Mark O’Flynn

Mark O’Flynn has published two collections of poems The Too Bright Sun, and The Good Oil with Five Islands Press. A third is forthcoming in 2007. Eleanor & Eve, his seventh play, was produced at Railway Street Theatre in Sydney in 2003. His novel, Grassdogs, was published by HarperCollins in 2006. He lives in the Blue Mountains with his wife, two children and one dog.


Japanese Student

[Language is the house of being – Heidegger]

In the house of doing
the origami crane
or is it a seagull

becomes the residue
which we praise to the limits
of our clumsy grammar.

Pause to collect
all our thoughts about cranes.

We mime abstractions
and screwy semantics,
a tiny trout in its beak.

A paper crane is a door
that stays open too long
on a lake of amputated reflections.

The phrase book a tennis ball between us.

Hilarity is the difference
between pig and fig.
We are learning much.

What she thinks
is etched on her face
like an atrocity,
a sundered morpheme.

Fear has no gender
but its bare bones
and the inability to speak.

We make cruel signs of soothing.

In the house of bumbling
the syllables of my cooking
are the unspoken stuff of nightmares.

Her attitude to lizards tells us apart.

We swap no worries, and good tucker
and konichiwa but this is not enough.
In silence we cannot be silent.

Tears have no culture
beyond the distance
of a loveless boy

with a trout for a heart
who does not understand
the word kindness.

Language is mute
in the house of drowning
where she is lowered into the water

bonsai sprouting in her mouth

tongue’s words pecked
alive from her gills
by an origami crane.