“I see them and look away … see stinger-ray hide in bush … climb for a better view … afraid of spider-snake-lizard … we watched them watched us … “
An after-image is the residual image you see if you look away at a blank wall or something similar having stared at a brightly lit scene. The after-image is a negative of the original in terms of light-dark and colour. It is mostly due to the photoreceptors in the retina becoming desensitised by the original scene. It fades after a few seconds as the receptors reset.
Our land, our buildings, our travels, our past… perhaps they all leave after-images, perhaps they all contain after-images of those who precede us.
Locations include Hart’s Mill, Port Adelaide; the Gilbert Street Hotel, Adelaide; Lynton railway station, Belair Line; Hawker Avenue, Belair, South Australia. Most of the footage was taken on an iPhone.
• Text originally published in e•ratio 29 (2020).
after image I see them and look them away and see stinger-ray hide in bush jackal-plum make jam round feet stripes bright them cross my eyes them dark in blue-sky rumble-cloud in lightning-steel-bolt that fall them burn them to ash to puff of skin- smoke as if bone-dead and going gone but I still see them hear them song-in-my-ear voice telling them to sit quiet just don’t move them just wait wait them to final return or maybe we letter them open read them again under mulberry under koala-gum honeyeater-bud tell them how where when we say them in adventure big-news-story we wish them lion-heart wild-dog- brain-cunning double-claw them climb for a better view once more feel them in love then warm with hand-grip in ours ring-finger them like memory we wish them well all together see them fade-away perhaps we were them will be them spectres of them shadows on tiles pavements avoiding them missing them afraid of spider-snake-lizard at bay intersecting sparrow-hawk spotlit them we hoodwinked them ate with them counted tried to name them push-pull-cajole consign them to hiding-hole-safe accommodate them left-among-us still-ahind-us we watched them watched us come- and-go and come and go-and-go