the unabashed lips It wasn’t embarrassing,
it was your kiss.

After that
I stopped using the paper knife It seemed too dangerous
and I never knew what would
come in the mail anymore.

You played tricks with me A long serious cuddle came
in a weighty parcel
that looked like
a rejected manuscript That was a surprise.

Once I was lying in a hammock
in the backyard
wanting to be in a warmer place
with a better view
when a quick passionate kiss
came disguised as the phone bill I’d thought it was a reminder notice It just disappeared into the air
or up my nostril.

Eventually the postie caught on Just seeing him embarrassed me To avoid him
I’d have a bath
about that time of day
but then he started
delivering them to me
in the bathtub.

He liked to see the look on my face It was a bit of a giggle for him He’d been your postman too
when you’d lived here I recall
once he’d been curious
and just taken a peak Your teeth must have snapped
the warning marks onto his nose.

Naturally everyone was jealous of me The mailbox in the front yard
overflowed with affection Gradually your tokens
came to outnumber all the other
items of mail.

I had to take drugs
to stay up late at night
to finish my correspondence.

It was alright
being a local spectacle for a while
but when the reporters
started waiting for me
queueing at the garden gate
and even following the postie around
you went into hiding You couldn’t stand the attention
and I couldn’t blame you.

Eyes lowered in the morning
and lonely in my office cage
I’d invent disabilities for myself Then our banning orders came We flinched,
stuck in our suburbs
but we kept to them.

We made a secret rendezvous
– a pick-up point Your messenger would speed past the park
in a cute little Fiat,
a red Fiat convertible She’d toss the parcel over her shoulder
like a paper boy Anxiously I’d try to catch it
between my teeth Sometimes the parcel
bounced off my head
boing boing

Sated I’d sit in my office
or someone else’s,
wimp around
wait for your telex Bushfires would follow me all the way home
fogging my windscreen.

In a dawn raid
police found our lips together The constable had a smirk
turned away,
the sergeant kept a serious look,
paused waiting for our lips to part
before making an arrest

There was a garden
and a garden keeper’s house,
a hill that lovers tumble down The harbour was walled right round the bay In exile I kept a rude hut
thatched of brick and iron
in the city From the bars of my cell
I could haul myself up to the light
just see the housetops and the spires
and birds haiku across a valley
on the first day of spring.

Finally your messenger came again,
your errand in her arm outstretched the note confused me
– an expanse of page
trees and embankments :
pictures of a gold rush.

I could pull rabbits out of my hat
but today I should not think of the past I should fix all the things in my room
that have stopped working.

And right now
listening to the dull rattle of my voice
and the wind whistling across the tops
of the milk bottles I’m carrying
I’m falling into a deep sleep,
a trance where life becomes one long anecdote
and when I come out of the shop
it’s raining

raining kisses
and the road and the railtracks
and the buildings I
are all covered
with the lipstickless smudge marks
of your kisses
and everything is wilting with one sigh.

The Invisibility Cream

Let me explain
about the invisibility cream It has lots of applications It’s good for people
who don’t want to be seen in public,
for kids who want to get at
their Christmas presents early
and pilots bailing out
over enemy territory It’s good for thieves and armies
and rocket ships and spies It’s good for anyone
who wants to be where
they’re not supposed to be It’s good for juntas about to fall
in South America And it’s good for people
who can’t stop fucking
but who have to go out
and do things.

With the invisibility cream
you can have sex
in every room
of anyone’s house
even in front of the children
or the television.

With the invisibility cream
you don’t have to worry
about concession passes You can catch buses for free You have to mind your step
because you can’t see where it is You can travel up and down the lifts
in big buildings in the city.

You can make as much noise as you like People will be too scared to say a thing You can sit in on the board meetings
of huge corporations You can make points of order,
dissents out of thin air.

With the invisibility cream
you can go to a press conference
and sit on the Premier’s knee,
more than naked You can nibble his ears
and tickle him,
nuzzle up and whisper to him Call him ‘Santa Claus’ and ‘Pumpkin’
in front of all those cameras He won’t let on you’re there.

But you don’t have to do any of these things With the invisibility cream
you can lie in bed and massage each other,
you can rub out just a bit at a time You can remove unsightly moles,
unwanted flab, you can turn legs into telescopes.

With the invisibility cream
sometimes you will feel like there’s nobody there Like your bodies have gone off on holidays together
and left you there to talk about it.

Rosemarie Crisafi

Bio (auto)

Rosemarie Crisafi lives in Fishkill, New York She works in for a non-for-profit agency that serves individuals with disabilities Her poetry has been published most recently in BlazeVO 2k8,, ken *again, Flutter Poetry Journal, Snow Monkey#18, Ghoti No 9, The Potomac, Red River Review, Unlikely Stories, Eclectica Magazine, and The Adroitly Placed Word Her chapbook, Days of Reckoning, is available at the Lily Literary Review (http://freewebs.com/lilylitreview/crisafichapbook.pdf).

The following work is Copyright © 2008, and owned by Rosemarie Crisafi and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Odd Numbers

Daddy was a mathematician Like him, I have made a life out of signs,
symbols and proofs Now I reckon from the marrow:
I ‘m a girl, who can’t dance,
my legs having been broken
but I can solve equations in my sleep
and perform magic with ratios Still, I cannot move my body or feet
in time to music Sometimes, I listen all night
to the rain’s bag pipes, wanting them to blow up
into a wreckage of numbers,
splintered sevens, fractured fours,
and eights tossed on their sides
There is geometry to geraniums as well:
circles of corollas, pink within segmented lines;
the sun forms a faultless plane;
the stems, reform
into right angle arms that hang,
the bent limbs of a swastika clock
Butterfly wings provide
an aide memoire
to when he found my skin
with those hot unexpected palms When he was finished, I had the mark
of omega
In arithmetic, a proof is revelation,
a minefield of axioms
leading to the truth A soldier can lose limbs
in this hazardous occupation
Here is a proof:
Looking up from the floor,
the table angled on the linoleum after
he threw the spaghetti It hung on the wall like brain matter
Love dries crusty—
scabs on the wall
I counted a hundred and one footsteps, He found me scoring ranks into the dust
under the bed using a finger as a pen
I figure the hairs on your chest If I can just find the right number
I would stay the night.

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