Issue 26: Ed Southorn


You see, nothing is real anymore. Such timing. The night of the Oscars is when he dies. He said we have every right to dream heroic dreams. Young Hinckley and his dream. He gave it to Jodi who has to live with it and Mrs Brady and Nancy, but none of them want these dreams. It is the weight of dreams. He quotes WC Fields in speeches and grumbles ‘oh damn’ from the hospital bed. Okay, who’ll be Vivien Leigh? Jodi? Rhett Hinckley Jr could be Ashley who is Dr Spock who is Darth Vader who is Redford who is Roger Moore with Olivia de Havilland who is Hepburn who recognised De Niro who is Captain America who might have been him if he wasn’t Nixon first and certainly isn’t James Brady. If facts don’t lie. Which is better than no facts at all. The first day of April. He will never die. He will eat 1984, Blondie and Bowie for breakfast and then burp on Hinckley before sending Nancy to Vietnam and eloping with Jodi who didn’t like the Red Square anyway. The Middle East will rust and Lech Walesa will suicide. The Ayatollah will be deposed. The Poles did it. When is the real thing not the real thing? When nobody dies. Brezhnev takes hash oil intravenously and reads daily horoscopes. The Iron Maiden is Helmut Schmidt’s fish wife. De Niro has cauliflower ears. Mao is alive and well and renting rooms off Idi Amin. According to the San Francisco Examiner, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, English was the last class of the day for seventh graders at Tulsa Central Academy. Just before dismissal, the principal came on the intercom and told them he had been shot. About ten students began cheering. There is a definite possibility I will be killed. It is for this very reason that I am writing you this letter now. As you well know, I love you very much.

Actor Network Theory

We gather every day

Always here at your place

Drifters and seekers

Never turning away

You rally and affirm 

Magnet and beacon

Sustained by light that falls

Shaking and dancing

At your feet across

Our arms and legs

Painted in your troupe

You bend so generous

Allowed the kelpie to show off

Her motor skills ascending

Your shoulder like the

Bungarra whose skill

Ran like a current

Up to my head for a moment

Davy Crockett’s hat

Do you remember the

Purple lotus passing through

She posed for an hour or two

Impressionistic gesture

On your lavender shag

The reverent father with

Two small children bearing

Everlasting tablets for you

To hold and give to others 

I always stand back in this

Sensitised circus no cages

Whips or poles I wonder if 

The chorus of tightrope walkers

Rehearsing off with your cousins

Their black box stuck on

Nothing but empty

Rhythms of repeat

Ever made the bright lights

We have no need of speech

For our gentle show

You director and architecture

We miming players gone home

When you take the bows

In the dark such is   

The nature of our friendship

Ed Southorn is interested in the anthropocene and social spatialisation. He has taught journalism at Griffith University and the University of Queensland since 2010. He was a newspaper reporter for thirty years. He has an MPhil in creative writing and a PhD in narrative journalism and sociology.

He was first published as a poet in Neon Signs to the Mutes in 1977. His poems, short fiction, memoir, essays and narrative journalism have appeared in The Small Press, Moveable Type, Ziriuz, Virgin Press, The Journal of Wild Culture, The Blue Nib, Axon: Creative Explorations and Meniscus.

Copyright © 2021 by Ed Southorn, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.