You feel it, of course ⸺ the tension implicit in attention. What it registers flows nowhere fingers begin to get a grip on even for an inch.
And if you were the river streaming forever with no fixed point through the course of a liquid lifetime what would you struggle to try and say to yourself just so the predicament was that little bit easier to bear? ⸺
Make no object of the current and by all means let the torrent of “each moment” flood-light you whole.
Barely dressed above decency’s minimum in shorts, socks, runners, he hugs himself hushed in intense conversation with an eager next-door neighbour ⸺ his late afternoon jog still flushed crimson on his chest. As I pass by self-compact on the footpath, I notice tucked behind one ear like a stray afterthought one shining ice-white frangipani flower: how they match, whorl to whorl, in that grainy hour of twilight! There are gestures ⸺ MICRO-GESTURES ⸺ which complicate so much for the better all our caricature notions of character, though with age, the uncatalogued repertoire shrinks substantially to a few odd edges of the infinite to haunt us absent-mindedly ⸺ God-sent to challenge timid autobiography. What we know we know for a fact definitely deters but does not prohibit spontaneous occasional ventures into “fiction”: down in the yard at the bottom of the drive, across a line of wind-lashed sheets, I glimpse that play-act; those folds; those shadows; that make-believe . . .
Photograph: 唐人溪流：模糊嘅黃花 Blurred wattle flowers, Chinaman Creek (2020)
I am writing this down, drop by drop, just as it falls from the sky ⸺ a gentle rain, again perhaps the start of a Summer storm.
Faint thunder detonates the distance and growls down mountains, triggering an avalanche of decibels.
Small, unopened sunflowers stare sightless up into the overcast atmosphere, while the heavens’ only sol-bloom shies blind-ed behind dense acres of cloud.
A whole world between words upsets a particle or two here and there of some absolute boundary inscribed in the dust; plummeting water sculpts tear-drop-shaped craters in sand-drifts banked along the road.
Now there is no eagle to stand the sky on end, and no fox to set its dirty orange fire to the gloom.
Suddenly, I am jumped out of my skin: all the fault-lines in my nature are analyzed both with and against the grain by a forked strike of instantaneous X-ray lightning and, almost in the same split-second, thunder deafens (and defines) the length and breadth of my fragile auditory nerves.
Lost in the moment, one large white cockatoo feather twirls ⸺ gloriously ⸺ back to Earth.
Photograph: 澳洲唐人溪：向日葵 Sunflowers, Chinaman Creek, Australia (2020)
The moss comes back, grass
into the rock-hard, sun-burnt earth, as Autumn
tilts us away from warmth,
shivering with universal ice. Skies
unlove us. Winds butcher
the butcher blades on knives. And night
shrinks us stiffly in our skins,
reproaches us with outward-looking stars.
Now, futile enthusiasm and all our known know-hows
and we hunker down clueless,
forgetting to Summer, forgetting to be
something the season is not. Yes, every season
has its own sense of occasion: this one’s
for mood and melancholy,
for shifting outside ourselves a distance
to peer in at what the light years’ light yearning
cobwebs as consciousness
some call “self” — a broken thing
life can’t like — and that others learn not to call,
to go without, to leave be
till wild first flowers come back at the world
and the grass of feelings we no longer inhabit
grows up its vivid signal in us whole.