The earth is never quiet. Somewhere air is always vibrating. Sounds don't die—they were never alive. Rather, they submerge beneath the inaudible hum of the earth. If a sensitive enough microphone is held towards the ground, according to the artist Simon Ingram, it is possible to hear the restless movement beneath the earth's surfaces. Sometimes it sounds like bodies approaching and passing in quick succession...
—Simon Gennard, "Simply Air Vibrating," Overland, Summer 2015
Took Lucretzia out for a run today. Propped her up in the back of the utility and drove up the coast to Fremantle. I've just changed her strings, tightened her tuning pegs, and polished her with beeswax melted out of the collapsed hive Yitzhak and I found at the riverbank, by our house. You know she's the longest relationship of my life? Almost twenty years now, but you know about me and relationships. I think I love Lucretzia not just for her cigarette husky voice, but because she is a guitar and has no legs, or even will, to run away.
Got through to the innards of the port city by eleven and parked behind the old Synagogue. I took some coffee to bring back my mind to the day. So, I was bitter at half the people in front of me. So what? They milled around gentrified bars and cafes, imposed on old sandstone buildings. They wore stylised hippy clothes that no real hippy could afford. My lip curled into a little punk sneer and I hissed the sacred communist curse—bourgeois! Last night, I got at the Buffalo Grass Vodka, and it was all drenched and muddy and—for g-d's sake, let us sit upon the floor and tell sad tales. It was like that. This morning, their brightness and security is like a cheese grater on my soul. How can the world go about walking and smiling and talking about real estate? Don't they know a poet has died? Don't they ever see the pain that welded the trinkets of their culture?
The mineral breeze off the Indian Ocean was pouring life back into me, so I wandered through the second hand bookstores and opened gorgeous copies of Christian bibles and read...
Deborah was a prophet, wife of Lapidoth, and she led Israel. She held court at the palm of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel, in the hill country of Ephraim...
Did you wonder why I gave you that name? You must have wondered, when the feelings of weakness and shame piled in, when you felt like something off the bottom of a shoe. It was just because you were strong—just because you fought—just because you were that judge all the blurry minded poets put their case in front of. You told me off, once, for driving stoned. You commanded me to live—there was the spine of the warrior. I listened, though I hate being told what to do. There was a reason why I listened.
You found me when I was about to give up. When writing seemed an absurd and pretentious protest against the direction of my life. You did better than save my life, because I could have gone on living as a drained and pointless thing. You returned to me, for the qualities you said I had, that I could never see myself, the name of another biblical hero. Every day I try the pillars of the Philistine temple, that bourgeois fortress where we scream—for g-d's sake, feel something, I will feel that name you gave me.
I set up on the pavement in the West End, and laid my guitar case out for coins. Funny trade, busking; you have to throw a bit of your own money in first, so the foot traffic get the idea. Sometimes people drop a coin or two and walk past without looking, like I'm a beggar. Sometimes they cross to the other side of the road to avoid any obligation. Once in a while, someone stops to dance with their kids in front of me, and thanks me and puts folding money in my hand. My happiness is strung together by these moments with people who look at me with the right kind of eyes. I tuned Lucretzia down a little and played and American song...
From this valley they say you are leaving
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile
For they say you are taking the sunshine
That had brightened all our pathways for a while
Come and sit by my side if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true
When it was done, I wept openly on the street. Everyone who passed made a wide berth around me; just a shabby, meaty looking man in second hand clothes crying for no visible reason. Lucretzia hummed the final E chord, as she always hums for moments after. And I suppose the humming just dissipated—became thinner, until it was only an inaudible vibration in the brittle windows of the colonial buildings high above. I suppose it expanded until it was everywhere and a bit of everything, even after the material trace had vanished.