explaining the undiscovered continent

All things metal tapping together in the wind. Bleached fishbones one thousand miles from the sea. Sheds where you can get directions & diving apparatus. The inevitable airstream trailer. The inevitable rusty boiler. The inevitable graffito of a coelacanth. The highline of the last tide strewn with yellowish swim bladders of unknown animals like condoms inflated then varnished into fragility. Kilometer upon kilometer of unravelled polypropylene rope. Tin signs. Tied knots. A sense of petrol. Then the cliffs! with their abandoned funicular slicing up through maroon sandstone “to the plateau above”. Windows of static ice cream parlours. Buildings filled to the fourth storey with the grey flock from old padded bags. “This is where we’ll dive.” As far as anyone can tell, they lived in threes or fives, odd numbers anyway. Each household kept a small allosaur on a bit of coloured string. We have no idea who they were or when they were here or what they wanted out of life. That’s the attraction. (& afterwards to sit in the boat, tired, happy, washing a small blue item in the most gentle solvent: no one will ever know what it is.)

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8 Comments

Filed under autotelia, travel

8 responses to “explaining the undiscovered continent

  1. anzanhoshin

    Ha ha ha.

  2. Simon

    How helpful is unreserved, spluttering, incoherent praise? Probably not very. But I don’t care. This is wonderful, wonderful writing. A whole world, a sense of something missed, something kept from us, something important. I’d frame it. Make it an artifact too.

    Too good. Don’t stop.

  3. Simon

    Fish becomes coelacanth…

  4. John Timberlake

    I preferred fish. The small allosaur already did it. But yes, brilliant, and yes, please keep going.

  5. uzwi

    I was trying to get rid of the rep fishbones/fish. Law of unintended consequences.

  6. John Timberlake

    “the plateau above” is very chilling. Nonetheless, each year around Feb I take my students to Dungeness, on the flimsy premise, I say, that if they can make art there they’ll be able to make it anywhere, regardless how inhospitable. Next year I’ll wish the beach was a thousand miles wider, with maroon sandstone cliffs….

  7. Reblogged this on Writings From Within and commented:
    Because few things are more fun that exploring undiscovered and lost continents…