Corey Wakeling

Defenestration, A Tetraptych

1. Still-Life

Can we ever be found? Can we? Must-must. Can. We.
Must-must. Can we ever be exhumed and found? Can we, and
we must. The cruelty of not knowing, the cruelty of the
empty ground, the must and must. The cruel must. And terrify
your superior halves. We must and can-must. What ever
might be found in us is the cruelty of not knowing enough
which is their cannot-found, and is our can and must. Their
petrifying ignorance. Their limitless tea bags. Their absence
of filters. Their teapots of steel. Their 1968. Their missing
1972. Their missing 1982. Their missing 1985. Their missing
1990. All that strict fish netting. All that salmon of the 90s.
All our sardine rituals. All our laboured working class. Now you
have to prove your parents' absence. Now you have to show
their poor credit at the door. Now you have to prove their
vacant mortgage. Now you have to prove your only year. Now
you have to prove that your year is a year. Now you have to
prove that you only have one year. Now that your year means
three. Now that their years mean zero. Now that their secretaries
are vacant sighs. Now that 1968 is a “known” and a “recorded”.
Now that the theatre is a twenty-five dollar dinner and a glass
of red deal. Now that we know our impossibility. Now that
we know our prohibitors. Can you ask them to ask themselves?
Can you ask them to ask for their jobs back? Can you ask them
for their academia back? Can you ask them for their club back?
Can you ask them for their pride back? Zero is zero. Who wants
a salmon fisher? I can bake in foil. I can roast my feet. There
are twenty people on every panel. I can ask a question. I
might have asked for poor credit. Is there a metaparable for all
this glass blowing? Your chandeliers might be tears but I've lost
all interest in crystal. Do you want a miner or a chandelier? Do
you want the refinery or the cocktail party? Do you want the
CBD or Kew? Do you want the vodka or the martini? Do you
want water or the USA? Do you want 1916 or 1968? Do you
want brains or children? Do you want children or students?
How many bubbles can you count? Is a university a house or
a home? Is a home a book or an office? Is coffee a breath or
a positive charge? Are you defenestration or defenestrated? Is
your credit Visa or AMEX? Are you living or live? Are you jackets
or are you belts? Are you a nurse or are you a council? Have
you mortgaged your son or is he still at home? Is your son North
Fitzroy or is he Station Street? Is your son at home or is he at
the cabin? Does he fish for salmon or does he masturbate? Are
you masturbating or are you turning the page? Are you won or
are you paid? Can you help me or can you be helped? Is there
a space or are you all full? Is the carpark a den or is it a fox
trap? Why this exposition? Why offer me your job? Why are you
wearing history's concrete shoes? Why is Carlton the capital of
Melbourne University? Why is its landing strip a park villa?
Why am I not being touched? Where is our anatomy? Is criticism
a set of micro-libraries? Are the books water damaged?

2. The Members

So once we're there, who do we throw out?


The Bear. Bright and early and the bed. Staid in newspaper.
In a cot of bookshelves and summer breezes. A nice
history and then histories. We don't know which
tree this Bear fell out of but we're sure she thought
it was a high one. Possibly a red tingle. Maybe baobab.
The core of a baobab – that ocean of water – is fermentable
into a psychotropic brew that will transmit pubic hairs
to the scales of bark. Beware the Bear near the melaleuca
since that's the island tree we don't want
her graffitiing. Bear in a straitjacket, Bear loose in the
sparkling pub. And how might we throw her? Not with
rhetoric because she will beat us with closed eyes, and
the roots of her hair will call every room Australia. On
the verge of being thrown out she will call us Terra Nullius,
fed a croquette and it is so suddenly New Holland. The Bear
knows the baobab but only saw an instrumentalism – the
view it allowed her from up above – and all of that
sophisticated scaffolding wrapped around it. So, it will
be with hands mostly, our hands gripped on the smoking
jacket, its texture sat-in, throwing her through the window
of hallway staircases, bathroom vents, and libraries.


The Charity Bull. The orotund rotunda. In the round, he steals
the cameras from the small distribution journalists, who
have his nostrils on film, which are holes to his brain, in
which the bile is obstinacy and two-storey terraces worth
a million dollars. That Bull who can charge and knock a
ceiling of old plaster into a mess of a choreographer's map,
we give him that, if only we had the waning audience of
the Monumental, the ring of broken eggs, the Barcelona,
all that charity in a payroll. As much as we want his arena
and his frequent flyer miles, something tells me he is waiting
to be thrown out by his prisoners – the paying and the paid-for
– and knows his bruises on film. But no-one's pulling down
the posters framed in his hallway! And a grant means a grant
means a grant. Charity Bull, you are a community dancer in
rhetorician's clothing. You are dead many times already.
We throw you and your ears out of the window of the member's
box to the tourists, and to the people of Barcelona.

3. The Day the Fleas Came
          after John Tranter's 'Serial Numbers' from Ultra (2001).

When the fleas came – so too did the plague's
vicious insurgency, so we did what we could in compartments of houses,
wholly irregular, and lost the drains to rats –
which know man's hate like budget airline providers
as treachery finds easy exits –

upending the books shirts ties pants dresses skirts and coats,
pacing ourselves through hidden hovels which greeted us discreetly, pushing our
troubles into pint glasses of real ale, hops and malt
loneliest in their proposed faux-medievalism – we could for
a time believe our moment to being prolix

and begging for occupation and suburban notwithstanding, too late
it seems encountering ruination – not
ours but the houses left us, how could
we consider mortgage with the banks truant –
elegant disappearance, nostalgia redacted, left wanting and presumptuous –

voila – plagues have populations in their
sights and the incumbent is as
safe insofar as you haven't failed yet
forcing that petrified deportment that carries fleas eastward – straight
through oceans – losing the old bastions

of pride in the challenge since no-one else seems bothered with
physicality – who knows how many ants are alarming
cicadas and fat with the resources for immunology,
the departments and the intellectual property, unfortunately litigious,
documentations of our wading through years and missing years

with attendant rent, so many of the hoary lament remuneration.
As if double indemnity was sovereign ore –
mushy peas when sardines are free – but, provincial? – just
sardines? – these replaceable elms thought blueprinting meant plots of land
“when they should be practising their knots and lanyards.”

Like the copyright laws on human genomes – lost in translation.
Can they? Like landlords. Bleakly deferring to human pertinacity
again, while we sit like seagulls chatting
over fish and chips about crows, miscalculated,
logarithms supine, hammering the meat into better compressed sinews,

and what would they have waiting, a penal
colony sans machine, minus the auspicious visiting bureaucrat –
should you scream down a telephone too loudly tonight – and,
tomorrow's – remember you died wondering where words might be
now that you're absent. The black death

knows – quick, remorseless, wholly decisive –
inflicting a Renaissance we're now deciding to make actual
since there is something afoot more than
bookcases of Marx Freud and Jameson. How dare you,
dead at the watering hole, your feet

good only for walking, climbing up a ladder,
affirming the stop and start points for children to trace
lest they trace precisely what you, the colony,
look like under the plague's sun forcing you
out now – The window's open, we're watching you.

4. Heroism

Third call. Terrace gallantry.
Tin rooves. Black plastic. Pumpkin refuse.
Blue spots of mould. A carrier. A car.
A snow plough is stuck in the mud of all the
faces of the pleased-to-see-us. Knowing our directions.
Bodmin Moor looking down at us.
The best weather is in the middle.

“Did you know,” and “can we”. The barred fruit.
The awful stench, and the fumigation. The Borrowing.
The expletive capitals. She has lost the will for typography,
and so finds the swings, the thrusting-off, the trust. And we thank you.
All twenty-five priests, bathed in choral. Deco hymn. She is a
dangerous tulip if you find her early in the morning,
but don't speak of her. Then: there, we find the third call.

Errant red butterflies are steak sandwiches without the bread.
Remorseless buckets of bones. Four steak knives. Spots of spill.
Beaten meat, and we can make it. Your knowledge can know the furrows of a hammer if you let it, and then alongside that we can drive you to your apartment if you let us flatten you out. We know it's Brunswick, even if you are only twenty-seven. Or four. You can imagine the congealed.
She can ramify a few home, knock the housemates out and shake them to droplets. Couple credit cards and a paperclip. Cuttings from the Age. A warranted fig. Shaken figs.
Remorseless putrefaction in buckets. Sold by the kilo.

The new warnings. The culpability of fear. The heroism of walking and nodding.
All those terrible friends and their silent households. Perimeters have never
known such architects. The men would ride themselves into town if they had the chance.
The Snowy River is a creek left by a storm drain leaking out of Bodmin Jail.
Ice is black. She wanted to design the Bodmin Jail and is in the process of discovering
a team of actors filched from the prison to do a Pinter play in a real apartment in the
tenements on Lygon Street, which are also the tenements on Johnston Street, which
is really the fig juice slathered on a thick piece of sour dough toast. Just ask
the merry horse riders. They are bound to make money charging their horses rent.

Third call. A firefighter flying from a fulminating window.
She smooths careful walls, moves her chess pieces like words.
Beckett's bones and rooks and bishops.
Heroism's third round offering amid the vacant households is
also by the kilo but colourless and its Brunswick and warm.
There is so much in night-time shifting. Where is Tasmania?

Corey Wakeling is a writer of poetry and prose and lives in Melbourne. His
work has been published in Yomimono, Etchings, Peril, Otoliths, and The Age. He is fond of critical engagement and welcomes responses via email. Email him at c.wakeling@pgrad.unimelb.edu.au.

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