A double tanka for Lyn
used Carrara marble
mined from a mountain
where men still die stealing
the new way of pricing art
my friend travelled
to the ‘cathedral’ mountain
she stands in slurry
with marble dust in her hair
still as a statue
On the night before I teach…
I have this dream where I enter a hoarder’s house and discover that some of the rooms are being used as a kind of hotel. For some reason there is also a creative writing class set up in the living area, chairs carefully placed around huge piles of clothes and rubbish. I know that I am meant to teach this class, but after introducing myself I instead start talking about Gerald Murnane. I say that Gerald would probably hate creative writing classes, because his peculiar writing is an example of the opposite of any kind of advice one might receive in a writing class. Then Luke Carman (apparently in the class, somewhere up the back) pipes up and says, ‘I hate Gerald Murnane. I hate his work and everything he stands for.’ I am a little taken aback by this outburst, but then a great defender quickly appears from a sidedoor and interjects with an eloquent defence of Murnane’s work. The students sit there, dutifully taking notes.
One day in July
three men came
in the same suits
they were polite
we need ya to stay
on the other side
I asked them where
the other side was
see that corner well
don’t go there anymore
that’s what the guy who wrote it says.
Nobody seemed to know what it means:
“There’s five blue figures on a white circle” …
… something about making arrangements, keeping each other in line.
’82. At parties you hear people saying:
it’s based on numerology
five figure settlements
doodles on a note-pad
On You Tube you watch the scratched over clip of the Blams:
dangling on a knife-edge
’82. Night before dole day, we raid the roach jar, roll-another-number
crank up ‘Don’t fight it Marsha’ on the turntable
sit in the living room in Kilmore Street with the blackened out windows
as if we’ve gone back to the London Blitz
Does anyone get the lyrics: ‘There’s five blue figures on a white circle’?
Moira says she knew the chick it was written for, it always made her cry,
it was about her relationship
Then the skinhead, who ends up inside for dealing,
can’t remember his name,
just the pet rat on the shoulder of his army jacket,
the birth mark stain strangling his neck
like a vicious love bite.
He tells us:
It’s written by a punk who wants to write songs about the way we live
but they never go anywhere
so he ends up writing lyrics all about
Nobody seems to know what it means.
Five blue figures on a white circle.
This one comes out of nowhere goes nowhere comes out of nowhere.