Carbon Dating

1 November 2018

We are divided by Colorbond and legality
finding only quandary in the fine print.
A figure bends before a typewriter, striking

and striking and continually returning to
the same point, the same itinerant waiver
made in the same index by the same key.

Carbon copies lay their stain on everything
and are peeled away to give a grey facsimile,
the non-idealised present from a definite past.

The pallor has no expectation of this happening
again. It has been revealed and shaken off from
the original and all the division, the notation,

the rummaging for words to give it authority
will not let the attribution of each laboured
phrase more than a moments speculation

before the thought moves on. The bell will
ring, like a tiny bicycle travelling. The carriage
will return like a car not hitting the right gear

and fingers will seem snide and calculating
as they often do in this protracted happening
which crosses the page and knows no temper

other than its reach toward an ending. You
are not contained here, in the processing,
arguing words. You are not contained in an

alphabet which straps you in an armband
of apology. When the fences are raised
and the argument over, there is only a garden

seat to hold you in contemplation, long after
the unsatisfactory copy has been dealt out
to all those who may feel its vigour, bill-posted

or tacked against a lean-to of unacceptable
risk. The placards have been torn by the wind
or shredded in anger. The opening of green

is now simply a locked gate in the iron. When
the face of the question is returned to again
it will be as if all the words of pro- and con-

came and went and meant nothing. The sky
is seeded with letters ripped from the page
and the air around you is a fingerprint which

dissipates in the rain. We have drawn these
lines and they are now a frame or cage, and
everything written is extrapolation towards

an ending. Is this the only copy? I hear
someone say. Is there only one expectation
you hold for a legality? My only answer is

in the page that now flies uncontained in
the wind. If you should want another you
must look to the typewriter which made

me do it. Let it ring like a telephone as
the next page is ejected. Let it ring like a
school bell, a shrill sound for where it began.

Let it ring for a year of so little colour, where
the patience for legitimising words seeps
in ink from a key held down far too long.

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