Myrna Stone

A Farmer Reveals to His Best Mate the Details of His Sighting

New South Wales, Australia, October 25th, 1978

C'mon, Archie! I wasn't pissed on a workday.
I was filling the Allis's radiator when it
cruised, like a bloody phantom, over the bay

of the barn. It was shiny, and big—at least
thirty meters wide, I swear—and silent
as a snake before it strikes. My gut's atwist

now just thinking about it, but if I don't tell,
I'll go crackers….Yes, it was low!
Then it stopped, and hovered, and like a bell,

vibrated, while all the while a single-prop plane
was stuck to the underbelly of the thing,
bobbling like a cork in water as oil drained

from its engine. You think I'm telling a porky,
but I can prove what I say. Here, look
at the Allis's fender—these letters, VH-D

SJ, were painted on the plane's side!…Why
else would I deliberately scratch the Allis
up with a nail, mate?…This is bona fide

proof that Valentich was taken&hellip.Of course,
I didn't see him…I never said he waved
at me….Christ, you're such a horse's arse!

After Decades of Avoiding the Press, Rhonda Rushton Breaks Her Silence in a Televised Interview
Victoria UFO Australia Convention, Melbourne, September 6, 2014

I'd planned to fly with Fred the very day
his plane went missing, but ended instead
staying another shift at the shop, my delay
occasioned by a held-up co-worker. Fred
knew the pull of both duty and the world's
disorder. He would've understood. The week
before, he'd taken me to dinner and twirled
a friendship ring onto my finger, cheekily
hinting at the diamond he'd put in lay-by.
All of this happened thirty-six years ago
when I was just sixteen and Fred twenty,
yet ever since, in every new cockcrow,
in every transition of twilight into night,
I bring him back from that long last flight.

Of course I loved him. His mother knows
I always have and always will. Why do you
suppose that she and Fred's father, Guido,
gave me this diamond ring less than two
months after Fred's disappearance? It was
a gesture to honor his intent, although it's
not the ring he chose&hellip.No, that ring was
"lost," according to the jeweler, who lifted
it from lay-by to resell despite our receipt.
Life likes to jolt us, doesn't it? As for me,
I'm still drawn to men who are helpmeets
and respectful, who ask the best of the me
that I've become….Yes, they do enthrall.
Yet Fred, alive or dead, outshines them all.

Alberta Valentich in Mourning for Her Son

Victoria, Australia, Summer, 1979

In dreams Freddy comes to me unbidden,
his face still his own, yet utterly changed,

cryptic as a feral cat's, wide and wooden.
In dreams Freddy comes to me unbidden

and bereft of affection, as if his heart, riven
from mine, will forever remain estranged.

In dreams Freddy comes to me unbidden,
his face still his own, yet utterly changed.

I swear I saw him today, lounging against
a lamppost on Collins St. in Port Phillip,

eyeing diamond rings, small to immense.
I swear I saw him today, lounging against

the wall at Hare & Grace, his lips tensed
as he fixed his gaze on a diner's rarebit.

I swear I saw him today, lounging against
a lamppost on Collins St. in Port Phillip.

What is it that day after day Roscoe spies
eight feet up where wall and wall meet?

He thumps his tail and his slobber flies.
What is it that day after day Roscoe spies

for minutes on end, lifetimes for a spitz-
dachshund mix short on brains but sweet.

What is it that day after day Roscoe spies
eight feet up where wall and wall meet?

Guido Valentich, to a Persistent Junior Reporter
Victoria, Australia, March, 1979

No one who knows my son has ever believed
he was running drugs or would have wanted
to disappear. If you think he's dirty, leave
now. I've had my fill of being confronted

by the likes of you sniffing around like dogs
for a new take on the story….He said what?
Why would Freddy talk about his flight logs,
or anything else, with you? I don't give a whit

if you spoke to him for two hours, or a minute.
You don't know him. And why would I accept
he's dead when there's no solid proof?—bits
from the plane, say, or some obvious effects

from his body, or the body itself…Yes,
those could offer closure. But in lieu of that,
I've got to think of him as absent, in a place
beyond my imagining that allows no clear-cut

means of escape….Oh, he's brave, all right.
No one's braver …and if he lacks restraint
at times, well, show me someone who doesn't.
Don't you, Mr. Jones, since you're a bit wet

yet behind the ears? Freddie bends rules
as young men tend to do, always in a hurry
to grow up and away from their over-schooled
boyhoods and their fathers' sway….Bury

him I may, but for now he's still my first-
born son, alive and aloft in an unknown route
above the earth—still Freddy, yet rebirthed
again and again in your endless eye of doubt.

Stephen Roby, Former Air Traffic Controller and the Last Person to Talk with Frederick Valentich, Speaks on the Mystery of Valentich's Disappearance
Melbourne, Australia, April 5, 2015

After nearly four decades
Freddy's voice is as familiar today
in my memory as it is in the audio
transcript of his call: its odd array

of wonder and panic overlaid by
his last-ditch attempt to conduct
himself in a calm, reasoned manner.
And of course, as usual, the DOT

was in error. Only NASA's voice
analysis program had it right: he was
not, they confirmed, matter-of-fact,
but was genuinely stressed. The cause,

I argue, was not the planet Venus,
nor Freddy himself lost upside down
in a graveyard spiral into the Strait,
but what he said he saw—a green

light bathing an amorphous craft
of cigar-like proportions that first flew
beneath him, then hovered above him.
This encounter, which happened due

south-east of Cape Marengo, was seen
and sworn to by witnesses on the ground
who'd pulled off the road to watch…
That night, Freddy and I were bound

together as surely as I am bound
today to the last members of his family.
They're good, honest people. But only
Guido believed, as I do, that one day

Freddy will come home. Until then,
until the water gives him up, or the ether,
we'll continue to gather at his memorial
on the coast of Cape Otway each October.

The Last Known Words of Frederick Valentich from a Disc Discovered in a Field of Alfalfa
Date of Recording, and this Transcription, Indeterminate

Since my abduction, I have no trustworthy method
of fixing time, and so am forced to merely guess
at its passage. Often I dream I'm suspended

in the Cessna's cockpit as the huge phantasmic craft
attaches itself to the plane's roof with a zippering,
metallic rasp, and suddenly I'm higher aloft

than ever before in the starless bowl of darkness
above Bass Strait….Or, perhaps it's no dream.
Perhaps I'm living it again, for I confess

that buried in the bowels of the craft I neither sleep,
digest, or defecate—nor envision any possible
future that folds me back inside the sweep

of a human embrace. Of you, Pop, if you hear this,
I ask forgiveness for fancying myself equipped
to fly beyond dusk, though I feel bliss

in imagining how you and Mama, Sis and Richie,
and even my darling Rhonda's friends, adore
my memory now. If I am dead, and bully

for me if I am, every fiend here was surely bred
to effect that end. They're masters of attrition—
opaque as shadows on a wall—who embed

their designs in my head. But you know the facts
by now: I'm no longer the Freddie you loved.
Still, overflying Melbourne tonight, I lack

nothing mortal in the pleasure I take at the city's
beauty. It's a whacked-out mesmerizing sheen
upon which not even God pours His pity.


Myrna Stone's latest book, Luz Bones, is forthcoming from Etruscan Press in summer, 2017. Stone is the author of four previous full-length books of poetry: In the Present Tense: Portraits of My Father, a Finalist for the 2014 Ohioana Book Award in Poetry; The Casanova Chronicles, a Finalist for the 2011 Ohioana Book Award in Poetry; How Else to Love the World; and The Art of Loss, for which she received the 2001 Ohio Poet of the Year Award. She is the recipient of two Ohio Arts Council Fellowships in Poetry, a Full Fellowship to Vermont Studio Center, a Distinguished Entry Award in the Campbell Corner 2004 Poetry Contest, for which she received a stipend and an invitation to read at Poets House in New York City, and the 2002 Poetry Award from Weber, The Contemporary West. In 2015 Stone presented five morning lectures on Poetry as a member of the faculty of the Antioch Writers' Workshop.


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Myrna Stone
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The most recent addition to The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline is Modern Age Japanese Women Poets: Yosano Akiko, Hayashi Fumiko, Kiyoko Nagase, Chika Sagawa by Patricia Callan.

Wendy Videlock was the recipient of the 2016 Mezzo Cammin Scholarship to the Poetry by the Sea conference.

Mary Temple has lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York for the past 20 years. She moved to the borough after completing her MFA in painting and drawing at Arizona State University. She then went on to study at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1999.

Mary Temple has exhibited her work throughout the US and abroad. The artist has completed commissioned projects at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, SF, CA; SculptureCenter, LIC, Queens, NY; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; Rice Gallery, Houston, TX; Western Bridge, Seattle, WA; The Drawing Center, NY; UCSF Mission Bay Medical Center; The Bunkamura Museum, Tokyo, Japan; NYU Abu Dhabi, among many other venues. Her work has been reviewed in publications including, The New York Times, Artforum, ArtNews and Art in America. This year the artist will complete major public projects for the City of New York's Percent for Arts program, at the historic landmark site, McCarren Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn as well as at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital's new wing, The Building for a Better Future.

You can view more work from this series and others at Temple's website: marytemple.com.

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