In the meantime, we had landed on the rock.
Sir Joseph Banks, April 28th, 1770.
Capable of distortion, Typography on hard stone Or blue steel works against faultlines, Finger held to the space Between letters, accents thrown To shadow the skin Where you finish, just one Remnant of deposit Speaking out a mime say, Parody of Europe & Latinate Serif on the border Where mobility, apostrophes, strokes Condense sleep and the tablature Of chloric evening skies. One can no longer say Solid form adds to collection And suburbia, either city Or dash, ethics or memorial raised Over endings is finished, Flown to another vigorous personality As your voice fades out, Walks, rises to substance from water And animals from a periphery Of sandstone. Distance translates This momentum, the trajectories Of flight paths blown into water, Hot buckshot foliating sand Slowly disappear out of eyeline. The tides’ black waves Trace series on the little beach, Reassuring as gravity & magnetism, half perspective, Half other, either city or bush, Vanishing point just some Mechanical rise Where pines appear, All that wet foliage & subterfuge Slipping new between old lines As disfiguration, erosion Curl into mock pools, Araucaria Cookii tense beside Water, conquest achieved Only as penumbra, substratum and roots. The edge of fine needles Push molecules up into air, Black as a foreign substance, Outside your senses Without pattern or prenatal tension To describe the blossoming Of islands, stalk head-up Spray blown backward into wreckage, The lubricant breeze Refining internal combustion And gunfire Into coagulant smoke, Thin sheets fragmented as stones Floating up to your landing place, The flora offered by guides Like fluids rising through atmospheres. All that distortion Not made of sediment or absolute silence Stretches toward pure observation, A gull wing’d abstraction And anything remaining Is naked, like the pure creek Yellow brick Discovery Centre Informally attracting expat nature, Revealed or approached Is close enough to betraying The same proximity, Maddens stagnation like Theme music announcing stability, Survival a trajectory hurled As the jetty waits For another inert arrival, Narcoleptic of two situations Apprehended after the fact. A plaque. Resembling remarkable Trajectory the clouds Are driven, finally, together. Epilogue – Palimpsestina, Monument To Banks There is no comparison between puffer fish and hollow effigies of skin, the dry just holding phonemes, teeth, shadows in the socket where an eye spoke, presence indefinite as morphemes, indefinite like scales compared to the nose of a botanist, Linnaean, eyeing decay from a bronze hollow, the shadow of ‘Cock’ resilient as spray paint held on the monument’s side. Nature takes monumental umbrage, suspicious of metaphor or shade, a carcass or two shrunk on the lawn by the waves. Smelling of inconsistency, rust, your lunch is wasted by knowledge, sensuality, vision of a hard beak, a puffer fish’s brow and rows of spikes, teeth unnaturally on the grass beside you, scraps of foliage and bones singing in a hot breeze, your scientist friend insisting on precedence, bloated with interpreting grass. Where settlement becomes thick reeds spoiling the method of his gaze a 7-Up bottle floats down stream, resisting gravity and description like a prenatal republican cap, rousing whitebait, heat blistering plastic skin into air traps winding over smaller fish trapped lank beneath lines and bristling reeds, busy as strophes with the burnt horror of revision, unable to fix or see a puffer fish hardening out of nature as he falls again into vectors, waits, then sinks. Tornado Un amico dell’acqua, or so you saw him, trapped in reeds and, naturally excited, moulding, steaming speechlessness.
From Empty Texas (Paper Bark Press, Brooklyn, 1999)