Let’s look around the place, here, this farmlet,
southern highlands, late October in a year records are again broken.
I still don’t understand it. Even as I prattle on to visitors
of its few successes, many failures. Can I really see it?
Always that film of ideas, memories, comparing, imagining, like veils of mists
coming up from Bundanoon’s deep gorges, channelling the Tasman
up through sandstone ravine funnels hitting high coolth
to merrymake mushrooms, mood magic, droplet cobwebs, bee diseases.
Mostly though, wheeling skyscapes pushed by westerlies
from sandy ebbtide cirrus to rolling king-tides of cumulus
backlit by sunsets like last sputterings of some senescing fire somewhere
invisible just over the horizon blocked by tangents of trees.
Night tends to fall like a sentence, stars its letters
spelling patterns we no longer see. How to explain this longing
for something else? Something not to be measured in algorithms,
there and not there, central and peripheral, a bend in unbeing
bending you into Is. The Southern Cross wheels yet is always going south.
Although the buddleias have unbloomed, woodwhites, jezebels
still jinx and suck. Our slow-dying dog Billy stumbles in to beg for food,
his remaining passion as his legs give way, lungs rasp
louder towards some crescendo-diminuendo I am avoiding. Ask not
for whom the bowl empties, it empties for thee.
Soundscapes around here always mix machine, mind and wild,
the steady techno of swamp frog, dull sigh of plane or train
receding into the comforting abstractions of distance.
Magpies, ravens chase away raptors and are praised daily
in the rabbits’ subterranean temples. One rifle blast and I can wait
at least twenty minutes before another whiskers the air.
It would be nice to say these rodent moon-makers were my roshis
in patience and detachment from headcount and slow-cooked stew.
Farming is about killing things. Killing ancestors that made us.
Some say the expiation comes from preparing the food
with heart, mind in the right place. I wouldn’t bet on it.
Apparently some Buddhist cold-climate carnivores
foist the karma onto the man with gun and knife. No one’s perfect.
I used to only eat meat I’d killed, riding out the sheep’s
spurting spasms after I’d slit its throat. Getting too old for that, so now
it’s also others’ organic because it builds the soil. But who knows.
Vegan seems cleaner, thus suspect, and I’d miss the bloody mystery
of dark resurrection and dying-to-live.
This spring, with days of welcome wind-shifting curtains of drizzle
heading off another record drought, there’ve been more small birds.
Waves of yellow-rumped thornbills seem to share the insected grass,
trunks and air with red-browed firetails, the odd restless flycatcher
outwinging their flanks. For the first time variegated fairy wren,
spotted pardalote have sat at our sill demanding entrance
to our forbidden cave. May the tiny star-speckled wonders of their eggs
rest safe some place unknown to the winged, sharp-beaked
brains gracing the sleek black shoulders of corvids and butcher birds.
How much longer before the dark angel of blindness
touches my maculate eyes with his immaculate feather? I can feel him
shuffling in the wings. Will I navigate the final times
in the new tough light of sound, sense and senseless,
the metallic whir of robotic drones replace the oneiric buzzing of bees?
- 108: DEDICATIONwith L Patterson & L Garcia-Dolnik 107: LIMINALwith B Li 106: OPENwith C SLowe & J Langdon 105: NO THEME 11with E Grills & E Stewart 104: KINwith E Shiosaki 103: AMBLEwith E Gomez and S Gory 102: GAMEwith R Green and J Maxwell 101: NO THEME 10with J Kinsella and J Leanne 100: BROWNFACE with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPOREwith J Ip and A Pang 97 & 98: PROPAGANDAwith M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones