28 September 2008


Lover, sending you an electrocardiogram of words, all up, down, muddled. I'm sick again, fading out into the Beloye More. That's how death will be, 60kms from the Arctic Circle, ship going out like a Varangian funeral pyre into ice, air and sun. You are my Aldeiga (Ladoga) lake where they are still pulling out corpses of sorry soldiers; I'm extracting my dead hopes out of you.But the ship, I never died on it. It was battered in a storm and Captain Kotik (a real pussy) informed us we may make it or we may not. Can everyone pray a little quieter? I'm trying to sleep- I'd rather be drowned in my sleep! Running to the upper deck I burnt my hand on the heating pipe mistaken for the stair rail. Below the faithful prayed amongst the scent of hard boiled eggs and celery, queasy, boiled eggs over easy. 'They pray below amongst sulphur scent and darkness for quick judgment.'Remember when I told you I want to burn like Jean D'Arc for faith, for freedom, a candle on the eve of Easter? We had such noble intentions and Arcadia was plundered, bullet holes pocked the fruit trees and her inhabitants cheerfully dismembered. We, King and Queen of our Arcadia, we didn't have Jonah, couldn't save Nineveh, there were no leviathans to swallow us whole to spew us up, newborn and gangly limbed on the beach. You didn't care.I've traveled far, Gardariki to Serkland flying, stumbling, looking up at the cross of worship, the constellations and the Southern Cross, pointing south, revealing Terra Australis Incognita. Here now, where the lines of my echogram sketch out my sick heart. I won't live through another war, the writing is up, down, everywhere.

1. Beloye More- White Sea
2. Ladoga- lake in north western Russia, still pulling corpses of WW2 soldiers out
3.Varangians- are ancestors of scandinavians, traveled to Russia and Ukraine and were the first rulers of Rus'. known as Varyagi in russian.
4. Captain Kotik- kotik means little tomcat in russian
5. Jonah and Nineveh- see old testament
6.Gardiriki- Russia (literally 'land of cities'). Serkland- Middle East (varangian names for these places)
7. southern cross- constellation of stars seen in the southern hemisphere
8. cross of worship, in solovetsky islands, built to withstand maritime conditions. no part of the wood touches the ground to prevent rotting.

Volume 2

"...it seems to me that the individual today stands at a crossroad, faced with the choice of whether to pursue the new technology and the endless multiplication of material goods, or to seek out a way that will lead to spiritual responsibility, a way that ultimately might mean not only his personal salvation but also the saving of society at large; in other words, turn to God." - Andrei Tarkovsky, 1986

I have been quitting since I started smoking. Most people think smokers are stupid and weak-willed but on the contrary, they’re not. They’re just drug addicts, plain and simple. It took David Sedaris and Allen Carr to get me here again. Unlike Sedaris I can’t take 3 months off and move to Japan to quit and unlike Allen Carr I don’t have a throbbing vein in my head or fear my inevitable nicotine caused death. Two days into the withdrawal cycle, head heavy on my neck and crowded with cotton wool, I could fall asleep at my desk. I can’t think, I want to start a punch on with someone but I can imagine how my limbs would swing- like they’re underwater and in a dream. (I really just need to karate-chop someone or kick in a plaster wall and just put repeated fist marks into that plasterboard until my skin is hanging ragged off my knuckles and I’m cussing and sweating.)The worst thing I could be reading right now is The Virgin Suicides. I have three sisters and once upon a time we were all teenagers simultaneously and went through that sort of sullen self-imposed lock up; a kind of darkness and introversion as the winter of childhood setlles in.That’s when I started smoking seriously; watching suburbia go through its night routine; train on the hill going back to base- to some suburb, not too far away with a derogatory nickname, Scumshine or Crazyburn. Then the lights would be turned off in the almost identical post-war homes with quarter acre backyards, daddies who had their own businesses installed ‘inground’ pools but everyone had a wattle tree on their nature strip. It was patriotic. Trees, ancient eucalypts or recent europeans became silhouettes then continents, a world for bats and insects to speak their languages and attend to their customs. The creek ten houses down from us was concrete-sided to keep it moving faster in summer and stop the stagnating stench but at night it let off a mournful reedy scent, wanting to return to the earth and the sea. I would look at my bare feet on the swing that had been in our backyard since forever and smoke a cigarette slowly, trying to make it last.