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Thursday, 23 March 2023  | Nichola Chadwick



drums me down somewhere

trapped against dry rasping walls

the penultimate corner before the floor breathes its last

and yawns into a colourless despair without plaster or pillars, a stretching succourless space

 perfect for a sucker like me, delighted as I am with desolation


I am clean of hallucinatory fevered veins but all the same

looking up from the bottom of myself in perverse bliss


Until the 42nd song of praise makes the bile rise


Where are you?

You’re a busy bee

matter and space and disastrous races clamouring for your time;

but don’t you dwell outside that ticking circle?

There is where human rhyme dismembers all comprehension of Divine intention

so we bare our teeth in injured snarls at the aloof Outside

with impotence faltering down our cheeks

looking wide and raw into the nothing

begging for the something promised


I have lifted my eyes so many times

I have repented and presented and waited for the Ghostly Gift

What is you and what is not you?

If life is just life then you’re just paper


Where are you?

Why are you so far away?

You are there, where we are not

you are here, so some say

so you were, so some said

in a beaten land bruised by foreign hands

You came

with ever burning flame

with sandaled feet and sweaty brow

you came to lift up the beaten ones

and give an Outside hope and power


Where are you now?

Why is what you were so shattered?

Now your power diffuses, confuses and demands showy chatter

Now you are Outside, sheltered by the haze of time

cluttered by critical hallucinations

unreachable and irreproachable

Now you are only cobbled in poor human rhyme sieved from the Outside beyond time

only accessible through dull ink and paper pressed nice and thin to fit within it

all the truths thicker than the things we see and somehow must imbibe alone

 deciphering contradictory inscriptions through time travelling cerebral encryptions


Where is your Outside power now?

Bring the Outside here

 help me shed some contrite tear

for my blissful beaten mind unbeating and my wasting hands

are unmuscled and unboned upon a faux-leather tome

the paper body that contains the ever-burning flame,

never warming, never lighting


But when the Timeless One did step into time

when he was warming, when he was lighting

 when he flickered–

those snatches of cold and dark

were the most wretched, ravenous, resonant spark with the human heart

When God was flickering out, he said

eloi eloi lama sabachthani

When God was flickering out, God said

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?


Oh God, my God, why have I forsaken you?


You, the untouchable Deity flaming with the brightness of all existence

you beat yourself further into the darkest corner farther than any of us

 you shivered yourself into a sputtering coal and switched out the lights,

you dropped through the floor of reality; sobbing, silent, breathless, helpless, friendless

looking up through the bottom of all you had made, distraught and alone and afraid.

But you, your love blazed up, broke through, you flared an inferno of limitless life

you stretched down a hand to me, trapped and beaten against the floor

Looking up, looking up, looking up, looking up

But your hand is lost in heartfelt haze and dust and mazes throughout the ages


This could be ever warming, this could ever lighting

if you are here


Would you be here?

If I clasped up uncomprehending brain halves together to scream one totalised strain

that you return

Not as you’ve promised, not for the end and the beginning of

everything we cannot understand

No, not for that, and

not as you say you did, at the end and beginning of

slaughterous chosen histories and corrupted murderous mercies of the Years of Our Lord

not for that, for that would be to say you didn’t do enough

 and the underdone appearance has used us ever since

No, I won’t say that exactly

but to give me the time of day

and show me what you did is still being done


I am beaten into a corner by the ritualised idea of you

and I am in need,

in deed

in need.








(beaten down)

“beatific, blissful”

Jack Kerouac


You know, this is a really beat generation ... More than mere weariness, it implies the feeling of having been used, of being raw. It involves a sort of nakedness of mind, and ultimately, of soul: a feeling of being reduced to the bedrock of consciousness. In short, it means being undramatically pushed up against the wall of oneself.

John Clellon Holmes, ‘This is the Beat Generation’,

The New York Times Sunday Magazine, 19th November 1952.


Nichola Tatyana Chadwick offers vast, compassionate visions of symbiosis, paralysis, sub-cultural bridging and heralding. Her poetry has been published in Phantasmagoria Magazine, n-Scribe and fourW thirty-three: New Writing, and exhibited at the George Paton Gallery. She is the winner of Sparklit Australia’s 2022 Young Australian Christian Writer Award and lives on Wiradjuri land.


Image credit: Western Wall, (Hebrew Ha-Kotel Ha-Maʿaravi), also called Wailing Wall, in the Old City of Jerusalem. Photo by Rob French.

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