As the Australian poet Judith Wright notes, how possible is it ever to listen to the "language of the leaves," to perceive the natural world, the world of exteriority to the observing self—as anything other than colonized. Dame Edith Sitwell claimed she was all leaves....
THE LANGUAGE OF LEAVES Setting; A north facing apartment. a doorway, a table and a grove Downstage right Foliorum With its many versioned silences of observation a supression imposed some muffled, muted and receded this barely utterable presence talk discredited: no colon needed for she is spoken for... left-aligned, dialogue Disrupt; and the great sighs of the world break out,
Strong gusts of impatiens frailties, vulnerabilities over sensitive, sensational fragile, fragmented and fuck that, I am all leaves The aged, the broken, the torn and the heaving then leaving... slam the door... Stage direction; folds, retreats, withers, alone, its quiet here, amongst all the said the saying and the speechless...... These small leafy extracts Interjecting; insisting upon their own existence. Enter; Foliage Grandi ( with Drag Strip courage) ALL CAPS centre-aligned in a major triad chord Polysyllabic, polyphonic, polyamorous... A weeping in prostrata curls of music in full blown harmony CHARACTER CENTRED AND CAPITALISED From whose axil do they they arise? bract, sepal, petal, stamen and carpel? Are they of foreign extract?... an imported variety, the vascular , non- native, invasive type? Retort; Or a delicate, vibrating range of difference? in true choreographic form Syllables uttering syllables, of the deepest affinity speaking to and from the mystery assemblé elongate, a/dawning our body digging deep with rhizomes into inner landscapes a transpiration. A Watering with our tears as the silent river flows inside us.
*I borrowed the line ‘Drag strip courage’ from the lovely Tom Waits.
Johansen’s story, was framed by the strong yearning voices of Franklin, Springfield, Black, Bassey and the theme to West Side Story at an early age; further foreshadowed by the influence of a late 70’s defiance and anarchy. Her story was claimed for a time by addiction, a mental and spiritual illness, but she reclaims it immersing herself in a creative life pursuing the redeeming love of telling story in whatever its forms.
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