blackmail press 21
Johnny Cameron
New Zealand

crossed cultures - special issue
Yellow River

The Yellow River is drying up.
The sorrow of China now flows
into the Sargasso Sea,
where deep dwellers vie.
On payday their front flippers fly-buy.

One night at a fiasco
on the inskirts of Frisco, I met
a social development researcher and her wise
PHD supervisor.
The bivalve majored in history,
the amphipod minored in management.

On that fine and frosty night, well...
fine for a time, we were upstage
and downstage, involved in acts of friction,
through town, the new town, on a 20 degree rake,
until a spate of fate in an i-mall.

A bristleworm sat eating a cold leftover sausage
on the doorstep of the Museum of Modern Art,
where the Portugese man-of-war would afford
a look at Degas, or maybe Manet,
because artists fall over when moonjelly spills.

Like 300 condoms full of heroin inside her body
the six-pointed star missile hit their school.
Life is defence, reproduction and keeping afloat.
It is a series, a sitcom, a pilot,
a pilot whale skewered, sewered,
radar infiltrated, harpooned.
Sea monsters seize ships by their anchor chains,
swim off slowly into the darkness.

The Mumbai Job

A ban on swimming after a sewerage spill licks its wounds,
drives a wedge into the hull of life’s metaship.
to sea clearly a situation,
scientific development is a yellow submarine.

Uncle and Oncle parade by the Seine,
ducking ducks,
en tete-a-tete,
of how Sikh Razor was erased
by a so-called yogi hit-man called Bomb.
About endings, and futures and the future after that.
That our death is star-written, or nuclear specter?
Cellphone leads lead the uncles
to the Lebanon occupied by the Ottomans,
then the French version,
to the spiritual city of Fez ,
red-walled Marakech,
and on to Algeria, Camus and The Fall.

Scientific development is in bed with your mother.
Greenbacks crawl over the green leaves of Congress.
I pushed the Act through, the Environment Act,
a kilometre underground,
where money accumulates like pressed carbon on routine cheap flights.

The Siberian Tiger utters a Munch-like scream,
My friend Moby the whale drowns.

Uncle and Oncle pace by the Seine,
in frenetic disscussion,
en tete-a-tete,
about what did Jesus mean when he said.
‘Do not think I came to put peace upon the earth, I came to put not peace
but a sword. For I came to cause division, with a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother, and a young wife against her...’

Am who leads the way
in edu, in sci, in res, in art, in lit, in med, in fil,
als in pol, in arm, in esp, in des, in war.

Sparkling clean non-stick action switches the light,
picks up the TV remote, flicks on... The Fear Factor,
the toilet flushes,
greedy gremlins flow out into the moist areas of the bathroom,
by the kitchen where instant noodles simmer.
Sponges and dishclothes walk along the bench, out the door.
The hand sanitiser retires from devising surprises.

The polluted plume of the Mississipi’s flow forms the dead zone, while
grouped on the holy mountain Arunachala, in South India are Cecile, Simone and Surya,
and Mark and Cliff from New Zealand.
Only metres away,
the yogi hit-man reviews his latast Mumbai job.

Uncle and Oncle squat on the Seine.


With the outlook of someone like…

Gaining political conciousness,
Seeing colonial capitalism as oppressor.
In the course of the attack,
To know they were going to die in the…

Young, black and white thinkers, true radicals,
Had got to a point of radicalization by…

Then an evolution in the type of attacks.
Economic might, cultural might, military might.
Madrid, Casablanca, London,
Vulnerable to fanatics.
A degrading of Bin Laden’s network,
Naming the enemy, inventing the enemy.
In the history of modern militancy…

Words drop like cluster bombs,
The wheel  turns,
Violence acts,
More violence,
A global problem,
Oppressed by the best,
who police the beast,
Weapons foreign policy,
Draining the swamp.

Featured Artist Fiona Holding