Chris Arnold & Francesca Jurate Sasnaitis

Krisnurata: ‘all a bit nafs’

that story of Shams-i-Tabrizi: he forms from desert, cloak torn and shifting
from now here to nowhere with envy, schrödinger’s dervish. She imagines
now how every word she pens (wardrobe 2, kitchen) is devotion, a rumination
through all the sea shanties she washes through emptied bedrooms,
through emptied systems of signification. Scumbled biblical impulses

awake to brimstone blasts, words carried to an untrained ear; jumbled beans
or one screw loose, no matter, high functionality, that’s the key: talk big,
make light of evidence to le contraire. Spring’s eternal rustling ground to a halt,
slalom journey abandoned midstream, so what? makes ducks happy, right?
quack-a-doodle-doo! regrets? she’s had a few too many; time she quit,

yes: this itch of ridding impulse; a flesh red & hesitant to bend at the knuckles,
she thinks, can’t fight without fists, how love is much like nicotine addiction:
get ’em young, cowboy, and make your escape in a puff of… well, you know.
So she mounts a defence against bad neighbours in packing crates, curls xylene free
glyphs on tape strips: en-suite, non-permanence; keeps op-shop options stacked

against blank canvases, books, CDs: how many is enough to deflect questions,
inquisitions, nosey parkers? the thing with smokescreens, she says, dragon puffing
on a cigarette (Cuban or Black Russian? in this light, it’s hard to tell), easier to strip
than keep intact, that bothering persists, too many memories, a background zizz;
survivors resurfacing in dreams of greener pastures make a case for hit and run

’cause cow hands are clumsy and it’s easier to walk out than unpack. Frequently
winter, she rooves herself anew, and hands twist threads of self-esteem and tobacco.
She post-hocs the geometry of leaving: a white room’s window, a pool of ripples
beyond. She stops for the sum (library, laundry, box of ashtrays) and gets more
terms than she bargained for: exponent, sinusoid, and self: a zero notion of zero

subtraction to get by, not as easy as it sounds, no, seams run crooked, unravel,
fray; ghosts hover wreathed in Champion Ruby and threadbare smoking-jackets,
professorial leatherette elbow-patches hanging by a thread, and that fez! damn!
four sheets to the wind, drier than a dead dingo’s… doesn’t begin to cover it.
She’s desperate, desperate! to hold Once Was at bay, bleib hier ’n’ Now or nothing

a thinking in windows, leaves, & horses: whichever voice says make a trail,
her stocking runs covered in canvas – stockroute and nylon: wow or nothing.
Hang about, get it together, however it’s written down – she peers into the
nearest tea chest, thinks its stacked in the teach-est of books: study,
lovingkindness, Buddhist propaganda and quantum entanglement, a dividend

invested in wisdom for the stupefied masses, French included – bonjour, merci,
c’est la vie, ‘that’s life’ teaches her nothing – should get rid of that shit,
Mao’s Little Red Book included; Celestine Prophecy another synapse failure;
The Alchemist, not his best (or so he says) but what’s a grail between friends?
Jonathan’s flown heavenly and the princeling’s crashed – oh, put a sock in it

que Sarah or whichever beach you might find beneath les pavés,
but beau mot plage is more German than it sounds.
She lists the line of thinking this way: things best left
off packing crates because what will the movers think?
what will they say and to who, whom, and on what terrain?

isolé de l’île? yes, even here, tremens bedevilled she issues chaos
an invitation – enter, entertain us – and he arrives all a-chimera,
elusive ringmaster without a whip, he bends sympathies to Lucifer,
reluctant victim strung out to dry, what a knees-up jamboree!
she gets what she deserves: the guest who never leaves.

She turns down guest bed sheets on his professions: legal, political,
mystical. Theoretical never enters when the subject tonight is ____,
and whether she’s fed- or knees-up pushes ahead as the question.
Everything else on the slide, from volume of folk tunes and booze
to how his mood sounds, shaken against a container of blackened hours.

Morning breaks on too much day; the night, a nightmare disc
stuck on a scratch, cobblestones dis-dis-dis-lodged or worse,
the obverse of Baptist babble-on, Charismatic coin beached
on his palm, not some gentle bayside promenade, no,
a gale-force caterwaul, not so bonny now, insanity;

all clam-happy back at the height of his cheekbones but here he is,
hypersaturated in the east window, melaleucas clearly offended
and his arm at an obtuse angle, on the wrong side of child.
What will the movers think? the neighbours? all the demons
from incubus to liquor? bad spirits: jonnie walker to erl könig?

it’s not as late as she thinks, the neighbours safely ensconced
in neighbourly amnesia, a serendipitously emergent theme:
phrases for another line forming on puckered lips, she tries, she
really does – blow, baby, blow – a fractured minor G, major B-flat
blown off course, claspèd close to the chest, too many thous & thys.

Her thinking sticks on the second person plural, jaw clicks onto anamnesis
as clouds crowd in lower, greyer; she hopes they’ve downloaded
covidsafe and wonders what about these sixteenths? A
major scale arpeggiated flat against the underside of everything,
she hauls forward a chorus and wonders who she is to deduce

or see-duce, might be sharper to the lance, the point is
her Greek scaremongers predict paroxooosmos [sic], you’ve got it:
bloody ruin, hell! walls breached, sanctum body-strewn, yep, chaos
has taken root, made himself at home in his high-toned shoes
and that velvet grimace he always wears, the cuckoo in her nest —

definite case of The Wrong Person and this all on a Friday night:
Shlohmo on the radio – except the context is Melbourne jazz,
circa two thousand, circa zero. She makes to clip the stamens off chaos
but he takes spite-hydra shape: subtract a hackneyed phrase, grow a pair
or at least listen to the remix. She can never tell was ist es, der Böse

oder der Brillante? rhinestone cowboy or fait accompli? depends
who’s schtupping whom, and that’s one answer she’d rather not calculate;
primes aren’t her strong suit. One divided by two, subtract one
just leaves her all boo-hoo, poor slob, another Groucho without a club,
another Emily without a bike to ride her ache to heaven’s gate,

another Alex and malenky britva, Never Mind the Tolchocks
(God Save the Queen et cetera), or with the right kind of calculus
she could be hacking Saint Peter’s email for clues on who’s
naughty and nice. On the subject of which: there they were over Sussex
or Essex: her of course and the little droogy, the Wrong Person

stuck limpet to her side, never mind all the tchotchkes left behind,
sweetheart, bubelah, you can’t take it with you when you die, oy vey!
what’s a girl to do with keine kleine Droge, how to pass the time?
don’t try to catch my eye, you know exactly what she needs: a sailor
on the other side, destra o sinistra doesn’t matter either way

so she does, naturally, one either side for balance, for emergencies,
and one would’ve said the same for the cheekbones, for velveteen lapels,
for king and country, but it’s the boy who cried wolf all over again and maybe
that’s a valid spirit animal and maybe it isn’t: maybe that thing you got tattooed
doesn’t say what you think, and maybe you don’t either, but it all depends
on whose land you’ve stolen, the lamb shanks are crankin’ thanks Hank

as if MacMansions don’t obscure the view, fuck you, the blank reflects
the message back and sure, maybe she’s lead him to miss the point
(if she ever had one – probably not), the point being, the ball’s in play
and you don’t pot black until the game is done, according to the hustler
(she would know – one pot in hand worth more than two smooches
left to chance), the rendang hasn’t quite quit basking in the mercies

till the third boil and don’t forget to nominate your pocket. Keep a hanky
in there, thanks, she didn’t get to that rank playing the half-arsed way,
foul the black and you’re out – too much anfo puts you halfway between Beirut
and Juukan gorge – the cue ball’s white for a reason: too many pharma bros
and the code’s all anglophile. Sucks to be you. O well, sink whatever you’ve got,

seasoned springs keep flowering down the steep – gold! Texas tea! he’s bypassing
all of that, that’s why she’s showing cracks, don’t panic! not like it’s about to fall
in around your bed, risky business mounting up, riding out, corralling dreams
of spruce geese or that Murdoch caricature (Robert, this one’s for you), nothing sweeter
than a bigtime talking horse called Claude, or Mr Ed – it’s a no brainer, cowboy,

try to longhorn your way out of that one, and let’s see if a sneaky treat of L
Ron Hubbard or Malcolm whatever-his-name-was can get the best of the IPCC.
Problem is, it’s all wagyu now, the wankers, and the steaks have never been higher,
so cowboying’s a case of Lexus and Marlboro red, or Murdoch blue, whichever
gives you fouler lungs that day. Not forgetting the Madness of King Ford.

Or Holden, lest we forget. Honestly, you can’t feel sorry for a so-and-so
who loses his wig in the fall and forgets to pick it up in spring. My advice?
leave the song and dance behind, go west, where else? better west than right,
right? at least that’s how it seems across the map of there and back; never admit
to fault or faultlines. Why’s that? you may well ask and be rewarded with a finger up the Khyber Pass.

Transition to next day. Past the pass one of us is – wanker – writing a stanza in this
unending westward expedition while another figures out where the wigs are,
fallen off an edge somewhere, probably: mantle and crust, not the best places for rustling
cows, but that happens best when they’re dried out in autumn, gone red at the edge
of their cattle branch, grazing their knees and listing to the right. Rhymed, meaty,

scarpered shanks, salty vectored goodness – he’s talking beef but could be chicken,
whatevs! the family taste alliance have it soiréed finger-lickin’ schmick! Tories
don’t stand a chance, not here, we’re past the point of no return, Whigs gone walkabout,
lost in pars-lay and thyme, sage and rose-maree grown wild – whoops! she’s segued
into the chardy league, no coming back from that and, frankly, she’d rather not

have to fetch back any votes from the greens, dress their agenda however you like:
balsamic and oil is best and basil’s always welcome in that company. Boom boom.
So there she is: all lunch time Labor and the MUA, which kind of suits the room,
don’t you think? So she wonders what kind of cowboys they get for those live
export boats: narrow white pleats and ten-gallon epaulettes. Gold (of course)

and leather chaps, holey seats so handy in cases of flagrant windiness; otherwise
naval gazing tartans for those special dinners with ‘our Kate’ and Galvin Sterling,
either way, you’re right, the theme is maritime: lavished driftwood, pitted peliguins,
bullwinkles, and other experiments in extinction on the list, lost ’twixt peregrines
and puffins, pelicans and penguins. Panther’s gone exploring, by the way,

and you never know what sniffing out’s at stake. Who takes a cat to the beach
anyway? what would the neighbours think? it’s not that long since Sunday —
they’ll be all raw and homeward from Our Lady of the Manhole Cover
and Sankt Kate, whoever that is. Reheat rhymed cow for lunch, is what
we’re thinking, these cow-boats might be naval grazing or horning in —

sorry ’bout that, but who’s got time to wait for boats to sail? not her! she’s off
to Melbourne if it kills her, suitcase packed, lolly wrapped and spilling —
greener pastures, la-la-land, here she comes! don’t make a song and dance of it;
she’s got no time for fond farewells, see, she’s levitating skyward, hand raised,
signal barely visible – bye-bye-baby! she’s on the clock and 15 mins is 15 mins.

Chris Arnold has been a flickering presence in WA’s poetry scene for 10 years now. He is currently Westerly’s web editor and is trying to complete his PhD in Creative Writing at UWA. He was not hopeful of finding a publisher for a book of poetry and decided to make his PhD project an installation piece instead – it has something to do with hackers.

Francesca Jurate Sasnaitis is a Melbourne-born poet, writer, reviewer and artist of Lithuanian background, now living in Perth. She recently submitted her doctoral dissertation in Creative Writing at UWA and is awaiting the outcome of six years of her life. She wonders whether anyone will publish the novel she completed during that time.

Krisnurata is their ‘third voice.’ To say that this is an experiment in collaborative poetics is to give the project too much gravitas. Better call it ‘Chris and Jurate having fun with words.’
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