|| MICHAEL FARRELL
Mrs Robinson & A
- (Duty, Geraldine McKenzie,
- Paper Bark Press, 2001)
- What do the question marks represent? A
hand grenade? A light bulb? What does the culture want from women? from poets? Two
seconds of Peter Costello yelling in parliament and Im ready for matriarchy. I dont
want to give the wrong impression: Dutys not a tract merely a
brilliant piece of work.
Its easy for poets and other agnostics to feel unnecessary: that
is the impression I want to give that of necessity: not hectoring or refutation
though a negation but art.
The sculptor Lawrence Weiner says the role of art is to present reality so that
rather than be metaphorical itself the reader of art can make their own
metaphors of the relationship between themselves and life. He quotes a child saying the
word apple is written inside an apple. He tells a group of teenagers
interested in graffiti that its not enough to say Me Jose: say rather
the sky is blue or my children are hungry.
these are strangers
with their awkward gaze claiming
kinship like an egg
teetering in rough
item: one pr. womens shoes
item: one pr. workboots
item: one pr. mens shoes
item: one pr. womens shoes (evening)
item: one pr. childrens shoes
I dont think poetry
can save us
(the honey pit)
Im hungry for the avant garde, and for forms which are assured but dont rest.
Mrs Robinson had two outlets: an affair with a graduate, and the repression of her family.
Geraldine McKenzies putting her money on poetry, and relatively speaking, its
a good bet.
Its no joke. Im reader enough to notice ?? parody the female form.
And parody questioning itself. Hell, I want freedom too, and if I can raise the subjects
of misogyny or sexism if you prefer and Order, then I will.
I dont remember getting excited over Adenfrorde fragments when it
appeared in Calyx 30 Contemporary Australian Poets (Paper Bark Press, 2000). Was
I brain dead? Maybe just not ready...
heres where the forest
lays down its arms & sings
are you familiar
a green horse
prised from meticulous
forest its slow canter
into cloud traces of this mornings milk
star breathy over
What colour is your sky?
3. The lighthouse is no longer orange.
35. A sentence with teeth and a digestive system.
A sentence with all organs intact. Go on.
54. Ill eat this mango slowly.
O throw me an orange anyone (counting coup)
McKenzie eats fruit like anyone, and wont be reduced.
a sentence like a threshing machine
a sentence like the cigarette smoked absent-mindedly
the body (a bit of fun)
Like any reader of Gertrude Stein, avant garde heroine and world war veteran, McKenzie
cares about sentences. If not ourselves, for poems are that, they are closely related.
4. We observed the insects carefully and one was aware of
the ferocity of their existence.
5. After I saw the shocking cannibalism that always
terminated the relationship of male and female insects,
one never knew whether to be awed or simply
8. He bows his neck and raised his thorax.
oh jesus (text/book/work...)
Its the cunning ending and she achieves this over and over that
performs the feat of balance: not resolution or neutralisation, but ayurvedic
satisfaction: salt, sour, sweet, bitter, astringent.
begin with hazel gathering to itself a clean landscape
the birds will sing us out (The Five Simplicities)
Its not possible to convey the range of forms packed into Duty, though the
titles might give some indication: listen that is hear... ,
the next dance, The Beloved: A Miscellany, I-V,
Iconoclasty, No.8 ; this doesnt have a
lived experience. someone knows what this means.... THESE FIGURES HAVE BEEN
Absence of daffodils. Colour as what we believe.
Feel better? The world hasnt changed, but maybe yours has.