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Antepodean Antics
Extracts by M.T.C. Cronin

'Hayden's Serenade' by Suchoon Mo
Art: 'failure' by Peter Schwartz

''failure'' by Peter Schwartz



Is a mistake a mistake or is it different if made by a different person?

Does the Turkish mistake differ to the mistake in Denmark?

Can you earn the right to make it? This ugly cousin of realization. This effect loose of intention.

I, like the others, have been stacking together the little accidents of the past to make a story of this traumatic present. Any story is a retelling. Told against death. To befriend death.

Is the dead stinking fish on the beach our twin fishy?

Are you one of those vagabonds, trying to drink from the cup of the previous month?

So the story.

Why does yesterday fall apart?

Because we don’t watch it. This is why the future keeps coming together. It’s a good place to hide. No-one’s killed there yet. Nobody’s hurt. There might even be the fabled, the night of nights. There’s one of these in most families. Even if you don’t believe it. (Sacred mountains you’ve been forbidden to climb.) Amazing excellent party that you missed.

Like belief itself if you’re scribbling too.

[Get a pen and write a pile of little cubes on a piece of cloth. Draw them lining up against each other and touching along their sides. Now wobble the cloth. Pull the cloth this way and that. See what gives. That’s what the present is like.]

Writing is mistaken.

What is written marks the edge of the edge that you cannot read beyond. (Like entering the dead book in search of lives.)

Write a sentence (The little dog was dying as he lifted his paws along the line of trees.) that is interrupted by a discrete and untouchable world. The smooth white trunks of the trees still on this windless afternoon boast better of yesterday than my scurrying legs and arms weighted with what overflows from the present.

That’s what’s not real. At least the past was real even if it no longer still is. When the present gets here the past gets huge and very messy and hard to piece together. (Bigger than a gam and unschooled.) It’s a process of addition that borders on the impossible. The future, on the other hand, is tiny – dimensionless – and because there’s no way to add to it it keeps on disappearing. And this is despite the fact that it comes together. The coming together has the same consequence on possibility and hope that its satisfaction has on desire. But at least we can have it. (Or can we? We pursue it and upon catching it we’ve caught something else. Still, the present satiates the appetite for it and anticipation is a relatively shortlived emotion that keeps on going.) You can’t have the past and therefore it trumps everything in terms of pure longing. Try attributing what’s happening now with any mood or atmosphere. You’d be kidding yourself. (Or adopting an attitude to poignancy.)

Speaking of which: Can there be a mistake in your body?
A dusty moustache?
A brain tumour in your mouth?
A varicose phrase?
Congenital trouble?
Blood-soaked limbs? (Keeping a leg or arm that won’t work.)
Born with an unusual stomach?
It really remains unclear how anything that happens can be a mistake. Not in a classic sense.


Is stopping a mistake? When I stop there begins to swing the largest pendulum in the world. My time is still kept.

How close is an accident to a mistake?
What is close?
Is it soon? What was then?
(Even the most solid print leaves no trace on the eventual newness of time.)
Of course I only pretended not to keep on going. Contrary to what I have said in the past, the future is enormous (even if not personally) and what is behind us is the size of an oily nothing. They are both part of the present which has no background and is incomparable.

The mistake does not exist. The mind that recognizes that the mistake is not one, newly sees another old truth.

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last update: November 19, 2008