A Wooden Bench, Evening

May 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

He sits

Atop a wooden bench

Holding a half-smoked, hand-rolled cigarette:

The smoke swirls of which wind in the wind

Upward, through a tall, well-leafed tree

Towards an immanent crepuscule;

The bench is perched to one corner

Of a circle of native grass that sprawls outward

Etching its way towards the trees,

Which replicate into oblivion.

He says:

There is a specter haunting this country:

It has been here since the beginning

That is to say, for forty thousand years…

For forty thousand years

For forty thousand years

Say it,

Say:

For forty thousand years…

What does that even mean?

…For forty thousand years.

Is ‘It’ the specter or is ‘it’ the country?

Which has been here

For forty thousand years.

Which has been here

For forty thousand years?

The country or the specter?

You see,

Nothing is definitive.

Nothing is set in stone.

Nothing lasts forever.

Nothing is all there is

Here

For there is nothing…

Sorry,

Was, nothing:

There was nothing

Here.

A change in pace

 

Although it helps with PR campaigns

To have a slogan:

Quickly

         Stop the boats

         Terra Nullius

         Cry God for Harry, England and Saint George!

Wait!

Don’t mention the motherland.

They’ll get the wrong idea:

It’s not about them.

Forget I said anything

Focus on the facts:

Forty thousand years.

For forty thousand years.

He pauses

Here to light a new cigarette:

The brown tobacco wound tight in white,

Ignited

The glow illuminates the growing dark

And he kindly continues to talk.

Let’s not beat around the bush,

What happened next?

Next?

After the forty thousand years

After the most defining moment

In History.

After that?

Yeah, what happened after that?

Exactly.

It’s the afterwards that matters

And it’s glossed over like

Some kind of embarrassed

Post-party excuse:

Sorry, I was drunk.

Sorry, I was drunk.

Sorry.

As if that suddenly makes

Everything

All better.

He smiles

You know what I think?

What, what do you ‘think’?

History is long:

I should know,

We’ve been here

For forty thousand years.

The smile spreads

And you know what else?

What?

There’s no first

No last;

No first,

No last:

The absurdity of the idea

Sinks in

So one day everyone

Will be a little like us,

Not the other way around.

Today is a blip, a hiccup

In time

And nothing more.

A leaf falls towards the dusted ground

Spiraling elegantly towards the dirt,

Then it twists away

And, as a moth,

Flutters upwards

Back to the tree trunk

Where it sits

Camouflaged

And, after a moment,

Disappears

So it seems

Into the bark.

Magic.

His eyes dare me to challenge him.

I don’t.

Tell me more.

He sighs.

You don’t need to know

Everything.

You don’t need to understand

Everything.

Help me.

He reaches down

And tears a blade of grass

From the native circle

And hands it to me.

You get a piece:

Be happy with that.

It’s dark:

The trees have cordoned the grass off

And blend now together with the shadows

So it is impossible to know where

One ends and the other begins.

It unfolds across the land and towards

The nighttime sky

Endlessly.

There is no first

There is no last.

I look at my piece

I look at him

I look around

And I leave.

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