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Kate Fagan

from ‘Book of Hours for Narrative Lovers’


A high storm made this our knowing. Once an oval now an embankment where stones where wild fennel where comprehension became. All except pieces fringed from another long thought of night. From another known place of designated bearing. They thought to bridge to step along majestic sweep of steel its heady glint even as light slipped. Where they might and would. Stalks bent fit to crest the wind, perimeter of cloud, lazy flick of one. All our knowing as we face the sun seeping from behind a ruined city, still in heavy sleeve turning there on every window. He raised one hand to steady the quickening stars pinned leaching into sky. Could they have seen would they have desired but any way saw and seeing became that is to say electrified. Even as light slipped. As sun steep brocading jags another developed horizon. Turn facing. What is seen could be examined or described and calm as an egg pointing out the tilt, she said this time will be. Then a great wind circled the enclosure lifting four iron girders right a wind rolling back to push their cuffs against their arms but the occurrence of arms to them became a lift unlike any and knowing this they fell.


All day long the tree against glass. Tree glassing green. She bent to fallen things to last. The tree trees where green sprang light to lift where arching and regard began. Had not expected. But the leaving was surreal when colour rang echoing from bark and tiled unrepeatable by crossed insignia. Had expected tree holding all day against light. Smiled and took a page. It was by no scheme of letters come by no means all day expecting. Rolled over and against. Sometimes a settled mote thrown curving into sight. Another shadow sill but these no passing rustle colour rang and this echo well described the edge of it. So the tree and interval of keeping such. It was a happy time. It was by no scheme by unrepeatable events offered by. Sometimes only and then another sluice of mind as such began to prize them, to recognise sensation lightly. The way she did and ha! laughed to think it offered leather first then a picture of when yes I think long as these intervals observing bone between toe and arch to think yes then we did and sighed. All day the glass and tree and was that. At times others uncontrollable she made of it a pattern. Light. Another day across glassy wall becoming evening. She would sit. The tree springing glass. Sighed.


Unbearable as loss. Knew this as mortality, the great unfurling. Most days shuttered but profound restlessness to figure and leap as consciousness. Knew this as loss. But for a moment slipping dreams that haunted with their red provocation. If this as and then everyone. When she smelt it was cardamom and sudden. There were figures for isolate. Figures around waving their being would amount to bright loss and sudden intake of breath. Listening until mute in calamity recede to bright stairwell where at least as consciousness would wrap their fingers deep into the grain of it and telling bide for all time. It was just. Great unfurling reason sunk to skin. Feeling too exact and then dispense with fiercely. As though nothing could wait or would.


I remove for silence. You remove for silence. For tongues in pearled display. All the while winter lay receding as a wish. At this their labile morning could caress, where to sway the bounds in telling. Stood removed and nothing yet as thirsty. The children played at slandering the cat. Bells pealed rejoining. Neighbours came to point and say. The latitude of rivers’ winding broke on sand, a crossing had begun though neither fortitude nor power followed. Some intrinsic play, wild and wilder still as winter lost its arc before we diving sank below. Your hand exquisite. Your mouth. For a moment’s air and pealing into this departure. Began meanwhile to fuck the slowing room and everything within its walls and yet to follow. Assuming height and shape. Held the book to catch daylight glancing off its spine in columns, desired heat in face of colder death. As wicked yet an eye. And whether called disclosure this was gained: the break of water pulsing tidal, a wind to scatter shade, history drawn in local time.


One. Eventually my furrowed palms convinced me of a brighter destiny, charming me with their spectacle. Two. Inclined likewise to unravel, an incapacity to take colour, true worldliness. Three. Morning hastened to fidelity. Four. A screen whose edge carried marks where heavy objects had weighted it to floor, now removed and showing darker. Five. The chattering beams. Six. Smoke enough to stop a wailing flood. Seven. I only told them I was uncertain it was over. Eight. By far the most elegant interval — free of any necessity to ‘make something of the day.’ Nine. Would call this illumination or plenitude. Ten. Strewn with integers and well wishes. Eleven. Whose length bewitched and fixed my eyes to reckoning. Twelve. Hand over hand along ropes testing their weight and camber. Thirteen. Pleasure meanwhile in sedition. Fourteen. Deepening night, its timely fall. Fifteen. Each of fifteen joys.


They were discharged. They were viewed from above, around. A herd of carriages, chiming the first distress. Feet no longer hustled. Shots were fired accordingly. A thud punctuated by steel, tripped into night air, morning sounding like a shell alive to fire. In one window a blue screen flickered incessantly. In another a window gave onto blue. Do they have a purpose, directed without cease to grave? Will the cold of feeling wake those whose charms resolve to clay, will methods of dying become as comfortable as a church? The bodies of southern martyrs and belles each with bright sponsorship. The bodies of saints each with armaments. The khaki lust for place, bearing the force of framed obscenity. Torn river, dust of spoilage, phenomenal advance from screen to jukebox they’re playing my song so long baby farewell lady send me your kisses in a dime convertible.

Kate Fagan is a Sydney writer, editor and musician. Her works of poetry include The Long Moment (Salt 2002), Thought’s Kilometre (Tolling Elves 2003) and a CD of readings to be released in London in May 2005 (Stem). Kate is the editor of HOW2, a US-based online journal of innovative poetry, poetics and new media. As an acoustic roots-based songwriter she has performed and recorded all over Australia and in the UK.

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