King of Bliss (2002)
This work concerns a psychotherapeutic event. The obsessive compulsion that features in it is one I once had a good deal to do with.
The clinic that had once been a brothel is one I knew well.
Please note that there is no reference in this work to any actual person living or dead, other than myself. To a degree this is an essay in self-mockery.
I Introduce Myself
I Introduce Myself
Is in the sun,
a white light glowing.
I am always warm
and have no need of stimulants.
The leaves in my garden are glossy green and dark,
the paths of sand;
a distant sea breaks on a reef
and sea birds glide.
Breezes blow in the afternoon;
then blinds are down to cool the glare
but otherwise it’s calm,
settled like my psyche and no cause for change.
I’m in a tropic time,
when a leaf may stretch luxuriantly
and not fray,
the glory of a flower flourish
and not a petal bruise.
Every draught is a soothing force
a jasmine scent,
which I adore.
I need no light:
my intuition’s like the sun —
it searches tests and probes the mind
as lovers do the flesh,
as scholars to the word.
The weak the watery strengthen in my sight
Truth turns my soul —
a flower to the sun!
Each bud unfurls
each calyx glows
and every part is fully fledged
In my study are three chairs:
one for me,
one for you,
one for God.
They turn within.
There are windows,
and the room is filled with the sound of the town.
There is light reflected
from the sea the sky the clouds the trees
and other roofs
on lower slopes,
and my books
which are here to assure –
Restorative Texts, The Shorter Jung,
An Essay on the Healing Art.
(I believe the mind is healed by art.)
My desk bears the weight of clients’ lives
told to my attentiveness,
from which I profit,
as is right,
studied as I have
and studied as my practice is,
to ensure that every force for health is bent upon this place
and focused on these chairs –
the one for me,
the one for you,
the one for God.
Out front there’s everything the restless soul desires
Banks and bakeries, butchers, gifts, a knitware shop and framing, antiques and two potters, books, a stationer and real estate some restaurants green grocer superette tattoos and alternative health.
Two delicatessens to go walking
as one might to gaze
at cakes patisseries dips and meats
for tastes effete or raw,
and the smell of these delicate industries
is a perpetual spring an early sun
an enlightenment to my people and to me,
who are comforted by small homely things
soothed and set right.
Here are all the questions of the world
in their complexity.
Look for them.
Squeeze between the cars.
Dodge across the rowdy road
and stand there at the cross-roads.
Admire our economy:
The Pickled Herring
She’s at work
like a woman
trying to be
too many things at once
She’s competent at all
but overwhelmed –
What’s the role
where to go
what to do?
So many doors
so many names
goes round and round
to buy to sit to eat
takes chocolate mousse
eats marinated meat
Hard to tell
Beyond the fringe
or on it
she does well
and gives the
She’s gained some fame
and stands here
quite the monument
beneath her enigmatic
K. P. Chan
The only new
She scorns the old
to no tradition
from tropic Zones
too fanciful to grow
by her Asian occult arts
and her economy
From the jungle
in the mural
on the wall
across the road
Singer & Fry
They suffer from
Bipolar highs and lows
they almost need to be
But are generally
and to guide
in sensitive times
With the help
of artificial aids
A change of the lights,
a pump of the heart,
and life flows along into tributary valleys.
Above us the Mount,
to which these sweet odours rise to sacrifice
at the top of its perfectly conical shape.
It is a looming presence
loved by us
who in the midst of these dancing days
value the immovable
and sprinkle terms like basalt tufa andesite and ash
I hold it in my healing
in time of elation,
and in the soft part of the day,
when the flowering things and the baking things
and the diesel fumes from the buses rise
into my head and energise
devices and desires.
My rooms were once ‘The Chambers of Ease’,
and a note at the front door ‘Ring Once And Wait’.
I bought it with its decorative art:
Edwardian women in gauze and roses
twining over bowers
with bare feet enticing;
nothing indecent in any room
but vulgar in a well-framed way –
a pleasant change from the norm.
(The suites are dressed in jacquerie
the three chairs in red leather.)
This draped and curtained pleasured place,
thick carpet papered walls,
the standing vase of leaves and seeds,
is redolent of no epoch at all
but soothing, I find, to unsound mind.
There is and it was useful then a back door,
a garden path, and a gate in the fence
to a lane where a car could privately park.
There’s a garden seat.
The flower beds I plant with scented things:
stocks and jasmine Queen of the Night
pinks and tobacco
and thyme to be trod on.
Mrs Alberich came this way familiar
as a wandered cat
come back to claim conspicuous presence,
each flower a friend to her
each bird on borrowed time,
lines of scent and touch and territory
as if she knew where the food would be
which window left ajar.
She gave no knock,
but took her seat in the waiting room,
the appointment she had made.
She sat with a sense of privileged space
as some have of events,
that each occurrence is their own
fitted to their lives.
She made hers solid,
though there was at that time a gossamer look
of silver in her eyes;
her cheeks were paler than they later grew,
her yellow hair ruffled into wisps.
When it was time she took her place
with ease for consultation.
[Summon the sun-
entreat him to dim.
to bring mist.
Let summer breaths from the west perfume,
[That her face may compose
her spirit shine that mica skin
her eyes keep yosemitic depths,
and calm her,
For she has faith in things unseen
and hope for what’s not yet attained.
beyond the evidence,
has risen from coal-canyons
of the night. ]
It all began with my Warrant
at the garage near the shops.
My world is firm
with few surprises,
and when she said It all began
I felt an invigoration
a green chlorophyll thing,
the door to a narrative cracked ajar
as with a music an opening bar.
This was a hint at a wonderful start,
like canvas to a painter
paper to a writer,
and for the poet locality.
the window stretched in length and breadth,
through the glass the garden grew
and trembled in expanded light.
My mind and body tensed –
Tell me Mrs. Albericht, I said,
and bent to her interest.
(I do not love my patients,
but from my strength incline to help.)
Do tell me, Mrs. Alverick, I said,
and smiled at her pleasant face
I want to run away she said
I want to run away in trucks.
I get into the seat and I say
‘Take me home’.
Tell me about yourself, I said,
first tell me:
She’s a child of this lacustrine city
whose tower pricks the sky
whose shores are washed by a pre-loved sea
and is recreational.
Her time is loaned to causes arranged
to help the deserving rich.
Her husband’s at a city bank
has power experience wealth prestige
the children are grown.
She’s been startled from this tender dream
and her past is with her.
I must sense and direct while there is time,
for mine is a constabulary authority.
Tell me I ask again
What happened this time?
It was an articulated truck and new
with friezes on the cab.
I didn’t see the driver
but there I was beside him.
I walked on air and contemplated sun.
New lands displayed themselves
untrod by healing feet,
with clued-up paths to buried treasure,
parts replete with species never seen,
I felt like Wallace, like Darwin Banks Cook
whose analysing eyes were opened again
by archipelagogical delights.
Here is something new indeed;
I push her to continue:
Describe if you can your feelings at this point
and what the driver did
His hands were on the wheel
and his feet were about to get into gear.
He looked at me.
I opened the door
I am close to my clients.
It is part of my success.
I am like Aristophanes’ clouds
that take the shape of what they see,
not from tactic or need
but by nature.
Already I’m in form
in my mind’s eye
what must be.
Dear Mrs. Albright,
you are a significant flower,
herald of a change in season,
a gentian at midsummer
or a crocus at the end.
Your disclosure of disorder
will be like the overture to an opera
with all the dominant themes.
Time now to discover.
I leave my desk
and move to a chair
the one for me.
I must engage her confidence in
this realm of healing grace
but it is time –
Pay at the desk please.
See you next week.
The Second Therapy
The Second Therapy
Mrs Albury holds my mind.
She aches behind my left eye,
tenses at the back of my neck
as I wonder at her need of my healing art.
She brings migraine with her,
self-doubt and troubled dreams.
Such clients come occasionally,
to stimulate and disturb.
From them theories spring and
challenges to the pattern.
They’re at the heart of conference
cause papers theses
and sometimes those announcements
of breakthroughs that bring sponsorship —
and breakdown too.
They hold fast to the dream
and seem real.
Before her strength my skill seems uncertain;
When I’m about to turn the key
I fret fumble and hesitate
from fear that when I unlock the box
it will be me who trembles.
Leave it now
I say to myself,
Wait until it’s fine.
I know I’m hired to confirm.
She’s decided herself
and set on her way.
She wants me to know.
It’s a path of pain
but good will come of it, she says.
She wants me to agree.
This I understand,
and I want my account of her to be
as profound at the end as at the beginning
and the middle part to be no less profound,
so I reach into that interior not psyche nor soul
where thoughts create their selves and organise.
There my ethics are,
hanging in their basket
for elevation and perspective,
freed from gravitation like the coffin of Mohammed,
gazing through the wickerwork
at seething thought below
and making nice judgement in an elevated mode.
For readier use
an abridged code hangs
behind my desk
framed and reminding
of safe practice
and shall nots
of the healing art
In my practice
I have obeyed.
My whole intention is
for the health of Mrs. Aldred,
that she might walk with strength
the path she’s laid.
I prepare for our next session
and wash my hands
as if I am a surgeon.
I am surprised,
but it is, I suppose, an automatic sign
of my real and Hippocratic state.
I see her at the garden gate again,
then purposefully through the phlox,
a broad-brimmed hat against the flowering sun.
She should come to the front,
and enter by press of the bell
and proper announcement
by desk and reception.
She claims the geography of my place
(for which I’m jealous)
and freedom from the norm.
I greet her
note the time
take the second chair,
the empty third between us
the Work Chair
for the Supervisor,
of fear and respect.
This chair between us
is for whichever entity you use
that you explain yourself to.
Some have God,
some a dead parent or spouse,
some a separated construct of the self.
Address this Ultimate –
it is in this chair between us.
You can hide nothing.
There can be no reservation,
no scrap retained no look nor line.
Tell all you must
I choose to speak to God, she said,
whom I know.
And she told this:
It happened again last Tuesday at the garage by the Bank.
A tanker was delivering.
I had been for the mail.
There I was again,
sitting beside the driver saying
Take Me Home.
There was nothing on my mind
I was in an ordinary dream.
Tell God what you think
is the cause of this behaviour.
On what I mean by home.
White over the white viburnum
stain from first touch of new sun
Its scent with the polar wind
which searches in
Certaining my frailty
as winds do that have travelled far
to reach me in my comfortable chair
signifying solitude ice wastes cold feet
Warmth also rises
to its high point in the heavens
brief as a zenith is
and then declines
There’s beauty in age
the prospect has its loveliness –
horizons of fire
bright lights on the sea
shades of the crepuscular
from my comfortable chair
Sound and light and people are all
on the other side
and darkness is behind one
enfolding the past
from excess which rots memory
easing the pain
of too many loves
which cannot be told
I have mementos –
scratches dents graffiti
pieces of this and that for composure
White over white –
a seasonable sun
for this and all our flowerings
[High majesty of colour gloss and glisten
train and church and juggernaut
throne and parked servitor;
await me at the superette
or any goal I pass by,
to take me to the goal of all proceeding.]
The chair’s no use.
She tells the truth
and doesn’t want to deceive.
The clue the fault the sin the sickness
and I –
what must I do?
Time’s up, I say.
See you next week.
$134 at the counter please.
I straighten my desk when she’s gone,
surprised I take the trouble.
The Third Therapy
The Third Therapy
Seven Sacred Answers:
You know God?
the chaos which organises everything; a permanent
anomaly in a mute undivided present; the serious
beyond the other; the necessity that circumvents all
Explain that please.
there are no words to explain what really is; the soul
must be captive and not move; must establish itself
in the density of the night; in a particle of time.
Do you converse?
words are only speculation; there is a tune; words
seek but cannot find the meaning of the music. There
are whispers of voice and tongue beyond the sound.
Does God direct you?
there are murmurs out of time — they make the
ambiguities and now, in time, new question. I am
filtered and influenced until no part remains that
is surely me.
Have you seen God?
I have seen the city — there is a visible core. One
cannot look for long, the truth is too plain. It looks
like everything we have forgotten lost beyond telling,
the shadow between two moments, the white
precipitate of a dream.
Do you love God?
in the small accidents and pleasures of the day;
the pity of it smarts makes hot tears spurt.
Does God want you?
the guide in these matters is the imperative subtlety
of the self; all love all longing all desire all seeking,
all that I see all thoughts all that I say and hope
shall be God’s.
There’s a time when everything starts to change,
when the fixed begins to move,
small things marks and ornaments
scratches trees and telephones
She came to the front this time,
late in the rain,
on a day so dark the lights in the shops
were mirrored on the road,
when the home-bound traffic
swished in the spray.
There were closing-time smells of bread
and the florist.
It was time to retreat.
I wanted to retreat.
God knows how much I wanted
to shut myself up in my flat or
walk my side of the wad past the shops
and watch the ordered business of closure.
Such a nice way for a day to die.
I sit Mrs. Albert in the third chair.
I ask her those questions
and she replies by rote
as if in trance
a slip away of consciousness
or even of rehearsal,
as if she knows what I will ask
has rehearsed on the way –
but she’s not.
It is I who have prepared,
for the interview with this woman
who asks to be transported
and sees nothing of the critical
It is I who am in the mist.
But I see nothing of the cause.
I know she holds the truth
I must discover.
who am I
to tell this woman
the nature of her self?
I, who am so practised and so sure
would do better to give comfort,
to pet and soothe to send her home
and say ‘there my sweet and lovely thing,
It’s for truth I exist.
My modem mind knows the necessity
of attaining the unattainable.
I ask her of home,
put words into her mind to probe,
to urge her tongue clear clarify
make paths to progress indicate a way
heat-sensing words to home upon
seek them out,
explode in searing light
in dreams at night
and abstract times in front of television.
Perhaps she could write things down –
anything that seems not disconnected:
duties foods and leisure occupations,
dreams and her children,
fears fancies favourite books
best music friends and amorous propensities,
some history of husbandry
and most of all her past.
Then I can read her
as one might the sign of the times,
or pretend to the stars
for future guidance and patterns in the past,
and ride high
in her mind
She must trust in my skill
and be pulled by my ability
How troubled am I
by this drive to serve;
it has made me a magnet
to the disturbed,
so now I live by dependence on
the crippled and the maimed.
What if they’re fitter,
as the weak sometimes are?
What if she is?
Supported by fact and evidence
her home is a beckoning star
that others see and say:
“There must be message there.”
Others wish to emulate
in happiness and style
their airy graces sunny spaces
success in the city
and choice of greens among the vegetables.
Their children have done well,
and this too is cause for imitation
being seen as a sort of payback –
that the good have better descendants;
such is organised by fate.
Sometimes their garden has been on the news
and featured in significant magazines,
its flowers topiary and rockery
orangery and pleasant watered shade
Charitable triumphs have also made the pages
of the papers,
money made for this and that
by ingenious means
that can only be honoured.
Indeed the house is so well based
one might justly expect a crime within,
a murder or white collar crime
a betrayal of trust or of some other propriety.
But all is quiet, easy sane and sound,
as predictable as one might well be
in answering the door to an appointment.
That’s time, I say,
$134 at the counter, please.
Then I feed the cat:
First take some newspaper fold a sheet in half put it on the bench top. Take the two dishes empty leftovers onto the paper wrap them and put them in the kitchen tidy.
Scald the dishes under the tap scrape them with a steelo pad (an old one kept on a saucer under the sink),
Then take another sheet fold it and put it in place by the fridge straight to conform to the line of the tiles.
Half fill one dish with food (¾ bis-cats ¼ jelly meat) and place them in a T shape down by the fridge.
The cat knows
the cat is free
the cat is pleased –
And so am I, who purr contentedly within at a job well done to the rule and particular.
The Fourth Therapy
The Fourth Therapy
She made the appointment in plenty of time –
first thing in the afternoon,
ideal for me
and in accordance with my metabolism;
I anticipate her,
in confidence raised by two brisk morning therapies.
(Success is sweet for the healer.
As Jonathan found honey for his troops
and turned the battle to victory,
so it is for us.)
My morning clients have each departed
bright-eyed and confident.
I feel confirmed in my calling
and see myself as healer to the nation,
a bringer of enlightenment.
I shall write articles,
and reflect upon my readers
a white sun of sentience.
Earlier I had dreamt –
a disturbing dream –
of a visit I might once have made
to a place like this.
It was near Christmas.
Baubles hung in sweet-shop joy,
chocolate in green and red,
wassail lights red ribbon candles
cards from grateful patrons
and in the air a talcum dust
with a smell of clean linen.
In the lounge
there was a tree,
precise in form
as it must be
to stand where nothing real may prevail
besides the flesh,
and the tin-foil sound of this-centuried carols.
I laughed and awoke excited,
looked at the pictures in these rooms,
and had a bath
exactly to the rule
a proper bath,
with the cold water first
for six minutes the tap turned two-and-a-half times,
then the hot
with the tap full on for seven minutes.
I put the bath mat three inches out
from the bath,
the back brush at the far right corner,
the shampoo at the near left,
the face flannel midway near,
and the nail brush in the soap container.
The towel in near reach for
soap in my eyes.
Then I’m right
as I must be
for Mrs. Aldred
and appears at my clinical door
I seat her and put her at ease
then engage in leading talk
(we call it ‘orienteering’)
of her gallery life of wealth, prestige,
the patronage of plum and profit.
It is a life that makes for wonderful
She lives in her world
as we in ours,
trusting the familiar
and those things usual to her set.
She takes papers on the history of art,
occasionally professes the outrageous,
habitually keeps to the norm,
gives deference to tutors and the learned,
writes footnotes for exhibitions,
and eagerly sponsors the promising young
(who are growing fewer).
She reads the news –
her patronage often puts her in it –
and likes a quality film
and at home.
She shows no trace of enthusiasms
but steadily puts the world to right
as long as she is in it.
She gives no evidence of ever being
roused by challenge to her patterns
which are set upon a suburban world
secure under summer trees.
In her world
There is no need for bus or train.
There’s plenty of money for those who try.
Sickness is an avoidable accident.
Once things have been attended to crime will stop.
No argument no guess nor question –
this is the way of it.
So what are her trucks –
images of some juggernaut god
rolling and crushing offence?
A spiritual sense,
an axled sanctum,
a flight to the desert,
sensed peril to herself?
It’s time to ask
one or two things
[When we’ve done,
you and I –
your legs will move
with a freedom never known before,
full and flexuose in length
and prescient in position.
You will stumble not nor fall
nor hunger nor thirst in your kingdom.
Each day will be made for you –
the sun will rise and personalise,
the breeze will ease not slam your doors,
windows let in balmy draughts,
e-mail not decompose
and telephone not fail.
Friends will keep you in their minds.
Your children love and idolise
you all their lives.
Your man of course will never stray
though you may,
for you will live in never-ending beauty and delight,
bound out of bed eat breakfast wash and go
dealing with nice judgement –
wisdom where it’s called for,
indulgence where that’s best.
Your day will end with happy rest,
a tired and pleased exhaustion;
no wounds regrets at failure sin or sorrows,
a certainty of sleep,
a timely day tomorrow.]
And that had best be all for today.
See you next week.
Please pay at the desk as you go.
and there is my garden,
which I keep in mind –
under it is water –
the leaves are green,
moved only by the noise of traffic
which scars the new
and scribbles the gloss.
The soil is dry.
Bindweed and ragwort would flourish
if I let it,
acanthus invade from the wilderness
It is herbaceous
and some exogenous –
phlox campanula and pomp of iris
oriental blue and bushed.
She can only be seen from the shoulder up
I have my position to consider
as she moves to me
on the winding walk
sacred to her
and marked by her,
who likes to pick things as she goes
The Fifth Therapy
The Fifth Therapy
There’ll be place enough where I end up,
a rock left by glacier,
or carried by slip to an alien space.
There’s room made by being there.
Grass grows round,
then moss and lichen,
and soon it belongs as much
as any bush or shed.
The big thing is keeping still,
perfect in petrifaction being
in a bearable continuity of life.
I’m here once more,
one last chance for him,
and if he doesn’t do the job
I’ll drop into choice.
I can’t go wrong.
It’s ex nihilo,
a new world made to order.
I’ll go somewhere and sit;
it’s being still that makes the substance,
not moving and doing and battle and talk
and learning –
I’m sick of facts,
on and on into mist.
Mine will be a world-wide web of nothingness
new-born in light unlettered,
an ecstasy of ignorance
untutored and uninformed,
beginnings ends and space between,
sounds that bring the origin of things
symptoms of the universe all.
I’ll sing a song to quiet the wind
make prayer for sunrise
a dance to settle the night;
an invocation for the rain
a psalm for warmth,
and in this way the elements
will be pleased to help me.
This man helps by knowledge –
know thyself he says
but what is the worth of that?
If one must know,
let there be considerable cause.
What is the point in knowing?
As if the self is an absolute!
He is tired and has to remember.
Now where did we leave off last? he says,
hoping I will tell him
name and status state and station.
What have you to tell me today?
– on life and eschatology,
dark things that menace before the crash.
He’s worn and weary in this room,
given now to things of the mind
half-hoping I will go away
so he can be left to reflect.
I would rather be in the truck –
Oh temple of the moving spirit,
my diesel destiny!
Where life is measured at the hub
progress paid for in advance.
What else can I do when I don’t believe
but play as I please with nothing?
He asks me to write:
Whatever comes into your head he says,
jot it down and bring it along.
But that would be a waste.
He would put it in my file
and flatten it with the others
until they grew to a wad so thick
I became a serious case,
not read but substantial,
and in that way exist in one more form.
He takes in every word
while I talk,
tucks it into his mind like fluff
to keep in the warmth,
until his head is stuffed,
and I lie there somewhere
packed in the detritus
Should he feel he’s nearing
a type or a narrative clue
confidence becomes him,
and he seems about to float
like Theresa at the moment of truth,
but it always comes to nothing
and he goes back to straightening
the papers on his desk.
Life’s so serious
with each fact
he can’t tease a thread out
from the mass
before his eyes
and is cowed
by the weight
of the evidence
that when I go
He cleans the place out
brushes the chairs
straightens the mat,
and changes his clothes for refreshment,
and to forget –
thought upon thought,
doubt upon doubt.
One must domesticate
if one is to live,
and I will make another try:
I won’t go out
over the next few weeks.
I won’t go to anything.
I’ll turn off my friends
all my duties
the telephone and electronic comms.
I’ll do the house the meals the chores,
be a good woman to remind me,
and have silence in the day
when no-one’s around;
then in the silence to wait the word
while I grade the necessities;
to disengage from freedom,
those things I’ve taken for company,
pleasant duties all of praise and status
purpose power pleasure even profit,
which shower down a rain of sound
to drown the noise of traffic
that’s always more behind than in front
and is catching up.
I want to turn and face it,
to see what’s there.
small fields of mind
out the windows of this room.
Quiet streets with trees,
an autumn yard of asters blue and pink,
the gate I use
and yellow-leafed lilacs.
This man in talk with his actor’s face
lined in staged consideration
composed for his part,
dusk in the creases
black eyes dulled with pity for the world
and lowered lids to hide it
lest I take fright.
Thespian hair flat black with grey,
cheeks long leaned by the sorrows of the psyche
and strength required to bear,
as does his muscled throat his head –
a strong brown throat –
there’s always a woman near that throat,
he grows a beard to hide it.
And his hands –
long strong and hairy,
gently putting down
a pen a note-book file a note,
roving restless on the desk for something lost –
a clue a coupling-link complete
to make a pattern hold two strands
to keep apocalypse at bay,
Fear at what I might say,
to a construct.
There’s time, he says.
I’ll pay at the desk
as I go.
The Sixth Therapy
The Sixth Therapy
The garden or the street –
that Mrs. Everard comes.
it means –
business or belladonnas,
it means –
I don’t know what.
She is going to say –
or nothing at all;
I am dumb.
---- she has
all she knows,
knows only that it is,
no longer knows now what,
not in fact –
she has not an empirical ignorance
but has closed into herself,
confined now to the I,
knows nothing of the underlying.
She knows that God is
and claims closeness,
but she does not know what.
For this the turning in
is terminating too.
She’s made knowledge a vice,
and is like a rock
at the edge of the sea,
knowing no more than its chant.
Yet she has peace
and I –
what am I
in actuality and all knowing?
She’s in the fashion of finishing
and I am just only begun.
Certainty was my profession;
it pivoted on expertise,
the whole was parcelled in two –
the world and those who needed me.
Knowledge was my light and warmth
my name my home my electricity
my very path on which I stood
to greet to come and go.
Now I’m in a hanging cage.
You may laugh and I rebuke,
ask and I may answer you may
point observe or wonder at my exhibition
I only am left
lamenting in confinement,
lost to the wealth I have gained
from an age.
She’s gone –
to be a stone on the beach,
She’s gone –
to turn on herself
and be unloved.
How can I say she’s wrong?
It is uncomfortable to be loved.
Once you have seen and been my judge
but think –
that in you
there might be
when all is said and done
a just and proper end might be
Mrs. Everard’s gone on
her childlike simplicity accepts
(she’s taken her truck and made her way)
that everything is true
whatever is given.
I hang here
My sun is no longer Pacific
but gone south
fades to solemn and sepia shades.
Mine is no more a coral strand –
it’s the rubbished rim of an inland sea.
I practise no more victorious.
The end of all ends in me,
the void of finitude.
We are lost
when certainties fall,
and health is indistinguishable,
life from death
as I have watched
and seen a death as reasonable,
though contrary to my oath
that life must be assisted
as the normal end of humankind
with happiness sought.
My eyes slipped
from that fixed gaze on lit Liberty
to a broader view with life upon it,
flora and fauna various,
to doctrine oblivious
with its own health.
I belong no more to the particular world,
and must scour the past
that nothing be contaminant by practise
study thought ritual rite examine
interpose with checks unfetter
interdict the lie
the cure that will not fit the case.
Is anything serious?
Is all my work a play for the present,
nothing selfless none in love,
all done for hidden gain
an undiscovered agenda
something set in infancy
shameful petty childish trite –
I need a bath,
for regeneration –
a cleansing baptism of the soul;
I need the knife
to prune unworthy ends
shear wild shoots,
then I will plunge in the ocean of life
and redress in practicality.
I am nothing a nobody.
All these years of eminence and now discovery!
Weep for me my friends
who love me, whom I love.
I am no more than dust
swept by a wind from the hill,
that’s left its min on the other side
and blows now hot and tiresome.
An inconsequential weather.
I must go clean,
remove all trace,
burn files diaries letters notes,
tidy dust polish glass
vacuum each room
and pick up any little piece of paper lying round;
edit the phone list,
change the message on the answering machine
the sheets and the receptionist
dry-clean the curtains
weed the lawn;
Then I will go on a monitored diet
and a course at the gym,
by which time
it will be time
for re-invention –
something solid from the past tested,
to do with life and not expensive.
I think I will go backwards,
into the season of phlox and belladonnas.
I will put a bed in every room
hire practised staff
oil the garden gate
and put something suggestive at the front
like: Only Gentlemen Need Apply,
or: The Management Reserves The Right.
I will be the management.
Come Mrs. Everett, a shadow at the backyard door, and knock.
I am drowsing in the dunes, balanced in the marram grass, alone.
I glimpse you at the bakery, hear you in the roses, at the gate.
I’m stone on the beach, a ventifact smoothed, in the wind.
Return, Mrs. Everett, show you’re alive, that you’re flesh.
I’m out of the body the flesh and I’m out of the mind.
Was it worth it – the truck – did it take you in speed, did it stall?
There’s no answer no thought then is peace in this world and it’s well.
They say I’m to blame I seduced you in mind I’m unlawful at fault I’ve
You were afraid.
Only at fact at truth of the case it disturbs.
I’m fact actual entity occupant space.
You used a fetish shamed the logic acted it and went away.
You knew the truth of it.
They say we planned it worked it out a couple worked together.
My knowledge is unknowing.
They say I’ve betrayed the profession.
I stay not understanding.
I’m banned from practice.
Your family is suing me taking the law I’m undone.
The flesh is fact and fear is real.
But I’m man Mrs. Everett broken uncertain of feet alone at the telephone lost in the confidence rumour and character frightened of letters wandering weak in suspicion of sun and the dark.
– – –
They think I’ve murdered you.
– – –
It’s ruin Mrs. Everett and not for gain or anything considered.
It’s not as if you’re dead or prospects withered.
Come back my dear and show yourself!
I’m truth now I’m rock I’m hard space.
You may be too anxious to eat –
by no food am I now refreshed;
You may be restless in sleep –
no slumber ever falls on me.
My life is frugal as first light
I alone and God am in this world.
You have chosen the better part and entered into your ease.
You will be happy there in your long and pleasant garden,
raised in peace profound,
with golden ornamentals crowned.
Cease, cold winds of the south.
Come, soft wind of the north,
that my love may drowse among the flowers –
where shall I be?
It is well that the kind and the good are rewarded at the end.