South of the South

Gordon Osing

ISBN 978-1-944682-09-5         $10.00        80 pages

Before Afterwards


                   “The world has to be dreamed

                     before it is seen.”


                    “We grow mostly by dying.”


                               Siddhartha Mukherjee,

                                     “Runs in the Family”


Geezer me, I must be on the verge

of knowing everything. Even what

knowing is, me the nervous kid who

smiled with his mouth open, the cowlick,

the nightmares, the unusual gift for

imitating what I thought were doctrines

and the stories that proved them pertaining.

My eye had to learn what I had to

untangle or have no life truly my own

and then to betray both to something

like oblivion. Moreover, does not

the Good Book adjure us “if thine ‘I’

offend thee, pluck it out.” I know

it doesn’t name the first person pronoun

as the likely villain in the adventure

of learning, but I know it is, from

a lifetime of giving it up in sacrifice,

in return for what it tells me to write.

What do I care if learning is part spite.

Gordon Osing is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing at the University of Memphis, where he founded the River City Visiting Writers Series.