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Keri Glastonbury

Triggering Town: a sequence of prose pieces

When you are honest to your feelings, that triggering town chooses you. Your words used your way will generate your meanings. Your obsessions lead you to your vocabulary. Your way of writing locates, even creates, your inner life.

— Richard Hugo, The Triggering Town: Lectures
and Essays on Poetry and Writing.

                    the deadly hume:

the self articulates as a mobius strip with chinks pulling into mcdonalds yass the glocal manned by surly girls along the highway now selling batlow apples to an unsuspecting clientele empire diversifies into collapse as the drive home might as well be an international flight all townships by-passable only the nomenclature of creeks strangely sacrosanct inside the cabin of that passing truck is a whole milieu that we will never know as we flatter ours with complexity your speaking position could well be radio national’s next generation never to be broadcast outside of this interior moment just as we’re sick of the catch-all conference and new wave eco-literatures even the names of the gender studies department all sound like porn stars (probyn, lusty) your white singlet proving the esperanto for introductions to school friends watching wryly as they baulk at the travelling cosmopolitanism

                    aren’t we:

me & the cows me & the utes me as a poet penning agrarian pop fantasies up in my room with its vase of camellias to the toll of cathedral bells downstairs the squattocracy are tanked as their polarity at the muddy duck where they’re not downing hybrid shandies to the tinkle of card machines our sexed  intensities  followed  the well-worn colonial paths of opening us up to  the  new  in the most dumb and weedy of places deriving my career path like donuts on the river flats once covetous of a really good spike on a p-plater now the naidoc flags de-territorialise the street unlike scant graffiti out on pylons beneath the via duct i want ‘ashmont aces’ in felt letters on a t-shirt toranas still pulling up at jubilee park and the trots (well below the picnic races in social stature but higher than the dogs) in every year above me at school there were girls that i’ve never seen surpassed for sheer nicotine style they don’t dye hair like that any more i don’t eat ganmain pies but would walk with you under the peppercorn trees over-riding all hesitancy so special  so  special  call it contingency or parapraxis depending on whose class you take raconteur or racket aren’t we

‘moments in postcolonial community’ — katrina schlunke
‘brass in pocket’ — the pretenders

                    dirty ruralism:

the deep throttle of country traffic outside the teppanyaki bar where the turned up collar set sit bibbed around the grill you’re gripped by a kind of awe and shame a realisation of the genesis of feeling neither fish nor fowl sitting exposed at another table wishing your mother was more of a socialite jean’s emerald eyes remind you how much you sexualised adults as a child though now you’ve lost the power to reject and your alterity is just that as she uses the same viscous speech which makes you think of soft bathrobes and husbands at golf perhaps she once thought you were some kind of child protégé free of stricture while her daughter had a bedroom full of dolls of the world and elocution difficulties but none of that translates now as you fully appreciate her glamour at the 11th hour and for a second there rebel rebel  you rise up brush her cheek bomber jacket over the back of the chair

‘rebel rebel’ — david bowie

                    glory that:

you run into Q at the café he’s meeting a young eminem ish ex-trinity boy features covered by a beanie and stubble all accentuates his adam’s apple the barista has a birthmark you recognise him now attractive in that stock and station agent kind of way Q’s pelvis injury landed him back here living in a fibro house with his mum we did the sydney scene so differently but he’s more underground here where credentials go back as far as rural punk or bogan bohemia like the regional kudos of those brothers one who was otter in the wind in the willows clambered out of the rank lagoon feral like the ganges the younger pops into the gallery still pretty and long lashed with four kids and an old bomb as Q’s arch tone reminds you of dancing to ‘rock lobster’ it’s surprising who comes from coolamon and you want to do it justice like the return of the prodigal business woman you’re saving up to be waltzing matilda whipped out  her  wallet  it’s like the pace of your activism would fit here taking on the cronies with ease

‘street hassle’ — lou reed

                    riverina sharps:

at your most seminal deep in the dark indeterminacy of the tavern the band playing iggy pop at three am cities seem prolapsed forever more stops you bothering to drink scotch past the age of sixteen halcyon days of masculinity in its myriad where women too are sure of their merits you’re teenagers on air for the graveyard shift retrospectively attaching drugs to locale hashish in marrar junk in junee mandrax in downside laudanum in lockhart qualudes in uranquinty the poem’s pure undiluted cordial until you’re the blue bird of happiness flying in over willan’s hill after refusing set after set of enabling vectors what is defective and censurable  remains a salve of sorts all the lost boys due for mid-life meltdowns for them the quiet return of suburban streets trumping elsewhere/ elsewhen before america really latched onto it all you protest  kids  in paisley pants and steel capped boots from working in kentucky fried those that lived in kings cross in the early 80s get cult status their guitars perpetually on hock always susceptible to the mythologies harbingers of wagga wagga bonhomie still jamming

‘one-way street’ — walter benjamin
‘sweet jane’ — lou reed

                    wine bar:

reputed skills at softball not withstanding once i even dated a wingnut is that a corkscrew perm sinking west coast coolers in the memorial gardens homogenised and pasteurised as dairy milk yet difference and later deviance was rife the journey down baylis street from charcoal chicken to shawarma never thought of in cultural terms nor the sole vietnamese refugee fetishised for his bullet wound his skin a sublime revelation soon skiving off school and inhabiting the late night arcade near randy’s nightclub (i kid you not) his ‘alien’ allure around rumoured abortions formative stories making adolescent sexiness hard but not impossible to surpass the relentlessness of it all (even then) the vertical axis leading to port at the wine bar amenable to jazz and thespians clad as always in black tights and happy shoes a never repeatable alliance as set against the rugby crowd across the road the dominant trope in an ethnography where analogue media students could still claim an edge that might yet couple creative with employable (and manual) though this is life before terminologies of the arts or humanities made any sense a perpetual case of being near the cliques

                    triggering town:

country crotches sashay past like your earliest memories of sexiness the phenomenology of agriculture smells of paddy melons i thank men for this but couldn’t manage to iterate any of it myself got caught on the stile after all the adrenalin ‘what a gas’ and the estrangement which now dominates like a pall guess there are  things you cant  find out  if you havent  kids  to  find  them out  for  you tapping your thighs saying here girl the flouncey skivvy a show of rare authenticity which sees you investing appreciation into perceived flaws you hope disqualify the beloved to everybody except you generous arbiter of redoubled fantasies following a familiar maternal loop she’s not trying to get out of interaction the moment it snares her like everybody else is around here where it feels like somebody probably me burnt the chops i’m going  to wichita far from this opera  but you’re still up against the pathological the never-get-too-deep anxious you might want a real conversation and not even oh darling

‘chirp’ — michael farrell
‘seven nation army’ — the white stripes

                    the red door:

don’t you hate titles like this some modernist metonym is vernacular for the doss house on the outskirts of town with grape vines and a few sheep a hydra-like moment on the banks of the murrumbidgee a contingent world though not quite flushing out the portals like the seventies was clogged with shaggy men you never did grow up to be that carol jerems photo of a topless woman some oedipal hitch with identity and a reticence which verges on obscene a freedom you don’t dress up as such your lines of flight at loggerheads with life’s fractals demographers water ski perhaps at lake albert where your dad walks his whippet called paddy after mcguiness the kinds of provocations which now just create ripples across the man-made surface these days you notice the gossamer maturity around people’s eyes and blink like a pony

Keri Glastonbury

Keri Glastonbury

Keri Glastonbury recently completed a Doctorate in Creative Arts at University of Technology, Sydney, in poetics. Her thesis, titled ‘Shut up nobody wants to hear your poems!’, staged a friendly title bout between painter Adam Cullen and poet Ted Nielsen, two male grunge auteurs of her generation. She has published two books of poetry, Hygienic Lily (Five Islands Press, 1999) and super-regional (Vagabond, 2001) and has an unpublished manuscript 'Grit Salute' (2004). She currently teaches at University of Technology, Sydney, in Cultural Studies and Writing.

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