Save the Last Co-respond- Dance for Me

Save the Last Co-respond- Dance for Me

I was pleased to receive a letter from Geoffrey the other day.

As always the envelope was bulging at the seams, stuffed chock full of pages filled with Geoffrey’s florid copperplate, news clippings and photo-copies of excerpted pages from the collected works of Philip Adams.

Geoffrey is a fellow Poet, who claims at times to be the re-incarnation of William Shakespeare, and while he may be a Lunatic and drives me to distraction in his Manic moments, still he has a good heart & I do value his letters greatly, if for no other reason than he is the last person I know who actually writes me honest-to-goodness letters.

Yes Geoffrey is my last Correspondent. The last practitioner I know of the noble art of Co-respon-dancing. A Hierophant of the Hand & the Hieroglyph, like the last Thylacine he should be kept in captivity in a Museum or Zoo, pacing restlessly behind the bars as a man with a bowler hat and a walrus mustache slowly turns the crank of a hand-powered film camera..When he passes, an Age will have passed with

It is perhaps an irony, that for all the supposed Wonders of our Hi-Speed, Fibre-Optic, Broadband-infested, Age of the Interconnected Internet, people seem less connected and lonelier than ever, and less able express themselves except in clichés and slogans.

The medium of E-mail seems particularly ill-suited to convey any subject of subtlety and depth. A dumbed down Demotic of the keyboard it has replaced the High Hieroglyph of the Hand, and the Hieratic middle ground of typing out a letter and mailing it, a course I still sometimes take. Via the email all People seem to type out are terse, ambiguous statements. Many can’t complete a communication without using Emoticons, lacking the linguistic tools to express themselves emotionally.

Ah! Alas for the dying Art of Co-respond Dancing, for it is indeed a Dance of the Mind & Heart between the writers. A Waltz of Words, a two-Stepping Conga Line of Communication, a Limbo of Language. An act and art that can be both as formal and as intimate as dancing itself, an interlocking/interlocution of Language, an interplay of Minds moving through the Abstract as the Dancer moves through Space, tapping out the word patterns in

muscular rhythms of Prose upon the keyboard or pressing pen to paper, producing a sinuous sentence here, a prodigious paragraph there, and jocular dig..

‘Co Respond Dancing’. If it takes two to Tango like they say then it’s certainly true it takes two at least to do the Co- Respon-Dance.

Alas for the Young who will never know the leisurely pleasures of correspondance. Not the unexpected letter from the long lost friend, nor the lonesome lilt of the tender-ache wait for the long distance letter of Love..

One of my favourite correspondancers was my old friend & comrade, Patrick; Anarchist Tram-driver,

dedicated Chess fanatic, Bohemian Free Spirit.

We’d first met back in the old TREASON days, when we both joined the group producing that infamous Anarchist publication.

As Time passed we took our different paths but kept in touch,recognising in each other perhaps,

 a fellow Member of the Noble and Ancient Order of Outsiders & Oddballs.

Our letters were given to exuberant flurries of fantastic bombast and whimsy, updates delighting in Dadaist dissections of local Political Gossip, recommendations & reviews of books recently read. As our correspondance progressed an Alternate Reality began to emerge. The envelopes I sent started to find themselves addressed to “The Count”.

In a similar fashion I acquired a Barony and a castle somewhere in the Carpathian Mountains. (Emma Goldman would understand our game, for like all true Anarchists we were Aristocrats of the Spirit.) Our letters traversed Time and Space and at times it was hard to tell what was Fantasy and what was Reality. They kept bleeding over into each other; One time he’d be writing to me from a cafe table in Montmartre in 1984, telling me his travel adventures with customs officials in Moscow. They’d seized 100 copies of the Anarchist Magazine we produced, that the Count was going to drop off at a Rad bookshop whilst he was in London, and convinced he was some sort of agitator, kicked him out of the country. Then his next letter would be subsequently sent whilst he spent the Summer watching the Turks assail Constantinople in 1457.

I’d respond from Bjelke-Peterson’s Queensland,with a report of a recent Rally where me and all of my friends had been arrested for having the wrong opinion. Or I’d reply via a Portal from a different Dimension, echoing somewhere in the not-too-distant Future and suggest he join me, whilst enclosing a jar of rare fungi suspended in honey. So a year would pass and the Circuit of our Correspondance would do another widdershin around the Sun.

We also played Chess via our letters. It was a continuous thread through the Labyrinth of our Correspondance. A game could last a year or more, though sometimes we’d be in the same place for awhile and we’d finish the game in a Face-to-Face clash, a Timer set ticking out the time for each move..

Then we’d start a new game and it would proceed with it’s usual glacial pace.

But no-one seems to have the taste or time for long discursive letters anymore, let alone the delayed gratification of “Correspondence Chess”.

I still occasionally, naively write people extended, chatty “letters” via email or whatever medium is the style at the Time. Share some gossip & thoughts, ask about their lives, crack a couple of jokes, etc etc.

Invariably all I get back is a few matter-of-fact lines, a couple of terse, truncated paragraphs if I’m lucky, and I’m left feeling like a rambling old Fool who doesn’t know when to shut up, churning out crank letters like Grandpa Simpson.

(“Dear Sir, the Alphabet today has too many letters. Please deduct three.“)

Perhaps the thought of Government and other agencies examining your every word has a discouraging effect. I mean, I’m used to the Government reading my mail, but for a lot of people it’s a new experience.

Then I wonder if I’ve somehow offended them, but how canyou tell? All we have left to communicate with is the terse text of messaging, the brusque Demotic of Email, or the even more dumbed down exchanges that are all the fashion on Facebook. And if that ain’t Dumb & Dumber enough for you, there’s always 140 characters spare over at Twitter World for you to express your feelings and describe your World.

Truely Twitter is the McDonalds of Social Media,

the Fast-Food outlet of modern communication.

“You want Emoticons with that”.




The Reverend Hellfire is a practised Performance Poet,

 President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity (for a little longer)

and an Ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanism 

AND the Church of the Universe.

He’s got the Write Stuff alright.



~ by reverendhellfire on June 17, 2018.

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