Big Bridge #9

Poets of Australia


MTC Cronin

from <More or Less Than> 1-100


not simply eggs and plums, but knuckles of ginger,
alstroemeria, cold sea salmon, lovers’ notebooks,
apples – seven kins of apples, hock, silence,
margarine, margarine, margarine, margarine,
nature, money, the smell, tan, white, private, spray
paint, fish, secrets, fish sweet, burial, gold dust
tastes, cats carved from wood, ivory, bone,
electronic gates, grass skirts, stem cells, calla
lilies in buckets, holograms, the morgue burning
bush cool and green storm flowers, products,
combinations of star dust, star dust, star dust
not simply the memory of a child, but ‘a river
overshadowed by cliffs of mud where birds
seem to go insane’, eggs scavenged from
the poor, harvested as if from waiting fields,
wheat, their gods, liberated, their gods, maize
they call it, what do they call the ringing of the bells,
eternal, bare-shouldered passing, like the crying
where sometimes people die, carwreck movie,
eviction, what doesn’t exist, execution, what
overflows, what sells, people ask all sorts
of questions: does a certain amount of betrayal
mean love does not exist?


the needle slips into the womb like the eye
of god through the museums of time that
will not go away; have nowhere to go
and so slip down the thinnest metal cylinder
and almost, not quite, into the baby’s hand
what is waiting? the consent? the understanding?
the going backwards? they be kind to each
other; they be cruel to each other; sometimes
the same of them, both, in different rooms on
different days; they play, thinking forwards, but
around; they take things from the stores
and factories; they return things to stores and
factories; they see birds and the distance is
peace; they hear machines; they hear the fuzz
that is between the brain and what they hear;
they see a cloud in the sky and it is shaped like
their country; they all come from different
countries; they have pain anywhere; in the
amniotic fluid they have a home, rime,
antennaeless, a huge antenna and the absence
of time passes like a breeze on a holiday, eating
from banana leaves, from bad news, their
nursing of each other, lifting, carrying, cleaning,
wiping in the face of paralysis, no speech, in
the absence of personality, what they know,
their ignorance of the iceplan, the sunplan


they ask with these the last questions near death
they want new new (all the time)
they don’t listen (all the time)
to what’s already known (all the time)
even monkeys can do this
fuck for 8 hours straight and lose 50 pounds

they finite
they fuck the life era
they insert reasons with disabilities
into their flesh
all the time all the time
are they looking at shadows?
have their mothers gone to look at shadows?
who is looking at the shadows?
they promise forgetfulness
set their ship adrift among inactive flowers
they are de facto (all the time)
cutting a path (all the time)
navigating the one-way path (all the time)
paradoxa, acceleration, the 40 x 40 x 40 plan
their wings are a token
their wings are in place of a voice
that records its own sound in the story
they are beyond reports of its strophe
marked out by fabulist hooves
there is the prism of it turning
swimming light perpetually and colour
the carousel
rock-crystal, rock-dove, the heart, a fish
of light

the news is over
they believe in disaster
now all that is left
is how they say it


not simply a cloth, a purse, a blind release
but a green between nature and more
the existence of painting that surpassed
all their ideas of motion and a stillness
stern as any prow, as any accident
intimate or flawed, later or routine,
as a hand in the small or another together
like couples do with no acknowledgement
between them; not simply also music
on the unusual spread of limbs to avoid
using rooms but a circulating summer, a
pearl chance, a learning, elegant plate with
a lap for the century to lie on, a woven
cord, a key, a chord with its centre
absent for the face to crawl in to express,
sing, and not just these: signs, signs in cotton,
signs in dye, signs in ink, signs burnt in,
the right way up, upsidedown, signs sideways,
angled, effaced, scraped, scratched, etched,
completed, incomplete; the spot, the stand,
the mark, of the thing, and the mark not of
the thing, a trace like some thing cleaned
and another a trail, signed or unsigned,
desire uncoupled from the hands and left to
flutter with curtains, a free language, a
language freed from the line of them and
residing in the street, flowers overhanging
their representation and actuality, real flowers,
stealing bruises, what they want with the
mouth, not leaving it in the after-word but
always taking it forward, not simply the
baton but the message, the new gist burned
to the hand with pain’s alchemy, another line
for their eyes, nerves, finger to follow, follow
and not just follow but the forge, the guess
that cracked within, the path that made itself
a path, the go-back, lustre, unabridged time
that held them ripe for the toss and favoured
verbs, verbs, verbs, a bit, a bit left over

MTC Cronin has published six books and three booklets of poetry, the most recent being beautiful, unfinished ~ PARABLE/SONG/CANTO/POEM (Salt Publishing, UK, 2003). Her 2001 book, Talking to Neruda’s Questions, is being translated into Spanish by the poet, Juan Garrido Salgado and a collection of her work is being translated into Bosnian by Tatjana Lukic. She is currently working on her doctorate, The Law of Love Letters ~ Prose, Poems, Law & Desire, at UTS. Her next book, <More or Less Than> 1 – 100 (from which the above extract is taken), is forthcoming in September 2004 (Shearsman Press, UK).

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