Once on a quiet night, I joined a busload
of marsupials and monotremes on tour,
even an emu or two, and we
traveled through the window down
an invisible road to Isvénia.
Where rivers of sand once ran beneath the sea,
I saw an endless room, domesticated white goods,
infinity cubed in rows and shelves and aisles.
And in the concrete fields outside,
Audis stacked eight stories high,
driving gloves in leatherette that clawed
out of the ground,
keen to leave the parking down below.
Further south, citrine orchards, ghosts with mechanical claws
that drained the nectar from the fruit,
and I could read by citronella candlelight
beneath a branch, Isaac Newton with lemons,
irreversible thermodynamics for beginners—
the absolute truth at absolute zero
without illusion, dreams or metaphors.
Later on Inconstant Street,
the front door turns a key,
an indivisible woman comes in.
How’s your day been, darling?
Have you been chewing the corners of your
How does she know? I wonder,
but I ask about the espresso machine.
Oh that, I gave it a soul,
simulated of course,
I thought it might make sweeter mocha.
The coffee maker comments ex machina:
On a distant ridge of air and stone,
the monotremes are watching, waiting
and a cloud of steam puffs out.
What I’d say Australia’s like if anyone ever inquired. They haven’t, which is probably a good thing.
I asked my espresso machine what the latest future might be, but it ignored me, so wait and see. At least I’ll have coffee while I’m waiting.
Michael Dransfield’s The City Theory in Collected Poems, University of Queensland Press, 1987. His poetry is online here but The City Theory is not included and Collected Poems is out of print. For me, his work has geological depth, and I’m not just saying that to satisfy fair use for this short extract:
next door, they make your coffee for you,
know its ingredients, the cup you like, and
what to say to you, they know your symbols; to learn this
The documentary Manufactured Landscapes, photographer Edward Burtynsky, director Jennifer Baichwal, 2006.
aparência—still life, still death, vanitas with geometry and fruit