1981

You see, nothing is real anymore. Such timing. The night of the Oscars is when he dies. He said we have every right to dream heroic dreams. Young Hinckley and his dream. He gave it to Jodi who has to live with it and Mrs Brady and Nancy, but none of them want these dreams. It is the weight of dreams. He quotes WC Fields in speeches and grumbles ‘oh damn’ from the hospital bed. Okay, who’ll be Vivien Leigh? Jodi? Rhett Hinckley Jr could be Ashley who is Dr Spock who is Darth Vader who is Redford who is Roger Moore with Olivia de Havilland who is Hepburn who recognised De Niro who is Captain America who might have been him if he wasn’t Nixon first and certainly isn’t James Brady. If facts don’t lie. Which is better than no facts at all. The first day of April. He will never die. He will eat 1984, Blondie and Bowie for breakfast and then burp on Hinckley before sending Nancy to Vietnam and eloping with Jodi who didn’t like the Red Square anyway. The Middle East will rust and Lech Walesa will suicide. The Ayatollah will be deposed. The Poles did it. When is the real thing not the real thing? When nobody dies. Brezhnev takes hash oil intravenously and reads daily horoscopes. The Iron Maiden is Helmut Schmidt’s fish wife. De Niro has cauliflower ears. Mao is alive and well and renting rooms off Idi Amin. According to the San Francisco Examiner, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, English was the last class of the day for seventh graders at Tulsa Central Academy. Just before dismissal, the principal came on the intercom and told them he had been shot. About ten students began cheering. There is a definite possibility I will be killed. It is for this very reason that I am writing you this letter now. As you well know, I love you very much.

 

 

 

 

Actor Network Theory

We gather every day
Always here at your place
Drifters and seekers
Never turning away
You rally and affirm 
Magnet and beacon
Sustained by light that falls
Shaking and dancing
At your feet across
Our arms and legs
Painted in your troupe

You bend so generous
Allowed the kelpie to show off
Her motor skills ascending
Your shoulder like the
Bungarra whose skill
Ran like a current
Up to my head for a moment
Davy Crockett’s hat

Do you remember the
Purple lotus passing through
She posed for an hour or two
Impressionistic gesture
On your lavender shag
The reverent father with
Two small children bearing
Everlasting tablets for you
To hold and give to others 

I always stand back in this
Sensitised circus no cages
Whips or poles I wonder if 
The chorus of tightrope walkers
Rehearsing off with your cousins
Their black box stuck on
Nothing but empty
Rhythms of repeat
Ever made the bright lights

We have no need of speech
For our gentle show
You director and architecture
We miming players gone home
When you take the bows
In the dark such is   
The nature of our friendship

 

 


[Ed Southorn is interested in the anthropocene and social spatialisation. He has taught journalism at Griffith University and the University of Queensland since 2010. He was a newspaper reporter for thirty years. He has an MPhil in Creative Writing and a PhD in narrative journalism and sociology. He was first published as a poet in Neon Signs to the Mutes in 1977. His poems, short fiction, memoir, essays and narrative journalism have appeared in The Small Press, Moveable TypeZiriuz, Virgin Press, The Journal of Wild Culture, The Blue Nib, Axon: Creative Explorations and Meniscus .]

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