ditch,

the poetry that matters

M. A. C. Farrant 

M.A.C. Farrant is the author of eight collections of satirical and humorous short fiction. As novel-length memoir, My Turquoise Years, was published by Greystone Books/Douglas & McIntyre in 2004. She has published a number of chapbooks with David UU's Berkley Horse, with Damian Lopes' fingerprinting inkoperated and with Farfield Press.
Her stories have been adapted for both radio and television and are widely anthologized in Canada and the United States.
She is a book reviewer for the Vancouver Sun and the Toronto Globe & Mail.
In 2006 stories appeared in the Penguin Anthology of Canadian Humour, Dropped Threads 3 (Random House), a tribute anthology for bill bissett, (Nightwood Edition) and other places. Three anthology contributions are forthcoming in 2007/08.
In March, 2007 a short fiction collection, The Breakdown So Far, appeared from Talonbooks Down The Road to Eternity: New & Selected Fiction will appear from Talonbooks in 2009. She is currently working with the Arts Club Theatre of Vancouver on a stage adaptation of My Turquoise Years.

 

 

  Ten Point Lesson

     

 

1.     It is dangerous to be one half of a pair of lovebirds because lovebirds are enamored of time.  A lovebird is always trying to outlive its mate so it can pine away in exquisite grief.  This is the prize: one dies so the other can sing.

 

 2.     There is a substance called oenanthic ether, which is found in the oxygen samples of those happily feasting on brotherly love.  This ether may contain the antidote to brotherly strife.

 

3.     Romantic love is a musical term meaning toccata and fumble. It is short lived but can occur repeatedly in lives that are old, new, exotic, local, conventional or radical.

 

4.     When love is lost do not be ashamed. Turn the memory of love on its side and push and pull and stroke it.  Soon you will have a colorless, odorless shape like a glass dome, practical enough to encase your heart in.

 

5.     When love is blind, meddle slowly and with care.  Too much or too little inhabitancy will cause blind love to miss its mark and you'll be left holding the donkey's tail.

  

6.     The love knot is supposedly an interlaced bow made of ribbon but lovers know it as that sated realm where to even utter a tender word is too exhausting.  

    

7.     Love Lies Bleeding and Bleeding Hearts are the names of plants and, while suitable as 19th century metaphors for a broken heart, they are too sentimental for our cooler times.  Choose metaphors that are pest free and ultra hardy, ones that prefer wasteland environs such as shopping malls, concrete boulevards, airports, abandoned king-sized beds. 

   

8.     The cure for love sickness is a tasty bit of anything forbidden such as a Black-Thorn cocktail made of Irish whiskey, French vermouth, Absinthe and Angostura Bitters.

 

9.     If Platonic love heats up dangerously, set up an immediate chill.  The secret of a quick and gentle exit is plenty of idealism; no one wants to be accused of upsetting the story.

    

10.     In games, love scores nothing.

 

 

 

 

Ten Point Defense

 

 

1.     A person's original nature attracts or repels certain wisdoms; hence no expert can with assurance affirm that any particular wisdom is better than another.

 

2.     The earliest records of wisdom almost uniformly refer to it in connection with religious celebration, i.e., the effect on the brain.

 

3.           There is no substantial evidence that wisdom has contributed to the corruption of mankind, other than in connection with evangelism, which, being an emotion is a brain by-product.

 

4.     A frequently asked question: Where does the pursuit of wisdom lead its devotees?  A common answer:  To laurels and hindsight, most certainly, to the harmless and delightful thrill of a wise and moderate wit.

 

5.     The combining and manipulating of nature's more potent thoughts should not be treated as a mere matter of routine.  Devils of confusion are lurking everywhere.  They're only too happy to caricature importance and to spoil polite Socratic events.

 

6.     It is prudent to remember that households in all parts of the world are engaged in their own brand of tragicomedy, all of them excellent.

 

7.     To the nervous who may seek wisdom without understanding there lurks potential gloom: mal de mer and headache may substitute for a planned and happy affair with life.

 

8.     To a normally healthy person there is a fair certainty that some wisdom, taken with forbearance and in postmodern fragments, will contribute materially to the health of the species.  

 

9.     It is always a wise decision to suspend definitive judgment on any matter at all.

 

10.     As an added bonus, wisdom acts as a mild stimulant on the adult orgasm and is a solvent for pasty accusations concerning performance in that sphere, sweetie pie, my beloved.

 

 

 

 

   Ten Point Tour

        

 

   1.     Seduced by sang-froid we rode the city streets in busses made of bulletproof metaphysics.  The busses had clear, indestructible platinoid instead of glass for the windows.   Outside:  car lights and casualties. 

 

   2.     Many things have absorbed then dulled our interiors so that now it takes a violent swizzle to renew the deadly.  Never mind, we say, trusting the next stereotype, the next expression of mind.   Never mind.

 

   3.     We are damaged, but brilliantly.  See how our scars weep music.

 

   4.     Riding the busses, we felt sad about our lives, that short stretch between black and black where we don the clothes of the world, disguising ourselves as wonders.

 

   5.     Riding the busses, we prowled our nihility like tourists.

 

   6.     Years ago nothing could touch us.  We were safe from the mazurka of inner-city mayhem.  Snapping our fingers we let our heavens collide, as in love!  Years ago we were imparadised!  Married to a tour bus of our own making.

 

   7.     Now, passing the pink and white bodies of newborn animals left for dead by the side of the road, you said,   "This is what happens when a civilization turns off meat, when animal flesh is reviled," and a man seated across from us nodded his head and said, "Ironic, isn't it?"

 

   8.     As ever, there are many slides into sediment and we never know which moment will contain an earthquake.  This is our song.   We sing about our lucky escapes.

 

   9.     Still, I pointed out the window:  "Look!  A parade!"   The bus slowed and the crowd on the sidewalk cheered.   A wedding procession sped by.

 

   10.    We felt--metaphysically speaking--happy.

 

 

 

 

A.

1.     Trundolatry.  The worship of change. Much easier to live with. 

2.     A new practice, yes.  Relatively speaking.  With a bunch of improvements you can’t see.  Like the notion of time.  You don’t get stuck in the long-term.   Diversion remains intact. 

3.     Agreed.  The word worship is a problem.   More it’s the belief about what’s great.  An exaltation of the short term.

4.     Well, that’s difficult to say.  But essentially it’s the rapid wearing out of interest.   That’s the idea behind it.  As the moment changes so does the interest. 

5.     True.  But somehow the moment defines itself.  You don’t have to think about it.  Just ride the bus.  Check out the view.   There are lots of moments and lots of interests.  Take your pick.     

6.     You could say that.  But what’s the problem with surface?  It’s a fast ride so you have to skim.  Everything’s on the menu. 

7.      Whatever floats your boat.  

8.     The usual things.  Any kind of star.  Sometimes food, a colour, a country.  Sometimes yourself.  There’s no telling. 

9.     Well, we just stop paying attention.  We move on.  There’s nothing mysterious…

10.  True, again.  But interest in this communication is fading. There’s something else…

 

 

 

 

 

   Ten Point Weight

 

 

   1.     I heard the cry of agitated crows and shielded my eyes, peering at the sky for reasons.  A turkey vulture, black and red beaked, was attacking a crow's nest in a nearby tree.  From the crows came a terrible cry of panic.  Higher up, a pair of eagles lazily drifted.

 

   2.     At the same time, an ambulance backed out of the yard next door, discretely removing the body.

 

   3.     You said, "Did you know that eagles mate for life?" and this thought gave me comfort.

 

   4.     It was the same comfort I felt at a party while watching a woman with a bottle of Echinacea dispense twenty drops into her husband's martini.  She had the look of a zealot, dead serious, humourless.  She said, "I've personally taken charge of Bob's immune system."

 

   5.     You cringed and headed for the drinks table.

 

   6.     But I faced a wall and cried.  After twenty-six years, which in married terms is a lifetime, I'd take charge of your immune system, too, if you'd let me.  Take charge like was a medieval fortress and I was Captain of the Guards throwing spears and fire balls at bacteria, multiplying cells, attacking hearts, killer thoughts.

 

   7.     But you don't believe in invisible things, refusing to prostrate yourself before another description of doom.  "The immune system!" you declared.  "Who dreamed up that metaphor?"

 

   8.     When the ambulance removed the body of our neighbour, a cry of panic settled mutely in my chest like a twenty-six pound weight dragging me closer to you but down, as well.

 

   9.     When the time comes, death offers a shopping mall of possibilities, from small deaths to large.  Everyone knows this.  But who amongst us is not tempted by a final, gaudy flourish?  Some give away their money, hoping for a monument.  Some become hysterically kind in an eleventh hour bid to curry favor.  This much is observable.

 

   10.     And this.  It's early June, warm and bright.  The pink climbing roses are in full bloom along the side of the house.  The lawns are still green.  There's a strong breeze coming in from the sea.  And Poplar leaves are snapping like flags at a fair.

 

 

 

 

 

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