MICROCLIMATES “Radioplay” for Cavas on FBI, Easter Sunday, 2018.
Interview and text work from 13:30
Interview and text work from 13:30
Thick bead of sweat dripping down my back, swatting at my own body's temperature controls against the cockroaches occupying my space and imagination, the phantom weight of the heat in the midst of infestation, thick human body harvested by biodiverse entities in this microclimate of investment-property neglect... Still in this apartment that has come to be defined by the token ration of my father's ashes in a black velvet box on the shelf -before the advent of such blackest black as Vantablack this non-reflective material sufficing for absence, a dramatisation of mourning fully in keeping with the reality as portrayed by my Stepmother this Valentine's day, spreading the last of my father's remains on the Real Housewives of Melbourne. It's a stupid world.
The pagan invention of Easter was a Germanic festival marking the spring, when the goddess Eostre would return with her snow hare, as much as a snow hare sounds perennial to naïve antipodean ears... symbols of the return of Spring, more of birth than coming back from the dead, though the two have always been conflated, never failing to see death as an opportunity... all of which makes more sense then the afterwards laboured connection of rabbits to eggs. A clumsy attempt at a universal European pagan framework might presume a dualism of hemispheres, that this time now, down here, the coming winter, could be entertained as the time when the dead were closest. To simply reverse the cycles, make for a plane of existence with an up and a down would make this time coincide with the Gaelic festival of Samhain, contemporaneously known as Halloween. But no such reversal seems meaningful, any hint of the chill air an utter relief following the humidity. But we have already established the connection between the dead and new life and it will have to suffice.
It was the Monday before Easter two years ago that dad found out that he had less than a year to live and my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with bowel cancer, after what seemed like a life time eating cake almost exclusively. Dad had already had a tracheotomy to try and cure him of the throat cancer. He took up smoking at 28 when he started working in hospitality, by the time he came home to tell my mother that he had found his soul mate, when I was13, he had 3 of the coolest clubs in Australia. HE and my stepmother used to relish in smoking defiantly, that old line about who cares if you take a few years off the inevitably shitty last years of life, talking about how much they enjoyed it, I will always remember her with the black lines around her gums, probably now fixed for TV, feigning sophistication as a magazine editor in that era defined for single women of a certain class by “sex and the City”. When sex came to be referred to like competitive sport, when women are defined by their powerlessness, when the 30 year old men around both of my parents houses, the great prizes that they were, usually DJs, would joke about how I would be 16 and therefore legal in a couple of years. Sexual transgression was the greatest source of liberation for idiots. Lifestyle diseases. Wanting everything to be sweeter than it is or to be some kind of rebel though you may embody the status quo. My grandmother is still baking for half of Geelong, my father is survived by four children, left-behind a teenager and a ten-year-old.
That Easter I was reading Thomas Pynchon's Vineland and filling a shop window with brightly-coloured knits and books with real life extraterrestrial encounters, in my mind, the “acid nana” window, an homage to the American century, Pynhon, the shallow postmodern, the youthful transgressions of those that would come to own investment properties. The chill must have been in the air enough for those jumpers, which seems strange against this summer that won't end, and summer for me has always felt like grim death... every moment of profound loss coinciding with the dread summer months... I will always remember the funeral of my friend who took her own life when she was 17 for that Wendy Matthews song her mother played after her music “there's not a cloud in sight, it's as blue as your blue goodbye”, and this chapel surrounded by grey yellow scrub and that dusty red earth that seems like it will only support the most hardy or the most parasitic life, these resounding deaths that barely have time to exhale that last breath in expiration before they become their own microclimate of breakdown. But human bodies are now too toxic to be implanted into the virgin earth. She and my father were cremated.
I woke up that Easter morning from a dream where all of these young people were getting shot like in an action movie, but none of them would go quietly, they all wailed in anger and disbelief and just had to get to where the chief of police was, an older maternal figure at home in Sydenham, which she owned, among all the concrete industrial buildings tending to her white roses, and above her was a sign saying “Ouraboros rose” which, for some reason, could be read as well backwards as forwards. Snake eating its own tail, ancient symbol of eternity. Before I had opened my eyes I had written something about it on Facebook that culminated in “fruitless Eostre and her feral snow hare, companion to these profound developments that are my own and without me, the natural order of desertification.” A couple of weeks ago I was around the same part of town watching my friends rather less subtley peel off to the bathrooms like into a clown car and wondering how I could perpetuate this kind of fun, the kind of fun that had seemed so hackneyed to me as a teenager suffering under the weight of adult irresponsibility.
By the time I arrived at my mother's that Easter she had read about the dream and told me that I was reading too much Pynchon. Mum ordered an Uber (I have always been suspicious of anything that looks set to undermine labour laws, as it since has) and we were picked up by a Hawaiian hippy roughly mum's age who had been in Australia since the '70s shooting surfing films around Jan Juc, near mum’s native Geelong. He drove an electric car and only used Uber to pick people up when he was going the same way because he believed in ride sharing, like a corporate take-over of hitch-hiking. I had just bought my best friend a 1960s Hawaiian shirt with buttons attached with string so it would permanently show off his chest hair, which he was doing so much at the time that Dooley had begun to refer to him as Hawaii 5.0. The Uber driver said that Hawaiian shirts were very spiritual things, that there was a difference between aloha and alo-ha, and mum told him he was like something out of a Pynchon novel,... he was confused by the reference...
I had a Bondi Buddhist councillor when I was bedridden at 17 who I was basically sent to because he was so handsome, he always said that I was really good at manifestation. And it sometimes seemed like the truth. And so it is surprising where I have ended up, for years I thought I had manifested all of this bad luck through perversity, that better stories was what I was after, but I don't even know if I feel like writing them down any more. I would quite like the option of being able to afford if not a home of my own, the knowledge that I was secure where I lived, or to be able to even entertain the idea of having children, but these things are very much beyond me. And retail is something that has been downgraded as some kind of shameful end for my generation, but service seems to be all that this country now offers other than bureaucracy and I have always loved talking to people, and so many people have no one to talk to... And mine is a very human intelligence, which, though mechanisation has provided so much liberation, does not denigrate it. The best I could offer were not suggestive of a fully formed narrative as assertion of a whole and complete ownership but rather microbial digressions, my own microclimate of resistance.