Orient

What does the body remember of another? What memory sits at the tip of the tongue, ready to burst? Does desire constantly swim in the veins, little pieces of longing that warm the blood and rise to the surface at the slightest provocation? Do they reconstruct and orient the desire toward that which we cannot forget? Is remembering merely the act of desire trying to make itself whole again?

**

You, so defined by absence, are always present in this. The ritual of it, fingers sliding down over the belly, the pretence of hesitation – it is all an invitation. I close my eyes, and my fingers draw you out of the darkness in a steady rhythm, until you appear. It is early morning now. Outside there are clarion skies. The light sits on the tip of my tongue, I press it against my teeth, and it bursts in my mouth with a sudden yellow. The glow intensifies, and now I taste the colour orange. It rolls across my tongue, the flavour of unfettered sunlight, filling my mouth with a burnt sweetness.

As I arch my back, vivid green bolts down my spine. The light behind my eyes changes, I am soaked in the deep wine of cool, hard precision, the focus of breath and blood and nerve. Water fills my ears, it spills over and soaks my skin. There is salt on my lip, and I try to lock in on those slate eyes, but I am holding on to something that wants me to let go.

I lose you in a fusion of colour, I am incandescent, and I cry out your name in the white-hot glow. You disappear behind my eyes, and the world goes back to black.

I have to keep my eyes squeezed shut to stop the tears. This is all that has survived, and the sadness that settles over me breaks apart my still pounding heart.

Rock Bublitz at body, remember novel

The desire has not waned, no matter how many pages have turned.

Topography

It turns out convention was a tie loosely bound. I take civility and grind it to dust the first time you make me come. The way your hand slides between my legs. And your words. The electric shock of your desire.

I want to kiss you here.

I forget everything I know but my body remembers. Impossible, we have not done this before. And yet. There is the inexplicable feeling of return when you cause a thousand nerves to jump and collide. You kneel before me, make of me a temple and with each stroke the tenuous chain gives a little more, it breaks apart with every oh god that rises up against it. I bare my teeth at you, a snarl that wants to catch your flesh and taste your salt on my tongue. Whatever bound us to the rest of our lives shatters in the explosion that ensues. Our landscape forever alters and you map it as I come.

I will come to covet your body with the intensity of one who borrows and must give back. This is a constant reaching, a constant touch. There is a need for tactile reassurance that overpowers my borders and my limits. You have a wall around you – what was that they said? With you I smash this wall myself, frantic, fingers pulling at any barrier between us. God, I can never get close enough. I bite and scratch and wrap my arms and legs around you. I tell you that you are mine. I invoke possession as the law.

I draw roads and rivers across your skin. I landmark our bodies, a topography laid down through the trace of thumb, the pressing of palms. Territories are charted with mouths and hands. You learn of my heights and my depth, you discover the part of me that resides below sea level, and the parts that contain the highest of mountains. Against the terrain of your body I spend nights raising indelible flags to mark places I too can claim. I was here this kiss states. I was here this sliding of my hand declares. I was here this touch of tongue to nerve blazes.

It would seem those who aim to conquer are desperate to be known. Even when the map disintegrates and we can no longer find our way back we keep on trying to make our claim. We mapped our world so quickly, Mack. Why did we never give any thought to how it might be destroyed?

Rock Bublitz at body, remember

This is a work of fiction. And yet …

Memorari

I miss you.

I said there would come a time. Remember? When it was all about little words, and I said the saddest three were waiting. How I knew we’d get to them, eventually.

And still, that question asked. Do you remember? Tell me that you remember. Tell me that you and I survived the night, that you miss me too because you remember. Even if it’s only in dreams, I pray that you remember.

(I never – not for one single day – forget)

Elegy

They incarcerated the language. Imprisoned the words and confined the expressions until the isolation nearly killed off the 700 or more languages once spoken. They muted the hundreds of living, breathing languages of this continent by institutionalising their custodians, by ensuring the penalties for speaking these languages were severe, even fatal for the speaker.

This targeting of Aboriginal language was part of a systematic and enforced assimilation, a white-out of the oldest continuous culture on our earth. It began when colonists first put their boots on Australian soil, and continued right through the twilight of our last century. It took less than 200 years to disassemble the oldest continuous culture on our earth. A speck of time, a flash across the night sky compared to the 50,000 or more years Aboriginal Australians survived and thrived on this land.

They incarcerated the language. This affects me more than any other revelation today.

Language is oxygen to a culture. It is the trade wind on which wisdom is carried, it ensures stories survive the fire and live on. It is both the glowing ember and the flame that flares – for the individual and the greater community it is how you say I love you. How you say I don’t. It is how you play, tease, cajole. How you warn, and how you rage. It is your myth and your lesson, it is how you declare war, and equally, how you offer peace. It is how you express who you are – and how you know where you have been.

To silence language is to sever the spiritual tongue. It is to disorient one’s place in space and time, to reduce all communication to a rudimentary commentary on the here and now. It is fundamentally designed to ground the speaker in the immediate – to censor the whisper of ancestors, and to suppress the shouts and cries of one’s children.

The children. They kept taking the children, and no-one could speak of it. For the first time I realise just how calculated and methodic Australians were in their approach. How they declared this continent Terra Nullius – unowned, unoccupied – upon their arrival, and across two centuries worked backwards to make it the truth. They re-wrote history, redacted an entire people to make it so. Children, communities, and entire ecosystems were sacrificed to validate one of the greatest lies ever told. A lie so big the reverberations can still be felt in 2013, where time is marked against an arbitrary date in 1788. To be a nation in possession of the world’s oldest stories, and to start the clock here – this I cannot understand.

Today I would not even know that there are bones under my feet, but for the stories that have been fierce enough to survive.

Because they have survived, somehow. For all that has been lost there is a thread that sings one back through time, a thread you can follow on the guitar string and the mournful notes at a gathering like ours tonight. When the language is shared around the fire in this way, it vibrates. You can feel it come up through the soil where your toes dig in, you can sense it in the sentinel stars. They, who have been our story keepers for longer than time.

I believe the stars themselves sang out when as a nation we said sorry. The truth had been waiting a long time to be told.

Image at body, remember

Last week my company, the aptly named SEEK, took a group of us on an extraordinary journey, a Welcome to Country where we spent two days and nights with the Gunditjmara people of Warrnambool on the south-west coast of Victoria. For my colleagues and I it was a moving and revealing experience and I for one came away with many heart bruises. I was particularly affected by the idea of Aboriginal languages being destroyed; we learnt that it was a major practices of colonists to stop Aboriginal people speaking their own languages and I could not stop thinking about how much was lost with this calculated linguicide.

I would like to dedicate this elegy to Amy who showed me the constellations, who knows of a lake where her people used to look down to see the stars. “The keepers of our stories” she told me before we returned to the fire.

Separated

There is a type of cry reserved for the dead. Devoid of hope, this lament exists outside of space and time. A sadness that connects to every sadness, it wrenches from our deepest parts, it shakes us from our skin. It is a sorrow that separates those who know from those who don’t, forever.

I do not cry for you in this way until this day has passed. I stare straight ahead, unblinking, all afternoon.

Note

The post-it note with your tiny handwriting, well it doesn’t exactly take up space – and so little of what we write with our own hand ever makes it.

I want to keep this evidence of your stick-figure ‘g’ and the slash of your ‘t’, the way your hand delivers characters that force the eye to squint to reveal their meaning.

The way you write I love you in the tiniest of letters has always moved me.

Love Note at body, remember