Week 6/2019 – weathering

Summer it may be, but winter’s chill had definitely set in. My time translocated is coming to an end, and so is the summer (at least this far south of the equator). Last Sunday I went to see a wonderfully evocative Japanese experimental jazz performance, Umi no Uzu; in the middle of the week I created an instagram account and now at the end I’ve finalised the four some projects I worked on during January and February.

Find following: an observation on the duality of the individual and the collective within human societies; a poetic fragment about feeling, language and experiences; and a long form poem in response to Umi no Uzu.

Reflective reading,


The Individual and the Collective

We, the human species, are a collection of individuals. Without the individuals there is no collective and without the collective humanity would not have survived. So it should follow that we acknowledge and respect the individual and the collective both in equal measure. We don’t.  

So often we conflate one for the other, mistaking individual variation and cumulative perspective. Generalisations hold true for the collective, but when applied to individuals conflicting uniqueness highlights the inaccuracies. Understanding the context and motivation of any individuals decision is both important and compelling, less so for the collective.

Being able to hold a respect for both the individual and their larger collective context allows fair and accurate judgement, understanding and solution making. Failing to do so sees us quickly sway to misinformation and discrimination.

Some feelings have no words, they cannot speak.
Confined by the physical, without translation,
No language can master itself, and them,
Enough to convey the full truth, of the experience.

Umi no Uzu

The shifting swell settles,
We fill from the middle,
The edges clump
But a gap remains
Along the in-sides.

We await,
Stage smoke curls
Languorous in the rafters.
We don’t yet know,
it’s a premonition.

The lights sink,
The performers file out.
The glow of small lamps,
Illuminates their hands,
Their faces are shadowed.

The quiet hum of tuning up,
The last breath.
The drummer rattles up
A catch-cry calling;
The lead man nods.

It’s a lilting song,
A classical feeling,
The saxophone, at first
Out of place,
But the koto gentles it.

As this duet,
Soloed from a collective
Eight strong,
Rises, hastening,
The style shifts.

Layers slide into place,
The texture thickens.
The voice speaks
A slow wondering
Incomprehensible to some.

Above the stage
The water ripples
Rising and falling
In peaks and spikes
A natural CGI model.

Umi no uzu:
The whirlpool of the sea.
The water churns
The cacophony rises
We surrender to its grasping tendrils.

The first wave of frenetic energy
Takes us by surprise.
We struggle like hooked fish
Eyes darting
Trying to pull apart the weave.

The wave hits the shoreline
Crashes down and draws back.
The next soloist steps forward,
Pushing the limits of his instrument,
We sink back from the shore with him.

The next rise takes us less by surprise
We dive into the wave and turn
Racing it to the shore.
The crashing of its peak delights us,
We dance along the sand.

The flavours of these performers
Pull at the currents,
Tugging at the land masses of the world
As they whirl by.
They intertwine.

A warbling cry.
Her voice, rippling with low harmonics,
Calls to the strings
Sits counterpoint to his throaty gargle
Smooth but sturdy.

Another wave rises,
The last, it seems,
Though in this room time has elongated
Seconds given leave to take minutes
The space between widened.

The smoke thickens,
Pouring dense and white
From the mouth above the accordion.
Like liquid nitrogen
It ripples across the floor upon impact.

The cacophony,
Now familiar,
Like a shoal-swarm diving
In deep water
Pulls us along with the tide.

The last wave crashes up
Splashes the road,
The path away from this place.
Drawn up in careful successions
It has reached our protected high ground.

The end falls away.
The water recedes
And we flow out along with it.
Disgorged into the light
Swirling thoughts flocking about our heads.