[This is from Steve Kilbey's 1987 book Earthed.]

Answering Machine (Part II)

and yet for all that we truly live on a beautiful world.
How can you deny that... you who have witnessed birth and smelt
the aroma of perfection? You, who can imagine the future but can't
guess the time. There is no plan. Everything happens sooner or
later. Unless it doesn't. Take Neuman for example. After a hard
day in the grey, dog-eat-dog (and now almost dogless) city, he still
takes time to notice the gorgeous thorns that protrude from his
neighbours' roses. The sharp line of a piece of tin. The sumptuous
colour of rust. The graceful nature of steam. The interesting
texture of bitumen. Small things bring the greatest pleasure to the
man who has everything. The smaller, the better. He's become a
connoisseur of minutiae. The Microscopic King. Oh God, how the
obvious bores him! Subtlety is everything when nothing can save
you. The Little Joys. The pursuits of the man in the street become
gross when your biggest reward from life is watching the dancing
flames in the fire each night. To watch a piece of wood licked,
and picked bare by the burning fingers. Give me a
word to describe the satisfaction of rain on a windshield. The
timbre of rain drumming on the roof. The thoughts before you
sleep, the names you only half-remember, the places you don't
recognize. Neuman sleeps after sex. The sleep of the dead.
Absolute slumber. Hibernation. Winter, snow, night; this is the
combination that unlocks the safe. The whistle of a far-off train
that nearly penetrates your sleep. To lie in bed on a cold morning,
dimly aware of car doors closing in the street and awkward
engines spluttering to life. Fine, finer, finest. The warm cocoon
where you float before life. Liquid. Darkness. The waves that rock
you ever so gently.

© 1987 Rykodisc ®Steve Kilbey


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