ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

A journal for poetry, criticism, reviews, stories and essays published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


"The Journey from Omsk" and "Para trope" by Mark Young.


The journey from Omsk

Half-lived iso-
topes, gradients &
graduations. Passing
out parades as if were
candy. Novosibirsk-
Irkutsk. Three
years to bring a
thousand miles to-
gether. Simple 
is not always 
simple. Trains 
change. The Academy
of Science is over-
run. Shimanovskaya 
beckons. Eventually 
the caribou return.


Para trope


The knot is made up of the names of places. That mix of prosaic English & magical Maori that is found throughout New Zealand. Wellington, named after the first Duke of Wellington, victorious over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo & for whom the wellington boot was also named. Whitianga, more correctly Te Whitianga a Kupe, the place where Kupe crossed. Whangarei, cherished harbor, though the Harbor was originally known as Teranga Paraoa, water in which whales run.


The first starts the day before the assassination of John F. Kennedy though the date, because of dissimilar calendars, is the same for both events. Even then it doesn't start there, but the latitude allowed is minimal, perhaps only one day back. Before that it is strands, a thousand openings. Better that we begin with some sort of knot.


As I write the beginning of the story I am thinking about its end, concerned that I have the chronology wrong. Then I realize it is two stories that overlap, not in time but in foreshortened memory, one that has something of a start but whose end is unclear, & another whose end I know but cannot remember the beginning.


Mark Young has been publishing poetry for nearly fifty-five years. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. He is the author of more than twenty books, primarily poetry but also including speculative fiction & art history. He is the editor of the ezine Otoliths.  He lives on the Tropic of Capricorn in Australia.

Recent work in Moria, Fact-Simile, The Last Vispo Anthology, Eccolinguistics, Cricket Online Review, 3 a.m., E·ratio, Cordite, Quarter After, & BlazeVOX and in Offcourse #51

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