de natura hominis

i love nature

though i nearly drowned in it once

new year’s eve 1993

bondi beach

i wished i could’ve just stayed floating

in the warm seawater all night

that night

like a forgotten lifebuoy

instead of standing with a wet towel on my neck

at the abandoned bus stop

watching girls kissing

strangers and feeling

so estranged. so strange

to be around fun and not feeling any of it.

that was after a rip

pulled the sand from under my feet

and the bondi hotel

my chosen landmark for its venetian

ugliness

steered me away

from the beach flags

and i had to start tiptoeing

in mid-air

under water.

lucky

my uncle had once told me

swim sideways

don’t try to get back to the safety of the land

god favours the sea

over you.

wait for the right current

and ride it

let it

save you.

so i did.

and nature saved me

and let me go

to enjoy

soggy fish & chips

which i left

half-eaten

on the concrete bulwark where i sat

looking at the spot

where i almost died.

hey,

i even went to the outback

one winter

the cold red earth

burned the soles of my feet in the morning

death metal trees

collared the horizon

but i remember one afternoon

when i sat alone

next to a river where we’d set up camp

next to the makeshift tripod

and last night’s dinner

hanging off it

everyone else had gone for a walk

so there was just me

sitting there

still

the only thing moving was the brown water

like a great, slow, giant, snake.

just i, alone.

suddenly i saw the point

of dot paintings

realism has no place

in a landscape

so unreal as this.

silence buzzed.

the sky screamed.

so blue!

the green gum leaves

blew blue smoke

like a protection spell

around the land.

and i quote:

15 July 2003 – Fourth day

‘The fences ran through the land like arteries. They’re signs of man, of life unwanted by the land. Like human arteries, do they give life or feed off it? Barbed wire fence, electric fence, thin garroting metallic fence: seeing them makes me nervous.”

nature is kind

it is man that makes me

nervous.

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