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Online projects:

The Blackfellas, Whitefellas and Wetlands “Brisbane Stories” web site project at brisbane-stories

The HOW2:Connect web anthology of new Australian male poets at how2connect

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To order B.R.'s books from Five Islands Press

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Email

website

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“Stung” was first published in the Journal of Australian Studies, No.61, and subsequently appeared in the collection Fatherlands, Five Islands Press, 2000. “xxxxxxv. An allegory of time” and “xxxxxxiii. The enigma of adolf hitler” are from Universal Andalusia.

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For more poetry from Australia

B. R. Dionysius B.R. Dionysius


Stung

Now I am milkweed silk, the bees will not notice.
They will not smell my fear, my fear, my fear.

Sylvia Plath, “The Bee Meeting”


When he was a young man
& the flower of his mind
opened wide as a birth canal,
a single bumblebee, pregnant
with pollen landed a quick
kiss on his cheek, laced
with a fine golden down
sticky as honey.

When he was a bit older
a second bumblebee descended
onto the stem of his thorn
sharp nose, locked feelers
with the first bee & began
an elegant waltz. His legs
moved like an insect's.

When he was older still
a third bumblebee alighted
on his forehead, crawled down
the cleft of his eye & joined
its two brethren, pirouetting
along his jaw-line.

When he was older still again
a flotilla of bees covered
his chin like a living veil.
Their wings interlocked;
a phalanx of shields
protecting him from the wasps
that fled their nests of mud
& were out to get him.

When he was in his prime
a honeybee, blown far off course
set down on the hive of his heart.
She never flew away. Just gave
order to the bees that streamed
down his throat like a black
& yellow waterfall.

When he was an old man,
a thick beard of drones
hung down to his knees.
He tucked them into the
belt serpenting his waist,
constricting time into nectar.
Not a single bee ever stung him.

When eventually he died
a hundred thousand bees danced
alongside the funeral procession.
All the way to the gravesite, where
they flung themselves like dervishes
in after his Baltic amber coffin.

When he was honeycombed with mud
tiny pairs of frosted glass wings
littered the grave's edge. When dusk
fell they twinkled like mirrored
wall-tiles, illuminating
the blood red roses that died
with the light of the day.



Gone Shooting Ken and I Home Later Warren

(i)
Mr Warren Dionysius your appointment at the x-ray department is on Friday 27/8/76 at 12.00pm

sorry you're sick it must be a strange new feeling for you lying there in bed — by yourself! with lots of love & best wishes for a speedy recovery from rosemary and gordon get well soon

(ii)
BARIUM SWALLOW AND MEAL have nothing to eat or drink after the previous evening meal if the examination is to be carried out in the afternoon, nothing to eat or drink for six (6) hours prior to the examination.

get well soon “the eternal god is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” deuteronomy 33:27 a prayer for your recovery god bless you with his gracious love, his heavenly gifts increase; and in his tender loving care, may you find strength and peace; may god's dear prescence guide you, keep you ever strong, and grant the gifts that comfort & bless to cheer you all life long to dear warren big god bless lots of love mum and dad xxxxxx

(iii)
GALL BLADDER dose of agarol (1 tablespoon), or 2 “durolax” tablets, two nights before the day of the examination all tablets to be taken according to direction at 6 p.m. the evening before the examination no food to be taken after the tablets, but water can be drunk freely examination will be carried out at 8 a.m. all tablets to be taken after the 6 p.m. meal on_______________________

a get well push to help you get your health in tow…'till your motor's revved up and your gear's in go! dear warren, hurry up and get well love from joy and wayne xxxx

(iv)
INTRAVENOUS PYELOGRAM *non-residue diet as far as possible two days before the examination two tablets of “durolax” to be taken with the evening meal on the day before the examination this should produce two or more bowel actions the following morning a suppository should be inserted into the rectum one to two hours before the examination this should produce one or two bowel actions

dear warren just wondering how you're doing and hope you can say that you are really feeling more like yourself today and then, before you know it, may you be pleased to find you're happily enjoying health of the very best kind many many good wishes! our thoughts are with you every day and hoping you are feeling a little better each day mildred and vic

no fluid is to be taken for eight (8) hours beforehand a light dry meal may be taken four (4) hours beforehand, if desired only the bladder is to be emptied immediately prior to the examination walk around as much as possible beforehand

especially for you light thoughts bright thoughts gladden your day thoughts — sun thoughts, fun thoughts, coming your way thoughts! Hope you're feeling better from jack and mavis

(v)
INTRAVENOUS CHOLANGIOGRAM *non-residue diet as far as possible two days before the examination two tablets of “durolax” to be taken with the evening meal on the day before the examination this should produce two or more bowel actions the following morning a suppository should be inserted into the rectum one or two hours before the examination this should produce one or two bowel actions fast on the day of the examination walk around as much as possible for 2 hours before the examination

hope you're feeling better certainly hope you're feeling just a whole lot better today, and hope you know you're thought of in the very warmest way to dear warren, thinking of you all the time and hoping you will soon be home all my love, fay, jack, and family xxxxx

(vi)
*
“NON-RESIDUE DIET” should exclude all rough and stringy vegetables and fruit and breakfast preparations containing bran etc. fruit juices, milk meat and bread may be taken

get well real soon thinking of you a lot these days and sincerely hoping too that things are going smoothly and will keep improving for you pat budd

IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO KEEP THIS APPOINTMENT, PLEASE NOTIFY THE X-RAY DEPARTMENT, ROYAL BRISBANE HOSPITAL, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TELPHONE 52011 APPOINTMENTS CLERK EXT 591

(vii)
Gone shooting Ken and I home later Warren.



xxxxxxv. An allegory of time

No doubt some thorough American manual can give you the low down on Europe's margins but mine, designed for only one traveller is better written & much shorter. Besides, if you remove the art, Europe's like the US, more or less a dead loss.

John Forbes, Europe: a guide for Ken Searle

Three ruby jewelled seeds
free fall between the pomegranate's
cosmetically enhanced skin
& the forefinger of the pre-pubescent
Christ child. This fruit stigmata;
pre-Christian underworld throwback
makes Martin Johnston pause, smile,
push his glasses back up the long
wall of his nose. His left hand
combs through black shoulder length
Velasquez hair, stump-jumping over
the Doric capital of a hidden mole.
His Italian hiking boots squeak
like a pair of Inquisition
thumbscrews turned up to the max,
inches across the polished beech
fingernail floor. Bosch's demented
figures take on more of that
tortured look. Bite down hard on
the afternoon's touched up flesh.
Further on, St Francis dances
on the head of a leopard to receive
the crown of thorns from Jesus
& Martin, turning a corner, enters
a scene of true chaos.
Two deranged men, a fat, thirty
-something Australian & an elderly
American tourist jostle each other
over a plumb position to view
Picasso's Guernica.
Martin, distracted by the sound
of security guards about to pounce,
doesn't hang around to see the fun.
Splits this sad Western ex-pat scene
& skips casually over the next
couple of centuries; thinks about
the five hours he queued once,
to get into the Uffizi Gallery,
& the one hour it took him
to go through it.



xxxxxxiii. The enigma of adolf hitler

In the Reina Sophia, Madrid,
Baldwin can't help but think;
What are these German tourists
going to make of Dali's, 'The Enigma
of Adolf Hitler'? Christ, they're
all old enough to have been teenagers

at the fall of Berlin
. He hovers,
his voyeurism driving the spectre of
adolescent ruin (A Tin Drum retarded
work-in-progress, isn't he Dear
Readers?
) & waits for the first tear
to churn up the snowdrift of faces
grooved as tank tread. The gremlin
is not disappointed.

“Gott in Himmel Rox”, he barks
out across the gallery courtyard,
juggling two styrofoamed coffees
like WW1 'potato mashers'.
“I should have bought that
second-hand record I found in Athens

you know, 'German Marching Songs
1933-1945'. Would've been a blast,
back home eh?”

Roxanne, perplexed, chooses
to ignore her obviously insane
husband – burns her upper palate
as an elderly woman collapses
into a bench chair beside her
& weeps; a white embroidered
handkerchief parachutes
into her face.



Les Murray, Removalist

The freckled back of poetry
flexes prismatically through
the front door's stained glass
kookaburra. Warped cells bunch
with rhythm; a paper crease vein
pulses in Antigone Kefala's tongue
& groove neck. Melanomas gather;
thick flies on the crust of art.
On the enclosed verandah, spiders
cocoon time's black idiom in bone.
In the small bedroom, she moves
a wardrobe language by rocking its
silky oak feet from side to side.
Hires a 'big dinger' for the real
heavy lifting – weighed down with
things she just can't throw out.
Les Murray, removalist, drops
boxes of books, bends the covers
of new Icelandic translations,
dog-ears modern Australian poetry.
His workman's crack, book-ended
between slabs of Boetian flesh,
entrances like a CWA cake stall.
Antigone tut tuts from the hallway
literature's going to the gym now
(another new year's resolution).
A tai-bo of new terminology;
the good fat stripped from obliques
of 20th century vernacular, portly
lyrical abdominals & quads of metaphor
lean as the Thorpedo (our greatest
cultural lungfish aside from Tangles
& Tugga & that Warwick Todd guy
) -
all chucked on plastic.
Les hitches his stubbies up, dumps
Kefala's boxes in the new library,
thumbs through a copy of Johnston's
The Sea Cucumber he found hidden
under the kitchen sink cupboard.
Digs out strands of Greek rhetoric
from the plughole, a parting domestic
gesture. Fingers the congealed
plasticity of our final words
on the subject. Charges $25.00
per hour for elite removal.