rhizomes.06 spring 2003

Highlights of a Career in Surveillance* : a Colloquial Memoir
MTC Cronin


  1. Be your own soldier.
  2. ars est celare artem [1]
  3. The rooster has become too distant. If the opportunity for betrayal is blocked, so too what thought might stop it.
  4. Be alert to the moods, the archetypes -- they contain all and the nothing that frightens with its silence, the sound of death.
  5. To have a small thing takes a lot of people.
  6. Quotation from Reality (p222, Between Confrontation & Love) "This trust, is in herself. In her body. In the grimace, the citric pain. In the whites of her eyes rolling back to reveal the yolk which sits inside pleasure. Trust is the hyphen. In egg-white, egg-yolk, in stepping-stone, loose-knit. And, she thinks -- carrying her full basket, (of eggs, of mangoes, bears, of things with the name of the intruder) -- one that gives is the strongest."

(Sources respectively:

  1. Overheard in a crowd that appeared in a dream.
  2. From a dictionary. (A red one.)
  3. The way in which certain films provoke realization.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Blake Ashford (screenwriter), speech at his wedding to Mireille Juchau (novelist, essayist and playwright) (Casula, December, 2002).
  6. See, luckily, footnote 14.)


We all start off as spies.
Ask any seven year old playing with a four year old.
Those who keep at it become novelists; those who are caught out, journalists and philosophers; those whose hearts break upon leaving this first past behind, poets, actors etc etc.
All other occupations are simply variations (though not really on a theme -- more on a method). Viz., the painter and the photographer, not to mention lawyers, police, doctors, supermarket workers...
I was not as adept at it as my sister who ferreted numerous tiny folded and then folded again pieces of paper into the crevices of my parents' furniture and home. She did it so well that she is now Hecuba in a timely Women of Troy. [2] She sits bolt upright in the bed at night and screams 'Do not let Paris enter!' [sic] [3] That she is taken seriously can be proven by the reporting of her sleeptalking (for that is surely what it must be) in a suburban paper [4] which even printed a very large photo of her head at an odd angle -- one might say 'cocked' ready for war.
Further watching of her movements [5], or might we posit Hecuba's? -- spies always watch other spies -- is illustrated by reports in major newspapers of the country [6], reports written by agents who are aware of the duplicity of my sister, who know hers is but a role, but who seem to have a not-perfect idea of how well she is in fact playing it. [7]


There is the art of studying another's eyes.

What might be learned from this: lies or truth; dis/comfort; whether the other is practising the same art and thus: lies or truth; dis/comfort; ditto.

A fascinating discussion on 'eye leakage' can be found in Julie Makowski's 1998 paper Can an Individual Honestly Lie? Consider this extract:

Lying is something we as humans do everyday and everyday our lie detection abilities are tested. This study is designed to test the assumption that facial leakage exists in deception and to determine whether or not humans are good lie detectors. It hypothesizes that facial leakage does exist in deception, yet humans do not catch these cues and are therefore, poor lie detectors. The results from this study do not support these hypotheses, although they do bring into light possible factors that could have affected the data surrounding the study.


Robert Mitchell has proposed a typology, in which he illustrates four levels of deception (Barnes, 148). The lowest observes plants and butterflies that deceive by appearance (Barnes, 148). The second examines how some birds will deceive with actions by feigning injury (Barnes, 148). At the next level, animals are learning to deceive (Barnes, 148). Dogs will fake an injured leg, because his human master with treat him sympathetically (Barnes, 148). The fourth and final level presents learned deception, which is designed to deal with novel circumstances (Barnes, 149). Present at this level are chimpanzees, baboons, and innumerable humans (Barnes, 149).

It is at the fourth level in which Machiavellian skill is needed (Barnes, 149). Machiavellian skill is the ability to take account in deciding how to act, of likely responses of others (Barnes, 151). Along with Machiavellian skill, its relative theories, and the ability to indulge in fantasy, lying becomes a feasible option (Barnes, 152).

For these reasons, I would expect to find that individuals would be able to lie without detection. But not for lack of cues would deceivers be discovered, rather the lack of good detection skills and abilities.

So hone those skills! [8]

Mothers generally study the eyes of their babies, particularly in the first few months, to determine their ultimate colour. Sometimes this involves the Guessing Game[9] which is also practised widely in the field although the level of its use is greatly, and with good reason, under-reported.



[for what you volunteer --
for what you want --
is not a choice


Seeks to romance our perceptions.
Timeless inside it.
Babies and children dwell in the threshold,
knowing nothing of time.
Caught in time I might say
my favourite time of the week
is when I have most reason
to let the week go...


The death photocopy is the best picture
of this. Only
the thoughts of things.


My 'uncut' hides other bodies.
(Me) (Not me)
Where does identity occur?
In the frame-up.


One is greater than one thousand
when one is made up
of one thousand pieces.

Weight & Movement

The fruit falling
comments on the orchard.
Exclamation covers the ground
like a patina of burial.

Movement & Weight

Akinesia: loss of power of voluntary
How your body, eyes and face
are used by the ropes and chains
of event.
And, if you think about it,
the seesaw, the pulley, the scales,
are the dream ones --
their argument is with your independence.

Volunteers at the Threshold

Free will:
1. I'm going blind in my right eye,
especially today.
2. There is not only the possibility
of being diagnosed as mad
but as sane.
3. They went to Church -- well, they went out the door
and didn't come back for awhile. (4. There is no Church.)

Someone's voice, words, intention, suspicion
drew me here...
Look at the lies they specify.
I have seen things their way
and seen things my own.
If you want to know a thing, you must change it.
Not sure I agree. (Perhaps be changed by it?)

[Note: this last line earned the author a reprimand. I'll let you be the judge, after all, it seems to encourage any opportunity to be in the first person.]



1. Poetically


Your feet want to wear
Sunglasses because your hands
Are so famous so
Bright and famous...

2. Scientifically

Everything is considered to be part of the 'dreamed inclusive background'. [13]

3. Extract from a novel: 'THE AWE (OR 100 KINDS OF MADNESS)' [14]

[At risk of sounding like a creative writing teacher, please keep in mind when reading the following extract that there is more than one person exercising surveillance. And don't forget the author -- after all, that's the point!]


She was not sure that anything was happening at all.

My grandfather's favourite phrase was "Bugger it all. Happens all the time it does." He said it whenever you said anything to him. He said it about everything. He'd laugh -- "Bugger it all" -- a big wheezy laugh of cigars -- "Happens all the time it does." When the glass fell off the table. When my father crashed the car. When the dog got fleas and then heartworm. When my mother's brother died of cancer. "Bugger it all." He was certain.

Open heart surgery?

I would think he was swearing and say "Damn Bum." Bugger it all, he said, happens all the time it does.

She would think about the young man and then she would not think about him. Had he picked up what she had dropped or had he simply followed her? And would it continue?

He once laughed so much he almost choked. He even continued to laugh after my mother propped him up in his big TV Chair with three cushions under his back. He looked uncomfortable, choking and laughing on top of three cushions. He'd gotten drunk -- which he hardly ever did -- on scotch and sucking mints, and told us a story about how as little boys, him and his friends had turpsed a cat and lit it and then watched it run for the river. He came from the bush. He almost died laughing. I think he felt bad about it. The cat. He had tears coming out of his eyes. People say cats are a menace. I am suspicious about people.

She was suspicious that she appeared harried and that her friends believed she seemed startled when they met. She couldn't quite manage to close her mouth completely when she should and gave them the impression that she was inordinately concerned with something elsewhere. She was looking for someone behind her or afraid to look back around corners after she had turned them. Or she could hear things or feel things or see things. Or could she?


She thought she could. And although it was irritating, it was exciting. Because it was, for a change, unresolved, unfixed. Like divining by dropping melted wax into water, what was forecast yet remained subject to question and not to be depended upon. She could float like the wax in that water, not formless, but continually changing form, and even when she settled somewhere, the interpretation of where she was would remain forever idiosyncratic and open to be recast. The feeling was one of sick doubt. Nothing was definitely known or decided. Every movement was excited by a feeling of unbearable hesitance, each of her senses aroused by things indeterminate.

Where was he?

And was he?

But the unease crawling like a spider through her chest knew that he was. Even if not where.

It was the kind of feeling your mind can do without, but your body craves. It is that hot, goading feeling in your belly, that warning of dehiscence between your legs. It is the feeling from fairytales and romance novels and thrillers, that is yet unfabled. It is perhaps, for some, irregular or elusive, but it is as real as it is common. We have all read about it.

She could feel him supporting her.
The fear. Under her ribs.

Under the desk she had a book. Reading it while the teacher wrote on the board the view from nowhere in particular. The teacher wrote on the board things from the syllabus. They weren't just some perspective. 'The Causes of the War'. Underlined. Five points set out. Numbers one to five. Everyone copied them down. Only five? Only five causes of the war? No-one questioned it. And she was reading about a man and a girl (she wasn't a woman -- women are uninteresting to men at the beginning of a book -- if he wanted a women he would have one by the end), a girl and a man who despised each other. And they had more reasons than five. It was riveting. She was headstrong. And that was the very word used. And she thought she was independent. Good reasons for him not to like her. He was tall and broad and dark and with all of these, unsurprisingly, impenetrable. Good reasons for her to pretend not to like him. She was more beautiful (he was objective about this) than all the other women in the book -- but they were women and he'd had most of them (he thought that that was why they were women) -- and ultimately, penetrable. She had no-one to help her and somehow, the lack of these other people, maybe a father, an obnoxious brother or guardian, even a twin sister would have done at a pinch, made her helpless. As if their non-existence made her less human. Every girl, to avoid being taken, to avoid being known and changed, needs to be part father, brother, someone, anyone, with an interest. A controlling interest.

And the man kept leaving wherever the girl was, but fate kept him bumping back into her, somewhere or other. So she had to read quick, to keep up with the bits where they met, clashed, exploded angrily on the page. For some reason, unknown -- because he kept saying he wasn't really interested or didn't really like it or could get it better elsewhere from a real woman (not to mention that he kept saying he had a good reason for everything he did or was forced to do) -- the man kept raping the girl. Though that wasn't the word used. Sometimes he would say he was forced by her to do this thing to her that wasn't raping her. And she, for reasons equally unknown, because it hurt and because she was ashamed and humiliated, started having thoughts that she in fact liked it. This thing that wasn't rape. Thoughts, feelings, emotions, passions, that she couldn't fight. That came unbidden in much the same way as the man. These thoughts were probably the fault of the author. Chances are she never even had them. They were written for her and rammed into her head in much the same way as the man was ramming into her.

But she didn't notice the author there under the desk and wasn't interested in the causes of the war. There, in the classroom, sitting at her desk, in the middle of the war ...

She was sick with desire ...

Millions are sick with it. Imagining it, imagining it is not good enough, imagining it could be better, imagining they can have it and where they are going to get it. Uncontrollable, fated, and random. Things will only happen one way. So things can only happen one way. This is a feeling -- a disgusting feeling -- of 'not knowing', but smothered in anticipation. Hot, it burns your mouth like a mustard sandwich. The anticipation is the true passion. Once you have eaten it, everything cools down.

But hunger doesn't contemplate.

It is quite beautiful, someone told her.


Someone told her, at around about this time, of a sniper in a building. (In another country of course. Here, there were only flats, and unemployed people, and normal murders, that is, the kind that are on the news.) They said,

"... and what if someone told you there was a sniper in the next building, but of course the sniper doesn't live there, the sniper doesn't always snipe from that building, the sniper likes to move around, and nobody has been able to identify that sniper, to catch him -- it is likely to be a him -- and if a lot of people in the neighbourhood have already been killed by that sniper ...?"

And this heightened the nervous feeling she had and she wondered if it was irrational to feel afraid or if that was the intended effect of the story. And it probably was, because the teller of the story went on ...

"... well, would you walk past your windows then, especially at night? Could you do that, even with the curtains drawn?"

Someone who is not afraid of anything. And let's face it, fear is a lot more homely than you think!

By now she was crouching, unconsciously ...

"... could you even move, inside your house, knowing that at any second, you might be shot ..."

Through the heart, she thought, straight through the heart. And the pain would be so great, so immense, that it would be beyond her power to feel it, to acknowledge it in all its unfair glory ...

When she was a child she had had a dream. A fortune-teller had laughed and shaken out her long golden hair and said "You are going to live for three hundred and fifty-six thousand million years." It was a nightmare and she had woken screaming. When she woke he was standing in the doorway. "I want mummy" she said. He smoothed her hair, soft as fennel flowers. "Mummy's asleep" he said. The room went darker. His hands carried her back to bed. "Shhh" he said. "I'll tell you a story."

The person telling the story was busy creating fear.

"... would you want to move? Of course you'd want to. To leave your house, to go to another town that didn't have a sniper. But things aren't that easy ..."

Things were never easy for them. There was the garage to run. (The garage that was a facade. Only the front of the building was really there and lots of dead people were buried behind it.) Every day we came home from school and played around the bowsers. On the neglected traffic islands with bags of marbles and a packet of biscuits. While they worked. (Apparently there was a man with a gun who guarded the garage for personal reasons. Years before he'd been in a car accident and an infant in the other car had been killed. He found out later that the baby was the child of the King and Queen of Spain and unaccountably this intensified his pain and caused him to bury his car behind the garage. Maybe he built the garage. The car was the first corpse to come to rest there and remained the only one of a mechanical bent.) She had sore feet and warned us to stay off the driveway. Out of the way of the cars. (She warned us about the man, saying that he was dangerous, but the warning was to provide knowledge and not protection.)

She was an easy target, she was thinking. Like someone swimming in a cork-jacket. She kept bobbing up, she couldn't sink down where it was safe, out of sight. She imagined she would appear to anyone sizing her up in a telescope, as sliding, and rearranging as a mark in the joints of its glass, to someone tracking her on a radar screen, as glowing, a pulsing beat -- a giant cordate bull's-eye simply waiting for the shock ...

She was afraid. Fear was supporting her -- its cold walls with no windows. Afraid of three hundred and fifty-six thousand million years of darkness. Unable to stop his voice. To move.

"... what if you can't afford to move, if the government won't let you, if there's nowhere to go? Could you walk past your windows every day, knowing but not knowing, when people were being killed by that sniper every day?"

"There, everything's OK now isn't it. Isn't it?" he said.

Despite the supposed urgency, the suggestion of impletion offered by the voice if she would answer to it, she could not quite make up her mind. She could duck. She could crawl on the floor past the window. She could feel fear. So fearful that she could no longer recognize her premonitions. As if this masking with anxiety could protect her from them. But she didn't know where he was. Didn't know if she should believe in him at all. Was their meeting dependent upon her deciding that they would meet?

In the morning she could meet nobody's eyes. And anyhow, she was going to live forever.

"Anyhow" she said, to the person who had told her this story "it's quite safe here, things like that don't happen here."

(There was a shrug somewhere, by someone.)

Indeed, inside the flat she found it difficult even to remember to think of him at all.

Nobody noticed.

But out on the street ...


She knew he was there.

As soon as she left the flat, she knew he was there. She didn't know where exactly, but in the world outside the flat, he had to be. Somewhere.

Somewhere in the garden she'd hidden surprises. Lollies, small presents wrapped in paper. The little girl's mother had hidden them for all the children at the party. A group of the children were under the stairs, talking. They didn't like the little girl whose party it was. She was a friend of theirs. They were teasing her. And it was her party. Her mother had made cakes and blown up balloons. Had wrapped presents so the children could unwrap them after the games.

One day after she'd taken the children to school, the little girl's mother hanged herself, under the stairs.

The children walked carefully around the garden. Looking for surprises.

So she walked carefully, thinking about him watching her walk. She didn't want that walk to be anything other than a walk. She didn't want him to describe it. As a saunter, or a stride, or a shuffle.

She didn't want her walk to take hold of his imagination, to lead him anywhere, to give him ideas. So she just walked. Later, if anyone asked, she'd say "I've just been for a walk."

You don't walk far in your life. Only about one hundred and twenty thousand kilometres.

And she was careful where she walked. She didn't slow down or speed up, didn't stop to look at things that might have interested her and didn't ignore the things that she normally wouldn't have noticed.

She was guarding her dispositions against one who would like to measure them. She would have, on this particular day and on this particular walk, no predilictions. She let her eyes spend an equal amount of time everywhere and relaxed her hands until they held no preferences.

She found more lollies than anyone in the garden. She had been teasing the girl, under the stairs.

Later, when the girl had no mother, she was the little girl's best friend.

It was after about ten minutes that she felt something stronger than knowledge. A feeling, an intuition that her walk was serving some other purpose. Was providing something for someone. And she knew he was close.

In her awareness she sensed him, present, yet still totally within herself. He hadn't moved into a place where he could see her yet. Only she knew he was there. He was looking for her, but had still not taken his place in the scene.

It was the little girl's father who found the little girl's mother, swinging under the stairs. He looked into her familiar eyes and thought, she can't see me.

But she was in his mind as he was in hers.


"Where are you going?"

Where are you going?
Come back here.
I'm talking to you.
Stand right there.
Look at me.

Where are you going?
Answer me.

Where are you going?
Answer me ...
Answer me ...
Answer me ...


Today she was going to a funeral.

Surveillance on this novel produced the following reports (the identities of the authors of the reports have been kept secret for legal reasons):

"I think The Awe is ultimately a successful novel, when I got to the end of it I marvelled at its accomplishment, its resonance, and its lightness of touch. ..."

"I could list many more pieces that I think are marvellous, the dialogues are generally terrific ..."

"The Awe has a good deal of good writing and humour and heart and sorrow in it and I enjoyed reading it a great deal. And I enjoyed having read it, the experience after reading it, of having been given something hard and poetic and controlled and exploratory and (sometimes flawed) but towards the last third definitely stronger and more confident, which is always a test of the material, if it gets better and better you've really got something.

I particularly admire the ambition of the author and congratulate her on working with such difficult formal parameters. The resonance of the reading experience is a measure of her success."

"The layout of the pages is carefully arranged and contributes a lot to the pace and mood of the writing. At a number of points in the narrative, the writing modulates into poetry and this is both carefully marked as well as unobtrusive. ..."

"The narrative is both droll and surreal. It shifts between two main strands: first is the story of a four-way love quadrangle (but really a triangle) between Mungo, Wrene (the female narrator) and Roxanna (Gustavo, Roxanna's partner tends to be a marginal figure); the second strand is a kind of surreal, or more strictly speaking dream, narrative that acts like a kind of commentary on the jealousy triangle. This latter narrative is much freer in time and space, obviously, than the realist narrative particularly in terms of imagery, it continually relies on surreal shifts and images. It has its source in Wrene's consciousness and so can range widely overly (sic) her life and memories. Often, I thought it was the strongest part of the writing.

The narrative is divided up with sectional inter titles: 'Attraction', 'Jealousy', 'Exhilaration' etc. This gives the piece as a whole a fast-moving, episodic, even filmic, kind of feel. The inter titles also have a kind of postmodern ironic effect: they can evoke a topic or subject which is then glanced at only, or subverted, or deflated, by the narrative that follows.

I found myself reading The Awe with interest and intrigue, and I read it the first time in one rapid sitting. This is the sign of attractive writing and this piece certainly has that attraction."


Attraction! Now isn't that a musical thought. In the business of course it's a trap for young players. [15] Consider the following things in terms of outcome:

A. The hot eyes in my heart know the shortest distance between lightning and fear. (16)



My psychiatrist advised      I should visit a war
To conquer the fear in me      of being damaged
Or destroyed by hostility.      I wasn't so sure
But she'd booked a flight:      I could travel by night
To the place where it was held      and more,
I wouldn't need a visa      or pay an entry tax
For just a meagre contribution      I could come and see
The slaughter;      if I'd pitch in just a bit
I could see how it was fought      or I'd get my money back.

Isn't it grand, my doctor said,      that donations can now
Be directly made.      No more need for channels;
The highlights of free trade.    You can pay them with a draft -- Goodwill at last
made simple      and not a bit of graft.

She advised I watch      the news on telly
To get the general drift,      the carnage was electric,
My belly set adrift.      The calmest voice I'd ever heard
Said the last day      had been quiet and uneventful,
Barely the chirping of a bird,      the only trouble if you please
Was when 200 A's and 100 B's      were ripped apart by 100 police.
Up till then it had been      a two-way test of might.

Two hours later      an update gave me more:
The sides had changed to four.      The moderate voice assured
The Church is the latest      to join the fight,
It thought at first      it should only participate
In religious ways      to let the killers be absolved
But the last rites are requested      so often these days,
I was told,      that it felt it had to get involved.

Involvement is the key,      my psychiatrist said,
To leading a full and healthy life;      taking part a prerequisite
To having a rich and wealthy life.      So off you go
And don't forget      to bring back
Some snapshots of the strife --      But the future's an unknown sum
and I'm not as dumb      As some believe,
perhaps you should settle      our bill before you leave.

I had thought the bill      was mine alone
but she could share it      if she chose
So I wrote a draft      for half the sum
And assured her      at the departure rail
In a voice I'd newly learned,      your cheque is in the mail,
She waved      I hope you'll soon return

The war was at first a letdown,      could hardly raise a scare;
An uncourageous man      barricaded behind a hotel desk
Who drugged me      with the weariness of a stare:
First floor, he said      and tossed a key.
He didn't check my papers,      wasn't suspicious of me
So I tried to look mysterious      and climbed his stair
With a spy-like lope      but glancing back
I saw him asleep      (snoring as well)
His hand on the bell      dreaming I hoped
Of an uneasy peace,      ready to raise the alarm
At the slightest sound      from hell.

In my room I stamped my feet      like mortars on the floor,
Turned on the shower      and all the taps
To create the uproar of a war.      Later for a bit of quiet
I turned them all back off      till not a sound was heard
And settled down between the sheets      to wait to be disturbed.

The next day I did all      the galleries and museums,
The statues and the parks,      bought souvenirs and gifts,
Read all the menus of the town      and searched the crowds for rifts,
Trudged every mark upon its map      and even walked back in the dark.
How was your day?      first floor asked --
I checked his question      for any traces of intrigue --
Nothing happened, I called back,      I felt like battle fatigue.

Inside my room      I made some notes
Of everywhere I'd been;      one query had shaken me
From the calm      in which I'd basked,
It seemed vital to agree on answers      even if I wasn't asked.

I stayed a week or more      and then another on the front
Where the desk clerk      was fast and fresh --
A reservoir of knowledge --      and slept with me
My first night there      (he had a copy of the manifesto,
He was still in college).      Your bra, he said,
Smells like swimming pools      I said I didn't know
It would be so hot.      But what about the war?
Fools, he whispered      and tried to get it off,
It's grim, but in truth      anything can be as bad
As anything else I guess.      He was getting irritated
After fifteen minutes without success,      so I stripped
And we had it off      in the bug-infested cot.
I waited for inside information      but he just talked a lot.

When he slept      I kept my ears up for the bombs,
Waiting for the worst      -- as if alone --
Two weeks I spent      unprotected in a war zone
But the bubble never burst.      I ate, I slept, I toured,
Got fucked      and had a good look round,
Went home completely cured:      my head was back
From the clouds      at last;
Both feet      were on the ground.

How did it go,      my doctor asked,
I gave her a teatowel      and a shrug.
I said, at the airport I saw      a military van,
"Santa's in here"      was painted on the side,
I met a man.      She smiled. I lied,
Some day I might go back.      Gave her a quick hug

And said,      I must go home and pack.
But where are you going?      she asked with lips
Both worried      and put out.
Oh, I said,      I've booked two trips
To an earthquake      and a drought. [17]

This little ditty could possibly have been better placed within the section 'In the Field', but I gave into the temptation to position it here because it operates both as an example and a warning of how one cannot escape one's occupation even when insane and on holidays.


End Story...

End story with her totally unaware he's dead -- eg., she's in the bathroom at the pub, happy, about to go back out and see him, he's been shot by the police, killed in an altercation and she doesn't know -- FINIS BUT in a situation where you're fairly certain he is dead but don't say it. She's looking everywhere for him. This was a hotel she was in, in a movie. That things were not as they should be was why we watched.

D. And for those of you interested in curiosities, whilst writing this memoir a netsearch (go to www.mylovermylawyer.com/yourday) revealed a piece with a very similar title - Highlights of A Career in Surveying. For curiosity's sake it is reproduced below in the footnotes. [18]



This is you at your most coincidental. Fate asleep. Faith is dark.

You do not want your life to be a charming tableau --life should not be floodlit! -- but you still need to take heed of tips for packing and preparing for camp.

If you see a message saying 'the identity certificate has expired, this is readable to others and may not go to the intended party', expect to experience an honest shame.

Don't let rules decide anything for you. Despite injustice I learned this from the tyranny of punctuation.

As all good spies know, there is much to be discovered by picking the brains of historians and old women and "[i]f the heart could think, it would stop." [22]

There, see... 'Testing, one, two, three: Where does the zebra stop and start?' [23]

As Rilke put it so nicely "Tot, rot und offen". [24]



(*) In some circles, surveillance is also known as 'Codework'. See Muse Apprentice Guild, «www.muse-apprentice-guild.com».

[1] 'true art is to conceal art'

[2] She did it so well that my parents are still finding the little paper parcels nearly forty years later!

[3] How about Priam? See that Rome has many cats: «au.geocities.com/masthead_2». (Issue 7 to be precise.)

[4] The Glebe, January, 2003. See also Green Left Weekly, "In war 'the weak suffer what they must'", 5 February, 2003, where Alison Dellit states that "Euripedes set his play in an encampment of women from a defeated city." Coincidentally where God set his one and only production thus far! Hoi Barbaroi!

[5] Rumour has it that she coughed up a flower on stage and performed the whole of the first act with the flower in her mouth. Further than this, she performed to a standing ovation as people -- not punters! -- rose to their feet while she considered, in secret, how to remove the flower from her mouth and secrete it into in her burkha.

[6] See The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 February, 2003.

[7] Perhaps to truly appreciate her situation they would have both to have written Women of Troy and played spies with my sister when all involved were under the age of ten (including Euripedes!).

[8] Try pulling out the glint in your eyes, the grey electricity, the reciprocity...

[9] A similar phenomena has been reported in The Cows Incident where a man by the name of David William Kelly pulled a tree off the road. Cows saw him and starting walking down toward the roadside. Other cows saw them and followed. Kelly tried to guess how many there were and later considered writing a poem about it. Instead he wrote a poem called Learning to Roast Spontaneously which is reproduced below.

Learning to Roast Spontaneously

One of the great mysteries?
Is getting a girlfriend that easy?
Put it in and come back later.
First time the smoke alarm went off.

[As you can probably guess, people saw the smoke and approached his house. Guess how many people ended up on his doorstep?]

[10] There have been very few of these ever made public. There is of course the threat of legal action, but more pressingly, there are fears that the public simply wouldn't understand them. This, of course, raises the spectre of lack of appreciation for a job well done and none of us need that.

[11] I was careful though to ensure that they never saw me and never knew that I was a member of the group. (And, in fact, I was officially not a member as my membership was not paid up. I was never caught though! Probably due as well to my keeping of silence.)

[12] Gr. rhizoma.

[13] Mark Turner, The Literary Mind, Oxford University Press, 1996, p.121.

[14] Anonymous, The Awe (or 100 Kinds of Madness), Iambic House, Healesville, 1994, pp.30-39. (The author, at the time of the book going to print, was living under a witness protection scheme.)

[15] As they say in the spam: 'This is a very nice game. This is a very humour game. I hope you would like it. You are my first player.' (This kind of twattle has only appeared since the start of the latest millenium so I wouldn't place too much weight on it.)

(16) After The Bookkeeper.

[17] There is a more serious side of this coin. See 'Hostage Sonnet' (from Metaphors for Death, unpublished manuscripts in possession of the author), reproduced below:

Hostage Sonnet

he lost his head because they
realized the scale of value: try
one white for one hundred blacks
and then further down, one hundred
blacks from here equals about a
thousand from there... "Go West

young man" and not for some
wild holiday where life is as cheap
as the beer or else you might be
recognized for what you are: a
Young Gold God with a sense of
adventure through a lens that

is hardly cheap and think
about value a bit harder

[Poem previously published in Ars Poetica and Green Left Weekly, though it may in future be moved to Physokythos.]

[18] Highlights of a Career in Surveying

You should know when you look what information you expect to find. Remember, though, that the errors of survey are small. Or are, in fact, what could be described as a tinge of error. Not a mistake, a mistake is a gross error. However, this scantiness, this exiguousness, this meanness, tincture or smack of error, even the suspicion means that a fault has been found of such a magnitude that the transaction has to be stopped and the fault fixed. Such as what? The cottage was on the wrong block of land. Not common? (We found twenty-seven percent within one sample.) Or, I get there and find the swimming pool's a different shape and the carport is in fact a garage. The provision of misleading evidence. It is a surveyor's maxim that most things will change over time. So, treat old survey reports with some mistrust and be wary of those addressed to builders. Are the boundaries fenced? Don't use the report if it doesn't show all the facts. The danger is if the fence is put up after the report and the fence is not right. A wrong fence! Are the measurements within tolerance? It's never just an open paddock! Old roads may be closed and take on a different status. (Pen to paper?)


In a different tense/ the idea of error/ is death as error/
and if this is your idea/ you are in error.

[19] And though we are not discussing pornography specifically, with the self is the only place judgement doesn't find itself a dirty word.

[20] (to be sung:)

So come, my friends, be not afraid
We are so lightly here
It is in love that we are made
In love we disappear

[Leonard Cohen, 'Boogie St', Ten New Songs ]

[21] For a discussion of poetry as a foolish occupation see, MTC Cronin, A Foolish Occupation, paper delivered at Wordpool for the Queensland Writers' Centre, Hotel Terminus, Melbourne St, South Brisbane, 9 July, 2002 (archived).

[22] Bernardo Soares un-disguised as Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet, translated by Alfred Mac Adam, Exact Change, Boston, 1998, p.138. A lovely theatrical adaptation of this book i- The Book Keeper of Rua dos Douradores -- was executed by Carlos Gomes (director) and the Sidetrack Performance Group at the Sidetrack Theatre in Marrickville, Australia in 2002. The cast comprised Arky Michael (who on the night I saw the play looked extraordinarily like Pessoa -- who I have incidentally never seen), Adam Hatzimanolis, Georgina Naidu and Silvio Ofria. (I didn't know who they looked like.) The production fared well in the various surveillance reports concerning it that appeared in the country's media. (I agreed with their tenor except that I didn't like the pirate/rape scene.)

I think Michaux referred to much the same phenomena as a thinking heart as 'Life in the Folds'. (See Laura E Wright's translation of the work of Henri Michaux, Life in the Folds, Black Square Editions, due out any minute, maybe even out now.)

[23] This is a bit of an in-joke, a reference to the author's poem 'Quotation from Fantasy' (from Irrigations (of the Human Heart) ~ fictional essays on the poetics of living, art & love, unpublished manuscript in possession of the author. When published this book will have on the front cover a human heart resting on a white textured coffee shop napkin into which some of its blood is seeping. On the back cover that same human heart will be wearing that same blood-stained napkin (now folded) as a paper hat). The poem itself was previously published in October Poems, ed., Jill Jones, Espresso, 2002.

[24] Couldn't be bothered finding reference.