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METAMORPHOSES

 

I

 

Street after street held back in unanimity

drowned in brick and tile containment

flat suburbs of white bread television stupor

droning and drowsing out to the rivermouth.

 

That paradoxical question from philosophy:

How to live?

 

Above, the sky is radiant with risk

turning shadows, luminous glances, break

throughs in motion, charge and discharge.

 

 

II

 

And if I was

 

and without echo, the mirror in my skull falling

away  —  dimensions swallowed

sensation voiceless, stilled, diminishing

 

The broken suitcase, the ladder

a whole neighbourhood quieted

night forcing its way down nerve paths

to the eyes. full, lithe

 

 

III

 

On the driveway of my own house

looking forward rather than back —

 

the car locked in its carport

lighted windows reach out

stars that compete with countless cities

 

with the spun thread of story.

Step back into the old self, jarring return

riven, expendable

hard to ignore that void

left behind

 

Dawn loosens

           — the day careless, brightening.

 

 

IV

 

Mount Coot-tha staked with television masts

a parrot, a flash of colour superimposed.

Pale-headed, its cobalt wings

rearrange to brief respite on a backyard fence

top wire quivering slightly.

 

The morning air held, like breath expectant

not even a distant lawnmower

 

 

V

 

Here,

where the river dawdles along pockets

shifts past the point

then out, out of sight, under the bridge.

 

You’ll come to cliffs

with equipment laid out: ropes, harnesses,

other tackle and instruction

shouted from the rim.

 

But first you must stand on the river path

searching for footholds in your mind

for a way through

to a vision of self, climbing like morning

impossible, perfect.

 

VI

 

The pale-headed parrot balances

lacking the effort required

to lift from entropy

 

        — gravity reaction sleep, poised on cyclone

wire in the misfires of its boundaries

all pleasures held a moment

 

 

VII

 

Or a map — alive

no different than forgetting

hurt held together by dust,

ashes mingled with spit and blood to carry

in our heads, to navigate the day

 

The body fails

there is no guarantee of semblance.

 

Biomechanics conceal rougher modulations

electro-chemical properties of matter

that fail to shape the poetics

 

Nothing

will alter absolutes

into flight.

 

 

VIII

 

The substance of the earth, the figuration of sky

the realm between

 

where we believe

all happens

 

cognate cloudburst

the indivisible self in disarray

as time erodes, disorders, without repair

pivot tipping, trapped by desire

to be of some other clay.

 

IX

 

I stare

at unbroken coastline an incoming tide

sea-edge at the moment of imperceptible turn

nothing is settled

 

Listen now for the wind to elide

 

instead it picks up. Stencil clouds jostle

within an empty frame. As if the body’s interlocutor

is free from its own weight or responsibility

        — until flesh forgets

to pressure surrounding air.

 

 

X

 

None of it need be

 

A wholeness ghost-limbed or absent

gets caught in the machinery

 

tongues fail or fade and birds in half-light

fly up

colourful, silent, hardly known.

 

 

XI

 

I risk my body to

a pharmacopoeia of change

blinded certainty that buffets against closure

deaf-mute acquiescence

 

the mirror searches for reflection

new-made — on water (in others’ eyes)

 

light pools collect under cloud gap

rainfall already passing

the air in motion

 

 

XII

 

A man paddles past on a bicycle

a stream of cars

yellow flash silver flash

words spray painted under bridges

 

a differential is at work

skin shuttered against itself

a horizon few dare recognise

 

We take leave of ourselves

then cannot follow

 

Each of us unfinished

will not survive our own upheavals

our transformations

 

the rescue trace

of boundaries mapped by others.

 

------------------------------------------

I’m capturing pixels

photons as they hit the plane of the lens

 

an idea that shape-shifts

ever-absent, ceded to and distracted

by event

 

— birds make song pathways in air.

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