MTC Cronin



     There is the dot that has not been seen since. Since when? Since what? Since the dots were driven out of the land. For what? For joining together. If you join the dots you’ll see what I mean. This is about the easily led.


     A better explanation for everything is that it’s hardly a fact. All is such a grand sweep that there’s nothing left. Of course, something might have to be explained as if it was real but this is not uncommon for some things. Imagine if an earthquake had to make do with fiction or if electricity was forced to exist only as a mocking idea. Sleep and professions do better with their substantial unreality than do chins and pine cones. Strangely, most who would explain avoid, ignore or are unaware of the better explanation. The best explanation for this is that the fact is the kind of distraction that makes life and gin – which some say was actually a berry – possible.


     This was placed somewhere and then moved around until we couldn’t find it. It was likely that someone put it in the wrong place though when I tried emphasizing this as a possibility it was impossible without any emphasis. As an alternative I tried to stress the same possibility but by this time the situation had become so stressful that what I was stressing became lost among all the other stresses. Eventually we decided to succumb to the gravity of the situation and waited around relaxing. It is noteworthy and somewhat paradoxical that, settling our weight in one place, we soon realized why emphasis shifts. It is to get comfortable. Or, more precisely, to make the emphasizer comfortable. This hypothesis was shortly proven by each of us looking where we would expect to find ourselves had we been misplaced (or made a run for it).


     The man-boy was interviewed and didn’t – couldn’t – say anything interesting, but was prettier than any girl (could ever be as only boys can). And it doesn’t matter as you can say this or that but you’re either that pretty or you’re not. The prettiness inspired an old philosopher to keep up with his work until death whilst the photograph of the man-boy, when printed, caused a spasm in a very decent proportion of the reading population. The associated (collective) gasp rose up from the earth like a spontaneous prayer to dizziness generated by looking for the proper rendezvous in the arterial blackness of his leaf-shaped eye.


     The wolf who does dusting goes around with the duster dusting this and that. He dusts as others dust. Unsettling the dust and watching it resettle. The difference is that every now and then the wolf who does dusting mistakes some specks of dancing dust for fast-moving food and snaps his jaw open and shut around the dust-filled air. So the wolf-dusting isn’t quiet as most dusting is. His teeth slam together with a quite unsettling sound. And he stays hungry.


     There was a tree made entirely of birds. They had to be careful not to all leave the tree at the same time. For obvious reasons. These birds would get all in a twitter about identity. Were they a tree or were they a bunch of birds holding a trunk and crown formation. The day a foreign bird alighted and built a nest in them the twittering stopped. When the chicks emerged from their cracked little shells the tree hatched back into the sky.


     Although it is outside me, the memento spends most of its time inside me. I roll it around between my memories until it takes shape. The way it is used it may be a worry bead. It is certainly a location. Both positive and negative. I place it on my shelf. There it sits, becoming bygone in the present I create whenever I pass by. And when I am gone it sheds until all that is left is what depends on nothing. Occasionally I pretend to not recognize the memento but if sneaking a look notice that it’s missing only something of its own and not anything of that something else. It reminds me of this. That everybody is loved, dead, lost, unremembered. The memento blooms over and over into this very renegade. It says, go on, try to live. Try to live with a mind full of these dead thoughts.


     I do not remember what was in the alphabet before it was emptied. Perhaps orgies took place. Maybe there was a crux decussata. It is well known that in some alphabets there was a mu and a nu and a phi and a chi, but I really cannot bring to mind anything more solid than a general déjà vu of usefulness. And things have not been easy since the emptying. This communication, for example, I’ve written after pilfering from alphabets found in the luggage of our guests. They have not risen yet so one can pretend they are not alive though through the wall I can hear them sleep-talking in languages which do not exist.


     Picking off the double bit of your toenail delights me. I do it without moving. Without moving an inch. You don’t move either. Not even with your feet in your dancing shoes. Even though you’ve crawled inside a dandelion stem and can’t get out. It’s good to be held fast. Like a fact which holds fast to the sequelae of telling itself like it is. As motionless as is. For if you’ve ever studied what is it doesn’t move. Not at all. If it did I wouldn’t have been able to grab your scrawny toenail and set this stubby little recount in motion.


     Quiet! The trees disappearing into the distance cannot abide cacophony. If you disturb them they will come crashing back and cause a forest. This will involve the painstaking growth of an ecosystem and subsequent clearing (probably accompanied by protest) in order that the trees again have somewhere to run. Quiet! Nobody is on the road. The conditions are perfect for the trees to disappear.

MTC Cronin was born in 1963 in Merriwa in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia and grew up in Caloundra, Queensland. She has published fourteen collections of poetry as well as several in translation including her 2001 book, Talking to Neruda’s Questions (downloadable here), which has been translated into both Spanish and Italian. Her work has won and been shortlisted for many major literary awards among them the Gwen Harwood Memorial Poetry Prize; the Stand International Poetry Prize; the James Joyce Foundation’s Suspended Sentence Award; the John Bray Poetry Award, South Australian Festival Awards for Literature; the Jessie Litchfield Award for Literature; the Judith Wright Calanthe Prize for Poetry, Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards; and the Wesley Michel Wright Prize for Poetry. In her native Australia, her 2004 book-length poem, 1-100, won the 2005 CJ Dennis Prize for Poetry at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and in 2006 won the Award for Innovation in Writing at the South Australian Festival Awards, as well as being shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and the Age Book of the Year.

Cronin has studied arts, law, literature and creative writing and after working for the decade of the nineties in law, she began teaching writing in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. She currently lives in Maleny with her partner and three young daughters and has recently completed her doctorate – The Catastrophe of Meaning – which consists of eleven interlinked cross-genre books exploring poetry, law, justice and desire. She has four books forthcoming: Irrigations (of the Human Heart) ~ fictional essays on the poetics of living, art & love, a collection of prose poems shortly due out in the USA with Ravenna Press; Our Life is a Box. / Prayers Without a God, dual poetry collections from Soi 3, Australia/Thailand; Notebook of Signs (& 3 Other Small Books), forthcoming with Shearsman Books in the UK; and finally, a book of poetry jointly written with the Australian poet, Peter Boyle, How Does a Man Who is Dead Reinvent His Body? The Belated Love Poems of Thean Morris Caelli is also forthcoming with Shearsman Books.

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