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Green Integer Review

No. 8 (Mar-May 2007)
Poetry & Fiction, Interviews, Essays & Reviews, Bios, Links
Douglas Messerli, Editor

MTC Cronin [Australia]

from The Law of Poetry

The Blackest Law
Boundary Laws (Fearing the Void)
The Law of the Fine Line & The Law of the Thin Line
The Law of Forgiveness
“The Law that Humbles No One”
The Law of What does Not Exist
The Temporary Gallows (The Law of Cause & Effect)
The Law of Solutions
The Law of the Rubber Glove

The Blackest Law

for Johannes Beilharz


That you do not allow the stars to begin.

That you hold the objects that make you crazy.

That you think of absolute necessity.

That you reconstruct the impulse.

Doing the few hours of a morning.

Safely dead.

Forerunning the night.

What kind of motive do you have?

To make your soul cry out as if mortal?

To show your face worthlessness by its own look?

To leave?


You do it all to discover if the blackest law is white.

But what you need to know is decided by what you know.

See the brightest orange flower.

In the night.

Nothing touches your eyes…

Gently with darkness.

Darkness always feels closer than light.



Boundary Laws (Fearing the Void)


The boundaries of facts

can differ from the boundaries

of what is interesting.


The boundaries of the chair

coincide with the boundaries

of classical works on rhetoric.


The boundaries of stories

hide behind a brick wall

and ambush you en masse.


The boundaries of the banal

are a recurring nightmare

filled with identikit faces.


The boundaries of dreams

have no openings (like what

shape is thought to represent).


The boundaries of originality

are in reality about

accomplice identification.


The boundaries of the rose

are as widely spread

as a woman’s legs.


The boundaries of breath

though uncontained

are always dwindling.


The boundaries of the moment

say there is no need to decide

now – Judgment is for Jupiter:


Because the orange fell

into the hand it was juicy

in the mouth.


The boundary of the orange

is the mouth though it may be

only a random encounter.


And the boundaries of this

are too marginal or incidental

to form a deliberative account.




any immense rumour

has the boundaries

of a penetrating kiss


and those of the kiss end

where does the banquet.

Each and every boundary


prevents emptiness flowing

into what is encapsulated

by the skull.


For similar purposes

all the brain’s nothingness

easily permeates most boundaries.


The notable exception

is the boundaries of thought

which thus locked in


fear the void.



The Law of the Fine Line
& The Law of the Thin Line


Knowing the difference

Relies on the methodology of neither.


Life & Death are in the same boat

But Lonely & Alone is quite different.


Understanding, however, what the thin line is

Can often be a fine line.


The fine line, on the other hand, is much too fine

To be subjected to any external measurement.


Meanwhile, as far as the law is concerned,

Subtle distinctions and opposites have fallen in love.


How long it will last might to varying degrees depend

On more than their toleration of difference.



The Law of Forgiveness


If someone refuses to forgive you

You do not need their forgiveness.


It’s pretty easy to work out

What to do next.


Ignore all moves to frighten you

And find a bull to wrestle.


Remember, you asked

For everything but the consequences.



“The Law that Humbles No One”

after Paul Éluard


‘Each can read with trust

The law that humbles no one’


The legal mind does not think it

And the legislator does not write it


None can perfect it

Nor can any misinterpret it


For it is a law that doesn’t whisper

And a law that does not shout


The law that humbles no one

Is inscribed in the heart that suffers


It says that suffering is a good deal

For only with it can one get past


The right of oneself

To demand justice



The Law of What does Not Exist


The whore does not exist.

The soldier does not exist.

Style does not exist.

Being dead does not exist.

Now does not exist.

If you have feet

your feet exist;

if you have hands

your hands exist.

The law governing

what does not exist

applies to hands

and feet.


The whore and the soldier sit

over a drink

and a man thinks

she’s dressed like a whore

and a woman admires

the soldier’s uniform.

Hands touch hands

and feet

touch feet.

The law governing

what does not exist

applies to touching

and feeling.


The whore does not exist.

The soldier does not exist.

Wildness does not exist.

Nor does another’s pain.

Loving is wild.

Being dead is not tame.

Teeth and claws exist;

if you have teeth

and claws.

The law governing

what does not exist

applies to teeth

and claws.


Everything that does not exist

exists in another form.

The whore

is a white leopard.

The soldier is the jungle

at night.

Her feet

make no sound

on his path.

The law governing

what does not exist

applies to sound

and silence.


Soundlessly she takes

him apart with her claws.

Screaming he comes

apart in her claws.

Now exists.

Death exists.

He does not fight.

Whatever he offered

was not enough.

The law governing

what does not exist

applies to soldiers

and whores.



The Temporary Gallows
(The Law of Cause & Effect)


The length of the rope is not right.


Jerking like an animal lost in its skin.


The weight of the body is not right.


A light or heavy eden?


The animal is exhausted.


As they watch from a casual distance.


All their knowledge in what they built.




The crime caused a riot.


All their eyes left their dead.


The length of the rope was not right.


Covering the same distance as fear.



The Law of Solutions


Don’t find the solution.

If you do, there’s where

The limit recognizes you

As one of its parts.


We are only ourselves

In dribs and drabs

And the other bits

Solve nothing either.


If you find out why,

What, where, how

And who, the recipe

Will always be for





The Law of the Rubber Glove


There is something rude about a rubber glove.
But is it something you can put your finger on?

Copyright ©2007 by MTC Cronin

MTC Cronin was born in 1963 in Merriwa in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia and grew up in Caloundra, Queensland. She has published numerous collections of poetry as well as several in translation including her 2001 book, Talking to Neruda's Questions, which has been translated into both Spanish and Italian.

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