Three extracts from Tourism

Mataranka

You are a snowy plain in the mist, a flight of stairs in a packing case, a touch. Some of John's friends are painting the front door, screaming at someone outside, commencing residencies. I am discovering sex, studying science, waking up. I miss classes, am unable to cry at 3 a.m., drink a bottle of gin on the roof. The people move between two places fast, smoke too many cigarettes, write about death. You lend me books, tell me about the day, show me how to core a lettuce. Some of John's friends are going to Indonesia, interested in botany, hoping for a change of weather. I am walking through the back streets late at night, watching a flag wave on a tower, happier than I was yesterday morning. I remember phone numbers, am careful crossing roads, hurl the picture across the room in digust. The people are elegant in an understated way, really care about you, are as blue as the song. You move from photograph to photograph, constantly restructure your ideas, pulse in the sun as you dry. Some of John's friends are filling the house with the stench of cooking meat, tucking a wisp of hair behind an ear, in sympathy with the political left. I am thinking about those times, cartwheeling across the sand, deciding between two postcards. I lie on my back as a plane flies over, check the quality of the seams, reject the use of colour. The people sit in the shade, rock on their heels, agree that we are making progress.

 

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