Not even the arrogant children of Newtown gathering in my sanctuary can shatter this dream. A woman draws at my usual table. It is the kind of tragedy that my brother would cling to, the great house wrapped for war and all the haunted grandeur. There is something of cell memory in such schemes and India or Shanghai, just this once, could be substituted for Morocco.
I have come here to gather myself while the dream slips to my feet. I wear it like a mantle. I don't recall how it occurs. I do not slip my arms into its sleeves. There is no stranger holding it aloft with strings. It is a universal cloak. I stand beneath it drawing it down as warmth or something more essential than footsteps.
It rages outside, sun scudding as a cloud through aeronautical space. You could be forgiven for imagining this bitter October Newtown wind imagined. I would forgive you your wild colonial view of a continent without seasons.
I have fallen into a painting. McCubbin had every idea when he painted me as lost. His mistake was ignoring that I am standing in the cradle of the sea. Seaweed grows as reeds parting gently in front and behind so that you can place me precisely as unbelonging with this wilderness. Now here NWJR will say that he does not understand me and I shall first reply that I have never seen America. I am caught here. The tides turned inward when the world sought refuge. The switch lies forgotten somewhere in the machinations of war. A great tide that never turned though there is here an identity of unbelonging.
The English make an art of unbelonging holding up houses as glass orbs that we pay peer into or travel through. Only the imagining will possess us. The last time he saw her he said "I hope your heart breaks" and I knew at once this could never be my point in th story though others may cling to it. The urge here is to repeat. It is the kind of tragedy my brother would cling to, the great house wrapped for war and all the haunted grandeur.
Spencer will come here to meet me but before he arrives I will be unfaithful to my novel and begin another not yet unwrapped from its shop-branded paper bag. I begin to despise youth. The vulgar to my left and the questing talking ones behind with their part-time jobs and their talk of the merits of various teachers.
A woman arrives in a red cardigan adorned with a mirrored glass opera house broach that remind me of an every morning urge to recapture oblivion. I have missed my chance to be drunk over this. Instead I sleep and rise and dress as though I had purpose. I call this infernal searching purpose but I must not refer to that neither with scratchings nor boldness nor cloaked devices.
I am sure that the waiter read my words as he cleared away my cups and one plate with leave from a strawberry. There is always the worry of things but I leave them open on the table as I visit the toilet as a sign of faith though I do not believe.
It is a kind of madness, imagining words poring from my cheap stolen pen to be worth something other than paper with ink. I was supposed to write a novel but I've no regard for story. Being constructed of words and constructing with words are not connected. Here now the dream has fallen and I will lay down this pen and pick up my novel.