Stephen Gilfedder: ’email from the minders in heaven’ and ‘Glance’

email from the minders in heaven

Of course we have your conservative,
stroke progressive, stroke reactionary
stroke minority, concerns in mind.
At this site no newspaper supplements
called “Life” or restaurant critics
quibbling over sauces; there’s nothing
to read except The Word on screen.
We run a very professional operation.
You’ll like it here: any opposition
has long gone underground, so to speak.
There’s the certainty of tipping
all the big ones, arranging pre-selection
and factional schisms, all online.
A uniformly positive media means
we just look down and score
strategists for God and log prayers daily.
The automatic sort on Afterlife Scan
looks after any appropriate response
while we take turns to arrange the quotes
for Its Nibs lying cryogenically frozen
in cyberspace, hooked up to life support.
You might say, the virtual Supreme Being
with us the Server on self-sustaining software.
Believe us, we have the polling and the numbers.

Stephen Gilfedder

I was taken to the death house as a treat, holding my mother’s hand. I was seven or eight, shown the cause of all that fuss, all that excitement. You did those sorts of things in sleepy Canberra then.

Gogi Grant was on the radio
Singing The Wayward Wind,
Just enough space through
A door half-open to check
The dared-to-see wall
Hastily painted over,
My mother’s sympathetic
Noises with a furtive relative
In shade on the verandah.
One coat in the morning sun
Not covering the decorative
Arc of the implement
The lady of the house had used
To send off her old man.

Her mugshot in the paper
A history of trial, it was said
The daughter interfered with,
All she was doing as usual
When he clattered home
Flinging his keys on the lino
Drunk, looking for trouble
Was trying to protect the kids.
She said not much just
It happened, perhaps there
Comes a time you stop trying
To keep it from the neighbours.
After he didn’t move anymore,
She tucked him into bed
And stood barefoot on the lawn.

Locked away for an eternity
In the madhouse, an asylum,
The loony bin kids called it,
Decked out with straightjackets
Electric shocks and sedatives,
Free to wander the grounds
In a calico smock in cheerless
Goulburn, Ghoulburn John Fowles
Unblessed it in The Magus.
Passing through the blank bypass
At dusk the Super-Max searchlight
Pans across the dancing hills
As if she were making a run
From someone’s fleeting recall.

Stephen Gilfedder


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