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  November 2013
volume 10 number 2
-table of contents-
  home   (archived)
  contributing poets
  Lynn Albanese
  Jonathan Beale
  Michael Caylo-Baradi
  Charles Claymore
  Christiane Con√©sa-Bostock
  Flavia Cosma
  Gareth Davies
  Diane Dehler
  Maurice Devitt
  Tyler Dupuis
  Sabrina Edwards
  Neil Ellman
  R.M. Engelhardt
  Rebecca Gimblett
  Jeffrey Graessley
  John Grey
  James Hall
  A J Huffman
  Lee Mason
  Deborah McCreath-Akbar
  Tom O'Reilly
  Angel Uriel Perales
  Frank Praeger
  Kevin Ridgeway
  Walter Ruhlmann
  Howard Sage
  John Saunders
  Allen Taylor
  Sarah Thursday
  Philomena van Rijswijk
  Daniela Voicu
  mailing list
Philomena van Rijswijk
November 2013



art by alex ramos

    Philomena van Rijswijk is a poet, novelist and story-writer living in Tasmania. Her most well-known novel, The World as a Clockface, was published by Penguin. Her poems and short stories have been published in collections and literary journals in Australia, Ireland and India. Her work was included in Best Australian Stories 2002 (Black Inc) and Best Australian Poetry 2005 (UQP). Some of her stories have been translated into Hindi and published in Indian literary journals and anthologies. Her poetry collection, Bread of the Lost, was published by Walleah Press in December 2013. Her latest fabulist novel, The Bishop, the Gypsy and the Dancing Bear, addresses the themes of xenophobia and border security.



Albinoni: Adagio in G Minor

Sometimes, life is unbearably sweet,
when the shadows of a Moorish lamp are spilt upwards
and blotted into bedroom walls;
when morpho butterflies nestle bluely on a canvas,
and brandy burns like petrol in your gut.
Sometimes, the death-keening of a violin
makes me sick to the stomach
with melancholy.
Once, when I was just a child in patent leather shoes,
a madwoman raving in a red train carriage
made me feel the same, and almost holy.
Even now, Iím confused by my own secret Maria Goretti;
by my own secret murderer lurking nearby.
I suppose it shouldnít have fascinated me:
the story of the fourteen-year-old peasant girlÖ
(or was it fourteen stab wounds?)
and the fatherís long cart ride over a rutted road,
with Maria jolting like a sack of spilt meal
on boards strewn with straw.
I had hoped to be a much-desired saint.
I had hoped that Our Lady might appear to me,
like Serena Couchi, who fell into the flames of a bonfire
when she was only small, wearing a Blessed Scapula
around her neck.
But she was just a potato-farmerís daughter, and Maltese,
with dirty cracks around her fingernails,
whose sister sold pink lemonade in wax cups at Woolworths.
I always liked the story of how Jesus would not be tempted
by the devil, and shouted: Get behind me, Satan!
I always liked Jesus when he shouted.
Once, I did get behind you,
though it was no less sinful than in front.
My hair hung between your buttocks
and down your left thigh.
I felt like the Magdalene,
and my hair seemed to fill the room.
My combustion seemed to fill the afternoon,
and you canít deny,
it was a miracle, of sorts.

copyright 2014 Philomena van Rijswijk