31st May 2006


Dear Frieda

Three days ago our com­puter hard-drive ground to a slurry; I’d backed up three years’ work but lost seven that were archived in mag­netic back blocks. All told, 57,000 sent emails suf­fered the lo­cal equiv­a­lent of “net death”: data par­ti­cles lift­ing like heat from mid­sum­mer as­phalt, though now the cold nights have come, and we scrape ice from in­land wind­screens.

Be­fore sit­ting down to write I chopped a pile of wood – grey-fleshed wan­doo from sea­sons back, picked off the aching, cleared blocks of an am­bi­tious farmer’s prop­erty. Like burn­ing the body of place. As I was chop­ping with the split­ter – sledge-ham­mer crossed with axe – shat­ter­ing the fi­bres, part­ing pet­ri­fied wa­ters; I wa­vered, re­ver­ber­ated to the ground hal­lu­ci­nat­ing black and white stilled shots of here and all other spa­ces I have been part of: now I close my eyes to re­move af­ter-ef­fects.

For months now I have been plan­ning

a ver­sion of the po­etic frag­ments of Par­menides, but the edi­tion I was go­ing to work from was called back by the li­brary: an­other user with a rar­efied in­ter­est in the an­cient; even when called back I had a week up my sleeve and I thought this the im­pe­tus to re­com­pose a lan­guage, but the pres­sure was like bor­ers in the al­mond tree out­side my win­dow: leaves with­er­ing branch by branch, the frost char­ring what’s al­ready dead.

Bizarrely, the cold has brought new in­sect life, or old in­sect life chang­ing, egg-lay­ing, meta­mor­phos­ing, go­ing un­der bark, un­der ground. The time se­quenc­ing seems out: moult­ing when moult­ing comes with high sum­mer, co­coons when co­coons have split, what’s within emerged. Less rain and warmer, de­spite the frost, de­spite what’s said.

Peo­ple who want to know can’t trace the eyries of the two great wedge-tailed ea­gles sail­ing in over the farms, cir­cling town. They are so high up – as large as rocs... as I write, tell peo­ple. We know they nest on the moun­tain over­look­ing the district, the gran­ite of Wal­wal­inj eggshell from which a young roc

will emerge. We keep it quiet lest they eat the un­born and bring down doom.

Love, JK

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