green flowersjordan davey-emms
Translate me from physical to writing, to speech, through thought, in vibrations. I’m looking for some rest, a cave to clamber into. Call me up, bud. Give my thoughts a medium so the noise can escape me.
When you call, you’re walking to the bus stop, I walk too and my pounding makes noises on the pavement. I wonder if you can hear it. I’ll learn to tap dance, I say, and I hear the sirens around you. Some guy asks about your bag (you’re on the bus now) and I feel the distance quickly in that moment’s pause when you answer him in real time. My footfalls jam back into my soles; they’ve bounced off your continent or maybe just the concrete I’m standing on. I’m far away but travelling, you know? I’m sucked into a virtual vortex, back in five or the next ice age, find my fingerprints on the screen where I left them. Falling through that screen, dipped in water to my chest. As still as I can be on the surface.
Dad told me about heat receptors. Maybe they’re heat-sensitive diodes? I’m not sure. But each gesture leaves a trail of heat, and a grid of sensors interprets the pattern of touches. It’s how science fiction works in real life. It reminds me of finding a rock warmed by the sun and slipping it into my pocket. A smooth slide and thud, clicking home. I thought, that’s sensual. A loving interface. A million codes of yes and no, heat flicking them over. Sliding tiny capsules. Neuron pathways memorised. Pristine.
I’m moving between noise and WiFi—soundless travel, ghost behind you. I’ll recreate those moves after you do while worms rasp tunnels underfoot. Other times my foot falls hard. I wonder if they tremble, footfalls echoing through ground, if my sounds move the plates.
Body into heat, into touch-screen response. They’re minute gestures—all feeling channelled out through the fingers and interpreted, heat tracing a pattern of permissions, tapping out soft sequences on digital drum skin, digital eardrum, soft-lit I, talking to you. I try it on: a language of confidence and customisation in miniscule motions, ants on the dance floor. It’s muscle memory, not language with sound to trip over, it’s safety—it’s silence. These actions are unobtrusive in their smallness—small like prickle flowers—
I rehearse some command under the cover of stillness. Blend the pastel with quiet fingers. Drop me in the sea without echoes.
Maybe, though, it would help, if you could repeat it for me just a little?
Reflect off me like a swimmer at the end of the pool, demonstrate it for me, quiet mirror, and I’ll follow, let me see
If it feels the same.
foot smears on a dust floor. Beam me up from miniature.
I’m breaking up. I feel anxious in my rib cage, I feel ease through my calves. Imagine splits in my body, I think from parts of me. Translate my gut, translate my wrists.
Pin a green flower to me.
Let me peer in from some place, swipe me clean off, see me burnt in the back of your tv, see me through dissolve transition, sparkling Berocca tablet, I’m the mist.
My internet browser plants trees for me. I see their numbers rise immaculately, ticking over. Just light, just counted, just glowing.
Incognito browser ephemeral,
like dropping a shell under water at the beach. Plunge me through the sand.
Where is the dirt?
Sign-cutter. I’m drifting my hand on the edge of the pool, lake, spring, basin water,
trying to float like a leaf, shining water,
trying to make my hand curl at the edges.
Pinch out my clay skin as fine as possible,
while also thinking about the meme of the girl lying by her paddling pool in pink shirt and board shorts dramatically contemplating the future, a funny joke that’s all, clay skin dissolving.
Make me whole, bro. Normal, one lump not pieces. Zap my dinner in the microwave, press a green flower between pages, concealed.
I’ll move in repetitive cycles, watch my tying of strings in my mind’s eye, a breath for every circle.
I wipe the chopping board with a pink sponge,
wipe the chopping board with a pink sponge.
Wrap a shell in pearly cotton and find my eye twitching for two weeks.
Is this how I tell myself, “I’m tired”? Is this how I become a YouTube video.
When I live by myself in my grandparents’ house,
I do my chores fastidiously. Each morning I sweep the long stretch of concrete that lies alongside the kitchen and drops off where it meets the seal, gravel and dust driveway. I sweep the dust over and off the edge, or imagine I do.
I switch off all of the electrics.
Inside, I wipe the bench tops. They are made of smooth terrazzo veneer. They are cold and reflective. I wipe up all the drips. At a distance I see smears so I wipe them again.
I take cold drinks out of the refrigerator and place them on a folded tea towel to catch the drips. I push them back towards the tiled wall so they are not in the way.
I sweep the floor inside, and keep the screen door closed, when I remember.
I fill my dishes with water and empty them. I stack them tidily in the second sink and everything fits.
I write my diary like a dream.
I write my diary like a wish.
I write it like a supermarket list:
On a scrap of paper,
a cool day coming towards you.
My diary is a fiction I conjure up.
Mix me with the flames, babe.
Show me as a wisp.
Lick the paper clean or clouded,
make ash that clings to pots forever,
a cold sanctuary. Cool wallow echoing with wet footsteps on the bush floor.
How do you talk with such certainty?
I’m only trying out the sounds.
Tell me when you touch down. I’ll run to you in phrases.
Run down flights of stairs, pause, pose by the flight lounge, stop, start, off again.
Hammer on your window.
Imagine you’re underwater so you can feel the sound of that tap, that literal force from the surface, jelly compressions radiating out.
But the vacuum in the window dulls the sound.
I’ll mime it to you, save the energy.
Build a house on a rubber pad.
Build a rollercoaster.
I’m remembering sitting in science class at a long bench table with cold metal bars.
The teacher told us,
“Sanitizer feels cold because the alcohol steals your warmth for itself. It takes your warmth to level up, it gains energy, it evaporates. You feel the loss of that warmth as coldness on the back of your hand.”
A localised patch.
A silver coin.
A dented surface.
He told us, too, sound waves have energy. We were a classroom of teenagers encouraged to entertain the joke that one could heat a bath by yelling at it.
I dive in,
I glance off.
Slow me down in the medium,
as I pass through doors.
You know that phenomenon observed by deep-sea divers? When they cross the threshold of differently salted waters (or maybe it’s compressed waters), and it looks like they’re moving up into air? Those split levels have different densities. Jelly layer cakes. Dive me through the interface. Scrape the silver through the mirror back.
Resting on pillows in night’s shade.
I’m thinking loudly but hearing my screen tap. Finger painting immaculately but for the grease marks on the screen that trace where my thoughts have been, how hot it is, how clammy my hand.
That thing of a hot mug of tea standing in for human warmth. We used to put towels on our blacktop driveway and lie there after a swim. Suck moisture out. Sink us into its pores, luxuriant scabs on the surface.
And dad told me about diodes. I think of them again. I’m coming back. Warmth sensors, but I wonder about breath. My brothers write in the steam on the shower door, I write Hello,
Jump over the fence.
Hang arm out the window.
Pull me out something living from the sea. Sing me to sleep.
Walking fingers on slick screen surface, a marathon but longer, tiresome lullaby. My finger smears make rainbows on the screen, a well, a window well, trapping light, organic cheekbone highlight in the dark.
At the beach I look for tuatua by shimmying, waist-deep in water. I’m feeling for smooth cool shells around fleshy insides. They dig with their tongues. My feet feel foot holes suck away, feel sand shift.
I hear the sirens pass you. I hear noise. You hear birds. I wonder if the connection is cut, but you’re just listening.
It’s cold where you are, and you tell me the ground is slippery with ice.
I’m falling through white note windows.
I almost write to you, “this is somehow about queerness” (mine)
so many times.
But I tumbled out of that one didn’t I?
Really wasn’t accidental though,
that one line over, somersaults, typing in black, then yellow, then nothing.
I’ll tell you on the phone instead, spill it out on surface untraceable, only spiralled in the sheen of my arm hairs.
Blinking cursor cursor cursor blinking.
What if wisps clung to my face in spirals, help me pass off these thudding palms as intentional? Just some style.
But they don’t. I’m not ready for my close-up.
Ripped nets for beginners,
can’t jump eh.
I’ll wear a flower in secret, try to rethink the yellow, use my toe to trace a circle around around around my flight path.
Make me green.
Make me satin.
Let me breathe calm in the shade. I’ll dissolve at the edges.
Gonna write to you with warm hands,
touch the tablet,
scribe the clay.
I’m missing you.
Lying on the dark grey concrete in the sun.
I’m molten. I’m scared. I’m doing my chores and plunging my hands in the earth, picking flowers, content in some ways but missing something. Maybe it’s someone in the future, missing someone else, wanting for that space and to know it. Anyway, I’m rambling. And my silent keys, my laptop keys, my computer mouse, my digital sensorium is building up with scum from snacks and the sweat of thinking messily, so I clean them.
Break the conversation.
You know, I want to tell someone I want them.
This text is getting too long.
I push the words up for some clear space and imagine I’m drawing a love heart on the shower door I’m drawing a fish in the sand I’m picking a green flower not for someone I love but for me and I’m claiming it out loud. But in that instant
I feel the dirt on the soles of my feet and the grease in my pocket from my fingertips. These keys don’t need pooling liquid they just need heat to transfer,
just the dry hand of a pristine friend communicating clearly.
But I’m dreaming
in polyester sheets
and the steam comes off me like hot driveway like petrichor but without the calm smell, only retaining the prickling sensation, prickles on the back of my neck.
I’ll play it out for you in desperation, and desperately hope for a breeze on pages, for mushrooms on a school field on crisp mornings, for cool abundance.
Dress me in silks, or something like that.
Silken, because nylon makes me sweat.
I’ll wear a comfortable shirt and a flower in my pocket, a flower in my shorts, a flower tucked behind my ear, for safety.
I will look you in the eye and say, Yes. It’s true. Maybe you knew already?
Maybe you’ve seen me before wearing flowers.
I am in my comfortable clothes so you can see it is me really.
Although, at the same time,
dream-self is dressed in silks,
for the very same family recital.
She tells them
in cool light,
And the flowers are huge. You can’t miss them.
She moves in circles,
treading the air like water
with hands that don’t shake,
telling this poem with her eyes closed.
They show her they see her they hear her
and they understand,
of comfortable clothes.
My comfortable clothes are glowing.
And I will go back to making bread in my grandparents’ house