Manic at Night

By and | 31 January 2013

The refrigerator’s humming outside
and I like that.
Outside of any use I could make of it.
But I can’t see it now,
cause I’m in a different suburb, but this reminds me
of how I used to like
the ‘Here’s Too-ee’ sign, lit up at night, in steam,
in the headlights. The freezing lines,
weather-forecast needs, indeterminate
flow of large blurred lights becoming objects again.
Trying to fragment the sense
but it doesn’t work, because of
the connections, between words and
each other. You try to attend,
but not attend properly, or try
not to attend – but you do. If this is manic
it’s fairly restrained. It’s probably relaxed
really: a hammock swinging in the
backyard of a sense of
quiet retrieval, of the linguistic connections
that constitute the idea,
or of something automatic
behind it.
You think it: Time, small
parcels of thought in train that
move darkly past unopened, familiar beneath
their disguises, the disguises that saying ‘No’ lends
each of them – and are
incognito, as in Who wants to know?
Wait, your hand reaches for
a beer, but the fridge is stuck.
And relaxes across your chest, your glass empty.
You go to sleep fully
apprised emotionally, and calm.
Falling out of the air
with both arms,
but in charge somehow and not desperate, as though
your worst fears
had telegraphed the vicissitudes you deal with.
Then outside again and clutching the rail
which is very nicely cool
and makes the hand relax actually.


The air-conditioning like distant aircraft
or the way trucks hum at night in sleep.
Most things at night make the mind relax,
(against the grain, again), like lightning
illuminates the real world but discharges
ions that soothe anyway.
Inside, the telly rages greyly
as a channel switches off. You go inside
and change it, and come outside again, the new
image bouncing, reflected, in the glass behind.
And time for this thought:
each image occupies its own
parentheses, without surprise, appearing
one at a time, although it’s a dream
from the details of an ordinary day,
carrier waves to an idea or impulse
that can only be named …
where you know the name of something
best by just not thinking about it
– by ignoring them, in their immediacy,
their fascination – epiphenomena
to an aspiration – as you reflect upon
an ‘ideal’ of self-quotation,
remembering how you had looked up
to the sun above the top floors of buildings,
where the light hits,
as, below, the silent swimmers
appear, one by one, in the streets,
in the calm erasure of their paths through space,
without reflection and unknown to you,
all the days that beat like waves, black and white,
where a white froth of minutes is ineluctable
and inevitable and you too far to care.
Though caring is the least part. Let’s say, you
simply leave it, as someone shouts
up from a lift shaft, and lights appear,
rising from the airport, across the city.
A face looks down. Your face? Your own,
or the image in your mind’s eye that expresses
your attitude? Over and over, like a pop song you hate
but cannot ignore, these words: these truths
harm you to attend and are final – you stand ‘outside’
to think them, but you are outside
really, now,
and a few other occasions like these.

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