Tuesday, 3 January 2017

notes by Mark Young

Discovered a chilli plant growing in the back yard. Orange turning to red. A birdseye, high heat. Last year they were growing wild in the front garden. Pulled out the plants. Kept the fruit. The freezer contains a ziplok bag full of them. A little chilli goes a long way.

Two rainbow bee-eaters on a branch. A member of the kingfisher family but very different in colour, in contour of beak. Still, they have that kingfisher / kookaburra feel about them.

I am waiting for the electrician & the plumber to come. Maybe I can ring up a mechanic, say the car has broken down, & hold a trade convention.

Break off reading Ed Sanders' Tales of Beatnik Glory – a little of that goes a long way too — & start reading a Val McDermid novel, The Torment of Others, one of the series of Tony Hill / Carol Jordan mysteries. I enjoyed the BBC TV series but the books are blacker, more graphic, & I'm enjoying them more. What does that say about me? The title of this one comes from a quote by he whom Paul Blackburn called the preacher, T.S.E., tse-tse fly, from The Dry Salvages.

I bring in the washing. It starts to rain. Now there's a change in the normal order of things.

My legs ache. Age. Arthritis. My left kneecap clacks like Philly Joe Jones in behind Miles Davis. So What perhaps. I run the Cannonball Adderley solo through my mind. It helps, but it doesn't hide the pain. Aspirin works better, though it hasn't the same rhythm. Or the phrasing.

Am assuming birds broadcast the chilli seed, but how can they stand the heat, not that they're ever in the kitchen. Though, reading about the bee-eaters, I learn that they render the sting harmless & kill the bee before swallowing it. Maybe birds render chillies harmless with a garnish of ice-cold water.

That reminds me. I take some soluble aspirin, in a glass of warm water to make the tablets dissolve faster. The plumber arrives. & goes fifteen minutes after. Paid by the hour. My kneecap still clicks but the ache has gone. I make lunch. Afterwards go outside. Click. Now that I am aware of it, my eye is automatically drawn to the orange of the chilli amongst the brown & green & purple of the garden. Click. The bee-eaters have gone. The electrician is still to show.


Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry for almost sixty years. He is the author of over thirty-five books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. His most recent books are Mineral Terpsichore & Ley Lines, both from gradient books of Finland, & The Chorus of the Sphinxes, from Moria Books in Chicago.