China by Bob Perelman


We live on the third world from the sun. Number three. Nobody tells us what to do.

The people who taught us to count were being very kind.

It’s always time to leave.

If it rains, you either have your umbrella or you don’t.

The wind blows your hat off.

The sun rises also. I’d rather the stars didn’t describe us to each other; I’d rather we do it for ourselves.

Run in front of your shadow.

A sister who points to the sky at least once a decade is a good sister.

The landscape is motorized.

The train takes you where it goes.

Bridges among water.

Folks straggling along vast stretches of concrete, heading into the plane.

Don’t forget what your hat and shoes will look like when you are nowhere to be found.

Even the words floating in air make blue shadows.

If it tastes good we eat it.

The leaves are falling. Point things out.

Pick up the right things.

Hey guess what? What? I’ve learned how to talk. Great.

The person whose head was incomplete burst into tears.

As it fell, what could the doll do? Nothing.

Go to sleep.

You look great in shorts. And the flag looks great too.

Everyone enjoyed the explosions.

Time to wake up.

But better get used to dreams.



Bob Perelman’s famous LANGUAGE poem ‘China’ which I’ve always loved for the massive breadth – so much room for the reader in this one.

A Few Scheduled Posts Coming Up

Just a note to say that I’ll probably have a few scheduled posts (rather than ‘live’ ones) coming up in Feb and March.

They’ll feature poetry, links, pics, mini reviews – but will all be pretty short posts nonetheless.


I’ll still be around but I have too many deadlines for various projects, including a host of freelance jobs that help pay the bills – so that’s coming first. I’ve got a new book in pre-release right now, but other than that, it’s low on the radar for releases and social media for a while too :)

Back soon as I can!


Banned Songs – Cortez the Killer

I’ve been a little obsessed with this song lately.

I can’t recall exactly how I stumbled across it but I suspect it was thanks to the AWESOME Mysterious Cities of Gold – but in any event, I’m really enjoying the song. I was already a Neil Young fan but for some reason I’d never heard Cortez the Killer or the Zuma album, which surprised me. A lot. And so perhaps in honour of that surprise I thought I’d share the song plus a bit of trivia about it (thanks, Wiki!):

  • Power failure in the studio means Young lost the last verse
  • Banned in Spain upon release (since lifted)
  • Ranked #39 on Guitar World‘s 100 Greatest Guitar Solos



Perhaps the most fascinating thing about this song is that it seems to upset some historians. Now, I understand that representation is a great mediator of reality but I doubt Young ever claimed to be presenting a historical document.

It’s obviously romanticising history for the purpose of song – and listeners need to learn how to navigate all forms of media. Obviously, the Aztecs did indeed know war and hate and yeah, Cortez did murder a lot of people – but interestingly, Young seems to humanise the coloniser in the second last verse:

And I know she’s living there
And she loves me to this day.
I still can’t remember when
or how I lost my way

Like whoever wrote the wikipedia article on the song, I too wonder, does Young sing from Cortez’s point of view there? Is Cortez pining for La Malinche? (And what a fascinating figure she is too.)

Next week – another banned song :)

a long yesterday

the train clicked over sizzling rails when
I saw you in tall grass

a pink dress

speeding away

I saw you and thought of home

where the border was softer
and where you could slip into a long yesterday

___what a hole a dream leaves

I was a hawk as God’s arrow
my feathers left vapour trails

and far below
in the cobblestone square the shopkeepers smiled
and nodded and rested

and when we met
there was a heroic shiver of butterflies within me

leaves were always fluttering
___– you moved and I moved

the bones in your hand sung beneath flesh

Crossings Launch


Crossings Launch

Last night was the local launch for Crossings right here at my library – who were fantastic and very supportive. I had a blast (despite the pressure of performing dialogue!) and hope everyone who came along did too :)

Thanks again to everyone who attended and helped out and to those who grabbed a copy of Crossings (or any of my other books for that matter) and if you weren’t able to make it – you can still buy a paperback via the link above or by contacting me here!