Monday, August 1, 2011

Aussie August: Introducing Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke

Our guest blogger for this month is Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke, Australian poet, philosopher and all-around cool guy, he will be posting with wit and wisdom about writing and about Australia, so therefore we are presenting Aussie August. (Has a cool ring to do, don't you think?) Please comment and feel free to ask questions.

 Every time you make a comment, you are entered into a drawing to win a FREE paperback copy of "Souls Raised from the Dead" by my mentor, Doris Betts.

All content on guest blog post  is copyright by Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke.

Five Faves, Five Least Faves
Dawn rocks. Dawn is smart, funny, and, yes, I’m a man so I’m saying it, very attractive with it. I’m twisting her arm to do a Dawnster glamour 2012 calendar, which will have twelve head and shoulders pics, akin to her Facebook banner pics, of the most delicious, quirky smile this side of the seventh moon of Jupiter.
No, I don’t owe Dawn money. As the Roman philosopher Gnaeus Claudius Severus is supposed to have said on a chariot leaving the Colosseum, “flattery, if idle, will not only bring down the wrath of every god worth their salt, it’s no good for bunions, either.”
Let me immediately say that Dawn has one major, tragic, character flaw. Her generosity is as unseemly as a petticoat “blowin’ in the wind,” as evidenced by her turning over her blog to this Aussie poet whose main claim to fame is he shares his birthday with Rupert Murdoch.
So, apart from being deeply ashamed at being born, I sheepishly acknowledge that for some reason beyond my ken, all I can bring today to Dawn’s wonderful blog is two poems, and an offer I’m hoping might, just might, be enough to pique the interest of a reader or two.
No, I don’t sell Amway. I’ll get to the offer after the two poems. The snooty, purist poets out there would look down their formidable noses, and intone to the effect that “the poem speaks for itself,” and “any commentary on my part would be a sign of Weakness of Mind. And I don’t have Weakness of Mind, I’m a Poet.”
Well, snooty I’m not, which doesn’t necessarily excuse my insecurity at foisting the poems on you without saying anything. They are, as a duo, meant to show that I have a Sensitive, Poetic side; and a side that, well, possibly belongs locked up in one of Charlotte Brontë’s attics.
OK, enough of this. Here we go...
On the waves of Clouds & Dreams
for Debra Wright

Enter with gratitude the great heart, it is the earth,

we have time before we die. Feel the electricity

of harmonious things, harbour consecrated dreams.

Embrace your form—the grasses take the wind,

each heart can practise escape. On the edges,

where want wishes to become conclusive, seek,

amplify your wholeness. Balance within your eyes, and

if this teaching seems clouded, remember clouds

can be walked through—acceptance is

a theory irreducible.

A thorn appears. Go back to the good tree,

where last is twenty times equal

to all the compass first dies for,

and gently put it back. Love will all.


Teacher, why do you ignore me? I am enmeshed

in my humanness. I do not teach. Let the

abrasive, nervous ones build wooden boats. They

are known to me. I do not teach. Unattainable,

thoughts. Doubt, and the wooden heraldry

society offers will consume you. Roses

are my judge – my watching instant. Water

every victim, watch, ultimately, a perfume

withstands the hail. I do not teach. The

wheels flavour earth.

In the river, a baby. Bring her. And

when her poetry begins to flow, shape

the wind by absence, take several things.

I must leave for my body. Please ask.


After an Arabic Proverb
for Lori Hurst

I’m an oblong theorist, without the corners.

Brilliant God kindly wrenched me from the stars; in love;

with the shape of the universe, and some of its peoples.

Sounds rush into my ears—this perpetual birth high,

asinine, vaguely north African. Take a fig and kill it.

The tree will flourish again.

Sunlight is more beatific here, so I am told.

All the advice culminates in a glorious sunset.

Thank God for night.

Starlight is just enough to change the world.

Fulfilled, I make paper, I make computers,

I become a fuehrer of my mind, then,

before I let go and savour bliss,

I annex another woman’s body. I am, again, asinine in my loss.


Stupid in my loss,

no hill can take me close enough to the stars.

An Arabic proverb, apocryphally attributed to

poet Amru ibnu ma'adyakrubi iz-zubaidi,

about figs likens each fruit to a star—an Arab shop owner

smelled her bloomers, and I bought a posy, bound in fig leaves,

to give to a whore who, to date, would much rather

spend her time with a telescope. My member was turgid, but bilious for her,

so we discussed the Arab philosophers,

far superior to the Greeks, she said. When I left,

she spat on one of the fig leaves, and told me to press it against

my cheek, to remind me of her. Outside, I threw it in the gutter.

A Townsville park dweller told me this: “stars, figs, spit on them all—

take a wheelbarrow, fill it with soil, and just keep pushing”.

...Yes, I’m in therapy. But I do have a blog:, and I also have the offer I alluded to earlier.
I am currently writing, when I can muster the wherewithal – which, yes, is happening more regularly than reappearances of Halley’s comet, but no, sadly, is happening less often than the real, truly conscientious, writers, who hardy have time to eat and shower between verbs – a book of poems.

lightbulb moment somewhere else), and its premise is that one hundred people will give me their lists of their five favourite, and five least favourite, words, and from those ten words I will fashion a poem of some ilk or other.

One hundred people, one hundred poems. I’m an Aussie, I don’t understand baseball, but to butcher the concept of one of your stats, I’m currently batting way below 0.5000. I need about seventy more people (and, possibly, more time than it takes Jupiter to orbit the sun) to complete the project.
What’s in it for you? Fame? Fortune? I’ll leave those to the stars of Amway conventions. No, I am but a humble poet, with but humble words to weave. There’s nothing in it for you but a place, ultimately, in a book. (And, yes, I’ll let the inner-egomaniac out of his closet, and say that, all going according to plan, I’ll be bleeping off some poor university student big-time in five hundred years.)
OK folks, I’ll leave you with a summary. Why did dear Dawn volunteer blog space to me? It has to do with a boiled egg, a purple cape, and Rupert Murdoch lending me his cast-off underwear.

Ask her. In the meantime, my e-mail address is Michael(dot)fitzgeraldclarke(at)gmail(dot)com if you have ten words to spare...

Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke

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