He made this lying down: reaching up
with close and distance in the origin
bird flame, salamander sun
amoeba and embryo, the artist’s circle
As helpless and astounding life begins
with the cell, its own chaos acres.
Then question, the snake, marks a wall
approaches writing through womb, tentacle
sperm and flume we come from
this matter whose arrow of love can’t be predicted.
Earth bubbles escape into whale call
the fish’s tear, where it’s all going, mouth helix
to a child’s handprint, a tongue (red)
into wormholes, universes, sacs
of blue birth passage.
Perhaps sea felt like this as colours
crawled out and made ochres in the sun.
Within water’s eye is release, tasting
the first connection of salt in motion
and one-ness, then the sun’s line, letting it run
as fast as it can flow.
Trails mix trails evolving a dark script
so many stories in high-red waters, winding
seas whose issue bursts on topographies
lines and loops of existence, the way
numbers form then become invisible.
Tangent suns and filaments merge
a fiery drama you might want to escape
whose threads of substance aren’t inevitable
whose parallels don’t hold forever.
Can we look at what is over here, or there?
DNA to infinity, dotted through coral stars.
Some crazy life is running with odd grimaces
and grins, hands in the air, a sting in the tail
as bloodskin feels the air with tongues
and questions are overwritten
to disappear, animal within animal.
Jill Jones (NSW) is a poet and writer who lives in Sydney. Her work has been widely published in most of the leading literary periodicals in Australia as well as in a number of print and online magazines in New Zealand, Canada, the USA, Britain and India.
Her latest book Broken/Open was shortlisted for The Age Poetry Book of the Year in 2005 and the Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize in 2006.
This material spirit was written by Jill Jones in response to John Olsen’s Life burst 1964 in the Newcastle Region Art Gallery collection.