On account of being human, there exists for us all, a state of solitude often accompanied by the solemnity of grand, immovable things that loom and hold.
Built forms, relics, of our establishment as a society.
Things that are immeasurably dependable, normal, seem far too fixed, inconquerable.
The physical spaces between pockets of air are full of everything other than air. They are pillows of concrete, tombstones of dignity, absence of light.
They are as dense as a single heart is, when it closes in on itself only to find that in the vacation of blood, there is, just more bloodied tissue.
Frightened, it twitches in outward spasms, continually closing and pulsing.
The pulse of the one echoes those of the many in acoustic discordance, swallowing the city, broadcasting through the limited bandwidth of air.
Footsteps are reverberations, scrambled.
Pavements the immovable concrete water through which our irregular pebbled dreams skip.
Everything already exists.
I remember the neoprene glory of Aussie surf shop this columned corner used to be, and is now not. The safe deposit box to the side of the building is bronzed and brushed by fingerprints. The Bank of China’s presence in Melbourne is telling of the current economic shift.
Like so many laneways in Melbourne, this one too, was hip. There are wine bars, there is graffiti, there is a boutique shoe store, this all from memory. There were a few other little finds here too, but just the right amount.
This laneway, like most laneways, was shrouded by the loom of parallel walls, vertical. It’s shadowy existence a pocket of air brightened by graffiti and hipster aesthetics.
It actually took a while for me to pinpoint exactly which unique laneway this was. It is steeped in the same alternativeness that characterises every other laneway in Melbourne, albeit this one seemed less shabby chic and more sophisticated underground.
In essence, they are all different and the same, which is neither half full nor half empty. The single thing differentiating any particular laneway from all the rest is your presence in it. It doesn’t matter that it could have been any laneway, it matters that this is the one you’re in.
This street is slant.
Air filled with noise of trains; metro, VLine, freight.
Nightly buzz of Festival Hall nearby.
The unexpected discovery of vectors in mainstream shopping window displays.
Stumbling through our quirky streets.
This pocket; the fragrant smell of mandarins.
Once places start to homogenise, it’s easy for people to all look and feel the same too.
Concept people in concept places, just like you.
Every one a part of some larger cohort of singular, lonely human beings. An individual dot in a monumental Pollock. That we can all exist together and still feel singular.
Everyone different and also the same.
As you stand in your own body, in an arbitrary laneway, it’s hard not to dwell on the blinding quality or your norm, how ordinarily unspectacular and insignificantly inconsequential you are. Or how ordinary everyone else is, indeed, how ordinary existence can sometimes feel.
All this despite what you know to be true: the universe is remarkable. Your tiny insignificance also.
These seem like flippant consolations when all things considering, you will likely never step beyond this atmosphere. You are shackled to your own body. This is concrete.
You are supposed to adopt macro perspectives, appreciate the grandness of the world, and for the most part, that’s fine, that’s inspiring, but not always possible when you’re feeling human. Is that to say that when you are alone and withdrawn, you cannot find source for appreciation?
Is solace purely defined by the observation of your belonging to grander phenomena?
Like laneways, can your existence not be affirmed simply in knowing that it is yours?
Your navigation through the undeniable vastness stemming from the confirmation of you, simply as you.
Yours to begin and to live.
Yours to give, should you wish, to purposes larger than you, to those whose dignity is silenced.
To whatever cause you see fit.
I was struck by the juxtaposition of this. A small group of vegan protestors stand beside the powerful parade of Manus & Nauru protestors.
It was physically and then emotionally confronting, the sheer number of people protesting Australia’s treatment of asyum seekers. We can’t pretend we are removed from this. We can’t pretend we’re not responsible for the masses of individuals who are more or less incarcerated for their simple desire to live as human beings. We need to do better.
We are constantly surrounded by so many voices shouting in earnest, it sometimes feels like the air is too heavy on us, but to exist is to acknowledge the pressures of juxtaposition without forgetting how connected you are.
You are a whole and single dot in a larger Jackson Pollock, a person in a larger world.
And though you are the same as every other person, you are also defined by virtue of being just that very one particular person.
You are something small, and something grand, all at once.