It’s cool in Katoomba
It’s four hours since we arrived and I still haven’t landed. It’s cool in Katoomba and the sun shines around a mobile of cloud and kites of rainbows and the rain is another shape of feelings. We become tangled in knots of sheets like the unresolved talks in our minds, but a long bath from eucalypt heated water and deep warm sleep restores our balances. We work together making frames, it works us working, then we walk again in clouds beneath a sandstone bluff along the top of its tallus slope, where waterfalls veil us in wet crystals, where eucalyptus bend and sway in silver green cascades and in the dry shelters where those angular masses have fallen from the faces the rock glows reddish orange. It’s where cockatoos call in pips and squeaks and drop bubbles of song and the wood, it splits in splintering shatters of straight grain and cross, resonating metallic, those chunks of compressed lignins twisting, burning in the ovens slow heat cooking porridge of mixed grains and rice. It’s the pauses of sun, strato cumulus and sedimentary strata, continental sandstones, and haematite pans, those fine gravels that crunch underfoot above cliff walls in red heaths, blue heaths and black heaths, with pinkish gold flowers, with your taste, with the wind of stars, the laugh you feel inside of me and the pause around which we revolve, in the dance of being, with more of us present when we talk of our families and their places in these events, the knot in the curtain opening two views of the garden, in hours on edges of gradients of blues cooling to black and half-moons, temperatures hiding in the shade wet with ferns, and polynomials of shells, and jacarandas of parrots.
first published in the Summer quarterly of Blue Five Notebook
I’m happy to share Piet Nieuwland’s words here this week as we are rapidly approaching National Flash Fiction Day in June and flash happenings are being lined up all around Aotearoa. This piece placed as a finalist in last year’s international Flash Mob competition — and it is a fine demonstration of that fine line between prose poetry and flash, how it moves from image to image, how the words hold meaning with both content and sound. Piet’s work always contains a sensuality I admire — colours, smells, small unexpected noises. This, for example:
We work together making frames, it works us working, then we walk again in clouds beneath a sandstone bluff along the top of its tallus slope, where waterfalls veil us in wet crystals, where eucalyptus bend and sway in silver green cascades and in the dry shelters where those angular masses have fallen from the faces the rock glows reddish orange.
I can see, feel, taste, hear this place he writes.
Thank you, Piet Nieuwland, for sharing your work this week!
Piet Nieuwland: Nieuwland, of Dutch, Australian and New Zealand descent, lives in view of mountains, forests and the ocean near Whangarei Te Ika-a-Maui. His poetry has appeared in Mattoid, Landfall, Takahē and Live Lines. It can also be viewed at Te Ao Kikokiko and Take Flight, and at Pecha Kucha sessions in Whangarei. This is almost his first piece of flash fiction.
Tuesday Poem is a collective of poets who share poetry on a weekly basis across borders and time zones. At the TP hub this week, you’ll find Daphne Gloag: Oranges and walnuts (still life by Luis Meléndez), posted by Hub Editor Belinda Hollyer, plus poems by the various TP collective members. Look down the left-hand sidebar and click on each one to see their weekly contributions.
For more Tuesday Poems, go here.