“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





04 April 2017


some of the earliest of the last thoughts
for bob and wilma mclean sarah and family and adam

those who collect funerals
ravens dribbling roadkill
remittance men
butcherbird hanging mouseguts in a tree
matriarchs maven lovelies
shelf-shaking panhandlers
blazers and suits and fizzhags
bright girls in long silk
sunday school teachers rope petticoats
the slavic dancer's bitten toenails
the blokes with the zip-up chests
shadow-boxers warty benchmen
whores with mouthsful of lipstick
lord twining giggling toothless on a flagon
backsliders backbiters syndicators
the horse I used to kiss
tough-fingered neighbours in tears
bringers of soup and firewood and stew
peacocks on the woodbox
the giant pitch hounds

man we pranced for you
in the spiral waft of your spirit
man we danced
the open-throated laughter of rejoice

balancing on talons
the wedge-tailed eagle skrawked a warning
shotgun discharges on the fence

as I spun 
your big hand at the small of my back
sweet brandy whisper of grandmother's breath
reassurance of ironed linen to come

bits went up in the air

we cast dirt skyward
lumps of gravel and clay
hats and butts and worn out notions
the bones of old ideas 
heaven was our chimney 

I hurled bottles 

shiraz made mud for our boots 

this is the works
these are our roots 

philip white

top photo©Milton Wordley ... on the occasion of her 60th birthday, without spilling a drop of Riesling, Wilma exits a very low limbo below a real long Mt Pleasant metwurst, which we then devoured ... bottom snaps by me: Big Bob as Yeti ... and here he is at our last lunch ... the tomato one on his left was his favourite. I think he thought I would deftly devour the other. Sheesh. Wee Rab.

That shotgun reference is a recollection of the day Bob's 12 gauge discharged as he climbed over a fence. About 1984. Silly fellow was hardly a hunter. I was so freaked to realise how close he'd come to blowing his head off I could barely speak but typical of the man, he ended up attempting to comfort and reassure me! No more shotgun after that.

On just re-discovering this poem in the ether I was tempted to clarify this incident by adding to its text, but I don't want to change what must have been an utterly spontaneous splurge of images from the eyelid cinema library ... I can't remember the Philip who wrote that poem but he seems close.

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