Holy City by Coral Hull

M u d l a r k  P o s t e r  N o .  3 5  ( 2 0 0 1 )
Finite Love | Red Shift | Angels At The Bridge
The Drowned Whore | Psychic House | Two Men Falling From Building
Origin of Angels | Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Our New Love)
The Rich Man | Night Train | Us Children, Like The Surface of Mars

Coral Hull is the author of thirty books of poetry, prose, and digital photography. She is also the editor of Thylazine, an electronic journal of Australian art and literature on landscape and animals. She completed a Doctor of Creative Arts Degree at the University of Wollongong in 1998. Her work has been published extensively in literary magazines in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the UK. Her published books include: IN THE DOG BOX OF SUMMER IN HOT COLLATION, Penguin Books Australia, 1995; WILLIAM'S MONGRELS IN THE WILD LIFE, Penguin Books Australia, 1996; BROKEN LAND, Five Islands Press, 1997; HOW DO DETECTIVES MAKE LOVE?, Penguin Books Australia, 1998; REMOTE, Thylazine Publishing Australia, 2000; ZOO (with John Kinsella), Paperbark Press, 2000; INLAND, Zeus Publications, 2001; LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY WITH DOGS (chapbook), The Drunken Boat, 2001; A NOTE FOR JOHNNY (chapbook), 2River Press, 2001; LIFE FORMS THAT NOBODY LOVES (fiction), NoSpine.com, 2001; ROSE STREET ARCHEOLOGY (poetry), NoSpine.com, 2001; and GALAPAGOS (photography), Zeus Publications, 2001. E-mail: coralhull@thylazine.org.

Finite Love

Love existed until all the stars faded and all the atoms and even
black holes were recycled into radiation.
Here the ground gets shakier, the longer we walk on it, the more we
speculate. We are tired now.
More so, than the greater ones before us.

Yes, we can
ask these questions,
about our grandest environment.

As stunningly haphazard as patterns in the ice when a lake freezes,
we existed for each other.

I was not powerful enough to avoid stepping on an ant, a blade of grass
or to save your life.

I had let it go already.


We are given a rope to let it go. Childhood turns it briefly.

They took his life away, the old dog. They would have done the same
for her mother. He lost interest in everything, even walking.
At least they can die. We are not allowed to.

Love is as complex as a frog. A star is less complex.

I have loved you.
If only you knew, how I have quietly dedicated my life to you.

Colossal though I may be,
we are a rare combination of accidents and
this is a finite love.

The gentle surf retreats and is lost. Time is accountable to no one.
Here is the sudden and catastrophic disappearance of the oceans,
where I was a solitary witness, to these dry and crackling shores.

In this odd climate, I found you.

I was always there to love you—once I was born.

People need love like their bodies need lust.
That is why it isn't presumptuous to aspire to understand them.

The last thing I saw was not my life, but what I couldn't preserve.
I love you madly. Is that so crazy?

I left it behind. Yet imagine, for instance, a universe
where love proliferated, was all.

Suppose you started with a single molecule, what sort of observer
must be invoked to
'bring such a universe into being?'

Those who truly love tell the most magnificent story.

This has happened for a long time and a long time ago. Our time began,
after everything in space was squeezed smaller than a golf ball.

Why do you love me today?
Is the deepest mystery of them all.
How can such claims be tested?

We do not know each other beyond the initial millisecond,
where theory becomes messy.

Love: a collision between particles, emission and absorption, and so on.

Our cosmic cycle may be finite. So how am I to live here, I asked
a psychic at Paddington Markets. What am I to do in this life?

'Anything dangerous,' she said.

[Large] is [Love] whose light set out a long time ago.

Why is our universe so large without you?

Why indeed did atoms attune themselves to love, when each moment
is simply our turning away. Generations of stars have evolved and died.

We have cried bitterly at every good-bye.

We are the residuals of that era, often compassionate, broken-hearted and
merely terrestrial.

Try as I may to be there for you, I am truly sorry that

my love may cease like space. This won't happen before the stars have faded.

Red Shift

Love. Where does it come from?  THE THIN RED LINE

Wildly irregular, the parlour atmosphere was created from featureless gas.
It's a simple beginning,

The faces of the paying clients
say to the receptionist, 'love is like a star's light,
it has taken centuries to reach us.'

These are merely human perspectives.

All of love's recorded history lives here.

In the eyes that say, 'choose me, love's everywhere, in everybody,
love all beings.'

No cosmologist would observe just one cluster, so in this space she's anybody's.
His orbits would be disturbed by passing stars.

Implosion around a small black hole is feasible.

This is in no sense the journey's accumulation.

Tonight we are surveying a whole population of universes,
held together by their mutual gravity
which formed at the different times, prerequisites for the complexities of their lives.

Systems whose entire structure has paralleled our own may exist.
She is our nearest duplicate.

Last night the sweet girls with the hard gazes,
had popcorn in their mouths during a line-up.



She's beautiful in daylight, where you cannot follow her.
The light is held behind her eyes, that gradually warm like buildings
and fill up with those finer details, like empty carparks on rooftops.

She has seen you before and everywhere.

Do you think she knows your heart?

Whilst you wait, she is a hundred times hotter still, her emergence
is from old hallways, locked doors, dingy staircases and red mansions.

The sun's light takes eight minutes to travel to earth.
It nestles in her lashes, restlessly the finger of light settles on her lips.
Her muscular vagina is at rest.

She is just one galaxy amongst countless others.
Do you have the courage to lose your life here?

Do you believe in universal love? And

The brothel's old promise—the journey from atoms to human?

This biological question is still unsettled.

Yet whilst I loved,
it filled the entire fabric of space.

Her energy release is steady and controlled.
She holds the lid on, despite the huge pressure in the stellular core.

Did you think you were in control?


your hour is up,

the whore is now understood.

Current debate focuses on her finer details.

The turbulent flares on her surface, large and bright enough to engulf.
Her graceful systems are capable of absorbing energy from hot regions.
This is where love began.

How can we learn about her deep interior?

I will keep loving you for five billion years more,
or for as long as the sun touches you.

He wanted to be kissed all over, she touched his back and everything
else, he didn't get at home from his wife.

The client lives a double life on red shift.
How many dimensions must we live in?

Her universe cooled, as she applied the lubricant.
A star is born, inside the brothel,
a nuclear furnace that keeps her shining.

Drawn to the one who is more complicated,
I was across the street in the morning, awed.

As she turns and leaves, there are traces of that vanished brilliance.
A few wisps, ashes and smoke.
The origin of the worlds has just ended.

That was rather spectacular, to talk of her full emergence.

Where does love come from?
'Let somebody love you,' I said to a star. But they gradually cool.

After many clients hands on her—the lady
is in the brightest phase of her evolution.

She flares, hooker red, a giant, far brighter than any heavenly body in the sky.

Yet, our experience here is of the ordinary.

It is mid morning,
her breath is galactic dust, so faint
it is hard to study her.

We are granted a single snapshot of each other's lives.

In my memory you will be loved.
This will shine with a blue glow
No brighter than the moon today.

Angels At The Bridge

1. Arrival

The angels arrived at dawn beneath the city bridge,
which had been trapped in its own elaborate structure,
and called into question some cherished beliefs.

They gathered at the body of the drowned whore
and whispered, 'what can we hope to learn about her?'

Here, the role of the angel is to explain:
Emma, your arms are weak and slack,
all your dark hair a swirl in the water.

Now adrift you are beautiful and pleasant to contemplate.
The totality of things, an elegant universe.

Are you that which has grown or that which has been made?

I have considered these many things, when all that you were is river mud
with the sun passing above and warming the earth.

And still, no one had any idea, how a holy city could
channel such immense power into whores and angels,
in these many regions outside the heavens, where we are.

I understand, why you have tried to reject death's final invitation.
The weather is not as grim today.

I produce a star-map and a map of the kingdom.

Remember, that love alone made the intelligible world
and this small destruction is nothing.

I say this in many places.

As her death grew older, the tide withdrew, retreating along her thighs
and she drifted onto the drier heights of the low embankment.

'How can you understand heaven,' creaked the old bridge to the
angels, 'when you can't understand what lies at your feet?'

But nobody has found her but us. I am the angel at the bridge
and she is my mortal heart. Emma, I guide you briefly, away.

The nourishment of everything is dissolution.
You have called me to your tiny despair here.

The earth holds the river that held you. I am winged-moisture.
Grow into me and fly to the things that would not change.

2. Departure

At dawn we took your many coloured pigments into our hands,
creating trees and men and women, that have come into being.

The earth is carried down into the sea and becomes mud
and this is the foundation of all the worlds.

Shells are found in the middle of the land and on the mountains.
There are infinitely many suns and moons.

I cannot escort you to the city of angels,
but I am not afraid of death.

A quest for deeper understanding is sufficient.
All the angels 'love of wisdom' is within you now.

Listen to me,

the universe is one and changeless.

And when is death not present inside our very selves?
For I have never truly lived here, but in your dreams.

Yet it's too soon to explain a universe and all its contents,
whilst your eyes still see this moon, this sun, its light.

Perishable animal, with your blended and moulded shape,

I take you out.

We are not working and thinking in isolation.

The body is anywhere, it is everywhere. Love gives us our functions.

We have considered many things beneath this bridge,
above the countless mortal things we see.

Be still, in your thin damp dress at dawn.
As we anticipate contemporary physics.

Did the universe have a beginning? And if so, how did it begin?

Listen, as I enter your voice, your breath.
I hold your dying face and worship it.

The Drowned Whore

It was as if the tide had dragged me here, but it was him.
There was something different about the day,
I was not of it.

The angel took my heart and lifted it up through
my throat to heaven. I cried like pigeons, softly.

My mouth on his nipple, now motherless.
It was the mouth of the wind that rested there.

He was the only one who had ever loved me.
I never lived to see this moment.

The grass departs beneath my feet, flowers diminish.
But he has lifted me higher and cannot put me back.

I've been lost.
There is no climate.

My swollen cheek rested in the cup of his silken feet.
Even in this distant way, it was as if he would bring me back.
The cosmos had entered my body, its immense peace.

The world and all its history resided in my skin.
Was I really touching him?

He is my chrysalis, whilst torn asunder, I am now released.

My hair is tangled weed, which he parts and strokes.
My mouth is damp, a shut moat, mud lives inside it.

Yet he brings me close to him, and he is wonderment.

My arms around his shoulders as he lifted me, the humped wings,
his pale blue face, he's golden silver, like sunlit water.

Now folded in, how I have tried to return with him
to the city of angels, but I was faint and undecided.

Beneath the bridge, my dress faded in the water.
I was invisible, joyful.
Take me into your dreams, I slept in his cloth.

I kissed his palms, as if he was the messenger.
I heard the music, my clouded senses, this path was intimate.
The river brought me to this moment.
I have waited for it.

Psychic House

The psychic house has collapsed so far that
no light or any other signal can escape from it.

Such houses are the ghosts of the dead neighbourhoods
whose interiors cannot be observed from a safe distance.

How long have I loved you?
I speak to a manifestation which may or may not exist.

No traces persist to distinguish how this
particular gentleman formed.

No one who ventured in could send any signals
to the external world. Yet the place is oddly occupied.

On some nights it's as if the walls spoke.

There are men who have collapsed so far inwards,
that no light or other signal can escape from them.

These deepest insights stem from him.
Frozen rooms. Clocks working backwards.

There is no wind amongst the movement of objects.

Birds avoid the yard in mid summer.

Cats are nowhere to be found even amongst the shady hedges.

The psychic investigators came in and set up the equipment.
They slept, as the house turned infra red and began to notice.

The next morning they woke up in several different bedrooms.
They couldn't speak sensibly of their experience, except to say

'It would be astonishing if there were still not many mysteries,
whose rich consequences are far from having been exhausted.'

Investigators depend on observation rather than experiments.
Sound waves embedded in rich granite rock, old foundations.

If a new universe emerges from a past one,
no individual particles and maybe 'no memory'
from the previous cycle will survive at all.

Yet there exists a psychic house that traces its origin.

It started with hydrogen, helium.

They could even be the gateways to other times.

There is a presence in the room. He is a man.
His eyes are wide, searching my back even whilst I face him.

His energy no higher than that carried by starlight or cosmic rays.
We crash together and merge, hurtling through space.

The hallway contains a background hiss
that couldn't be attributed to instrumental affects or known sources.

His pupils are the knives cutting up the kitchen.
You must exile him, although he is playful. He is often cunning.

He lives in the bedroom mirror before thunderstorms.
You must change the heavy curtains, avoid lightning.

Perhaps love is completely self contained
without beginning or end.

My heart aches for him, amongst the trees outside the window.

I said, 'my love began here, when galaxies were young.'

Love is slow and strong. No other facts are known.

Two Men Falling From Building

If two men of equal weight jumped from a building they would fall at the same rate, no matter how heavy their hearts. A feather would fall slower due to air resistance. The affect of the weight of the first man is to change the speed of his falling, to make him constantly speed up, when we thought he would keep moving in a straight line at the same speed. So as he falls he falls faster and the longer he falls, the more likely it is that we will be unable to reach him from the roof of the building and the less likely we are to have emergency services present and a big net waiting to catch him from the street. The first man was significantly heavier than the second man, not by physical mass alone, but more so by the sorrow which he carried inside himself. The acceleration of the fat man was smaller than that of the thin man. It was the difference between dropping a television and a Holden. The man who was full of sorrow dropped like an old motor car. The other man tried to fly like a rocket to a place of freedom. He intended to orbit the building for a light year but fell from orbit. The decision to be a hydrogen fuelled rocket was made with great accuracy. Meanwhile the building was at rest and the second man was moving at a constant speed south in respect to the building. Or was the man at rest and the building moving at a constant speed north in respect to the man? Either way they are two trains passing each other. There is no way to tell whether the building or the man is moving, from the perspective of the man's heart, which remained at a constant. As the second man fell his heart kept beating like a bird rather than a rocket. Both men died a few minutes apart, due to body mass times acceleration. From the perspective of the crowd on the ground, each heartbeat occurred at forty metre intervals, as two trains moved down the side of a building.

"Two Men Falling From Building" originally appeared in Meanjin.

Origin of Angels

The angels are all around us.
Some are bright and nearby,
but there are also fainter
and more distant angels,
until it seems as if there were
no end to them.
They cross into this city from ether,
wave like disturbances
in the combined
electromagnetic field.
Yet they occupy
no absolute position in absolute space.

When a child blinks out the winter sun,
an angel has brushed past the eyelashes.

Wrens swoop through their brilliant pathways.
The angel's wings have grown from birds
and the afterglow of creation haunts them.

Earthly origin: inside horses & donkeys.

Heaven's alchemy:
they pervade the whole galaxy,
as cosmic microwave background radiation,
or as a substance that is present
in empty space.

Earth is moving in its orbit around the sun.
To arrive here,
angels travel through the ether.
They come as light,
moving towards us at different speeds.

Yet when we were still young,
the angels seemed to be moving away from us
and the more distant ones
appeared to be fainter,
than those nearest to our holy city.
This is called the expansion of the angels.

Commonsense notions, or ideas of space and time
don't work at all, when it comes to them .

Angels abandon absolutes, simply
forces of electricity and magnetism.

Nothing may travel faster than the speed of light,
except angels, who have no intrinsic mass.
They are present everywhere.

I saw an angel who knelt by the fountain.
All the grey statues awake in our presence.
The force of his gaze was eliptical, distant.
I could spiral into it or escape from it.

Finally, in this state of absolute rest,
from a body not driven by impulse,
I have experienced these holy angels.

It is like being surrounded by a city of kurrajongs,
after crossing a forest of stars.
It has taken an infinite amount of energy to get here.

Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Our New Love)

What happens when two galaxies
63 million light years apart collide?

This is what happened to us,
the chance meeting...

Your pupils move in eliptical orbits,
more than lust, it was universal.

How you moved through space and time
is complicated mathematics.
I needed to analyze these motives.

In an infinite city, every point can
be regarded as the centre, because
every point has an infinite number
of points each side of it.

The question is whether our universe
had a beginning in time and
whether it is limited in space...

Time did not exist before
the beginning of us—

This Big Bang— we were infinitesimally
small and infinitely close.

Under such conditions all the laws
of science, and therefore the ability to predict
the future, would break down...

The existence of each other eventually
would not affect us at this
present time.

Yet we are propelled towards each other
with a force that is proportional to
a quantity called 'mass' and directly
proportional to the square of the

between us.

Some individuals are better able
than others to draw the right
conclusions about the world around
them and to act accordingly.

For us,
it was natural selection.

I didn't expect that you
would change for me

or that

I would have the power or the
inclination to change you, but
would you like us to evolve

together—changed hereafter?

The eventual goal
is to provide a single theory.

The Rich Man

A remote concept, those houses on the other side of the harbor.
The rich are as remote to the poor, as the poor are to the rich.

Their lives sailed away.
We ride the dark trains.

I have existed as long as a flower and for less than an acacia.
It has been more like water passing a drain than a billabong.

When did we lose our humanity?
Did we lose it—before it began?

I have been touched by an unearthly detachment.

He was 50 million light years away, 2 billion times the charisma
of our sun. Yet, not quite rich enough to fall in love with.

Night Train

How far has its purpose thundered since the beginning of time?

A cosmic wind that came from nowhere, destination unknown.

One move to the right; you've fallen in to the mindless tunnel.

The driver has experienced countless lives, remembers nothing.

Windows frame the unearthly gazes. Here is our understanding:

blades cutting, until there was no end to the sound, no beginning.

This is energy entirely in the moment. We are truly living now.

We tried to remain at a point of rest, until the old blood raced

through our veins like a madness, our bodies the broken scenery.

It smashes through the heavy grey air that will become snow

and pounds on through this holy city as one tremendous force.

The lucky passengers are luminous, they live and die like stars.

Take us on a long journey south west, to where the ocean is ice

and each dawn blows away this smoke, to a place more hopeful.

Night train; the long dark wind through here, we are your cargo.

Us Children, Like The Surface Of Mars

Intellects like ours, vast,
cool and unsympathetic,
have slept with angels
in a world without end.

It is not the kind of place to be born in,
with mind-chilling winds
rampaging across a formidable surface.

We regarded the earth,
as our dead crater world
drew its plans against us.

Our neighboring planet was
convinced that we were the
works of intelligent beings.

Even when a life bathed in love,
was beyond our comprehension.

Today we know little—
submerged in deadly
ultra violet radiation,
our psyches pitifully thin.

Us children, like the surface of Mars.
Deep down it may be a different story.

Early bombardment by asteroids is etched on our skin.
The destruction inflicted by the impacts was awesome.
This alone—could have prevented us from flourishing.

Yet here, life got started—but too deeply.

We have struggled to understand.
But it's like travelling inside rocks.

Equipped with robot arms to scoop up dirt and test it for life.
None was found, only gallons of sand in galaxies of dust.

The definitive answer will await an expedition,
involving a deep drilling project,
in our insignificant corner of the solar system.

Love took hold as soon as it could.
It only needed the right conditions.

Copyright © Mudlark 2001
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