Author photo by Peter's son, Walter Bakowski

Monday, July 27, 2009

Beneath Our Armour

Beneath Our Armour is comprised entirely of portrait poems of real and imagined people. Poems are set in Macau, Hong Kong, Suzhou, London, Ireland, Siberia, rural Australia. Includes portraits of prisoners of war, criminals, visual artists, teenagers and children. $21 a copy, includes postage within Australia 

Crime fiction poetry 1

I've been writing crime fiction poems off and on for more than a decade. It's part of my ongoing investigation in portrait poems of what's destructive in an individual. I've read several hundred crime fiction novels. What fascinates me in them is the difficult history of an individual, the circumstances, forces and pressures which have made them wounded, warped, murderous.
The past decade has seen the rise of Scandinavian crime fiction. In the 1970's many non-Scandinavians saw Scandinavia as the liberal dream, a benevolent society taking care of its populace.
Anyone reading contemporary Scandinavian crime fiction will quickly be made aware that things are rotten in Denmark and further north. Those long winters, bored teenagers gathering in the mall or downtown shopping precinct, loners living in run-down apartment blocks, car and drug-smuggling between Eastern Europe and Scandinavia have shown us that Scandinavian crime fiction writers are asking hard questions about their society.
This is to be applauded. Also to be applauded are the driven, obsessive detectives and police officers who go without sleep, drink bad coffee, are poets of the clue, not resting until the nagging, niggling thought leads to a revelation/a case breakthrough. These are the knights, overdue for retirement, who cannot rest until the monster criminal is ambushed, handcuffed, tried and sentenced. Allow these detectives and police officers their pleasures - a generous nightcap, some musing time in an armchair listening to Coltrane or Callas, their fantasy of a long holiday in far warmer Spain. 
The crime fiction torch has been passed from the Californian likes of Chandler, Hammett and Macdonald to the Scandinavians. Go figure. 


 

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Instructions to horsemen, Krakow, Poland, 1241

Your journey will be long,

dangers certain.

From clouds snakes will fall.

These can be killed only

by those amongst you

who have eaten wolf.

 

Don’t drink from pond or stream

in which black reeds grow.

One mouthful will turn you to stone.

Sleep with an eagle feather

clasped in your fist.

This keeps away lightning.

 

Find my son,

carried off by Tartars.

He has a crescent-shaped scar

on his left cheek.

By this you will know him.

One hundred fine horses

for his safe return.

 

I’m too old to ride with you.

Be my eyes,                                                                                                           

vigilant in every village and forest.

Put an end to my nightmares

in which two Tartars                                                                                                                                    

whip my blindfolded son

towards the edge of a cliff.  

(from Beneath Our Armour)