Mysteries of the South Coast

1 May 2018

We all need a methodology to live by
To take just one example, Catholics are
rarely ashed on on the sports field, but
public life is another matter. Such
unfortunate exhibitions are not beyond
the episteme of The Sorrowful
Cappuccino, known locally as the
Foamo (and by the next town’s residents
as the Sad Flat White), either. Their own
eateries are nothing to skite about. The
area is known as a place, and as a way
of being, for a number of prelates, Irish-
Italian doyennes, anarcho-royalists …
They are if you like, the local memes
living like goats while hiding their elitism
under a glaze of pseudonyms and
nicknames. Much is projected onto the
local stock. Darth Vader for example, is
a bull possessing his owner’s
temperament (he is referred to as In-Joke
by his owner). He himself only answers to
calls which include the names of food, or
cows. Roan Sarsaparilla is his favourite

When do we get back to the people, I
imagine exasperated readers fuming
sagging like wet matches in anticipation

Get there we will – once they’re out of
their shiny robes and we have paid our
dues to the district geese which patrol
this imaginary outpost of meta-colonial
Europe. Is it dream or allegory?
Marsupial geese!? (Yes they exist. More
strongly than we do in fact.) The
congeries of readers rouse, I like to think
at this point, pushing their catosaurs to
the floor to lick at hair and make their
terrible, but quiet music. We have been
here before of course: ritual is nothing if
not repetition; the geese as white as milk
flung on car ice. (Do I feel anything? Am
I frigid, too?) Geese exact tribute and
take it in their pouches, flying like
winged puddings or possums over
eucalypt orchards with their amazing fruit-
leaves. (So jammy!) What miracles we
live by and under on the south coast
made mundane by the poets, who must
beat it into our heads so our heads have
something to think with. This can only
be an overview, which much
fragmentation can also be read as. Geese
time has such a lovely wing-beaty quality
whatever the dropped young say. A
former pope lies on a couch by a window
(actually a bunch of quilted orange crates)
and reads Dumas to the other furniture he
has made. The pathos would be stronger
if decontextualised, and we saw not Darth
and Sarsaparilla going at it like pistons of
love on a float demonstrating emotions or
perhaps the wrong way to find a snake in
a hole. Not by just sticking your arm in. I
feel it is worth overstating, given the
chance of saving a life. But popes and
candlestick makers and dental floss
merchants from Cork all die more often
by falling out of trees and breaking their
falls with ropes, or trying to dry up their
uncried tears with pills and so on, any
wren will tell you humans don’t wait for
someone to knock on their front door
with an axe. If you’re human you already
know that. It’s not usually part of the
intro but something morbid’s gotten hold
of my tongue tonight, maybe a little ghost
peg. Maybe a little grey pear moth trying
to have its say – but a good spit should
send it on its way. I’m really just trying to
evoke something of the life on the green
hills or ridges, I don’t mean to exaggerate
the slopes that wind to the houses that
have no reason for being there really
except that people live in them. Anyone
would think they were castles or chapels
the way people hold onto them, and give
them names like Chartres, or Medici
View. As indeed the Medici Creek does
run by this address. It’s known as the
Bloodstream to the school kids, who
like to mock. Medici is a local
abbreviation for medicine, and the
waters are miraculously healing when
consumed in sensible amounts, and if
sourced upstream of sickening bathers

A Duchess, who had a Milanese aura
some said, and was in hiding from some
love affair of another century, or
flirtation with devil worship, or perhaps
was sensitive to the fumes of cars, or the
sounds of punk bands and pooper
scoopers on city cement, and who liked
to while away her leisure hours making
badminton rackets from leftover chicken
coops or unwatched apple trees, was the
owner of Sarsaparilla, but luckily had no
drama-generating notions of keeping
Darth and Sars apart. ‘Lettuce sandwich’
she would call, ‘cheezels’ and the two
would come jogging in her direction to
be fed, not necessarily on those things
cited, but whatever was handy and vego

You see how, if we carry on long
enough, the mysteries fall away, and the
monks come out of their collective
wombat holes. Their disregard for money
illustrated by the bags of ducats and
doubloons that are stored and go
untouched in the area’s damson trees. A
word I once thought was the male version
of damsel, and whenever there were
lightning storms, and the counts – and
countesses – went slashing with their
cutlasses through the gardens and yards, I
would giggle to myself, damsons in
distress! damsons in distress! Readers
may wonder why I never touched the
moneybags, or presume I was scared to
but that would be to misunderstand the
different realms that we inhabit. Or to
put it another way, it would disorder
everything. When I go into The
Sorrowful Cappuccino and talk to the
waiters, whose names are Mark and Jo
but are known by rather vulgar
nicknames, and call themselves Pablo
and Dora, I don’t let the food items
know that I can hear them complaining
or that the chair supporting the cushion I
sit on would rather be reading Ferrante
by the absorption method: I stay strictly
within the fictonormative bounds
because tentative new, or fantastically
old realities are fragile, and I want the
geese to stay put in the sky and the hills
and ridges, and the phony, or time-
travelling analogies, with their midnight
chess matches, and their Borgia cuisine
competitions, and their spontaneous foot-
path lectures on gruel etiquette and crypt
aesthetics, to stay alive, in all the poetic
senses of the word

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