The oily walls stand solid.
Night bows into the dawn, placid
as moss, as your voice bends this country
into unseen shapes. Thick layers of rust
cloak life in this place. Unfeeling
men with their unlikely drips
of praise feed the wild hunger that drips
inside your puku. You long for something else, more solid,
something that aches with sincere feeling
like no one around here has known, in their placid
sameness, since they first let their gutters fill with rust
and their voices fill with the strain that lives in this country.
You waver under the weight of all these crossed countries.
You throb to your edges with resentment at the truths you’ve been drip-fed.
Your violence cloaks the dance of a quiet semaphore, but the flags have shivered into rust.
Feeling like that great dane who bit the neighbour’s daughter right through to solid
bone, except you’ve been sent to the farm of your own mind; you redon your placid
clothes, knowing there is more in you than hurt, than impulse. But you feel
abandoned by the ones who could retreat to scripted comfort, to the feeling
that the vast expanse of life only really held this country,
that the vine would bend to them in the placid
breeze, and that would be that. You, sweet one, could never ignore the drips
thick as they bent their way down the walls, the knowledge that what is solid
must always bow to the rust
of time. You dream of a taste beyond the honeyed rust
in the water that sates the cracked skin of this place. Feeling
your bones wither and the scar of you crunch solid,
you thrash a final thrash away from the walls of this country,
the limp flags of your limbs fluttering in a language these people never learned. Drips
of faltering love slump through their chests, and yours. You turn from these placid
faces that belie the dogs buckled at their throats, as placidly
you place foot in front of aching foot. The leaves on the vines curl; the rust
falls like dandruff at your feet. In your throat, some unfamiliar hunger drips
as night closes its fist around you, and you bend to the feeling
of being a person without country,
a person made of nothing solid,
a person who drips from the mouth of the world, fearing only placid
death. Now you know; nothing is solid. We must all turn to rust.
Rejoice in the feeling. You are here. This wasteland is your country.
Listen to Sylvan Spring read ‘Wasteland’
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sylvan Spring is a Pākehā (Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Sweden) poet, who first got their taste for writing when they won a competition at age eight with a story about sentient meat.