Frame of Mind

by Jennifer MacKenzie

 I’d been travelling
 and up in my studio
 above the city
 the air suggested conifers
 I flew the monastery’s 
 sacred tiger down
 into my city studio
 and drew the blinds
 a dancer in for
 clicked on the IPad
 limbered up at the barre
 outside the star-drenched city
 wakes its industrial heart:
 vibrating singing bowls
 a single pearl breath
warbling cello studio window a thousand egg whisks of modern industrial move intowhoosh whoosh hit it turn it whoosh bang lean back turn slam violin slam whoosh as much as I’m moving as much as spiralling space arm touch finger chin forearm/head
 I half see you
 barre thro barre
 swaddled iron
              of your
              lean into
                                          walking in the park
                                          clamped by headphones
                                          whirling confusion
                                          has to be stamped
                                          its fragmentary whatever
                                          arms  horizontal
                                          then to the breath
                                          inchoate diaspora
                                          bumped and bundled
                                          in narrow streets      
                                                                                                 photograph: an old one
                                                                                                 workers stirring vats of 
                                                                                                 a factory belching the 
                                                                                                 mystery of yeast
                                                        my family came  went
                                                        settled here
                                                        their exile in stasis
                                                        orange sunset
                                                        in exile from myself
                                                        I stand in the park
                                                        cities slashed across my vision
                                                        here  here
                                                        there  there
                                                        thinking in dots
                                                        tempered by duo
                                                        flailing arms in unison
                                                        torsos connecting
                                                        take my beating feet
                                                        take my touch
                                                        orange sunset
                                                        in exile from myself
                                                        I switch on the light
                                                        at the old industrial connection
                                                        frame of mind 

Frame of Mind, choreographed for the Sydney Dance Company by Rafael Bonachela, focuses on the theme of exile, as experienced  by the choreographer, and the composer, Bryce Dessner. The choreography also incorporates the responses of the dancers to the theme.

Jennifer Mackenzie is a poet and reviewer, focusing on writing from and about the Asian region. Since the publication of Borobudur (Transit Lounge 2009) she has presented her work at a number of conferences and festivals, including the Ubud, Irrawaddy and Makassar festivals.  She has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the Marten Bequest Poetry Scholarship, and the Felix Meyer travelling scholarship from the University of Melbourne. Although mainly focused (or you could say obsessed) with Indonesia, she has also written on China, where she worked for three years, and in 2016 enjoyed a writing residency at Seoul Artspace, Yeonhui. She also works as an occasional editor for The Lontar Foundation in Jakarta. Her most recent book is Navigable Ink,  (Transit Lounge 2020).

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