Hard to believe perhaps, but Catullus
is not without magnanimity –
whatever people say. Nervy Quintius
sits up all night drafting an exquisite apology,
one demanding new feats of masochism.
Otherwise, Quintius is convinced,
Catullus will trash his latest eclogues
because of that historic faux pas of his:
the one Quintius has regretted for twenty years.
Young they both were, newly published,
with equal billing at the notorious gallery:
the voguish one will those suspect nudes.
Why, why, why, Quintius berates himself,
did he read for so long – an hour longer
than intended, someone rumoured:
leaving Catullus with less than a minute
(which he filled suavely, smilingly,
with a one-line poem). On and on it goes:
self-flagellation followed by recrimination.
Quintius’ guilt is torrential, and for once
he can’t blame anyone but himself.
What he doesn’t realise
is that there’s no need for these
orgasms of remorse. Catullus,
when he reads Quintius’ abject letter,
can’t even recall the occasion:
not the gallery, not the epic poems,
not the young man’s hubris,
not even the flagrant nudes on the wall.
Catullus had just fallen in love with Lesbia,
and he was beyond hearing, beyond insult.
(from The Catullan Rag)
- 100: BROWNFACESUBMIT NOW with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPORECOMING SOON with A Pang and J Ip 97 & 98: PROPAGANDAwith M Breeze and S groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones