One Sunday Morning Early.

November 9, 2008 at 10:00 am | Posted in blogging, writing | 25 Comments
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Rain. Old men like to demonstrate their age by discussing the weather, especially among coastal people like us. Back when respecting your elders wasn’t a moral imperative but an important lesson to learn if you wanted to live long enough to become one yourself. He scratched the back of his hand and looked out over the still flat bay blurred by sheets of silver and grey.

William Seward Burroughs has become a much neglected writer, mostly because we have been living in an age of thinly disguised high morality and manners. Not a noble one but one driven by merchants and usurers, politeness to maintain calm whilst they gently thieve. No such thing as an articulate working class son. He had an idea that language works as a kind of virus, secretly transmitting some dangerous knowledge. Being who he was he dressed this idea up in a kind of Goya-esque disguise.

I’m tired. My friend Andrew, whom I have known for over twenty years visited yesterday. We drank some beer and talked about football. I asked him, Andrew, imagine there’s a group of people all over the world who have some interest not so much in what I say but in how I say it, what would you want to tell them as my oldest living friend? He said, “Thankyou for giving Squires a safe place to play while we get on with trying to save the planet.”Andrew.


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  1. Zinedine Zidane was born of immigrant parents and grew up on the hard streets of Marseille. He became captain of France and the only player to win FIFA world player of the year three times. And he was bald.

  2. Andrew sounds like a good friend. 🙂

  3. did you have a sandwich or two with your beer?
    beef between two slices of bread?
    and just eat the whole thing?
    yum that was *burp* good

  4. it’s the beer. beer makes you tired. you should try wine–obviously leaves me quite energetic & rambunctious

  5. “politeness to maintain calm whilst they gently thieve” and slobbering over the back porches of the world, for sure. i’m glad for andrew, i was wondering if someone had been thinking of saving the world. i sure dont want to

  6. hello paul. hello andrew.

  7. You have different voices in much of your poetry compared to your short prose/poems. Maybe because I have switched to only prose myself, I resonate very deeply with your prose posts and find them lingering in my thoughts for days. This is such an eloquent, elegant piece and I especially love the idea of language as a virus, something I know I will be mulling over for some time. I also love the perspective of you (the author) from a friend. Beautiful writing. Want to read more of this voice.

  8. did squires take the portrait of andrew?

    did andrew take the new portrait of squires that surprised me on my blog and haunts here as well?
    I know, I see it now too and am terribly embarrassed. I think I’ll change it back to the old one.

  9. Saving the world can be exhausting, particularly when the problem remains hidden. I suspect you understand the problem better than I. That said, I do like a good puzzle.
    It’s so hard to get that kind of sideways, cynical, dry, ironic, Australian tone in prose, Brad.

  10. a safe place to play? haha, maybe. Football, beer and old friends are a wonderful mix. You picture the reflective nature so particularly, respectfully, before bringing us on to the future. (p.s. I think people like what you say as well as the way you say it. It’s not going to change the world but it makes it a little brighter while we plod on.)

  11. haha, a witty friend and bottles of Australian beer!

  12. actually, i may disagree slightly with Andrew …

    seems to me you’re doing everything and more in your immense, if sometimes tired, power to eradicate the virus that i believe is injected into language by Dark Forces … language has been hijacked and infused with amoral garbage and false judgement … there are secrets within it and the hijack is an attempt to cut souls off from their Source, from their pinnacle of Honesty and true Insight …

    i haven’t read Burroughs but i doubt you’re like him, because you’re wonderful You and i like it that way *grin …

    i am also interested in the what of your say as well as the how … you get close to fusing the two which is how it should be, so what you have in that respect is my trust, Paul …

    trust should be the default setting for all souls, probably is, though much is lost in usurious translation … your voice soothes that breach of trust …

    oh god, i’m rambling again and apologise if i make no sense, still have the mother of all fevers going on …

  13. actually, what i might be saying is

    thank you, Paul, for making US feel safe …

  14. paul,absolutely, the approach is everything… subtle a shadow.. “…He had an idea that language works as a kind of virus, secretly transmitting some dangerous knowledge. Being who he was he dressed this idea up in a kind of Goya-esque disguise…” .. hmm may have to cruize thru burroughs again…

  15. oh and here i was thinking that the change in image was part of the grand plan–who is the you who is squires who is not you? and who is the you who goes around and is so nice to everyone?
    I have this whole theory about the myth of consistent personality, Gwendolyn ( aka Art Predator). Fictionality and the ontology of the self. The whole idea that we are one solid unchanging person is silly and the idea that a writer should be is even sillier, I think. But don’t get me started on that issue again. I was hoping I laid it to rest and QED’ed it when writing in fictional voices started showing up in silly prompt sites. I took that as confirmation of my theories from six months ago. Soon no doubt, “every writer’s voice is an artificial construct’ will be the brilliant discovery de jour.

  16. A safe place to live so our minds can roam freely…

    Is that not what we all seek?

    Where we can transmit our dangerous knowledge through language?

  17. I would say “Thank you Lord, for Paul, who listens to what is said, what is not said, and knows which one to answer, and when”


  18. i’ll change my earlier use of “voice” to voices, Paul … because you’re perfectly right!

    i no longer believe that there is just “one” voice inside us and i also don’t believe that believing this is either comfortable or acceptable to the forces that try to determine every thoughtmove

    which is why Crushed is also correct to say that writing/art is a dangerous choice … ok, that’s not quite what was said but when we become the messenger of our words wholeheartedly, we’re not quite the docile population required, eh?

    safety’s a bit of a myth too, maybe it’s the courage to be/risk all of ourselves that you offer, dear Friend …

  19. Wow, that is an all time favourite comment shower, spectacaular brain fireworks of the highest order. Thankyou all. I forgot to mention that “One Sunday Morning Early” is the title of a collection of gorgeous nature poems by the Australian poet, Irene Gough. Irene passed away and doesn’t have an internet presence but if you ever see a copy of this book buy it. I’ve owned my copy since I was 11 and they are still some of the most beautiful nature poems for children I’ve read.

  20. Is that a Stella?

    form over function
    aesthetic desires
    derisible conjunction
    obscuring dear Squires
    a house made of words
    within which refrain
    the squawking of birds
    keeps out no rain

  21. ROTFL 🙂 …. Who’s saving the world again?? I feel these measurement thingies are simply grotesque 😦

  22. Just a note here for me.
    Lesson one in creating and sustaining a creative community. Respect the dissenting voice.
    No creative community will survive that ostracizes or ignores the one person who is saying you are all wrong. That is the person you should listen to. A creative community should always encourage the pushing of boundaries and the testing of theories through active dissent. This is practised in almost all of the large internet businesses as well as all of the functioning democracies on the planet.
    Respect the dissenting voice.

  23. Well said. Those who dissent are often the ones who turn out to make the biggest difference.
    I love Mr. Burroughs. He had an amazing speaking voice. Gravelly, yet melodic.

  24. Wow … a friend for 20 years! We should all be so lucky!

    And I hope your safe place remains so that you can continue to play …

  25. do you really feel burroughs is much neglected? i love the man, but if i’m thinking about a much neglected writer from the same period, similarly inspired, i’m thinking genet. respectfully, of course.
    Neglected in the sense that everone knows the name but nobody reads the books, maybe. But yes, Genet is probably even more so.

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