On a cliff above a cold, desolate shore, a weather-beaten house perches precariously, peering into the churning sea. At dusk, as the waves roar and sand flays the skin and storm-clouds loom, some might glimpse a light in a high window. Take refuge there, and let its ghosts tell you their stories with the wind that whispers through the walls and the groaning of the ancient timber.
The 2015 Queensland Poetry Festival gave Lina Paul and I the opportunity to join powers again, to create three tales of longing and loss, memory and myth, and the call of the sea. Here is the full performance:
It is a true delight to be featured this month in Berlin-based magazine, The Wild Word. There’s a span of about seven years in the three pieces (more if you go back to the beginnings of each piece), which also feature a couple of my favourite collaborators and muses.
Wordless – a poem inspired by poetry.
Suitcase & Sand – a collaborative video piece combining poetry, photography and music. This was performed at the 2015 Queensland Poetry Festival, and is the latest incarnation of a tale that has been through many iterations. This version, in collaboration with German musician Lina Paul, started to come together in Berlin in 2011, but there’s nothing like a looming performance to push me to finish writing something. It took over four years, but think it’s better for the long incubation.
Poem, Photographs & Video: mr oCean
Music: Lina Paul (hear more from her here and see videos here)
Additional photography: Tams Fletcher, Marsel van Oosten, Colleen Tully-Wilson, Maren Imhoff, Ally Weinrauch, Bettina Leupold and Chris Sanderson.
Escapement – a poetry & photography series, prepared as an installation for the 2008 Queensland Poetry Festival. This is another one that’s part of a larger and many-versioned tale, actually another aspect of the same tale as Suitcase & Sand. Mysteries and wonders, loss and escape. Part 6 borrows lines from Brisbane poet, Nerissa Rowan.
Check them all out here, then be sure to explore the rest of this magnificent mag.
This exhibition, coordinated by Redcliffe artist Ally W. and featuring contributions from around the world, seeks to throw off the shackles of “Mondayitis” culture and embrace the hope and reinvention of a new week. If you find yourself in South-East Queensland, Australia, the Stage Door Gallery will enchant and inspire you from 21 September – 18 October, with the up-late event on 14 October. Most, if not all, of the works in She Does Mondays are for sale, including my photo-poetry series, Escapement. There are also postcards available from each of the contributing artists.
I am the ghost who leaves the lights on,
the doors propped open, the water running—
the murmur from upstairs, the whisper in the vents,
the glitch in the software, the echo on the phone.
My watch shows tomorrow’s date.
I am the bookmark for the day
you can’t get out of bed,
the holding pattern above
the damage from the last big crash,
desiccated leaves still hissing from the shock.
I am chasing the horizon.
Through the window: a red kite
at the moment the wind stops
after covering our tracks with sand,
and the kite’s still hanging like a photograph
when sunset swallows land and sea
and even the sky, stars and all.
mr oCean, September 2012
The Queensland Poetry Festival is one of my favourite weekends of the year, and it is almost upon us. I’m not involved this year – just lapping it up – but here’s a clip of my 2012 performace, as part of the Sharp With Sparks session:
I’m slowly heaving through the gargantuan and sometimes Sisyphean task of emptying my email’s inbox. Among the little gems awaiting time to be read was an update from Another Lost Shark about this collection of poetic wisdom from Steven Heighton. I still haven’t read it, but maybe with it posted here, I’ll remember it without the pang of panic that comes from hundreds or thousands of waiting emails!