beautiful monsters: May 2005 Archives

May 28, 2005


It is the unofficial view
of the red wheelbarrow and

more serious than a
search for syllables.

A phantom script telling
how rainbows are arranged, in which

man explores his own connections.
It is to fly in quest of beauty,

defining the blossom and
substantiating shadows. It is

the deepest part
of an echo,

the character in your fingers,
a breath that can

somehow adhere to dance.
It is the flowers,

the very limits of sound.
Understand that it is made


It is the suggestion,
the colour of why

the lionís den, and
a hazardous attempt to

feel. It is cracked ice
thoughts that burn

the delicate skin
of wings

your tongue and the page.
It is a song born of night

and the simultaneous
compression of the heart.

It is three times the moon,
a packsack of a shadow

an alchemist who transmutes
his own amazement.

It is the sublimest activity of Spring;
an orphan of hyacinths and wonder

evidence of the infinite
within the ash.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 12:13 AM | TrackBack

May 25, 2005

Maui is legendary!

Tonight I was lucky enough to get a ticket for the dress rehearsal of Maui - One Man Against the Gods. I knew it was going to be amazing, because Iíve caught glimpses of the dream over the past two years... but even so I was blown away.

The aerialists were breathtaking as they spun and danced through the air, and twisted their bodies around ribbons of cloth hanging down from the ceiling.

The set design was one of the best Iíve ever experienced. One hectare of fabric was used in the production. Huge screens were sometimes used as a backdrop for patterns of light to be projected onto, sometimes as a filter we looked through to another world, and sometimes billowing unexpectedly over the heads of the audience.

Toni Huata was stunning, doing the two things she does best: performing, and wearing fabulous costumes. One of her gorgeous outfits took up the whole stage!

The actors and dancers were fantastic. One of the things I loved about the show was the great sense of humour. Sometimes it seems like all of New Zealandís creative productions (movies, books, plays) are so gloomy and serious. Maui, the man, was a cheeky guy with a wicked sense of humour, and this show reflects that spirit in its playfulness. Tanemahuta and the Maui whanau have managed to weave together a journey that is filled with laughter one moment, and the next moment it touches on a spiritual identity that we can all feel a connection to Ė Tau Iwi / Pakeha as well as Maori.

The spirit behind the show is one of warm aroha and supportiveness. I have experienced first hand Tanemahutaís infectious enthusiasm, his talent for drawing out the potential within each person, and the way he will lovingly tautoko anyone who is willing to work towards their dreams. Iím so proud to know so many of the people who have brought this show to life Ė and Iím so proud of what they have achieved. When theyíre world famous ten times over Iíll still be bragging about how I trained with them once upon a timeÖ Big props, nga mihi aroha tino nui ki a te whanau katoa.

If you havenít already, go buy tickets. And living overseas is no excuse Ė start campaigning to get the show to your town next!

(I think this entry may have used up my adjective quota for the yearÖ)

Posted by Fionnaigh at 12:30 AM | TrackBack

May 12, 2005

help me!

I seem to have a very short attention span for reading at the moment. I can watch Buffy for ten hours straight no problems, but I canít read a book for ten minutes. I refuse to believe that these two things are connected in any kind of cause and effect way, so donít even go there.

Iíve been trying to read Anilís Ghost, but itís just not happening. So, short fiction it is. The trouble is my small collection of short fiction seems to be dominated by New Zealand collections. And, do be frank, I am so sick of New Zealand literature. Actually, not all of it. I really enjoy Caren Wilton.

I find the library really scary. All those books, thousands of them. How am I ever going to find the good ones? I have no idea where to even begin. So, Iím asking for your help. Please, tell me what I want to read. The short story writers I have enjoyed most recently are Etgar Keret and Jhumpa Lahiri. Iím not sure if that narrows it down any, I canít think of anything they have in common, other than not being New Zealanders. Although... they are published by two of my favourite publishers, Picador and Flamingo. I often use that as a way of coping with the library Ė wander along the rows looking out for certain logos. Still, itís not failsafe. Thatís why Iím turning to you. I know you won't let me down.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 01:35 AM | TrackBack

May 11, 2005

phallic Japan

There are always a few weird ones in the weekly site statsÖ sometimes I canít work out where on earth the search terms are on my site, and I have to do a search to find them.

So, it turns out that if you do a Google search for beautiful penis, my blog comes out on top. Yup, thatís right, Number One. And that was before I even wrote this post. I figure, what the heck, give íem something to read while they are here.

Now, personally, I donít find penises especially beautiful. I think theyíre pretty much the silliest looking anatomy imaginable. But, just for you, Iím going to declare penises beautiful, just for this post. And today all the beautiful penises are Japanese.

Our journey begins with a poem from Realia, by Kate Camp. Which is, by the way, a fine book indeed. A friend and I were just talking about how people donít read enough poetry these days. Itís sad. So, if you havenít read a poem this week, then seek out a copy of one of Kateís books. Youíll laugh. Youíll cry. Youíll wish youíd written that first. They are all so true, you know? The kind of truth that is so obvious you donít notice it until someone points it out. The pages are filled with the beautiful poetry of the utterly ordinary. Add to that the clever, playful use of words, lines that feel so good on your tongue, and some brilliant titles. Go on, read it. Meanwhile, here is a beautiful poem with penises.

At the Crossroads Bookshop

I read Japanese poems
in translation
in a vinyl chair

you stand in your coat
and look at giant penises
in Japanese prints.

The poems are all about grass
and love, and occasionally the eyebrows
of a pined-for daughter

the prints are erotica
sandwiched against photos
from a nude production of Oh! Calcutta!

I say Ė
listen to this Ė
Ďa shadow is my inní

you say Ė it isnít here,
the one with the lovers,
and the crumpled tissues

I say Ė
listen to this Ė
Ďa flower is my hostí

but secretly, I see your absent print:
white Fuji-boats adrift,
an undressed gift.


If you are feeling disappointed because you did not get to see the print in question, our next stop ought to cheer you up. Weíre heading to the annual Japanese festival of Kanamara Matsuri. Also known as the Penis Festival.


It all goes back (many many generations ago) to an unfortunate girl, and her even more unfortunate husband, who found on their wedding night that her vagina was lined with sharp teeth. The husband fled, missing six inches, and the young lass was left lonely and childless. She chomped her way through several more husbands before the village blacksmith agreed to try his hand at marriage. He before their wedding night he forged a great penis of iron. And, happily, it did the trick. The young woman broke all her teeth on the big iron dildo, and went on to have many children.

Such lovely cherry blossoms

Their story lives on in this springtime fertility festival, during which you can see children sitting on a giant penis seesaw, grandmothers licking penis shaped lollypops, and transvestites parading through the streets carrying enormous pink phallic objects. And other interesting anecdotes. Read this story to find out why no one had any sympathy for ďfor the poor soul whoíd just lost his fertility in the brass vagina shrine.Ē

And then check out this site for some fabulous festival photographs. I particularly like the carved radishes.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 02:41 AM | TrackBack

May 09, 2005

Spiritual community

Last week we danced in the aisles to Kool and the Gang.

This week we had a baptism - twin boys of lesbian parents.

Next week weíre putting on a play that has little green aliens and the Holy Spirit in it.

Yes, I love my church.

(Kool and the Gang was at Galaxies, it wasnít the usual St Andrewís morning service. Not that we donít dance in the aisles in the morning, but not usually to Kook and the Gang).

Lloyd Geering is doing a series of lectures on The Greening of Christianity. Should be good. First Lecture is at 12:15 this Tuesday.

And you should come along next Sunday morning at 10 - there's going to be this play...

Posted by Fionnaigh at 12:25 AM | TrackBack