Chiang Mai, Anzac Day, 2008.

April 25, 2008 at 5:31 pm | Posted in writing | 18 Comments

I’ld be lying if I said I cared but if it’s lies you want? He woke up on the floor of the hotel room and she was gone. Too many dead people, he thought. You should have answered your father’s letter, that was the missed opportunity, she said, pulling on her jeans, these chimeras have no source,

Elizabeth Genevieve Reece, Jillian Debra Carter, Wendy James, Regina West, Chrissie, Chrissie, where are you now that I know what you meant, that addiction is a comfort, a constant,

In my final year of high school we were set an assignment, to write a thousand words on any topic. I chose ‘mental illness’, arguing that it was merely a social construct. John Murray chose ‘honour’ and wrote about Anzac Day and the blood sacrifice from which our nation was born. John was killed in a car accident a few months later driving back from Duntroon, the nation’s most prestigious military academy, into which he had been accepted. I remember his astonishment when it was announced that we had both received perfect marks for our assignments. This is a true story but I have no idea why.

have no source, i am katoy, she whispered in his ear, you know this word?

Wendy James lived next door. Her ten year old son had died the previous year. The sheared end of a steel cable from a shark net had pierced his calf while he was surfing and held him just below the surface of the untameable ocean until he drowned. At the inquest the coroner said he had never seen such levels of lactic acid in the blood of one so young. Lactic acid is a measure of pain. Wendy was painting a huge surrealist canvas telling her entire life story. It was a work of tortured genius. Her husband from whom she had separated during the legal process hated me and I understood the ease of utility but I could not resist falling into her arms one night when we were drunk. The next day she said that it hurt and it never happened again.

perhaps you’ld care if you weren’t so drunk, brushing her fingertips over his cheek, words are not tears,

He woke up and she was gone. It’s Anzac Day again, he thought and we remember them. There is a knock on the door insistent and loud. He looks round the room but the drugs are all gone.


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  1. Happy Anzac day. I really enjoyed reading this, Paul. beautiful writing. a surrealist canvas, indeed. I’m throwing some drugs your way.
    Metaphorically speaking, of course, Happy Anzac Day to you too, Harmonie,

  2. Wow, GingaPaul… this is a powerful piece. Great contrast over the things we can and can’t control in life/death and the sacrifices made.

    and words can too be tears….
    Thats Lakota, one day I am going to do a piece pivoting around tears and tears like paper tears

  3. perhaps you’ld care if you weren’t so drunk, brushing her fingertips over his cheek, words are not tears,
    Almost a haikuschmaiku, Jo,

  4. words are not tears,—-wish I had written that line
    you should branch off with this one
    Thanks, Scot, it’s always interesting how people always seem to pick out a line different to the one I think is most effective, tears tears, teuhs, tares, I think will branch via this pivot,

  5. with a nod to Dr. Szazs.
    and thanks for the new word… may I never hear a woman use it
    Thanks, Oz, I had to look up Dr Szazs, we both learned something. I first discovered these ideas of doctors constantly expanding the definition of mental illness to make more work for themselves in R.D.Laing.

  6. several mini stories in one, each connected by the pain inherent to the human condition.. great!

  7. I didn’t enjoy reading this, it felt like an insistent, severed nerve. That probably means it’s good.

    katoy. oy.
    Sorry, but I know I have achieved something when I extract a comment from you Amuirin, thanks,

  8. Very moving piece today Paul…
    Thanks, Tina, I’ve never enjoyed Anzac Day, I know its important to remember but the remembering is painful, when one ghost slips in the door is opened to all the others,

  9. I think I’ll start celebrating Anzac Day… especially if it’ll get me laid by the lady next door. Oh, wait… her husband doesn’t hate me– yet. Still, if I read her this poem, I think he might. It’s good enough to piss off any husband whose wife is listening to it being read to her by his next-door neighbor.

  10. Oh, oh, I’m never reading your work again when I’m bleary-eyed and half asleep. Paul, this is truly a work of art. You blow us out of the water. You’ve shown us the other face of pain, beauty.
    Lakota says it best: words can too be tears.

    You know, there a million literary journals out there. I seriously urge you to consider begin submitting them some of your work- but don’t stop testing it out on us here, of course. Enjoy your weekend…
    You too, I don’t really see the point in submitting work to online journals, noone reads them, nothing happens as a result. You can read this work whenever you want, in any state of being, I don’t mind,

  11. Where’s the honeymoon is over, that is one of most rockingdest songs ever?
    Oh I shall put that in too. In future please keep your comments relevant to the piece that you are commenting on. hahahahaha

  12. Oh you are so cheeky and rude, I will not be cheering for the blues if you don’t pip it ha ha ha ha to you………
    Next time I am just gonna delete any comment not directly pertinent to the writing above. It’s a rule, how come you have two different names and pictures? No, don’t answer that here it wouldn’t be relevant,

  13. utterly fantastic. “This is a true story but I have no idea why.” – another ingenious composition…
    Thanks Sumedh, have you met Lakota? Careful, her blog is clothing optional,

  14. I was really moved by this piece. A lot of pain…. and fantastically described too.
    Thankyou. Your blog is very interesting, different and well written,

  15. ~running circles around Paul~
    Butt pinch and dodge….
    Tag, tag, tag – you’re it! ha! didn’t think you’d get away so easily, now did you?
    ~cocking an eyebrow~
    I have done your taggingmemey thingy in your bloggedy blog, you rascally rapscallion you,

  16. however shall i reward you? suggestions?
    last time i tried to “crack” your composure I ended up making an ass of myself. ~chortling and slapping my leg at my punny~
    ummm…. sorry. it’s one of those easily amused days.
    Haha, your ridiculous punny is reward enough, chuckling and shaking my head,

  17. I agree, not on-line journals. Print for genres you write. Find out what the core serious poetry and fiction journals magazines and the artsy ones are on your end and check out those. That’s how it starts. I don’t think I’m quite at that state, when I am i will know. Buy a couple and flip through, they always have info on mags seeking submissions, competitions, etc.

    Just a thought, cheers.
    Ys, I am working on this, it’s a slow process though, your work is more than good enough, Harmonie,

  18. Sad so many kids have to die for the price of freedom. My dad was at Normandy with the allied troops when they landed, carried shrapnel in his ankle but limped away, later on they replaced the ankle at Bethesda Naval hospital in Maryland.

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