heels to the world,
stoop peering at the blurs,
fingerdancing a song of words,
chasing the ghosts of a vowel music.
I'm not here,
I'm not there,
Beyond this manufacture
if only for a whisp
but enough to perhaps belay tonight
some delicacy of truth.
Afloat, uncatchable yet
its shape a shimmer,
like love passing through you,
a mystery I should know.
But the chase always the urge,
I'll stoop again.
Here's a tree
Chopped and carved
Naked and plundered
A suburb separation now
Borderguarding weeds from tyre.
bleeding plastic green
Spiral eyes forced open
moon mercy its only silence.
It lays, fateless and barren
Dry dreaming of hushed breezes
Cloud tower caresses
The sensual ache of the saw's first cut.
Nothing is gospel
And that's the lesson.
An expectation of binary
Of light, of right
Is misdirection like your smile.
Which makes it all possible
And all an impossible guess.
Some devil, some divine on the breeze
A faith open armed
A comforting unknowable
A resetting oxygen
for these semi-charmed days.
Softly over the bruise
that vacancy of trust.
Take what you put there
and knit this fray, a patch.
Unmood that memory
For this time it's the last
this fracture a trail to trace by heart.
Smile your crimson crescent
Don't give all to madness
Save some for when we need it
Because we will, as I need this.
up past the debris
the dark and the drowned
to where we can emerge again.
A sanctity of rebirth,
the rarest of second lives.
This gift a consideration pause
granted and taken.
This failure journey
through the expectation curse of normal
a fight for a space to pray
unheaven or holy.
Beliefs fleeing daybound
taken by the hiss and the tick.
But now, surfacing for the next,
a memory of warmth.
Straddling a road between places
Between ocean and beast
Between want and need
Between mystery and founding.
A relentless wind howl
Not a whisper, not a roar
This isn't your land
This sky not your crown.
Blood red the clay
that births the weeds
into a lesson of faithlessness
a yellowpale chaos that defeats all fence, all ruler.
Leaving another generation struggling
to overcome their faith in better
defeat their belief in meaningful
Rain and sun, always less and more.
But not your fight.
Feel it slip between neck and shirt
The infiltration of foreign
We've been here longer
Worked the romance of life over
Found a comfort in hardness
Found a truth in coldness
The relentless howl,
The only everlasting.
Finding familiars in a sky of clouds
Finger contrails plotting and lining
Pretending to be good at it.
Imagining invisibles actually connecting
Like a god plan divined by chapter and verse.
These laboured machinations,
These flimsy possibilities,
This grownup audacity
and petulant antigrowth
Invite only a vertigo of surprise.
Updrafting, lifting me
To an altitude to see beyond.
Up where the air whispers cold advice
Where horizons become limits
And breaths become numbered.
The soft familiarity of southern light
The ache of accents plumbing deep
More stars than dark above
Below just time, lessons to keep.
I pictured this picture
Down to the dirt and the warble
Saw the shore, felt the chill
Unlocked all doors to find peace and ill.
All I was missing was
The why and the how
But all was the trail
All was for now.
This broke me to fix me
A necessary savagery
Long earned and unpaid
Hard rain on the coldest day.
Vibrating like broken neon,
Because nothing else works.
Examining fossils for insight
An entrail reading out of desperation
But precedents unfound.
So I'll be an absolute beginner
Waylay imagination for a change,
Walk the haze of new,
Chasing, searching, being.
It's all I can,
Because it's all I am.
His eyelids to heaven,
Farmer shirt untucked,
Seedstress and cows and cloudbursts a temporary memory,
Palms for psalms
Mouthing the strange incantations.
Open your mind, boy.
This congregation of souls,
A sheen of hope over something true,
Between the amps and sheep fable,
Face to face around the token table,
A community building truth
That no wind or heat or flood could strip away.
Just melt this city,
Scorch it back to just these souls
Raze all buildings, all history
And watch it rise hand by heart again.
It was all too rock and roll for Winnie, but her man would have understood.
Farming is faith,
The impossible needs a pulpit.
Shells crackling, a handful picked and pressed,
spirals and rocks and tiny perfections of erosion
digging in to the unyielding sand of my palm.
No home here.
Rolling in hesitant tide by tide,
picked over, flooded and tumbled,
they land here, travellers too,
an ocean edge to a horizon blurring into infinity.
All sharpness worn,
the sea echo beaten out
past fin and under gill,
push and drag and roll until
the tiniest of achievements, their purpose fulfilled.
A bushfire smudge
Heading up and roofing the city
Amber burn strata
A thousand eucalypt infernos
Seared to be reborn
A char fertility.
I stood mountaintop
A panorama of streets
Skeletal and possible
To a coast, to a valley
To a city, to a country
Only one a toll.
All my years between
Waves crashing resultless
Flurry and hustle
Frothing and hurry
Leaving no marks
Just evaporations of intent,
And a foam of memory.
There's something between sweet and salt on the air,
Too much truth for melancholy
Too much power for an empty universe
On this shore, an edge to next.
That sky engulfing me,
That infinity fable,
Treeteeth grinning, tongueroads beguiling
Come on, rise to your future, they seduce.
This illusion of normal, betrayed by the underpass woman, praying to her splinter of light, as the sky falls into her, exhaust filling.
I see dust in your old homes,
The new city's skewers labouring upwards,
Arabian sails and Asian palaces, beauty in rectangle town.
I see hips and sandals, hair anxious in fingerknots,
Last year's tinsel your jewellery,
Hope in your reflection,
It's your time now.
Make way, make way, destroy, regrow.
The storm-hurled water pushes in,
Angry green and folding under itself.
A convex of foam consumes my footprints,
Fast filling the intrusion,
The salt ephemera of history.
I'm not here anymore,
No path back.
Over-reaching again, the tide gives up its ambition,
Retreating with a sigh.
Gathering back its dark hoard,
A rock carpet
thunder-tumbling back to the sea,
A music of pebble insolence,
Of doors bolting,
Commuter stones grinding,
eroding each other,
back into an invisibility of sand.
The magpies warble laugh from their ghost gums,
Here comes another under our tails.
Here's the bike track, where I raced my imagination,
Always counter clockwise,
Lightspeed and dangerous.
Walking the same descents and jumps today,
tracing, divining, pebble-reading,
seeing the same patterns in some other boy's tyres
Go wide on the corners, roll high up the side
Brace for the double....
But a different gravity today.
Sunset says it's just a path
lifeworn and waiting
even the weeds know it was always just a Sunday diversion.
Stone and hill still unchanged
The only shade six almond trees,
happy climbed knot by fork,
sandpaper barked even then,
my father smoking underneath
his grownup seriousness rising into my lungs.
The black arteries,
A henna of water ghosts,
Tree skeletons under the ochre skin of my country.
No hope but faith,
This season will turn
The sun, god of this forsakenness,
Etching Sanskrit with rain fingers,
Warnings to heed from the sky alone,
A bleaching temptation.
The eucalypts sway,
No mirth in their shade.
Just a dry dust choke reality.
He steps down into the world
Heavy with the music
Out of the safety, down into our mess.
Dark shuffle from the spotlight,
The microphone snake, the tether
shaming us for laziness
Quit talkin bout that weather.
Where you belong is not where you belong
mumble and groove, shudder and move
greatness flowing numb from his lips
"Tip the band, try your hand."
From 300 feet up, the ball played Euclid. Dancing angles and intersections, connections, blackboard chalk on grass. Our minds remote played the game, cross-centre-turn-shoot-why-why-why. Pulses rising in unison, we were one beast in that tempest, one mass of white and red, faces and tongues and frustration steaming the rain. Below, the mothers' sons played their precision ballet, oblivious, brainwhirring their angles, making millisecond plans, 10-second futures at a time. We sang an anthem we didn't believe, looking across at a city we once knew. This entertainment a distraction of expenses, from our locked houses and the silence we fear.
Doglike, the morning sun warm on my back, the night's cool reaching up out of the shadow cast. All asleep but the earth beneath, dark and squirming. Roots resisting my fingers, their unruled cunning an anchor deep. Then the moment – dawn recycling dusk's pale beauty, the anticipation hush of only birds. A day's first breath. The sun cycles it back for me, to a bus by a bridge, storming to university. Not even half alive, already tired of the hiss and the leash. Light bouncing off some fiction, warm on my face. Hands cool beneath cover and spine, verso shadow. Digging for truth in another world, feeling for meaning in that halfdark, rootless and wormblind, even then.