a ways away

there’s a wedge tail eagle about, lately. it drifts quietly up on high, a ways away from the goings on of the birds down here. the constant racket.

i stand knee high in the grass, watching it. it floats on down towards me, sinking from one downdraft to the next. it gets to about an arm’s length away, and i see it’s as big as me. it’s about to reach me. i feel fear, suddenly. it’s too close. i reach my arm out and press my hand against its beak. i hold it at an arm’s length. it struggles for a minute, and then stops. we stand there, the two of us, for a while. the eagle presses its beak into my hand, and i press my hand against its beak. after a while, it begins to shift to the left. a sidedraft. slowly, it lifts away from me. i give it a shove to propel it back into the air. it floats away.

a shower of very small white and black birds fill the sky and float on down towards me. i lay down on my back and wait. they float right down to the ground like a sheet, covering me. their little feet press into my belly, my arms and my legs. everywhere but my face.

 

garden, part two

i’m already off to the beach for a run when you text me: would i like to do garden in morning or afternoon?

i can’t help but get into the ocean. i come into the kitchen, hair dripping, and say let’s do it this morning, hey?

we begin. immediately i rip one of the candy cane bags full of soil. candy striped bags, i mean. the day before, when i ask the man from the landscaping supplies over the phone if we can bring up some candy cane bags to fill with soil, he tells me straight out he doesn’t know what a candy cane bags is. fair enough. when we’re in the store, buying them, you go right out and say homeless people bags. there’s no misunderstanding that. the man at the counter takes us straight to them. they cost two fifty each. up at the landscaping supplies, it turns out we can only half fill them. they’ll bust, otherwise. i offer to shovel. the man shakes his head, and says i can hold the bags open. i hold the bags open. i can carry them to the car, at least, i say. he shakes his head, but i take one anyway. i let him take the others.

we drag the four candy striped bags of soil down to the crate and collect everything we need. one pair of gardening gloves. one trowel. one tray of seedlings. one stack of palm leaves. one stack of banana leaves. one armful of sugarcane mulch. one kettle.

i’m convinced that we can line the crate with palm leaves to stop the soil falling out, so we start off doing that. then you figure out the banana stems are pretty fibrous, so you start weaving them along the sides of the crate. it’s coming together. i step back to take a look at it. i put my hands on my hips. it’s then i see what it is we’re doing.

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we’re making a nest.

we pile the soil on in and start planting. the seedlings give out sighs of relief. it turns out you’re into rows and i’m into circles, so you stick to the edges. it doesn’t take either of us long to begin planting all over the place, though.

it turns out beautifully. i can’t stop glowing.

until it’s time to empty out the bin. that’s when the wheels come off.

 

the radio’s a way of leaving town

the radio’s a way of leaving town

a way of scaling the silos looking down

at the river it’s alight we’re getting through

these days when all they do is just drag on

it’s the sound of it that gets to me

the sting of it on my skin

glittering the river sings

the song it’s sung since we begun

i left you to make sense of things

but it turns out they make no sense of me

or the words i see inside the sky

the words i’ve sung since i begun

i see the shape of this old town

i see the leaves all on the ground

they grow those plants they just don’t stop

the sun it just stings on

you remember me, you know me

i’ve come here all these years

you’ve forgot now, now you see me

all the years that i’ve left here

and even when i’m leaving

i’ll be on my way to you

you’ll know i’m on my way to you

i’m always, on my way to you

arriving being leaving

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when you arrived, although you haven’t arrived yet, so it makes no sense to speak in the past tense and yet i know it will be so, i’m feeling it already. being then, what i’m feeling now and not necessarily what i’ll feel when you arrive but what i imagine, after you arrive, that i’ll understand is what i felt as you arrived. the very seeing of you. i’m here and i’m everywhere but, here being too much of a place to be all at once, you arriving, and being here where i am being all at once too much. you are on your way to arriving, to having arrived, to being arrived, here, all at once. only not on the way to leaving again, being the next thing after arriving, and being here, now, before you arrive being infinitely milder to being there, then, as you are leaving. and entirely too much, at once.

 

making tracks

there’s a train track just behind the place i’m living, now. there’s a train track behind the place i grew up, too.

after a while, you don’t hear the trains go by.

when i first came to byron bay, the train track was shut. they’ve started work on it, though, now. so there’ll be trains going along here, too, soon.

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it’s a disused train track, this one. a track that carelessly throws up weeds and hibiscus flowers. it’s no longer a way for vehicles to travel from place to place, an in-between. it’s a place in itself.

a living room springs up. a couch faces a wall that still carries the hiss of spray cans in it. the plants grow into the cushions, relentless. this track has no need for footbridges. it has its own bridge, a bridge that is rotting out from beneath itself. a bridge that requires a certain sort of crossing. a careful sort. a delicate sort.

it holds the clatter of a thousand trains in its silences. it’s a clamour that throbs under the warm metal and, from time to time, bursts out in the slap of a branch or the sigh of knickers falling to the ground. the only sort of stillness here is the stillness that trembles.

i’ve walked up and down this track as many times as i can remember. before i came here, even.

home coming : going home

last summer, i went home. it’s the first summer i’ve spent at home, where i grew up, in over ten years. 

i grew up, mostly, on the side of a hill in the north of tasmania. close to the coast. in tarleton, to be precise. 

sometimes i wonder if i keep on leaving so i can keep on going back. 

i’ve been years and years coming back to this river. coming home. i’m only just realising i left. i’m sitting on the railway bridge, looking out at the sea, and realising i haven’t come back this way, this way, since i left. i’m leaving all over again and coming back, all at once. and still, the river’s here. the river i’m come back to.

home. where everything flows from. where everything flows to. the mountain; the river; the sea. singing the same songs, over and over. i’ve returned in the meantime, of course. over and over. but i’m come back now. it’s not the same thing.

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