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state library of queensland
Australian Library of Art

Looking for Queensland: the poetry and magic of ephemeral evidence III

By Christene Drewe | 27 October 2015

Clyde 's journey as the Siganto Foundation Fellow seeking 'Queensland' is gathering momentum as the ephemeral evidence accumulates.

Continuing on, scrutinizing the fragments, the temporary bits and pieces lying along the margins of state, of place, the hypotheses of the here and there…

I apologise for the number of watercraft, prewrecks, perhaps even priorsinkings that seem to be moored to this project every time I look at it, fabricated of odd shaped, ill conceived, reused materials though we say upcycled, Thursday and a mountain of work on the desk, boxes and files, mostly bird migrational studies this morning (some early identification drawings on crinkled paper yellow at the margins, beautiful water colours faded in the reds, pencil soft the finest marks, and a symphony of indigenous language recordings), he says let's go down the Darling River for lunch, in our boat, (I'll show you some developmental sketches of the 'boat' later), (I have the reports in what I’ve started to call the Poltergeist Journal, though of course it is catalogued, it is authentic, speaking of the Spanish Galleon, all high sides, reales in corroded clumps and cutlasses, bone handles taken by the salt, lying in the swamp large timbers extant the rest dissolved into the tannin stained brackish water seeping out on the tapas tide, would the journal pages include other than what is written), I made it to collect silt samples down the Diamantina and unreported bird sightings, to find where the state border really is, after finding the scales from the Cooper Creek catfish, on the motel table that morning after the Blandowski Expedition /1856/ came through, collecting thousands of fish, shimmering quick with life. I decided to regroup, found Lake Eyre (in the post-flood box) the cartographer agreed to include it within the southern border. Grey Teals and Pink Ears everywhere on the lakes.  We have a countery, steaksaladchips, in Menindee near where the pipeline heads off to the Hill, we're going back via the Culgoa, Broken Hill is very short of water, the man at the pub said he wished it would rain in Queensland.

Back safely. Walked in from Dirranbandi (really?), long story.  alloneword let the tiller go to shuffle through the old archive photos and notes as we checked out what we thought was a Straw Necked Ibis. We missed the Culgoa (now typeahead says canoe) completely, continued along the Balonne River planning revisedly to continue to the Condamine and pull in at Warwick and use a handful of old death certificates (only remnants actually) to look for some convict graves. Sank within walking distance of the Dirran pub, poor maritime design the policeman said, and no planning, aow in denial, no train (freight only). Off the bus here at 5AM. I think that's the last time I go with him.

I sleep, a diurnal nocturnal cycle, day and night, awake, haha its morning, log on, identity, folders of beautiful fragments, holders today of a quicksilverist, is that the correct title for such a duty statement, my typeahead friend says I'm conlanging again, (in fact he stumbles and says now I'm cohabiting), I'm making a language up, creating it as I go, perhaps perhaps, he types quicksilver its (in fact it's). My research continues, this person painted the mercury on to the back of mirrors. Watching the reflections, walking here, looking into the water from the bridge at Kurilpa, I saw, I only glanced that way, drinking coffee from the Kombi Cafe, dinged twice in a row by bikes made my head spin, I'm sure I saw a hand- held mirror close to the muddy bank on the library side half floating mirror side up mostly with an image maybe a person. I was dinged again as I ran back down the twirly ramp looking desperately to keep the mirror in sight but losing it spilling coffee on a businessy looking lady walking to work toward the city, I told her about the mirror in running apology form, here I am searching through this folder, certain that I could see in the thin faded silver surface an image of a woman scarf or beads around her head and almost her hand holding the ivory handle typeahead intrudes again nonsense do you mean nonsense it would sink let alone an image I'm almost certain though. The image was silver, the mercury too toxic. I look down at the river, I'll go back at lunchtime for another search, I hope my quicksilverist has survived, when I find the mirror, I'm borrowing a row boat tomorrow (ahhh all those perfect double-ues, in El Paso she speaks it Dobla vay, I can't stop listening to her) from the man near the ferry station at St Lucia, he says his doctorate is in energy creation by self propulsion {typeahead is skeptical though grudgingly approves, the spelling at least, looks awry at the ideation, though alloneword (you remember, from ComputerTwo, pencil collector, next but one from me) has recommended him}, when I retrieve the reflection, I am hoping to find evidence of the ivory origins as well, my expert in silver immersions thinks he will know who she is, even if I can't find any remainders (typeahead says either remains or reminders) of her in the other folders. Good luck for tomorrow the lady at the desk says as I'm leaving.

Clyde McGill

Clyde McGill


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