Ern Malley: I have gone missing from this world

26 November 2005

                                                                                          for Toss

It's a late Twentieth Century sort of feeling
driving in my car,

dead in the daytime, up at night
lively as a 'wire'.

– My 'little joke'. –

But it is curious, you've got to admit –
Does a hippy sleep like this?

Does my wife? an airhead
in some respects. Finally, but,

smarter than me. I
am her problem.

Not her only one. But major –
and abiding.

She sleeps easy.
I sleep awake, a nut.

A gay, light-hearted bastard, ERN MALLEY cuts a moodily romantic figure within the dun Australian literary scene, his name inevitably conjuring perhaps that best known image of him, bow-tie askew, grinning cheerfully, at the wheel of his 1958 Jaguar sports car, El Cid. It is this image that also carries in its train the stories of later suffering-the affairs, the women, the bad teeth-and, speaking of teeth, the beautiful poems wrenched from the teeth of despair & written on the wrist of happiness “where happiness happens to like its poems written best” (in his inordinate phrase).

As reported on Cordite News Explosion, despite our initial glee at receiving ten new poems by Ern Malley himself, we are humbled and disappointed to announce that this poem was in fact written by Ken Bolton and John Jenkins.

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About John Jenkins

John Jenkins is best known as a poet. He also writes short fiction, non-fiction and occasionally for radio and live performance. He has worked as a journalist and book editor and taught in universities. He lives near Victoria’s Yarra Valley, and is widely travelled. His most recent poetry book is Growing up with Mr Menzies (John Leonard Press, 2008).


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