Writing in Whangarei

Martin Porter

Take Flight 4 out now

Click on image to download PDF of Take Flight 4 featuring poems by Michelle Elvy, Piet Nieuwland, Aaron Robertson, Arthur Fairley, Jac Jenkins, Martin Porter and Vaughan Gunson.


Phrenology of Food

After the flood
A treasure trove had collected.
Shiny
In the chaos
Each casket
Baptized by ocean
Not yet tainted
Or corroded.

It was believed
That by passing sensitive fingers
Over each crease
In the skin,
Or over the slight swelling
Where the container
Was about to blow,
The contents
In some predictable way
Might be identified.

So tuna and rice pudding
Became anonymous,
Cling peach halves (in syrup)
Were transformed
By the alchemy of madness
From shiny aluminium,
Corned beef
Became edible.

Now
Mystics and mesmerism
Has been replaced by the glint
Of the knife and the opener
And magic
By the turn of the key


Crespuscle with Nellie

by Martin Porter

Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane, Carnegie Hall, November 1957

They were not in his canon. Dizzy,
Billie, Ray, he stomped the same boards,
Chet and Sonny too

Humph he did not meet
but that did not stop
him writing

Effortless his playing
Unique undoubtedly in genius fashion
as peculiar as his hat

Vast

Erratic

The angular notes
strike from the piano strings
like crimes

of Epistrophy:
angular dancesteps, complex,
astringent, roll like a spiked ball

John’s sax is calming. Laminated
sheets of space flow in long solos, probing
discovered corners of this difficult man. The joy is evident
while he plays, not one, not two, but
,fluent,
Many notes, all at once, or in rapid
Punctuation.

Do you feel you have to get up
And dance?

Do you feel you have to sit down
To seize the opportunity?

Well, you needn’t.


Lunch in Marco’s Kitchen With the Artists and Fine Food

In Marco’s kitchen
Dali’s Christ of St John stares down
From the wooden walls.
The wood fired stove has been burning
All morning
Mixing the sounds of sparks and effervescent knots
With the torrential rain.

The damp smell mixes
With the scent of chopped garlic cloves
Not crushed,
Like some porcini mushroom dish.

As Lina plunges pasta into her
History browned, oil encrusted pot
Marco grasps a fist of octopus
To toss with wilted spinach,
Nettles and plum toms from his back yard,
And anchovy in spiteful superheated oil. This is a
Jackson Pollack of a dish,

Or, more like, Warhol’s Marilyns,
Elegant, always the same
Never identical.
Marco hides his aproned pasta paunch
Behind the shadows of the fire, and

Lina drains spaghetti, throws it on the pan
And tips it onto three plain terracotta plates.
This is lunch
In Marco’s kitchen, with Lina
And fine food.

© Martin Porter 2007

This poem, with some addional notes, can also be found at Poetry Notes and Jottings


Floating

by Martin Porter

Gently lifting with the ocean
Sweeping slowly up the shore
She is resting on the boundary
Somewhere between air and more
Substantial fluids on her body
Offer her to turquoise light
Looking down from cloud free heavens
Looking to the Sun which might
One day drift from daily motion
Sinking into nightly rest
Glowing dim in richest crimson
Falling sea-ward in the west
Where wheeling terns once congregated
Against a foaming faded moon
Suspended in the paling sunshine
Framed by marram stubbled dune
Salt spray seasoned sea-sage sweetened
Breeze blown clean of vraic and sand
Swept branches stick black fingers upward
Urging gulls to leave the land
And forge out from their earthy havens
Venture forth without a notion
Of where to go or where to settle
Gently lifting with the ocean.

 

© Martin Porter 2000

(Note: the Jèrriais word vraic means seaweed, and is pronounced “rack”)


Estuarine Fogs

by Martin Porter

“These chill humors seep through our capillaries”
– Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

Estuarine fogs
Are more bitter than
Betrayed lovers
As they seep through
The flesh
With a bone
Cracking chill
That sucks at
The marrow.

© Martin Porter 2011


Crepuscle with Nellie

Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane
Carnegie Hall
November 1957

                                          They were not in his canon. Dizzy,
                                          Billie, Ray, he stomped the same boards,
                                          Chet and Sonny too

                                                                                      Humph he did not meet
                                          but that did not stop
                                          him writing

                                                                                       Effortless his playing
                                          Unique undoubtedly in genius fashion

as peculiar as his hat

Vast

                                          Erratic

The angular notes
strike from the piano strings
like crimes

of Epistrophy:
angular dancesteps, complex,
astringent, roll like a spiked ball

John’s sax is calming. Laminated
sheets of space flow in long solos, probing
discovered corners of this difficult man. The joy is evident
while he plays, not one, not two, but
                                                                                       ,fluent,
Many notes, all at once, or in rapid
Punctuation.

                                                           Do you feel you have to get up
And dance?

                                                           Do you feel you have to sit down
To seize the opportunity?

Well, you needn’t.

©  Martin Porter 2009