MTC Cronin



     A moth lived in your eye. Attracted there by the light.


     ‘The baby is such a baby’ the little girl says. The little girl has an aunty who is an actor. The actor spreads out a large sheet on the loungeroom floor and announces that she is going to do some stretches. ‘I’m always watching you, aren’t I?’ the little girl says to the actor, ‘Yesterday, and now, and next Tuesday…?’


     This is known as a seta. It is perhaps better known that those involved in both sides of a war do not want to negotiate. Not really. It must be obvious that one side is right and the other wrong. Moss has a reputation for slipperiness. The zygotes growing parasitically on the parent plant. In a war the dead grow on the living. The ongoing of conflict is simply the living looking after the dead. Put another way, an overgrowth of revenge. The life-history of the moss is as fascinating. It is notable when the plant completely covers a round object such as a stone which is just a piece of earth.


   for Jack Pettigrew

     We switched the monks around and couldn’t tell the difference. They looked the same as before we’d switched them. One of them lived in a cave and had trampoline feet and pogo bones but when they all got together they synchronized. They went up and down in unison. Eventually, tiring of this non-specific scenario, we switched them back. The cave-monk bounced away to his hermitage. Shuffling back to the monastery the remainder pretended occasionally to levitate from the flatness of their hemispheric feet, all earthbound meditations released into the sky through play.


     We have biscuits, cheese and cold meat. This is an exhaustive list.


     The grub hatched out of a rock and began its life as a man living in a city apartment. Occasionally the rock, whose emptiness was grub-shaped, would throw itself against his walls and roof but as it never knocked on the door, the man did not think to let it in. One day his heart came loose and he got a girlfriend. She asked, hearing the rock pounding away outside, why don’t you let your mother visit? At this the apartment building smashed itself on the pavement and the man broke into a thousand grubby thoughts. Out of his girlfriend hatched a rat that was weighed down by the stone in its belly.


     The guest is not to be held responsible for the full sea becoming less full. Nor for the quietness of the forests and the fields. The guest seems precocious precisely because of their helplessness. How unanswerable they seem, inhabiting and breeding and lapping up the entertainment. When they leave you understand their strangeness. That they are not concerned with the way things ordinarily are around here.


     I come across your name. Person that I do not know. Does it matter that your name is all I have when, if we met, it is likely what you would offer me first? Unless, unless it was not a place or time for names. Moments not depraved by what we might call them. Moments leading to depravity. What is often ill-named.

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.

Further extracts from TREES LIKE GRASSES appeared in issue four of Otoliths.

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