How friendly a racist can seem; how seemingly intelligent a fascistic discourse can be (Beppe in his mountains; someone like Heidegger and his revelatory sublime poetics, etc. And full disclosure here: I have written papers using ideas from Poetry, Language, Thought, but since the transmission of the Black Notebooks into English this year, that dabbling affinity abandoned forthwith and forever: see Peter Trawny’s Heidegger and the Myth of a Jewish World Conspiracy (2016)). And what of our politicians? And more so, in OzPo contexts, what of our poets? How complicit the silence of inaction, or the making – and antagonistic policing – of lyric by those few bullying gentlemen of genre who should know better (and who perhaps, after Moore’s ‘Poetry’, simply find themselves unable to admire what they cannot understand) … in the first chapter of his book What Are Poets For? (2012), commentator Gerald L. Bruns asserts a ‘basic question of complexity: ‘how to deal with the unwanted information that constantly accumulates around us’? The problem is not nonsense but too much sense’ (4). ’Strayians, within postcolonial domains actively in the business of fabricating a coloniser’s mythologies, what duties in that habitus when myriad enforcers come knocking to demand complicity and / or silence?
As per Cassandra Atherton’s prose poem, ‘X-codes, or Katrina Crosses’, perhaps poetry must be both constituted by and anaesthetising against the ravages of reactionary tropes: the poem as a libertarian’s anamneusis, unfolding? Or as the ever-sharp Anne Elvey has it in ‘Sanctuary’, the poem as an idea-in-becoming, a vacancy and reckoning, a chorus/shelter/sanctum for both the imaginable and impossible. Ali Alizadeh nails his conscience to a door and levels scorn at the false consciousness at work in our fetishistic domains, opening syntactic fissures across a plane of capitalistic exchange:
2) This centre offers unbeatable shopping experiences. A Valhalla of glamour and discounts, afford purpose routine rush knowledge grand survival. Enjoy your day at the world-famous indoor entertainment park. The hottest names in fashion, Italian pronounce educated expert to learn life. Delight in a plethora of delicacies from all over the world. Arancini di riso and cannoli yum ye grim third world scum envy wish I was me.
One senses Alizadeh’s poem (and many others alongside it in this edition of Cordite) verging toward the conniptic … an apoplectic rupturing, and I catch myself asking (again): is this arrival an explosive next language? Elsewhere here, poems like Vanessa Page’s ‘Aylan’ perform their saying as both a dirge and despondence … hers a decremental cry of despair, a semantic satiation and sonics of belief being beggared, repeatedly. All these are exemplary, an ‘unlikely music’ (to appropriate Janet Galbraith’s eulogising, in ‘Listening’) in a time when so much rhetoric smears organisationally across discourses (political, aesthetic, etc.), trumpeting any not ours as flatly and fully threatening and unwanted.