The Writer’s Week features keep on coming… this time I chat to Brisbane writer, publisher and editor, Chris Lynch.
What excites you about poetry?
The energy of words slamming together. The layers of meaning in a few chiselled lines. The luminous.
What are the themes that interest you / that you like to explore in your own writing?
The immanence of the world and transcendence of the self. Questions of what is real or what can be known. Moments of weirdness.
Charles Bukowski once said, ‘poetry is what happens when nothing else can.’ How does a poem happen for you?
Poetry is what happens when words are burnt alive.
Blood of the Mantis
A ten-year-old boy, I finish wiping out the chalice, disrobe, go out into the church garden to explore. I can’t believe my luck: I pluck the baby mantis from the shrub and place it on my palm. Four slender legs straddle, lightly hook the skin lines. I hold it up in the sun, examine its strange symmetry. The triangular head cocks towards me like a green dog, and I wonder at a creature built to pray, translucent emerald arms as sturdy and as wicked as those of a crusader. A mosquito lands on my forearm. For once, I watch it get comfortable, line up the proboscis, inject, hind legs rising into the air as the abdomen fills with ruby red blood. Over the hill of my wrist: the mantis, stalking. I stop breathing, we pray. Quick as ninja the mantis strikes, makes a meal of it. A small god looks up at me, mouthparts stained in red wine. Did you see that? Did you see that?
set free a mantis
knowing, even hoping,
a bird eats it
Born with twelve fingers in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, I’ve also lived in Australia, the USA, China, and Japan. Prone to crazy ideas, I’ve run off and joined the army, survived Clarion South, walked the length of Japan, eloped, started Tangled Bank Press, and eaten goat testicles. My poetry has appeared in Blackmail Press and SpeedPoets and is forthcoming in page seventeen and Brisbane New Voices. I recently edited The Tangled Bank: Love, Wonder, and Evolution, an anthology of speculative fiction, poetry, and artwork about evolution. You can find me online at http://hydrolith.wordpress.com