View from the possibility of making the photographer redundant
The photographer working for a smaller
magazine under the National Geographic label got
to the cindering horse-corpse before we did. A one-horse-
town as a black smokestack column,
more flourishes, lines curling into gas, than the many
faced columns of Michelangelo’s ‘snowflake’ nave
design. However, the consternation of paparazzi around
its base produce but angles and a glittering of
shattering lights. Growing outwards and upwards,
as intended. But the photographer was there earlier,
see Skeiðarárjökull and the work of its cartographers
on White Island. As the mouth speaks a myth of a wild
horse never seen in the British Isles, the lips of the speaker
shiver into fissures and then moss like sheets of bloodied
peach fuzz. Whole demographics of oxidation mean the head
is oldest, the cheeks middle-aged, and the lips the just dying
child. The neck is something like the black column or
spout, the boiler now the figure and the form somewhere
drifting. The photographer, perched on a throbbing
tripod was there for its passing, finds facts later
contemplating the negatives. Etna is as solid as our eye
sockets, she would cradle the homeless and feed them
bread and milk, but you would never think this in thrall
of her cratered, goggle eyes. Let’s think of ways to get
rid of the photographer, or at least make him redundant.
Couldn’t we be everywhere, live on every stretch of
badland, every charred steppe? There, a revolution of headless
necks would be something worth beholding, especially
at a distance from the pyre horse and its crackling symphony,
all his earth tilled about him, ruining sleep. Yes, live
among it, but forever be a sulphur miner, naked as a
lump of coal. Could we swim the genius maze of an Olympic
size pool and its concatenations of floaties, live in an apartment,
dance cliffs as if a flying kung-fu of the Hong Kong film industry?
The clean mouth was never such a thing and yet its third phrase,
the topography of a once-treasured lagoon and its thought bubbles,
has clearly lived up to its copter licence. Yes, it seems the actor martial
artist exiled on the black steppe, naked as a lump of coal, running on
the balls of his feet, could breed a family history of which we might
want to gather evidence of our own ancestry. We might even
become as delicate and new as the blossoms of Nicaragua and Ethiopia.
If only feet could talk! And beginning estuaries havens
of medicine! If only we could outrun the beating of our
hearts and the osmosis of our lymph! Landeyjarsandur Estuary
has never been within limits. The photographer’s eye nabs
prey, but we otherwise know our place forced off its
land. The freelancer got scared by our approach by car, his
arms were as wide as our red chassis as he flung himself
elsewhere, somewhere once again beyond reach. There
is no collaboration with him, our journalism is punctuation
around a rim. At a conference, is it impolite to say
he is an acquaintance of ours? External light stages us and
we are trying to say something as we think back to a smokestack.
Hours Before the Supervisors Undress
Before I begin, the colonnade foyer
filled to brimming with limestone aches.
No one's arrived, I’m practically alone,
bar the aches. Practicably also, since names
have fallen from doors
at this pensive hour. A mean shot at the caucus,
representing our efforts to get the pictures
of bushland haze on to the walls
with hammer to nail.
My speech may have been a little haphazard,
my speech may have been a flinging of
sand and fig, but it was attended,
people asked questions, and
someone’s stomach rumbled.
There are ten thousand nodes between which
piano wire could be strung to trip efforts
to walk this, a bush trail.
A wall of pneumatics swallows the decrepit
hotel, and the sick sigh and may die, finally.
He doesn’t want to speak about
the American wrench, the diving mask, or
the misshapen welder he’s left about. That’s okay.
The brain institute swelters not sweats the
hours before the supervisors undress their
clipboards with wet fingers.
[Corey Wakeling lives in Melbourne, Australia. His work has appeared in Australian and international journals, magazines, and anthologies, with work forthcoming in Jacket2, Famous Reporter, Overland, E-ratio, Interrobang, nthposition, Big Lucks, and Best Australian Poems 2011. He is a PhD candidate and tutor at the University of Melbourne.]
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