Indigo Perry

White Like Fire
    (after Nick Cave)

From down deep where the cycles are 
viscous.      I thought   I'd be   the
                              weightless self              here at least.    
                      But gravity has my limbs      and 
                                     moments of liminal   falling,   softly. 
                All my raindrops   over you   scattered in   the power-
             thieving wind.                          Shaking me to a wakefulness that I wasn't ready  for.            
He has this way of speaking slowly   in a sad kind of poetry    and we listen   and  descend 
into the same lulled    momentum    
                      Light like full-moon gleam shuddering and 
                         shifting   as trees and clouds   dance   in the storms 
                  And maybe you have never looked so  
                                  to   me        It's hard to resist 
                                    touching.         The innocence  so 
                                      present  that it hurts like ecstasy.
                  Claws inside now, trying hard to drag me back into 
              my own body,     cast me inside out,      anything to 
          stop me 
                                         I am here.   
                              The place avoided.    The in-between.    
                 Staggered figures of me and me 
                      run   back    to 
                      to what's already gone         grappling for its
                   edges in the dark,     like a waking me trying to push my way back into a dream   
that has already travelled
                      onwards    to    dissipation and disappearance.     
               And then throwing myself to the other side
          to an imagined     future     moment    
             in which     I am    whole    and    glued together 
           so perfectly    that you can't see the lines on my face.    
        And in that place I no longer mind    what words of love 
                         you speak   
                                  or    don't speak       and I forget to count  the increments in between.     
                                         It too crumbles. 
                           I'm only hearing       the      humming
                     Strangely, I'm not dying. 
                          The hurt  is in the usual parts,      the old warning alarms of when to leave.     
                          Hands   once   bound     ache 
                                 and vibrate.            Feet   once 
                                       throb   and are numb and running at the same time.       And 
the gorge   now exposed to     the   light 
                                       and the fury    of      you
                                       Stings like prematurely born layers of 
                 This is where I am, 
                                even though  they all keep trying to leave. 
                         Not  begging to re-enter   the lived-and-died 
                             dream         and not gashing  my hands   with 
                        trying to climb      into a future     of nothing 
                     but the thinnest air    to 
                                 fall   through           again. 
               At least here the ground under my feet is solid.   Here 
               I can try to be  
                  what I've never known. 
                          And stop trying to annihilate 
                                 the truth of     her pieces.     It's all right 
                                  and it's not at all
                                  all right. 
                    She is
                    all of it
                    Not in need of the protection of sad pasts
                    Or platitudes of  bloodless futures
                    Just        this. 
                    The discomfort of not knowing.
                         Awkward rebuildings       and   hurt 
                                          that can't even be spoken 
                                          without inviting in    catastrophe
                                     It's not all that's here, 
                                       cold, hard, 
                                            and softly fragrant. 
                       There is joy.
                                The sweet existence  of complexity 
                            and the relief of imperfection. 
                                         Surrendering   to   loving you anyway. 
                                I see a child,   an adolescent   child, 
                                   sleeping   inside me   glazed golden by the waterfall.   You  played 
lullabies  until she lay down to rest 
                                   at last.
                                   Perhaps she begins to believe         even if she can't possess  him  still 
the rivers run lusciously and the butterflies with inked wings   

The Rain Inside

Uneasy wind      sending movement through       the window
     disturbs the stillness        that's keeping me crazy. 
                     feet swinging over the ground, 
               never quite touching.     Swimming,   with 
                  no    direction        
                                             and       no power 
                                                    amidst the 
                             hooked by a barb 
                           at       the mouth,       talking around
                                                           it       talking 
                                                           talking   talking
                                        talking in circles again. 
                 Can't mouth the truth when my 
                    lips are bleeding      and my 
                       tongue    has     gone to the      sea    
                                 And, the words 
                                             hurt.               I could
                                                sing   like     the wind
                     through     spaces     in    tinkling breakage
                and the crash of trees knocked off their feet. 
           Circle like ghosts through alleys and avenues. 
                  Unintelligible whispers   and furies of 
                      howls           with     nothing    to be
                         pinned   or     pegged    down.        But 
                                                          still   won't 
                 The truth, wordless or not, will  
                    circle in the storms and whirlpools 
                       and my words will be threaded
                          on hooks.    
             Hunger.                   Every night, 
                       screeching feet     not       resting      Keep
                    running        and talking         Blocking 
                                 doors left open      Rising seas
                                           topped with delicately balanced
                             No space to breathe. 
                                   The pain marks memories on
                                   my sternum,          the spirit of
                                               lightning aching to 
                                               break over me. 
                When the rain falls outside,    I will let go 
                    and sleep.         But inside this rain builds
                                 in dark clouds that    stay. 
                              And I am burning.          

Opening the Gorge

My blood runs        in the ink.       Making space,         swirling          torrents of    love.   
      Once I took home a round pot with handles,         sculpted, 
                   figured          with the body      of an octopus. 
              And I wake,       marked with the tentacles  laced in lifelines     around my fingers.       Diving in     it's 
                   easy to lose my way in the dark     so thick    it  has a
                                        soundlessness.    How is it I forget
                that I always 
            the dream of the blues   from     in deep    meeting the dusk   where I will swim,   washed pale         And   
           Dance through shining mirrors.             Hold 
                          the flames         that set me    
                              like Frida              until they   illuminate me         No annihilation this time. Losses    to hold in arms   
              like long-rushed wildflowers    
                                 or a baby too heavy to    stay   with         me. 
          What is the cost 
          of being.                         Heart trussed until it can't breathe.            The mornings, 
                   they are lethal. 

               I know I've lost             something       
                         And         is it true    that     I've 
                               missed something.            Because it seems to me that being strong      and    keeping alive 
         I can do that.               Most of the time.  It's not so different from being drugged          to the   point 
              where I even pretend to   cry        And  mime 
     the sexual   arousal      that's off with the lowlights   of the twilit sky.                      I open the entrance to the
               gorge of my heart              and that's not 
         pretending.                 What is it     that I don't                   get. 
      Yes, it seems that being     real           means 
                              You put tremors through me like the treadling of fine lace.               I am determined 
                                         not to        break       another 
                   lifeline,                      another place   of   warmth in            the cool, moony night of storms   that I   am. 
                          For one who shatters      I am strangely unbreakable                 but    still 
                                             I can break things. 
                    I laughed once while he broke rare, collectable crockery   by throwing it over his back fence.    
                                    He was just     
                        I'm not sure if I am.                   
               When I looked   up         
 I heard oceans     and saw you with    eyes   like  universes.     I emerge in 
                           wild form,                  pure  essence.      
            No one has seen   me     from here. 
                                No one   but you.            And from 
                                   this   place,     the wild-creature thrum   of     layered    existences    and births and dyings and 
                                       especially    of        lovings,   
                   I see 
           In your perfection.                 And this is the
 beauty     that 
                                              is the human 
                        and why all is forgivable    and forgiven. 
               But it hurts to see   you go.             The   safety 
                    under the darkness of the night will go.       Morning will come. 
                    mornings                    are 
                                                         This strange comfort 
                                                         offered that the 
                                                         darkest nights    are
                                                         always followed by 
                                                         mornings –  
                        Mornings hurt.            I set a piece, harp and piano,     to wake me    softly,         
                  to hold up a               hazed mirror
                        It tells me I'm not     crazy       
                            It's not my imagination that   it all 
                                hurts         and   if   I open   my eyes
                                         slowly   after the blinking-under 
                                         of    tears                I can be safe
                                                  to    wake.    
                                               The slowly    
                enunciated notes        of
                                deception.                       My friend tells    me that 
being born and dying alone,      living alone   on the inside,        breaks his heart. 
                                In dance I meet his gaze and see the redness.                 Quelled fire. 
                   (Have I got it wrong?)
                   (Am I              missing            something?)
                                         (Are   you 
         All so hard on one another 
         and on ourselves                                 I want to   hold on     to    what slips away   
         fishes.                                              Breakages. 

Recurring Dream 
       At sea,                                                                             alone. 
             Alone, in my bed at 3am.
                   Stuck with   silence,                                                    alone. 
                   Amidst my own personal global catastrophe. 
    I die of words, over and over.                                          You'd think I'd learn.  

Indigo Perry is a writer living in the Yarra Valley, outside Melbourne. Her book Midnight Water: A Memoir, was shortlisted for the National Biography Award. These poems are written during improvisational sessions as part of a collaborative performance art project called Illuminous, with trumpet player Andrew Darling. Indigo's writing is digitally projected onto a wall or screen as she writes. indigoperry.com/illuminous.
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