The city is also the rain. The movements of clouds across glass, shadows travelling over dry pavements, the call of ancient spirits where the coffee franchise faces the station | the need for water, an elemental perspective. Plasterers covered in white powdery dust, angels and bakers, zombies maybe. Infinite building is our way, we accumulate by limitation, forever creating borders and walls, wrapping and excluding space, inviting in the emptiness. A fluid superimposition of blocks and planes, the city churns like a sleepless mind, sweet little Viva wailing next door, unable to rest without her Mama, or Sunday disturbed by the carping of jackdaws from nearby aerials, chimneys and trees | though the city, unlike a mind, has no direction, for the sleepless mind must always be granted | eventually | the bliss of oblivion and the loss of self. Old buildings in the process of demolition, newbuild, a temporal flutter of concrete and brick, slate, timber and steel, fabrics flickering, the vanished structures in-filled with the current, passing in a blur of forgetting, wings in motion, the flight to and from water. The city is also the rain.

FIRE HAZARD HIGH | the signs said at the | height of summer. Bushfires were a constant menace. I was a foreigner in that city, with my temperate inheritance of downpours and drip, moss and chill. The mind motor racing, unable to sleep, I end up back there, although | really | I am in December with frost coating the windscreens and erratic central heating clicking and chundering in the background. 4.20 am, memories of Balmain and Cammeray sprout, the sulphur-throated frangipani and flung torrents of bougainvillea, for me, the heat was new, a tremendous experience, firing out parrots and lizards, and the blue of that sky was a kind of vision, but a vision of utter blankness, like a slate swept clean.

 


from Semapolis | City of Signs
(series of poems, unfinished, 2012–present)

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