the otter-like teacher liked to bitch about other staff & the way they parked their vehicles. nevertheless, we were eventually told about writing. we were told never to seal the story with âit was all a dreamâ. i distrusted the advice. i distrusted the advice to the extent that now present-day-people tire of me talking of this distrust. not the distrust, they might say to me, not again. you speak of it so much the word has no meaning. we canât even comprehend not trusting anything & everything ever. they might say. but i dreamt about the advice again & here must speak about it. the teacher gave that advice earnestly and in good faith i suppose. her opinions about the parking habits of others were clearly earnest. but here things diverged & in the same 90s classroom context i was called upon to speak. i was up next to give my advice to the class. perhaps i was aware this would happen? if so i would have been sitting there somewhat nervously, listening & observing of course, but never able to take a small part of my mind off the fact that i would have to speak next. i felt prepared & such preparedness only comes with that aforementioned slight anguish so i can assume my previous âperhapsâ is correct. so i gave a presentation & it was as if i was seeing myself do something for the first time, something totally unexpected, but also something i knew i had prepared well for: i mounted three pieces of folded paper atop each other. they didnât balance well, it was precipitous, but eventually i got them into a sort of pyramidal shape. this, i told the class, is the perfect demonstration of how human relationships function. there is not one not two but three pieces of paper (there is no duality in the romantic or social union), & as you can see all are compromised as singular entities to begin with, folded. the balancing act i have here shown can take a while to perfect, & the structure that results can then look beautiful, but it is, ultimately, always delicate, poised ready to collapse in any unexpected gust. the class seemed attentive. the boy who was always forced to sit near the teacherâs desk because of his swearing still had a contemptuous sneer on his face but he wasnât saying anything, & that meant i was winning. i am a winner. i would punch the swearing boy in the face & begin to undress the girl i liked the most, but for the fact that i had tried this before, & i knew such actions were almost sure to rupture the dreamscape. instead i walked slightly away from the balancing paper & began to talk about myself giving this same presentation to a different group, and the story of what happened on that day. (it is a useful public speaking trick (you know: this other group i presented to, they didnât understand & said the most stupid things! ha ha, you are nothing like that groupâ¦) but it was also meant to be the real point of the presentation â the humorousÂ anecdote would provide a contrasting view on human interaction. the class wouldnât see it coming.) but after mentally congratulating myself on how well i was going, how this would really destroy the âdonât end with it was all a dreamâ advice once and for all, i forgot where i was going with it all. i lost my place, couldnât remember what i had planned to say. i hurriedly opened up my laptop & searched for ârecently opened documentsâ in MS Word, conscious that i surely had recently opened my notes for this presentation, but perhaps it wasnât recently enough. the murmurs from the crowd were becoming louder. i heard the boy near the teacherâs desk lean back & say âthis is bullshitâ to someone behind him. & then i realised the murmurs were in fact some other noise in the bedroom & it was this noise that woke me from the dream & i hadnât even punched the boy. i thought the dream profound, but i still didnât know where the presentation was going to end. what was my contrasting (& more illuminating) view on human relationships? i thought that if i started writing the dream down it might be revealed. many writers say that you should keep a notepad and pen by your bed in order to write your dreams down as soon as you wake up. but to what end? if i donât come to some useful conclusion about the dream am i not only stirring up the troubling aspects of life that a dream might function to put to rest? the idea that certain things should be âacknowledgedâ is often bandied about. that troubles me & i donât think it is correct. it also troubles me that the ârecently opened documentsâ function in MS Word canât do what i want it to do all the time. i want it to present to me an array of documents that i might be thinking about, ârecently thought about documentsâ. this would go some way to alleviating the potential anxiety of a situation where i am attempting to prove myself in front of a group of classmates from the past. & if such a function could be developed, then we could perhaps expect the technology to get better. we could surely expect this. the equations for future developments would be in place & i would never be lost for words. itâs all a process of probability & everything must happen in due course. on this particular day i will write down everything last nightâs dream suggested to me. i will write with vigour & i will write down too much. eventually there must be little chance that the dreams of this coming evening can contain anything except distortions & insights into the very act of recording & interpreting dreams. what is the best way to go about it? is my particular method â & you will no doubt have already been cataloguing the various peculiarities of my style â is it workable & valid? does it produce results? the dreaming process encountered tonight will give some insight. it will not be all a dream. i am not an otter.
‘Brennan’s defence of obscurity reminds me that the verb, to obscure, suggests one thing covering or hiding or displacing another thing. The one who runs will trip over and roll their ankle; the one who walks will find a way through the unanticipated arrangement.’
read more of Astrid Lorange on Christopher Brennan in Jacket2
begin awkward-phrasing data crunch (your poetry feels too… equine).
inject a Strathmore liberality. travel by rail, fake ‘looking’,
then blame the ticketing system. flounder in the bus-
wet air, locate salvation in a mate’s boyish shouting,
a blossoming arc across Pitt Street. cross Pitt Street.
eat a sandwich. digest naught. order a schooner,
two, feel heady in speaking. smell the bouquet of
disorder in the spirits, fix this via imagination.
take a newspaper quiz, turn quizzical after an
insult. be cool, as if it was all planned.
dismiss a gallery viewing, bear a smoke on the 38 route
& tack on a grin. get nostalgic for your 2006 visit,
start associating the number 6 with fun. oh,
devolve a quayside unit & potted plants.
why not. initiate some circumstances, elegant wine
& soft cheeses open on the bench say. list this. say
you are listing this. itemise responses alongside
furniture. itemise pocketed lists. feign being in love
for the guests, we all know what pleases mums.
then command respect – extol invective
to the guy shouting ‘what?’ anyway.
let great films influence the way
you think. think of answers to problems.
disseminate bravado. light the grill with an
inefficient roll of the wrist, standing amidst
political observations. disgorge a photo
of the times. poke your plate with a knife,
remembering specific arses pressed to a window,
forgetting your drink. address the gathering
ill-preparedly & accept how well you’ve done.
take issue with the moon. apologise via sleep.
i like you she says. i do.
hydroptic red in early spring, night blossoms a swale
of invisible men. perverts, scrim in the visible, blowsy
on breath as if nosey landscape loggia:
as finches we crozzled fine necks at supine
sky, a slanted fuck-gyrus, bruised after-that.
double towns & subtextual glances sort of meant hi! but
like explorers the rest is hoverish, sun-drunk, oz ellipses.
best hope is some unicorn gone gimbaled, feint, & bolus.
abstract beer. pained expressions. a muted orgasm.
i donât like you she says. too.