Archive for the ‘fiction’ Category

Novel, written 2018-19.

K the Interpreter is a narrative emerging from contemporary global fault-lines between the powerful and the dispossessed, and the concealed truths and open deceptions that sustain a fictional status quo. It tells the interwoven story of individuals negotiating these rifts in the real, seeking to maintain integrity, as well as existential security, against overbearing odds. Traversing East and West, obscurity and infamy, its crises converge in a conclusion that appears as inevitable as it is shocking.

K. the Interpreter is shortlisted for the Dorothy Hewett Award 2020, under the auspices of UWA Publishing (Director Dr. Terri-ann White) and the Copyright Agency. Warm congratulations to all short-listed writers: Angela Gardner, Caitlin Maling, Kylie Mirmohamadi, Robin Riedstra and Karen Wyld. For more on the shortlisted works, in poetry and fiction, see: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0542/4573/files/DHA20_Shortlist_Announcement.pdf?55

COVER brutal-photographs-from-the-frontline-of-myanmars-rohingya-genocide-889-1467844267

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An Island Emissary

Short story, in Southerly Journal, Issue 79.1: 80! (published Dec. 7th online in The Long Paddock), at:




NS Island 2

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The Aid Worker

Short story published in Mascara Literary Review, Issue 22 (June, 2018):


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In Khost Province

Short prose in Mascara Literary Review #19, September 2016: http://mascarareview.com/in-khost-province-by-martin-kovan/

Ballots not Bullets - Anja Niedringhaus, March 2014.png

“Ballot not Bullet” – Anja Niedringhaus, March, 2014


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Short-fiction (written Paris, 2006); published in modified form in the print journal (School of Culture and Communication, Melbourne University) antiTHESIS # 23: LIVE, November 2013:



The original piece is here:

There is a light which glances into the stream-of-vision of the paying commuters. It is the same light that travels from the silvery vaults of the Maison de la Monnaie through the protection warning-system and fibre-optic transmitters into the receptor-diodes of the mobile-phone of the man speaking in a reasonable American voice even though he stands bluntly in the middle of the pedestrian tunnel saying damage control an indefinite number of times into the phone mouthpiece.

The noise plays out not far ahead of him. At initial hearing it could be an edgy installation-soundscape, but this is not a music of the fibre-optic age, a post-industrial slithering zither of ultra-violet rays. It is neither sophisticated nor aurally fine, but the overtones move into the front of consciousness like a tireless assassin even so. It might be the creation of another race, an alien species half-insect or machine according to whichever side of the prototypical spectrum the human one still concedes to. There must be giant amplifiers positioned in odd acoustic proportion: the sound, its source unclear, seems to reach under the skin, even where it deceives the ear, and could be coming from the interior as much as anywhere in objective space.

The interior and objective space are not necessarily exclusive categories (nothing so new about that).

Damage control the man’s voice says again – of course ‘damage control’ might have any number of determinants not least the kind of patch-up jobs we are used to witnessing in Hanoi or Kabul or Baghdad. Defy me the music dares to declare in the tubular labyrinth and out through ventilation shafts and into the free air of the free (-ly bought) world.

The House of Money is an august institution whose proper identity has been protected for the purposes of this fiction by translation and transplantation into an indeterminate zone (you say place, or language, or signifier and I say yes and also real insofar as the power-conduit that exits from the gold-gilt gates reaches over the heads of the casseurs on the outskirts of town all the way to the reiteration of the words damage control in thin spidery italics underground, always underground, always spoken in a nuanced and reasonable American version courtesy of Time Warner and the men who brought you Quiet Days in an Evil Age, cf. Code 21CN of the Unattributed Act of Inattention #6J/art. 5-A).

It’s not an alarm, a re-run of…is it? Not here, after the hi-jinks in…er, confidentiality blues bl-ue-ue eyes, they say they’ve got blue eyes, not brown, under the hoods and burkhas and the AK47s stuffed inside all-purpose fatigue trousers and speaking of fatigue aren’t you all a bit goddamned tired by now? not least of this? (text, triste tropique, topos, hungry-ghost realm, pick any but pick).

She’s Bosnian (no prizes). Sits like a lame duck on the concrete floor with the mind-curdling gadzook between her legs as if she has given birth to a wailing serpent of ancient Illyria, the placental mess nearby, where the ticket-barriers are, trying to get through. Perhaps it is a love-song, perhaps to the damage-control man, but he isn’t listening, not right now (again no prizes, trying to get through to you), and other voices beckon – from HQ, the bunker, Mr. Big’s leather armchair, Xanadu, where you will. The dear duck doesn’t even bother with a hat out for coins or, presumptuously, paper notes. She just plays – gratis-like, sawing away for blind life, straight off the mountains. (It ain’t Easter for nuthin’, folks.)

The bow she uses has, perhaps, five or six actual hairs, but they are industrial-strength mythical human wire from the superhuman old races of Dalmatia or Carpathia or Georgia, where old men and women live the longest. The most beautiful thing is the unbowed sound-plus-body coordination, where she leans into the micro-tonally raised, then diminished, drone-note – it is a monster’s wail, a Frankenstein cry – beautiful as an idiot-infant’s eye left to weep on a highway by midnight overpass lights.

Then she swings back, heavy old-woman dugs following the line of inarticulate least resistance: it’s a single note, and she has a single tooth in her head, a single pure idea guiding her single unadulterated wish which is to live in the world, with the others, the strangers, the intergalactic youth swarming round her in tinted shades, not least the damage-control man himself.

And so she saws. She could be sawing an umbilical cord attached to that same humanity, or a birch-tree trunk from the old country, or the deep wound of war she has left behind there. It is a single-stringed instrument played with a few hairs by a single old woman who will die within two or three years of it, or less. The commuters look askance because they imagine they smell diarrhoea or vomit escaping from under the peasant skirts, the cobbled shoes, the heavy thighs that lumpenly sit turned-in under the shadows of the barrier-gates (always a barrier, always a gate). There is something a little unsavoury about the old woman’s (chinny-chin-chin) hairs, and the fact that she can’t manage to raise an actual tune, a tune of more than a single, living ground-note from the rudimentary single-stringed instrument. Where has she come from anyway? Shouldn’t she be home in her village, celebrating Easter with flammable spirits and gypsy wars and gambling and guns and mafia picaresque exploding around her? Not here – this is a different world, that’s all, not a judgement. (The saw-music is still loud and clear, its great godfearing laughter raining down stage-left between the tattered poster-bills and Brazilian boys sharing out the deal).

So that the American agent is curious, finally. Time to move into action-mode. Is that really diarrhoea I can smell? Don’t they pay someone to keep these places clean? Jesus save-them-from-themselves Christ. He even sings: we gotta get outta this place, sotto voce, not quite in tune, but reasonable, even so, the portable phone mouthpiece dangling under the jowls. KFC still on his breath. There’s a few  minutes left, left to kill. Take your time, Joe. Have a shoe-shine on the way out. Arab boy, cute as country-pie.

The most extraordinary thing is no-one would ever know how purely and superbly articulated it was. Some kind of disastrous freak accident, a hatchet-job, sheer evil-minded horse-play – the Brazilian boys, or students, the casseurs from the outskirts for that matter, all the Arabs. All the Arabs in the place, you couldn’t find enough front-end loaders to dump them.

The man moves toward the ticket-barriers, and it’s odd, but she stops playing, just as he passes (the chin-hairs, flowered skirt, the old Bosnian stink of it), and drops the little token of appreciation into her lap. The eery hawking saw-music suddenly become a silence that breaks out into the air above open ground. Like an encore, the silence, just for him. As if she knows, even as she wonders what she’s gleaned this time. (No-one else does, ever will).

He’s already half-way down the main street when the explosion bursts the innards out of the underground. No more of the godforsaken music, at least, a small blessing on Easter Day. Just pieces of old Bosnia on the shattered walls, a map of old, parti-coloured Europe, for the memory. She’ll be a saint, bless her heart.

And the American accent – a decoy, bluff, pretty transparent really. Not really a true-to-God American – no such thing. No see no blood, no shed no blood, where the chopping gets done.

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Monolith and Minotaur

They’d been offering up their best and brightest for so long now, that it didn’t matter anymore what the first appeasement had been for. The usual savants said it was to sustain an antique order, established long before memory. The oldest of gods, they said, still exerted a malign will if anything should ever change. Anyway, an old story—that barely matters now.

Every nine years or so in those Antipodes, young men and women—the ‘most courageous and the most beautiful’ as the old legend goes—were sent into far-flung places, far over seas, to pay fealty to foreign masters. Few ever questioned its provenance, or its received wisdoms: it was necessary, the venerable pundits said, to confront the monster, to pay blood-money if it comes to that. We reached our age of reason, long ago. If our finest flower are its necessary sacrifice, who are we to doubt its rightness? Our forebears did it before us, as will those to come. There’s no shame in dying if (as our Saviour did) it serves the benefit of us all.

The TV chat-shows, online threads and Twitterverse repeated the message: if we don’t meet the test, all our freedom will be put to ransom. So they went, the fruit and flower of the people, from rich subtropical pleasure-grounds, to deserts and mountainous wastes hardly anyone knew, to battle-zones and places of scorched earth, willing to offer up their lives (everyone thought) with grit and gravitas, serving the right masters even when they fell under the heels of the wrong.

But who were they, the false overlords, whom no-one ever saw, who must be always appeased with the blood of sacrifice? They wore strange clothes, brandished arrogant idols, spoke languages that barely seemed human. Over the years and decades, still longer, they had taken on so many faces and outlandish names, with such an unlikely catalogue of demands and obsessions that could never be met, that in the popular imagination they had become a collective Monolith, never having been seen or properly identified—the broker of lives and deaths, that could itself never be broken.

In recent times, though, the time of rising terror, the Monolith had proven that far more than being an ever-greedy ransomer, it was intent on subduing the free world that still remained, demanding more than mere obeisance. The Monolith had begun to spread, throwing a deathly shadow over larger stretches of hitherto neutral regions: anything that denied its supremacy, anyone who stood in its way, was grist for its insatiable, evil will.

So that the time came when the people were forced to face the truth: something would have to be done to stem its relentless tide. Innocent lives had been taken, flagrant abuses passed unpunished. Before the greybeards had gathered together for collective deliberation—it was an almost disconcerting convenience—word had come of a freedom-fighter, an ally on the horizon, who had volunteered to confront the Monolith on its own terrain.

This saving force was known, with some familiarity, as ‘the American.’ Some laughed at this, said the name was an alias, that he wasn’t the real thing, but only a kind of adventurer. Even so, to prove his claims, the American showed them a large standing army, the most advanced striking force and equipment, an acute intelligence corps, able to bring down the Monolith for good.

How could the people not trust the breezy blow-in, who came with a reputation and a brazen, reassuring ring in his name? The only difficulty was that the American would have to find entry into the Monolith, when no-one ever had and emerged from it alive. After all, what was the Monolith, apart from being the most malign force on earth? It was a shifting, shape-changing chimaera, when all was said and done. It existed: but like a nasty illusion does, a particularly ugly hallucination with power to wreak the worst havoc.

Many of the most cluey pundits described it as more like a labyrinth, a ventricular heart of confounding passages and false entry-ways, a convoluted maze of dead ends and deceiving pathways. By virtue of these illusion-like Monolithic innards, the enemy could only uncertainly be pursued, and almost always elude capture. The enemy was everywhere, the Monolith inescapable, setting up sabotage and booby-traps at every unexpected turn of the way. The challenge seemed insuperable, the risks still worse than the casualties to its encroachment had already been.

But the American was dauntless, insisting he and his cohorts in freedom were the men for the job. They would confront the Monolith head on and, they said, ‘make mince-meat of him.’ Perhaps it was reassuring; to many of the people doubtless it was, and the American was given full sanction to fulfil his mandate. He was seen as a reformer, an agent for enlightenment and the establishment of new, liberal norms. He and his forces would teach the Monolith some culture, the roots and branches, maybe even the full flower, of civilisation.

Volunteers and skilled fighters from many distant places joined them; they became a force, a power to be reckoned with. It seemed the American might have some cause for confidence, after all. Everyone looked forward to the end of the Monolithic Age, its labyrinths dismantled, its tentacular poisoned industry forever stopped in its tracks. Of course, no-one knew how difficult that might prove to be; but they believed in its possibility, and hope is preferable to disillusion, faith more seductive than despair.

The American, with his Antipodean brothers in arms and their formidable force, set off with all fanfare, but it wasn’t long before word returned that they had met ambush and been diverted from their way. Still worse, already in that no-man’s land between safety and the dark unknown, a possible spy had been identified in their midst—a young woman no less. She had come to the American during one afternoon of camp rest, and grown unusually close to him. As a native of the region, she had begun to advise him on the territory, on his movements and course of action.

But surely she was planted there, a waif of the oasis, by an unseen hand. How else, it was mooted, had they been so quickly threatened, so early in their operation? It could only be the woman’s doing, this serene weaver of tales who, it was said, wove such unlikely scenarios for no other reason than to catch the American in her web.

And the truth soon emerged that the American, their stalwart leader, had fallen for this foreigner, with her foreign accent, and had even promised her that on his successful return from the Monolith, he’d seal their complicity in elopement to those fertile southern climes she could only dream of. He painted technicolour visions of that other world, with its streams of flowing manna and unending riches.

What greater enticement could such a man make? Surely this siren (so the pundits said), this Calypso, had turned the American’s head! But there was no choice for them but to trust his instinct, as always, and tolerate the girl who presumed, with such uncanny calm, to tell him where, and how, to go. They were in the badlands now, in a barren border country they didn’t understand, and they needed her help. To the American she even gave, in a strange symbiotic pact, a smart phone that would always show him, invisibly if not inaudibly, the way he had come.

Call me when you’re ready to, she told him. But only once you’ve gone as far as you can go. Then I’ll guide you back again.

Where would a poor, ignorant girl come across a device like that? many asked. Many of those in the American’s closest entourage had grave suspicions of this woman they called, with caustic irony, the Lady Saint, but they let him have his way. For his part, the American held she was a gift of God, a kind of special messenger, and that his faith in her was certain. Was his mission not divinely ordained? Was it not made in the name of universal love? Still more, the Monolith was letting no time be wasted; reports of wild subjugations came to them, whole populations of terrified innocents held under its heavy hand. Any resistors were summarily dealt with; the numbers of the slain was appalling and grotesque. No time could be wasted on the American’s part, now, no quibbles or doubts; decisive action was required.

No-one had reckoned on the obduracy of their foe: the Monolith could be neither found nor diminished, no matter how many peripheral skirmishes they won against it. The Saint had told them, in one of her inspired moods, to go straight ahead, veering neither to the right nor the left. If they came to any depressions in the ground, any steep descents into deeper territory, they should always move there, deeper, lower, as far down as they could go.

This was disturbing—was she, the supposed Saint, leading them into some underworld, a place of no return? She would betray them, surely, and lure them to their end! There seemed little doubt of it. The further they went, the more they sought the heart of the Monolith, the more obscure and ill-lit, the more murky their progress grew. It seemed misguided, the entire thing.

Some of the freedom-fighters began to show ill-effects, flailing at unreal visions, going beserk in dead, echoing canyons until subdued with the heaviest sedations. But the American insisted, and spurred his cohorts on, smelling the sulphur on the air in the very words he spoke. They were close, however ill-advised it might seem, and the closer they were to the workings of the Monolith, the closer they would soon be to victory. It was too late to turn back now. And didn’t they know the storm always presages a silver lining?

Still deeper on their way, they began to feel they were entering the region of Monolithic control. Many of them fell by the wayside, sick in mind and spirit, and were left to find their own way back. The American pushed on, sure he would come to the place of reckoning before long. He had faith in his word, in the people, in his newfound love.

The Lady Saint, herself, was forced to stay back early in the mission, and part from him, at risk of jeopardising them all. Many still believed she was from the other side, and would have brought them all to perdition. They formed an inner-circle, and held closed colloquy among themselves. Learning of these breakaways, trusting only to his closest aides, the American had them go first into the deepening gorge ahead of them. He watched almost with satisfaction when they were, to every man, destroyed in a line of mines, planted in an unmarked road. The Monolith was close, there was no question now. It was just a matter of treading further, with lightweight, inspired steps.

Because they felt that now—the breath of inspiration. They felt the free world was within their grasp, once this cancer had been vanquished. Then they would know the peace of control, of safety secured, of which they would never let go. The whole world would be theirs, in this impregnable surety: what could be more desirable?

The closer they grew to the source of the evil the more they knew they would have to close ranks, in order to defeat it. Any idlers were abandoned, any doubters put away. So many dark little spaces rose under their steps, shadowed by the breath of the Monolith, all seedy and foul in the air. They could barely breathe, barely keep their limbs, their minds, intact. It was almost intolerable, the knowledge of the imminent, the worst of all.

When it came no-one was prepared for it and many fled in sheer incredulity. There were few who could stand up to it, the pressure behind the eyes and the vision before them: it was the most aweful thing they’d ever known, and no-one had warned that it was waiting, that it was what had been waiting there all along.

The Minotaur, waking from archaic sleep.

The American had been warned by the Saint, his lady-love, who told him how to get there, but not what to do once he’d arrived. It must be in the script, God’s writ, that he would defeat this foe, with his manifest destiny, and its certain demise. But it wasn’t clear that things would run that smoothly, not this time around. The people were relying on him, all the people, in the south and in the north, in all the free regions. But he couldn’t guarantee that now. He couldn’t guarantee anything.

Something had unleashed the Minotaur—the American himself perhaps. It waited for him in immobile, bull-necked power.

He could always turn back—she had given him the means to, after all. Perhaps she already knew it would come to this, that he would realise the extremity at the last moment, and decide against it. The Lady Saint was waiting for him now, dreaming of that Antipodes the American had promised her in such lifelike, dayglo colours.

But that was impossible. To decide against it? How could he possibly turn back? He was meant to win. It was written—he, and he alone, was the only possible victor. Even his allies took second place to that. He had always won; even if he’d lost the battle, he’d always won the war, one way or another. He couldn’t surrender the cherished prize: that realm of impermeable borders, where only sanctioned things could come and go. No gaps, no holes, no unseen interstice, could be left in this world, in order to keep disorder out. It would be a beautiful, closed system, forever more. Nothing else would ever be needed, gained or lost. Another kind of monolith in truth, its white twin: a monolith of total security, a fixity of peace eternal, as it had been promised, in the oldest of days.

But this, in front of him, this Minotaur was different. It didn’t have the first inkling of any of that. It had a will to destroy the American (and surely all his hapless allies, as well). It stood on low, powerful haunches, and stared at him, breathing sulphur through its nostrils. Its cloven hoofs stroked the poisoned, dirt ground. Under his breath the American said, true to all his heroes, It’s your head or mine. I’ll take off your head, and carry it back as proof, you filthy bastard. Once I’ve got you, your head on my spike, that will be the end of it. It will all be over.

The Minotaur looked, almost wisely, deeply, at its enemy, its eyes alight, as if it might be laughing at him: over? what will all be over?

The American was sure, the more he waited, and stared, that the beast was, in fact, laughing. And they waited, like that, transfixed in the deep heart of the Monolith, of both Monoliths, unable to move. Far behind them, in a no-man’s land, the Lady Saint waited also, ready to lead them out.

They waited, in the most loving and patient hatred, neither of them moving in for the final kill.

August 2013

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The Prodigal

FROM far away, from the other end of the inverted telescope of slow forgetting, her native place begins to take on a ritual, hieratic choreography. There, in the place she has left, she sees people moving towards hanging things on the far, parched horizon. Something is sought out there, with open eyes, then with closed. Are they sideshow trifles, condemned collaborators, strange fruits of the earth that hover above the line beyond which things lose all definition?

Yet things unseen, undreamt can always be imagined, we are told by the bus-stop prophets, talk-show hosts, the weekend newspapers. There is a soundtrack to every revolution, to send it on its way, which can be ordered on request. The people move, again, two steps forward, then one back. A cautious, but steady progress. It is possible to venture into the unknown, dip the toes in the waters to be found there, before returning to the safety-zone of home territory. In her telescope-view, though, the hanging things (of Babylon? the charnel-house? the Gates of Eden? she still can’t tell) beckon them onward, and no-one blocks their nose or shields their eyes out of fear or disgust of what might be there. There have been wars before, and massacres, even the occasional desert kidnapping, and young bodies found slashed to pieces in a dry gully, or not found at all, in all the thousands of dry river-beds of the wild country.

Her oneiry though suggests a modest redemption: taste of these fruits and you shall receive knowledge, in these strung-up angel wings hides the wisdom of the ages. They might be wings, she sees, thickly feathered, growing mouldy and foul under the rain and the sun. When the historians and anthropologists come to claim them it won’t be an easy thing to ready them for the museum or the government-sponsored cultural exposition. These large and ludicrous relics of an unearthly visitation will be full of ants and maggots, new live things breeding in the irrelevance of the old.

Such things are redundant, that much is clear, even in the economy of her daydream. The country she sees now only in these images of doubt (the people still walk across the ground, aching with questions) has spent its whole life in a dogged pilgrimage toward its own vast horizons, without being sure of what it has found there. Walking past the most rare of its treasures in the half-light of centuries of dusk. That is what a destiny is: to pursue a journey without knowing what has been lost and gained on the way, and to not know the destination at which you arrive.

She sees them, the pilgrims of doubt, hears the tracklist as they move: an old-time waltz in three-four time, the Internationale, accordion confections, folk-rock anthems, house-music beats that twang and thud into ventureless aeons of the sky where they are transformed into sub-acoustic skeins of delirium, of delight. If they are wings strung up there, they must belong to emus or vultures, or they’re versions of Mussolini and his mistress, her make-up kit slipping out of her handbag hanging upside down. They are enormous wasp hives, one labyrinth built onto another like post-apocalyptic cities, insect Metropoli, whose inhabitants think in five dimensions but dream outside them. They are apostle lovers who twirl and plunge in mid-air, hanging in space, hanging onto eachothers’ robes in that well-known Renaissance defiance of gravity.

As they move, she sees some of the people drop out of the race. They stumble to their knees, gasp in the dust and fall by the wayside. For many it is too much to keep moving toward whimsical uncertainties. If it is necessary to entertain hope, it is reasonable to ask what hope would hope for. These people are considerately collected by governmental health-workers and led to waiting mobile health-units, put inside sterile interiors and never seen again. They might die in there, or simply be taken away to subsist in a more or less dependent state. Those who keep walking are growing hungry, their bones beginning to show. It is still a long way to walk, though loudspeakers punctuate the air with general directions, but it is up to the ones gifted with a radar-like sense, those small-bodied female pilgrims with desert-fox ears, to know which is the right way to go. There are no signs in the ground, and the paths are vanished by wind, rain and rare floodwater. Even the animals have resisted this particular search, and stay in the shade, for rest.

The more she witnesses this vision of the ages, the more the prodigal realises she has seen it before. The procession has always been moving; with distance she is able to pay more attention to it. She would like to reverse the telescope of her inner-eye and focus on the clusters of mystery beyond it. Astronomers will in a similar way recognise galaxies within nebulae that suggest still more fractal diminutions of rediscovery, though the end point of rest is never quite reached. As a child she only grew impatient with the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, after testing it out a number of times: it was only another mythology, like so many discoveries as the age of reason dawns. Is this just another? But she watches, closer, zooms further in to the tribe of her own people, some now clutching their own arms, their faces falling in an abysmal recognition, some openly collapsing as something grows inexorably clear to them. She can’t see what it is – the telescope is still reversed, she is still caught in an archaic technology. The further they move from her the smaller grow their objects of revelation. What do they see there? What are the hanging goods that meet them at this crossroads?

She sees their impersonal sky splintering a shower of inorganic circuitry, the surface of its habitual yawning blue fragmented into a disinvestiture of space under which the last of the wanderers look up and open their eyes, granted a view into something she cannot see. They move still, doggedly, almost automata, into the horizon of hanging things, and she can see no separation, there is a failure of distance between the horizontal and vertical planes, each figure walks into its dreams, and its horror, the submerged, the resurrected, the extinct, the half-alive, all infinitesimally crowding into her view.

She sees them, the explorers and the black children leading them, the massacred and the massacrers, the outlaw and his nemesis laughing in trees, the reconaissance parties camped under stringybarks, dying of starvation, the gold and the blood that drains out of sifting pans and back into the blood-red and brown indifference of the landscape. There is an epochal wind, opening and shutting the flaps of the sky, a transparent curtain of lazy time, beaches and sea-coasts echoing with lies and night-songs under its casual aspirations, whole vowels and syllables of history swallowed in an azure gaze of retreat and approach, random comings and goings of ant-colonies, cattle-trains, motorcades of transport-trucks and military convoys blistering at metallic seams under a peristaltic, heaving sun, satellite and space-stations absorbed into its sheer magnesium glow, and the expanding chorus of hanging things, of half-beings, bardo realms of ghosts and aborted genealogies moving into and through the rift of sky and space, outside of time but deep inside the place of dreaming, the place of return, the place of no-returning.

The prodigal knows she both goes with them, into their history, and flies far beyond it. Their perseverence train trails still further away, like all human trajectories, into terrains and projection-screens of imagining she will never know. As she watches them move into the unknown, she only wants to follow, and not let them go – the sympathetic resonance still vibrates in her inner-ear, as she tries to decipher the path before her.

They are already gone, and the hanging things in front of them. The dead, the forgotten, unseen and forsaken. She will go with them into a new pursuit, speaking a language none of them have heard before. The epidermis of the earth still hangs there, golden and crusting as it seeps through the entrance in the sky, the abysm of time swinging and shutting, opening and closing the moveable door of memory, absently moving back and forth in the wind that is her own breath, the canopy and portal to the country of her mind, past which new denizens emerge, waltz, drop, fade away into dunes and long nights of spinifex. There is a shift in her view, the light in abeyance, the rent sky closing before motion begins, the miniature nomad colony moving once again. A faint sound of the sea or desert, held still in amniosis. There is no separation, no arrival, in the going, in those who move, and those who have never departed.

Paris, 2006

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