After meeting with an apparent monk who painted the windscreen of his Vauxhall with seagulls, a motorist has morphed into a pedestrian on a pilgrimage. Part 1 is here.
For me, no peak modernity, no dream of
orbital ecliptics, no F-sharp metal on my tongue,
I’d been summoned to Port Botany,
where flightless cranes raise riveted beaks,
bow and curtsy in their dainty dances,
where cirrus kerosene streaks the flammable sky,
and I might find a natural ellipsis,
a powdered hesitation by the sea.
I traversed the factual world
in steps and their diagonals,
through interleaves of days in nights,
not at all like chocolate layer cake,
although I would have liked a slice,
until I came to midweek midnight
in a rainy council carpark,
where I chanced upon the spherical
polar spirits, Azimuth and Altitude,
who ignored me when I coughed politely.
Dear sister, won’t you tell me, what brings us
to this desperate monoscape?
I’d prefer the ice and snow,
the never-ending sunlit land,
its crucibles of white-hot fire.
The stranger walks in tangles,
he never reads a street sign.
We must guide him
to his rain-checked fate
in a firm but gentle manner.
I had some slight foreboding,
but I knew better than to argue
with auroral beings from the realms beyond,
and the sisters had their way.
At every intersection where I erred,
whenever I would hesitate,
whenever I would stray
in search of chocolate cake,
Altitude and Azimuth took turns in training me—
friendly sparks of electrostatic encouragement,
five coronal kilovolts from their flashing cattle prods.
While the spirits circled on their lightning wings,
down below, jumpered and restarted,
I balanced on a wire between sleeping and awake,
until the frizzled sunrise
showed my future in a cutscene dream:
an espresso would be mine,
I would meet the Medusa,
and debate transcendence
with a soggy piece of cardboard.
- The Port Botany Container Terminal is adjacent to Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport
- spherical polar coordinates
- The polar spirits in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
- Led Zeppelin, the immigrant song.
artwork secret nights (detail above)