The first word in the title of this heterodoxical-say-“what?” fiction is pronounced with a long “b” as if its first letter were followed by an “e.” Like “before” or “beneath” or “beyond.” Though it’s not. And I’m stinging and whipping you into a fury about its title for a reason. Which might serve the truth, I apologize, only after you read it.

My favorite time of day is when I first wake UP. Somewhere between Peter Pan’s Never Never Land and 671 N. State Street in Chicago. To see my endodontist.

Where I’m warm. Curled under and cuddled by a sheet, comforter and blanket. Virtually between metaphorical Eternity and literal Now-ness. And my sight, hearing, smell and taste are also – I’m not a pediatrician, so I’ll simply say – prenatal.

Where a glass is neither half empty nor half full. Philosophically or psychologically. Or choose-your-own descriptor. If you’re anal. But, I won’t go there. No pun intended.

Where “Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear,
seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.” Said Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s 1599 tragedy. A quote I was required to memorize. 363 years later.

Where “Death be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadfull. For thou art not so. For those, whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow, die not, poore death. Nor yet canst thou kill me.” Wrote John Donne around 1609. Remember? Tell the truth!

Where parents’ responsibility is to dissolve their child’s dependency relationship. According to my Industrial Psychology Prof. over 45 years ago. Which I didn’t understand. Until I became a Father. And, where life’s responsibility is to dissolve the living’s independence. Which I dreamed up. Last week. Strangely…

Where Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – from physiological, safety and social to esteem and self-actualization – is pragmatically irrelevant. Cuz you’ll have no needs or wants. A need being something you have to have. A want being something you would like to have, but is not absolutely necessary. According to SOCIAL STUDIES FOR KIDS, whose web address I’ll share. If you’re interested.

Where, “Without much experiencing for someone and, more generally, I should think, without much mental activity of any sort (however overt or, alternatively, just covert) there’s very little value in a very long life, or in an exceedingly protracted existence.” Mused my favorite UW Prof. “One of the world’s most original and unorthodox philosophers.” According to his NYC publisher.

Where idioms like “The devil is in the details,” “The early bird gets the worm” and “Break a leg” are useless. Unless you die and enter Figure-of-Speech-Dom. (= Dante’s PARADISO for linguists.)

And commonly misspelled words like “judgement” and “congradulations” and “disasterous” are forgiven. If you’re Catholic, and appreciate the Sacrament of Confession. As a matter of faith.

And Jimmy Durante’s signature sign-off during the 1940s on TV, “Good night, Mrs. Calabash — where ever you are!” makes perfect sense. Especially if you watched TV during the 40s. Which you probably didn’t. Right?

Where the word “bmow” reverses to “The hollow muscular organ in which the blastocyst develops into a fetus, and consists of a main portion with an elongated lower part at the extremity of which is the opening.” According to STEDMAN’S MEDICAL DICTIONARY FOR THE HEALTH PROFESSIONS AND NURSING. Available at Amazon.com from $6.69. Used.

And heterodoxical-say-“unorthodox” fiction like this one might be read. Or might not.

But that’s not a good reason for not writing it.

Why? Cuz it grounds your B-eing. Earthling! Shows you existed. Exercised your sense and sensibility. S-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d your imagination. Thought about thinking. Wrote about living. Waxed about writing.
For reasons I can’t begin to process, I was tempted to end my fiction with T.S. Eliot’s quote, “What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” But didn’t. Perhaps because I didn’t understand its gift. Though, on reflection, as Socrates said about his role and that of a gadfly in Plato’s 399 BC APOLOGY, its presence might have further served “to sting people and whip them into a fury, all in the service of truth.”

InShadowsInGlimpses AnIntuitionAsensation

InShadowsInGlimpses AnIntuitionAsensation

 

In shadows

In glimpses

 

An intuition

A sensation

 

We cannot see it

But we think perhaps

 

We notice

A quality of light

 

A touch of wind

An inner movement

 

These suggestions

Are everywhere

 

Reminders that

God

 

Is not designed

For us

 

We are designed

For God

 

Our task

To carry grace

 

To be vessels

For the pouring

 

Of the spirit

We are fragile

 

But

In ourselves

 

Unimportant

Fear

 

Is our great encumbrance

Our fear for ourselves

 

Which is like fearing for the air

In a storm

 

Come lightning

Strike

 

 

 

Let’s have no irritable grasping after reason.

– John Keats as quoted by Gary Snyder

 

(1)

 

A young boy

Thinking of Baudelaire, how one night

For such is his wont

Looking out over the valley, for no

Bean plants to the knees

Quietly that, through the rain, the

Dust in the cups and glasses, dust in shoes

A message on a mobile phone

Ironising everything I think or do

Fatter, live

And how they have brought her at last

Several imaginary exit wounds

And that car-thief friend who treats him like a brother,

On the mattress in the shed, the day

Will not leave this house

And our dreams with them, all the ten towns down.

Just like the sea

Reappear. I am

 

(3)

 

In the back lanes and alleyways

Build a house and it draws them around

People are talking

In exile in Siberia, 1938: I’m

In the crevices of buildings

Professor of Australian Literature and preparing

Disturbance of the leaves dislodging them, they fall

Sugar glider, are endangered and rarely seen

Like some huge vessel

They can seem a kind of sluggish centaur

So full of ghosts

To watch the point of my torchlight

Diners are sidling out of Tran’s Thainese

Taking aim at Jenny in the centre of the yard

Wonders which to eat tonight

And all they could do is stare

Sluggish with plenitude

As his victim was on her way to the cooking pot. The book

Her oblivious and

To have been broken from the start. Saddled,

Yelping and whining all night

Now is how I

Forest behind them, starting from the gate

We heard one night a caterwauling from somewhere there; I guess

 

 

studious art endeavours

studious art endeavours

 

 

“The line does not end where the arm ends,

but where the thought leaves the line.”

— Leopold Museum, Vienna

 

As the lapidarian eye placed a caress

above the stocking end line, casting about

in the cascading thought for blue shiners,

fish that reflected lacy signatures in those

imprints of yearn falling away from

that skin fold of studious art endeavours,

where button breasts diamante their way

out across masquerading candle smoke,

posing out of love or money who cares –

for the confetti drop that springs the trap

on the shattering diamond light subsiding

in the river aching its way from wrists,

the window knows the feint in reappraisal

a side of palm to make good the merged lovers,

gemstones cut into each other so no edge

separated them from the jeweller’s intent.

 

 

from the thirty sixth floor
we watched
below on the river
an algal bloom of pleasure cruisers
a swarm invade the foreshore
the pinprick sparkle of fire twirlers
spin overture to detonation
when river land was drenched
red white and blue
sky dyed green and gold

we sat
in the boss’s chair
on a greetings from down under
koala cushion
perched in the dark
griffons
angels
gods

out on the street
cops held a young man down
cold handcuffs snap as
hands pressed his face
knees pressed his chest
into concrete
which covers Yagan’s country

across the once wetland road
among wraiths of paperbark and she-oak
his family women gash their breasts
with sharpened stones
continue the keening.

Australia Day 2014

reflect

reflect

 

I’m sitting in a chair

A chair in a room
A room in an apartment
An apartment on a floor
A floor of a building

A building on a street
A street on a block
A block in a neighborhood
A neighborhood of a city

A city in a county
A county of a state
A state in a region
A region of a country

A country on a continent
A continent in a hemisphere
A hemisphere of a planet
A planet in a solar system

A solar system in a galaxy
A galaxy in a universe
A universe of matter
15 % observable

85 % dark.

 

 

It’s curtains for our Button
Her shag-pile carpet fur
concealing a spinal lupus loping wild

We don’t know when its lope
will stride into a run
and cut her legs from under her again

The rot’s set in.
It’s no use denying
Nor that she is part of our interior design.

She was never a new broom,
Just family interconnective tissue.
Did she teach us how to grow our own?

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