Robyn Maree Pickens: Falling into water

Falling into water

[In language there is a violence that separates symbionts into constituent parts]

Firstly they are animals, even if you see figural rhythms bunching with soft necks
& oval-shaped fruits, extra-sweet yellow flesh, rose-coloured cloves, pink~lemonade~
blueberry varieties undulating tentacular fronds hosting molluscs, starfish, sea urchins,
crustaceans, fish. The animals are clusters of coral with zooxanthella living
under their skin – they are the fruiting bodies of a larger hunger secreting carbonate
exoskeletons. Together the coralzooxanthella bloom & flare into wrinkled brains,
mushroom platters, branched staghorn antlers, fluorescent pillars, scapular lungs,
lotus veins & static firecrackers. I am an octopus breathing as nutrients file down
the digestive filament through the eyelash-rimmed open mouth of coral animals.

With air awareness > ancient plunging > observing here a vertical tilting > often acrobatically > without apparatus > a type of recreational pastime > facilitated by kinaesthetic judgment > resulting in raw somersaults > a degree of modified rotation > gathering ritual momentum > the subject gliding streamlined > in axial trajectory > reversing angular magnitude > the body a mass of twisting viscosity > an English-speaking hyperextension > enacting compact hollowing > culminating in an airborne emergency > at the elite country club & beyond.

where x [bleaching] is absent from the search:

The diver is suspended over an assemblage of golden fruits—
shines a torch as glinting fish contract into one tensile being.

The diver has yellow webbed feet that form a breathhold, pauses—
to genuflect before a copper-coloured staghorn growth.

The diver makes the A-OK signal with thumb & forefinger—
is awash in the refractive light of small multi-coloured fish.

The diver holds a camera on innumberable exuberances—
a rippling orchid-like creature shimmering over forests of bonsai.

The diver pinches their fingers to form a love heart—
because this beauty is as authentic as any screensaver.

where x [bleaching] is present in the search:
>barrier reef
>great barrier

The diver takes underwater notes in the warming shoals—
tracks fatigue cracking in the dilapidated architectural structures.

The diver holds a wire mesh – positions it over brown sludge—
algae & the crown-of-thorns starfish have moved in to liquefy.

The divers work in small teams as a three-part shackle—
here the symbiosis of coralzooxanthella is broken by heat.

The diver extracts core samples from inert matter—
even as halogen light bulbs are banned in Europe.

The diver cannot stop writing underwater notes—
while traces of plutonium-239 from Runit Island’s Cactus Dome leak.

where x [bleaching] is absent & present in the search:

people also search for:
migrating seabirds > true purpose > perfect skin > architectural structures of time [e.g. a window] > world peace > work-life balance > [you fill in the blank] > where life went wrong > love real love > the best deal [compare prices] > undying passion > recognition from peers > peace of mind > free shipping.

We undertake deep dives into umbilical snake oil & the properties & powers of quartz.
I offer you due finesse to endure time. I like the pairing of kelp forest with wild radish.


Robyn Maree Pickens is a PhD candidate in ecological aesthetics at the University of Otago, Aotearoa New Zealand. Her poetry has appeared in SAND Berlin, Cordite, Plumwood Mountain, Matador Review, Jacket 2, and at ARTSPACE, Auckland. Her poetry criticism has appeared in Rain Taxi and Jacket 2. She was a finalist of the 2018 Sarah Broom Poetry Prize judged by Eileen Myles, and winner of the takahē Monica Taylor Poetry Prize 2018.

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