concrete and clay

One packed toothpaste and a sewing kit
for essential sutures.

“Space-time, its nature is undeniable,”
(in lieu of a goodbye) and that one headed off
towards tomorrow’s sunrise.

The one indoors was waving from a window.
“Everything may be cleaved in two,
so it is with digital computation.”


Within the walls, an otherness was echoed
by the orchid petals, white on white,
known only by their shadows.

That one opened “Universal Clay”
(a guide to its poetic durability)
and read*

soon there’ll be
no-one to write to
then you will claim you are misunderstood.


The one outside felt the nervous tingling
of an electric absence, something never given,
or long since taken away.

That one turned a concrete corner,
and came upon a grevillea
looping in the surreptitious moonlight.

“The shape of missingness is indeterminate;
what you didn’t have, you cannot know.”


Although their connectivity was broken,
in a certain moment, they chatted

“Is it that everything is not,
or is everything something else

“The universe, I’ve read, is a divergent sum
of irredeemable repetitions.”

*quote from “Self-analysis,” Michael Dransfield (Collected Poems, University of Queensland Press, 1987)


world at sunset made with VEE, the visual evolution engine.


20 thoughts on “concrete and clay

  1. “…soon there’ll be no-one to write to
    then you will claim you are misunderstood…”
    Maybe this is why they say perception is incarceration. Beautiful poem and artwork and appreciate it, even more, knowing the fires are still raging across Australia. Stay well, Steve.

    • Thank you, Sobhana. Interesting expression, about perceiving too much perhaps. I think that there are times when and places where a sprinkling of fantasy can sweeten reality, and do no harm. There is always a balance I suppose.

  2. ‘Soon you will find there is no one to write to then you will claim you are misunderstood’ ‘ The shape of missingness is indeterminate’ How wonderfully mysterious. The eyes of the world are brimming with tears for Australia just now and echoing Sobhanajm I repeat ‘ stay well Steve’ and thank you for the poetry.

    • Thank you, Margaret. With not ever having something, I think there is an element of not really knowing what it is you might be longing for: an example of Be careful what you wish for. If it’s something you knew and has been lost, then it’s different, like a desire to return to the past.

      Thank you, I am going to stay as well as I possibly can.

  3. Such evocative words and images Steve, “Within the walls, an otherness was echoed/ by the orchid petals, white on white, /known only by their shadows.” Wonderful!
    I find the video extremely disturbing. It’s as if there is some horror lurking just out of sight and you keep waiting for it to emerge.

    Hope you are bearing up with the stress of the fires.

    • Thank you, Nikita. Curiously, when I wrote this piece, I had seen the orchids a few days before (petals that were only visible because of their shadows). Nothing like a dash of reality.

      I know what you mean about the video. My thoughts tended towards an apocalyptic future because of the situation here in Australia, although I hope that there is some hope somewhere.

      Thanks, at present we are having a bit of a break from the smoke which should continue into next week. At its worst, it’s about staying indoors and wearing a particulate filtering mask when necessary.

  4. Of the two, I prefer “… Everything is something else entirely” but I have no argument to support my choice. I hope you are safe, and that these fires are brought under control soon.

    • Me too, although a somewhat limited choice.

      Thank you, yes I’m fine. I’m asthmatic so I’m staying indoors and wearing a particulate filter mask when necessary. I hope you are also okay.

  5. There’s a mourning of separation and yearning for connection in this piece. It seems that there’s still a glimmer of hope: “Although their connectivity was broken,
    in a certain moment, they chatted
    telepathically.” Loss of connectivity doesn’t necessarily mean loss of connection.
    Hope you’re keeping well with the fires raging in Australia, Steve.

    • Thank you, Magarisa, and yes, it is not too bad here in Sydney. Now we’ve had a little rain, although summer is far from over.

      I think the human condition is to seek glimmers of hope. Unfortunately, despite science-fiction, we cannot change the past, so better to seeks sparks of light in the future.

    • Glad to hear it’s not too bad in Sydney.

      Yes, hope is what keeps us going. Outside the world of science fiction, it is indeed a better use of life to seek brightness in the future rather than ruminate on the past.

  6. I think I may have forgotten to tell you, but one of the first posts i ever did was about the word ‘saudade’, and I thought of it when I saw your piece a while ago, but then forgot again. Mine was spiritual though, but this brought all that back to mind again.
    I also really love the art.
    (After reading the comments, I thought of a line from the recent Star Wars movie, which i have to say, I so enjoyed as some escapism, in 3D with a glass of wine, that is lol…
    I don’t remember the exact words… “the belonging you seek is not behind you, but ahead” )

    • Interesting… about saudade, and that it came to mind from this piece. I still find myself thinking in Portuguese sometimes, and then translating. That happened here.

      Thanks, Vanessa. Yes to escapism: sci-fi, fantasy, whatever. I indulge myself as well, and my excuse is that it’s research for writing. Haven’t worked out anything for the wine though.

      I haven’t seen the latest Star Wars, but I find the future and past are both useful. And it’s best not to confuse them.

    • I’m afraid I don’t have any excuse, just escapism. Which is the best excuse in my book lol.

      Oh, a big yes to that last important sounding thing you said!

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