Issue 7: Corey Wakeling

View from the possibility of making the photographer redundant

The photographer working for a smaller

magazine under the National Geographic label got

to the cindering horse-corpse before we did. A one-horse-

town as a black smokestack column,

more flourishes, lines curling into gas, than the many

faced columns of Michelangelo’s ‘snowflake’ nave

design. However, the consternation of paparazzi around

its base produce but angles and a glittering of

shattering lights. Growing outwards and upwards,

as intended. But the photographer was there earlier,

see Skeiðarárjökull and the work of its cartographers

on White Island. As the mouth speaks a myth of a wild

horse never seen in the British Isles, the lips of the speaker

shiver into fissures and then moss like sheets of bloodied

peach fuzz. Whole demographics of oxidation mean the head

is oldest, the cheeks middle-aged, and the lips the just dying

child. The neck is something like the black column or

spout, the boiler now the figure and the form somewhere

drifting. The photographer, perched on a throbbing

tripod was there for its passing, finds facts later

contemplating the negatives. Etna is as solid as our eye

sockets, she would cradle the homeless and feed them

bread and milk, but you would never think this in thrall

of her cratered, goggle eyes. Let’s think of ways to get

rid of the photographer, or at least make him redundant.

Couldn’t we be everywhere, live on every stretch of

badland, every charred steppe? There, a revolution of headless

necks would be something worth beholding, especially

at a distance from the pyre horse and its crackling symphony,

all his earth tilled about him, ruining sleep. Yes, live

among it, but forever be a sulphur miner, naked as a

lump of coal. Could we swim the genius maze of an Olympic

size pool and its concatenations of floaties, live in an apartment,

dance cliffs as if a flying kung-fu of the Hong Kong film industry?

The clean mouth was never such a thing and yet its third phrase,

the topography of a once-treasured lagoon and its thought bubbles,

has clearly lived up to its copter licence. Yes, it seems the actor martial

artist exiled on the black steppe, naked as a lump of coal, running on

the balls of his feet, could breed a family history of which we might

want to gather evidence of our own ancestry. We might even

become as delicate and new as the blossoms of Nicaragua and Ethiopia.

If only feet could talk! And beginning estuaries havens

of medicine! If only we could outrun the beating of our

hearts and the osmosis of our lymph! Landeyjarsandur Estuary

has never been within limits. The photographer’s eye nabs

prey, but we otherwise know our place forced off its

land. The freelancer got scared by our approach by car, his

arms were as wide as our red chassis as he flung himself

elsewhere, somewhere once again beyond reach. There

is no collaboration with him, our journalism is punctuation

around a rim. At a conference, is it impolite to say

he is an acquaintance of ours? External light stages us and

we are trying to say something as we think back to a smokestack.

Hours Before the Supervisors Undress

Before I begin, the colonnade foyer

filled to brimming with limestone aches.

No one's arrived, I’m practically alone,

bar the aches. Practicably also, since names

have fallen from doors

at this pensive hour. A mean shot at the caucus,

  representing our efforts to get the pictures

of bushland haze on to the walls

with hammer to nail.

My speech may have been a little haphazard,

my speech may have been a flinging of

sand and fig, but it was attended,

people asked questions, and

someone’s stomach rumbled.

  There are ten thousand nodes between which

piano wire could be strung to trip efforts

to walk this, a bush trail.

A wall of pneumatics swallows the decrepit

hotel, and the sick sigh and may die, finally.

  He doesn’t want to speak about

the American wrench, the diving mask, or

the misshapen welder he’s left about. That’s okay.

The brain institute swelters not sweats the

hours before the supervisors undress their

clipboards with wet fingers.

Corey Wakeling lives in Melbourne, Australia. His work has appeared in Australian and international journals, magazines, and anthologies, with work forthcoming in Jacket2, Famous Reporter, Overland, E-ratio, Interrobang, nthposition, Big Lucks, and Best Australian Poems 2011. He is a PhD candidate and tutor at the University of Melbourne.