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.”
We cannot see it
But we think perhaps
A quality of light
A touch of wind
An inner movement
Is not designed
We are designed
To carry grace
To be vessels
For the pouring
Of the spirit
We are fragile
Is our great encumbrance
Our fear for ourselves
Which is like fearing for the air
In a storm
Let’s have no irritable grasping after reason.
– John Keats as quoted by Gary Snyder
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
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
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
“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
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
in the boss’s chair
on a greetings from down under
perched in the dark
out on the street
cops held a young man down
cold handcuffs snap as
hands pressed his face
knees pressed his chest
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
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?