The Apocalypse Cometh

By Christos Floratos

Some say the world

Will let out its last whimper

In a swirl of blaze and frost.

 

But I know better than some.

For I was young when I saw it come.

The lightning struck and struck,

And then some.

A week where it spiked

A month of humidity’s fight.

A year of reason’s most gallows.

                             A love child of melted ice and Australia’s burn

Against those olden-minds’ saying, most hollow:

“But it’s too chilli!”, would encourage a churn

 

Don’t you understand the cold?

The wrath of the blizzard is

just the warmth of hell

seeping through the oil-cracks in the earth

and condensing in the smog above.

 

The warning signs shocked you but

The tremors will rock you to

Your feet, your soles, your souls.

Waves of polyester swamp our beaches

And deep- beyond blue Mariana -are

remanets of Mickey, Cola and your groceries.

 

 

The old will give one more hazardous cough

and our world will be untold.

 

For

We’ve had our last summer

And Autumn’s killed its last tree.

Winter will be the mistress after the affair

And Spring will surely forget us.

 

After we are gone,

The worms will not remember their banquet on us

              For even they will die soon after their feast and celebration.

Ash shall not be gentle reminders on the mantle

              For we shall break down to our bare atoms.

 

For those preachers of old,

The Apocalypse Cometh

-not one of undead, technology or

some forsworn rapture –

But a carrion, inhibited by us.

A fever on the earth, calmed, cared and chilled by oil flames.


 ©  Christos Floratos 2019

Toast Update – WHRA Blog Posts, Pen to Paper Poems Update and Other Things!

Being on a university break has oddly produced the same amount of business than being on placement for four days a week, who would have figured. Recently I have completed a secret project that I am not yet allowed to talk about, to literally like anyone! In the coming weeks I will be finishing and sending off the Pen to Paper poetry collection to donors. As a result of this, my author’s comments sections and What The Heck Am I Rambling About (WHRA) blog posts may have some changes.

Later this week I will be posting the 11th Poem of the ‘Autumn, That Bastard’ Poetry Collection. Also some updates concerning the end of July.

What The Heck Am I Rambling About Blog Posts!

I will continue to do these and the Author’s comment sections. For ‘In Honour of Summer’, ‘With Comfort and Ease’, ‘The Apocalypse Cometh’ and ‘Stagnation’ these will be released after the last poem (Stagnation) is released. There are two pretty interesting reasons for this. Three of these poems are very interpretative and I love my readers to pull what meaning they desire out of these poems. Also, with my time limitations due to things I’ve been working on, after the collection is released will give me the time to fully write up these sections to write about these poems.

Pen to Paper Poems

The PDFs are on track to completion by Mid-July, where everyone who contributed to the Pen to Paper fundraiser towards my goal shall receive a copy! Those who contributed $50 or more will be getting a physical bound copy. I will be uploading these poems to my site at the start of August for everyone to share, with a link to Story Factory in case you missed out and would like to donate to their wonderful organisation!

Other Things and New Plans

There will be a blog post about some insights from the recent Supanova Convention I attended this last weekend. Also, I find out soon about the fellowship which as gotten me hyped. The end of July will bring the start of a new semester of uni, where I will revert to one blog post a week. I anticipate I will be covering things that have interested me from the units/subjects I am doing.

After August, I will be starting a new exciting fiction project, which will be different from the poetry of the first half of this year! At the end of July, I am also starting an Honours program that I will complete co-currently with my Social Work Degree! I am super excited for what’s coming in the next bit and to share my journey along the way!

Grey House – What the Heck am I Rambling About? #9

‘Grey House’ takes on the persona of a young child who eagerly goes into a new home, an apartment complex, with their mother. Rather quickly, the child becomes exposed to harsh realities and becomes disillusioned with the excitement of moving to a new place, and the conditions that led them there.

What the Heck am I Rambling About is a series of blog posts where I breakdown a work I have created and shared. You can read the poem here if you aren’t caught up!

Someone has commented that these series of blog posts and the Author’s comments section are going to be useful tools for HSC students in the future. A very flattering comment and I think when I did the HSC I would have loved it if the people I was writing about how done a blog series like that. Alas, the prescribed texts were all mostly dead white men.

Set out – almost barefoot. Along my journey

on the cigarette path, I met Crystal, Molly,

was tracked by a Dragon and became BFs with Mary Jane.

Stanza 5

There is only two stanzas that have the optimistic tone, perhaps misguiding the reader due to the child’s curiosity. When the child’s life starts to break down, she becomes systematically disempowered, first starting with the bare necessities such as electricity and then at school by teachers who punish them for being late, not at the fault of the child. Those who the child meets on the way aren’t people but the code names for different drugs. The child being Best Friends with Mary Jane (Marijuana) is a comment of how this unregulated use for people in such fragile states can act as a gateway drug. The reader can take away what that type of relationship would be for a young person. Is Best Friend also someone for life in this instance, denoting a pessimistic point of view that they cannot escape? Or, like a fleeting childhood friendship, will the child escape it eventually?

I had to leave that woman when I came of age.

For she said we’d be home by autumn’s end.

Stanza 6

When I Came of Age” is subjective. Does she mean when she became an adult? Or when the child could legally move on from her mother at the age of 16 (in many western countries)? Or perhaps when she realised when her mother wasn’t good for her. The term Autumn’s end is meant to symbolise that this move was supposed to be a grace period in the mind of the child. The excitement of a new place perhaps shadowed the permanency of such a living situation the child was not ready for. The line also shows that there was a desire to return to the past life, before the Grey House. However, like a great number of cases, this return isn’t always as conceptualised. Referring to her here as that woman is the last time she is given a gendered identity. When the mother becomes labelled as parent at the end, it is revealed that the child still conceptualises somewhat of a caretaker role, but not in the typical narrative of the maternal bonds.

She was neither the executioner nor the criminal

but the wife of the bread-thief.

Stanza 7

Throughout the poem, there’s no direct attack against the mother, just comments about the unruly life. As the child ‘grows up’ they become more aware of her mother’s context. The child expresses sympathy for her mother, which is captured in this line. The metaphor of the bread-thief alludes to their situation, which suggests that her previous father did petty crime to support their family, which has led to the current life. The mother was responsible for the situation or the person who created the situation. In the same way, the child is linked to her mother as they are not responsible. Although neither are deserving of the ‘Grey House’, they both end up in that life, a sad common tragedy experienced by people with similar hardships.

This poem has been heavily inspired by my social work experience. This is perhaps the most tangible of the ‘Autumn, That Bastard’ collection. To leave you with some thoughts think:

  • What happens now to the girl? What happens to the mother?
  • Is this a cyclical life-event, like the season of Autumn? Or has the child realised their predicament and overcome it?

I hope you enjoyed this rambling and you can find some more ramblings below.

Pride Month in Creative Writing, Academia and Social Work!

Pride Month is upon as, the seasons of the gays, is upon us. In the spirit of pride, I will be dedicating a few more blog posts this month to queer creators!

Today I just wanted to focus on three Professional Areas of my life and how being showing pride in the queer community in these sectors has resonated and affected the networks I am a part of!

For those unaware, I identify as Bisexual as hinted at in the pride flag on this post. I will just mention as an aside, the I didn’t particularly enjoy the colours of the flag but they have grown on me

Creative Writing

So recently I have been shortlisted for the Penguin Random House Write It Fellowship which has been an awesome writing confidence boost. It has also been an exemplar for my pride in my writing themes and identity, as it was designed for under-represented writers. Still waiting to hear if I am a finalist but regardless, it has been an exciting time that I feel could have only be accomplished if I expelled pride in my day to day life, and my own writing craft.

Academia

Cass’ Model of Homosexuality Development neatly outlines the stages of realising gay identity (which has been further refined by others).

The Six Stages are:

  1. Identity Confusion
  2. Identity Comparison
  3. Identity Tolerance
  4. Identity Acceptance
  5. Identity Pride
  6. Identity Synthesis

These stages I would argue are fluid and don’t need to be strictly followed, as it is just a way of understanding. I feel I have synthesised this identity for a while now. Although, promoting Bi-synthesis probably sounds more like plant science experiment.

In Academia, I am starting an honours next semester in the area of same-sex marriage and social work. Showing pride in this area prideful will help get out a more considered and tailored approach when researching and writing up this honours. As Bisexual minority, I imagine there will be some reference to bisexual in same-sex marriage as well.

Social Work

Recently in my last placement, I initiated, developed and facilitated a Professional Development about working the queer community in the context of the agency I was at for Staff and Volunteers. Having pride in being helped reevaluate how information was handled and helped open conversations about homophobia within the context of their client base. It was great experience which again, only happened when I could take pride in a part of my identity. However, this will affect their client base much more and in so many positive ways, that I feel thrilled to have led some impact.

This is just a taste of what promoting pride has contributed in my life. I should mention, I have the social conditions that have allowed this to happen, not everyone has this opportunity. But if you have the opportunity to express this in one of the avenues of your life, I say Take It!

You never know who you might help!

Grey House (Poem)

Website Version

Christos Floratos

 

Mommy asked me what I thought

of the Grey House.

So tall. Was all ours. Spring was a few seconds away.

Earth to sky. You could even see the clouds pass on by.

Mommy smiled when I jumped in glee.

 

Mommy asked me where the sky ended.

Why, at the top of our Grey House, of course!

And that’s where we went.

Right to the top, gazing where fans swirled, and birds lost all their feathers.

Mommy laughed when I said mine was what the light touched.

 

But the darkness was Mom’s own.

She had raged warfare before but nothing as

the campaign she waged on the phone.

There were many battles lost and Mom neither

 

won that war. The damned operators she wrestled.

The grey hut was starting to shamble

and the darkness of Mom’s words transfixed

themselves with the light bulbs,

and those showers thereafter returned the childhood achoos.

 

I was reprimanded for being late at school,

But mother was bedridden. What was I to do?

Set out – almost barefoot. Along my journey

on the cigarette path, I met Crystal, Molly,

was tracked by a Dragon and became BFs with Mary Jane.

 

I had to leave that woman when I came of age.

For she said we’d be home by autumn’s end.

But there I sat in

an apartment that made squalor shiver,

and a boyfriend here, and over there.

 

She cried when my departure loomed overhead.

She was neither the executioner nor the criminal

but the wife of the bread-thief.

I was the void between Venus and Mars,

Water and a pot-plant balcony garden constituted my celestial body.

 

That woman, her promise of a time yonder our

dilapidated apartment…

was a dream of hollow mines and sore minds.

Maybe I will return to her; she was my parent, after all.

This was an exodus much sooner than expected.

 

© Christos Floratos 2019

Toast’s Update – Shortlisted, Fundraiser and Articles!

Hi Friends, a few cool new things happening in the next month or so!

  • I’ve just been shortlisted for Penguin Random House Write It fellowship!!! I am submitting the full manuscript on the 20th of May! A big few weeks of writing and editing ahead. I am so excited and grateful for this opportunity!
  • From 23rd to the 26th of May, I will be doing a fundraiser called ‘Pen2Paper’ for Story factory where I will be raising $300 to help students gain access to the agency’s creative writing workshops! Support me here!
    I also have been interviewed by Arnold B. Spencer. It was great time and he asked some really interesting question. I talk about my poetry, Dungeons and Dragons and why I drink water while I write!
  • Autumn, That Bastard is almost complete! However, due to the intense editing I am doing both for the manuscript and university, I will be delaying the next few poems until end of May/beginning of April. Grey House will be released next week with an updated release schedule.
  • I have contributed and created an article about Writing Queer characters in the Writing Community Newsletter! Check it out here and subscribe to it!
  • I have just finished and sent off my article for D.I.R.G.Ezine. The zine will be ready for publication in the coming months so stay tuned!

Thank you to all of those who have kept up and been engaged with me throughout this time! May will be a slower month for content in terms of blog posts, but many big things are happening!

Stay awesome!

Deity – What the Heck am I Rambling About? #8

Today we breakdown ‘Deity’, the 8th poem of the Autumn, That Bastard poetry collection. ‘Deity’ ponders not ‘who made the universe’ but rather, ‘who made me’. This is poem is in the Autumn that is the construction of my beliefs, values and my spiritual identity.

You can find Deity here before moving on!

Before I delve further into what I am rambling about, I have recently signed up for a fundraiser where I will will be writing 6 poems over a writing filled weekend to help get young people who are disadvantaged get into creative writing workshops! Donations of $15 will get you a PDF version of the 6 poems as a thank you!

https://give.everydayhero.com/au/christoast

But Onto Deity!

In my Author’s Comments section, I talk about how these religions have moulded and constructed my values. However, in here, to continue with the theme of different interpretations of the same poem (as mentioned in ‘There, We’re Whispers’), I am actually using the deities named as representations of events and figures in my life.

“Home was only around when he showed his radiant face.”

The allusion I reference, to the compliment of the face and the reference to Cronulla is my boyfriend. Where all the trains meet is allusion to Central/City stations where me and my boyfriend have tended to meet up at. I liken it to God (shout out to Ariana Grande who does something similar with ‘God is a woman’) as God has been a consistent influence in my life.

“I found Buddha once in the closet of my mind.”

This is a reference to developing calmness to override instinct in my daily interaction. I have become more inclined and reflective in daily interactions since, and many of the typical values expected of Buddhism I have grown to appreciate.

“My teeth were hot and I was sick of faded rainbows.”

The comment about Vishnu and Hinduism, is a comment on polytheism which is an allusion to me emerging on the gay scene and experiencing the community. The faded rainbows imagery metaphorically represents the transition of acceptance from straight to queer.

“In a field scorn of ignorance; that White powdered most.”

In honesty, I have never considered adopting any other spiritual belief apart from my current view point, which is kind of agnostic. I have critiqued how western society (‘White’) has been so exclusionary towards Islam. The broken encore is a reference to how I will try to remain an ally for religious freedom, but how western society has probably heard my arguments before and engaged in this debate numerous times.

Are there any lines that piqued your interest? Let me know on my social media or in the comments below!

Other poems of the collection:

The Penelope Complex
There, We’re Whispers
Leviticus

Deity (Poem)

Website Version with Author’s Comments Here

By Christos Floratos

 

I happened upon God once where the trains all meet.

Some untethered opera,

Some backwater near Cronulla.

Home was only around when he showed his radiant face.

 

I found Buddha once in the closest of my mind.

A certain harmony followed my shut eyes

Where charity chanced my unsullied temper.

A gleam into a thought that was most aqua, and of eucalypti.

 

I thought I saw Vishnu by the pond on my street, once.

Their gaze, of all of them, critiqued my bones.

My teeth were hot, and I was sick of faded rainbows.

But they all accepted… eventually. Smiled… forever.

 

I once pondered Allah,

In a field scorn of ignorance; that White powdered most.

Five pillars untouched yet unfound.

I had only a broken encore to share, nothing they hadn’t heard.

 

Once, I was one with the dream time.

A flurry red and black dots that

linked me from Dharug, Eora and Ku-ring-gai.

Some stories weren’t mine to keep, but mine to know.

 

I concluded, upon a time.

Sitting on dragonfly-ridden fields,

That a singularity was never enough to consider.

How these worlds birthed a supernova,

 

A conflux now limitless, enshrined in shine.

 

© Christos Floratos 2019

Acknowledgement of Country – Why it matters for Us (Non-Indigenous Perspective)

Recent times I have heard many differing opinions on the Acknowledgement of Country. Opinions such as why/if it should be done at meetings and when it is done.

Sometimes that it happens too much. Sometimes that it happened before and as such, not needed to happen afterwards.

If you are unsure what an Acknowledgement of Country is, it is a way to pay respect to the indigenous people who are the custodians of the land. You can see an example of one, that is very vague and all identifying, in the footer of my website.

Needless to say, if I have the desire to include it in my footer, I probably think it’s a big deal whether it’s included or not. And you are right! I think it is an extremely important way of reflecting on my sense of being, a way to communicate my values of indigenous rights and to build continual discourse on how we should be treating our indigenous friends.

In a class recently, I asked the question for a presentation if the lecturer would like us to do an Acknowledgement of Country, so it is embded with our presentation practice. (Social Work and Indigenous peoples unit just to clarify).

I thought this was a clear cut yes, but an opinion was held that perhaps one should be done at the beginning as it could potentially take up too much time for our 10-minute presentations.

If you want a practice of how long it takes, try reading out my acknowledgement of country.

acknowledge the indigenous people as the traditional custodians of the land that I work and gain knowledge on. I would like to pay my respects to Elders past, present and future .

I read this out, timed myself, slipped up on saying ‘traditional custodians’ and it took me under 10 seconds. In our 10-minute presentations, if 10 seconds can’t be given (15 maybe because i’m a fast reader) to pay respects to the longest living culture and the culture that has been subject to ‘fourth world’ conditions (Dyck, 1985), then there is a bigger semantic error that we must address in the ways we talk.

Another issue which I did not personally experience, but people have mentioned was at a cultural facilitation event. The company provided training about multiculturalism without doing an Acknowledgement of Country. The justification was that they had done it at the beginning of the year, one time.

Perhaps the intended audience of the workshop are incorporeal beings that know not the strings of time and fluctuate across the eons, searching for that one time that one white guy presented an acknowledgement of country, Jeremy Bearimy style (THE GOOD PLACE SPOILER)

Now without throwing in Doctor Who or a Delorean into the mix, we gotta understand the tokenism that comes with such a statement. To say ‘we did one already’ is another way for indigenous people to be told to ‘get over it’. It treats the act as if it is the really poorly written and unfunny bestman speech at a wedding, before the festivities (idk how weddings work tbh). That it’s something to get out of the way. Thats what both of these comments suggest.

And I hope by making this post, I try to point out that it shouldn’t be a one-time thing. That akin to New Zealands Haka, this respect should be ingrained with our national identity.

But what do you think of the Acknowledgement of Country? Particularly, I am interested in indigenous voices and if i get enough discussion with this, then I may make a follow up post. Feel free to hit me up on my social medias or by commenting.

Artwork from:
https://www.murumittigar.com.au/darug-artwork/

https://www.murumittigar.com.au/darug-artwork/

There, We’re Whispers – What the Heck am I Rambling about? #7

There, We’re Whispers‘ is the first poem I wrote in the ‘Autumn, That Bastard’ poetry collection. Originally titled “There Were Whispers” I revamped and remodelled it to focus on place rather than time. With that said, this type of poem I am more interested in what my readers perceive of it. I have mentioned ‘death of the author’ before, but this poem well and truly is a representation of that in the sense that I do not want to cast an image of what I think it is about.

Wooden Walls

Grey Jungle

Their doorstep

Humble Abode

Descriptions of place within the poem

Something really interesting I found is talking about why I changed the title so last minute. So ‘There Were Whispers’ focuses on time and ‘There, We’re Whispers’ focuses on place and individuals. Throughout the poem I refer to various places, but ‘humble abode’ denotes feelings of kinship and a homey feeling that has caused problems for the voice.

What are these problems though?

No, it is not that cold snap,
Nor is it that summer’s shimmer,
The houses left tender – just a whisper.
In howls of the past; here they entrap.

Rhyming Example

If you notice, the poem rhymes, stops in a peculiar place, keeps going and then ends without a rhyme. This is to symbolise rhythm with life once a previous assumption/pleasure is challenged. That we stop to think about it, try to move on with our lives but the activity/thing becomes irreparable moving forward.

Moving onto the last stanza, I want to talk about how it completely changed and how that affects the final meaning. Originally, it was meant to be:

There were whispers

and I was afraid.

Pre-production Last Stanza

Other than being a total rip-off ‘The Walking Dead’ comic issue, it felt like it did not serve the rest of the poem. Being afraid is only apparent if you make a few leaps and jumps over rivers of confusion in the poem. Being shameful is relevant with people asking who he is, the ‘spitting lights’ which casts imagery of him being lesser, the contrast with being salvation but also being Satan…

There, we’re whispers

And I followed that shame.

Published Last stanza

But as I say, I am a big fan of what people think! Do let me know what you think in the comments, social media, or even emails!

Thank you to everyone so far who has given comments and their thoughts on my writing! It has been a blast to read!